Articles

Flippin & Pitchin

Flipping

Flipping is a specialized casting and fishing method, used almost exclusively with bait-casting tackle for largemouth bass, where lures are cast ("flipped") at very close range, often 10 yards or less.

The flipping technique is employed mostly in situations where conventional casting is neither possible nor practical, such as fishing in thick, heavy weed pockets, dense brush piles, under overhanging limbs, and within thick flooded timber. Often, the fish feel more secure among the heavy cover and can be approached from close range, more so than they would be in shallow, open water that is void of cover. When a lure is flipped, it generally lands more softly in the water than a cast lure, thus allowing a subtle presentation that won't spook fish. There are also some circumstances where the flipping technique is used when precise casting accuracy is required at close range, whether heavy cover is present or not. But for the most part, flipping is associated with fishing heavy cover conditions.

Technique

Because flipping is performed at very close range, the traditional casting motion is never used. Instead, anglers engage the freespool function on a bait-casting reel, with the thumb resting on the spool to control how much line is dispensed. The non-casting hand grabs the line above the reel and strips out the length of line needed for the desired flipping distance. With the line in hand (and held out to the side), the rod is swung underhand and line is released from the hand as the lure flies toward the target, after which the reel is taken out of freespool. Once the lure reaches its target, anglers often allow it to descend to the bottom and then "hop" only once or twice before flipping to another target. When a strike occurs, the hook is set immediately and the fish is often "flipped" directly into the boat, or hauled out of heavy cover prior to landing.

Pitching

The pitching technique is used in a variety of fishing situations where the conventional casting motion is not practical or possible. Pitching enables the angler to place lures into precise locations with accuracy that often can't be achieved with an overhead or sidearm cast. These locations include the undersides of boat docks, covered boat slips, bridge pilings, holes or edges within weedbeds or snags underneath overhanging vegetation or tree limbs, and many other forms of cover above or below the water. Pitching can also be employed whenever an angler needs to land a lure softly, with minimal noise or splashing, at an exact target.

Technically, pitching can be accomplished with just about any type of rod and reel, though bait-casting gear is the choice of most anglers. Unlike spinning or spin-casting reels, a bait-cast reel allows the angler to precisely control how much line is unleashed on the pitch. Rod length, action and line weight can vary according to the presence of cover, water clarity and fish size.

Pitching Technique

There are two basic ways to pitch a lure on bait-casting tackle. The first, and most common, method is to simply make short, underhand casts by gently lobbing the lure toward the intended target. The cast control mechanism on the reel should be adjusted so that the spool can turn with minimal effort. As the lure is cast, the thumb should be taken off the spool earlier than it would for a normal overhead cast. This flattens the trajectory of the line and the lure as they move toward the target, enabling both to reach low-lying targets. However, the thumb should "feather" the spool to prevent overrun and to soften the lure's landing.

The second, and more difficult, pitching stroke involves gently grabbing the lure with the non-casting hand and releasing it as the rod hand swings the rod toward the target. This requires the angler to leave a length of slack line, approximately two-thirds of the length of the rod, hanging prior to the cast. At the start of each cast, the lure is lightly grasped, the rod is pointed downward, and in one single motion, the rod is swung upward and outward toward the target in a backhand motion, just as the lure is released from the hand. Although it takes some practice, this pitching style can produce increased accuracy and lower trajectory than the simple underhand lob.

dto.com

Fishing Chippo

Sitting in my backyard these lakes are more of a fishing haven then most people give them credit for. From the base of the weir in Liverpool to the Milperra Bridge at Moorebank, these waters contain a multitude of fish species. Bream, Bass, Flathead, Mullet, Estuary Perch & Jewfish.

I have fished these waters for Bream and Bass and have not been disappointed over the years. With great snags and some good holes fishing success is a given.

Weir - Based at the back of Liverpool you will be dodging many landbased anglers fishing for mullet with a multitude of floats bobbing on the surface. Bass and Mullet in abundance.

Quota Park Footbridge - Great on the run in for Bream and Flathead as a deep channel runs directly underneath. Don't discount a Bass or two waiting in ambush along the weedbeds at the edge of the channel.

Warwick Farm Stretch - probably the most productive stretch along the upper part of the system. Good snags and a sandy bottom carry Bass and Bream in abundance in winter estuary perch lurk in wait. Bank flicking, flat fishing and drifting are all options in this stretch.

The Lake - follow the shoreline into all the little bays on the high tide and work plastics along the bottom and hold on, this technique is awesome in "Chippo". Look for the EP hole at the mouth of Cabramatta Creek for some action. Fish the out part of the river from the lake for some Mega Bream. Heavy jigheads and fully charged electrics are needed but I know of 2kg + Bream coming from this stretch.

Floyd Bay- a great sand flat bay for fly fishing for Bream and Flathead. At about 2m deep with lots of weedbeds slow spin or fly this area for great success.

Prospect Creek - needs to be clean to fire. A great spot for Bass and Bream in tight water with some great surface action.

Milperra Rd Bridge - Though at times the current runs fast through here, persevere and fish the eddies created around the pylons. Big Bream and Jewfish lurk in these spots awaiting plastics.
So as you can see most think the polluted waters of Chipping Norton lakes are not worth a fish. Let them keep thinking that and it will be our secret.

Good luck

10 Fishing Photography Tips

1. Composition:
Avoid dividing your pictures in half. It seems the eye is naturally lead to subjects that are slightly off center like I am but that's the subject for another article. Anyway a good rule for composition is to divide the picture into thirds. This works especially well on things like sunsets or fish! At all cost avoid having the horizon in the center of a scenic shot this makes for a very uninteresting picture.

