Australian bass (Macquaria novemaculeata) are a small to medium sized Australian native fish. They are an extremely popular angling target, due to the variety of methods in which they can be caught and for how well they fight for their size.
Australian bass can be found in the coastal rivers and streams from the area in and around Bundaberg in Queensland to Wilson Promontory in Victoria. As well as being found in these rivers and streams they are also stocked in numerous lakes, dams and impoundments in a similar range along the East coast of the country.
Fishing in these stocked impoundments is permitted all year round, while a closed season applies at certain times of the year in each state in the rivers and streams (please check your local rules and regulations). Please also check licence requirements, bag and size limits.
Most angling methods apply when targeting Australian bass. Freshwater shrimp and garden worms are the most popular baits. The best locations to use them are near structure (timber, weed, rocks etc) close to deeper water. Fish them using an appropriate sized hook and as small a sinker as possible, as near to the structure as possible. It pays to keep moving around until you find fish.
The sky is the limit for lure and fly anglers. Bass are an ambush feeder and will use the structure mentioned to hide in and wait for food to swim past. Lures (crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, soft plastics, blades, spoons and surface lures) cast or trolled around these types of structure can initiate a strike from a bass. They tend to hit these lures with great vigor so ensure you have the appropriate gear to stop the fish from getting back to the structure.
Bass are also known to school during the cooler months of the year in the lakes and impoundments, allowing them to be targeted in deeper water. Trolling is a popular method to catch these fish as well as slow rolling soft plastics, spoons or vibes through the schools of fish.