The Bass are Back
  |  First Published: April 2006

It’s amazing just how quickly things can turn around in the fishing world.

Earlier in the year I reported that bass in Bullen Merri hadn’t showed in the numbers that locals had hoped for. The ABT BASS tournament at Bullen Merri only produced four fish and then came the hot, still weather of early March.

Within a week local anglers began taking good numbers of bass from 24 to 38cm. These fish are in great condition and have been taken on a range of methods. Soft plastics and hard-bodied lures from both the bank and boats have been catching their share of fish.

With local flyfishing guide and fly tier Murray Wilson living right on the lake there have also been plenty of bass falling to flies.

A lot of anglers catching bass are holding the fish in tanks or keeper nets and releasing the fish at the end of their sessions. It’s great to see the catch and release attitude but it also serves a second purpose. Bass have a habit of going quiet if a fish is lost or released during a hot bite.

Scott Gray reports that in early March bass were biting well in all their usual haunts, on the rocky points and drop-offs. On one day over 100 bass, between 20 and 38cm, were caught by a handful of anglers, which goes to show how well the fishery has developed. Most were legal size and the larger bass were well over 1kg. Hard-bodied deep diving lures, Jackalls, soft plastics and flies have all been effective.

The salmon in Bullen Merri have continued taking baits suspended just above the bottom. Fish to 2.5kg have been taken but fish from 1 to 1.3kg have been more common. Anglers using downriggers and trolling in the proximity of the aerators should also find reasonable numbers of fish.

Purrumbete has been very frustrating with good numbers of large fish chasing smelt all over the lake. As these smelt start to move in along weeds and the bank in the next couple of months, the action should really heat up.

Redfin have proved a good standby in Purrumbete and while the warm weather continues, anglers fishing close to the weeds with mudeyes under floats will take an odd brown mixed in with their reddies.

Wurdibuloc is another lake that has been fishing well and should continue to do so in autumn. Late evenings with either mudeyes under floats along the east bank or flies along the south side will see you into some smaller rainbows. If you’re lucky the chance of hooking into a very big brown may also arise.

Local rivers, although low, are still worth a look for blackfish in the evenings. Crickets are a good bait during April because they’re at their most prolific down this way.

Autumn tends to offer settled weather and with the possibility of bass in Bullen Merri and browns hunting the shallows in Purrumbete, now is a good time to head west.

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