Quality catches on the cards
  |  First Published: December 2009

For the rest of Summer the fishing should continue to be really good.

There have been some decent catches in Glenbawn and St Clair dams, while all the local rivers produced good numbers of bass and mullet.

At the Barrington Tops there have been some reasonable numbers of trout caught, on lure, fly and bait, thanks to a combination of favourable conditions and successful stockings.

The local waterways around Morpeth have been firing for bass on lures and there have been plenty of mullet taken on dough.

The bass are best targeted very early in the day with surface lures or very shallow lures worked tight to the cover and given plenty of time to settle so the bass can home in on them.

It’s smart to let the tide carry the lure under overhanging branches. Two of my favourite lures for this are the Jitterbug Jnr in green/yellow and the Jackall Shallow Chubby in ayu pattern.

As the sun gets up, you are better off fishing deeper lures in the 3m to 4m sections, especially where there is an eddy or some weed on the bottom. This is where 50mm lipless crankbaits and 40mm blades work fine when allowed to settle right on the bottom before a lift and pause retrieve.

Up at Clarencetown, the Williams River has been fishing well for bass with the area up around the camping ground very productive and also away from the skiers. This is a good spot for crankbaits, Beetle Spins and small spinnerbaits.

Lake St Clair is around 75% and has been producing some nice catches bass, silvers and catfish. There is some good weed forming to provide good cover for the shrimps and gudgeons.

Every form of spinning will get you onto the fish in January. I always like to get out there early with surface lures and jerkbaits, then progress to lipless crankbaits and blades as the day progresses and the fish move deeper.

On a still, hot day you will have to target the 8m to 10m deep sections with jigs or plastics, especially around the drop-offs, old river channels and around the island.

Surface lures can be poppers, fizzers or square-bibbed wake baits. Colours can vary but I always like the clear patterns to begin with.


Bass can hear or sense a wide range of movement over considerable distances and their sight is sharp at feeding distance. I have seen a bass nail a lure as it hits the water.

On a recent visit to a bass hatchery it was impressive to see them virtually jump out of the tank to hit the prawns they were fed.

Because of the noise a lure transmits, it can bring responses from bass quite a distance off but up close, movement of the lure makes it hard for the bass to scan for detail.

I think a wobbling lure builds up a definite beat, and the right shape and size can bring a more definite response, so it does matter that it resembles some form of what the bass are feeding on.

So colour selection is vital.

The right colour may assist a fish to zero in on the lure if it contrasts with the surroundings, which is why the addition of black tiger stripes can make a considerable difference. The stripes make it more visible in a wider range of water conditions, from cloudy to clear.

Bass are naturally alert and discriminating in their food choices, which can encompass cicadas, grasshoppers or other insects.

Lure colours for this month are predominantly dark, especially purple, and if trolling they will need to get down around 6m to 7m in depth and should have a rattle.

Another area to fish these days is in around timber in 10m of water using plastics or bait dropped down alongside the main trunks.

Bait is always very rewarding during Summer, especially for some of those giant catfish on worms.


Lake Glenbawn is usually fairly tough this month as there are plenty of boats out on the water, but with the dam around 75% there should be ample spots to fish without hindering other anglers.

It’s a good idea to get out early. If the south-easters hit they usually arrive around 11am and it can be quite unpleasant coming back into it in the afternoon.

The catchment has received a few top-ups over past months and is looking good for the rest of Summer. There are some good banks to fish along and there some weed us starting to mature and should hold fish.

Quite a few holidaymakers use bait for the prolific catfish from the banks adjacent to the camping area and around the main basin. The catties are partial to worms along with odd bass, golden and silver willing to take a grasshopper or yabby.

Some good goldens have come from along the dam wall on trolled purple deep-divers with a wide sway.

Surface lures will produce some nice bass around sunset and sunrise, especially around Yellow Buoy Bay and The Narrows.

There are plenty of bass to target with ice jigs in the deeper sections up the back of the dam and around the open banks and bays with lipless crankbaits, blades and Bass-Spins.

Remember, it can get hot out on the water so be well prepared and keep an eye on the weather forecast.

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