Getting the Low Down
  |  First Published: November 2010

There's been some cracking bass and estuary perch being caught at the moment.

Favourite Lures

I’m often asked which lures I use, and while this is a great conversation starter, what works for me may not work for everyone.

Various different accessories, retrieve styles, skill level and confidence are all factors in how well a lure will work.

My favourite surface lures include Daiwa Cicada Pencil in clear or black, the Lucky Craft Sammy 65 in clear, and Lucky Craft Bevy Pencils, Bevy Poppers or Bevy Props.

The Heddon's Zarra Puppy in clear and black gets plenty of work, as does the Heddons Dying Flutter.

I use my homemade spinnerbaits, but I have replaced the silicon skirt with a 3” Slider plastic.

When it comes to hardbodied divers, I've used Chubbies for a while, along with an old favourite, the Manns 5 Plus. which continues to catch me plenty of bass, just like they have since the day I started using them.

Recently I was given some new lures to try by Mick Roberts at the Bass Angler in Penrith.

The Asakura lures from Japan are imported by Mick and before I got my hands on some, they were getting rave reviews by those who had used them on bass and bream.

For some anglers, a lure that costs as much as they earn from an hour of work, makes them balk at the cash register but these lures are lot more affordable, without losing in quality or performance.

Fitted with quality Owner hooks, these lures lack nothing when put up against their more expensive competition. I've since gone back to the Bass Angler and added some more Asakura S Hornets to my hardbodied divers.

Low Tide Locations

When fishing time is limited, and you arrive at the tidal sections of the Hawkesbury River, only to find that it's low tide, it can be pretty disheartening.

While low tide is not my preferred time to fish, there is still some good fishing to be had.

At the start of the run-out tide, creek mouths and swamp drains are great places to fish that produce plenty of bass.

Give yourself room out from the mouth of the drains. You can afford to be closer in when the tide is up, but get out a little further away as the tide runs out.

At near dead low tide, if you can find plenty of underwater structure like fallen timbers and boulders, you've found a spot that bass can easily hide in and feel safe from any predators.

A lot of my success has come from working lures and soft plastics back around any weed beds or reeds that are at either side of the mouths or creeks or drains. Spinnerbaits don't seem to be as popular as they once where, but they work just fine in these areas.

I've also found success using Kokoda G Vibes; they are great to get down in amongst the rocks and timber. Don't be afraid to bump the G Vibes into them, and get some attention from the bass.

With a falling tide, you'll find concentrations of bass mainly in the deep holes along steep banks, particularly where there are underwater caves and deep undercut banks.

In either falling or rising tides, eddies or backwater areas are perfect. These areas are easily identified: the riverbank will deviate from the long stretches of even bank. The water will swirl in the opposite direction of the main rivers flow, and froth, bits of rubbish and twigs will be caught up in the swirling current.

Fallen snags and rocks at the mouth of creeks and drains are definitely worth working your lures around. Always work the snags and rocks, as they also offer protection from any current, as well as ambush points.

Finding areas that have snags and rocks suitable for low tide fishing is a lot easier with my Humminbird 797 colour sounder with its amazing Side Imaging transducer.

This amazing technology makes it show up suitable areas like a photograph, and gives you a much better idea of what's below the water.

If you don't have a sounder on your boat, or you’re fishing from a kayak or canoe, look to the land adjacent to the river. If there's evidence of any rock or tree falls, it's a pretty safe bet some rocks and trees have ended up in the river.

One of the benefits of fishing from a canoe and kayak in my early days of bass fishing was that I learnt to use my eyes and work out what areas should hold bass.

Knowledge, the right equipment, and understanding bass are all important, but excellent observation skills will really put you ahead of the game.

There are a number of suitable creek mouths to fish, like Cattai Creek near Ebeneezer, which has a big drop-off in line with the rocky cliff on the upstream side of the creek.

Currency Creek near Sackville also has a great drop-off. Just downstream from the creek, looking towards the ferry, there's a house on the hill. Position yourself slightly outside of the house and you should find the drop-off.

At Bradley's Creek between Sackville and Dargle, there is another suitable drop-off that’s in line with the upstream bank.

These are by no means the only drop-offs in the river, but they are a great place to get started.

There's also some suitable swamp drains to fish in the same areas as these, namely Irwins Swamp at Sackville and Doyle' Swamp at Dargle.

At Irwin's Swamp the drop-off here is the edge of the trees on the downstream side of the creek, while at Doyles Swamp it's not really noted for its drop-off, but it is a great spot to fish on the run-out tide.

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