2. Get Closer:
The worst thing you can get for a beginning photographer is a wide-angle lens (too much information), keep your pictures simple. If you want to take a picture of the 500mm Bass your friend just landed during a session on Glenbawn ,there is no need to show the boat ramp, the skiboats ,the two kids swimming in the water, the cars around the boat ramp, the fat bloke with a beer yelling at you from the bank. Get the idea. Simple compositions are much more effective.

3. Bad Light, Bad Picture, Good Light Probably a Good Picture:
You can have the most phenomenal subject in the world, you know, like a 2kg Bream, but if it's bright and sunny chances are you'll have a lousy picture, you know the kind. They bring dull stares and statements like, wow that's OK. Bright sunlight brings two problems, detail robbing shadows, and harsh color rendition. There're two ways in outdoor photography to deal with this, one is too step into a shaded area. Most pro outdoor photographers do a vast majority of their work in the magic hours, dawn and dusk, thankfully that's also when we catch a lot of our fish. The second way to deal with it is # 4

4. Use Fill Flash:
There aren't many situations where fill flash won't help your shots. Most point and shoots have some capability to use fill flash, read the manual and learn how to set it. In outdoor photography the ability to control lighting is the key to good pictures see rule 3,  There is almost no situation where fill flash won't help your shots. In low light obviously it will boost the exposure, but more important in bright light it will help fill in the shadows and add detail. About the only time where I don't use it is during the magic hours, when the light is exceptional.

5. Shoot Vertical:
Most of our subjects are standing, even in a fishing picture the main subject is the fisherman, if you don't think this is true tell me how many pictures you show off to your friends when your making a face like the enema didn't work. The 35mm frame is a vertical frame, turn the camera sideways and fill it.

6. USE A SLOWER FILM for additional sharpness and better color rendition. The film speed or ASA of a film directly relates to the ability to gather light, unfortunately as a films speed increases it's sharpness decreases as does the ability to record color accurately . Most pros who are shooting for magazines use very slow (ASA50 to100 ) speed slide films. For most fishing photography I would recommend you use a color print film from Kodak or Fuji in the 100 to 200 speed range. If you carry two cameras try loading one with either Fuji Velva or Kodak 100vsw the color these two films produce will blow you away. I have taken blowups to 20 X 24 with no loss of sharpness with these films.

7. FILM IS YOUR CHEAPEST PIECE OF EQUIPMENT use plenty it! It amazes me how many times I'll talk to someone who is going to Alaska or New Zealand and is going to carry about one roll of 24 a day! I've been known to shoot 80 frames on one sunset. Not that the shotgun approach will improve your pictures, and no Kodak and Fuji don't have me on retainer, but you don't get makeovers on the fish of a lifetime after you released him. If you can afford to go to Alaska or New Zealand invest in plenty of film. Figure on 72 shots per day in an exotic location, If your carrying two cameras and won't to get serious, then double that. On a non exotic trip I budget for about 24 shots per day.

8. GORE-TEX WEATHER makes great pictures, don't leave your camera in the car because of lousy weather. Remember tip # 3 , well cloudy , rainy, and snowy weather will make for great outdoor photography. First the colors will be much more vivid on a rainy, cloudy day, even the bland tans and browns will jump of the picture in good light. Second , remember those shadows, you know the ones that made you look like a raccoon with that 500mm bass, well there gone during a cloudy day you'll have detail in every part of the frame that's in focus ( I forgot to mention that pesky focusing thing). Invest in a good waterproof camera bag and use some of that film you bought. These next two tips apply to those of you with 35mm SLR's

9. USE A TRIPOD, for your scenic shots. This will double your sharpness, A good rule of thumb is that no one can hand hold a camera steady at any shutter speed slower then 1/60 and with bigger lenses it requires and even faster speed . Figure with a telephoto you can shot no faster then the length of the lens, for instance 1/500 for a 500mm lens, remember telephotos magnify vibration too. But, enough of what you can get away with , I have seen differences using a tripod at speeds up too 1/1000 of a second. Not to even mention the depth of field advantages when you use a slower shutter speed. There is almost no professional outdoor photography shot hand held. So set up that tripod for that next sunset over the drift boat on the river.

10. USE A POLARIZING FILTER, Polarizing filters eliminate glare and improve your color rendition dramatically . They make blue sky's bluer, maple leaves in fall redder and colors jump on cloudy days. They also make it possible to see bream working a boat hull, kind of like polarized glasses. Anyway until next time, good luck and happy shooting.

These top 10 tips are very general but will definitely improve you as photographers Lets face it. We know what to appreciate when we get out there and fish but what better way to share the experience then with a photo.
I hope these tips improve your Fishing photography. It's amazing how simple things like moving a little closer or stepping into a shadow can improve your pictures. Next month another 5 tips
Good Luck

