FREEING mornings, westerly winds, high pressure systems – sounds like the winter miseries, but not so at Lake Samsonvale. These are the usual indicators that the big bass will be on the move.
After a quiet autumn, the early cold snap in May heralded in a brief rush of solid bass which led local anglers to believe this was the start of the full winter run. It proved to be a false start, however, as warmer weather in June slowed the onset. At that stage there were still lots of smaller fish, particularly around shallower weed beds.
The cold weather in late June heralded the real run of big fish. Good catches followed immediately, including multiple 50cm-plus fish. This year these large fish have been schooling more than in previous years, so it’s not uncommon to pick up quantities of these tackle-busters by working an area showing schooling fish on the sounder. Don’t be surprised to pick up a dozen or more 50cm fish out of the same school.
Some previous winter patterns have also emerged, with larger fish holding in deeper water, down to 10m or more. This is the time to bring out those deep diving lures and downrigs I’ve discussed in previous Fishing Monthly articles [you can view past reports at fishingmonthly.com.au in the Archives section).
Anglers have had some interesting experiences with lure colours this year. In the past, dark colours such as black and purple have been most popular. This season, lighter colours (chartreuse, golds, whites) seem to be more productive. Some anglers are also reporting good success on reds. Whatever colour you use, make sure the lure has a good rattle – the noisier the better.
The lake currently has extensive weed beds – much more than in recent years. This has resulted from the very low water levels of early summer, and these beds provide good cover, particularly for smaller fish. Working the beds with livebaits, spinners, plastics and so forth will produce results, as will trolling shallower lures along the edges. Be prepared to constantly clear your lures of weeds, as there is also a lot of suspended weed out from the main banks.
The permit scheme, which allows boating access to the lake, is well supported this year, and the funds generated by this will ensure a good stocking program for 2004-05. Permits are still available at local bait and tackle stores, or you can get one direct from the Pine Rivers Fish Management Association by phoning 0417 742 023 or emailing --e-mail address hidden--
1) PRFMA member Bill Heang with a healthy winter bass.Reads: 497