Cool fish are shallow
  |  First Published: December 2016

Spring hung around a little longer this year. Both the local impoundments have been running a few weeks behind from where they were last year, with colder water temperatures. This is great news, because December is usually the transition month into summer deep patterns. If this cooler weather holds up, this should keep the fish shallower for longer.

Glenbawn and St Clair will fish similarly this month. The cicadas and insect numbers will be peaking and the top water bite will be in full swing. The surface bite can be that good this month, it can extend well into the daylight hours. During these times in clear water, it pays to use really long pauses with occasional tiny, shaking on the spot movements. Pauses over a minute will get the bites instead of a constant retrieve.

I’ve seen plenty of bass, especially in the main basin at Glenbawn, slurping insects off the top in the middle of the day at this time of year. The bite will be best in low light. Fishing into the night will also see some big bass caught. In the cover of darkness, try using a nice big surface paddler, wakebait or buzzbait with a constant retrieve to help the fish locate the lure. Don’t be shy to upsize your surface lure size this month. Baits up to 100mm or 4” will get hit.

The reaction bite should be still in full swing with the cooler water this month. All your typical reaction baits should get eaten in the early morning and late evening. With water levels increasing so much over spring, this has meant that some weed beds have struggled to keep up. Towards the backs of the dams, water has been running in dirty, creating less light for the weed to grow, which will kill it off.

When the fish are shallow in these areas, they still gravitate to structure, but mainly towards hard structure like wood and rock. Once the hot weather sets in and the surface water temperatures hit above 26°C, fish will retreat to the cool of the deep. Fish can still be caught shallow, but it’ll be mainly under the cover of darkness or the first hour of light.

When these water temperatures hit and you’re fishing during the day, you’ll be better off fishing deep. Looking in around 30-60ft of water should find you some fish. A blade or tail spinner will work through these fish. Also a deep slow rolled grub will catch them when they’re not really active. When these fish get that deep, it’s easier to use a vertical presentation. Sinking a plastic to the bottom and then a nice slow roll back up through the fish works really well.

In the rivers, big bass should have returned to the upper reaches from their yearly spawn downstream. Similar to the lakes, surface fishing should be on fire. I love fishing a weedless frog this time of year, whether it’s a hollow belly or weedless hook rigged plastic frog. A lure that can be placed right in the back of snags and deep into cover where you cannot get a trebled lure can catch the wariest bass.

The recent high water flows over spring will have assisted the bass to get into the furthest reaches. Hiking or kayaking into skinny water far away from the local holes can find you some good fish to be caught.


Dan Clancy with a football yella he took casting a Bassman spinnerbait.


Cicadas work well on summer bass, and Daniel Maurer was pleased with this model.


Jack Maunder nailed this Glenbawn bass on topwater at night.

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