Articles

Sportsfishing Action 1 and 2 DVD

Some fishing DVD's and videos might be entertaining, but for entertainment and sharing fishing knowledge, the Dean Haye's Sportfishing Action 1 and 2 are simply excellent.

Dean's action takes you into the wonderful world of fishing with aImage
variety of techniques and species for everyone. For freshwater anglers,
estuary perch, bass and trout are covered, with the saltwater anglers
enjoying a taste of bream, dolphin fish, bonito, kingfish, bonito,
trevally, salmon, tailor and flathead action. There's even a specific
section on each DVD solely devoted to choosing the right tackle.
Regardless of your species preference, these DVD's certainly get youcraving for some personal aquatic action. The DVD's deliberately look at the how, where, when and why questions
for each of the species covered, with no regard for hiding locations
from viewers. Covering fly, soft plastics, lure and bait fishing, the
techniques shown will definitely help you improve your catch rates.

There's plenty of screaming drags and bent rods on both DVD's with some
highly regarded anglers and three of Sydney's best guides freely giving
knowledge they have acquired over many years targeting their pet
species. Anglers such as Kim and Steve Bain, Shannon Kitchener, Scott
McGowern, Marty Bardetta, Peter Jacovides, Greg Catt and guides Scott
Lyons, Dean Haye's and Jeff Brown don't hold back with their knowledge,
clearly explaining and showing viewers the techniques that really work.

The captures of fish are largely in and around Sydney Harbour, which isImage
undoubtedly the most beautiful harbour in the world, while the trout,
estuary perch and bass are caught no more than two hours from Sydney.

There's some amazing action caught on tape, with cormorants attacking
baitfish alongside kingfish on the surface, massive salmon schools
attacking baitfish on the surface, a visit from an inquisitive seal, and some beautiful scenery that aside from the wonderful fishing action, make viewers long to be on the water. For pure action, entertainment and sharing of years of acquired knowledge, these DVD's are hard to beat.

If you're looking to expand your fishing skills, improve your techniques, simply love fishing or ever wondered how to catch fish like the top anglers do, these DVD's definitely deserve a place in your DVD collection. If they don't excite you to chase some fish, you need to check your pulse. You'll probably want to chase species other than your usual favourites after watching these DVD's which might lead to some new tackle acquisitions. There are excellent value at around $29.95, and offer plenty of action and top advice to make your future fishing trips even more enjoyable.

Bass Fishing Tournament TipsImage

It's been long over due, but finally there is an instructional video for those who love fishing the impoundments. If you're having trouble getting to grips with impoundment fishing, completely new to it, or want to get better at it, this DVD is for you. Matthew Mott, the 2005 ABT Bass Grand finalChampion, has got together with two other ABT
anglers Greg Parks and Darryl Douglas, and produced Bass Fishing
Tournament Tips.

I first met Matt in the late 1990's, and watching this DVD made me feel like I was back on his boat for the two days he took my wife and I out on a charter. He's one very easy guy to be around and explains things in a way that is very easy to understand and put into action.

Bass Fishing Tournament Tips goes for two hours, covering a variety of techniques in two days of fishing, along with a lengthy discussion on various types of tournament tackle. Even better is there are no paying sponsors on this DVD.

This DVD is shot on Glenbawn Dam, a dam very familiar to some of us, and covers such topics as identifying structure in dams, scents, plastics, jigging, reels, rods, working the trees, rod technique, spinnerbaits, Jackalls, leaders and fishing weedbeds to name a few. For those with a Skeeter fetish, the on water scenes are shot on a fully
equipped classy Skeeter.

If there is one point that is made quite clear in this DVD, it's that it can be the little things that can make the difference between success and failure.
 
If there's one thing I really like about how this DVD was produced, it's this. In some DVD's you feel like you're just a viewer. In this DVD, you feel like you're part of a conversation with those on it. You feel like your on the boat when the guys are fishing, and when it comes to tackle talk over the bow of the Skeeter, you feel like you're
talking with your mates.

It's a very easy DVD to watch and well worth the $34.95 plus $5 postage and handling. To order your copy go to
www.blackdiamondrods.com
/mediaarts

A Locked Gate?????

ImageIt's taken a bloody long time! The amount of hours spent on the dunny flicking through topo maps, the years of selective hearing my wife's had to produce and the sleepless nights spent wondering if that little creek would finally produce the goods had taken it's toll. The weird thing was that I wasn't really that excited about the size of the fish, more the condition. Not one blemish on it's scales. No poo-llution inflicted red sores. No shredded mouth Imagefrom over zealous hook extraction. Nup, this Bass was perfect. It made me wonder what Sydney Bass fishing use to be like.

Not trying to philosophize too much, but how far do we Hawkesbury/ Nepean anglers have to travel to score fish like this? Would we feel this way if we pulled big Bass like this on regular outings? Sure some anglers do, but these moments are special, and unfortunately, in Sydney, few and far Imagebetween... well for me anyway!

Full time clown, Dale Graham, emailed from his Summer Bay fantasy life in Coffs HarbourImage to tell me of his first Mangrove Jack experience. It wasn't the that the fanged thing went 440mm that caused his excitement to spill over to uncontrollable speling errers in his tipingg, it was the fact that he found ‘Bass- nirvana', a small, clean waterway on the North Coast that goes by the name of Warrell Creek. The description of the crimson fish was a sentence, the other 3 paragraphs related to the abundance of lily pads and ultra-clear water bordering manicured snags in this creek. The last sentence echoed sentiment of what Bass fishing in Sydney use to be like... and Dale had to travel 600 kays to find out. 

For me it was a 50 km round trip from home, taking the girls for a ‘quick drive to get them asleep' to open my eyes. This little lagoon lies North West of Sydney. Surrounded by horse studs, and yokel land owners driving Range Rovers in their torn rags.

With the girls in full song singing ABC For Kids top ten hits, I pulled into a dirt track that held pot holes the size of bathtubs, a familiar route the Falcon has reluctantly taken many a time and the ones Ultra Tune employees rub their hands at. Mid Bananas In Pyjamas I Imagewas approached by a large man in blue overalls and a rolly hanging out of his mouth. I puckered my lips for a welcome smile and a ‘how ya goin', he tensed his eyebrows and told me to F^#% off...OK, next spot.

ImageUp the road was another lagoon, a mere 100metres from the gate of a house. I opened the gate, and drove down to a lovely old lady standing with a pitch fork in hand. I politely asked her for permission to access the water, she replied with a smile and a gentle, no, you fisherman destroy everything. No sooner had I even bought out the I'm only asking to persue my interest in birdImage watching line that she told me many angler has asked in the lastImage decade and our response is always the same. No.... Damn!

OK next spot. One last spot, the one that looked hardest to access on the topo map and the one the Ford was really going to be given a challenge getting into.

