Using the elements to your advantage
  |  First Published: August 2016

It was late August last year, water temperatures had bottomed out, the wind was howling, and small white cap waves were breaking on the rocks. I was out chasing early season golden perch in Windamere dam. The little 3/8oz skirted jig hit the bottom in 10ft of water and with two small hops I was on. Water movement in dams can concentrate food, and when this happens all manner of species respond.

It’s interesting to listen to different anglers curse the elements, especially the wind, and many will avoid it at all costs – in doing so they can limit their opportunity to catch fish. Some of my best fishing sessions have come off wind-blown shores. Apart from the concentration of food and fish that happens on these banks, the crashing waves on the shore dull any boat noise, an underestimated factor in my books. A bow mount electric motor on your boat is perfect for this style of fishing. Point the bow out into the wind, and use the electric to take you forward away from the bank then allow the wind to slowly push you back. If you quarter slightly in one direction you will move in a see-saw pattern along the bank, which allows you to cast parallel with the bank – this is a deadly tactic that has caught many fish of all species over the years.


As August moves on, many trout will return back to Lake Lyell after a rigorous spawn up in the Coxes River. With no inflows into Thompsons Creek Dam (TCD) the rainbows spend a lot of their time on the exposed wind swept gravel points, but these fish will slowly start to dissipate as the days get longer and the water temperature jumps up a degree or two. It can be a really good time to target these fish, they are very hungry, and quite often throw caution to the wind (of which there could be plenty), feeding in areas and at times they normally wouldn’t.

Tactics for boat-based fishing in Lake Lyell includes slowly flat line trolling spoons and Tassie Devils can have you right into it. It’s also a good idea to run a deep diving minnow in the spread at this time of year as well but that will depend on how many anglers are on board at the time.

Targeting the banks by walking them is your only option in TCD, whereas in Lake Lyell you have both options. I highly recommend you get out of the boat and have a slow walk around, pick a bank with the sun coming over your shoulder if possible, scan well ahead, take it very slow and pause often. Look into the water and you just might be surprised as to what you find – you won’t catch them all, but it is great fun to try!


Early August is great time of year to target oversized redfin in Ben Chifley and Burrendong dams. The females are fully rowed up and carry a lot more weight, but it is difficult to put a radar on them at this time of year, as they can turn up just about anywhere. I’ve been able to nail some pretty good ones around shore-based structure, on small spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits, I am not sure where they lay their eggs, though it’s likely they lay them on weed strands and structure closer to the bank.

Usually where there is one large specimen there will be more, so it is well worth returning an hour or so later. The flats can sometimes hold loose groups of bigger specimens on or close to a break line in depth. Depending on the depth a vertical presentation will be best – use blades, ice jigs, or a soft plastic, and always up the weight of your presentation according to the wind. You want to be as direct as possible below the boat, but try to keep the overall size of the lure down – a difficult proposition at times.

With just one month to go until the season closes, most of us will try to get one last fix. The Copeton phenomenon has definitely opened a few eyes, so don’t hold back people, get out there and start casting and trolling the biggest nastiest critters in your box. Set your expectations low, it could be a long time between drinks but well worth it if a big cod hits the deck.
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