Bass on the move
  |  First Published: May 2015

As we move into late autumn, the weather patterns have been a bit more consistent. Several days of high pressure have occurred, but with the highs can come some westerly winds.

The fishing is still a touch and go affair; some days are very productive, while others demanding and the bite quite fickle.

This month through into winter, the bass migrate downstream to where the water temperature and salinity are ideal for them to begin their spawning. It is during this time that they can become quite aggressive feeders while putting on condition prior to spawning.

On the Paterson and Williams rivers, this is the time to use reaction baits, especially lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits, as the rivers can also be a little stained. If, however, they are clear, then Beetle Spins and Bass Spins will be also very handy, rigged with 2.5-3” plastics with plenty of scent.

Good areas to target are the deeper holes or river bends, along with areas adjacent to where creeks or drains empty.

Glenbawn and St Clair are holding at consistent heights at present, and their temperatures are beginning to fall, but they are still very clear, which can make fishing around the edges a bit of a problem as the fish are easily spooked.

With the water temperature falling to the high teens, it should be the time that the bass become aggressive feeders, which can make for some good reaction bites.

It is absolutely magnificent to get out on the dam after a foggy morning, as it usually turns into a beaut day, but this month and into the next, the predominant westerlies can hit around midday.

While deep jigging can be productive this month, I like to focus on the bass and goldens around the edges in amongst the timber. These fish are usually a bit larger and put up a decent fight. Look for the areas where there is current flow and schools of baitfish.

Surface lures are not out of the question in the low light periods, but my favourite lures are neutral buoyant jerkbaits, with the Jackall Squirrel and Soul Shad at the top of my list.

Lake St Clair.

There were heaps of people there over Easter and so the fishing was pretty tough, but now we fishos have it to ourselves.

There are some nice catties and odd golden being caught on worms and yabbies, while the bass have been going for live shrimp.

This month we will see the thermocline forming at 5-6m, and this is where the bass will be holding during the day. If trolling, you will need a lure to get down to around that depth. Two good lures for this are the Ferralcatts and the Stuckeys.

This area is usually out in around 10-20m of water, and is virtually anywhere around the main Broadwater, as the bass move out of the 2 arms and come down the system.

There are other trolling options and those are the 1/2-5/8oz Bassman Spinnerbaits and Jackall TN60 lipless crankbaits.

The big advantage with trolling at this time of year is that you can cover a lot of area fairly quickly, and secondly the fish can be attracted in from very long distances. It is not surprising to catch fish that you did not see on the sounder.

Recently, DPI put around 20,000 silver perch fingerlings into St Clair, so if anyone over the past 4 years has caught silvers in this dam, could you please drop me an email, thanks.

Lake Glenbawn

Lake Glenbawn is looking really good at present, with heaps of people there over Easter fishing and boating.

During autumn, the bass and goldens move around in search of areas of reasonable water temperature and good schools of bait like gudgeons and smelt — as if to put on condition before their metabolism slows up in winter.

In a dam of this size, this usually means you will need to search out quite a few areas, but over many years of fishing here, they always tend to hold up in some of the same areas.

The season appears to be holding on for a few more weeks, which means that the surface bite will still be on for at least this month.

Whether you are targeting the deep school bass or the more shallow ones, the common factor is cover — be it in 80’ of water or 20’, with the heavier the cover the better, which means more lost tackle.

Around shallow cover you cannot beat neutrally buoyant lures or crankbaits, and in the deep water, dark pattern plastics on medium weight jigs and light leaders.

Good areas to target the deep bass is up around the Panhandle, Dog Leg, Yellow Buoy Bay and The Narrows. Bait fishing is also worth a try in these areas, especially using black crickets and shrimp.

There are also some good areas around the main basin for bait fishing and deep jigging. Try the western foreshore from the wall up to Boat Harbour, and also on the eastern side from Cemetery Point to North Run.

These deep fish can be very hard to get to bite, but persistence with a finesse approach, light leader, stinger hooks and patience will usually produce a few bass and the odd yella. Preferred colours are dark for these deep fish. You will sometimes have to rotate between schools, as they can quite easily shut down.

Recently, DPI also stocked around 30,000 silver perch fingerlings to compliment the recent golden perch stocking.

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