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Non-spawners still biting
  |  First Published: July 2006



It’s not surprising that fishing isn’t the most popular activity at the moment but various locations along the Nepean have produced some decent bass over the past month with those putting in the effort getting 40cm-plus bass on surface lures.

Many of these fish have been taken been late afternoon and into the evening, so it takes a certain degree of persistence and preparation to operate in the cold. You might forget to take plenty of warm clothing once but you won’t forget twice!

While many large specimens are downstream spawning, bass anglers who tend to leave spawning fish alone still have the possibility of taking large fish well away from the spawning grounds.

Soft plastics have been the overall winners, especially those jigged while on the drift. While it’s not the most widely witnessed technique, it certainly is very successful. Berkley 3” Bass Minnows have been great with a 1/8oz Nitro down the face of weed beds. Use a slow lift and drop of the rod tip and a super-slow retrieve.

While scents may be somewhat of a novelty to some, if the fish aren’t very active they can help turn their attitude around. I’m convinced they work when things are quiet. While spraying onto lures there is the inevitable over spray which hits the water. Often this leaves an oily film spreading across the surface and the amount of baitfish activity that this can trigger is quite amazing.

A few anglers have ventured into the Warragamba River in search of trout. Trout are in the dam and some find their way below the wall. Garden worms have been the undoing of a number of them.

HAWKESBURY AQUARIUM

Estuary perch can be targeted this month using soft plastics worked slowly along the bottom. The retrieve for EPs needs to be slow, slow enough that you’re almost falling asleep. I like to use a lift-and-drop retrieve, watching for any taps on the line. I like a fluoro braid for this because it’s easier to notice fish which might be giving your plastic some attention.

I Like 3” Sliders and Berkley 3” bass minnows in natural colours, with as light a jig head as is required to get the plastic to the bottom. You’ll find EPs from around Richmond all the way downstream. Even the smaller EPs can pull hard when they are cranky, often surprising anglers.

Bream are about at the moment, with your best bet for reasonable numbers between Wisemans Ferry and Spencer. Lower Portland also has its fair share, with good spots around Rosevale, Macdonald River, Webbs Creek, Walkers Beach and Lower Half Moon.

Bait anglers seem to prefer Hawkesbury prawns over any other bait, while soft plastics are also top bream takers for those who prefer to actively target their fish. The same type of plastics that are taking EPs are also successful for bream.

Flathead are about this month as well, with some specimens nudging 70cm. Getting your lures to bounce across the bottom while on the troll will turn up flatties, while prawns and strips of fish are the choicest baits for the bottom-bouncers. Best spots are the Macdonald River, Webbs Creek and out in the middle of Dad’s Corner.

Mulloway should be about as well and if we are fortunate to get some decent rain, concentrate on the mouths of Webbs Creek and the Macdonald River in any discoloured water. Live baits such as mullet and tailor are best for the larger fish, while smaller mulloway will take prawns, fish pieces, crabs and soft plastics.

Other well known mulloway haunts include the wharf at Wisemans Ferry, Rosevale, Lower Half Moon and up to the mouth of the Colo. Dad’s Corner out in the middle is also worth a go.

Luderick have returned to the Wisemans Ferry area, taking green and cabbage weed around rocks that are well covered in weed. Those using light line with carefully baited hooks should do well again this month.

SLUGGED AGAIN

While anglers along the coast are losing fish grounds to marine parks at an alarming rate with little or no consultation, local anglers and other water users are being given the typical State Government treatment.

Recreational water users of the Hawkesbury-Nepean have been given another slap in the face after the DPI Aquatic Habitat Protection Unit has lost four key staff due to funding cuts.

Four conservation manager positions from the Darling, Murrumbidgee, Lachlan and the Hawkesbury catchment are no longer. These managers were responsible for key aquatic habitat protection and threatened species, a primary responsibility of the NSW DPI. All four regions have well-documented environmental problems.

The NSW Government has previously axed the Hawkesbury Nepean Catch Management Trust and in April 2005 cut a $132,000 water testing program conducted at 21 locations along the Hawkesbury-Nepean. Six councils contributed $21,000 to the program and when the Government cut the funding, the program folded. Now we have no frontline managers looking after our key aquatic habitat protection and threatened species.

For major river system like the Hawkesbury-Nepean to not have its habitat and threatened species managed by key people is a slap in the face for all users.

• We wish John Bethune all the best with his battle with cancer. A testimonial dinner and fishing competition is planned for August 19 and 20. I’m sure it would mean a lot to John to see a big crowd there, so keep the weekend free and let’s show our support.

For a Winter fish in the Nepean, this 245mm bass must have been drinking his Red Bull by the case. Chunky and determined not to reach the boat, it was caught on a Berkley 3” Bass Minnow with a 1/8oz Nitro jig head.

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