Soft Plastics

What is the "right" way to retrieve a soft plastic bait? The answer is simple, there isn't one! I take fish on many types of retrieves but I think the biggest factor that makes the difference between success & failure is the speed. Soft plastic baits work best when used SLOWLY. Using them too fast I think is the main cause of people not being successful. I can't tell you what speed to wind the handle you have to learn it. I can only suggest getting a rigged bait in the pool or in the river & watching it. You only need to move it enough to get the tail working to provide some action & that is all that's needed speed wise to get strikes, get used to that speed then add a few gentle lift & drop actions with the rod & your on your way. Keep experimenting until you get hits. Don't fall into the trap of sticking with one type of retrieve if your not getting strikes, vary it every few casts until you find something that works. A tip when you are targeting flathead is give the rod a good hard rip to lift the jig well off the bottom then let it drop again & that really works with Flathead. Just remember keep varying that retrieve & try everything from a dead slow straight one through to a faster jigging type until you find what the fish respond too. In colder water try fishing the plastic very slowly & the same goes for murky water as well. Fish will often take a plastic sitting stationary on the bottom so give it a pause from time to time as well. Bream are a real challenge on soft plastics. I suggest deciding what type of area you will be fishing for Bream before choosing leaders & lures. If you will be fishing open flats & weed beds you wouldn't need to go heavier than 2 kilo for a leader & probably a T tail or paddle tail grub would be a good starting point. Use the lightest leader possible & you'll get more hits than with a heavier leader. If you will be fishing under wharves & around structure the leader needs to suit the type of structure. You may need to go up as high as 5 kilos or around oysters even more. I rarely go above 4 kilo myself as I think if the country is bad enough you are going to get cut off with almost any leader be it 4 kilo or 10 kilo & using heavy leaders drops your strike rate dramatically. I prefer to use single tail grubs when I'm doing this sort of fishing so I put it into or under the structure & let it sink with its tail wiggling away until it hits bottom then start a soft jigging retrieve. I prefer to use the Flouro green colored Fireline for this type of fishing as it is easier to see on the surface of the water so you can watch the line for signs of a bite.

Fishing around wharves & snags is a whole different ball game to flats fishing. Depending on the structure you are fishing heavier leaders are normally the case & a very firmly set drag. Probably the the most critical part of this type of fishing other than soft plastic selection is casting accuracy. If your fishing wharves you need to be able to put that little jig right in under the wharf or right alongside a pontoon. Same thing with tree type snags you need to be able to put a cast in & get that jig right in amongst it where the bream are. Sure you get the odd hit being near it but getting the jig right in where the bream normally feed will result in far more strikes. Sure you will get snagged up a few times & lose jigs but if your not getting snagged a bit you are not getting the jig in the right spot. I practice my casting a fair bit when I am not actually fishing. I toss jigs at a target floating in my pool. It is easy to find somewhere to practice whether its on the water , in your pool or at the local park but it is time very well spent that will increase your catch. Do it!

Fishing snags like trees I generally start fishing up current of them with the same types of weights & plastics as fishing man made structure. The only difference really is I start by fishing about 5 meters up current then slowly cast my jigs closer & closer till I'm fishing it in amongst the snag itself. The reason for this is I have often observed bream sitting well up current from natural snags far further up current than they tend to do on man made structure. Everything else is done the same as fishing man made structure. Watch the line , strike quickly then get stuck into the fish before they get a chance to wrap you round a branch. At the time of writing this my top 3 soft plastics for this type of fishing would be Berkley Power Bait 2 inch grub in Smoke / Glitter followed by the same brand & size in Pumpkinseed colour then the Atomic fat grub in 2 inch in the amber colour. To wrap this article up I would like to say don't be afraid to experiment with different types & colours of soft plastic baits. New ones are coming out on the market all the time & they will all take fish at some stage. I have only mentioned a few of the styles available. It can be a bit frustrating to start with but the effort of learning to fish soft plastics is well spent & has resulted in many enjoyable sessions for me. Give the plastics a go its well worth it.

Ken Alexander

Fishography

ImageWe spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours going fishing trying to capture that once in a lifetime fish. It stays in your memory for many years but as those years roll along, the memories dim. You can't "describe" your greatest moment to a mate, you've got to show him. The only way to refresh memories and add truth to your fishy tale is to capture the moment on film and top shots rarely happen by accident.

Okay, heres is the scenario: Your mate has just landed a monster bass, and is threatening you with an arse kicking if you stuff the photos up. Pressure stuff, you want to get it right.

Things to make sure you get right are composing the shot, focus, background and lighting. Finding the right angle (often dubbed the "money shot") is one of the hardest tasks of fish photography. It is easy to make a big fish look very small, but harder to actually take a shot that is a reflection of its true size. So how the fish is held is something to think about. As the person taking the photograph don't be afraid to tell your mate that he is holding the fish wrong (remember this guy is going to kick your butt if you ruin the shot!). No matter if your dealing with big or small fish, it is important that the fish is held dead flat and is not tilted or half curled towards the angler holding it.

Keep the fish body dead straight. Only with the fish flat and straight will the width and length of the catch be fully apparent. The person taking the photo should be responsible for this, as you can see through the lens what it is looking like, and can bark out some instructions if need be. Make sure you get at least a few good angles take a heap of shots. It would be pure genius (or arse) if you took one or two snaps and they both came out how you dreamed they would. Take a heap and remember that big fish don't come along every day of the week, so make the most of it.

Getting the correct focus is important. In this age of auto focus, there are no excuses for screwing this up, although there are some pointers to remember. It is good policy to always focus on the fish and not the angler. To be more specific focus on the fish's eye, then while holding the focus button down, move the camera across and compose the shot. Always keep the fish as the central object in the middle of the frame, with equal amounts of space on all sides.

The background and setting is important as well. Those photos you see of anglers standing in their back yard, with the missus washing on the clothesline, are not that appealing at all. To best record the event you want the pics taken on location, preferably exactly where you caught the thing. This is where you've got to train the brain to take the camera everywhere you go - the results will be worth the hassle.

Fish photography involves a lot of trial and error (mostly error early on) but once you get the hang of it, it will add another dimension to your fishing experience, and be a source of much pleasure.
Good Luck with your photography

Dave George

You won't Need That?!!?

