TheTight Line Vol 8 Part 2 - page 6-7

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atolls, hunting from the surf zone out
to 100m+ deep. One moment you can
catch them on topwater lures in the
shallows, the next you get one on a
jig in 100m of water. There certainly
are some places you will find them
scattered all over the reef, but generally
I would describe prime bass habitat as
being the second-best spot on the reef.
In most locations in the tropics, the
absolute best piece of reef will be
occupied by a giant trevally (or two or
three). The prime points, best upwelling
on a reef edge, best gutter flowing off
the shallows and so on - if GTs are
your braid exploded on the coral....
Congratulations! You have just
been done over by a red bass. And
it probably wasn’t even a big one.
The red bass, Lutjanus bohar also
known as bohar snapper is a close
relative tomany species that anglers hold
dear; mangrove jack, golden snapper
(fingermark), PNG black bass and the
American cubera snapper, to name a
few. Unlike its other highly esteemed
relatives, which are high on the angling
hit list, the red bass is often treated like a
red headed stepchild at a family reunion.
Perhaps on the East Coast of Australia
there is a reason behind the dislike;
red bass are known to carry ciguatera
poisoning in the Coral Sea and therefore
are a no-take species in Queensland.
But it is more than that. Many anglers
who show dislike for them are catch
and release anglers anyway, so the fact
that it can’t be eaten means nothing.
I believe it has more to do with their
afore-mentioned ability to embarrass
anglers, particularly where big GT lures
are being used. Being smoked in the river
by mangrove jacks is just the price you
pay for landing a few. But when a red
bass steals a lure from an angler running
100lb braid, then there is hell to pay!
As Peter Morse once said; “I haven’t
caught a bad fish yet”. And red bass are
definitely not a bad fish! Red bass can
grow to upwards of 90cm and 13kg as
well as live for over 50 years.The average
fish may only be a couple of kilograms
but they all share the same hard pulling,
angry temperament.They are the perfect
coral reef light/medium tackle species
for catch and release. Bass can be found
in Australia from Fraser Island on the
East Coast up to Cape York and across
to the Central North of WA. They are
also present from NE Africa through to
the Central Pacific and north to Japan.
Around the oceanic islands in the central
Pacific, red bass can be particularly
abundant – on my personal trips to
places like the Solomons and Kiribati
they have been one of the most common
captures, whether casting or jigging.
Targeting red bass is not too difficult.
As they are found in a wide variety of
reef habitat, the bass can turn up in a
number of situations. Red bass prefer
pure oceanic waters, loving the outer
side of the reefs, offshore islands and
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