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Don’t make this the curtain call
  |  First Published: April 2004



FOR many local anglers this month is usually the curtain call until Spring.

The prime targets are bass and soon the ‘bass season’ will soon be over until August or September for those who choose to let the fish spawn in peace. For those who are about to exit stage left, don’t bow out just yet. I’ve got a good feeling about this month.

This is a favourite time for many bass anglers, with plenty of fat, savage fish about. Punishment is sometimes swift, with anglers who have tied poor knots or who have not looked after their equipment paying the price. There should be plenty of bigger fish on the move this month as the spawning period is not too far away.

According to my records over the past few years, April seems to be great for heavy hitters as the larger fish make their travel arrangements for the big swim downstream. High on their agenda is dining out, and this is where and a new surge of raw aggression helps the fish to build up reserves for the trying times ahead.

Judging by the calls and emails I’ve received, there have been plenty of excited anglers catching and releasing some great bass over the magic 40cm mark, with most falling to surface lure.

Curtis Parker from Penrith has set the bar in the big bass stakes. How does a 51cm model from around North Richmond sound? Caught on a jointed black Jitterbug, this bass was followed by another of around 41cm soon after.

Devlins, along the Castlereagh in the mid reaches of the Nepean, has been doing well, with Heddon Torpedoes and River 2 Sea Buggis the best of the surface lures. The black Buggis are sensational and are one of those lures that if you lose one, you simply go out and buy two more. If you don’t have black Buggis in your tackle box, go and get some. The last one I lost, I was fishing from my kayak when I caught a large bass that took considerable line and put me in a spin – literally. I got dizzy with all the spinning my little kayak and I did.

Black Arbogast Hula Poppers are another favourite of mine and have taken some great fish. With a scalloped face, this lure can be made to bloop or just create large ripples that have often proved too tempting to Mr Bass.

Dave Horvat’s experience recently might be a timely reminder if you’re not doing so well on the water. On a stretch of the Nepean, Dave was unsuccessfully working the weed beds casting small poppers into clear pockets the size of a dinner plate. He then clipped on a large jointed Jitterbug and started catching fish straight away.

He said the jointed Jitterbugs were being mauled by bass in good numbers. It seems a shift to larger surface lures offering more movement was the key to Dave’s success. If things are a bit slow, think about how you might turn the fish on. It often doesn’t take much.

Betts Spins continue to be all the rage at the moment and should still to be a great choice this month, especially on 1/16oz jig heads. Sliders in pumpkinseed and motor oil have been the choice tails.

I’ve just got hold of some bullet-shaped, hard foam Carolina Floaters to float plastics over weeds. They can also keep plastics off the bottom when rigged correctly, or made to pop on the surface if you decide. I’ll let you know how they go, but I’m confident they’ll work well.

CARP BUSTING

Introduced by the Western District Acclimatisation Society in 1876, carp have been responsible for a number of environmental problems, largely due to how these fish feed. With carp stirring up the bottom as they feed, silt is deposited on the bottom which makes it difficult for sunlight to stimulate plant growth and the murk also settles on other fish eggs. Carp can also suck up the eggs of other species, which is a worry for native freshwater fish.

Females from three years old can produce over a million eggs and juvenile carp can begin life 36 hours after the female has spawned. Spawning is usually in spring with an occasional second spawn in late Summer. With that in mind, show these pests no mercy if you catch them – do the humane thing and give them a tap on the head. Look at the picture on this page of Curtis Parker’s monster carp and think of the potential damage one like this can cause. Show no mercy!

BRAINLESS KILLERS

Down at the Nepean about two years ago, I hooked up to a solid bass on fly near some young guys who were swimming. They watched as I steered the fish away from the snags, their voices carrying over the water: “I hope he’s going to let it go!” “Yeah me too!”

As I removed the hook from the fish, I felt six sets of eyes bearing down on me. Slipping the fish back into the water, I got the thumbs up from my shore-bound fans and a ‘Good onya, mate!’. I felt good that these young guys approved of my actions, but even better that they respected the catch-and-release ethic that most anglers live by these days.

While there’s no problem with catching a few fish for a feed, senseless killing of fish is for those with very little electrical activity within the skull. Sadly, reports have been circulating of a few anglers catching mullet and letting them rot on the banks of the Nepean at Penrith. While they aren’t a true representation of the majority of anglers, the sick gratification a few get from senselessly killing fish is beyond belief.

There are some groups within the community who actively lobby for the banning of fishing and are only too eager to recruit members to their cause. Whether we get an A+ from spectators or an F, the score we’re given for our performance reflects for better or worse on anglers everywhere.

If you’ve got any news or pics, email me or phone 0418 297353. If there’s some other information that you would like to see included, drop me a line as well.

Curtis Parker managed this fantastic 51cm bass on a jointed black Jitterbug near North Richmond and caught another good fish soon after.

Curtis Parker busted this carp, which easily bottomed out his 5kg scales. Caught at Emu Heights on corn, the fish took half an hour to bring in and will never breed again.

Dave Horvat took this small fish on a surface lure in water new to him.

Dave George landed this nice bass in the Georges River on a Betts Spin. Dave has made it a habit of nailing bass over 40cm since visiting John Bethune’s bass clinic last year.

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