Bass are looking up
  |  First Published: November 2004

November is when the bass start looking up for any insects, rodents, baby birds or any other critter that is unlucky enough to fall into the water.

It’s also the time to pull out all your surface lures that have been sitting in your tackle box since last season and replace any rusty, bent or blunt trebles. I like chemically-sharpened trebles on my surface lures because I have found the hook-up rate is much higher with these super-sharp trebles. Even if the bass misses the lure with its mouth you will often hook it in the side of the head or the body.

Early in the season the insects and bugs are usually small, such as beetles, moths and dragonflies, so I start by using smaller surface lures like small Taylor Made Surface Walkers, East Coast Lures Bream Bandit poppers, Tiny Torpedoes and surface flies.

As the weather warms up and the cicadas start to hatch, I will upsize my lures to suit, using lures like the East Coast Lures Fat Boy Pop and Fizz, Taylor Made Surface Walker and Heddon Dying Flutter. These lures give you more surface disturbance.

The East Coast Fat Boy has been designed to pop and fizz. It can be worked slowly with minimum water disturbance with the fizzer blade turning slowly or worked hard with the rod tip to use the cup face and fizzer blade together to really churn up the water. Big bass love them.

The way you work your surface lure depends what mood the bass are in and what they are eating. If the bass are fired up and chasing prawns across the top of the water, I will rip my fizzers fast to imitate that bait.

If bass are shut down I will work my lure slower.

I like to cast the lure or fly as close as possible to the bank and let it sit for up to 10 seconds. By doing this it stays in the strike zone longer and often this is when the bass will strike.

If not, I will give it a 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.

As it gets dark, it’s important to work your lure all way back to the boat or bank because bass often will follow well back from the lure and make their rush near the rod tip.

I must admit that I love my surface luring, especially when I have a client on board who gets smashed by big bass close to the boat. The fish leave them shaking at the knees

Surface lures work the best in the early morning, late afternoon and at night. Cast them close to structure such as overhanging trees, ledges, floating pontoons, under wharfs and into caves or crevices. Bass usually strike when lure first hits the water or after the initial twitch.

Don’t be afraid to use surface lure right through the day – I have often caught bass all day targeting the shadowy areas

East Coast Lures has expanded its range of surface lures to cover most of the fish in Australia that eat topwater baits: The Bream Bandit popper, Fat Boy Pop and Fizz for bass, Fish Finger (large and small) for small pelagics, Barra Pop and Fizz and Turbo Double Fizz for big barra, Murray cod and kingfish. Shops stocking them include Anglers World North Rocks, Australian Bass Angler Penrith, Blacktown Bait and Tackle, Compleat Angler Stores, Otto’s Fishy Business, Fish Outta Water, Thornleigh Bait and Tackle, Blakes Marine, Windsor Bait and Tackle and Ace Tackle.


This has been the best Winter and Spring salmon fishing that I have experienced in seven years’ guiding in and around Sydney, with massive schools of salmon around Sydney Harbour

It’s made my life easy, being able to target these wonderful sport fish that fight hard and jump out of the water. Still, they’re not always easy to catch and you can throw lures at them all day without success.

I have been catching these fish on every outing over the past few months using a variety of lures. I have found that boat positioning and lure techniques to be the most important factors in consistently hooking up on salmon and I’ve watched many boats spend hours chasing fish without success

Most fish are caught by anglers with the knowledge of how to approach their quarry properly and work their lure accordingly, whether they’re chasing Sydney pelagics, bass, bream, flathead, estuary perch or jew. Anyone wishing to learn more about this will benefit from my on-the-water schools over the summer. Numbers are limited.


Curtis Parker with a 54CM Clarence River bass which came up to smash an East Coast Barra Pop and Fizz.


Mick Roberts caught this 50cm Nepean River bass on an East Coast Fat Boy


Karl and Jacqui Docherty have some fun with Sydney Harbour salmon.


The East Coast Fat Boy – a popping fizzer. Or is that a fizzing popper?

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