I reckon the month of March brings our most consistent weather patterns; cooler nights and warm, predictable days for the most part. I guess that’s why it’s such a popular time of year for campers and travellers — all the gear gets dusted off, thoughts turn to rolling green hills, those clear mountain streams, and that fresh mountain air — so different to the concrete, tar, traffic and people that consume most of us every day.
If you fish, well no doubt your mind will have drifted off quite a few times over the last few weeks as you prepare mentally for that battle with fins and scales that lies ahead, up and over the mountains and far away…
With stable weather comes predictability in the fishy sense, which allows us to plan our attack and maximise results. Around Oberon, trout in the streams will feed (rise) early to mid-morning. The warm morning sun will generate insect hatches of caddis, black spinners and the like, so look to sit off the main pools and runs, and watch and learn. It’s amazing what you see when you are patient; the big brown trout that has eluded you for the last few seasons might just give himself up as he goes about his morning routine.
Over the years I have been amazed at the comments about weed. “Bloody stuff sh-ts me, fouling up my lures all the time. Clogs my electric up too!” to name but a few. I actually love the stuff, as I am sure it’s the kitchen table, the pantry and the fridge for most fish. If that’s where they eat, then that’s where I’m at. Stable weather and stable water equals weed growth, and fresh green growth means oxygen supply, cover and food for all creatures’ great and small…
There are a few tricks and tactics that can help with getting the most out of weed beds. Firstly, your lure selection. For the most part, treble hooks are a no-no, although having said that some lures with trebles can be more weedless than others. Switching treble hooks over to swinging singles can also make a difference without impeding hookup ratios too much. Lipless crankbaits rigged this way are specials in the weed.
Spinnerbaits are a classic weedbed lure. The coat hanger design and blades protecting an up-riding hook has few equals when it comes to fishing the weed. The ability to drop the spinnerbait into holes as you retrieve, then rip it back out just adds to the appeal, and native fish find it very hard to resist.
Soft plastics are yet another option to try in the weed. Rigging weedless with the single hook tucked back into the plastic is about as weedless as it comes, although be mindful that certain plastics are better suited than others. Some manufactures have even gone to the trouble of creating little hollowed out sections for the hook to sit in without being buried and surrounded by plastic. This helps with hookups no end, and the inherent shape of most plastics also assists with weedbed fishing; most are of a slender profile and slip through the weed very easily.
The ability to be able to change, cut, modify, or add is another big plus for soft plastics in the weed. A small spinnerbait blade can be added to a single hook so it flutters on the fall; little nicks can be cut in the tail so it shakes and shimmers a little more; they can be cut to shorten to match the size of the baitfish you are seeing; they can be dipped in colour changing additives — really, the list is endless.
Surface lures are another good option, especially when it comes to bass and cod during low light periods — there can be no better option at times.
During the season, any time really is cod time. I am hearing you; there are times of the year when the big boys do come out to play though. Early in the season when the breeding activity lingers on is one, while the other is later in the year when those first cold frosts start to bring the water temperature down. It’s a little early yet, but it’s hard not to think about it. I am sure they feel the temperature drop and know that the season is about to turn. The cold season ahead will bring about less food and all those little tidbits that are easy to catch will become scarce, so it’s time to put the feed bag on.
Stable autumn weather patterns are usually associated with big high pressure systems, rising barometers and the like, which all points to great cod action on waters such as Wyangala, Burrendong and Windamere. Don’t discount the rivers either, as they offer great camping options on some of the travelling stock routes out west. Water quality and clarity can influence lure options, but if you take bait as well, then you have both options covered.
A weedbed favourite is the spinnerbait. Observant anglers will also note the bass was caught on the shady side — when it comes to bass in summer, chase the shade my friends.
What is it with weed? Some people hate it, but I love it — choose the right option and it’s game on.
Some of my all-time favourite weed bed lures. Apart from the surface lure, not a treble hook amongst them.Reads: 540