Getting deep with bass fishing
  |  First Published: July 2016

The water temperature has really dropped off, bringing those big winter bass to the edges.

In the early morning I head to the western side of the main basin from the Sunken Cabins and up to the Land Side and around Black Boy Bay. I like to use 3” grub style soft plastics when fishing the edges. Jighead size may vary depending on the depth I am fishing or how heavy the structure that I cast to is.

Over the past couple of years, anglers seem to prefer glitter or sparkle colourations in their plastics. I think it’s to do with how clear the water is at Glenbawn, however at St Clair, anglers seem to use more natural colours.

In winter, the fish’s metabolism slows down, which makes them lethargic, so you have to keep your casts closer to the shore and work harder to get the bites.

As the sun reaches higher in the day, bass tend to head for the deeper water and steep drop offs and vertical structure is where they will school up. Target these fish with ice jigs or small grubs. The downside to deep fishing is barotrauma, which is caused from the swim bladder expanding as the fish ascends. It’s like the bends for humans, and the fish cannot stabilise or deflate themselves and often belly up if they aren’t treated.

There is two ways to help the fish. Firstly, if the fish was caught from around 50ft, release it as quickly as possible and try not to handle it as its internals are stretched and can be easily damage. It’s best to release them back to similar depth.

The second method is to vent its swim bladder. There are a few tools for this, but I just go to the local vet and get a 16-gauge needle. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that will explain how to do it step by step.

You should not rule out using shallow divers or suspending lures. As anglers we all seem to use what won the last comp and forget all the other ways we used to catch them. For other shallow water options, you could also try swim jig or chatterbaits, which have been around for years.

Over at St Clair, look for the deep weed that usually sits around the 15ft-20ft mark. Casting blades or a swim jig adjacent to the weed line should bring these fish undone.

You could also try at the dog leg in the Fallbrook Arm as there is a lot of sunken timber there. The weed edge near the Cattle Yards is also usually worth a try, and move out into deeper as the day gets on.

Good luck finding bass this month!

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