Over the past couple of months the fishing has heated up and the rains, however piddling, have been a big contributing factor in this turnabout.
In one weekend we got three fish over 15kg with the biggest more than 25kg. I took this fish on a spinnerbait and must admit to feeling a little under-gunned at the time. The lure was a 3/8 oz Bassman with 5/8 blades and a stinger hook dolled up with a Mann’s Dragin soft plastic. Any soft plastic that has a long profile, and seductive wobble is going to work as a trailer and the silhouette from underneath, combined with the body’s action, prove irresistible to natives including goldens.
The same spinnerbait accounted for a 14kg fish the previous day, plus about a dozen smaller cod and half a dozen yellowbelly. The slow sink rate with the bigger blades means presentations can be slowed down to a crawl the blades still rotate. Very effective.
I was amused once to read an article relating to steel-wire framed spinnerbaits in comparison to titanium-wire spinnerbaits. It came out with the statement that once a stainless steel spinnerbait had hooked a decent fish, you might as well throw it away because it will never swim straight again due to the bent wire. It’s just not true. The lure mentioned above has caught five cod over 15kg and about 35 cod less than that and too many goldens to recall. That should lay to rest any hesitations one may have about buying and using spinnerbaits. I must admit that some cheaper spinnerbaits don’t hold up too well under the weight of a good fish but never have I had a Bassman let me down.
Another misconception about spinnerbaits is that they are made for small fish only and big fellas aren’t interested in them. Spinnerbaits work in exactly the same manner as the legendary old Aeroplane spinner of years gone by, and these accounted for many a massive cod.
Inland anglers today are judged as to how versatile they are by what’s in their tackle boxes. Modern inland anglers have a huge choice and every option works on its day, but I challenge anyone to find a more consistent, fish-taking casting lure than a spinnerbait.
If you don’t have a quality spinnerbait in your box, you are limiting how many fish you can catch. It’s that simple. Gavin, a well known Bundarra angler, landed a 45kg-plus and a 26kg cod in successive trips at Copeton, both on spinnerbaits. Pics were taken and, as all big cod should be, the fish were released. The amazing thing is that Gavin was using a 10kg leader on the 100 pounder!
I’m frequently asked why I use a kayak in the dams. The answer is simple: I love close-quarters battles with fish and you can’t get any closer than with your bum at water level. Getting towed around in a paddle craft by a big fish is one of those things very few people experience in the fresh and it’s a pity.
There is no bigger rush than paddling past a rocky point trolling a big lure, or casting to a nice snag and getting slammed and then towed. I often chuck my kayak into a mate’s tinnie and get dropped off in a bay inaccessible to tinnies and proceed to pull fish out of reach of more expensive, flasher boats.
A kayak’s stealth incomparable to any other form of fishing vessel. It’s a regular occurrence to pull up in the old Subaru, chuck the Koastal in and be hooked up within a couple of minutes, right in front of bank anglers unable to get their lures or baits to the same areas.
For the paddle angler, Keepit Dam has been great of late and heaps of previously submerged rocks and logs have now poked their little heads out to expose some beautiful structure, and all of it is holding fish at present. I hope by the time you read this they are still this active and you are sure to have a ball on the light gear.
The most versatile outfit would be a 2kg to 4kg baitcasting outfit or a 4kg to 6kg spin outfit. These will handle the biggest of yellas and give you great odds on landing a big cod as well. Twenty-pound braid is the go, or 10kg mono, each with at least 15kg leader. When chasing cod. I use 15kg or 24kg Platypus Pre Test as a leader if I run out of Knotted Dogs, and cannot fault it. It also gives a little stretch and great abrasion resistance.
The trusty little Koastal Kayak Pacer with 25kg of cod sitting quietly, waiting for release.
The spinnerbait that did the damage, a Bassman with 3/8oz head with No 5 and No 8 blades, 20-strand skirt and a Mann’s Dragin plastic trailer.Reads: 485