As the girls finally began nodding off, I pulled into a goat track that mysteriously had the gate unlocked and open. One hundred metres later I approached a lady backing out of her drive. The driveway was directly across from the lagoon. If I had my canoe I could've Imageprobably slid down the 10 metre embankment straight into the clear waters on my bum. I asked her for permission, she said ‘I don't see a problem with that'. Bingo! It wasn't until later in the conversation that I learnt she'd had the gate open waiting for the Vet to tend to one of her sick Arabians. How lucky was I!

That's it! As I climbed the mountain back to Richmond I was too excited to notice the drip of kiddy vomit hanging from my ear. My eldest daughter had spewed her guts up trying to negotiate the corners and ruts with Daddy. My mind was elsewhere. I was in a canoe with a shaking wrist slowly working a fizzer back to the rod tip on dawn. My girls were prodding the bits of carrot and corn stuck to the car seats.

Mic Stark and Big Wes met me at 5am in Richmond. I led them on a journey through corrugated-road studded bush. Stopping for a leak, Mic turned to me in his usual wherethehellareyoutakingusdave stare. Wes on the other hand was fighting crusty eyes as he had only finished his chef shift hours before. Looking up from his luke-warm sausage roll, I could read his mind... this better be worth it Dave, it better be worth it!

ImageIt was still dark when we arrived at the ‘look out'. I pointed towards our recreational heaven. You could just make out the water. I said to Mic, ‘imagine a whole valley of brown shallow bog, and in the middle, two football fields of the best bass water you've ever seen'. Mic wasn't stupid, he heard it before.

The dogs were barking like crazy as we parked the car at the front of Anne's shack. Mic looked at me Imageand produced his confident grin. Wes held my shoulder and nodded in agreement.

My first cast landed short of a clump of bulrushes. No sooner had I clicked the Calcutta into gear that a huge bow wave formed behind the fizzer... and then disappeared. Mic on the other hand quietly screamed as a chunky black Bass of 320mm came canoe side.

As we paddled around sunken snags, avoided platypuses and exchanged nods, I couldn't help thinking how good this was... and precious. You know, the way it use to be... well this twenty-seven year old doesn't remember the good ol' days, only right now. Something he'll be echoing to his daughters when they learn how to use a baitcaster.

I was expecting Adam to leave Eve bedside in the bulrushes and come say G'day. But he never popped his head up, instead surface strikes rain around our lures. Until the sun popped up.

Wes's crusty eyes made way for rolling tears as his little spin rod buckled over and over again. Mic actually got annoyed at the sub 320 models he was hooking. At one stage, the two canoes had worked the perimeter at it came down to one snag. Eyeing it off like the old guns of Glenrowan, I beat Mic to the task, got smashed and wound in a light lure. Mic fired his cast, got smashed, same result. Wes had a crack... nah. Were these bass wising up too quickly? Time to change to sub-surface. Three turns of Mic's reel and his little red/black Nugget was hit. The result... a sub 320 model. Suck on that Mic!

You could actually see the lilies parting as Bass freely went about nosing their way through the bank-side vegetation. A smash here, a plop there. At one point I actually saw a dragonfly being taken from on top of a lily pad. I pulled the fly rod out, stood in the Coleman and rolled homemade ‘bumfluff' flies into the dark pockets. One, two, three strips, bang... I'm on. Release that one... One, two, three strips, bang... I'm on, release another one. Too good to be true?... well later I found out it was.

After three hours of incredible fishing we dragged the canoes onto the cars and made our way to find Anne. She was working on a fence line and happily asked us about a little session. We asked her what she drank so next time we came down (fingers crossed) we could thank her. She said anything... we said beauty! I got her number, and vowed to call her soon. She said she'd check with the owner of the lagoon surrounds before we came next time, just make sure it was alright with him that we launch the canoes off his minute strip of bank, and that she'd unlock the gate for us.

The session was over. Couldn't wipe the smile off our faces. As I said goodbye to Mic and Wes, they both nodded and gave me their howgoodwasthatthanksaheapdave grins.

PS-Rang Anne a fortnight later and asked her to unlock the gate for us. She told us that the other property owner doesn't want fisherman on his property, she didn't have a problem, but he did. There was no way of dragging the canoes over the creek to reach the lagoon and honestly if we did somehow, it just wouldn't seem respectful to Anne if we did. I pinched myself and locked that little experience in the long term memory bank.

Right... next challenge!

Dave Horvat

Small Creek Adventures (North Coast style)

ImageThe Northern Rivers region of NSW has much to offer the travelling fisherman. The Clarence River in particular is worthy of some serious time on the water.

Up here they call it Big River Country, and with good reason. The catchment is huge. The Clarence itself starts near the QLD border. Other tributaries start as far south as Dorrigo (Nymboida Imageand Mann Rivers.)

Those three big rivers are at the heart of trophy Bass and are worthy of separate topics in their own right.

But the Clarence is more than just the big rivers. There is a maze of smaller tributaries and feeder creeks. They are what I spend my time exploringImage when I can't make the longer trips.

Like a lot of adventurous fishermen, I love poring over topo maps looking for those thin blue lines. The next step is locating access to points of interest. Bridge access is the obvious choice for my kayak. If on foot, ridges and gullies rate high.

Next of course comes Google Earth (what did we Imagedo before that?). I believe this one piece of software has been responsible for making available some previously inaccessible and unfished water. I find the planning of a fishing trip just as exciting as the journey.

Using the above methods I have found some fantastic little creeks that I spent my spare time exploring last summer. One spot in particular I feel has been fished very rarely by others.

This particular creek is one of the most beautiful I have come across. Melaleuca trees line Imagethe bank and their roots and overhanging branches give plenty of protection and shade for the wary Bass. A sea eagle sat perched on the branch of a gnarly old tree, gazing down with interest. There were no high powered bass boats here to interrupt the still of the morning.

The kayak is used for the more accessible water and the rest is explored on foot. You are always a bit apprehensive when a new spot is tried for the first time. There is that feeling of anticipation when you put that first cast in the water. Will all the planning and preparation that has gone into this trip pay off? Will this creek even hold Bass?

ImageAs I slowly worked my way up the creek, I was spellbound by the pristine beauty of the Imageplace. Time to fish, I told myself. Surface lures are my favoured choice of weapon on Bass. Bill's Bugs are the go. His fizzers and flutterbugs are first class. I like the 50mm models for this tight water. Black is my favourite colour, but as with all fishermen, I have every colour under the rainbow. I use 10lb main line and 15 to 20lb leader. The drag Imageneeds to be set reasonably tight, as there is usually very little room to let a fish run.

I threw a fizzer under an overhanging tea tree and after hitting the water, I just let it sit there. I like to let the ripples dissipate before even thinking about moving the lure. There is no point in pulling the lure away from the fish's home too quickly. Anybody who uses surface lures knows the anticipation and suspense involved with this kind of fishing.

