Report: Gorge country bass

THERE are few more iconic locations for freshwater anglers and Australian bass devotees than the Clarence River Gorge located inland from the town of Grafton on the NSW north coast.

Back when I first fished The Gorge over 20 years ago, access to this famed fishing location was limited and difficult. However, with Neil and Sue Winters – owners of The Gorge property – now providing a range of camping and cabin accommodation options for catch & release bass anglers this means that there has never been a better opportunity for anglers to chase the famed Australian bass in a location renowned for trophy sized fish.

I recently went back to The Gorge for Fishing World to do some bass fishing and have a look at the great accommodation options provided by the Winters family on the property they have owned for over a century. Accompanying me on the trip was my best mate Michael Aubrey, a fine all-round sport fisherman and gun bass angler. On arrival we were greeted with typical bush hospitality by property owner Neil Winters who knows the waters of the gorge like the back of his hand. Amazingly, I only saw him make one cast in the four days we there and he hooked a 44cm bass.

As far as the fishing goes it was nothing short of sensational. We landed plenty of big, hard fighting Australian bass up to a whopping 505mm monster which was a personal best river fish for Mick Aubrey.


While specifically lure fishing for trophy bass we also encountered a number of eastern cod over 60cm which we immediately released as they are a threatened species. Bass anglers fishing the upper reaches of the Clarence are encountering eastern cod in increasing numbers as stocks improve thanks to the successful breeding program which was initially started by Dr Stuart Rowland back in the 1980s.

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Mark Williams with a typical well conditioned Clarence bass, this one fell to a spinnerbait.

We stayed in the “The Shack” which is the cabin available on The Gorge property for visitors. It provides very comfortable accommodation for up to 12 anglers and has kitchen and barbecue facilities, shower, toilet and laundry and overlooks the river. To be honest, we found it positively luxurious as all our previous trips to the upper reaches of the Clarence have involved riverbank camping. For those that prefer to camp there are plenty of great locations near to the river bank with shower facilities and firewood provided for campers. There are also Canadian style canoes available for hire for anglers.

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For more information on camping or accommodation options at the Gorge go to or call 02 6647 2173.

Check out the January Edition of Fishing World for an in-depth feature on the tips, tackle & techniques we used to tackle the big bass of the famed Clarence River Gorge.

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