Time to hit the top
  |  First Published: November 2008

This month insect activity will increase so it’s a good time to get out those favourite surface lures and plugs.

The range of surface lures has been growing very rapidly lately with some of the larger manufacturers abroad and locally producing all forms of lures.

There can be a vast difference in pricing from the Japanese to the cheaper range but both can account for good fish.

The best time to use the surface lures is just on sunup and from the last hour of daylight to just after dark, especially with a small moon.

The exception to this can be on a very windy day when the fish tend to head to the banks on the lee side to get whatever insects are being blown onto the surface, especially grasshoppers and crickets.

The Paterson, Williams and Hunter rivers begin to fish really well and with the longer daylight hours the water temperature is begins to climb, increasing the bass’s metabolism and making for some strong bites.

These rivers are tidal and I find it best to fish from the top of the tide until the change and then an hour later. This is especially good about a week after the full moon.

Work surface lures right up to the banks early and late in the day and then do the deeper sections as the tide drops and the light increases.

These two systems are always a little dirty so lures with a strong vibration and plenty of flash are best. I like 1/4 oz spinnerbaits with Colorado blades and bright green skirts, 50mm lipless crankbaits in gold or green and 1/4 oz blades from TT Lures and Evergreen.

Trollers can tow any of the above lures, while any 50mm crankbaits in bright colours with a strong vibration, especially the Marz lures, will be worth a try.

The Williams above Seaham is not tidal and a lot clearer so plastics and Beetle Spins work well, along with 50mm fluoro lures, especially the new sinking jerkbaits designed for bream fishing.

In this system the bass can be quite easily spooked so you will need to take a very finesse approach and put in plenty of casts to the one snag or piece of cover.

Up at the Barrington Tops, winter snow and rain has brought the trout on the bite with good catches on worms, lures and flies.


In Lake St Clair the water is starting to hit a nice temperature; I hope we don’t get the algae problem that happened last November.

It is looking to be a good late Spring, is about a month behind last year’s.

There is some weed staring to form around the banks, where it will attract shrimp and baitfish. Bass, goldens and catties will follow.

This month marks a transition period for bass and goldens as they migrate around the dam in search of food, favourable water temperatures and oxygen levels.

The heat from more sunlight, along with usually strong winds, mixes the water layers with the thermocline usually ranging from a couple of metres down to around 6m, where the water still holds plenty of oxygen.

It is very important to have a good sounder, especially a colour unit, which can show this water temperature range and schools of bait and fish.

If the fish are in 6m-plus they can best be targeted with jigs, lipless crankbaits and blades of 1/4oz to 3/8oz worked very slowly along that depth.

If the bass are holding on the bottom, just let the lure sink and use a slight lift and hop action. Another lure to try for this is the Rock’N Runner from Blakemores, which is also designed to be worked slowly along the bottom in this depth.

Trolling is a very good option with lures of different running depths until you start getting hits, then optimise the colour and size.

The banks around the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook arms are worth a try very early and late with surface or shallow lures, then work the deeper sections, especially out in the Broadwater and around the camping area.

Bait is also a very good option, especially shrimp around the banks and worms or yabbies around the timber up either arm.


Glenbawn is still getting plenty of pressure from fishing competitions but can produce some good catches one day and be very slow the next, so it is important to put in plenty of effort.

There is now plenty of new ground so use a your sounder and look for cover, favourable water conditions or sometimes you can wait for the fish to come to you.

I always like to fish here after a couple of days of high pressure, when you can see a change coming and also directly after some of those late afternoon storms – but don’t be out on the water when they hit.

There are some good banks to hit early and late with surface lures, especially around the mid section, where some good weed is appearing.

As the sun appears, move to crankbaits and spinnerbaits along to the deeper drop-offs around points and among the timber in the 6m to 7m.

Usually this month large schools of smelt appear out in open water and bass and goldens will not be far away. Jackall Masks or 3/8oz to 1/2oz jigs or blades work well.

The fish can be in a spot one day and 5km away the next.

Worms, yabbies and crickets set out in the main basin or in timber in around 10m up towards the back of the dam and main basin can be productive.

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