A top season ahead
  |  First Published: November 2009

With Summer really starting to kick in and things being around a month late this year, it looks like being a very good season for the local rivers and impoundments.

Up in the Barrington Tops there have been some nice trout caught but it appears every year it is getting harder to get to the better fishing areas. The recent stockings should be very successful and there is plenty of flow in the streams and insect activity.

The bass have been really firing in the Hunter River from Morpeth right down to the Junction with the occasional flathead and nice bream.

The bass have been smashing surface lures just on sunrise and sunset, particularly on a rising tide.

There are plenty of these lures available today but I like the Trollcraft Bass Bug in the lower price range along with my favourite Heddon Tiny Torpedo. In the upper range the Lucky Craft Sammy and Jackall SK Pop are excellent.

Another lure I have been having great success with is the Strike Pro Mini Toad in pattern 811. I work it right up around the willows.

After sunrise, lures that run down around 1m to 2m are good, along with blades or lipless crankbaits. I work them around submerged cover or shady banks.

Colours like very bright green or gold tend to reflect a lot of flash and seem to afford a bigger silhouette.

Spinnerbaits, soft plastics and Bass Spins also work very well in the deeper sections. These are best worked right on the bottom where there are prawns – a bass’s favourite food.

This month is also a very good time to hit the mullet, armed with one of the many traditional dough recipes or very fresh white bread.


The Williams River is also fishing well, especially up around Clarencetown.

Although the bass in this system can be relatively small, they are in excellent numbers. At a recent conference I & I Fisheries managers stated the Williams has the highest density of bass per area in NSW.

Any lures 40mm long which run reasonably shallow are all that is required here. The deep Jackall Chubby is a very good option for casting and trolling.

At Lake St Clair, although the bait and lure fishing has been good over the past month, things can get only better as the water warms further and the baitfish, shrimp, bass, goldens and catties hit a peak.

The dam is holding at a fairly constant level so there are some nice banks and cover to fish. Some good weed is appearing in the Carrowbrook and Fallbrook arms.

The shrimp and baitfish are starting to move around these areas and the bass are best targeted very early with surface lures.

‘As soon as the sun comes over the hill, then progress to lipless crankbaits, blades, plastics or spinnerbaits.

The majority of the bass caught in this dam now average 36cm so I have found a lot better catches come when I downsize my lures.

Where I was using Jackall TN60s a year or so ago, I am now using TN50s. With blades I have come back from 50mm to 40mm, my plastics now carry 1/0 hooks and I use more compact spinnerbaits of around 3/8 oz with 1/0 hooks.

Lure colour selection can be difficult. Last year there was quite a bit of algae in the dam so dark, solid colours worked well but if St Clair remains very clear then the more translucent patterns are better. Jerkbait-style neutrally buoyant lures are a very good choice.


On those really still days, when you see the bass schooled up and suspended around or just below the thermocline, try jigging plastics on very light leaders, ice jigs or even blades.

Trolling can be good on still days, especially in the Broadwater and Fallbrook areas. Use lures that get down around 6m to 7m – Stuckeys, AC Invaders and Vikings in solid patterns.

If you’re coming to St Clair or Glenbawn for a fish this month, try to pick a day or two when the barometer is steady or rising. In past years when the barometer hits 1030hPa, a mate and I have accounted for around 100 bass in an eight-hour session.

I recently acquired a few interesting results on the bass in St Clair and Glenbawn.

When put into dams fingerlings are around 10mm to 12mm and in one year they grow to around 80mm. In six to 10years they’re around 20cm to 300cm and it takes around 14 years for them to get to a kilo and 20 to 22 years to reach the magic 50cm.


Lake Glenbawn has been fishing fairly consistently and should do so into next year.

This month we see the water begin to reach 24° to 26°, which makes the bass and goldens very active and the schools of smelt and gudgeons appear in large numbers.

These bait schools move into the shallows in low-light periods and the bass hunt them and then move back into deeper cover as the sun rises. I always note these areas and return later in the day but out in the adjacent deeper water.

Always start off very early with surface lures or shallow runners and progress to deeper presentations of lures, blades or spinnerbaits.

The lower sections of the dam, especially the main basin and the wall, are worth a troll with lures that run at around 4m. Purple is a good selection to appeal to the golden perch.

From Yellow Buoy Bay up to lost Island is good for casting crankbaits or spinnerbaits to the edges. This area is also good for trolling but there is a lot of hidden structure so you will need to keep an eye on your sounder.

The back of the dam, north of the Soil Con shed, is also fishing well. Bait is working around the timber and deep walls, while lures do well along the river’s edge and banks where there is plenty of cover.

This area has been fishable only in recent months as the dam rose.

Glenbawn can get really rough in December with strong south-easterly winds often after lunch and heavy rain from Summer storms so keep an eye on the forecast.

Last month at Glenbawn we had an exclusive sneak peek at the Lowrance LSS-1 Structurescan sonar-imaging module and I hope to do a full report in coming months.

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