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All good – so far!
  |  First Published: March 2011



We can all consider ourselves extremely lucky here on the Hawkesbury but I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time before a severe flood rips through the massive catchment of the upper Nepean, in turn swallowing the many townships downstream in murky waters.

Our neighbouring States and our own North Coast rivers have all recently seen the devastation that floodwaters can dish up and the Hawkesbury used to be notorious for its frequent floods.

It has now been 19 years since a major flood and with the current state of this la Niña weather pattern, some of those who have been in the area their whole lives are predicting a very wet lead-up to Winter.

At the time of writing, though, things are looking quite good with concentrations of flathead, bream, bass and estuary perch holding in the tidal freshwater reaches from Lower Portland to Windsor.

These fish found good water after the Colo had another mini-fresh push out at Lower Portland in mid-January, trapping some clean, clear water between Dargle and Windsor.

The flathead have been loving the abundance of Nepean herrings and prawns on the drop-offs and have been quite easy to tempt on blades, soft plastics, diving crankbaits and bibless minnows.

Live herring, poddy mullet and prawns will produce fish as well; it’s just a little more time-consuming obtaining live baits rather than just tying on a lure.

The bream have responded well to bait in the same reaches, with most falling for fresh Hawkesbury River prawns on light line. There are a lot of smaller just legal (25cm) fish but persistence will pay off with the odd fish to a kilo getting in on the act.

Clint Thorpe and brother Luke had some fun recently catching two big carp, 12 mullet and four nice bream all on bread at Windsor in a short afternoon session.

BREAM TACTICS

To target bream in the upper reaches anglers should look for rock walls that contain large amounts of smaller broken rock that the bream can forage around on the high tides looking for those small black crabs.

The most effective lure presentations are 1”, 2” and 3” soft plastic grubs and creature patterns. These are best rigged on jig heads from 1g to around 3g, depending on the current strength at the time.

Cast tight against the rock walls and employ a hop-and-stop retrieve – bream find it hard to resist.

The same method will work using fresh prawns as bait on a sliding sinker rig and a No 1 baitholder hook.

The bass and estuary perch won’t turn their noses up at the aforementioned techniques, either. Both species have been feeding actively this season and responding to hard and soft lures with gusto.

Anglers fishing the sweetwater creeks are scoring quality bass on all sorts of lures with one of the standouts a small fizzer from Bass Zone Lures. This lure really shines as a cicada imitation and the bass are the best judges of that.

SCHOOL JEW

Further downstream, the school jew will be starting to move back up around Wisemans Ferry after lying low over the past couple of months.

The water will start to clear and jewie numbers and size will start to increase this month.

The recent freshes have been a blessing in disguise and the local crab population has come to life. Good catches of muddies and blue swimmers have kept anglers busy when the fish weren’t biting.

They have been that active that I had one pull a fresh live bait down on a substantial trace while targeting Jew! No jew for dinner but what a nice conciliation prize there was that night.

UP AND WORKING

My aspiration of becoming a charter fishing guide has come to fruition recently with the launch of my new business, Sydney Sportfishing Adventures.

I’ll be offering full and half-day charters for up to two clients on the Hawkesbury River and Sydney Harbour. We’ll be fishing from a 5m plate alloy tiller-steer vessel in full NSW survey.

It’s fully equipped with the latest goodies from Honda, Humminbird, Minn Kota and Shimano.

Clients will get the opportunity to cast lures and live bait for species such as kingfish, flathead, bream, bass, EPs, mulloway and more.

If you would like a personalised, intuitive charter to learn valuable skills to catch fish with the latest techniques and equipment in Sydney’s best two estuaries, contact me.

• To experience the excellent sport fishing Sydney has to offer, book a day on the water with Sydney Sportfishing Adventures. Call Dan Selby on 0405 196 253 or email --e-mail address hidden--

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