This looks like being a bit different from last November; the water in the dams is a bit warmer and there appears to be a lot more insect activity around after a warm Winter.
So this should be a prime month to get out the surface lures for the adrenalin-rush topwater hits.
There is a vast array of surface lures available but my favourites remain the Heddon Tiny Torpedo fizzer, the Jackall SK Pop popper, the Megabass Siglett crawler and Taylor Made Basscada paddler.
The best times to use these lures are after sunset to around 10pm, and then about half an hour before sunrise to about an hour after.
But if the day is quite overcast and there’s a bit of wind blowing, working surface lures along the banks at the back of the weed can be very productive. You can also cast in close to high banks that offer plenty of cover.
The Paterson and Williams rivers are in perfect condition and producing good numbers of bass from the lower tidal reaches right up to the freshwater.
Most of these fish will take reaction lures, with my favourites 50mm hardbodies and 1/4oz compact spinnerbaits.
The Hunter River is should continue firing from the lower reaches right through the valley up to Aberdeen.
The Hunter fish are best targeted with surface lures in the low light and then with spinnerbaits, hardbodies and Beetle Spins. Some good hardbodies to try include the locally made Marz range and Jackall Chubbies.
I have not heard any reports from the Barrington Tops since the trout season opened but with the good flows up there, this season should be a very good.
Lostock Dam is really firing from the banks with fish taking Jackall TN 50s and 60s in peacock and ayu patterns and in low light periods poppers.
Lake St Clair is holding around 98% and the water is up around 22°-23° with reasonably good weed forming, especially along sloping points that run back towards a gulley.
Up the back of the Carrowbrook Arm along some of these gently sloping banks the bass can be targeted using blades or plastics in the brighter part of the day out in 6m-7m. In low-light periods use crankbaits or spinnerbaits worked right off the banks.
Lipless cranks work well down in the Broadwater, especially around the timbered areas up the bays from Wallaroo Point down to the landslip.
Up the back of the Fallbrook Arm from Carnells Corner to the Ruins along the old river channel, the banks are very good for casting spinnerbaits and lipless cranks.
Out on the flats blades are very productive and in the timber, slow-rolled plastics do the job. This area always produces good fish if there have been strong westerly winds.
This area is also very good for trolling deep lures along the gullies.
Wood Bay is another very good area to target with blades and plastics out along the points and into the 7m depths after strong winds.
There have been some school bass holding deep around Gindigah and down off Richards Point. These fish can be very frustrating but ice jigs or cut-down plastics can sometimes trigger a strike.
The best trolling area this month normally is in 6m-10m along the river channels up the back of both arms, but also try along the points on the eastern side of the dam and down around the St Clair island.
Bait fishing should really fire with catties and bass coming off the banks around Kellahear Point and up into Gindigah Bay, mainly at night on worms or yabbies.
Glenbawn continues to fish well but one day it can be tops and the next shut down. But persistence usually pays off.
The water is just about up to 23°, which is when things really fire.
Surface lures are accounting for nice bass right up the back of the dam around some of the heavy timber, especially if it has been typically windy. Also try down around Cemetery Point to North Run.
Along the timbered banks up the back of the dam around the Panhandle, some nice bass have hit deep plastics and ice jigs in 7m-15m, where they are feeding on gudgeons and smelt.
Along the steeper banks around the heavy timber you need reasonably heavy tackle with spinnerbaits, deep-divers and lipless crankbaits.
Down around the Narrows there have been some bass among the timbered banks. These are best targeted with spinnerbaits and shallow divers, especially late in the day.
The Main Basin is always a good area to target in mid-Spring with golden and silvers perch and bass caught on bait fished along the bank or dropped down a tree. Trolling is a very good option along either side of the basin and around the entrance to Boat Harbour.
A very interesting article I read several years ago said that in impoundments 90% of the fish congregate in 10% of the area which provides the optimum environment, structure and food sources.
You need to put yourself in these areas with a good sounder and every available resource and knowledge you can find.
I recently assisted the DPI guys from the Port Stephens Hatchery distribute bass fingerlings in local impoundments.
This was the culmination of three months’ intense work, starting before sunrise to catch about six pairs of mature wild bass to bring back to the hatchery, where the breeding process began.
The numbers of bass fingerlings produced this year was up around 300,000, so there will be some good stockings into NSW impoundments.
Luke Vandenberg, Brendan Findlay and I distributed around 75,000 into Glenbawn and 50,000 into St Clair, while another 10,000 went into Lostock the next day. This is your licence fee money at work.Reads: 727