Big Bad Bass in the Woods
  |  First Published: December 2002

DURING the years that I’ve been guiding on Clarrie Hall Dam, I’ve had some memorable days fishing around the timber margins. Catches of more than 100 fish by novice anglers were the norm, and the abundant fish were particularly aggressive when fished for with lures.

Clarrie Hall bass still love the timber, especially now that so much of the lily pad cover is gone. In this timber, the QFM editor and other bass anglers have been getting severely busted up on 20lb braid, so I recommend packing your best spinnerbaits away unless you have a Japanese fairy godmother.

The best of the timber is in the many gullies around the dam. The back of the island a short run from Cram’s Farm also has plenty of timber to keep you busy. Heavier line classes are a smart way to go at the moment. Casting deep into a tangled mess of timber is a certain recipe for a hook up, so be prepared!

Spinnerbaits can be fished hard around the timber at varying depths. Colour doesn’t seem to matter much, and neither does the type of retrieve you use. Dropping the lure deep and burning it back will work as well as slow rolling through the timber.

My choice of head size is 3/8oz, with the blades usually smaller, and the added weight means I can work the lure a little faster. There are plenty of aggressive bass, so stingers aren’t necessary.

If someone tells you that one spinnerbait colour is better than another, I reckon they’re leading you up the garden path. Adding some catch scent or similar would be more likely to make a difference. If I had to give a colour recommendation I’d opt for a reflective scale pattern, but it’s not that important.

Crankbaits are fishing well in the timber too, and the small crawdads and fat-bodied lures are also producing the goods. If the light levels are low it’s worth throwing a fizzer or small popper this month. I’ve had some great surface action in the timber over the years.

I also recommend the Ecogear Grass minnow rigged weedless. It’s excellent for subtle presentations, and the enticing tail vibrations and slight body roll are dynamite on bass.

Don’t be complacent when fishing the wood, because there’s still enough tall timber to do some damage. Be careful when manoeuvring your boat – one good bump and you could have half a ton of tree topple on you.

Remember that this dam is ‘electric only’, with no outboards or fuel allowed. You’ll need a NSW license to fish here, and bag limits apply. The water is low at the moment and the ramp at Crams can be soft at times, so check it out before going in too far.

Good luck!

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