I’ve always jokingly told people that I don’t fish for Bass because I can’t afford to spend more money on tackle. The truth is, I have thought about entering the ABT bass tournament as a non-boater to learn all about it but when I see results with 120+ anglers and only a small portion actually weighing fish, the idea isn’t exactly enticing. The other reason is that there it has always seemed like such an effort to go bass fishing around Sydney…well at least that’s what I thought.
I’ve probably done half a dozen bass sessions now and every one of them has been hard work with small and/or very few bass caught. Every time, Josh, the resident lureandfly.com ‘bass nut’, assures me that “It isn’t usually this hard”. Knowing Josh and the fact that he’ll travel to the end of the earth and back again to fish for a couple of hours regardless of the species, has left that dwindling bass flame smoldering within me and I’ve been eager to find out what this addiction to bass fishing is all about.
During the Aus Open this year, I spoke with friend of lureandfly.com, Aaron Horne. For those who don’t know Aaron, he is one of the most genuine guys I have met, and not just within the fishing community. He is an extremely versatile angler with a wealth of knowledge that he is willing to share – most times you don’t even need to ask, he’ll just come straight out and tell you all about it. One of the conversations I had with Aaron was about bass fishing. When I told him my experience and thoughts around the little reward I had for the bass fishing I have done, I could see instantly that he was going to try and change that. I soon learnt that bass fishing is what Aaron almost lives for. To him it is an art, something that he has been refining for years while also being his ‘drug’ of choice. Bass is constantly on his brain and he is always thinking about that next hit.
A few weeks ago the lureandfly.com crew finally took Aaron up on his offer to take us to a couple of his favourite bass locations. Tying down the whole lureandfly.com crew for a day to go fishing can be difficult but with the stories of the trophy bass he has caught in these places, it was hard to refuse. The day we chose probably wasn’t the most ideal though. Moon, barometer and leaving it till this late in the season (so I’m told) was predicted to work against us but that didn’t stop us trying. Long story short – we fished from first light to last light and managed to get at least one fish each. My perception of bass fishing didn’t change. It was a lot of effort for little reward, but the locations and terrain we fished was so different to anything I had done before. At one point we would be fishing 2 or 3 metres above the water, the next across a body of water no wider than your average car, all of which Aaron assured us have been home to big bass. Was I catching this bass bug? Definitely not yet but I was surely intrigued.
I was so intrigued, the imagery of where we had been that day played over in my mind countless times over the next couple of weeks, and on the Saturday just passed, I made a call to Aaron to see if he had revisited for better results. Lucky for me the answer was “No, but we are going again tomorrow. Do you want to come?” My answer was a pretty quick “Yes”.
This time we fished the exact same stretch of water and it was only a matter of minutes before I was the first to hook up a respectable sized bass. Over the next 3 hours or so, we managed to catch two fish each and as we were heading back along the last stretch of water, the few thoughts I have of bass fishing emerged again. This seems like a lot of effort for little reward, and what is it that continually drives these people to target this species? I still haven’t seen a big bass in the flesh to this day but I know they pack some punch for their size. I’ve even learnt that sometimes bass require pin point casting accuracy to get into what might be a very small strike zone, but as we walked along that last stretch of bank I also realised something else: I wanted to catch one of the bass that had just hit my lure in the last 10 minutes. I literally almost lost my rod in the creek and it wasn’t from me dropping it or not holding on to it, it was from the sheer power of the strike. Seeing it breach the surface as it hit my lure and turned, almost pulling the rod from my hands is enough for me to want to go back to find out more about this species. Like a bout of the flu, I can feel this bug is going to hit me soon and I’m already thinking about spring.