The dams and rivers will continue to fish very well this month and with the beginning of Autumn the weather is a lot more predictable and enjoyable in the early mornings and the later parts of the day.
I always like to begin with surface lures and then progress to small spinnerbaits and 40-45mm lures.
The Hunter and Paterson rivers produce a good variety of species this month with the lower reaches accounting for flathead, bream, tailor the occasional big bass using 3” Bass Minnows in pearl watermelon. Farther up the system the mullet and bass are very prominent.
I recently have been using the Koolabung Rack Raider fizzer for some 40cm-plus bass along with the Jackall SK Pop, while the local Marz lures in yellow and brown are also working really well cast into cover. Secret Creek 3/8oz spinnerbaits in gold single willow blade with a 2” trailer have also been very productive worked along the edges of the cover as the tide is falling.
Once the tide is about half-way out I like to hop a Jackall Mask or TN 60 along the bottom or use 1/4oz jigs with 2.5” to 3” plastics, preferably with a curly tail such as the Atomic Fat Grub or Berkley Gulp Minnow.
The Williams River is also very productive during Autumn and as the water skiing tapers off you can usually get some river to yourself. Working crankbaits and spinnerbaits along banks with weed and cover is very enjoyable.
Up on the Barrington Tops the trout are being a little co-operative, especially on fly and bait, but they are very hard to get to. All the better locations have to be reached by some hard walking along rugged tracks.
The Hunter dams are just starting to cool down and because the season seems around one month later this year, the pattern for fishing is a little different to 2005 and if we get the rain we need it will also change things around a little.
Lake St Clair fishes really well this time of year and we should see the larger bass and goldens start to get active around some of the better structure and cover as the water begins to cool and the oxygen level starts to rise.
The goldens will still be around the timber in the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook arms. Troll along the deeper sections with lures that run down to eight metres among the timber along the river channels. Good colours to begin with are black/gold, purple/silver and dark green/silver.
Jigging a soft plastic worm or grub or live yabbies or worms down the sides of the trees will entice giant bass and goldens, good silvers and catties.
Past Marches have seen the bass school up in 12- to 15-metre-deep sections and move around so you really need a good sounder to locate these fish and then work out a method to catch them.
In the past, soft plastics on heavy jig heads, usually 5/8oz, have been very successful when rigged with Eco Gear Grass Minnows, Sliders or Berkley Gulps but now vertically dropping Jackall Masks, other heavy lipless crankbaits or ice jigs among the active fish will also produce the goods.
Working around the banks in the very early mornings and late afternoons with crankbaits or stickbaits has also been very productive with the new Squidgy Flick Bait in slick green pattern accounting for some trophy bass. The new colour Jackall TN 60 noike gill has also been very good worked out into the deeper water among the patches of weed.
The first round of the ABT Bass Pro will be at Lake St Clair on March 18 and 19 so anyone interested in competing as a non-boater should ring Simon at ABT and get your entry in. There is so much that you can learn from fishing these events.
Lake Glenbawn is still holding its own but could do with a good influx of water to give it a boost before Winter. March is always a good month for the giant goldens, which they seem to like the cooler water and move around the backs of the bays, where they can be targeted using cast or trolled crankbaits. Those using bait can fish for them off the banks using worms or yabbies.
Those trolling should choose a lure with a nice wide wobble that runs down to around five metres with the Deception Shrimp and AC Invader good examples. Good colours to start with are purple, dark green or yellow – keep changing until you find the colour the fish want.
The bass can be virtually anywhere in the dam but they like to be around cover near the banks early or late in the day, where they can be targeted with spinnerbaits or crankbaits. In the middle of the day they like to hold up in nine to 12 metres but can be in 30 metres, so you will need a good sounder to find them. Drop plastics or Jackalls down among the schools.
A few years ago when we had the first ABT round at Glenbawn in March there were some outstanding catches. But if you are going to target these deep fish, be prepared to needle the fish to stop the it from suffering barotrauma. If you do no know how to do this properly I suggest you unhook the fish without lifting it from the water and release it under the water. If not, it definitely will not survive.
I also like to fish for these bass in the tops of the timber in around 20 to 30 metres by locating the fish in the tops of the trees with my Eagle 2000 colour sounder. Bass or goldens can be easily seen as there is a definite colour of the fish. I then drop a Mask or ice jig down to that depth and hang on.
So I’m not looking at the sounder all the time I drop my jig down to the correct depth and then mark my line with a marker pen so future drops are easier.Reads: 550