Bass are hungry and lively
  |  First Published: December 2005

Now that Summer has really kicked in, the fishing in the rivers in the lower Hunter and in the impoundments up the valley is really firing.

The bass have been attacking everything from spinnerbaits to crankbaits and plastics in the Hunter and Paterson rivers lately and although a lot of these fish are only, small there are also some fish over 40cm.

Any of the smaller lures in green or yellow that run down around two metres will catch these fish in the brighter part of the day. Surface lures and poppers work in the low light of early morning and late afternoon.

The small Secret Creek spinnerbait in purple/white with willow blades is also producing, along with Beetle Spins and Bass Spins with 3” grubs attached.

Along with the bass there are some excellent flathead caught using lures that bounce along the bottom and on grubs worked along the bottom on 1/4oz jig heads on the sandy flats.

There is also an abundance of mullet that will take dough under a float.

The Williams River will also produce some excellent catches of bass during December but it’s popular with the water skiers so get out early.

This system does not have a lot of bankside cover but it has some really good reedy shores where spinnerbaits and lures can be worked.

Up at the Barrington Tops the action has been fairly slow but I am sure that this month will see the trout come into play when warm days spark some hatches.

Up the valley, both the dams are fishing well but be aware that this month is when the dreaded south-easterlies start to blow in the afternoon.


Lake St Clair will be good for bait, trolling or casting and as Summer appears to be late this year it might not get as hot as it can normally be. Now that the water is over 20° the baitfish and shrimp are in good numbers, making the silver perch, goldens, bass and catfish active around the weed and structure in the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook reaches.

Dropping shrimp, yabbies or worms around the timber in 10 metres will earn you bass, goldens and the occasional catty and silver.

Because the water level is still fairly low there are not a lot of big weed beds but there is still plenty in close to the banks where spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits are accounting for nice fish.

The water is quite clear so it pays to move to the deeper structure as the day unfolds. Working spinnerbaits or Jackalls on the bottom is a good option with a lot good fish caught using the Jackall Mask 60 or 70, which have a fast sink rate.

I like to use is to cast out and let the bait sink to the bottom and retrieve in short bursts, keeping the lure as close to the bottom as possible.

Trolling can also be a good option in the middle of the day. Use the sounder to locate the bass or goldens holding in the six to 10 metres and then use a lure that will get down to that depth.

The Feralcatt is excellent to target these deep fish and I have recently had success with the new AC Invader Ultra Deep with rattles, in colours 51, 42, and 44.

Early last Summer Chris Ingle and I caught and released over 100 bass on Jackalls and Eco Gear lures in a morning, working the edges of the weed under a rising barometer. If the barometer starts to fall or a change is coming, switch to 3/8oz jigs with Berkley Bass Minnows.

The Singleton Flyfishing Club and NSW Fisheries placed 95,000 bass fingerlings into the St Clair with more to come later from the dollar-for-dollar funding scheme and stockings of silver and golden perch to follow.


Lake Glenbawn will live up to its reputation this month and although there is a lot of pressure from competitions on this system nowadays, it still has some good fishing.

As the water temperature has just about peaked, schools of gudgeons and smelt are abundant, making for some excellent fishing.

Because the dam is very low, not a lot of weed has formed around the edges so the fish will have to be located in the deeper parts of structure, where a good sounder makes it easy to find them. I like to run my Eagle Seachamp 2000 on about 85% sensitivity and when the fish are located, you can then assess the method to catch them. You should be able to see if the fish are in among the baitfish or holding off cover, which is sometimes the case on really hot, still days.

Early in the day it is a good idea to fish around the banks with lures and spinnerbaits. As the day progresses, move out to the deeper structure, especially if there is some good cover.

This month the better fish tend to come from around the middle section of the dam and up into the timber around the back of the dam, especially if we get some good storms or more rain.

It’s rewarding to work blue/pearl or green /pearl 3/8oz spinnerbaits or black/gold lipless crankbaits around the banks early. In a session there last Summer with Chris Ingle we caught 108 bass before lunch, when the southerly blew up.

Trolling is also very productive after locating fish on the sounder. Lures must get down to the depth where fish are and darker shades of purple, green or black are good.

Fishing for catties is always good with worms and yabbies along the bank on the eastern foreshore. Try around the trees in about nine metres with yabbies, crickets or grasshoppers for a feed of goldens, silvers and bass.

At the end of October 127,000 bass fingerlings were distributed in Lake Glenbawn with some more from the dollar-for-dollar scheme to follow.

Lake Glenbawn and Lake St Clair have excellent facilities for those who wish to spend time there but if you intend doing so over the holiday period, it can get very busy so make the necessary bookings.

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