Each time I would go fishing with soft plastics my dad would ring to ask how I went. In the beginning not to well I'd reply but with persistence and a gathering of knowledge through fishing with others my catch rates increased. Funnily enough as I began to catch more bream dad would ask more questions.
Now apart from a few bass sessions when we used hard body lures and spinnerbaits, dad had always used bait. I would show him soft plastics, jigheads and the 7 foot rods we were using and this would only fuel his curiosity.

I remember taking dad on his first trip with soft plastics like it was yesterday. Walking to the boat with rod, reel and esky. I asked "Bring some beers Dad?" " Yep and some Bait " he said. Laughingly I replied "You won't need that" After showing him the basics dad caught his first bream and a nice flathead. Watching him hook and entice that first bream from its snag brought back memories of catching my first fish with him all those years ago. A moment that was special for both of us.

Now dads tackle box is constantly expanding with jigheads and plastics like the rest of us. His confidence and knowledge is growing and when he and mum travel with the caravan on Holidays / fishing spots he rings to inform me of his success.

When we meet up for a fishing session now I jokingly ask him if he wants me to bring the bait. You know what he says? " You won't need that " Dad is now a keen member of our club and if you check his esky now you only find beer!!!!

Gary Lee

Surface Lure Bass

The river wasn't completely unfamiliar to me. I had driven over it several times in the past and it always looked unreal. The country that preceded and followed it looked very untouched to me. The brief glimpse that the Pacific Highway allowed me to get, whilst travelling on holidays, was tempting to say the least.

Reflecting on the years of temptation that this river had provided, I slipped the good ship ‘Shirley Bassy' off the trailer and into the river's glassy and tannin stained water. Immediately at my feet, I could see little shrimp and small bream, river reeked of health and that was just at the boat ramp! Well, dirt embankment was probably at better description of our launching point. My partner in crime Nick ‘Joicey' Joyce pushed us off and we were away.

There was only one slight problem. After getting the boat on the plane and negotiating one bend, we just HAD to stop. Each bank, every inch of shoreline was just freaking amazing. As soon as we lost sight of the ramp, we lost sight of reality and started looking at just a text book river. It was the little things that I noticed about the river that left me open-jawed. Sure, there were ‘text-book' snags everywhere. But for all the time I'd spent in Western Sydney, I had forgotten what it was like to see no rubbish, no noxious bank side or aquatic vegetation! I even saw several types of different aquatic plants, something I was very unused to. So with bewilderment and admiration, there was nothing left to do but drop the electric and FISH!

A new fishing friend had told me of the exciting results he had been having on unweighted bass minnows in a nearby similar river, so... when in Rome. The rigging of these ever popular 3 inch bits of rubber, on a very small Gamatkatsu worm hook, is very fiddly. One millimetre out, and your seductively twitching and darting lure becomes a spinning waste of time. A real handy hint is to use the letters on the back of these lure as a guide to where your hook points should exit the body. Needles to say, a full load of fresh and fine braid/ GSP are crucial for casting these near weightless lures. Rod Choice is also important. Both Joicey and I have Steve Starling Squidgy rods, his being the longer 7ft model, definitely found more distance than my 6'6.

Three of four ‘perfect' snags later and with nothing to show, we were wondering what was wrong. I had just fired off another cast into a perfect looking location, when I stoped to make an adjustment to the electric and say something to Joicey, when my attention was alarmingly brought back to the now violently bucking rod.

Quality fish are usually immediately obvious through the rod, and this one was telegraphing all the right signals. From the hook up, the fish had amazingly swum parallel to its bank side log lair. Upon reaching the end of said log, the bream realised he was now in the clear and in a bit of trouble. I think we (that is, Mr Bream and I) both spied the large clump of reeds (that were fairly abundant in this upper tidal section) that were only a few more metres along the bank, at exactly the same time. I also think that we both had the same thought... if he gets to there, it will be all over. Determination levels rose at both ends of the line; however luck was on my side and eventually a beautiful north coast bream, made it on board. It was duly photographed and released, not before the much worse for wear bass minnow was removed from way down inside his gob. Whilst not a Hawkesbury monster, he was pretty good for North Coast standards. Which, I have since learnt seem to be regularly down in average size, when compared to what I'm used to. But, numbers in an average session seem to be higher. Well, for me anyway.

Well, wait till you try these methods. The day went on to be an awesome success. Although I unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) I caught the best fish of the day, first up. However, a procession of quality bream came on board. Joicey was well and truly blown away buy what was a lot bigger than everything else we hooked that day. A very bent hook was all he had to show for it. The day was not only measured in fish, but in the overall health and appearance of this magical river. It just looked so healthy and we ended pushing many kilometres upstream, each new stretch and bend revealing another photo worthy bank. It was truly great to finally fish it, and I have been back many times since.

The importance of slowing down when using these, was not truly appreciated till we got home that day. Curiosity got the better of me and a bit of research in my pool was called for. At surface level on a metre of line is how I usually check me lures action. This is usually just as I have tied it on, on the water and am keen to start fishing. Yes they look twitchy and fine, on a short leash next to your boat. fifteen meters out, and three down and it's another story. The lure does NOT have enough weight to negate the belly in the line. A moderate pull or even a regulation twitch, will see these lure rocket to the surface, following the angle of the floating braid.

This bit of information is actually quite useful when fishing over oyster leases. A month or two later it was put to use on the racks of Forster. It proved to be a very effective method, and cost effect. As anyone who has spent time fishing Forster's ultra shallow leases will know. Tiny, teeny twitches equate to a seductive dance down below. I cannot stress how much more effectively you will fish these if you can spend a bit of ‘pool time'. It's just not doing the same thing when you test it boat side.

