Scraping the Surface
  |  First Published: November 2010

This month we will see a huge increase in both insect activity and water temperature which in turn means it is time to crack out the favourite surface lures and prepare for the adrenalin rush of those topwater surface hits.

The range of surface lures continues to grow each year but I still carry a few of my favourites around that continue to produce good results.

There is a good price range for these lures starting at the lower end with the Trollcraft’s Bass Bugs and Fizzers through to the top end with the Jackall SK Pop, Megabass Pop-X and the Nories Mushimura.

The best times to use the surface lures are just on daylight up to an hour after and then just as the sun is setting, with the period around the new moon being very productive.

Target banks in the shade in the afternoons on the leeward side when there is some reasonably strong wind blowing, and plenty of grasshoppers and crickets present.

The Paterson, Williams and Hunter rivers are all producing some quality bass and as the days are now getting longer and warmer they should continue to fish well as they have all had some good spring flushes.

As the Hunter River has a fair amount of tidal influence, it can get reasonably discoloured around the full moon period and this is when the bass tend to hold tight into the cover but as it clears they then move out into the mid sections of the river where they can more easily be targeted.

In the low light periods surface lures are the best option and then as the light improves small spinnerbaits, lures and blades are a very good option.

Lipless crankbaits around 50mm with gold patterns are effective; these lures are versatile as they can be worked very slowly and kept deep or ripped to bring them up shallower.

For hardbodied lures, keep around the 50mm to 60mm length and chose lures with a good vibration and rattle if possible. A depth range down to around 3m is required as they can then also be trolled.

With these lures it is best to have a good selection of colours as sometimes the bass like the brighter patterns, especially in the clearer water and the darker more solid colours in the discoloured sections.

Up at the Barrington Tops there have been some good reports coming through since the season opened and as it has had some good stockings in the past and good rainfall it should be a good season.

In Lake St Clair the fishing has been a bit up and down but with the current water level and weed growth it should settle down and produce some good fishing.

This month should see the water temperature get into the 20°C range which really brings the fishing alive.

Novembers is usually pretty windy and the thermocline can get down around 6-7m deep. This is where the bass and goldens will hold up in the middle of the day as it’s where the baitfish and nutrients exist.

The bass and goldens tend to move around the dam a lot in search of food and the correct water conditions and so it is very important to use your sounder to its best potential to locate the baitfish and thermocline depth.

Trolling can be a very good option while sounding; just hook on a couple of different depth lures, sizes and colours, from the smaller Halco Protergeists to the larger Vikings or Ferralcatts.

There are still some good bass in particular coming off the banks with surface lures early and then later in the day, along with plastics worked over the weed and into the deeper water.

Lipless crankbaits are also a very good option around the banks along with suspending hardbodied lures like my favourite the Jackall Sqirrell.

The deeper bass, in around 8-10m can either be targeted with plastics or blades of around 6g and 40mm, with gold offerings very successful.

If using plastics then 1/4oz jigs are best around the edges with 3” plastics, which can be rigged weedless; in the deeper water use 3/8oz to 1/2oz jigs. Some good colours are pumpkinseed in the deeper water and watermelon around the banks.

Good catties, bass and silvers will be available off banks around the camping area and also around the timber in the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook reaches in around 10m. Worms, live shrimp or yabbies are the best baits

Glenbawn continues to fish really well but on some days can really shut down especially after some of the pressure it receives from the many competitions held there at this time of the year. It has been really producing some nice bass from around the banks and goldens out in the timber.

With the dam continuing to rise and excellent water quality it should be an excellent run of fishing during summer.

Surface lures will be the best option in the low light periods, followed by plastics along the banks and then progress out into the 7-10m deep sections as the light level increases using blades or lipless crankbaits.

The best area for those to target the bass are near the dam wall and then up around the back of the dam from new house bay through to the 8 knots zone and beyond.

Trolling is always very productive with the dam wall very good during November especially towards the new and full moons. Lures between 60-65mm in length that can run down around 5-6m and have a strong vibration are good options.

There are always big schools of smelt and gudgeons this month as the water temperature climbs in the 20s, use your sounder to find them and then the fish will not be too far away.

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