The nice thing about bass fishing in stocked impoundments is that we don’t have to stop fishing for them during the cooler months. While these fish still get the urge to breed, they’re inability to access saltwater means they can’t successfully complete their life cycle. Despite being stocked, they still exhibit wild behaviour, such as schooling in deep water when the mercury drops. These large schools offer anglers the chance to fish to large concentrations of big bass, and for some, this is an event worth waiting for.
One of the most important pieces of equipment to have aboard is a quality sounder. If you’re fishing in an area without any schools of bass, you might as well not be fishing at all! Being able to interpret what is happening on the screen and discerning fish from other clutter is a very important skill to have.
Fishing to schooled bass can take a bit of trial and error, as they can sometimes be fixated on a certain bait type and only respond to certain lures. With that said, it can sometimes just be a matter of putting something into the school and waiting for a hook-up.
The most common types of lures called upon for this style of fishing are spoons, jigs, blades, soft plastics and tail spinners. Luckily for you, there’s a stack of these lure types available in today’s market, but there are a few that stand out from the pack.
For spoons, the Halco Twisty, despite not being designed for this purpose, is a great way to imitate bait species like bony bream and smelt in bass impoundments, and fished close to the bottom with either long lifts or a slow wind, has been the undoing of many trophy bass. Micro jigs such as the Storm Gomoku Micro Jig can also tempt schooling bass, especially if you find yourself fishing vertically for them.
Blades are an excellent tool for tempting these fish, and the Ecogear ZX Series Blade in both the 35 and 40mm sizes are great for particularly timid biters. Fished with small hops, they can tempt even the fussiest eaters.
If you’d like to give tail spinners a go, the Black Magic Spinsect works great when cast through a school and fished with long, slow draws to bring the lures through the school, before being allowed to fall seductively back to the bottom.
Deep schooling bass can be found in impoundments such as Somerset, Wivenhoe, Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen in Queensland, as well as Glenbawn and St Clair in NSW. The size of the bass in these places has to be seen to be believed at times, and anyone chasing an elusive 50cm bass should add this style of fishing to their to-do list!
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