Hunter Valley hotspots
  |  First Published: June 2016

After a few frosty mornings a lot of fish are now sitting close to the rockwall or in the heavy timbered bays that retain heat from the day. Start in places like this to find some good Hunter Valley bass!

At the western end there is a ledge about 15-20ft deep where 3” soft plastics shine. I like to cast a Keitech 3” Easy Shiner in lime/chartreuse colours tight to the edge and slow roll it back with a twitch every 3-4 turns of the reel. As you fish these areas, throw lots of casts a 1/2-1m apart. It will take many casts to engage the fish, as they are lethargic from the cold conditions. I have also caught fish in this area simply by dropping the same plastic vertically and slowly winding up. Although you are casting to a shallow edge, you will be sitting in about 60ft of water. Move along the rockwall heading towards the Boot and change your set-up. I recommend a 1/8oz jighead and a 1.5” Slider in grass minnow colour. Cast to the edge and shake your rod while it sinks. The edge is about 15ft deep, so the fish will sit tight to the rockwall – I usually cast at the rock wall, don’t be afraid to let it hit so you stay close to the edge, and as soon as you feel a touch strike.

June is a good time to ice jig during the day, as the fish move off the edge and sit deeper as the sun moves higher. I use a Nils Master 12g in colours 63, 86 and 52, a Smak 12g, or a Jackall 6g. Another area to fish is just into the 8 knot on the left side. Fish along the rockwall and cast around the edge of about 300m of scattered timber. This kind of fishing is fun and infuriating, as many fish will wrap you around the trees.

A lure that is relatively new to bass and yella fishing is the swim jig; it looks like a spinnerbait without arms or blades. Some models have a weed guard and there are many on the market. Jigs mimic a yabby and fishers use them by dropping them vertically around trees and using a subtle flick of the rod tip. Another technique is American flipping where you short cast into heavy structure and hop it out. This is usually done around the edges with your boat parallel to the shore, and there are a number of videos on YouTube that will help.

Another new lure to be used in winter is the Jackall Lizinc – it’s a slightly diamond shaped metal lure which can be used a bit like hopping a masked vibe, but with a little more vigour. It should work well on schooled fish or while working your way down a deep edge and comes in multiple colours and weights.

St Clair still has good weed covering much of the dam. Cast lipless crank baits and blades around the weed edge. The fish usually sit a little deeper as the day goes on, so try ice jigging in and around the timber in the Carrow Brook Arm near Adams Point. Keep an eye out around St Clair Island and Connell Inlet. Trollers can also work deep lures off the points. Don’t forget to watch your sounder for baitfish and schooled fish and crack out the deep lures to target them.

• Peter Fogarty runs the popular Lake Glenbawn Kiosk - offering fuel, tackle, ice and the best food on the lake. Make sure you drop in when you visit the lake for the latest reports. You can also visit them on www.lakeglenbawnkiosk.com.au or call on (02) 6543 8355.

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