It’s late summer at Lake Glenbawn in NSW’s Hunter Valley. Anglers have arrived from all parts of Australia to fish round 2 of the Australia Bass Nation Series. As usual at this time of year, the fish are suspended in deep water and can be hard to entice. This is the time when one lure rises above the pack and reigns supreme, the humble 3 inch Gulp Minnow Grub. This lure would be the lure of choice for most of the top ten anglers in the competition round. Its ability to catch Bass in this scenario is unparalleled, earning it iconic status in our sport. The following are some tips and equipment I rely on to help me catch these often closed mouth fish.
Trimming – using a small, sharp pair of scissors, trim a small strip from the inside curvature of the tail to achieve a thinner tail that will swim at a much slower retrieval speed. Slow is the name of this game.
Jigheads – Berkley/Nitro has purpose built range of dam deep series Jigheads colour matched to suit the Gulp colours. These jigheads are second to none, with hooks perfectly matched to this application. I use the ¼ and 1/6 oz sizes, using the lighter model when fishing is toughest.
Line and Leader – My line of choice has always been 4lb Berkley Fireline crystal exceed, pretty hard to beat for sensitivity and toughness, for leader 4/6lb Berkley Sensei Flurocarbon.
Rod and Reel – My absolute favourite rod for plastics fishing is the Pflueger Patriarch PPS 610L-Xf, this rod has a perfect blend of power in the butt section couple with a light sensitive tip that won’t spook timid fish, encouraging them to strike multiple times. Matched to this rod I use a silky smooth Pflueger Supreme 2000 XTS reel.
Technique – drop the lure vertically to the depth you can see fish on your electronics and wind ssslooooowllyy up through them. Don’t strike!!! If you feel a bite, just keep winding slowly, and let the bass take the lure fully, often they will just start at the tail and nibble their way up. If they stop biting open your spool and drop the lure back for a few seconds. Sometimes this alone will trigger a strike, sometimes a quick burn followed by deadsticking the bait will be the key. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Electronics – good electronics can make all the difference with this style of fishing. Most brands have quality units, but for my money it’s the Lowrance HDS units that lead the way. My touch 7s allow me to track my lure through the water column, when fishing vertically, even see fish leave a school or structure to intercept it,allowing me to predict at times when the bite will come. They are a great tool and a huge advantage.
Fish Care – bass caught in deep water need special care to prevent barotrauma. If not fishing close to structure, take your time bringing the fish up, don’t lift it from the water if you don’t need to, and have a venting device handy if you do. Fish for the future.
I hope these tips have been helpful.