Another point to remember is that boat drift, wind and current are all against you with this form of fishing. Learning to avoid or accommodate these factors is very important. You don't want line drag, pulling it towards the surface. This is a crucial point.

As I mentioned earlier it is a very fiddly method of rigging. Their diminutive size is very unforgiving on incorrect rigging. Going up one hook size can result in a bigger keel hanging under the belly of the lure and may help. Two other solutions are now available. TT and now Gladiator, both make centrally weighted jigs for these little stick baits. They look like a regular jig hook, with the 90 degree bend in the shank. But have the weight on a little ribbed section below the bend. This means they sink horizontally. I haven't used these personally and can't really comment on them, but I know that Tim ‘The Bream' Morgan had a lot to do with their development and used them a fair bit in this years AFC series. So they can't be all bad. The other option is the new squidgy resin heads. I've only used them a few times but so far I am very impressed. And they make the rigging up part a whole lot easier!

So there you have it. A new technique in a new part of the world. I really believe that bream are reasonably similar in behaviour, where ever they are. So if you know somewhere, that there are some bream who would love a little prawn like imitation, slowly flicking around right in front of their snozes. Then I think I have the method for you.

Dale Graham

North Coast Novice

The river wasn't completely unfamiliar to me. I had driven over it several times in the past and it always looked unreal. The country that preceded and followed it looked very untouched to me. The brief glimpse that the Pacific Highway allowed me to get, whilst travelling on holidays, was tempting to say the least.
Reflecting on the years of temptation that this river had provided, I slipped the good ship ‘Shirley Bassy' off the trailer and into the river's glassy and tannin stained water. Immediately at my feet, I could see little shrimp and small bream, river reeked of health and that was just at the boat ramp! Well, dirt embankment was probably at better description of our launching point. My partner in crime Nick ‘Joicey' Joyce pushed us off and we were away.
There was only one slight problem. After getting the boat on the plane and negotiating one bend, we just HAD to stop. Each bank, every inch of shoreline was just freaking amazing. As soon as we lost sight of the ramp, we lost sight of reality and started looking at just a text book river. It was the little things that I noticed about the river that left me open-jawed. Sure, there were ‘text-book' snags everywhere. But for all the time I'd spent in Western Sydney, I had forgotten what it was like to see no rubbish, no noxious bank side or aquatic vegetation! I even saw several types of different aquatic plants, something I was very unused to. So with bewilderment and admiration, there was nothing left to do but drop the electric and FISH!
A new fishing friend had told me of the exciting results he had been having on unweighted bass minnows in a nearby similar river, so... when in Rome. The rigging of these ever popular 3 inch bits of rubber, on a very small Gamatkatsu worm hook, is very fiddly. One millimetre out, and your seductively twitching and darting lure becomes a spinning waste of time. A real handy hint is to use the letters on the back of these lure as a guide to where your hook points should exit the body. Needles to say, a full load of fresh and fine braid/ GSP are crucial for casting these near weightless lures. Rod Choice is also important. Both Joicey and I have Steve Starling Squidgy rods, his being the longer 7ft model, definitely found more distance than my 6'6.
Three of four ‘perfect' snags later and with nothing to show, we were wondering what was wrong. I had just fired off another cast into a perfect looking location, when I stoped to make an adjustment to the electric and say something to Joicey, when my attention was alarmingly brought back to the now violently bucking rod.

Quality fish are usually immediately obvious through the rod, and this one was telegraphing all the right signals. From the hook up, the fish had amazingly swum parallel to its bank side log lair. Upon reaching the end of said log, the bream realised he was now in the clear and in a bit of trouble. I think we (that is, Mr Bream and I) both spied the large clump of reeds (that were fairly abundant in this upper tidal section) that were only a few more metres along the bank, at exactly the same time. I also think that we both had the same thought... if he gets to there, it will be all over. Determination levels rose at both ends of the line; however luck was on my side and eventually a beautiful north coast bream, made it on board. It was duly photographed and released, not before the much worse for wear bass minnow was removed from way down inside his gob. Whilst not a Hawkesbury monster, he was pretty good for North Coast standards. Which, I have since learnt seem to be regularly down in average size, when compared to what I'm used to. But, numbers in an average session seem to be higher. Well, for me anyway

Well, wait till you try these methods. The day went on to be an awesome success. Although I unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) I caught the best fish of the day, first up. However, a procession of quality bream came on board. Joicey was well and truly blown away buy what was a lot bigger than everything else we hooked that day. A very bent hook was all he had to show for it. The day was not only measured in fish, but in the overall health and appearance of this magical river. It just looked so healthy and we ended pushing many kilometres upstream, each new stretch and bend revealing another photo worthy bank. It was truly great to finally fish it, and I have been back many times since.
The importance of slowing down when using these, was not truly appreciated till we got home that day. Curiosity got the better of me and a bit of research in my pool was called for. At surface level on a metre of line is how I usually check me lures action. This is usually just as I have tied it on, on the water and am keen to start fishing. Yes they look twitchy and fine, on a short leash next to your boat. fifteen meters out, and three down and it's another story. The lure does NOT have enough weight to negate the belly in the line. A moderate pull or even a regulation twitch, will see these lure rocket to the surface, following the angle of the floating braid.
This bit of information is actually quite useful when fishing over oyster leases. A month or two later it was put to use on the racks of Forster. It proved to be a very effective method, and cost effect. As anyone who has spent time fishing Forster's ultra shallow leases will know. Tiny, teeny twitches equate to a seductive dance down below. I cannot stress how much more effectively you will fish these if you can spend a bit of ‘pool time'. It's just not doing the same thing when you test it boat side.
Another point to remember is that boat drift, wind and current are all against you with this form of fishing. Learning to avoid or accommodate these factors is very important. You don't want line drag, pulling it towards the surface. This is a crucial point.


