October is a special month in my bass calendar because it’s the month that produces a high percentage of large fish. I think the fact that bass are still moving upstream means that they are still relatively concentrated whereas by mid summer large fish have spread throughout the system. You’ll find some great fish in places where you have to wonder how they got there. So high in the system, so rarely visited, that getting there is a worthy summer adventure in itself!
So, if you are yet to wet a line, now is a good time to do so.
First off you need a suitable rod and reel. An estuary spin outfit loaded with 4kg braid is ideal for casting bass lures, and in fact essential if you wish to use tiny, light lures…which are almost essential at times. Particularly when the rivers are hosting the Christmas crowd! My Daiwa Certate and Daiwa Gen Black Short Bite Special comes everywhere. With Daiwa’s TD Sensor or J-Braid in 8lb are great lines when coupled with TD-R Competition Fluorocarbon (10lb). Any lighter and you’ll lose a fair share of big fish and good lures. Even 8lb can be risky in really tight water that is surrounded by timber and rocks. Dragging a thrashing bass over the top of a semi submerged log is more than just a little exciting in any circumstance, but with light gear it’s a memorable event which ever way things go!
Baitcast outfits are my favourite. I love using a good bait caster and I’ve been using a Daiwa Pixy –R for the last few years, and it remains a cracker! My rod is a Daiwa Harrier. It’s short, which suits a canoe or kayak, it’s super lightweight and quite responsive. Making a good cast with a bait caster is a pleasure and much easier once you master the gear, which is a journey in itself. The direct wind of line onto the spool of these reels results in a greater feel to the lure and as a result, strikes feel more solid.
You don’t need a huge variety of lures, although if bass fishing bites you, you may end up with several tackle boxes of lures over the years.
All you need is a small selection of surface lures, shallow and deeper divers and bladed and soft plastic baits.
A Black Jitterbug is a surface lure must, as is a cicada imitation or two. I’m keen to try the new Daiwa Drown Cicada II. Walk-the-dog pencils are another productive option, with a Daiwa Chining Pencil 75F being worth a shot.
Divers are essential kit in any bass tackle box. Lures in the 40mm-60mm range are the go, and they need to dive to 2-3m for best results … not that you fish them that deep, but a quick wind around timber puts them at about 1m down, and they can be tickled, paused and slow rolled back at that 1 – 1.5m depth for great results. Daiwa’s RPM Crank Mid 10 is a floating lure that weighs 16g (perfect for a baitcaster) and comes in at 56mm … try the brown colours or a Matt Tiger.
Tiny hardbodies have been mentioned, so we’ll move on to spinner baits… for me a 1/4oz with twin blades and a purple skirt is hard to beat. Tiny bladed jig heads are a really good way to work a soft plastic in skinny water. Choose any plastic you like and opt for a head no heavier that 1/8oz. Cast these guys at any twig, or deeper section, which in really skinny water might be 0.5m deep. Work them slowly and don’t give up.
Because I fish in a small kayak much of the time, I always travel light. I put my lures, trace, scissors and set of medical forceps (to remove hook) in a Daiwa Lure Sleeve, which is the perfect size – and it floats if I were to capsize (I’m admitting nothing, and my friends make up stories). Add to that a pair of Costa Sunnies, neoprene booties, cap, drink and a short handled net, and I’m ready for action … and its time you got ready as well!