Mat’s Top Tips For Aussie Bass
- Be mindful that closed seasons apply in NSW waters during bass spawning season. This episode will prepare you for the season opening on 1 September 2019.
- When the fishing gets tough it’s time to downsize everything and fish very slow, often to deeper fish. to try and pick up a few extra bites. Alternatively, vigorously working a blade or a vertical jig around deep schools sometimes seems to turn on the bite.
- Mat explained the 30:10 strategy that most bass anglers adopt (including himself in the early days) can limit your catches and the bite windows open to you. This involves sitting 30 feet from the bank and casting lures that only dive to 10 feet or less back towards the bank structure. He recommends thinking outside the box and trying the middle of the river with lures that can be worked deeper as a strategy for increasing your success.
- The lowlight periods from before dawn until after the sun rises and the dusk period through until evening fishes best. A high barometer (above 1020) usually indicates a good bite window. Mat likes higher tides, but sometimes gets a hot bite on a string runout tide. He’s not phased whether it’s windy or still.
- It’s important to be very quiet on the water. Bass are easily spooked, even when fishing from a kayak.
- Accurate casting is critical. It’s often not enough to be within a metre or two, you often need to be need be able to place a lure within 3-4 inches of a piece of structure.
- When the season first opens, start looking for fish in the mid sections up river of Maclean. If it’s a dry winter the fish are likely to stay in this area longer. If there are late winter rains they’ll often more further upstream and into the many tributaries of the Clarence. During this period it’s worth being a 30:10 fisher and target banks to find the fish as they move up to the banks to feed and back into the main channel to travel.
Mat’s Preferred Tackle For Australian Bass Fishing
- Mat recommends a baitcast outfit for close quarters fishing with larger, heavier lures. He uses a 10-18lb line class rod of around 7 foot in length. 10 to 20lb braid is a pretty good option for Clarence River bass fishing.
- He also likes to have a spin rod for lighter fishing with smaller lures, skip casting and so on. A 7 foot, 6-10 (or 12) lb rod with a 2000 – 2500 size reel is perfect, spooled with 10-12 lb braid.
- Mat uses a rod length of 10lb leader most of the time, but can go up to 15lb in more murky or snaggy water and even 20lb when he’s throwing jigs into heavy cover. Clarence bass are generally not too leader shy unless the water is clear and the sun is high.
Mat’s Recommended Bass Lures
- A Bassday Sugapen walk the dog stickbait in 70mm size is the first lure Mat ties on when he’s surface fishing for bass. Natural colours are his preference and he stresses that you’re trying to imitate a prawn, so it needs to be worked appropriately. Typically he’ll cast to either horizontal or vertical structure using a long cast and walk the dog retrieve to make the lure zig zag and spit water. Bass can often follow this lure a long way, but just as often smash it close to where it lands.
- Weedless bass jigs like the Bassman Football Jig in black are very successful when fished as a weedless presentation. This will roll through structure really well and is fished by allowing it to sink to the bottom and then just twitching it. Bites tend to be a little subtle, similar to “bream ‘pecks’ and the line then usually moves off or you’ll feel weight. It’s important that you strike fairly hard to set the weedless hook as the weedguard needs to be moved for the hook to penetrate. Once the hook is set. Wind hard to keep the fish moving forward and out of the structure. Heavier leaders are beneficial for this style of fishing.
- A beetle spin rigged soft plastic is effective just about anywhere and any time on the Clarence system. Mats preferred soft plastic to put on the beetle spin jig head is the Atomic Paddle Tail Grub in smoke yellow core colour. He likes these for searching when he’s fishing new water or isn’t sure where the fish might be holding. 1/6 to 1/11 oz sizes with Colorado blades work best, allow them to sink to the desired depth and then slow roll them back through fish or structure. They’re especially good around horizontal structure.
Frogleys Offshore have been associated with Mat and supporting his fishing for around 5 years. They have a wide range of major brands that are familiar to Australian anglers, including the Bassday Sugarpen that Mat mentions in this episode.