As I mentioned earlier it is a very fiddly method of rigging. Their diminutive size is very unforgiving on incorrect rigging. Going up one hook size can result in a bigger keel hanging under the belly of the lure and may help. Two other solutions are now available. TT and now Gladiator, both make centrally weighted jigs for these little stick baits. They look like a regular jig hook, with the 90 degree bend in the shank. But have the weight on a little ribbed section below the bend. This means they sink horizontally. I haven't used these personally and can't really comment on them, but I know that Tim ‘The Bream' Morgan had a lot to do with their development and used them a fair bit in this years AFC series. So they can't be all bad. The other option is the new squidgy resin heads. I've only used them a few times but so far I am very impressed. And they make the rigging up part a whole lot easier!
So there you have it. A new technique in a new part of the world. I really believe that bream are reasonably similar in behaviour, where ever they are. So if you know somewhere, that there are some bream who would love a little prawn like imitation, slowly flicking around right in front of their snozes. Then I think I have the method for you.

Dale Graham

Two Tree Pool

My neighbour once introduced me to Wayne. A skinny man, 40 odd, with a mo like Henry Lawson, was (and still is) a genuine hermit. He lives with his father in a run down old National Parks trust homestead ( he's been given permission) on the banks of the river. He trains trotting horses, drinks beer from the AM and basically lives off the land.

One afternoon my ol' neighbour Dave (Herbie) received a phone call from an excited Wayne. You see, in the twenty years Wayne had lived on the river, he's never known how to catch bass. He'd often jagged the odd mullet, but never a bass. He told Dave that he'd wandered down to the river with a gleaming new Kmart standard rod of about $20, pulled a worm from the feral pig's supply (I'll get to that shortly) threw it into the river, and whammo, a Bass that hung over his fry pan was the result.

Before I go on, this man has NO catch and release ethic. If he catches a fish it's meat and therefore there to be eaten. Full stop. End of story.

Over the next couple of months (Jan to May 2002) Wayne caught bass to 480mm. Dave had told me on one outing, 20 beers were drunk, 8 bass were caught with the smallest going 380mm, 6 of which were released thanks to Herbie's persuation. All before 10am. The worms (or mini snakes they were that big) were gathered from a mound that a local feral pig frequents.

When I finally got a chance to meet the bloke and go fishing I couldn't believe where he was fishing. I could understand how he was catching absolute crackers though. This section of river is basically a bottleneck in the Nepean, cut by an island. The one pool he fishes is at the bottom of a serious run. It's dark, very snaggy and has eddies, pockets and undercut banks everywhere.

I fished surface lures this particular morning as did Herbie. Wayne hoiked a big ball sinker on his 20 pound line in the snags. He rested his rod, upright against a tree, sat back in his crappy faded plastic chair and cracked a tinnie. By the time 9am rolled around Dave and I had caught 6 bass from the one pool with the largest going just 300mm. Wayne had 2 bass of 370mm a piece laying beside him. It wasn't my place to plead with him to release them but I did ask him to put them out of their misery... quickly.

Over the next couple of months to May, I frequently saw Wayne in his chair while I paddle past. I often stopped for a beer and a chat and he said he actually started releasing the bigger fish. He did however have a bass of 400mm one morning, but he assured me he'd release anything over that length.

Wow, that's reassurance! I sat back relieved knowing the conservation of the Nepean bass was in good hands.


THE session

Unfortunately, you can basically smell the garbage from the car park near this joint. It's finding your way through the maze that's the hardest. I fished it in early October and it produced some solid fish but from December onwards it really died off... that was until mid February.

Some of us members have had some ballistic action in the pool directly above Wayne's world lately. Daryl ‘Roachboy' Schroder is the kind of bloke who can keep his mouth shut about a spot (geez, I'm jealous) and only tell you when he's gained the confidence to trust you. Anyway, he rang me about Two Tree Pool.

He had a blistering session one arvo in his kayak, alone. 20 bass. 8 over 350mm One going 405mm. All off the surface. Now he was alone. I did trust him, but I thought I'd better give the pool a thorough work over just to be sure.

The Two Prongs

Two days later I was fishing with newly appointed club member Dave ‘Spandex" Renee. We too headed for Two Tree, past Wayne's World and into the weed infested pool.

Over the next 4 hours on this humid Thursday arvo we experienced what Daryl had... only he had taken the bigger fish. Hitting the scum lines mid pool, and snags on shore we accounted for a hit-per-cast ratio. Fish to 340mm were captured, with many fish going better than 280mm.

Now up until this date, I had talked about this pool as One Tree Pool. Daryl had told me there was another tree on the lagoon, only it wasn't visible on the surface. At the bottom of a rapid, he instructed, are two prongs that stand out. Paddle over it and you'll see a full tree system sinking into the clear depths. He was smashed there several times but couldn't hook up.

Cheeky bastard

Lycra and I gave it a turn. We rounded this pool 5 times, throwing fizzers, popper, crawlers, Nuggets, Betts spins and various plastics at it. EVERY TIME the bass would strike... but no hook up! Finally out of desperation I tied my homemade Bumfluff fly on to the leader of my fly rod. One then two false casts, a good loop and the leader straightened with the fly floating next to a prong. One strip two... BANG... the cheeky bastard of a fish hit and after some serious bends in my 3 weight (it's a 3 weight because it's been busted and shortened 3 times) came to the canoe. Dave, in the front, was crying with laughter... I shook my head. The fish was spot on 300mm and seemed to smile. Cheeky, cheeky bastard.

