TheTight Line Vol 8 Part 2 - page 40-41

Do not let the small size of spot tail
bass in some rivers deceive you. Spot
tail bass (as inferred earlier by Henry’s
epic capture) grow to huge sizes. The
more estuarine rivers do seem to hold as
many of these brutes but there are two
distinctly different types of rivers in New
Britain. As well as the typical estuarine,
mangrove lined rivers one would expect,
there are also some where the volume of
fresh water pushing out is so strong that
it is literally fresh to the sea. These rivers
have become my favourite because in
the dry season they
provide crystal clear
hunting grounds where
every strike is visual.
It is the spot tails that
dominate these clear
rivers and it is actually
quite easy to forget
about the black bass
while targeting them!
Spot tail bass were
one of the main reasons
(and have continued to
be) that we opted for
a New Britain black
bass experience. The
mainland lodges, despite offering some
amazing black bass fishing (with the
bonus of barramundi, saratoga etc.) do
not include spot tails in their repertoire.
Lures are obviously a very important
consideration when chasing black bass
and spotties alike. Like rods and reels,
lure choices are often heavily reliant on
confidence, personal preference and
budget. First and foremost hook upgrades
are essential. Almost no standard treble
is up the scratch when it comes to black
bass. Any time invested into upgrading
hooks is well and truly worth it. There is
quite possibly no more disappointing a
way to lose of a good fish than something
as absolutely avoidable as straightening
a factory standard hook. All of my lures
are upgraded with either Decoy or Shout
hooks, which have served me very well.
Another point to be made is that trebles
seemed far more effective on black bass
than singles. Although some fish inhaled
the lure leaving hook choice somewhat
irrelevant, many seemed to swipe
resulting in facial and gill plate hook
ups. A few times, using singles only, this
attack style cost me hook ups. Since I
have committed to using predominantly
trebles, an increase in hook ups has been
verynoticeable.Needless to say split rings
go through the same upgrade treatment.
The lures themselves also require some
serious consideration and any that are
not wired all the way through, or feature
an in built in metal plate are probably
worth a second thought. At least two
very large bass have been lost to me
due to relatively high end lures just not
being up to scratch. Common failures
I witnessed over the course of my trips
include smashed bibs, rings being pulled
right out of the lure and lures simply being
crushed by the bite pressure of the fish.
Hands down the most durable and
effective lure for me over the course of
the trips was the FCL Labo D1-B. This
lure is a lot smaller than what many
consider a ‘typical’ black bass lure but
the lack of size certainly did not result in
a lack of fish. Best resembling a mullet
or possibly an archer fish (also prolific
in the local systems), most of my fish,
including my biggest have been a result
of this lure. This range of lures in general
is tough, wired through and for a high
end quality of lure, very affordable.
A range of surface walkers were also
the absolute go to for spot tails and with
the exception of maybe 2 or 3 fish, all
spot tails (certainly the largest ones) were
caught on surface. Poppers certainly
work, but the ability to slow walk
floating stick baits over the abundant lay
downs proved irresistible for the spots.
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