Topwater action peaks
  |  First Published: December 2008

Surface fishing is at probably at its peak this month and there’s no shortage of choices when it comes to choosing a topwater lure.

Over the years, lures such as Heddon’s Hula Poppers of varying sizes, worked with a blooping technique followed by a long pause, have caught plenty of fish and this lure is still highly effective in local waters.

When fish were timid, a black Rebel Crickhopper Popper landing softly on the water was the go-to lure. This was back when soft plastics were a novelty and occupied the bottom shelf in most tackle shops.

Nowadays, favourite poppers include the Lucky Craft’s Bevy Popper and Bevy Pencil, Tiemco Pencils and the Smith Towadi have been incredible lures, accounting for bass when other topwaters performed.

over the last few years buzzbaits have been amazing performers. I mentioned back in October that my brother-in-law and I had started making our own Dreamfish Buzzmasters.

Buzzbaits are worked reasonably quickly so fish have to make a decision to attack or miss out. In testing stages there were days when we fished with nothing else all day and caught fish off the surface regardless of the time.

While it’s great to be in an area where bass are busting up the surface, I don’t mind fishing waters that are harder to fish at times either.

My choice at times like this are clear plastic lures if the skies and water are clear, a fly or a soft plastic. Like all lure fishing, it’s a case of deceiving a fish and although they’re said to have small brains, they can be fairly challenging to catch at times.

Whatever you cast, try to make the lure land gently on the water. Nothing puts fish on notice like a lure crashing onto the water. Feather the cast with your threadlines and be gentle with your baitcasters.


It’s no secret to those who have been chasing bass for even a few years that some of the best fishing during the warmer months is in the headwaters of our creeks and rivers.

The past few months have produced some excellent bass from the Nepean at Penrith as the larger fish made their way back upstream after spawning. The larger fish should be back in the headwaters of the creeks and rivers now, which is fine if you have a canoe or kayak or wish to venture in on foot.

Apart from walking into areas that are not heavily fished, probably a canoe is the most effective way of finding water that hasn’t been turned to foam by high-speed boat traffic on western Sydney’s larger waterways.

Some anglers persist in the heavy traffic but those looking for bass which haven’t been bombarded with dozens of lures seek quieter water.

Dave Horvat’s Coleman canoe saw more local water than most boats in the district in the time he lived locally and if he thought he could trust you enough, you got to go into some of his secret spots.

I’ve been privileged over the years to be taken to some of these wonderful locations and there are plenty around waiting for intrepid anglers to walk in the steps of those who have already ventured there.

Some of the most likely spots to fish would be some of the major creeks which enter into the Hawkesbury and Nepean, some of which are too small for even the smallest tinny. Others are obscure creeks barely big enough for a small kayak but these can open up into more accessible waters surrounded by pristine, rugged country.

A small box of your favourite lures is all that is required and most anglers prefer threadline tackle. Don’t forget a first aid kit and plenty of drinking water.


There’s more to western Sydney’s waters than just bass. Other fish likely to be caught include blackfish, jewfish, estuary perch, bream, mullet, sharks, flathead and tailor. While bass and estuary perch have the most ink dedicated to them in this column, other species can be readily encountered, especially downstream of, say, Sackville.

Flathead have been caught from Yarramundi all the way to the ocean but from Spencer downstream is most likely where you’ll find them.

Bream have been found at The Terraces at North Richmond but I’d probably be looking at the Skeletons at Lower Portland and downstream.

EPs are very likely in the Colo and around the Lower Portland down to the lower reaches in winter. I like catching them on soft plastics worked slowly along the bottom in deep water. Slider 3” Bass Grubs shortened by around 15mm are my favourites.


John Bethune has been passionately bringing to our attention the damage being inflicted on the Hawkesbury River.

He blames three major causes, algal blooms, prawn trawling and erosion caused by wakeboard boats. He’s concerned that NSW Maritime has approved a slalom ski club and course opposite the Terraces at North Richmond. With the whole of the river from Broken Bay to Windsor already available and dedicated to water ski sports, you have to question how such a decision was made.

As John put it, “Prior to the wake boarders appearing on the river, when the river ran dirty after rain the shoreline edges always ran clearer and were fishable earlier. Now the whole scene has changed.

“In spite of the drought, the upper reaches now never run clear. And rather than the edges being cleaner – they are now always muddy.”

I don’t have a problem with people enjoying the water but there has to be consideration for local residents and the environment when allowing certain activities in sensitive areas.

If you’re concerned about what is happening to our waterways, and you should be, contact your local State Member of Parliament. It’s too late to turn back the clock and undo the damage that results from inaction. There’s no point complaining about it if we’re not prepared to do something.

I wish readers a wonderful and safe Christmas and thank all those who have contributed news and photos for us to enjoy this year.

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