Living in the angler’s paradise
  |  First Published: November 2016

Around these parts, it’s like a freshwater fishing smorgasbord of choices and opportunities. Creeks and rivers are flowing well and dams are full to the brim. Life underwater has exploded – it’s easy to see, especially at night with the help of a torch. It’s like a soup, a culinary fish degustation with a thousand courses. It’s a wonder the fish we chase even bother with the lures, baits and flies we present them on a line.

Herein lies the problem. For the most part, I and many other fishing scribes preach the notion of a natural presentation – “make your lures and baits look as lifelike as possible”. In fact, it’s possibly a good thing that most of our offerings aren’t how nature intended. The deception act we participate in is a fine line, too close to the real thing and we blend into what could be trillions of others, an actual defence mechanism of nature. Too far the other way and we scare the living daylights out of what we’re trying to catch. It’s a balancing act with so many variables and challenges.


A big part of this balancing act revolves around the numbers of fish present in the waterways and locations we chose to fish. Sparse numbers of trout spread over a vast area in say, Lake Lyell, will more than likely have me looking for a presentation that is higher in attraction qualities, like a flashing blade, a bigger profile, a brighter colour or a heavier weight. Use something to cast long distances to cover the water, something to actually pull the fish in from a wider area for a closer look. The same presentation made in the Fish River for trout on a quiet settled pool would more than likely scare every fish to an undercut bank for the rest of the day.

There are variations, subtleties and adjustments that need to be made in both situations when the need arises. Faster water or rapids in the Fish River or stained water will have me looking for more of an attraction style of lure or fly, big and flashy. If I were to find trout on the depth sounder at Lake Lyell gathered in a location, I’d more than likely opt to scale things back in the attraction stakes and go for a more natural look. It’s a very basic outline of my approach, but it’s one you can use on any water or any species.


The high water levels in our local dams have gifted us with awesome camping locations close to water with shaded trees for the upcoming summer season – Wyangala, and Burrendong are especially good. This is a great opportunity to take family and friends into the great outdoors for a couple of days of fishing and adventure. The bankside fishing straight out from camp can be sensational on bait in both these locations. If the trend of the last month or so continues into summer, it’ll be action stations on all rods.

A long cast is not needed after the sun goes down. Literally metres from the rod tip can be the best place to lob a bait. Stay close to the rod, the next one to be pulled in won’t be the last. Scrubworms, shrimp, and small yabbies are the go-to baits and live is best. Look after your baits if you’re there for a few days, keep them cool, freshen up the dirt or water on a regular basis.

Circle hooks are great for catch and release baitfishing. I must admit, I was a bit dubious of their effectiveness until I tried them on the Murray River a few years back. They make a difference – every single fish hooked in the corner of the mouth and with just the flick of the pliers, all fish where released within seconds of being caught. Smaller sizes are available in most tackle shops, so do yourselves a favour and check them out.


If you’re anything like me, you’ll be counting the days. Local bass will fire up this month, so they’ll keep me busy for a short time, but that Murray cod itch will need scratching by the time December rolls around. I suspect the rivers to be quiet early, especially on lures. There could be some stained water still in the systems and lakes, but we’ll see how things pan out. Come 1 December, it’ll be game on. I hope to see you on the water soon. Until then, tight lines.


Spending time with family in the great outdoors is special. Camping allows us to do this for longer periods. Small streams and large lakes offer a great outlook – the fishing is a bonus.


Definitely the right choice between attract and trigger when your lure is this far down the hatch. Skirted jigs are a great option on native fish when you’ve found a concentration of fish.


The Imakatsu Piranha vibe is one of the better options when it comes to a search tool for native fish. The rattles inside the bigger side on profile and the ease of casting such lures allows you to cover more water when fish are scattered.

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