Anglers making trips into less-fished water have been finding some sensational action with canoe anglers making the most of the water inaccessible to larger water craft and less energetic anglers.
In the upper parts of the Nepean the fun should continue, especially if you’re prepared to make some pre-dawn starts before other water users get moving. If not even big bass can stir you to get up early, late afternoon sessions should continue to be excellent but the early mornings are the prime time for many.
Surface lures are your best options at these times of day with fizzers, Heddon Jitterbugs and River 2 Sea Buggi Pops among the favourites. On the fly rod, small Dahlbergs foam poppers and cicada flies are good choices.
Plastic grubs skipped under overhanging foliage and undercut rocks are very successful, especially where there isn’t much margin for error in accuracy. Rigged on just a hook or a resin head, bulky grubs can really skip a long way when cast properly and they make a great choice for imitating prawns or baitfish. It’s a very visual way to fish and a great way to land a few when things are quiet.
Walking the banks is another option this month, especially in areas not easily accessible to other anglers. Don’t underestimate the success you can have on foot. My early exploits included walking the Grose or paddling past the YMCA camp at Yarramundi where you couldn’t touch the bottom.
Those with paddle craft can take advantage of areas where boats can’t be launched, and the upper reaches of the Nepean through to Yarramundi, except for the section at Penrith, are exclusively their domain. They’ll be lucky to see anyone else fishing in some locations. While it’s nice to have the water all to yourself, it’s also a lot of fun having a few mates with you.
Other areas open to paddlers and bank walkers include the Grose River and some of the creeks that flow into the major rivers in the west. If you’re not sure where to start, visit websites dedicated to bass and meet people there who are confident remote-water anglers. Sites like www.ausbass.com.au or our Western Sydney Bream and Bass club website, www.wsbb.com.au are well worth a look.
If you’re sure you confident to walk into remote areas with a few mates, one of the best sources for finding bass water is the street directory. Before he left for the South Coast, Dave Horvat was a master at sussing out bass water with the street directory looking for the ‘thin blue line’. If you need to access water through private property, always get the owner’s permission first by assuring them that you will leave things the way you find them. If you don’t get permission, respect the owner’s decision and move on.
You’re fishing with your favourite plastic or lure for EPs or bass and suddenly your line screams from your reel and in an instant it’s all over. Chances are you’ve encountered the razor gang.
Tailor are a likely catch in the warmer months with relatively large fish quite likely. These guys have razors for teeth and can make short work of light leaders and soft plastics. It’s a case of a quick bite-off, retying your leader, re-rigging and getting on with it again.
Always check your leaders regularly though out your fishing session but especially if you think you’ve had a run-in with a tailor. A scuffed leader which leads to a lost fish is a poor excuse. Take a few minutes to change your leader and fish with confidence knowing that your leader will be in a better position to hold up.
Bream are also fairly regular captures in the Hawkesbury with the mid-sections of the river from Sackville down more likely places but they can be caught to around Windsor when conditions are right.
Losing your fishing edge can be like a golfer with the yips or a cricketer having a horror run with the bat or ball. At some stage you might lose your fishing edge and not be as successful as you know you can be.
Steve Starling wrote an article about this some time ago and it made for some reassuring reading at the time as I was going through a ‘form slump’. If you’re feeling like you’ve lost a little spark in your fishing, why not try a few things to turn your form around. I gave some serious thought to what was going wrong for me, and have a few suggestions to get you enjoying better fishing.
Have a hard look at your fishing and try and figure out why you’re having a slump. Break it down and you might find it’s the simple things which make the difference.
It might mean making some other lures your favourites, learning new techniques, downsizing your lures, experimenting with retrieves, using thinner braided lines or simply tuning your lures. It can take some time but it can turn your success around. Let’s face it. We don’t go fishing just to go casting!
The Hawkesbury Nepean Bass Anglers Association’s annual Interclub Challenge is on again at Lower Portland on February 24 and 25. This great event attracts anglers from far and wide. If you want to be part of the competition, go to www.hnbaa.com.au for further information and a registration form.
Is there any prouder moment for a fishing Dad when his child catches their first fish? Ken Neale's daughter Cianne was all smiles when she landed her first bass.
With all the fighting characteristics of a plastic bag, this herring managed to put its mouth around a full set of trebles on a Lake Police Chubby.
This 32cm bass displays evidence of being caught in a net. Despite the handicap, the fish put up a heck of a fight after being caught on a plastic grub, doing it's best to bury itself in the dense weed beds a few times and then trying to wrap itself around the outboard.Reads: 552