The comfort factor rises
  |  First Published: February 2007

This month we will see the fishing become a little bit more comfortable as the hot weather backs off a little along with the boat traffic at the ramps.

The Hunter systems always fishes well this month, especially around the moon quarters. The neap tides produce less water movement and the rivers are a lot clearer, making it easier for the fish to attack lures, spinnerbaits and plastics.

Begin in the early mornings with surface lures or shallow crankbaits around the bases of the willows as the tide falls, then work out into the deeper water using crankbaits or spinnerbaits. Good colours to begin with are clearer ones in the Jackall, Megabass, Smith and Ecogear range, then go to the brighter greens or purple as the sun gets higher.

If you find that the bass are hitting but not hooking up, keep changing colours and even slow up the retrieve. Most of these lures have rattles and you can just give them a shake with the rod tip.

When using surface lures I have found it important to wait until the fish actually turns its head before setting the hook. Another new product that I have been using with surface lures is the floating line available from Smith Ltd and I think that a few other manufacturers are now making it. It is definitely worth using.

I have found that working spinnerbaits up close to the surface by keeping rod tip high and sometimes letting the bait just break the surface is also proving very successful. Plastics also work well towards the tide change when the flow eases, with the new Bozo 3” Grubs in smelt pattern and 3” Berkley Power Minnows in cas clear and galaxia green look like prawns and do the job.

This is still a good time to spend on the river catching mullet on a float with fresh bread or dough, or even some of the Berkley trout baits.

The Williams River will produce some good bass and mullet but the fish will take a little finding because this system really cops a lot of boats towing water skiers. Begin by working along the edges of the reeds and because it is not tidal, the bass tend to hold right in tight among the vegetation.

Try spinnerbaits at first or 50mm lipless crankbaits, both in the gold pattern usually so effective.

The Paterson River this month could be very different to fish if the Government bodies go ahead with a plan to release 2000 megalitres from Lostock Dam over six days, raising the river height by around 50cm.

The big problem is that they would have to release the water from the bottom of the dam, which would be considerably colder than the water in the river and it also would have a very low oxygen content. The plan for this release is part of a scientific study aimed at discovering how river flows affect food linkages within the riverine environment and will be conducted by the University of New England, NSW Department of Natural Resources, Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

We can only hope that they either achieve a lot from this without doing adverse damage to this great system.


Lake St Clair is still producing some good catches of all species by most methods and despite the low water there are still some good weed patches around the edges.

While the majority of catches in the past comprised bass, catties and goldens there is now a reasonable population of silver perch. This is good for the bait fishos in particular because they are excellent to catch on worms and shrimps and are really good to eat.

Trolling can be the better option for someone new to this dam because you can cover a lot of area and there are not too many snags to pinch your lures. Last season I introduced quite a few anglers to trolling Jackall TN70s and TN60s here and they caught some really good goldens and bass.

Along the very good weed banks begin very early with surface lures or the new Jackall Water Monitor, which was designed to fish along these weed edges, and as the day progresses move to deeper spinnerbaits or lures.

If the barometer is dropping and or the fish aren’t biting too well, move to deeper water where there is some structure and work plastics very slowly. The 3” Berkley Power Minnow has always been the goods in St Clair with the new colours of grey ghost and bullhead brown worth trying.


Lake Glenbawn will see a change in action this month with the bass, in particular, moving around the dam seeking the optimum water temperature, along with any schools of smelt that gather before moving up the feeder streams.

While the goldens and silvers tend to keep to the banks, the bass can be anywhere but they like to hold up in around 10m to 12m. This is where a good sounder is imperative to locate this fish, which also begin to school towards the end of this month.

When these schools of fish are located they are best targeted with plastics on 1/2oz to 5/8oz jigs with the new Bozos 3” Smelt, Berkley 3” Power Minnows and ice jigs the weapons of choice.

The Jackall Mask Vibe is another good lure to try as it was designed to be fished deep, has a soft body and puts out vibrations resembling a baitfish.

Trolling for bass and goldens, which are usually in prime condition, requires lures that run down around 6m with purple the prime colour. Target the main river channel that flows past the island all the way down to Yellow Buoy bay.

This month the silvers are also in prime condition and sometimes willing to take a surface lure in low light or a worm around some of the grassy banks in the main basin.

There are not too many impoundments in NSW that don’t need heaps of rain to raise their levels so we can only hope that we get what is required soon.

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