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Cooler days, schooling bass
  |  First Published: March 2005



This is one of the better months for fishing weather: The days become cooler as the sun loses a lot of its intensity and the mornings and evenings become crisp.

The Hunter and Paterson rivers continue to fish reasonably well this month with some good bass to be caught up around Aberdeen on fly and small lures. Brown Koolabung Cicadas have been snaring some really nice fish. There are also some good numbers of mullet to be caught on dough.

The Williams will also produce some nice bass as the water skiers begin to disappear. Small spinnerbaits, Beetle Spins and 40mm crankbaits worked along the edges of the reeds should be effective.

Up at the Barrington Tops the trout have been active, especially on fly, but they are still very hard to get to because all the better tracks are closed off.

Up the Hunter Valley, the dams start to cool down this month, allowing the fish to rise in the water column. It would also be good to see some rainfall which would allow the dams to rise a little.

Lake St Clair fishes really well this time of year and we should see larger bass and goldens taking lures and the catfish still liking worms.

Those trolling will need to work the deep banks and river bed sections up both the arms, using lures that run down to about six metres. Dark colours should be a starting point and, as the day progresses, move to shades of green and brown.

Late into the afternoon move onto the edges using spinnerbaits of around 1/4oz to 3/8oz in green shad or purple shad colours. The last hour will be usually the most productive.

A live shrimp or yabby bobbed around the timber, especially in the Carrowbrook Arm, will definitely be productive.

Last Autumn I had a lot of success using a black/gold TN60 Jackall, working it along the banks. But, now that a lot of people have been using them over Summer, the fish might be a little shy of these rattlers.

GLENBAWN GOLDENS

Lake Glenbawn is still holding its own but it would be very good to see plenty of snow up at the tops this Winter to raise the dam before Spring.

During March the golden perch will be holding among timber all around the dam but will also be around the backs of the bays. Bait-fishing around the timber with yabbies or worms in around 10 metres is a good start. Then trolling along the edges that lead to the backs of the bays is a good way to target them.

For those chasing bass this month it can be a little harder as the fish move down the dam and like to hold in the deeper water where they prepare to school up. They like to be in around 10 to 15 metres and can be in open water or adjacent to submerged timber or peaks so finding these fish can take some very careful use of a good sounder and a lot of patience.

Trollers should work along the deep drop-offs using lures that run down to around nine metres and heavy spinnerbaits from 3/4oz to 1oz with downsized blades will also get you down to that depth. I have had good success with the Greenfish and AusSpin ranges.

The schools that you find in the more open sections of the dam will be very eager to take plastics such as the Bass Minnow or Slider worked on about 3kg line with a very sensitive rod. At this depth it is a very soft bite and also you need to use just enough weight in the jig to get you to the depth that the bass are holding.

Sometimes when fishing these schools it is not uncommon for the fish to go off the bite after you catch a few so I then mark them on the GPS and come back later.

Another method to target these deep fish is to slowly work a Jackall Mask Vibe 60 in the strike zone by counting it down and let the natural action do the work.

Although Glenbawn now has enormous fishing pressure, it continues to produce some excellent fishing but will continue to do so only while we keep releasing the fish to swim another day.

Don’t forget that the first round of the ABT is on Lake St Clare on March 19 and 20 so come and have a go or check out the weigh-in each day.

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