Fishing finesse for yellas
  |  First Published: October 2015

I can’t believe that winter is just a memory and summer is around the corner! October is one of my favourite times of year at Copeton; we can see daytime temperatures into the 30s and water temps on the increase. This can see a real spike in yellowbelly activity, especially if we get some continuing water inflow into the dam.

At this time of year you never know what you will hook next. It might be an 8kg yellowbelly or a 50kg cod! It certainly makes things exciting.

The yellowbelly in Copeton will now be starting to school in preparation for spawning, and this will see them moving up onto the flats where they will sit in water between 20-50ft deep. As you move around the dam it pays to keep one eye on your sounder at all times because the areas that will attract fish change each year with the changing water levels. The big advantage with yellowbelly is that they do show very strongly on modern sounders, so when you move over some likely country and see the big arches start to move onto the screen you can be very confident that you have found a concentration of yellowbelly.

Once you have located fish, it’s time to set up your gear. A 4-6kg spin or baitcast outfit has been the weapon of choice for many years, and will still catch a lot of fish. You can fish the way we have for years – trolling or casting deep divers. Some good choices include the locally-made Hard-At-It’s, Kingfisher Tempest and Radar Lures along with lures from a host other Aussie companies such as Halco, Predatek, Custom Crafted and StumpJumper. All have deep divers to suit yellowbelly.

Spinnerbaits can also be very successful on Copeton’s yellowbelly. If you’re casting a spinnerbait, allow it to sink to the bottom and then slow roll it back to the boat or bank. You will find that willow or Indiana blades will let your spinnerbait run deeper for longer. Spinnerbaits can also be good when water level is rising and fish are feeding on the edges.

When it comes to catching yellowbelly, you will see an increase in your results by adding some finesse to your tackle. What we are seeing these days is a move away from the traditional 4kg and 6kg baitcasting tackle in favour of light 2-4kg spin tackle. Many of today’s anglers use light spin sticks matched to 1000 to 2500 size reels loaded with 2-3kg braid and a rod length of 4kg fluorocarbon leader. This setup is capable of landing some amazing fish. With this outfit you should land most of the yellowbelly you hook, and you will definitely hook more fish.

Combining this light gear with some of the new lures on the market like some of the bibless minnows, blades and soft plastics has certainly changed the way we fish. Finesse will give you more consistent results on Copeton yellowbelly, so it’s worth making the switch.

Cod have continued to thrill anglers through September, although the surface bite did slow down. Most fish have been taken using more traditional methods like cast and trolled spinnerbaits and hardbodies. Keep in mind that Copeton Cod average around 80-85cm so hardbodies should start at around 10cm and go right up to 18-20cm body length.

If you’re trolling spinnerbaits, which is popular at Copeton, choose willow blades and head weights from 3/4oz to 2oz. Willow blades will run deeper than Colorado blades

Remember that Copeton is the only destination for cod fishing in NSW until 1 December.

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