Scattered bass still a chance
  |  First Published: August 2012

August can be a very enjoyable month for fishing the dams. The days are now getting longer and foggy mornings followed by relatively warm days and high barometer readings point to a good time to go fishing. In saying that this can be the month that we get the strong and cold westerlies that kick in and ruin the day.

With the water temperature at a very low 12°C in both dams, the bass will scatter themselves around the entire dam, so it can take quite a bit of work to locate them.

My favourite lure of choice for casting is a soft plastic rigged on a relatively light jig-head. Work them anywhere between the top and bottom in around 10-12m. You can work them in either a swimming, hopping or jerkbait style, just remember to use relatively long pauses. Keep in mind that you’re after scattered fish and you should fish a lot of different areas, from open banks adjacent to creek channels to banks with a lot of cover and structure.

Bass at this time of the year are going to stay in one area for weeks, so it is worth the time it takes to locate them. It can take quite a considerable amount of time to locate fish, especially by yourself, but the results are worth it.

Fish location varies differently between Lake Glenbawn and Lake St Clair, so just remember to think about the three main factors for bass to hold up – water temperature and quality, food and cover.

Lake St Clair has been fishing very inconsistently over recent weeks, which is usually a result of the strong winds. If the weather improves, the fishing should start to heat up. At the current water level there isn’t a lot of good weed around the edges, but this should change in coming months with the warmer water temperature.

The Fallbrook from Redhead Corner up to Richards Reach is worth working with plastics and crankbaits around the banks and the creek gullies that flow into the old river. In the deeper areas near the corner, try jigging plastics and ice jigs.

At the entrance to the Fallbrook, working plastics and blades can be very productive along with trolling out to the trees with deep lures.

The Carrowbrook from Perkins Point to Adam Point is a good area to cast plastics and blades along the creek gullies that feed into the old river. Up the back of the reach around Bird Point is a very good section for crankbaits and beetle or bass-spins in the 3-5m areas.

At the entrance to Carrowbrook there are usually some good schools of bass holding in the 10-15m areas off Gindigah Point and the start of the 8 knot zone. Ice jigs and deep plastics are the go.

In the Broadwater the bass are very scattered with schools in 12-15m. These can be targeted with deep jigs and even blades. Baitfishing here has been very quiet but the banks should begin to fire towards the end of the month with worms and yabbies.

At Glenbawn the water temperature is down around 12°C, which is about the lowest it gets so the fishing has been very tough over the last couple of weeks. This dam also cops a lot of cold westerlies and southerlies this month, so don’t expect the fishing to improve until we see warmer weather.

The better fishing during August normally comes from the middle to the bottom of the dam. I like to target sloping banks and points that have scattered timber around 7-10m deep. If there has been some strong winds from the northwest fish the western and north facing banks, and if it has been the cold northeast winds, I like to fish the eastern banks that face south.

Use a stealthy approach to begin with as the bass are very lethargic at this low water temperature. These fish can be very easily spooked when the water is very clear, so it’s usually necessary to catch a fish, move on and come back later. You can even move out a lot deeper as this is where they head.

For the trollers use black or purple lures that run down around 5m and troll very slow. The bait anglers should try big yabbies or worms around Boat Harbour, off the bank, and up the back of dam around the Eagles Nest for golden perch and the odd silver.

I recently attended the Fishers For Habitat Forum held in Maitland by the NSW DPI. It was well attended with some very interesting discussions arising.

One of those to give their insight was Craig Copeland from the unit in Wollongbar where he discussed Habitat 101. He gave an overview of what habitats fish need to survive and thrive, and showed what people are doing to rehabilitate fish habitat. This was very interesting, especially with the increase of fish population in Lake Macquarie due to the increase in sea grass.

The important message to come out of the forum was that more habitat equates to more fish, and we all need to look after our fishery. Who wants to be the angler that catches the last bass?

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