The Australian Bass is strong and built for speed and stealth.


It’s colored dark olive-green or greyish on the back and sides with darker scale margins. Looking down on the Australian Bass, you’ll notice it’s very well camouflaged and blends well with the bottom rocks and mud. The shine off the water makes it even more difficult to see them.


Their belly is silvery or whitish and the fins are mostly dusky brown to black while the tips of the anal and pelvic fins are white.


Juvenile fish have a different color pattern. Those that are under 12cm (4.7 inches) long are banded and have a dark blotch on the gill cover. This is of course lost as they age or grow past 12cm long.


The pectoral fin appears thicker than most fish, but gives it better control in the water to move quickly while maintaining stability.


The Australian Bass has an evenly arched dorsal profile, a snout that is straight or slightly concave and a forked caudal fin. It has a protruding lower jaw with a moderately large eye and a notch between the spiny first dorsal fin and the soft-rayed second dorsal fin. Like many bass, the top of this dorsal fin contains strong, sharp spines and should be handled carefully.


The tail is thick and short, quickly expanding into a large crescent-shaped caudal fin. The Australian Bass has a strong tail which gives it the ability to sprint through the water. This sprinting ability allows it to launch from under cover and quickly attack its prey.

Preferred Distribution

While the Australian Bass can be found in estuaries, they prefer to stay in areas that provide cover and avoid the open areas. They’ll tend to venture out more at night as they are primarily a night fish.

  • In fact, it’s much more active in the early hours of the morning just before dawn as the sun starts to rise, to several hours afterwards.

The Australian Bass is found in coastal rivers throughout most of the year other than the winter months when you’ll find it spawning in estuaries.


While they can be found in lakes and reservoirs behind dams, they’re most often introduced to these areas as they cannot sustain themselves in waterways that don’t offer access to the ocean to spawn.


Australian Bass can migrate considerable distances upstream and have been historically recorded up to an altitude of 600m (approximately 1980 feet) in the Hawkesbury River drainage in New South Wales.


The Australian Bass is a ferocious fighting fish and while it can grow to a record 3.78Kg (8.3 pounds) most fish range between the 1 to 2 pound range. Generally they’re closer to the 1 pound range.

Australian Bass Record

We have come across some sites that claim record sizes reaching up to 18 pounds (8.2 kg). However we couldn’t find a single authoritative site claiming anything over the high 8 lb range. What we feel has happened in some cases is that the Australian Bass has been mistaken for another fish genus.


We went looking through records to find the largest Australian Bass ever caught. The largest all-tackle record is 3.78 kilograms or about 8.33 pounds, far lower than the largest claimed bass ever caught.


The longest one ever caught was 24 inches long. Most of the 1 to 2 pound Australian Bass caught are between 12 inches to 14 inches.

Tackle Used for the Record

The record Australian Bass was caught with a 8 to 12lb test using a 70cm trace, a number 2 2/0 hook and a light baitcaster with a lightball running sinker.


Using spinning gear works as does trolling.


Australian Bass have a limited natural distribution on the south-east side of Australia. While they’ve been introduced to lakes and reservoirs, these are limited to Australian waterways and have not been introduced to waterways outside of Australia.