Summer is now behind us and we move into autumn. The heat goes out of the days and the nights begin to cool. March can be one of the best times to visit Copeton Waters Holiday Park for many reasons, including the fishing.
During March the water surface temperature will start to drop and this can trigger a rise in fish activity. By now, the irrigators will have finished watering for the year and the dam level should stabilise after two months of constantly dropping. This will also help to increase fish activity. March often sees long periods of stable weather and can be one of our driest months of the year, so there is no better time to camp at Copeton. There are no crowds and the fish are on the bite – life is good.
Speaking of fishing, the summer was a little slow due to the constantly dropping water level. Anglers needed to fish a bit smarter. In most cases, this can be as simple as slowing down. With most tough bites, slower presentations with the most realistic offerings you can find will bring results. Bait would be the obvious answer and craybobs, shrimp and wood grubs are some of the best offerings.
It pays to think about how you present these baits so they look natural. Shrimp flick around mid-water and aren’t anchored to the bottom with a big chunk of lead. Try little or no weight and slowly work your bait through the branches of trees or across and through fish on the flats. Craybobs can also be presented very naturally by pinning them through the tail on an appropriate size hook. Fish them with no weight, keep in touch with your bait and slowly move it across the bottom with small drags or hops.
For artificial lures, the most natural presentations will be achieved with lures like soft plastics and swimbaits. These ultra-realistic lures can be presented to the fish so they have time to inspect and believe that they are a live baitfish.
I had the opportunity to watch a big yella’s reaction to a top end swimbait the other day. As I retrieved a Jackall Chibitarel in very clear water I noticed movement behind the lure. I stopped the slow roll retrieve and a big yellowbelly appeared behind and underneath the lure. I let the lure sit for thirty seconds or so then I gave the lure a little twitch, just enough to make it turn. The fish moved closer, but stayed under the lure, fins erect, eyes swivelling. I let the lure sit again. The next twitch was too much for this big yella – his gills flared and the lure disappeared in a microsecond.
To have this fish commit to the lure after I watched it from only a few centimetres away, for over a minute, confirms to me how convincing swimbaits can be. It was a real lesson for me and gave me the confidence to slow my presentations right down. My advice now is when you think you are going slow enough, slow down some more.
• Copeton Dam is one of the best lakes in NSW to catch a trophy Murray cod. Dave runs the Copeton Waters Holiday Park and is a great source of up to date, local information on what’s biting. Contact the park on (02) 6723 6269 for information and accommodation bookings.Reads: 600