Bass getting hungry
  |  First Published: April 2005

This is usually a very good time for fishing – it’s the middle of Autumn and the last month with an R in it, as an old tale about the best bass fishing stipulates.

The bass seem to start to feed up as the water temperature drops and the oxygen level rises, increasing the fishes’ metabolism rates. Down around the lower Hunter and Paterson rivers the water is starting to clean up after some of the recent rain up the valley and the bass will be moving down the systems in preparation for spawning.

They tend to feed up before this occurs, making for some very good fishing. During this period small lures (around 45mm) are very productive with yellow and brown an excellent colour to begin with.

The Williams River also fishes well above and below the weir and while small crankbaits also work well here, small 1/4oz spinnerbaits worked along the edge of the reeds or in among the timber about two hours either side of sunset and sunrise have given some good results. Try a purple skirt and single willow blade.


Lake St Clair will really fire well this month. As the water temperature falls the fish will become very active, moving around the dam seeking the schools of smelt to gorge on before Winter drops the water below 18°.

A good pattern is to work the edges of the banks, especially where there is plenty of fresh weed, with spinnerbaits and crankbaits early in the day and then go out around the deeper water as the sun rises.

Last season I had some good success in the cooler water jigging Lake Police Mask 60s along the deeper banks adjacent to rocks and big trees. Because the water in this dam is very clear, I find if I’m using spinnerbaits that a single willow blade and very light skirt colours are best worked very slowly right from the bank and through the weed.

Good crankbait colours here are always the darker hues such as purple or black. Bait fishing is also a good option with worms the pick for catties, bass, goldens and now some really good-sized silvers. Two seasons ago Craig Simmons won the ABT Grand Final at St Clair using spinnerbaits around the banks; his bag was six fish for 12kg.


Lake Glenbawn has been fishing well and should continue to as the water starts to drop to around 18°. Worms or yabbies in close to the trees around the bottom of the dam in around nine metres will be very rewarding for some giant silvers, catties and goldens.

Trolling along the wall area and around the eastern foreshore with deep-diving crankbaits has also proven very productive. Some good lures to try are Ferral Catts, AC Invaders and Koolabungs. Any of the darker colours are a good option early and as the day progresses, come back to more natural greens and other colours.

Because this is the transition time for bass they might take some finding but by using a good sounder they can be located usually in quite large schools holding anywhere in the lower reaches unless the dam receives a lot of rain – then they can be anywhere in the system.

The bass tend to like the deeper water and move around at the depth at which they are most comfortable, which in the past has been around nine to 12 metres. This requires really deep lures or jigging plastics, ice jigs, lipless crankbaits or the Jackall Mask, which were all designed for this style of fishing.

The goldens can be quite hard to find this month but in some of the bays towards the back of the dam they can be spun up using conventional or lipless crankbaits. I have heard favourable reports from those trolling Jackall lures very slowly but the problem has been that they are very expensive to replace and that they do not float.

The best way out of this is to replace the bottom split rings with Ultimate Luresaver titanium ones. These are marketed by Gary Shipton and are designed to release the treble when it snags up, recovering the lure. I have tried them and they are excellent at saving lures of any description so go along to your tackle shop and get some. They cost a few dollars but when using such expensive lures you’ll soon recoup the outlay.

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