I ripped the fizzer with a sweep of the rod and the propellers sprung into action. It shot Imagealong about 1/2 a metre and came to rest again. Once again, I just left it there. Before I could rip it again there was an almighty explosion from under the lure and my fizzer was heading for the lumber yard.

Bass in a small water situation are a sight to behold. The odds are definitely in their favour. They are never far from cover, tree roots, rocks, water lilies, you name it. This first fish took off like a startled gazelle, shooting from one side of the creek to the other (that was not very far mind you). Luckily the upgraded leader for this small creek outing had paid off and after a couple of surges he was mine.

On this first trip I fished mainly with the surface lures, as they continued to be hit right through the middle of the day. My arsenal of Bills Bugs was put to the test and the results were very pleasing. I really believe these fish had never seen a surface lure in their lives.

For me, the feeling of satisfaction that I get from searching for a creek, planning the trip and then catching Bass in previously unfished waters (by me at least) is what Bass fishing is all about.

I don't always find Bass on these exploratory trips. Sometimes I will go all day and not get a strike. But as any true Bass fisherman knows, being alone on what feels like unchartered territory, with the sights and sounds of nature all around is what makes Bass fishing so special.

Words and Photos by Graeme Bowes

The Clarence River Gorge

Image

The Northern Rivers' region of NSW is renowned as a big bass fishery. When talk of large bass arises between groups of keen freshwater anglers, the legendary Clarence River Gorge is never far from the forefront. The Gorge is about an hour west of Grafton via Copmanhurst. The low level Lilydale Bridge crosses the Clarence about half way between Copmanhurst and The Gorge itself. FromImage there it is a forty five minute drive to the camping area at Neil Winters' property. Accommodation is offered in "The Shack" for groups but I prefer sleeping under the stars.

The Gorge is a truly spectacular place. The scenery is stunning and the reflections on the river in the mornings and evenings are quite magnificent. The Gorge is now heritage listed, so it will be preserved Imagefor future generations of anglers to enjoy as much as we do now.

Powered boats can access roughly a three kilometre stretch of water from a set of rapids below the homestead to more rapids about a kilometre below the main falls. To really enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this unique area a canoe or kayak is the preferred mode of transport.

Spring and autumn are the best times to camp at The Gorge. Summer can be scorching hot and winter nights can be below zero. Bass can be caught all year round here, with some fish not making the traditional winter spawning run downriver to the brackish water. Spring sees the return upstream of the post spawn fish with the first rains of the season helping their return to the upper reaches of the system.

To arise before dawn and slowly paddle up into The Gorge is one of the joys of life. The waters are dark and deep and as you move further upstream, the sheer walls rise above you and cradle you as if in a cocoon. Contrast this with the last flood in 2001, one of the largest ever, when the entire Gorge and surrounds were a raging torrent buried under ten metres of water. Indeed, to walk above The Gorge and see the debris in the trees above your head, makes you marvel at the sheer power of nature.

One of my favourite ways to fish this place is to paddle upstream to the first set of rapids just on dusk. From there you can just float back to the camping area in the dark. This is one of the sheer joys of life. (Apologies to my wife.)Image

One occasion in particular sticks in my memory. I had just flicked out one of my favourite Bills Bugs surface lures and was just relaxing in my kayak. The peace and tranquillity of this special place were seeping through my body. Suddenly an involuntary scream echoed from the sheer walls of this place. Not two feet from the side of the kayak a huge explosion of water erupted and I was drenched. The rod buckled over and the lineImage disappeared from the reel at a rate of knots.

At first I thought it was a large Clarence River Cod that are known to inhabit these parts. My next guess as the kayak was being towed around in the dark was a migrating whale that had lost her way. Then suddenly, clunk, the kayak was slammed into the gorge wall and my paddle went overboard. Every time I managed to retrieve some line and had thoughts of what may be on theImage other end, the fish would surge again. This was no Cod (or whale for that matter) only a Bass fought like this. A large one at that.

Here I was, in the middle of the night, pitch black, no paddle and being bounced off gorge walls. Nobody was going to believe this! I had to get this denizen of the deep to the side of the kayak for a photo or this would go down as yet another tall fishing tale.

The battle raged, man against beast, no quarter was asked or given. Then that dreaded rasping of line against something solid was transmitted back through to the rod. I realized the fish had found a cave in the gorge wall. He was in there determined not to give an inch and I was hanging on for dear life. This was becoming a game of cat and mouse. I decided to give him some slack, hoping he might swim out of the cave, but the grinding of the line told me he was only going deeper into the cave. I decided to use some muscle again, let's show him who is the boss.

Twang! The line parted. The beast had won the battle but the war was far from over. I searched for the paddle and dejectedly headed back to the camping area. I would be back to take my revenge next trip to this magnificent area.

Words and photos by Graeme Bowes

Whilst everyone was on the Harbour for the Pro Bream

Gary and myself were unable to fish both days of the Pro Bream this weekend so decided to hit the Hawkesbury today. Starting out on the flats opposite Parsley bay we encountered flathead after flathead. We were here for bream I thought. Gary hooked onto a screamer we were calling it for everything and when it surfaced at the side of the boat it turned into another flathead. ALL 75cm of it a real croc!!!

Getting out of there we hit some racks. Not to be displeased it started as the tide was falling the bream were coming on. Gaz got hit and dropped. 2 casts later the biggest horse I have seen came into the net, 41cm and 1.5kgs !!!! moving to the next set of racks I was getting strikes and runs but they just wouldn't stay on. The tide was now level with the racks and the wind was picking up. Do you guys remember that old game of operation where you had to pluck bones from a guy without touching the sides or an alarm would sound? Well that was us in the racks, one foot on the electric, cross wind howling, casting a 1/16 jighead and plastic to fall within an inch of a full rack covered with hessian and hoping to be slammed. I snagged and was retying when Gary was on again. This time another 1kg bream came over the side. Gaz now had 2 fish for 2.5kgs!!!!

All in all a great day out with a PB for Gary. Me I was NETBOY for the day but really you gotta love that rack fishin!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the day out Gaz and once again the fishin lesson

Mini Bream Nirvana

I cast the Attack minnow into the wind and it plopped just off the weed margins. It lay for ten or so seconds before I began twitching. Within a second or two it was smashed from below by a feisty little bream. After weaving through the weed blooms it came to shore, shining in the midday sun. It smiled at me so I put it back, only to catch its brother, sister, cousin and mate in the next few casts. It was only the irritation of sand and sunburn that drove me away from a hot bite.
and sunburn that drove me away from a hot bite.

Swan Lake
The bream here have been agitated for three to five years without a decent run to the ocean. You can imagine their frustration, much akin to that of a bass trapped in a stagnant lagoon so close to the tide they can smell it. Ravenous as hell!

