Native fish chasing lures
  |  First Published: December 2011

Summer is a great time to fish for native species such as bass, golden perch and Murray cod.

The cicadas are singing and the days are warmer and longer, which means more fishing time for everyone.

The warmer water in our rivers and dams means the fish should be happy to eat the lures we throw at them. Bass, golden perch and Murray cod are most active when the water is between 15° and 27°.

You are now able to target Murray cod as the new season starts on December 1.

So where do you start?

The best times to fish for these species are from when the sun rises until mid-morning and from late afternoon into the evening.

The middle of the day is usually slow but you will still catch fish if you persist. However, the days are hotter and can be draining and it is easy to get sunburnt or dehydrated, so make sure you cover up and drink plenty of fluids.

If you take the necessary precautions you will enjoy your day on the water.

The bass this month have spread through out the Nepean River and can be found on most snags, around weed beds, and beneath undercut banks and overhanging trees.

One spots worth trying might be Devlin Lane, off Castlereagh Road. You will need a canoe or kayak to have the best chance of success fishing here – head upstream or down.

When you first launch you will probably say to yourself ‘Geez, look at all this weed’. Don’t be disheartened. I have caught plenty of fish in this area, and if you use the right techniques, so will you.

I often head downstream towards Yarramundi. The first lure I clip on is either a surface lure or shallow-diving crankbait.

Find the pockets of water in between the weed and cast your lure into them, they usually hold fish waiting to eat unsuspecting food.

Lures that have been successful for me here include the Maria Crank shallow, the Stiffy Fat One, Shimano Lure Project Med Minnow and the Lucky Craft Clutch.

All these lures come fitted with chemically sharpened Japanese hooks which are ultra sharp and cut through the weed with ease. Stick to natural colours first and if they don’t work, try fluoro colours.

For surface lures try buzz baits, Jitterbugs, Stiffy Poppers, Lucky Craft Sammys and a new one I picked up is from Live Target, a Frog that’s ideal for extreme heavy cover and has a hollow body.

Flyfishing is another way I like to chase natives this month and it is a lot of fun wrestling a bass out of heavy structure this way.

I use a 6wt outfit and an 8wt. The 6wt is ideal for casting small flies and the 8wt is good for Dahlberg Divers and other big deerhair styles.

Fly fishing used to be a rich person’s game but times have changed and it is affordable for every angler. If you are on the lookout for an excellent value-for-money fly combo check out the range of rods from TFO and Snowbee reels.

You should be able to pick up a complete outfit for under $400. I find weight-forward flylines are easier to cast the heavy flies.


Golden perch are on the prowl this month, cruising along weed beds searching for food. It is common to catch multiple fish in the one spot.

Also look for goldens around points, shallow bays and submerged timber. Murray cod are caught in these areas, too.

Lures that have brought me success include a variety of spinnerbaits, soft plastics such as the Squidgy Lobby, lipless crankbaits and shallow and deep-diving crankbaits around 50mm to 75mm.

It pays to wear polarised sunglasses when fishing for golden perch because they can follow your lure right to your feet or to the boat and not take it. A quick short cast and a change in the retrieve can entice a curious fish to eat your lure.

A waterway down near Goulburn that I fished when I was a kid, Pejar Dam, is starting to fire up again after going dry during the great drought.

Some big fish have been caught there and I will head down there to try my luck on some of those fighting trout.

I caught my first fish on a fly there when I was eight years old, a 3.8kg brown trout on a Mrs Simpson fly.

They have been catching them on Tassie Devils, and a variety of other lures and flies. It is great to see a dam that was almost empty come back and produce fish up to 4.5kg again.

Summer is a good time to use mudeye imitations and zonkers.


The Christmas holidays has me flat out again teaching kids how to fish and by the end of the month, Young Guns Fishing adventures will have taught over 500 kids how to fish and to understand the rules and regulations – and to clean up after themselves.

I had a trip last month with a group of clients on the Hawkesbury River and before we even started, we picked up three garbage bags of fishing-related rubbish and at least one garbage bag of discarded fishing line.

It’s hard enough as it is, to be fighting against the extreme greens for a chance to fish yet there are fishers out there who just don’t care and wonder why areas get locked away by local councils because they don’t take their rubbish with them when they finish.

On a happier note, one of the clients caught the smallest mulloway I’d seen in years. It was lucky to be 20cm long and is a good sign that the river is healthy.

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