Warmer weather and water and rusty casting actions seem to come together this month as anglers return to the water after a Winter that seemed longer and colder than most.
Perhaps it was a longing to get back to fishing in warmer weather that seemed to make the winter look longer and colder but now it’s time to get out and enjoy some fishing.
Afternoon fishing sessions are certainly on the cards over the next few months, especially after daylight saving kicks in .
Given the amount of rain we’ve had this year, it would be wise to sort out now where any new sunken timber lies. With heavy rain earlier in the year, a lot of new snags were lodged along the Nepean, posing a risk to boaters not paying attention. If the water is still muddy, be extra careful.
Bass have been aggressive on the Nepean lately with big scores being caught, especially on surface lures and flies.
While a lot of anglers will be heading upstream from the Tench Reserve at Penrith, smart fishos are avoiding the crowds. There’s plenty of sunken timber downstream of the Tench Reserve and before the warmer water temperatures mark a surge in weed growth, this section can be fished easily and in peace.
Typically for bass, the early morning and late afternoon sessions are excellent for surface fishing. The sunken timber, which should be clearly visible if we don’t get any more rain, is an excellent area to target with diving lures and spinnerbaits as well as topwaters.
For the weed forming in the area, I really love using unweighted or lightly weighted soft plastics. You really need to be patient with the unweighted models. They don’t sink quickly so impatient anglers often cast them and start retrieving straight away. Slow down and you’ll do a lot better.
If you decide to go upstream from Tench Reserve, try to get up there mid-week if you can. With the warmer weather bringing out more skiers and jet skis, it’s safer and a lot more pleasant to fish mid-week. On the weekends this section gets an insane amount of traffic.
Further downstream, a boat ramp has been put in at Devlins Lane and while the area is unsuitable for large boats, it’s great to see something to help small craft launch here. This is a great month to fish Devlins, with the weed not too much of a problem, the water temperature becoming more comfortable and bass willing to test your knot-tying abilities.
This month kayaks and canoes are perfect for launching off the banks at North Richmond and whether you choose to go upstream or down, quiet paddling and softly landing lures mean catching more bass.
The paddling is easy in this area and you don’t have to go far to get into the action. There’s plenty of overhead greenery, weed pockets and weed beds, the bridge pylons and the pylons of the old timber bridge, all of which are easily accessible from a canoe.
Obviously there’s no tidal influence above the weir at Penrith and there’s little tidal influence at North Richmond so if you’re just starting out, give it a crack. You don’t have to worry too much about the tides, which makes for one less thing for beginners to have to worry about.
I probably wouldn’t suggest learners to fish around Penrith, where the Nepean gets some serious fishing pressure and bass can take some coaxing to bite. To get well and truly hooked on bass fishing, it’s probably best to work areas that are quiet and where the fish are more willing. Above the lagoon at Yarramundi and around Devlins Lane are top areas to fish when you’re starting out.
Regular readers know just how much I love the Colo. A few anglers say this river holds temperamental bass and while that’s certainly true, when they’re firing there are not many places like it in Western Sydney.
Flowing through sandstone country, the Colo is often very clear, making the fishing difficult. With clear skies and water, try clear lures, especially surface lures which can be very successful.
Probably the most successful lures for me have been the clear Daiwa Cicadas. It has been a case of tying it on and never using another surface lure. They’re not easy to find so make some inquiries at tackle shops.
Other clear surface lures which are successful in clear water on clear days are Lucky Craft Bevy Pencils and Tiemco Pencils. The Lucky Craft is much larger but another similar in size to the Tiemco is the Smith Towadi. One Towadi session was enough to convince me that this little lure is going to get a lot of work in the next few months.
The Tiemco Pencil and the Towadi weigh around 2g and are best tied on with a loop knot in leader of no more than 6lb. I have heard of people using 4lb but you’re going to be in trouble trying to land a large fish. Keep the line diameter small to get the very best out of these lures, whose action can be killed by thicker line.
If the Colo’s waters look like weak black tea, try to find a lure similar in colour to the water. I have a Lucky Craft Bevy Popper which is a red wine colour on top weakening to a shade of black tea – perfect.
In the deeper sections of the Colo, there’s always the opportunity to catch species other than bass. Flathead, tailor and estuary perch are probably the most common, with plenty of mullet if you want to target them.
Estuary perch can be taken with deep flies and soft plastics. I plan to make up for my lack of fly fishing over the past 12 months and target these beautiful fish but I won’t be neglecting soft plastics, which have been my preferred EP tools.
While there’s a lot of timber in this section of the river, there are also quite a few lily pads and extensive weed beds. Areas like these are common throughout western Sydney’s waterways but don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for bass. Most anglers work the banks, while others try deeper water.
Your first thought might be to try deep diving lures but sometimes they just don’t get deep enough so try jigging, soft plastics, deep flies, spinnerbaits and lipless lures. If you’re finding bank side bassing a little slow, or you want to tangle with less spooky bass, go deep with one of these techniques.
Two new fly rods, some new flies tied, my lines cleaned and I can’t wait to cast some flies for bass. Fly fishing looks to complicated for a lot of anglers but it’s one of the most relaxing and successful ways to fish. You can be a long time on local waters and not see another angler flycasting.
Bassin’ With a Fly Rod by Jack Ellis is about US bass but it has loads of information relevant to Australian bass and plenty of food for thought to help readers formulate different approaches to their fishing. While reading this book recently I was reminded about two important lessons I’ve learnt about bass on fly. The first was after reading a quote by John Alden Knight: “Never be in a hurry when fishing a bass bug. The slower you can do it, the better the results.”
The second reminder was the importance of fishing out every cast. With some casting arms a little out of practice, there’s going to be more than the odd poor cast which anglers aren’t happy with. If you’ve been fishing for long enough, you’ll be able to remember plenty of pitiful casts that have resulted in fish. If you’ve made a poor cast, retrieve it back like it was your best and you may well be surprised.
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