Swan Lake is a rain-fed body of water between Sydney and Eden. Due to its position above sea level, it experiences no tidal influence, only opening after heavy rain. It's pretty much a water skiers heaven but where the skiers can't get to, the angler can and these areas are where the bream sit and grow fat. Downstream of the bridge, toward the ocean the lake narrows becoming an inlet type set-up. There are no ‘technical' snags in this section, only weed. Bordered by sand dunes and low lying tussock grass it is possible to sight cast to bream. Enough said?

The lake is fed by two feeder creeks. Mondayong Creek is around 600m in fishable length. It is full of gnarly snags and overhanging limbs. Tea Tree Creek is quite the contrast. It is nothing but water and bulrushes, no snags. It's possible to weave your boat up the creek and explore its many arms. The bream here hang mid-water. Club member Andrew Bagley and I fished it one February and noticed fish swimming mid-water. We immediately brushed them off as mullet until we cast to them... a bream was the result. We were stunned!

The main body is one giant ‘bowl' fringed by sand flats... and yes the bream hang out here too. Possibilities are endless. Fish weed, snag or flat. Fish surface, sub and deep with lure and fly. I took my girls down to score their first lure-caught bream. They chose the girliest-looking hard body they could find. It took two casts to score two fish for two girls... standing on the boat ramp. The smallest you could've fit in a matchbox (chemically sharpened hooks are sometimes annoying) but it didn't matter. It was an easy way for my girls to catch the lure bug and convince my wife that you can never have enough pink and purple Palemons!

Tackle
Almost zero lure pressure equals very naïve bream but you must have choice. I haven't encountered a monster yet but have been busted off by a snag dwelling brute that wasn't seen (could've been one of the monster mullet that inhabit the snags... but I like to think bream just to keep the stoke alive). 6, 8 and 10 pound Platypus Platinum and Super 100 leader to work all options, 4 pound braid and something to deliver. Easy!

Anything small, that rattles, suspends, floats or sinks will get you a bream. I pathetically tie three flies that work.... the orange bumfluff, the pink bumfluff (both floating) and the weighted brown bumfluff. My best day was secured via a chunky blue shallow-diving Yo-Zuri thing that was fought over most casts. Another good session involved a bright pink Taylormade Nugget. Just can't pick one lure.

Especially on the sandflats, long casts will score more fish. Those fat shallow divers cast a mile and get hit just as much as the petite slimmer models. The only issue here is that the hook-up is usually within second resulting in a lot of weed between angler and fish... and like a hooked bass, the bream go straight in!

Westerlies dominate down here in the winter, churning the lake to foam but the creeks are spared and worth a shot. During the depths of winter (July / early August) the water temps can drop to13 degrees and the few sessions I've fished at these times produced only a handful of bream... but they were bigger than the summer models.

Summer and nor'easters go hand in hand and it's this time that I've found myself down the lake flicking lures the most. The waters' warm and flat, and the bream play ball. The dozen or so sessions I've had through January produced an average size of 240mm... not huge but I'm not complaining. I'm hanging for Early Autumn to see what happens when the water slowly cools.

There you go!
I like to bring home a feed as well as anyone but these bream would taste crap. If I'm summoned to provide dinner I simply access the beach gutters, change jig weights and attempt to entice something. Swallowtail dart are usually the sacrificees but they taste average and are too, released. I have managed to snaffle a flattie or two which is always welcome. Hanging for a decent beach bream though...

I cross the lake to access work and in the year or so we've been down here (even during school holidays) I've never seen another lure caster... or decked-out punt for that matter. I've had to make tracks to access the back creeks by mountain bike, 4WD and foot. It's pretty much fair to say it's a hidden piece of paradise that I'm sure WSBB members would appreciate and respect.

So there you go! You could go two hours north of Sydney and experience similar fishing in Avoca Lagoon or the back blocks of Lake Macquarie but for some reason these southern fisheries (and there are a helluva lot of them which are landlocked) are pristine in the truest sense. Surrounded by holiday shacks and National Parks yes, but pretty much untapped as a breaming potential. I've only scratched the surface but in the process (apart from neglecting my bass fishing) have discovered endless possibilities.

Please keep in mind if you fish for fun, you'll love this place. If you fish for size, forget it. Stick to the Hawkesbury. As stated before I'm yet to meet a mid-high 300mm fish but have been told of the regular three pounders that ‘use to be caught' by the locals on black crabs. If you're down this way give me a yell and we'll go and inject a dose of mini-bream nirvana.

Dave Horvat

Lureitis - The fishermans Disease

There are many known fishing addictions and diseases. . with few known cures. Lying, boasting and cheating are among the most common. But the most horrific of them all is the piscatorial disease of the '80s and '90s. . . the cruelly incurable, totally addictive, outrageously expensive and often life-threatening addiction known throughout the fishing community as . . . Lureitis. Does someone close to you have this ghastly affliction? How would you know if they did? Read on and find out about the piscatorial plague that is a distinct threat to any angler who goes near a fishing tackle shop.

Browsing through the huge range of lures on sale in a tackle shop recently, I couldn't help but wonder just where it is all going to end. I mean, just how many lures can they make? Just how many. different shapes and sizes can the market absorb? After all, there are only so many lure fishermen out there. Or are there?

The market seems insatiable and I believe that it's due to the fact that most of the lures sold never see the light of day, let alone get wet or, heaven forbid, get bitten by a fish.

Crikey, we couldn't have that now, could we? Use one of those fantastic creations to actually try and catch a fish? No way. I believe that there is a secret Lure Society out there. That's right. A clandestine. gaggle of Australia's newest menace to society, lure gatherers. Folk who are constantly preoccupied with a pastime as addictive as narcotics and around about the same price for a fix.

Is your husband, mate, brother or son one of them? Do you suspect that the old man has got another woman or a shipment of dirty magazines? Does he sneak out at odd hours and lock himself in the garage or study and make long, orgasmic, moaning noises? Does he talk to his mates in a dialect unknown to you that constantly refers to 'bibbed minnows', 'deep divers', 'fizzers', 'poppers' and 'mid-water runners'?

He does? Well, you poor wretch, you've got my sympathy. Your loved one's got Lureitis, and old Dr Kidd's here to tell you that it's incurable. If this highly addictive disease could get a guernsey in the Macquarie, I reckon it would read something like this:

Iureitis (lure-i'tis) n, incurable disease involving overwhelming infatuation with fishing lures, usually contracted by fisherfolk and fishing tackle shop staff; no known cure. Symptoms: red bulging eyes from staring at walls and walls of lures in fishing tackle shops and department stores, absence during the night for long periods at a time (this time is usually spent fondling lures in garage or den). Treatment: take victim to as many fishing tackle shops as possible and let him gaze at the lures for long periods. When he starts frothing at the mouth, blubbering and pointing, buy him the lure he is pointing at and lock him in a well-lit room with it until moaning subsides. Outside of that it is hopeless; death usually occurs by drowning as the addict dives out of the boat to retrieve a beloved lure that is caught on a snag; addicts are also regularly taken by crocodiles when performing impossible recovery techniques.

