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Stay Up Late, When the Bass Won’t Bite! Dave Rae

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On a recent 3-day bass trip to a beautiful bass river, we thought we’d venture into a true wilderness area and fish some truly pristine water. The stretch of river we chose is fished very rarely, perhaps 3 or 4 times each season and that’s only if the river level is spot on where it has to be. It’s a 3-night expedition that is totally dependant on water height. If the water is too high, then the trip becomes a full on adventure, more suited to kayaks than canoes. If the water level is low, the casual downstream drift becomes a real drag; as in a real drag ie get out and drag.

With hectic fishing expected I’d oiled and re-spooled my Daiwa Pixy-R with new line and checked the runners on my Daiwa Harrier 601MLXB carefully. Nothing would be worse than having rod or reel problems when the fish are on. I love this outfit; firstly, because it’s featherweight light and secondly, because of the quality. Looking at the rod you’d think a goldfish might snap it, but with a 2-5kg line rating there is sufficient power to turn most fish.

On this instance the water level was a little high from recent flooding, but it had dropped rapidly so we loaded up and left base camp for the additional 90-minute 4WD mission to the drop off point.

Stay up late 01

To cut a long story short; whilst brumbies, snakes and assorted wildlife were out in force, the bass would not bite. After 4 hours in the wilderness, we had 1 fish between the 4 of us.

The hard decision was made. It was time to turn around and battle 5 km against the flow in order to get back to the vehicles; always travel in a pair when entering remote country. Take a Sat. Phone and an EPIRB just in case of emergency!

We were exhausted upon reaching camp, but a night time fish was the only way to secure a few fish, so that’s what we did.

As the river darkened, I tied on a new black Jitterbug (a cod stole the one I’d bought in ’96), and started to build my score.

Stay up late 03

I ended up with 5 of the 8 bass caught that night because I hardly worked the lure at all.

I’d cast and let the lure sit until a fish hit it. Sometimes it didn’t take long and at other times I reckon the lure was drifting along for a few minutes… not that it mattered, I was tuckered out anyway. If nothing eventuated after what seemed like an age, I’d tickle the lure ever so slightly, in the hope of encouraging a strike.

Stay up late 02

The lesson being: fish at night when bass are reticent to bite during the day and the slower the bass, the more time they need. Be patient; like coma patient

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