Luring the bass that will not bite

2010-03-27 00:00

I FEEL confident summarising every swimming bass into one of the three following categories, bass that want to bite, bass that will not bite and bass that you can force to bite. I see many anglers, including myself on occasion, trying to force fish to bite that simply will not. You need to make the distinction between these categories of fish and use your choice of bait as your identifying indicator. Ninety percent of my fishing is spent using baits that elicit bites, baits that appeal to fish that want to bite and baits that force bass to bite. Bass sense the urgency in the bait’s action and react with equal or greater urgency. A mojo-rigged plastic is not forcing a fish to bite, get the picture?

Where am I going with all of this? You need to start incorporating this thinking into your approach and, trust me, you will see the difference. So, what baits do I use that make this difference for me? Remember, I am appealing to fish that want to bite and fish that will react to a chosen tactic. Shallow, grassy areas call for two types of baits. Firstly, a frog representation scores high on my list. I mainly use two styles of frogs, namely the Horny Toad as well as the Spro Bronzeye Frog. When I approach a shallow, flooded vegetation type area I will always prospect the area with a topwater frog. If the particular area is monotonous with few targets, I will burn the Horny Toad. If there are particular breaks in the cover with distinguished targets then the Bronzeye Frog will take to the water, allowing me to slow down the approach when needed. Topwater frogs catch fish; they catch fish that are hunting and make fish react into biting even when they do not want to. That constant irritating buzz and invasive speed causes weary bass to lash out without thinking twice. The Spro Aruku Shad is my se­cond reliable shallow water bait and by saying shallow, I will swim this bait from two to eight feet with confidence, ripping it through the vegetation and pausing it intermittently to react bites from dormant fish. This is another fantastic example of a bait that puts bass in the mood. The fact that it moves fast and erratic and sounds like an approaching train, makes it extremely hard to resist.

In my next column I will be continuing with baits that make bass bite, moving further down in the water column. Make sure you check it out!

The New Hanover farm dam bass competition was held last weekend. A record participation of 840 anglers took to the 16 local dams to fish for the longest bass. A phenomenal day of bass hunting was had by all and, when the water had settled, some amazing fish had been weighed. The junior title was bagged by 12-year-old Tyron McGarry with a fish of 44 cm, winning himself a day on the lake with myself and a chosen accomplice, his brother Jason. In the senior section, an unusual tie was the outcome with Andrew Read and Andrew Lessing, both measuring a fish of 60 cm, walking away with R2 000 each for their efforts amongst other great prizes. Andrew’s wife Leanne also caught a fish of 44 cm, winning her the longest fish for the respective dam. At 840 competitors, this event is unofficially the largest bass fishing event in Southern Africa. It makes you think where the roots of bass angling actually are?

So, get out on the lake and catch some fish and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail me with bass fishing reports, pictures and questions at

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