Bass patrolling the edges
  |  First Published: July 2003


July is one of my favourite months to be out on the water. Frosty mornings with the fog rising off the dam are great, and you really appreciate the warmth of the sun when it arrives. One of the biggest benefits of the cold weather is it gets the bass moving in the shallow water.

There have been plenty of scattered and schooled bass towards the ends of both arms of the lake. These fish, which are holding close to the bottom in deeper water, should start to thin out as the thermoclines become less pronounced. If you do find fish holding in the deep water, they can be caught on paddle-tail grubs rigged on 1/2oz jigheads.

The bass that move from the deep water should school up on the edges of the weed. From here, active fish move out of the schools and hunt in shallower water above and around the school, or up in the shallow water around the weed beds. Bait fishers can find this coldest part of the year tough because the bass are feeding on mainly small fish such as gudgeons and gar. The gar become quite lazy in the cold water and are much easier for the bass to feed on.

Casting lures is the best way to catch the active fish patrolling the shallows. Quietly working a bank under the power of an electric motor allows you to cover plenty of water without spooking fish. Lures that work well at this time of year include jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits, soft plastics and Clouser-style flies.

Recently, I’ve had a lot of success using a ripping technique. Throwing a suspending C’ultiva Rip’n Minnow to the weeded edges, I use an erratic retrieve with plenty of pauses. The bass love this stop-start action and will travel quite some distance to nail the lure.


Bjelke has been fishing pretty well, with plenty of fish being taken on bait, soft plastics and a few on spinnerbaits.

Baitfishing in the timber has been scoring plenty of yellowbelly. Quite a few jew are also turning up, as well as the odd bass. Spinnerbaiting the same area will also account for a few fish for those with the know-how. The edges and the deeper trees are worth a try.

There have been plenty of bass holding in the open part of the dam from Bass Point down to the dam wall. These fish have been hot and cold. Locating schools on a quality sounder is important. Look in water between eight and 18 metres deep – the fish should be close to the bottom. Once located, target the fish with soft plastics or ice jigs.

The dam is down to around 30% but there is still plenty of water for safe boating in the main basin. Launching and retrieving boats is still easy as the ramp continues down all the way to the water.


Boondooma has been fishing well, with some of the best action coming on soft plastics.

Scattered bass schools can be found in the open water around the wall, but the majority of fish are turning up further down the lake. Areas around and between the underwater islands and The Junction are worth sounding over. Soft plastics such as Slider Grubs in natural colours are always a top choice. Ice jigs are also worth a try.

The weed edges around the dam have been producing yellowbelly on spinnerbaits, and these lures are also scoring bass from the timber in the Boyne.

Baitfishing the Boyne has also been taking its share of fish, and areas around the first and third markers are worth a go with bait as well. An important tip for this time of year is to keep moving. If you haven’t caught anything after a while, try another area.

If you’re finding the fishing tough or would like to learn more about fishing Bjelke or Boondooma, call Matthew Mott at Burnett Valley Sportfishing on (07) 4168 4811.


The shallow water of Somerset’s banks should continue to fish well throughout July. Spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits have been scoring fish throughout the dam. The fishing can be tough at times, but the size of the fish makes all the effort rewarding when you boat them. Bass and yellowbelly are taking lures fished right up in the shallow water around the submerged (land) weed. I think the concentrations of fish north of Kirkleigh are greater than to the south.

Schooled bass can be found from Queen Street Wide through to Pelican Point. At the time of writing they’ve been hard for most anglers to catch, but they are worth a try if you visit the lake, as they have really fired in winter in previous years. Target these fish with soft plastics and deeply presented flies for best results.


The fishing has been a little slow at Wivenhoe lately. A few big bass have been turning up around Pelican Island, but other likely spots have been fishing tough. Chances are this pattern may change this month, and the activity will pick up. A lot of anglers find success trolling deep diving lures, and another option is casting spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits at the edges of the lake. These techniques produce some well conditioned, monster bass every year.

1) A quality Cressbrook bass taken on a Slider grub rigged on a 1/2oz jighead in the deep water.

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