Dave’s Top Tips For Macleay River Bass Fishing
- River bass can always be tempted to take a lure, even when they seem to be shut down. Australian bass fishing is about persevering until you figure out the pattern of the day.
- Working your lure too fast can be a mistake. A lot of the better quality bass from 45-54cm fork length seem to fall to lures worked very slowly. Many of Dave’s trophy bass have been taken on surface lures at night worked with long pauses when the lure is not moving.
- The “Kempsey Cast” is something of particular interest in the Macleay and refers to the fact that on warmer days when the bass don’t seem to be on the chew in the typical hard structure they may have moved into open water near weed beds. Make sure you fish all parts of the river for best results, even open water away from structure.
- Don’t overlook the shallow water, which often provides some excellent bass fishing, particularly early in the season.
- Gravel runs between pools often have a little bit of deep water and eddies on one side. Dave recommends parking the canoe, walking down and firing a soft plastic across the run and into the eddies, which often hold great fish.
- Often in the transition from winter to spring the rising water levels see bass moving downstream to spawn. Later in spring they migrate back upstream in numbers and tend to aggregate in the deeper water at the end of a rapid during daylight hours. After dark they move through the gravel runs, so targeting these areas after dark with surface lures is often productive.
- Rising water levels following rain are usually good for bass fishing, even if there is a bit of colour to the water.
- Fish deep when the water is warm, especially when it’s not flowing.
- Dave likes the new moon for Australian bass, especially on the surface. On the full moon he finds the fishing harder and typically finds that spinner baits or hard bodies work better than surface lures.
- Early morning is a good time to fish when the water is really warm as the fish can get lethargic. Use soft plastics and fish them very slowly for best results.
Dave’s Tackle Recommendations For Bass
- Seamo prefers threadline gear to baitcast for this style of fishing and uses high visibility braids to help detect subtle bites.
- A rod of around 7ft with a fairly sensitive tip medium to light spin rods. He couples these with an Abu Garcia Roxani in 3000 size.
- Dave reckons it’s not necessary to go lower than 10lb on the fluorocarbon leader and will go up to 20lb when fishing at night.
Dave’s Best Australian Bass Lures
- The all-time standout lure that’s been super effective on bass for decades is the 3 inch jointed Jitterbug in black colour.
- Smaller soft plastic lures such as grub tails are a great choice for Macleay River bass fishing but Dave particularly likes the Berkley Gulp Shrimp in camo. He fishes the soft plastics on 1/24 to 1/16 oz jig heads with size 1 hooks. These are great bounced along the bottom in deeper pockets through the middle of the day, particularly when the water is warm. Dave often drifts his canoe along the snag side of the river and casts towards the middle of the river.
- Spinnerbaits in the ¼ oz size in black and purple with twin Colorado blades are very effective. Early in the season the willow leaf blades are good and can be worked faster, but later in the season a slow rolled Colorado blade works best. Dave likes a stinger hook on these lures, but removes the stinger in heavy cover to make the lure more snag resistant. These lures are great for covering a lot of water.