Somerset Dam Bass
Dean "Hollywood" Silvester
Dean is one of Australia’s most successful bass tournament fishermen with numerous Bass Champion and Angler of The Year Titles. Since 2013 he’s been a familiar face on the televised Australian Fishing Championships and has won all three categories: Bass, Bream and Barra. If that’s not enough, Dean is now having a tilt at the US Bassmaster Elite Series.
Dean’s Top Tips For Somerset Dam Bass
- “Speed Kills”. Dean finds bass respond to speed, especially when they have had a swipe at a lure and think it might be getting away. When this happens, speeding up the retrieve can result in a strike when slowing down would result in missed fish.
- Bass don’t like water pressure. Bigger fish tend to be in shallower water.
- The Spit, Pelican Point (about 1/3 up the dam from the ramp), Queen Street (2/3 up the ramp) and Kirkleigh Flats near the Kirkleigh boat ramp are the places where the bass are congregated 95% of the time.
- Somerset bass undergo false spawning runs, which keeps them close to the original river bed most of the time. From there they spill onto the long flats adjacent to the river beds where they congregate and feed. These flats are the prime locations to target, with water depth at which fish hold varying with season. Use the side scan feature of your sounder to find fish without motoring over them.
- This system is a “Gentlemens Hours” lake. While there can be hot bites early in the morning, the majority of fish are caught during the respectable hours from 9am to 5pm is the best time to fish.
- Perfect conditions for Somerset bass fishing are bright, sunny days with a breeze of around 10 knots.Still conditions or Southerly winds are not so productive.
- It’s a mistake to size down lures if you’re missing bites in Somerset. With bony bream being the main forage, large lures tend to get hit harder and give a better success rate.
- Don’t stay on fish for too long if they’re not feeding. Move on to the next school until you find active fish and concentrate your efforts on those schools.
- Somerset bass are aggressive and are nor leader shy, so use lines and leaders that can handle the weight of the spoons you’ll be casting.
Dean’s Bass Tackle Recommendations
- This style of bass fishing is all about throwing heavy metal spoons, so the gear tends to be a bit heavier than would normally be used on bass, to cope with the casting weights. Dean uses surf rods and large reels to give maximum casting distance and faster retrieves needed to fully exploit the spoon fishing opportunities.
- A Dobyns 743 Champion Extreme (7 ft 4, 8-17lb) and a 4000 or 5000 size Quantum Smoke Speed Freak spinning reel is a good combination. The 5000 size reel is preferred in the warmer months when longer casts and higher speed retrieves are most important.
- A 9 ft 9 Palms Shore Casting rod designed for casting metal spools, combined with a 5000 size reel gives Dean massive casting distance, which can make a real difference for keeping the lure close to the bottom and running horizontal.
- Sunline Siglon PE braided line in 1 PE (16lb) is the norm, with a 12-16lb fluorocarbon leader (typically 14lb) compete the outfit.
Dean’s Best Bass Lures For Somerset Dam
- Palms Slow Blatt Cast spoon is made of zinc and has a slower sink rate than the other lures Dean uses. This lure is a good choice when fish are showing on the sounder as being stacked up 20 or 30 feet (or more) deep – by working it vertically through stacked fish it can be used to find what depth the fish are feeding at.In use, the lure is cast long and allowed to fall to the bottom on a free spool, which keeps the line falling vertically. The lure is then worked by slow rolling or medium pacing the lure back up. The idea is to work the lure up to the top of the school and then free spool back to the bottom.
- Palms Slow Blatt Wide spoons are used when the fish aren’t stacked but are showing as schooling near the bottom, typically during the colder months. The lure is cast long, allowed to fall on a tight line until it’s at the bottom. It’s then slow rolled for 5 or so cranks and then allowed to sink back to bottom. If it takes more than a couple of seconds for the lure to reach bottom during the pause, you’re not in the zone.
- Palms Slow Blatt Slim spoons are used during the warmer months when the fish are aggregating but are not stacked up, often over the thermocline. It is important to figure out what depth the fish are holding at and fish your lure at speed through the school, promoting competition between fish. Cast long and let the lure sink to the bottom on a tight line, then crank hard for 4-5 turns before opening the bail and letting it sink again. Rinse and repeat – bite most commonly occur just when you open the bail, so watch for unnatural line movement and be prepared to engage the fish.
EJ Todd Fishing Solutions. Importers and wholesalers of Snowbee waders, Sunline, Maria Lures, Luckycraft Lures and Live Target Lures
Tonic Eyewear Australia take care of Dean’s polarised eyewear needs, with their distortion free, photochrmoatioc lenses!
Navico supplies Dean with the Lowrance sounders that are so critical to finding fish and determining what lure to fish and how.
Motackle takes care of Dean’s gear for tournament and personal fishing.