An etiquette must be made for the "first mate" in a canoe.

Now I like being the captain of the Coleman. Which snag to belt, what run to take and importantly, the steering, is up to me. Dale's pretty good in the front. He'll ask if he can have the first cast at a new snag and if he stuffs it up, gives it to you.

Daryl's not too bad. He'll fire the cast before you've put the paddle down but once again, if he's hit and fails to hook up, will pass the cast to you. Kenny on the other hand... is different. You'll meet Kenny at the next meeting. He's Lycra's off-sider.

Kenny has just recently converted to the joys of bass fishing, with only a few 300's under his belt. He screams with excitement when a bass is on and will remind you of it again, after the session. One particular morning on Two Tree, Kenny fired a shot under a willow as Dave was in the back putting the paddle down and readying himself. Sure enough, Kenny's Jitterbug was smashed once, then again and finally a hook up was achieved. This fish was a truly awesome-green, battle scared and angry. 400 was on the cards. Paddling over to measure it we all philosophised on the actual measurement. It hit the tape at 395mm. Nice fish!

Dave, in the back, tired from the paddle upstream shook his head. We both agreed that there must be an etiquette made for those in the front when hammering a snag for the first time.

Dave Horvat

Bass Basics 2

Choosing Bass Tackle

When it comes to choosing bass tackle, there is a seemingly endless
supply of products on the market these days. While choosing the right
outfit can be full of variables, this brief guide should get you
started. If you're new to bass fishing, it can all be a bit bewildering, so grab a brew and let's go through some of the basics.

Choosing the Right Outfit

No matter where you fish for bass, whether it be in dams, rivers or
creeks, there are three main choices when it comes to choosing an bass
outfit. There's the fly rod, baitcaster or spinning outfit, with each
one having their own advantages.

Unless you're experience with a fly rod, you're probably not going to
be reaching for one if your new to bass fishing. We'll leave the fly
rod out of this article, but might get to it in a later edition of the
newsletter.

Spinning outfits, are simple to use, can cast a wide range of lures,
and in the hands of a skilled spin angler, can be very accurate. Those
who would suggest otherwise either don't know how to use a spin outfit
to its full potential, or want to keep the belief going that only good
bass anglers use baitcasters. Anyone who has seen John Bethune
demonstrating the accuracy of a threadline outfit at a boat show will
be able to tell you just how accurate a threadline reel can be. Good
bass anglers learn to use both types of outfits for various bass
techniques.

The main advantage of a spinning or threadline reel is that the open
spool allows free flow of the line as the rod is cast. With very little
line resistance over the spool, very light lures and plastics can be
cast.

A modern baitcasting reel is a marvel of technology, and it skilled
hands is a delight to use. There used to be a belief amongst some bass
anglers that you really hadn't become a bass angler until you had
progressed to a baitcaster. Why some many not admit, I'd reckon there
would be a fair percentage of bass anglers who probably felt the
pressure to learn how to move onto a baitcaster.

Just as there are some anglers who see fly fishing as looking too
difficult to learn, some anglers feel that baitcasters are for those
with an uncanny ability to make the seemingly impossible skill seem
easy. The famous birds nest, is what is puts a lot of people off trying
them. When the lure hits the water, or more often than not, hits an
branch or other object, the spool continues to spill when the forward
direction of the lure stops. This causes line to unravel and cause the
birds nest, because the anglers thumb was too slow to stop the spool.
If there's anyone who tells you they never get a birds nest from time
to time, give them a nudge to see they're not dreaming!

Don't be put off by baitcasters because of what ever it is you fear
about them. This club, being big on helping other anglers, has plenty
of people willing to help you with your casting. Getting help from
others who have sometimes had to learn the hard way, will help make
your fishing a lot more enjoyable. All you have to do is ask!

Whether you decide to go for a baitcaster or spinning outfit, use what
you feel most comfortable with first. Many bass anglers started fishing
for them with a spinning outfit before progressing onto the baitcaster
and/or fly rod. I know of many others who, having progressed onto the
baitcaster, now use the threadline gear more than anything else.

Keep it simple to start with to keep the enjoyment factor there, and
progress on as you feel the need.

Rods and Rod Lengths

The modern rod is made of graphite and is very light and sensitive. The
better graphite rods have a higher amount of carbon content and are
more expensive than those that offer less. Like all things though, you
pay for the higher quality rods, but there are plenty of less expensive
ones which are excellent quality for the money.

For large rivers, anglers will often use a baitcasting or spinning rod
of around six feet and up to about seven feet. The longer rods are able
to cast lures for longer distances with less effort than the shorter
ones. The extra length also comes in handy when required to muscle bass away from their homes, which can cause heartache for bass fisho's when bass unceremoniously bust off.

For smaller rivers and creeks, shorter rods are often more practical,
as overhanging trees can frustrate anglers fishing in tight cover.
There are spinning rods as small as 3'6" in length which are great
kayak and canoe rods, but anything up to 5'6" might be the ideal length
in areas where lots of overhanging greenery make walking and casting
difficult with longer rods. It's often a case of knowing the area you
want to fish and taking the rod you think is right for the area.

If your walking into really rugged areas, which most of the best bass
waters tend to be in, you may be reluctant to take a very expensive
rod. A Loomis rod may not be a wise choice, but there are plenty of
more budget models about that will perform well. The usual models from
Shimano and Daiwa should be ideal, with prices ranging up to the $150
mark being more realistic than a Loomis worth more than twice that
amount.

