Bass are looking up
  |  First Published: November 2003

THIS IS when bass become more active on the surface and there is nothing like a big surface strike to get the old ticker working.

I have had clients shaking at the knees after being smashed by a big bass only feet from the side of the boat.

Surface lures work best in the early morning, late afternoon and night. They should be cast close to structures, beneath overhanging trees, ledges, pontoons, under wharfs and into caves or crevices.

I like to cast the lure or fly as close as possible to the bank and let it sit for a few seconds. I twitch it with the rod tip so the lure moves a little, then let it sit a few more seconds before starting to retrieve it back to the boat, pausing every metre or so. Bass usually strike when lure first hits the water or after the twitch, but will follow the lure out wider and strike.

Although most anglers put their surface lures away after the sun gets higher, surface lures will catch fish all day long. When I first started guiding I was lucky enough to fish Ian Miller and learnt how effective a surface lure can be in the middle of the day in the hands of someone who knows how to work them.

I watched in amazement as Ian pulled fish out of areas that had been worked over with plugs. He put the lure on the spot every cast, left it in the strike zone for what seemed to be forever by only moving his lure oh, so slowly and with plenty of pauses. The strike zone at that time of day was only about a metre square.

Ian’s choice of lure back in those days was a Heddon Tiny Torpedo and it is one of my favourites. The others I like these days include Taylor Made Surface Walkers, Feralcatt Walkers, Heddon Jitterbugs, Heddon Dying Flutters, Kokoda Bugga Chugs and the River and Sea surface lures.

I am heading up to Glenbawn Dam this week for the first Matt Thomson Invitational. About 20 people who knew and loved Matt, of Strudwick Rods, are getting together to have a lot fun, catch fish and celebrate that we where lucky enough to know and fish with Matt, who died suddenly earlier this year.

I’ll be working surface lures and also trying a new lure made just for impoundments by Rob Taylor of Taylor Made Lures. Rob has designed a new extra-deep-diving lure designed to catch native fish in impoundments. These get down to seven metres and have a wide action that native fish can’t resist. The finish and colour are great so keep your eye out for Taylor Made Native Bullets in your local tackle store.


The bass and perch in the upper reaches have been on the bite with good a number up to 44cm being caught on my tours. They are from Windsor right down to Wisemans Ferry, the best area being the Sackville-Lower Portland reaches. Most have been caught on soft plastics and small trolled lures.

Some good flathead have been taken in lower, middle and Cowan Creek reaches on soft plastics and bait. Over the past month we have been caching plenty of salmon and tailor around Box Head, Barrenjoey and Lion Island. Some days they will eat anything put in front of them and at other times, only small flies will interest them.

Most these fish have been 3kg to 4kg.A few kingfish have turned up in Pittwater and they should become more consistent as the water warms. Good kingfish and salmon have caught around Sydney Harbour with salmon and kings around the Heads and kings up Middle Harbour. Live squid and Slug-Go soft plastics have been working.

• I will be holding sportfishing schools at a number of tackle shops in the area followed by a day on the water with participants. if you’d like to know more about these, check the ad on this page or email me at the address above.

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