The fishing should be a little more enjoyable this month as the weather becomes more tolerable, but there can still be some days up around 40°.
With the holidays over, the boat traffic and the ramps will be a lot less congested, making launching easier, especially on the dams.
The Hunter and Paterson rivers have been fishing well after their many freshes over recent months, with the Williams around Clarencetown also producing good numbers of bass.
The Hunter fishes well up to around Aberdeen, while the Paterson is producing right up to Lostock.
Surface lures in low light conditions are by far the best option this month.
The Megabass Siglett in aburazemi pattern and the Smith Bisen in dark green are really top surface lures that are accounting for plenty of action. Although they are very expensive, they are really worth it.
Begin at first light with the surface lures or shallow crankbaits around the bases of the trees, especially the native trees, then progress into the deeper water using crankbaits, blades and spinnerbaits.
In the tidal sections of the Hunter and Paterson rivers a falling tide is best. Trolling or casting, spend plenty of time around the drop-offs and submerged timber.
Blades of 1/4oz or Jackall TN50s are around the correct weight and get down to the right depth. In dirty water the more solid patterns work best.
The Williams River had a lot of boat traffic over the holidays, which tends to put off the fish, but this month it will begin to fire again.
The bass in this river do not move up and down much above Seaham because they are not influenced by the tide. Once you have found where they are holding, they are usually in very good numbers.
Put in very accurate casts to structure and when they hit the lure they really put up a good fight.
I have found the Jackall Chubby, hand painted black, accounts for some nice bass here.
Bait fishos in all the local rivers cannot go past live prawns, black crickets and garden worms, which will catch bass and the occasional bream and flathead.
Lake St Clair is still producing some nice bass and the occasional golden perch. Some great catfish are coming from around the timber up the arms and from the banks adjacent to the camping area.
This month can be still quite warm and the water temperature last February was up around 30,° which made the bass in particular very touchy.
They can really try your patience, especially on those still balmy days when the barometer is falling or very low.
On these days, very early and late are by far the most productive times and certainly more enjoyable.
I like to begin with Lucky Craft Sammy’s or similar walking surface lures. It can be quite still in the mornings and these lures allow you to cast considerable distances and they also land quite softly and won’t to put off the bass.
If you can find a section of bank where there is a slight breeze blowing onshore then I also like to use poppers. The SK Pop my favourite but the Megabass Siglett is also dynamite – it resembles the cicadas present in this area.
Once the sun starts to come over the hills I find soft or hard jerkbaits very good options worked slowly around the timber in depths around 3m to 4m up the Carrowbrook or Fallbrook arm.
My lure of choice for this is the Jackall Squirrel in the ayu pattern with the addition of a feathered rear treble.
As the day progresses the bass and goldens move out into water 10m to 12m, where trolling deep lures and deep jigging are options.
Some good lures from Jackall, Viking and Halco get down around this depth but a very good option is to troll the new from Jackall TN65. Blades around 1/2oz and spinnerbaits of about 5/8oz with single willow blades also work.
Jigging the bass in this depth can be quite slow and the bites can be very light, often only a very small tap. That usually means using minimum weight heads and very light leaders of around 2kg, usually around 4metres long.
Other options for this deep work are ice jigs, Jackall Masks and blades.
Long leaders a necessity and it’s best if you can fish fluorocarbon all the way.
Bait fishing is also very slow on these hot days but a big yabby will usually entice a bite from some of those catties around the timber in 10m to 12m.
Lake Glenbawn has been producing some nice fish over recent weeks and should continue so but that can depend on the weather, which has been very unpredictable.
This dam always undergoes a definite change towards the end of Summer because the water can be up around 30°, with the fish moving around looking for cooler conditions, That means they can be up the back one day and two days later down around the Main Basin.
A good sounder can be your saviour in locating these fish, along with some local knowledge and help.
Especially if there is the usual rain this month, bass in particular can be down around the Main Basin in around 10m.
This is probably the last month for the surface bite but it is always a very good option, especially around the banks where there is quite a bit of broken structure and sunken logs.
This is where I use my Lowrance Structure Scan to advantage to find this underwater cover.
The deeper fish are best targeted by trolling deep lures, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, blades or jigging plastics.
Jigging plastics here is the same as St Clair; you may have to use very light leaders and heads and the bass may bite very timidly, Use 3” plastics with plenty of scent.
There are always some nice catties and silvers biting around the banks, especially on black crickets or yabbies.
I received an email from I&I Fisheries about the NSW Carp Control Plan, which got me thinking about the carp problems in our local rivers and impoundments.
I have not noticed a big population of carp in the Williams River above Seaham weir over recent years but there are certainly plenty in the Paterson and Hunter rivers and their tributaries.
There are certainly plenty in Lake St Clair and Glenbawn but I have not seen any in Lostock.
The full report it can be accessed at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/pest-diseeases/freshwater-pests/species/carpReads: 5912