Yup, it's as bad as that. I've known blokes to let their families go without food and clothing, spending the money instead on artificial fish enticements. Normal blokes are doing time in the slammer for breaking into tackle shops in the dead of night to steal lures. Blokes who normally wouldn't get so much as a parking fine are doing time as habitual lure thieves.

It won't be long now before someone sets up Lures Anonymous to try and cure these poor wretches of this horrid addiction. There they will be, lure catalogues in hand, telling their fellow lure junkies how they have to face the world one day at a time. And how they have to resist the urge to go to fishing tackle shops on the slightest impulse. And that listening to others may help. Yup, it's a strange old world out there.

My introduction to Lureitis was back in the late '60s, when I used to fish the rocks (a form of fishing called 'spinning') for game fish such as yellowfin, striped and mackerel tuna, kingfish and salmon, using highly polished chrome lures that when retrieved rapidly, resembled a scurrying bait fish.

I formed a fishing relationship with a certain Ronnie Rimmer, rock fisherman and legendary lure-maker. Ronnie's main claim to fame was that he was the creator of the best lure I have ever used in my life for fishing the rocks.

Called the Rimmer Special, it was made of cast lead in a home­made mould, about three inches long, sliced at both ends and highly chromed. It looked for all the world like a whitebait, shimmering just beneath the surface. And they were deadly on pelagics.

Although Ronnie used to sell his lures privately, I think for about a buck each in those days, he always parted with them with a certain amount of reluctance, sort of like a breeder selling off a litter of pups. Now you make sure you look after them,' Ronnie would tell the purchaser as he fondled the lures before handing_ them over to their new owner. Lot of work went into them. Treat 'em right and you'll get lots of fish. And true to his faith in his own product, Ronnie pounded the oceans daily from the rocks with his beloved Rimmer Specials, telling anyone who would listen that the shape of them was a special aerodynamic design that sent the fish bonkers. Those lures were like Ronnie's kids, and he loved them with a passion. Yup. Ronnie had the worst case of Lureitis I'd ever seen, but in those days I had no idea what it was. He used to talk about his lures the way Bubba talked about shrimp in Forrest Gump. The poor bastard had it real bad. But then came the day when a lure broke poor Ronnie's heart - I have never seen or heard of him from that day to this. To him it must have seemed like a death in the family.This day we were spinning side by side at Ben Buckler, on Bondi Beach's northern end, casting our lures up to 120 yards out to sea and then retrieving them rapidly on our highly geared reels so as to make the lures resemble scurrying bait fish and entice the pelagics to bite them. Ronnie's lure had just hit the water and as he clunked his old Mitchell 499 into gear and took a turn of the handle, he found himself fast to a big fish.

It took off like a burning dog, testing the drag on Ronnie's reel to the limit, and just as it seemed that it would empty his spool, he turned the big fish and the fight was on. 'Big yellowfin, I reckon,' he groaned as he lay back into his giant fishing rod, much to the awe of the Sunday crowd that had started to gather in the car park about a hundred feet above us. 'Certainly bigger than anything I've ever had on before. Jeez, those little darlin' lures of mine just never let me down. Shame they can't cook and iron. I swear blind I'd marry one of 'em.'For about an hour or so the battle raged to and fro to the urging of the crowd, which had now swelled to a couple of hundred. At water level we couldn't see the fish but the folks up in the car park could see how big it was as it fought hard on the surface. 'It's a bloody whopper, mate,' they yelled to Ronnie who was by now loving every second of this. 'It's a bloody whale.'And then it was at our feet. A huge yellowfin tuna of around 40 kilograms was in the wash as I readied the five-metre rock gaff to end the fight. 'Just a couple more inches, Ronnie, and it's ours,' I yelled over the cheering of the crowd. 'Just walk back slowly and bring it closer to me and I'll gaff it.'

Ronnie gingerly stepped backwards, bringing the exhausted fish inch by inch closer to the gaff, as I reached out to full arm's length. Just as I prepared the long rock gaff for the coup de grace, something gave way and Ronnie fell over backwards - I had to watch helplessly, to the groaning of the crowd, as the huge fish swam away.'What the bloody hell?' Ronnie screamed, 'Don't tell me that after all that, the bloody line broke!' But I hadn't heard the familiar 'twang' of nylon busting. No, it wasn't the line. A horribly disappointed Ronnie wound in his line to find, to his astonishment, that his beloved lure had broken in half. I thought he was going to have a breakdown there and then. To him it was like finding out that his beloved wife had another bloke. Ronnie Rimmer was a shot duck. Heartbroken and deeply wounded, Ronnie didn't utter another word. He just picked up his gear and walked off into the afternoon, never to be seen again by me.That's about the saddest thing that could ever happen to a lure junkie. But if there ever was a cure for Lureitis . . . that would have to be it.

Paul B Kidd

Lure Types & Delivery Techniques for Bass

My first bass lure I'm pretty sure was a Rebel lure. It had a black spine, silver/grey scaled sides, a black dot in the middle on each side and some red gills. That lure caught me a lot of fish, and being a floating lure did everything from surface fishing to deep diving. I ended up buying about five in one go, because the bass fishing in the Grose was nothing short of absolutely sensational then, and I tended to lose lures on a regular basis to big fish and monstrous eels.

Today, my lure arsenal has swollen considerably to say the least. Some of the lures that I started with haven't seen the water in a while, as the lure collection grew over the years.

There's just so many lures these days used in bass fishing and all of them have their place. Sit back and relax with a drink while we cover some of the basics lure types, as well as where, when and how to use them.

Lure Types

Broadly speaking, lures suitable for bass are generally broken down into surface and sub-surface. Surface lures will generally represent most of those forms of life on a bass menu like cicadas, beetles, bugs, lizards etc.

Crankbaits

Probably the most popular of all bass lures is the crankbaits. Crankbaits is an American term, and while I've resisted using American terminology for a long time, the name aptly describes how these lures work. In an effort to make the crankbait term less insulting to an Aussie who likes to think we can retain some Australian sayings, I'll call them crankers.

With crankers, they have been designed with a bib to cranked down to a certain designated depth by simply turning the handle of the reel. This depth can be from just below the surface to more than eight metres.

Crankers come in three main types. There's the floaters, sinkers and suspenders. With many of these, they often don't float or sink quickly but rise or fall slowly to tempt a watching fish. With many suspenders, these will often rise very slowly but with a little experimentation can be made to sit dead still once the retrieve is stopped. Before you use your new crankers, it's a good idea to give them the once over and make sure the hooks are sharp and the general overall condition of the lure is satisfactory. Some hooks for example, even on expensive lures, can be a little bit suspect and may need replacing, along with any split rings. For example, Jackall lures which are in the order of $25 to buy, have their split rings and hooks replaced by tournament anglers due the ability of trophy bass to straighten hooks.

