Marching into some great fishing
  |  First Published: March 2007

The dams and rivers will continue to fish very well this month and, as it is the first month of Autumn, the weather will become a lot more pleasant and predictable. This will in turn make the fishing more enjoyable as the fish will bite into the later and earlier parts of the day.

The Hunter and Paterson rivers produce a good variety of species this time of year with the lower reaches accounting for flathead, bream, jewfish and bass, while up in the higher reaches there will be some good mullet.

If we get the predicted flush-out the fish will be down a little lower in the systems making for some excellent results.

This month usually sees the last of the surface bites so it is still worth using surface lures in the low light conditions of early morning and evening. With a vast range available these days, I have found the ones that give the better hook-ups are those where the tail drops to around 45° on the pause. A good example of this is the Jackall SK Pop and the Megabass Pop-X with the clearer colours an excellent starting option.

If you’re using small spinnerbaits, such as 1/4 or 3/8oz, adding a 50mm trailer such as a Berkley 2-inch Gulp! Minnow gives it more buoyancy, keeping it higher in the water column. It also releases a scent that bass cannot resist.

For those who wish to spin I recommend using any of the new imported range of 40mm lures such as Jackall, Eco Gear and Megabass, along with the local Marz in brown, clear or gold.

If fishing down around the lower reaches where there are also saltwater fish, try Berkley 3-inch Powerbait on 1/4oz jigs.

The Williams River will start to settle down a little as the water skiing tapers off, allowing for some good spinning along the middle section of the river. As this is non-tidal you’ll have to put a lot more casts into the one area to entice the bite. Try casting spinnerbaits, beetle spins and bass spins right up tight against the cover.

Lake St Clair fishes really well this month as the water temperature starts to fall and the water quality begins to improve (as long as we get some decent rainfall).

The goldens and catties will take worms fished around the timber and, if the dam is rising, also along some of the softer banks. Those who troll will need to work the deep banks and riverbed adjacent to standing timber or where there is timber below the surface. Using lures that get down to around 6m and have a strong vibration or rattle is best, with dark colours the first choice before shades of green or yellow.

Now that the really hot days are behind us, working the banks with crankbaits and 1/2oz spinnerbaits with double willow blades (pearl colour) is certainly a lot more comfortable. Last Autumn I had a lot of success using the Masks 70s & 60s around the banks as I found the bass a little shy of the rattlers that everyone seemed to be using. The Ayu pattern was particularly productive.

Lake Glenbawn is still holding its own as far as producing fish is concerned, and it should improve this month with the water temperature beginning to fall.

During March the golden perch will be holding amongst the timber all around the dam and also towards the backs of some of the bays. Baitfishing around the timber with yabbies or worms in around 10m is a good start. Also try trolling along the banks leading to back of the bays with lures that run down to 5m such as the Jackall TN60.

For those chasing bass this month it can be a little harder as the fish move down the dam and like to hold in the deeper water where they school together. Their favourite location is around 10-15m in open water or adjacent to submerged timber or structure. Therefore, it is very important to have a good sounder and knowledge of the dam.

If the bass are holding at 10m, you can troll dark coloured deep diving lures, although sometimes this might break up the school. A better option is to drop 1/2oz jigs with 3-inch Bass Minnows or Gulps around the outer edge of the school on very light braid as the bite can be very soft, not unlike bream. Use your sounder to work them at the correct depth. Another alternative is to use Jackall Masks: count them down to the depth (they sink at around 1m per second) and slowly jig them up and down without retrieving the line. Ice jigs are also good for catching these schooling bass. You will need to use your sounder to get the correct depth in amongst the school and then mark your line with a pen in order to reach the correct depth each time.

During this deep jigging the bass will sometimes suffer from an over inflated swim bladder, which can kill them. To prevent this from occurring, release the bass in the water without any handling as soon as possible. If you don’t do this, the fish will inhale more oxygen, making the problem worse. It is not recommended to deflate the swim bladder by inserting a needle as this can lead to other problems which can kill the fish at a later time.

While jigging it is not uncommon for the bass to go off the bite, so I usually mark them on my Eagle Seachamp GPS, move away and return to them later.

At this time of year it can be so pleasant out on the water, so get out there and enjoy it!

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