Native fish get active
  |  First Published: March 2012

This is a great time to get out on the water and chase native fish such as bass, Murray cod and golden perch in our rivers and impoundments.

Native fish generally feed up more as the days begin to cool and before the falling water temps slow down their metabolism. Right now they will happily take a lure or fly.

The wet Summer means our rivers have had a good flush with plenty of new structure washed into the water to create new homes for the fish – and snag unsuspecting anglers’ lures.

And our impoundments really needed the massive intake of water.

The best times to target hungry natives are early in the morning and late afternoon and into the evening. Especially when it’s overcast you can chase them all day but I have found the best fishing at these times.

All three species are most active when the water is between 15° and 27°. Water this month is generally around 17° to 20° so grab your gear and get into the action.

I find a baitcaster combo is a good all-round outfit for all three species of fish and is capable of casting the various lures is use for them. I use a Shimano Chronarch 50E5 and G Loomis IMX 721 rod with 20lb Sunline Super PE braid but there are plenty of brands and models available to suit every budget. I use a spin rod for casting soft plastics and a 6wt or 8wt fly rod.

Lures will comprise a variety of styles from blades, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, surface lures, subsurface/shallow/deep crankbaits and tonnes of different styles soft plastics.

Especially when the water is clear, natural colours often catch more fish than the fluoro ones but each to their own.

It pays to have a variety of colours and find out which works best on the day. You can have a couple of lures or you can have a couple of hundred – lure fishing is very addictive.

My son and I went on a quick bass trip recently. It was a last-minute thing where we threw the kayaks on the trailer and grabbed some gear and off we went.

I took one rod and one lure. Sean took two rods and a box of lures and changed his lure numerous times.

We had only two hours on the water and he landed three bass; I got 16. Having confidence in the lure you are using and accurate casting will almost always produce fish.

When looking for the best spots to target these species, it might sound strange but no matter how weird it sounds, it’s good to think like the fish you are trying to catch.

Through the years I have kept many native fish in tanks at home and studied their behaviour at different times of the year. I’ve learnt some valuable information about those fish which helped me catch more of them.


Most people go fishing and just want to catch a fish. A lot of us have limited time these days so you want to make the most of your time when fishing.

The old saying, ‘proper planning prevents poor performance’ certainly applies. Do your research first on the species you want to target, learn about their feeding habits, where they like to live, what they eat and the times of the year they are most active.

The internet is the angler’s new best friend and has endless amounts of information. Years ago anglers had only magazines such as this and the experiences of fellow anglers and their own.

Fishing is one of those pastimes where you never stop learning and every time you head out on the water you should learn something new.

Practise tying your leader knots and hone your casting techniques at home so when you get out on the water you spend less time getting your lures out of trees or tying new leaders.

I like the FG knot for joining braid to my fluorocarbon or nylon leader. When I get snagged and I can’t get the lure back with my lure retriever and have to snap the lure off, the FG knot seems stronger than the more common uni knot.

It’s worth learning this knot and practising so that you can tie it relatively quickly.

To keep in touch with your casting, practise once or twice a week at home in the backyard and you will be amazed next time you’re out on the water how well you perform, how many lures you save and how many more fish you catch.

A deep-diving Maria crankbait was the undoing of this Murray cod.

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