Last year had to have been the best that freshwater anglers experienced for more than a decade.
Most fishos will speak of record numbers of fish caught and enough big fish around to keep egos satisfied.
I had my best year ever, catching record numbers of fish in local waterways, winning three from three tournaments and earning two Australian length-only records.
With results like that I can’t wait to see what 2011 has in store for us all and with the amount of water about in every creek, river and dam, the signs are looking very good indeed.
Blowering Dam has filled and overflowed thanks to well above average rainfall. The extra water has been great for fishos, skiers and campers alike.
Camping at Blowering dam is as good as it gets at the moment, with shaded grassy areas right on the water’s edge.
The full dam has given fish a good chance to settle in at their chosen locations – at least until authorities start draining the dam again.
This settling-in is really good for lure fishos, especially those targeting the often territorial natives.
Big perch and cod will attack just about any persistent intruder that comes too close to their chosen homes.
So a lure repeatedly retrieved through a fishy area may be interpreted as a threat and will be attacked out of territorial anger, whether the fish is hungry or not. A bait will be eaten only if the fish is hungry.
Spinnerbaits and rattling lipless crankbaits will be the pick of the casting lures and the bigger the better, especially when targeting the Murray cod which should be very active this month.
Trolling medium to large lures is another good way of targeting the natives but I also recommend trolling large lipless crankbaits like Jackall Doozers and TN70s, #3 Prism Murrins or Assassin Typhoons. Often on tough fishing days these trolled lures have restored hope.
Trolling spinnerbaits is becoming more popular, especially with lure manufacturers like Outlaw producing 1oz to 2oz models designed for trolling. These things really can run deep and are much less prone to snagging than conventional trolling lures.
With the amount of drowned trees, blackberry bushes, shrubs and thick pockets of weed and grass just below the surface, cast or trolled spinnerbaits have been a must for those getting sick of losing lure after lure.
Blowering’s redfin really fire this month and can be caught easily from bank or boat with worms, small yabbies or by casting spinners, small rattlers or 1” or 2” soft plastics.
They can also be caught trolling small hardbodies like Stuckeys, AC Slim Invaders, No 3 StumpJumpers or the smaller Viking lures. It pays to add a 1” or 2” soft plastic around a metre above the lure; this triggers their competitive nature and will produce much better results.
The Tumut this season has been tough for most, to say the least.
High flow rates and plenty of rain have made it almost unfishable at times but those who put in the hard yards have managed a few nice fish.
Hopper pattern flies have worked well and should continue this month but if you can’t get one to come up to your dry, tie on a black, brown or red copper john weighted nymph dropper to achieve results.
Spinning with Roostertails, Celtas, Rapala CDs, IMA Sukaris, Bozo Smelts or Scrounger soft plastics have been extremely successful already this season.
Southern NSW hosted a round of the Australian Yellowbelly Championships at Burrinjuck Dam last year, attracting 30 teams despite poor water clarity, a rapidly rising dam, a dropping barometer and wind and rain.
Most anglers ended up hooking a fish or two and thanks to an action-packed late finish where my other half, Sharon, and I landed six goldens to come from three fish behind to win by just over 300mm.
This was a great, social and very well run event, and not just because of our success.
Tournament organiser Bruce Anderson said feedback from southern contestants was encouraging enough to confirm that there will be another round in first-quarter 2011, this time at Blowering.
These tournaments are perfect to take the other half or a child to get them into tournament fishing. For details check out www.australianyellowbelly.com.au.Reads: 3386