Surface action picks up
  |  First Published: November 2006

With the days becoming warmer, fishing this month should be a little more consistent.

With the last of the spawning bass making their back to back to their Summer haunts, there have been some cracker bass around 50cm caught in the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers, which is great news.

Surface action should be red-hot this month with plenty of insect life about. One of the largest insects, the cicada, is highly attractive to bass. There are numerous smaller insects about and with lures of similar size, imitating these should help you account for good numbers of bass. When conditions are right, bass will be highly competitive so it’s not unusual to have a couple of fish chasing your offering.

Bass can often be tempted to take a lure or fly throughout the day but you’ll need to be looking for them in the shaded areas. There are plenty of shady places to prospect: Foliage which hangs well over the water, undercut rocks, high cliffs, and even artificial structures such as jetties.

Best times of course are very early in the morning and late afternoon and into the night. While the early hours don’t appeal to everyone, all thoughts of a comfy bed are soon forgotten when the action starts.

Daylight saving gives us all some extra hours after work to work some local water for many species but bass will be high on the list as they love to feed in the late afternoon and into the night. The lawns can wait when the bass are biting!

There are lot of surface lures you can choose but personal favourites include Daiwa Cicadas, River 2 Sea Buggi Pops, Taylor Made Fizzers and Predatek Spaddlers. If you can get hold of a Daiwa Cicada Pencil, you have a real winner. These are the same as their Cicada lures but don’t have the pivot point in them. You can really get these to skip like a prawn or flick like an injured or dying fish.

I’m not alone in naming these as some of my favourite surface lures but ask around if you’re looking for some more lure options.

Apparently according to lure manufacturers, clear lures don’t sell all that well, which is a bit of a surprise. I love clear surface lures, which are great deceivers.

Even the keen eye of the azure kingfisher falls a clear lure and the bass can’t seem to get a handle on what is creating the disturbance. They apparently don’t get a visual on the lure but have no trouble locating the source of the vibration.

For those who use the fly rod, choice flies for early morning and late afternoon sessions would have to be Dahlbergs and surface poppers, while flies used on sinking lines include Muddler Minnows and Bass Vampires.


While bass and estuary perch are the main targets, there are plenty of other species to have a crack at over coming months. If you can get some live Hawkesbury prawns from one of the trawlers around Lower Portland, you have got the hottest bait for estuary perch, bass, bream and flathead.

If you can’t track down live prawns at Lower Portland from the trawlers, you can always try St Mary’s Bait and Tackle, which sometimes manages to get hold of some and keep them in top condition in the shop tanks. Dead prawns are OK but nothing beats a live kicking prawn for attracting fish to your hook.


A lot of people believe that flyfishing is difficult and while some fly anglers like to give others the impression that they’ve mastered an almost impossible art, flyfishing is like a lot of things – what seems difficult is often much easier with a little practice and some basic understanding.

If you’ve ever given some thought to giving the fly a try, why not bite the bullet now? I remember catching my first bass on fly off the surface and asking myself why I hadn’t tried it years ago. It’s just so much fun.

Maybe a good start might be to ask somebody you know who has a fly rod if they can show you a few of the basics.

If you’re looking for your first outfit, look for the best quality gear you can afford, laying out at least half to 60% of your intended dollars on a good rod. It makes better financial sense to buy an outfit you’ll be pleased to fish with for a few years.

A relatively cheap two-piece 6wt outfit is what I started out with and I’ve since moved on to a four-piece Innovator HLS 6wt. I use Scientific Angler Headstart weight-forward fly line for surface flies and Scientific Angler Ultra 3 Wet Tip line which sinks between 2.5” and 4” per second for my wet flies.

I’ve been enjoying some fun with the fly rod over the past few months after not having done much for some time. While to the purists my early casts probably looked like a monkey hauling cabbage, it didn’t take too long to get the rhythm and technique back. It’s not that difficult, so give it a go.


Mullet don’t attract much attention from local anglers but make sensational fun on fly or bait. They are shy fish, very easily spooked with loud and sudden movements. Mullet are right throughout the rivers of western Sydney and are typically found in shallow, weedy areas but can be found cruising open waters.

While I haven’t targeted them for some time, I plan to introduce my son to them over coming months. These fish will take off at a thousand miles an hour when hooked and really provide a lot of fun.

With their small mouths, hooks from No 6 to No 12 are recommended with a very light rod around 1.8m to 2.2m with a small threadline loaded with 1kg to 3kg line. A small float like a bobby cork or unweighted rig can be successful.

Mullet will home in on a nice berley trail of bread but don’t overdo the berley. Send out a hook with a pinch of bread or dough mixed with some cotton wool under a float and keep bankside movement and noise to a minimum.

I’ve never caught a mullet on fly but I’m going to give it a go over the next few months and I can’t wait to see the rod get a serious bend in it.

With the weather warming up and daylight saving here, spending quality time with the kids will be good for you and them for creating some lasting memories. Remember to make the most of the time with your kids because if there’s one thing you can’t buy back, it’s lost time.

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