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Jack Frost shows his hand
  |  First Published: May 2003



Winter is on the way and some in these parts might say it is already here.

Jack Frost is all about and those Winter woollies are looking real cosy. I reckon winter starts in May on the Central Tablelands.

Trout love the cooler water of these times. There is something about a crisp May morning, especially if it involves chasing a trout. The air seems to have sharpness about it. and you can just about taste the oxygen.

Brown trout will spawn in May if water temperatures and water levels are favourable. This year we need a good spawning season. We are still officially in drought, so hopefully more rain will be forthcoming.

May will see the brown trout in Oberon Dam searching out inflows. Backs of bays early in the mornings are the way to go. Quite often, if there is no fish evident when you first get there, hang around, sit it out and be patient.

Usually the fish turn up slinking along bottom, working a beat, so most times it pays to sit back and watch. Hard to do, I know.

These fish are super-wary. Usually, a fish will be working a beat. Work it out and plan an attack, presenting your floating lure or fly from a distance. Stay low and keep movements to a minium. When and if the fish returns, twitch your offering as the fish approaches. Most times the reaction is swift and brutal and not for the faint-hearted.

Baits such as worms and Berkley PowerBait also work well in Oberon. Keep your rigs light and your hooks sharp. Many people make the mistake of using to heavy a hook in their baits. Keep them light and the baits will look more lifelike.

TCD visual action

Thompsons Creek Dam turns on some great visual fishing action in May. The rainbow and brown trout are building up body weight before the rigours of spawning, when they will eat very little.

The right weather conditions are needed for good sight-fishing. Calm mornings and afternoons, usually associated with the back end of a big high-pressure system, supply a perfect scenario.

Working in pairs can be beneficial – four eyes are better than two. Walk slowly, scanning the water as you go. Look where you can see the bottom and just beyond. Good-quality polarised sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat will help no end.

Rainbow trout usually move at quite a clip so be at the ready. You usually get only one shot so make sure it’s a good one.

As you may have noticed by now from this piece, and from my previous articles, I am sight-fishing freak. If you do not sight-fish, you should give it a go – it really does add that extra element and spice.

Natives slowing

As water temperatures drop, our native fish become a little less active. ‘Reaction’ artificials, such as hard-bodied lures and spinnerbaits, tend to become less productive. A hard-bodied lure with neutral buoyancy can still be useful.

Anglers just need to adjust their approach. Get the lure down there, then slow it right up. Double – or triple – your retrieve time. Add some twitches and pauses and you will have it about right. It’s hard to fish spinnerbaits that slowly. Changing your spinnerbait blades to Colorado patterns will help slow it down. Try fishing them along the bottom with a sink-and-draw retrieve.

Baits such as worms and small yabbies (if you can still get them) are possibly the best option. Bobbing these baits when you boat is tied up to trees in three to six metres of water tends to work well in impoundments such as Windamere and Wyangala.

Always use fresh bait and keep your sinkers, hooks and line as light as you dare. Catfish have been biting well on these baits and tactics in Windamere.

Trolling a big cod lure is still worth a try in our native impoundments. The big fellas know that the depths of Winter are just around the corner and don’t mind a last-minute feed to keep them going in harder times. A large lure in the 80cm-and-beyond category should get a reaction. These big fish love heavy structure so concentrate your efforts in these areas.

Plastics work well

Soft plastics such as Squidgies, Slider Grubs and Atomics have been working wonders on the redfin population in Ben Chifley and Carcoar dams. Of course, many switched-on redfin anglers have been using soft plastics for years. The old Mister Twister was, and is still, used by many.

The basics are still the same. Some form of propelled fishing platform, and a good-quality sounder. Find your fish and make a presentation. Then just adjust your tactics to the response you receive.

Remember stay tuned to Australia’s No 1 fishing and boating radio program, 2KY Hi Tide. You can catch me with a Central Tablelands report, usually between 6am and 7am on Saturdays.

No1-

Light gear really brings out the best in redfin. This time it was 2kg braid and a 3kg mono leader about 2 metres long. While vertically jigging for redfin, use a rod that is fairly light in the tip to help with hook-ups.

No2-

Fly-casting with son Murray on his back has never been a problem for the author and he reckons it’s a great way to spend an afternoon baby sitting. This Thompsons Creek rainbow was spotted and caught in shallow water last May. This May should be no different.

No3-

Aaron Muldoon has moved to the coast recently and the author says he will miss cold May mornings chasing Lake Lyell trout on fly.

No4-

Native species such as this Murray cod will be harder to find this month. This one fell to an AusSpin spinnerbait with dual Colorado blades.

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