Read the water for rewards
  |  First Published: August 2007

With so much rain, dirty, muddy water and wind, the past month has been one of the hardest I have had for many years.

The upper reaches have been shut down with hardly a report of anyone catching a bass. Only a few people who know their water are catching fish.

But one zone that has been producing fish is up some of the smaller creeks and around their mouths. Bass like the clearer water so if you can find a creek that is running clear, this is the spot that you are most likely to find a bass.

The fish sit around the creek mouth waiting for any baitfish to wash down. In the past we have had cricket-score numbers of bass caught when conditions are right. It doesn’t matter much which lure or fly you cast when the bass are at these bait-filled creek mouths gorging themselves.

What is important is fishing the right creeks. These watercourses run off bushy, grassy areas that have swamps or ponds containing lots of small baitfish and other critters they eat.

When you find these creek mouths working, you often see the water rippling with bait. I usually tie up to a tree or anchor near where the clear water from the creek meets the dirty river water and fan-cast the area. It usually does not take long to find out if the fish are there.

I can remember about five years ago having a group out on the river and really struggling to catch them a bass after five hours on the water. We had only two fish so out of desperation I decided to run downstream to try to find these guys fish.

As I was passing one of these creeks I noticed the water colour change so I pulled the boat off the plane and headed for the creek mouth. As I got closer, I could see the bait rippling.

On the first cast we hooked up and a hour later we had 53 fish. For the next week these conditions remained and we caught hundreds of bass, some flathead and estuary perch.


With the saltwater the same can happen with the pelagics. Find the dirty water line and often you will find the fish working along and around the colour change.

If there is no surface feeding going, on I troll my lures along the colour-change line in a zig-zag pattern, bringing my lures in and out of the dirty water.

The baitfish use the dirty water to hide and the salmon, tailor and other pelagics will be ready to snap up any bait that comes out into the clear water.

Keep your eyes on your sounder for any fish holding deeper and drop a metal jig down. This will often produce fish.

This dirty water will also turns on the jewfish if the conditions are right, with good fish around the heads, Flint and Steel, Juno Point and Half Tide Rock. A lot of guys cast large lures around the rocky areas near the heads and washes and catch their share of jewies with the added bonus of kings and salmon.

A couple of areas that also fish well in dirty water are Pittwater and Cowan Creek These are deep areas and do not get affected by the dirty water as much.

The bait fish often head up into these areas, followed by the pelagics, and some great surface action can happen. Kingfish often hang around this area all Winter so keep you eyes peeled for surface eruptions.

Try slow trolling live baits around the Cottage Point area when there is no surface action. Again, keep your eyes on the sounder and if you see fish, work the area over with lures and live baits.

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