With these type of lures, it is important to think about where your lure will land on the water. If you cast at the spot you think a fish might be, you retrieve will not get the lure to dive to that spot. With a bibbed lure, you need to get the lure beyond the spot you want to be. By the time the lure is at its working depth, your lure should be right where it should be, tempting your bass to strike.

Some of these lures, like many other varieties of lures, are fitted will ball bearings inside and give off a load or muffled clicking sound to help arouse a fish. Others crankers rely on the lure movement, colour and vibration to appeal to a fishes senses.

Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits can lay claim to being one of the most successful takers of bass. A little slow perhaps to gain acceptance on their arrival, their success has been written about many times.

Spinnerbaits comes in a range of sizes and weights, and feature coat hanger arrangements which features one or two blades, a lead headed jig and a singular hook. They are available in strands of plastic or silicon skirts of varying colors

Spinnerbaits are often fitted with a trailing hook and kept in place by a piece of rubber tube or plastic. If they are not fitted by the manufacturers, they soon fitted by the new owner. With the spinnerbait skirt, they often extend past the fitted hook. This leads to fish grabbing the skirt and missing the hook. With the stinger hook, it adds that little bit of extra sting in the tail.

There are a few great things about spinnerbaits. The first is that with no treble hooks fitted and with its upturned hook, spinnerbaits can be worked through timber and weeds with less chance of become snagged or fouled. A trebled lure in areas like these can be a frustrating and costly exercise.

The second good thing about spinnerbaits is that they can be worked at all depths in the water column. Worked just under the surface, they can make a wake on the surface to attract attention. They can also be worked where you might find fish on your sounder. If you know the sink rates of your spinnerbaits, you can count them down to the depth the fish are holding and work it where the fish are. Another great thing about them is they will drop exactly where you cast them. Casting at a freestanding tree in the water, your spinnerbait will drop alongside the tree. If prey is hugging the tree for protection and your fish are in the timber, a spinnerbait is a great choice.

Spinnerbaits donÕt represent anything remotely like what is found in bass water, but the vibration and flash of the blades, and the movement of the silicon skirt help attract the fish.

Plastics

These have been around in the U.S for a very long time, and if you've heard John Bethune talk about them, you'll know that soft plastics take up entire walls in tackle shops in the U.S. We're talking about tackle shops as big as K-Mart or Big W. Plastics can be rigged in a variety of ways, and the variety of ways these can be rigged and used, has taken whole books to cover. As such, here we'll just look at some of the basics of plastics. If you want to know more, get hold of a copy of Soft Plastics and How to Use Them by Kaj Busch and Steve Starling.

Plastics come in every possible representation of what there is on the diet of a bass. They are soft so they feel reel to a bass, and unlike when a bass hits a hard bodied lure, a soft plastic will often be repeatedly hit because they do feel reel. I have witnessed bass inhale and exhale a soft plastic rigged weedless. The fish was totally unafraid by the plastic. You won't see that with a hard bodied lure!

Some soft plastics feature a scent of some description to further entice a bass to strike. These scents are well guarded secrets with all types of claims made about them. Some anglers claim that scents don't really work, while others claim it's a confidence thing when using them. Others seem to think that scents do have some benefit.

While scent is part of the ingredients for some plastics, additional sent can also be added in the form of spray, gel or a simply dunking the lure in a bottle of scent.

Plastics can also be worked at various depths in the water column. From the surface to the bottom, regardless of the depth can be worked with soft plastics. Whether the area to fish is choked with weed or heavily timbered, nowhere is off limits to plastics. They can be rigged weedless to make them perfect in these areas. With plastics one thing to remember is to fish them slowly. It has been written that using soft plastics is more like using bait. Slow and gentle movements of the soft plastic is what tends to work best. Those new to plastics are often amazed at just how slow they are work.

Lipless Lures

Lipless lures have been around for a long time, and have been used to some degree for a long time in Australia. In recent years, with the success of lipless lures in bass competitions along the east coast of Australia, their popularity has exploded. As a result, there's probably few anglers who don't have a few in their tackle box. They range in price from a few bucks for the cheap models to around $25 for the Rolls Royce models.

If you're game, you can use lipless lures just about anywhere in the water, but depending on how you'd feel if you lost one, you may prefer to use them around weedbeds, shallow areas and other less likely lure grabbing locations.

Jigs

Jigs are probably the least technical of all bass lures. Some feature a single hook at either end, while some sport trebles. These are usually cast in a mold with lead, and then give the usual color schemes. Jigs are usually used in dams to catch fish which are down deep. Once a school is located, a jig is lowered down to the fish, and then the jig is simply simply jigged up and down, keeping the line as taunt as possible as the jig falls again. Jigs are also used in local waters where there are deep holes in the river. Anglers who know where these deep holes are will tie up to a tree and jig for big fish.

Surface

If you were to make a list of the most popular ways to catch bass with lures, using surface lures would be number one on the list. If you hear anyone talking about their best bass sessions, many of the stories will feature surface lures.

With bass being such an aggressive fish at times, when a fish is in the mood, a surface strike can be very impressive. As much as the lure being smashed is exciting, watching a fish chase down a lure before striking can be just as thrilling. When bass are on the bite, it's not uncommon to see bass racing each other for the lure.

When it comes to surface lure design, most represent what prey is found naturally in bass waters. There are surface lures which represent beetles, prawns, cicadas, small fish, frogs and a host of other prey on the bass menu. Other lures don't seem to represent much at all what a bass would generally feed on, but such is their aggression, that nearly anything that vaguely represents something worth eating will be taken by a bass.

Some surface lures have a small spinning blade at one end or both, a cupped face or a fixed blade of some sort. Some surface lures have nothing at all, but rely on the life given to them by the working of the rod tip. Small spinning blades help displace water and make a wake that indicates something is swimming. Taylor Made Fizz Bangers, Heddon's Torpedoes, Heddon's Dying Flutter are famous versions of these types of surface lures. Cupped faced lures push water in front of it when retrieved, and are a favourite surface lure. Rapala Skitter Pops, Rebel Crickhopper Poppers and River 2 Sea Bubble Pops are all good examples of this type of lure.

Fixed bladed surface lures include lures such as the Predatek Spaddlers, jitterbugs, Halco Nightwalkers and River 2 Sea Buggi Pops. These lures have a waddling action on the water which also provides a tempting splashing on the waters surface. There are other surface lures which have a bib, and while they are primarily used on the surface, they can dive to be worked just under the surface. These include the Kokoda Bugger Chugs, Rebel Bumble Bugs, Rebel Crickhoppers and Daiwa Live Cicadas.

