How to Catch Skinny Water Australian Bass

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By Tammy Spina

Have you ever tried a new style of fishing and just felt that you were in your element? This is how I feel when I go skinny water Bass fishing.

The serenity, the peace and the absolute beauty of nature that our amazing country has on offer are some of the fundamental reasons why this is one of my favourite types of fishing. Not only this but when you kayak and trek your way up these beautiful creeks and rivers casting all day and finally you hear that smack as you get a hit on your surface lure, there’s just nothing quite like it.

Australian Bass can be extremely aggressive and strong for their size,  you don’t always catch the biggest fish but when you punch that perfect cast right under a fallen log or overhanging tree you can almost feel and hear that hit right before it happens, the heart has already started pumping then BAM that Bass smacks your lure right off the surface, the adrenaline starts and your trying your absolute best to keep him out of those snags as they love to brick you in seconds, it’s definitely a fun game to play! 

Where to Find Them

Australia Bass can be found in almost any coastal river and stream from Eastern Victoria to Bundaberg Queensland, mostly in fresh water above or below dams and weirs.

Any of the upper reaches of these systems should hold a good number of Bass.

I  fish northern NSW to Noosa QLD and I mostly use my kayak as a lot of areas aren’t always possible to reach by foot but I do also love a good day trekking, this always adds a different element to finding these fish.

Google maps and other similar apps are a great source for finding new spots to fish and all it takes is a trip out there to see what sort of terrain you have to work with and if it’s possible to launch a kayak. Finding new spots is all part the adventure and you never know what hidden gems you might discover.


The Best Time to Fish for Them

I’ve found summer is the best time to fish for skinny water Bass as they tend to be more aggressive. I’ve always been told dawn and dusk but I have found that the late morning to be the most fruitful when the sun is a little higher,. Why? The Bass tend to hang out in the shade, under the cover of low hanging trees and branches, snags and undercut banks. So if you find a fallen tree hidden by shade with a good precise cast you are more than likely to get that hit you’ve been waiting for!

Remember to always check with your local fisheries and state laws as seasonal restrictions may apply to some waterways. 

Gear You Will Need

An average size Bass in these areas is roughly 15 - 35cm so I usually run light gear but there is always a chance for a bigger model lurking around!

A 1-3kg or 2-4kg rod matched with a 1000 - 2500 size reel is ideal for this sort of fishing as you will be doing a lot of casting and generally be using light weight lures.

My gear of choice is either a TD Hyper or TD Black with the 2000 TD Sol 3 spooled with 8lb J-Braid Grand and 10lb J-Thread Nylon monofilament (Mono) or J-Thread Fluro carbon (FC) leader. Mono for surface lures as it floats which helps prevent the line dragging your lure down and FC for divers/sinking lures as its more translucent, it sinks and has better abrasion resistance.

For those that love their baitcasters I love the Tatula series of rods and reels as a heavier option when throwing spinner baits or larger lures on which I run 20lb braid to a 20lb leader. The baitcaster is perfect for a slightly heavier set up especially if there is a chance of some larger bycatch species in your area.

My Go-to Lures and Techniques

For me nothing beats a small popper worked by a constant twitch and slow wind retrieve, not only has it proven effective in different waterways but you get those explosive top water hits that I just love!

If you’re just starting out a small cicada  or spinnerbait would be a perfect choice with a constant slow wind retrieve working to great effect.

Soft plastics can be a great option as they are relatively cheap,  versatile and your options are pretty much endless when it comes to shape, colour and action. If the intended bank or snag you are trying to reach doesn’t require a long cast then a 3-4inch plastic rigged on an unweighted weedless hook is defiantly worth a try! 

Bass can be aggressive and some days will hit anything you throw at them, on other days I find one lure will defiantly get more attention than others. This also seems to change from one water way to the next. A lure, technique or colour that works extremely effective in one system may not be productive in another so don’t be afraid to try new things, mix it up with different lures, retrieve styles and have fun!

One Final Tip

Practice your precise casting, you may even want to learn a skip casting technique, some of the best Bass I have caught have been in and under the tightest structure. Getting your lure as close to or even under those snags and over hanging trees as you can will 100% increase your chances of catching these fish.

Like all fishing be prepared to go out and catch nothing but don’t let this discourage you as every adventure adds to your experience and it’s a great opportunity to work on those techniques you’ve been watching on YouTube and once you land your targeted fish, nothing makes you feel more alive when all your hard work is rewarded.

Get out there, give it a go and enjoy every minute of the journey!


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