Wrestling bass out of the weeds
  |  First Published: October 2003

THE OUTBREAK of Salvinia weed has affected much of the shoreline throughout the middle and lower reaches of the dam. This floating weed can choke waterways if not kept in check. The native and South African lily pads that normally grow along the shorelines are all but dead throughout the areas mentioned. The shire council has taken the outbreak seriously and have mobilised to eradicate the problem.

Fortunately there are still plenty of locations that are unaffected. The small arms in the dam and certainly the upper reaches are fishing brilliantly. I have enjoyed fishing weedless rigged soft plastics over the weed beds. The clear, still water makes for some great sub-surface strikes that are clearly visible. A missed strike or swirl under the lure can easily be converted to a strike on the next cast. Wrestling bass out of thick weed is lots of fun. Medium sized EcoGear Grass Minnows, Padtues and the single-tail Paramax have all been top performers for me lately.

The other technique also involves plastics, with the addition of a beetlespin blade attached to a 1/8 or 1/4oz head and a small single-tail plastic. Most fish have been caught hard against the weed line or against the rafts of grass that grow into the water from the banks. Bass love this type of vegetation to hunt in. The technique makes for some explosive strikes from the fish, which usually take the lure in the first few turns of the reel. I’ve had the most success on silver blades and 1/4oz heads, with greens being the preferred tail colour. As the light fades late in the day, I recommend switching to a lighter head to fish slightly shallower.

The river’s freshwater reaches have been fishing well for bass, with reports of fish up to 53cm. Most though are juvenile males having escaped during the deluge in autumn and early winter. The region abounds with excellent freshwater areas in which to paddle a canoe, and there are plenty of unspoilt locations to fish. A map of the local area and its creeks will supply enough locations to fill a month of Sundays so go to it.

Last month I reported some unsavoury fishing practises by anglers who plundered holed-up fish below the dam wall. They took home cricket score catches of bass and word of their actions spread through the area like a wildfire, their identity no longer a secret. People weren’t impressed.

As a result of the greed and vandalism of a few, the council has erected locked gates just after the turn-off to the dam, denying access after dark.

1) The guys from EcoGear love bass fishing in Australia! They are keen to develop hard-bodied lures and soft plastics specifically for the Australian fishery.

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