Shorter rods are also useful along the bigger rivers where low
overhanging foliage or areas that offer little margin for error which
make using a longer rod more difficult. A shorter rod in these cases is
ideal to punch a surface lure deep into tiger country. A good quality
baitcasting rod in a shorter length will have no trouble casting
smaller lures with little effort.

There are a number of good quality rods around these days, and include
those from Daiwa, Nitro, and Loomis. While you might baulk at some of
the price tags they wear in the shop, experience anglers will tell you
they're worth the extra dollars. They feel light and comfortable in
the hand and have the necessary muscle to dish it up to the bigger
fish. An added advantage is that they help transmit information back
along from the gelspun line as to what is happening to your lure. With
experience, you'll be able to feel the subtle taps of fish on the lure,
and be able to work out what your lure when your lure bumps in to
timber, rocks and weed.

Gelspun Lines

When it comes to choosing line, gelspun lines rules supreme. Gary Lee
covered these lines in the last issue of the club newsletter.

There is fused and platted gelspun lines. Fused gelpsun has a covering
of glue which gives the line a single strand appearance. Platted braid
looks like strands of thread that is woven like someone might plate
their hear.

One of the great advantages of gelspun is that there is little or no
stretch in the line itself. Monofilament lines can stretch by up to 30%
when under load. With gelspun lines, when a fish hits your lure the
sensation feels so much more dramatic.

Another advantage of gelspun lines is that they help transmit back to
the angler what you lure is doing. Remember when you were a kid and you got two empty jam tins, punch a hole through the bottom of each one and joined them together with piece of string? All you had to do was pull them tight and you could talk to someone else at the other end from
quite a distance away. Gelpsun line is like that.

I used ten pound Berkley gelspun on most of my bass outfits that I use
in rivers and creeks. These have the same diameter as four pound
monofilament line, and serve me well on my baitcaster and spinning
outfits.

While some anglers used fused braid like myself on everything, there
are others that prefer platted braid on their baitcasters and fused on
their threadlines. Again, it's a matter of choice!

Leaders

A lot of attention gets paid to rods, reels, gelspun lines and lures,
but very little gets paid to leaders. When you think about it, it's one
of THE most important things you should give some serious thought to.

If something lets go when you're bass fishing, you can probably put it
down to a few things, but a poor knot joining the leader to the gelpsun
line, poor condition of the leader, or simply a poor quality leader
would feature fairly highly as the likely causes of lost fish. It
doesn't make sense to go to the trouble and expense of going fishing
and skimp on the leader. A good brag story is always better with some
photographic evidence than another story of the one that got away.

For floating lures, monofilament line as a leader is preferred by most,
as they tend to float on the surface. Using flurocarbon line with
surface lures sees a belly form in the leader, as flurocarbon line
sinks.

Light surface lures can also be affected by not thinking about how you
join your lure to your leader. The smaller lighter surface lures can be
weight sensitive, and adding a sinking flurocarbon leader and a snap,
can make these lures not perform as they are designed to. In cases like
these, a simply tied loop knot, while they may take time to tie, as
worth the extra few minutes it takes.

For sinking or subsurface lures, the trend is for flurocarbon line to
be used.

As for the length of leader, again, you'll get a multitude of answers
for this one, but generally around one to one and a half rods lengths
is about right.

For local fish, a leader of around ten pound is considered sufficient.
In dams, some anglers in the Bass Pro and ABT competitions go up to 30
pound leaders for muscling bigger fish in amongst the timber. That's
one serious leader! Many of these competition anglers feel that a
twenty pound leader is adequate but still get smoked in the timber
occasionally in some of the best bass dams. I've had twenty pound
leader snap like cotton which leaves you shaking your head at what you
may have hooked momentarily.

One point to remember, is that the thicker the leader, the more
resistance there is by the water on the leader which will make the lure
behave differently. Knowing how your lures perform with various leader
diameters is important. From there you need to consider the type of
areas you're going to be fishing. The bottom line is that big bass can
take some stopping!

The Ideal Beginners Outfit?

You could start an interesting discussion with this topic, but much of
the advice you'd find from others would probably be to start with a
spinning outfit.

Tackle is very much a personal preference, but for those new to bass
fishing, I would probably suggest a 2-4 kilo spinning outfit, with a
rod of about six foot to six foot six in length.

The spinning outfit is not only simple to use, but as was mentioned
earlier, it is very versatile and can cast a wide variety of lure types
in a wide range of lure weights. You have the most versatile way of
casting light lures, spinnerbaits, plastics and other presentations you
may care to try on bass. Baitcasters, while fun to use, can't match the
spinning reel for its versatility.

While a large number of bass anglers use baitcasting outfits, these can
be frustrating to use for those who haven't mastered them properly.
Those who take a baitcaster fishing for the first time, usually end up
with an ugly tangled mess of line that takes an eternity to unravel.
This makes for a very unpleasant time on the water.

Save Yourself

If there's one extra thing that's worth considering it's this. Don't
buy rubbish equipment! Wait until you can afford better equipment
before you race out and buy some no name brand that's not going to last
you or that you'll soon tire of. There's so much choice these days when
it comes to tackle and a lot of it is good quality.

If you're not sure about what you should be looking for, call in to see
the boys at St Mary's Fishing Tackle Centre or Windsor Bait and Tackle.
Not only will you receive a discount on any purchase as a club member,
but you'll get the right advice from the guys who know their tackle.

Steve Prott