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Bass season opens
  |  First Published: September 2011



No more counting down the days, the new bass season arrived on September 1 and it’s time to go and chase some hungry fish.

Especially early in the month the water is still cold, so the go-slow technique is needed if you want to catch bass.

Don’t head out and expect cricket-score catches, even the best of us have fishless days, and at other times a couple of fish is regarded as a good session on the water.

Even with the colder water, this month is probably one of my favourite times to fish for bass. There are a number of reasons, the major two being boat traffic on the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers is minimal and that the fish are usually big.

In the lower reaches of the river the best spots to start your search are around the narrow sections and those deep pools before and after the rapids.

The bass will do most of their travelling at night and hold up in the deeper sections of the river during the day.

Some other likely spots to be holding bass will be around the entrances of feeder creeks.

At the beginning of the month I suggest starting in the Hawkesbury River. You should have a good chance of finding fish around Webbs Creek, Currency Creek, Little Cattai and Cattai creeks and South Creek. These are just a few I have had good success at over the past couple of seasons.

As the water starts to warm, I would then head up into the Nepean River around Yarramundi and Devlins Lane.

TECHNIQUES

The best techniques are soft plastics and sinking/suspending lures.

Everybody has their favourite soft plastic and there are hundreds to choose from. Some I like using are Slider grubs, fish profiles and creature-type plastics.

I attach Betts Spins to my jig heads and retrieve them slowly with short pauses and the fish usually take the plastic on the pause.

Suspending lures cast hard up against the bank or structure will be the undoing of any fussy bass. These lures can be retrieved and paused in the strike zone a lot longer than your standard floating lure.

Once you get it into the strike zone, pause and then just add a little twitch of the tip to provoke that strike.

Lure colour is also a key factor. Natural-coloured lures are the go in clean water and dark colours or fluoro lures in dirty water.

In mid-September you will find the fish up around the Penrith part of the Nepean. The Victoria road/rail bridge holds good numbers of fish at times due to the sunken timber around the bases of the pylons from previous floods.

Use lures like lipless crankbaits, vibes, ice jigs, spinnerbaits and surface lures at dusk and dawn.

As a kid I used to watch young birds fall from their nests into the water, only to be eaten by a hungry bass.

Between the Victoria Bridge and the M4 motorway bridge (which will have the same sort of structure around its pylons) is a good place to fish. There is not a lot of boat traffic there because the speed limit is only 8 knots.

During Spring/Summer it can be common to catch good numbers of bass in a couple of hours. Not all the fish you catch will be huge but if you put in the time, the rewards will follow.

THE NARROWS

The Narrows early in the season can produce some good-sized bass. There are lots of big boulders in this area and the fish tend to hold among these boulders waiting to ambush unsuspecting food that swims by.

Lures in this location again consist of lipless crankbaits, soft plastics, suspending minnows and any topwater lure.

During the Summer the upper Nepean cops a flogging from jet skis, water skiers and fishers. I’d get out on the water nice and early or late in the afternoon to beat the traffic on the water.

There is some good fishing to be had in the upper reaches of the Nepean; you just need to think outside the box because the fish in this area have seen just about every lure on the market.

It’s time to go back through your catch records and diaries to see what lures have worked over the years. Try some of the old stuff buried in your tackle box that probably hasn’t seen the light for a few years; it might be the undoing of those fussy big fish.

The best way to access the spots I have mentioned is by boat, kayak or canoe. You can do some bank fishing but you have limited access and often must walk through some harsh terrain. It can be rewarding and the walk is always a mission in itself.

I like the kayak option because you can get into that skinny water that your boat can’t and there is nothing more relaxing than paddling down a river looking for that perfect snag.

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