There's all sorts of theories as to when you should start the retrieve of surface lures, but one thing that is nearly always agreed on, is that the retrieve should not be started the moment the lure hits the water. Some anglers wait for the ripples of the water to disappear, others count to ten or fifteen. What works one day may not work another and it really does come down to experimenting. Of course, sometimes you don‘t get a choice as to when you start the retrieve. The bass makes the decision that you don't have to retrieve at all!!!

Size of the lure verses size of the fish is another debate. Next time you're doing some surface fishing with a mate, try using different sized lures to your mate. I've seen bigger fish come from using a larger lure than someone who is using a smaller one, and we've both been casting as accurately as each other and in the same places. The smaller lure will sometimes catch the smaller fish, while the larger lure gets the bigger ones. Why have a salad sandwich when you can have a bake dinner. However, there are times when this will not always work, so it always pays to experiment.

Attaching Lures

There's little point is choosing a lure and then not being careful about how you decide to attach it to your line. Less fish for a session and lost lures can make a fishing session a frustrating and painful lesson when you don't give attaching your lures careful thought. When it comes to tying your fishing line to your lures, there are three possibilities. You can tie a locked knot, tie a loop knots or use clips. A locked knot is okay on a spinnerbait, but where you want you lure to have better action impacted, you'll do better than a locked knot. By locked knot we mean a knot that ties of tight against the lure attachment point.

For smaller lures, a simple loop knot that will not pull up tight against the lures attachment point it perfect. Using clips on some of the small lures available, can reduce the action of the lure and the way it behaves. Small lures are often finely tuned and balanced to behave at their optimum when they are used with a loop knots. For this reason, spending a little time attaching a lure with a loop knot can be important. In an age when rushing things seems to the norm, spending a little time tying a knot is soon forgotten when you're catching a good fish. Lures such as Lefty's Loop, the Homer Rhode Loop, Perfection Loop or a number of others are what you need to be able to tie well. You need to find a knot that is strong and one that is easy to tie in the dark or in low light conditions. There's no point having to tie a complicated knot in the dark. Keep it simple! If you need to learn some fishing knots, Jeff Wilson's Complete Book of Fishing Knots and Rigs is a great book to get you started if you need to learn some of these knots.

When tying a loop knot, don't tie it directly to the split ring that is on many of the attachment points of some lures. It's a good idea to remove the split rings on smalls lures and just tie a loop knot. The ends of the split rings are often sharp and can make short of a leader should the leader get caught. It might not happen, but wouldn't you rather know that you'd reduced any likely chance of a fish getting away because you'd covered the possibilities. Simply catching a 40+ centimetre fish doesn't get you a trophy in our club. You've got to land it, measure it and be able to prove the catch. Besides, brag stories are always better when you can back them up with photo's. Do you want to tell stories of what could have been, or have photo's to go with your stories? Clips for attaching lures to your line make for fast changes, and can be a quick way of working out what lures and colors the fish are attracted to. Clips are typically more successfully used on large lures where the action of the lure is not reduced by the addition of a clip. When it comes to choosing clips, be careful to use ones that don't open up too easily. There's a Jackall sitting in a weedbed on Lake St Clair because of a dodgy clip. I wasn't a happy angler at the time and quickly went on fishing to reduce the pain. If you're going to use a clip, a personal recommendation would be to use Norman Speed Clips. These haven't let me down yet, and by designed will not open unless you decide to do it yourself.

Delivery Systems

When it comes to using the right outfit to cast lures, it often comes down to personal preference and the ability of the outfit to cast the lure. There was once a

time when baitcasters where considered the weapon of choice for the serious bass angler. Now this is not so true, and small soft plastics and light lures don't cast as well on baitcasting outfits. As a result, spinning or threadline outfits are used as well.

Baticasters are commonly used for heavier surface lures, spinnerbaits, and lipless lures. Spinning outfits are used for soft plastics and lighter lures that are more difficult to cast on baticasters. Having said that, some of the better quality baitcasters are remarkable in their ability to cast light lures.

Retrieve Speeds

Bass can be temperamental fish, and sometimes its a question of working out what color, what lure type, best lure action and best retrieve method is going to be the most successful. Each angler will have their favorite way of taking bass, but what works well on one particular bass session may not work the same next time you go bass fishing. Sometimes it takes experimentation and patience to see what will work.

While a simple cast out and steady retrieve may work, sometimes various styles of retrieve may generate more bass caught than a mate fishing beside you not prepared to experiment. An eratic retrieve with pauses, subtle twitches of the lure, or simply casting into a likely spot can be enough to entice some bass to strike violently and without regard to lure size. Little bass will attack amazingly large lures compared to their size, but in hard fished waters, even little bass get educated early. The various retrieve styles required is one of the factors that helps make bass fishing so exciting. Catching a wary bass can take some cunning and clever tactics on the anglers part at times, and the best bass anglers are rewarded for their skill.

With each lure you use, try various speeds and experiment with various retrieves styles. Start/stop, intermediate, imaginative and lifelike retrieves work well, but the key is to experiment with them until you find what hooks you fish.

With floating and surface lures, always let it sit for as long as possible before starting to retrieve. A trophy bass could be below watching, ready to explode into action at the slightest movement of the lure. I'd never thought much about how long I left a lure sit motionless, until club member Dave Horvat told me he'd never seen a lure sit so long on the water before the retrieve was started. Sometimes a lure won't sit long before it's smashed, but at other times, fish can take some more tempting.

With the sinking lures, such as sinking crankbaits, soft plastics, spinnerbaits and lipless lures, these are ideal for working pockets and columns of weed, as well as timber and other irregular features beneath the water. Where you can see your lure working in the water and with a longer rod to help manipulate the lure in and around objects, you can really work the lure into likely haunts. A lure that looks like a foraging, injured or simply looks unaware and oblivious to any danger is a prime candidate to be taken as an easy meal.

Steve Prott

Early Season Plastics

Over the past 2 years my experience with soft plastic baits fishing for Bass have not been earth shattering, but over the past few months and a lot of perseverance it is starting to pay off. Recently fishing in the ABT tournaments, it has given me a much better understanding on how to use these plastics in different conditions and also in different types of water. A couple of weeks ago a friend (Vic Brinckley) and I decided to pursue some Bass in the Hawkesbury River, a river that hasn't been very kind to me for catching good numbers of fish.

We headed to a location where we knew there were good numbers of fish. Studying the conditions of the water, the tide, the surrounding structure and also most importantly reading the sounder we found good patches of fish. I decided that a soft plastic was the best option to start with and I would go from there.

