Bank-hours bass
  |  First Published: August 2001

This can be one of the most enjoyable times of the year to be out fishing on the dams.

The mornings are still quite cool and usually foggy but the barometer is up around 1030hPa for a few days on end. But all this can come to an abrupt halt if the cold westerlies kick in, usually around lunchtime.

The water has been down around 12° in Lake St Clair and Glenbawn during the past couple of weeks, which means there has not been too much action with lures but the bait fishers have been managing a few on worms and yabbies.

A benefit of fishing this month is that the bite comes on around mid-morning and lasts to around 4pm, coinciding with the peaks in the barometer, water temperature and air temperature.

With the water still quite cool the bass, goldens and even the silvers tend to come on the bite for short periods during this window so it is best to be on your prime spots when it happens.

These prime spots are sections where you have seen plenty of inactive fish unwilling to take a lure or bait earlier in the day.

It is best to put a large presentation, be it lure or bait, and work it slowly and keep it in the strike zone a long time. If that doesn’t get a hit then go for a presentation with more action and vibration.

There are usually two areas to concentrate on this month.

The individual fish are usually up in 4m to 6m around the banks with scattered timber and some weed and the adjacent drop-offs out from these spots.

The 4m to 6m areas are easy to survey if you have a side-scan function on your sounder, like my Lowrance Structure Scan set on a range of about 80’.

The second area is in deeper water where the fish are usually holding along the edge of a drop.

Lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and vibes are all good reaction lures to tempt a hit but if they don’t work, plastics on 1/4oz jigs are also worth a try, especially if the water is very clear.


Lake St Clair is still rising slowly and is looking good for Spring. There are quite a lot of small school fish holding the more sheltered bays in the Broadwater and up both arms in around 10m to 14m.

These school fish can be very difficult to get to bite so you’ll need light leaders and small blades or plastics and a lot of patience.

With the dam at its present level there are now some really good areas up the Carrowbrook and Fallbrook arms with plenty of structure and weed around the banks. There’s also good deep water over the flats for the school fish.

Trolling over these big flats can help locate fish with lures that run down around 5m. The best colour this month is purple.

Fishing bankside structure is best from a boat but it can also be very productive walking. It’s my favourite method and Jackall Chubbies and Squirrels can easily be cast a mile on a threadline.

There are quite a few catfish around the banks, especially around the camping area.

Bait fishing has been a little slow but will come on this month, especially around the larger trees in around 10m using large yabbies and live shrimp.


At Glenbawn the water is usually coldest this month and the most productive areas tend to be up the back end and in the more sheltered bays.

Up the back is traditionally good now for trolling and fishing the banks with worms because it is usually rising from the snowmelt from the Barrington Tops.

Target gradually sloping banks and points that run down into about 10m with littered timber.

I like to use a stealthy approach to begin with, using 1/oz jigs and 3” plastics in the shallows and then crankbaits and spinnerbaits as it gets deeper. Out in 10m, lipless cranks and 3/8oz blades are also good.

The school bass are usually in 10m to 15m in open bays and are best targeted with ice jigs and blades. Use long leaders because they are often passing through the schools of fish.

The bass in Glenbawn this month are in prime condition because they are feeding on the schools of gudgeons and smelt you can see on your sounder as large dark clouds, usually in around 10m.

These bait schools can move quite quickly as the wind moves the water around. As a Lowrance Pro Staff member I get to try a lot of new products and the latest toy I have been testing is the new Lowrance Elite DSI, which delivers crystal-clear, photo-like underwater detail in a high-resolution colour display.

This unit is very reasonably priced and allows anglers to experience remarkable views of bottom structure such as rocks, weed and bottom shape as well as thermoclines, baitfish and target fish.

This unit comes with a pencil-shaped, low profile, dual-frequency skimmer transducer with built in temperature sensor that operates at 455khz for wider and deeper coverage, or at 800khz for more concentrated scans in shallower conditions with a greater target separation.

For greater precision with bait or lures, anglers can position the cursor anywhere on the sonar display to determine the depth of suspended baitfish, a thermocline or target fish identified among suspended tree branches, which I find very helpful in Glenbawn.

This would be an ideal unit for the not so experienced fisher and also is very portable for use in kayaks.

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