No one is too cool for cool water schools
  |  First Published: May 2017

If the redfin fishing we experienced at Blowering Dam through the warmer months is anything to go by, this winter could offer some incredible fishing.

At this time of the year the redfin congregate in massive pre-spawn schools and move from the edges of the lake out into the deep open flats. These schools can sometimes have hundreds of fish and once one school is found, generally there are many other schools in the near vicinity. Often you drift off one school only to find an even better school. It really can be that good through the cooler months. I also find in that you catch the much bigger redfin during this pre and post spawn period through the cooler months.

Baitos targeting these redfin will do well actively bobbing yabbies and worms on a paternoster rig. If you really want to get the big numbers, it’s hard to beat jigging with lures.

It really doesn’t get much easier than jigging for redfin in the winter months. You can either troll to find the schools, use your sounder or just drift around until you start catching fish. Lures of choice for this type of fishing are heavy lures that get you to the bottom quickly and hold you down there. Taking that into consideration, it’s hard to beat ice jigs jigged vertically. If you’re not over the fish and want to locate them without moving, then it’s hard to beat rubber vibes, blades and plastics. This group of lures really is all you need for a great day of jigging.

Cast the blade, rubber vibe or plastic away from the boat and then hop it back to the boat until you find fish. Then, as they are not that easily spooked when holding deep, the best tactic is to get your boat positioned over the school and jig like crazy primarily with your ice jigs. Whatever you found the fish with will also do the job.

The redfin will be mostly holding around the 30-50ft mark, so if you’re using plastics you will need to rig them on 1/4-5/8oz jigheads depending on the wind on the day and how heavy your line is.

Blades and vibes also need to be quite heavy for their weight to help get your lure down and also to help you detect any of those deep bites. To increase your chances of detecting hits, it pays to use light line and a long light rod. What you’d use for trout or bream is perfect.

Through the cooler months there is nowhere near as much tucker on offer for the natives, so we find they often follow the redfin schools around and pick off any stragglers. After you get a redfin school biting, all that action gets the natives’ attention and quite often you’ll hook into Murray cod on ice jigs, plastics, blades and vibes.

If you pay attention to your sounder you will see when the natives turn up. They’re often represented as large single arches under the school of redfin. You can continue to use the above mentioned lures and still hook the odd native or you can make the sacrifice of putting the redfin gear down and throwing something much larger at the natives.

Using larger longer blades and vibes or increasing your plastic size is all you need to do to increase your chances of hooking the lingering natives. This is easier said than done though, if the rest of the anglers on board stick with the redfin fishing and are pulling a fish each drop. Using these larger lures will mean you hook far less redfin, but it gives you a better chance of hooking those big natives. If you do hook redfin on these lures, they are almost always of a large size.

Trout Rivers

The two main options in the rivers this month are have fun with the prolific resident trout in the Tumut River or go and get amongst the crowds and monster brown trout during the annual Eucumbene spawn run. If you chose the Tumut River then conventional techniques will work best. If you are heading to Eucumbene, you better pack the Glo-Bugs, nymphs and split shot sinkers.

For a day of crazy action on the spawn run, all you need to do is get the weight right with your split shot. Too much split shot and you’re not drifting enough, not enough split shot and you’re drifting above the fish. Both will see you catch few fish, so take the time and get it right and you will slay them all day long.

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