The tide was running out rather fast and seeing that the fish were on the bottom I knew that the jighead had to be reasonably heavy, so I opted to use a 1/4 oz jighead and a Berkley 3' gulp. The weight was just right, enough to get it to the bottom without the current moving it too far away from the fish, then slowly retrieving it bouncing it along the bottom. After a few casts the results were awarded with a 41cm Bass.

Over the next hour 12 Bass over 30cm were landed and a 1/2 dozen more were lucky to escape. One of the best sessions I've had on the Hawkesbury in years. After about an hour we decided to move on and try some other areas that hold good numbers of fish. One of these spots produced 2 more fish over 30cm utilising the same plastic techniques. My friend Vic was pretty impressed with the morning session that we were having on plastics and just quietly so was I.

Fishing in some of the best impoundments in NSW and QLD has taught me a lot about soft plastic fishing especially in deep water 40-60 feet and also shallower water 10-30 feet. Follow your sounder, look for schooled fish or fish chasing bait and use the jighead to suit the depths that the fish are holding. Bouncing them along the bottom is a good technique, but if the fish are off the bottom dropping your plastic through the middle of them to the bottom and retrieving it up through the school pausing every now and then. Most important is to take your time, be patient and you will enjoy your results. Either way you should have a good time wether you catch fish or not and maybe even learn a bit more for next time.
Good Luck

Christian Serne

Tough Times in Basstopia

Absolutely everything seemed to be in place. It was a glorious early spring day on the Mid North Coast. The water temperature was exceptionally good for the time of year. Mt trusty little sounder showing 21.5 degrees Celsius. The first Cicadas of the season were rubbing their hind legs together, trying to find a mate (something I'll remember next time I'm on the dance floor of the Plantation Hotel at # in the morning). Lilly beds were everywhere, giving that whole creek that ‘text-book' bass habitat appearance.

Only the week before, Bass all over the East Coast were fulfilling the dreams of my friends, taking their initial trips of the season. Down Jervis Bay way, the thinking woman's David Hasselhoff - David Horvat, had some great success on healthy mid-sized Bass on his maiden voyage to new ‘local' water. Up my way, (in the same creek I was fishing) my mate Phil had scored no less than 6 fit, fat Bass - all over the magic 400mm mark, Just the weekend before!

So there I was, in the good ship ‘Shirley Bassy", miles from nowhere on the prettiest Bass water you have ever seen, with not one single FREEKIN Bass to be seen anywhere. Let alone, one the end of my line. To make matters worse, I had my good mate Aaron "Stinky" Miller on board (it's a long story about the nick name, trust me). An admitted Bass virgin, that had been assured by this self appointed expert that today would be his lucky day!

Stinky reminded me of Horvat and Myself about ten years ago. Super keen, new to the world of lures. Already amassing a small collection of bargain-bin divers. Convinced by the Bass literature that he had read that tying one was all that need to be done. He had a few unsuccessful shore based trips under his belts, but he had my guarantee that today was his day.

Cheap and nasty divers certainly work, but as I tied on a ‘high tech' Bass Minnow at the start of the day. I was sure that the effectiveness of soft plastics (along with my Ninja like casting skills) would soon have Stink alerted to the effectiveness of these lures. Two hours later, I had convinced Stink that they were just as shit-house as anything that he owned. My outward explanations no longer sounded encouraging and more and more like complaining.

"Jeeze Stink, that is just criminal," I offered as another cast returned unmolested, from its swim along-side a seemingly perfect snag. Of which there were no shortage. " Dunno what the matter is? It just looks and feels so good" My comments by now doing very little to dilute the very tangible air of disappointment. Particularly my own, as I was very keen for Stinky discover the joys of our sport.


We pulled up bankside for a break. Man, those portable butane stoves are the goods! I told Stink that the Bass are probably still here, just very switched off. He gave me a " No Shit!" kind of look. Trying to convince him that I was more than just the master of the obvious, I went on to explain that I had a loose plan, of sorts, a ‘plan D' if you like.

The Bass, presumably ‘sulking' down deep, might respond to a large meal, presented in front of their noses for a long time. !

Whether the size of the lure proves to be a large, juicy, tempting morsel, or an aggression strike trigger. I don't have a clue. Probably a little from column A and a little from column B. The crucial point to this tactic however, is not actually the lure choice. But the manner that it is presented in. If it isn't in the strike zone for ages, it isn't going to get struck! The method, as I informed Stinky, all revolved around watching your line (yellow 4lb fire line in this case). My great mate, Brent Delaney had taught this lesson to me. Fishing with him on a Sydney secret creek a few years ago that harboured a small population of very large bass. His methodically slow presentation with very bulky soft plastics, and the results that he got, spoke for themselves.

Watching that yellow line slip below the surface, you can, if you watch hard enough spot the moment when you lure hits the bottom. Getting to the bottom and moving it only very occasionally (5-10 second pauses), and watching that line to ensure it returns to the bottom, after each subsequent twitch, is the name of the game. You have to retrieve you lure like elderly people make love. Real slow, and not that often!

Armed with this knowledge we set off again, this time 4inch Bass Minnows and 1.5gram squidgy finesse heads on 8lb Vanish, complemented each of our rods. The script for the next hour read exactly the same as the last 2. Stink was doing everything right, and his painstaking retrieve, showed that he had the hang of it, going as far to put his prescription glasses on to see his line more clearly

We had approached a very large fallen gum, who's twisted limbs spanned the whole width of the creek and definitely was going to signal the end of our upstream progression and thankfully the end of our fishless day. I fired off Avery long-range cast into a pocket created between two of its largest semi-submerged limbs. The lure success fully mad it to the bottom and had been there for about 5 seconds when I slowly drew taught the line, preparing for mu first little twitch. It was whilst winding up to the lure that I felt the smallest " rat a tat tat" reminisce of a small bream trying to steal your bait in the salt. One quick strike of the rod and I was 'on' to a very good fish, and then moments later I was 'off' to that very good fish, who made it to the third fully submerged limb that I had seen.
 
Whilst encouraging it was getting late, and one fish a good session does not make.  We had pointed the boat home, but thought we would work one very nice looking, lily clad bay, before going home. Stink cast parallel along the lily bed and patiently and slowly worked his lure back to the boat. It had almost made it back when it was slammed in no uncertain terms and, then the big girl put on the hurt and charged toward the nearby sanctuary of the weed
bed. She actually made it, got caught and confused, sending several large boils to the surface and then miraculously. Powered back out. Time and steady pressure finally brought her boat side. I don't know who was happier, Stink or myself, but the relief and jubilation was very noticeable.
 
One fish a trip don't make, but when it's your first and it's 43cm to the fork, it's not exactly disappointing either!
 
Postscript: The Following day my mate Phil and I returned for a repeat of the previous day. We only got one each for 4 hours work. Both very nice fish (Phil's went 40cm) and both came at the end of the day went the excitement in our retrieves had disappeared and we mad a concentrated effort to work our lures

Dale Graham