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Australian Bass (Maquaria Novemaculatea)

In recent years the popularity of bass fishing has increased mainly due to the stocking programs in our local lakes, creeks and rivers. While taking the name of the renown bass of the Americas, Australian bass are a totally different species of fish that are uniquely Australian.
The natural range extends south from the Mary River in Qld all the way to the southern coast of Victoria. They normally live in the upper tidal reaches of rivers as far upstream as 150 km from the mouths.
On the table bass are rather poor compared to their distant salt water relations, mangrove jack, but are highly regarded for their fighting ability. Their ability to straighten hooks and snag up unweary anglers is attributed to their solid bodies and large paddle tails that produce a lot of power over a short distance.
In recent years, bass have been stocked into nearly all south east Qld lakes. These fish have changes their riverine habits of holding around snags and are more commonly found in open water schools where they actively feed on the millions of bony bream present in most lakes.
The best way of finding these large open water fish is by using a quality depth sounder/fish finder. Once located try using a lure that swims at the fishes level or just above as bass will rise to take a lure or bait but will rarely chase one deeper.
If a sounder hasn't yet made the budget, try trolling lures along steep banks and drop off that are close to submerged river beds and drop-offs. Once a fish is caught, continue to work the same area as there are should be more of them around.
There is a Queensland bag limit of two bass per person in possession and a minimum size limit of 30 cm.

Garry Fitzgerald.

A thumping Australian Bass


Copyright© 2001 Garry Fitzgerald. Sweetwater Fishing Australia