Opportunistic bass will feed on insects, lizards, small snakes

WITH the bass season re-opening in the rivers tomorrow, much of the focus has been on what to use to target them.

Bass have just finished spawning in the brackish waters of the rivers and are making their way back into the freshwater reaches where they will again occupy the dense snags where they love to ambush prey.

Bass can be caught on a host of lures, as these fish are highly opportunistic predators.

They will feed on anything from fish, insects and shrimp to lizards and even small snakes.

Determining what lure to start throwing will depend on what the bass are feeding upon in the particular habitat.

If you are chasing bass in the larger parts of the river, it can be hard to find the bass as they will often school up and feed on small schools of baitfish. These fish can be targeted with either casting larger fish profile soft plastics or diving lures and slow winding them back in.

This is a good method for covering large amounts of water fairly quickly as you try to locate fish.

Another style of lure to try are the sinking vibration lures like Jackall Tn series or Atomic Semi-hardz vibes.

These lures imitate injured baitfish and can work in a variety of depths.

When winding these lures in, allow plenty of pauses and watch the line on the pause as bass will often hit the lure while it sinks to the bottom.

If fishing further up the river systems, bass become more structure bound and will often be caught on surface lures and spinnerbaits.

Both of these lures are fairly snag resistant and can allow you to get deeper into the snags where the fish love to hang out. This type of fishing can be on the edge of your seat stuff.

There is nothing better than casting a surface lure into the back of a snag only to see it smashed by a bass. Once hooked, getting the fish out of his home is another story and often ends in the fish's favour.

If you are looking at heading out in the bay there are some cracking snapper coming off Harry Atkinsons Reef.

The larger fish have been falling for Keitech Shad Impacts 5 inch models rigged on 1/2oz jigheads. Fresh baits of squid and pilchards will always work, however you will often get a mixed bag and smaller fish.

Mackerel tuna have also made their presence known in the Rainbow Channel and around Mud Island with a few anglers getting stuck into these speedsters.

These fish are not good table fare but are great fighters and make good bait for other more desirable fish like snapper and jew.

Watch for birds working the surface, as the tuna often drive bait to the surface.

Once the tuna are found, casting small metal lures or soft plastic into the school and a quick retrieve should see you hooked up.

Watch the line peel from your reel.

Happy Father's Day tomorrow. Hope the kids have spoilt all the fishing fathers.

- Matt Osley (Charlton's Fishing at Redbank)

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