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Bass head downstream
  |  First Published: April 2005



This is a great month to get some solid fish on their way downstream to spawn.

The mornings start to become noticeably chilly this month but my fishing diaries show April to produce some sensational fishing. There's a growing belief that bass moves downstream in waves to spawn, rather than make a mass migration, while some bass don't migrate at all.

Recent reports on big bass smashing surface lures should have you out there enjoying the great fishing expected this month. Recent hefty specimens in the mid to high 40cm range produce a lot of power and provide a tonne of excitement.

Some of the local creeks have been producing exceptional fish while others have been ordinary. Bass in the 50cm range have been showing up, with any fish like this bound to turn you inside out. That’s especially if you're lucky enough to catch one from a kayak. It's like being stuck in the spin cycle of your washing machine. It's great for bystanders to watch you twirl around in a helpless spin but it's anxious times aplenty for the angler who has his hands full with a rampaging fish.

Those fishing from the bank who have hooked into decent fish have found out just how athletic they are, as they've needed to be pretty agile to clamber over rocks and logs to keep the bass from busting them off. Getting wet and losing a little skin is the price you pay for hooking up big-time.

I find working spinnerbaits, plastics and deep fly to be the best options this month but with the ability of the Jackall lipless crankbaits to be worked slowly, I'll be especially keen to use these as well.

Jackalls would have to be the biggest sellers over the past 12 months and with good reason. Forking out $30 for a lure is not something many are prepared to do but with an undisputed reputation for pulling quality fish in good numbers, the pain of parting with the dollars is soon forgotten.

The Australian Bass Angler in Penrith has been having trouble keeping up with demand for these fine lures, which seem to be leaving the store as soon as they arrive.

Plastics are also a great choice for bass this month. I like to dip them in Spike It scent or give them a quick spray with Slime It before consigning them to the depths to tempt a bass with action, colour and scent.

If you're fishing from a boat, when fish show up on the sounder work the area well with lures that get down to where the fish are. Spinnerbaits, plastics and fly are the most obvious choices.

If you can get hold of a topographical map that covers the section of the river you fish, look for areas that will provide you with eddies and if you can find a drop off nearby, work the area well. It pays to experiment with your retrieve to see what gets a fish’s attention.

YARRAMUNDI PLAYGROUND

The upgraded bridge at Yarramundi has given anglers a much improved car park and the area has grown in popularity with families and anglers. It's strictly a bank-fishing or canoe area. The kids love to swim in the calm water but there's plenty of clear banks for anglers in the family.

Apart from bass there are plenty of mullet and the carp are always in numbers. They seem to be pretty calm around people at times with reports of carp within arm’s reach for those wading the shallows.

Carp can grow to be very large and even a spirited small one will test your skills on light gear. They're not too fussy about what's on the menu, either, with cheese, corn, maggots or worms being successful. If you catch these fish, kill them as required by law and dispose of them humanely – don't put them back in the river in case their eggs remain viable. Carp aren't high on the menu of most anglers but they make great fertilizer for the garden, providing you dig them in deep.

SEASON TAPERS DOWN

For many this is the last month they'll target bass in the areas downstream of Sackville considered to be their spawning grounds. For these anglers the so-called bass season is brought to an end in a self-imposed ban to let bass breed in peace. The diehards will continue to chase bass above Ebenezer, where the fish prove harder to catch in the cool months. Others give up on bass and chase bream in the salt or move to the bass impoundments.

Migration of healthy bass to these spawning areas brings out the knuckleheads who don't care for bag limits or the future of these wonderful fish, and take esky loads for the freezer.

While there's nothing wrong with taking enough fish for a feed, when it comes to deliberately targeting large schools of spawning bass and filling eskies, that's another issue. While there's a thin line of Fisheries officers on the water, boofheads who are worried about being caught doing the wrong thing keep an their eskies hidden on the bank while looking legitimate by keeping their ‘legal’ bag limit on the boat.

Many of these people know when and where to look for these schools and target bass only during the spawning period. If this doesn't make you mad, it should. If you see or suspect any illegal activity report it to Fisheries or phone the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536. Any information you can report will be your way of helping ensure healthy bass populations for the future.

If you have any news to pass on to readers, call me on 0418 297 353 or email me at the address above.

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