Like many of us I guess, last Winter a few mates and I were sitting around in a shed feeling sorry for ourselves, complaining about the cold and the wind.
Some of the boys had even put their boats away and put the rods back in the rack. It was a sad and sorry sight.
Chris Hickson just happened to be driving past and saw the line-up of utes out the front. A text message came through: ‘Shed dwellers!’
That’s what we’d become – shed dwellers – four grown men sitting around talking about it instead of doing it.
It never used to be like that and was just the inspiration I needed.
The next three or four weekends in a row I shed the ‘fair-weather fairy blouse’ and got out there and did it.
The result was some great brown trout fishing in Thompsons Creek Dam. One fish was around 60cm and had me whooping and hollering like I had won the lottery.
Numbers-wise, you will not catch the Murray cod available in the Summer, so prepare yourself for quite a few fishless trips. But when you get a fish, chances are it will be a good one.
In a river the fish tend to pull back to the deeper pools.
The good thing about fishing at this time of year for natives is the warmer parts of the day are generally the best.
Look for plenty of repeat presentations on good structure; sometimes moving three or four steps in one direction to get a different angle is all it takes to get a response.
On the fickle days, sometimes going to a neutrally-buoyant lure, one that sits in the strike zone for a longer period, can make the difference.
Wyangala Dam, near Cowra, can fish well for cod in June. The key factors are a high or rising barometer, a mix of intelligent trolling and casting, and a good dose of patience.
Repeat trolling runs over good structure and accurate casting around specific log jams and rock piles hold the key to probing the strike zone.
Modern colour sounders with a high pixel count are invaluable in these circumstances; they can take a lot of guesswork out of your fishing.
Learn to trust your sounder and come back to structure that you can see fish on; sometimes a different time of day is all it takes to get them to bite.
With the closing of the streams on the Monday of the long weekend, the only trout option will be the many dams and lakes in the district.
Lake Lyell, near Lithgow, will be a good choice. Flatline trolling Tassie Devil-style lures is hard to beat and some of the brighter colours should work well; something with a flash of pink seems to do the trick most times.
Access to the shoreline for bait anglers is good at Lyell, with options on both sides of the dam. This is great if you like to get out of the wind.
Moulded dough baits such as PowerBait work a treat at Lyell. The key with this style of bait is to use a light-gauge hook small enough to hide and float the hook with one nugget. A running sinker rig allows the fish to hit the bait up off the bottom on the go.
A very small, fine wire circle hook would be ideal for this set-up but I am yet to find one small enough.
The inherent nature of circle hooks to find the fish’s jaw without a hook set from the angler means they would be ideal for this style of fishing.
Make sure your rod is tied off or secure in some way, the next rod to go missing at Lake Lyell with a rampaging rainbow trout on the other end won’t be the last.
While on the subject of circle hooks, I have not long returned from a trip down the Murray River on houseboat.
We did quite a bit of bait fishing and used circle hooks for the first time – what a great invention! I was amazed at the ability of the hook to pin fish in the corner of the mouth nearly every time.
It made hook removal very easy, which was great when the kids were on a hot session on the carp. The key was not to over-bait the hook.
The handful of native fish we did catch were a snack to release with circle hooks.
Hope to see you on the water this Winter, rather than in your shed!Reads: 616