I’ve been writing this column for the past five years and while I try hard not to repeat myself too much, every April I enjoy saying it’s one of my favourite times to fish.
With many bass making ready to move into the brackish sections of the Hawkesbury to spawn, part of their preparation is to feed up for the big swim and it seems that almost any lure you put in front of them is fair game. The fish should have started to school up for their migration and can be found deeper as the water cools.
Using the sounder in your boat, you’ll often find bass near drop-offs and on the edges where eddies and the main river flow in opposite directions. Then you’ll need to get your lure down to the right depth. While most use soft plastics or sinking flies, spinnerbaits are still productive, especially 1/4oz models in red/black. Also excellent in deeper water are Nitro Whiz Bangers, not presently being made but hopefully they’ll be back in production when Nitro’s Matt Fraser and wife May have sorted out the latest addition to their family.
Bass will still take lures off the surface and Heddon Torpedoes are very popular. The black ones seem to be high on the favourites list but I’ve found that when bass are quiet, the clear Torpedo will get results. The fish have trouble working out what is creating the disturbance and the lure comes close to resembling the prawns skipping about on the river.
Heddon’s Hula Poppers, which come in a variety of sizes, are another favourite, especially in black. They can be made to bloop across the surface or can be jiggled to create enticing ripples without any noise at all.
Recently the creators of Taylor Made lures were kind enough to send me some samples of some surface lures to try. I have been using other Taylor Mades, such as their Baby Nuggets and Fizz Bangers, for a while and was happy to receive the samples including Basscadas and Fat Bangers and am impressed enough to say so. The results have been very impressive and the sample lures have pushed some of my older surface lures out of the tackle box.
I’ve had a little friendly jousting from mates who think it’s strange I mention carp as targetable species. These mud suckers, while they definitely deserve to be hated, can offer a very real test for the skills of any angler and they certainly use their bulk and power to maximum effect when hooked.
Pughs Lagoon at Richmond, Penrith Lakes, Werrington Lake and a host of landlocked waters offer plenty of opportunities to test your abilities. Check with the management of Penrith Lakes before fishing there.
As for carp rigs, you’ll need strong hooks and a variety of bait which might include bread, corn, ham, cheese, maggots or even jellybeans. Fished under a float or on the bottom in conjunction with a little berley, you should get some interest from the scavenging carp.
Carp found in local creeks and rivers aren’t given much attention by anglers locally, as there are many more popular species to give attention to, but the same techniques can be used here.
There are some monster mullet about this month, too, and those who have managed to catch these speedsters will find them a challenge to contain once hooked.
You’ll need small hooks for the mullet as well as some light floats. Berley them up with some bread but don’t over do it.
Small bits of bread will create a nice trail that will bring them to your bait, which should consist of a small ball of bread on hook or dough mixed with cotton wool to help keep the dough on your hook. To make up the dough, mix flour with water until a thick pasty goo is made and then add the cotton wool.
For those who like the hand-to-hand combat of catching fish with the fly rod, small bread flies are perfect. These can be of foam or small pieces of washed sheep’s fleece. They probably look more realistic when you add your fly to the berley trail.
Tailor and bream are about in reasonable numbers and along with flathead, are often by-catch for those chasing estuary perch and bass.
I’ve heard of reports of some jewfish to 30kg in the Wisemans Ferry area, which would explain why the tackle shops have been selling more line to the jewie anglers in recent months. Express trains have made short work of those not expecting the larger species.Reads: 433