‘FAIR-weather fairy’ was a term I used quite often on mates when they would not come fishing with me during the depths of Winter.
Funnily enough, as I have got older (and wiser), I tend to pick my fishing days a little more during July and just lately the tables have turned somewhat, with my wife has been using the term on me!
July can be pretty horrible weather-wise on the Central Tablelands. Up around Oberon, daytime temps struggle to reach10°. Add a 30-knot blast from the south and it’s downright nasty. Painting a rosy picture on such days is not possible.
This is the day to be on the water: The first morning after a good cold snap and a blast from the south. Oberon Dam is a classic; the main basin faces east-west and as the wind funnels down the valley it tends to concentrate what little food there is around at this time of year towards the wind-blown shore.
The water can be quite muddy in close and this is where the fish will be. Large offerings such as a big bunch of smelly scrub worms, big hairy black Woolly Bugger flies or a noisy rattling crank bait of 6cm or 7cm in a dark colour are the way to go.
Just inside the lee side of a point is another place where food can accumulate during a blast. These places can also be quite discoloured, but don’t let it put you off as the fish will be there.
Just make sure you’re quick getting there, as a day or two after the blow peters out these places will be like an empty dinner plate with nobody at the table.
I could be wrong on this one but I think the redfin in Ben Chifley Dam could have had an extended breeding season this year. The number of small pin fry still getting around is amazing.
Usually by this time most of them have been eaten or grown out to a slightly bigger size. Of course, this is good news for all those trout and native fish that are already in the upper size bracket of their lives. It will mean a Winter of fine dining when the opportunity presents itself.
These small redfin are about 65mm to 75mm so a jig or crankbait around that size should have you in the picture. This time of year the numbers are well down on Summer catches but the quality can make up for it.
For quite some time now I have been raving about the virtues of a good depth sounder to fish for redfin. I must retract that a little because the past few months at Ben Chifley some fellow anglers and I have been shown up every weekend by a bloke from Bathurst, I know him only as Clocker. Clocker fishes from a small car-topper with no whiz-bang sounder or electric motor and absolutely gives us a flogging every weekend we’re up there. Clocker knows the place fairly well and drifts between landmarks.
He does well on the biggest Baltic Bobbers you can find. I have watched him quite a bit and he uses a fairly vigorous jigging action.
No fish is safe when Clocker is on the water. Plenty of big brown and rainbow trout, golden perch and oversize redfin have fallen victim to Clocker’s Baltic Bobbers.
Lake Lyell has been low for quite some time now, just a reflection of how bad the drought has been. Boat access has been denied for some months. But amid all this doom and gloom, the place has been fishing reasonably well and should continue so into July.
Berkeley’s PowerBait is very popular and it works. What a lot of people don’t realise is there are a few little tricks to making it work even better.
A light-gauge hook, small enough to be hidden in one nugget of PowerBait, is the key. Use line of 2kg to 3kg and a small running sinker held 5cm to 6cm above the hook by some sort of stopper.
The advantage of this rig is the PowerBait should float up off the bottom, easy for the fish to see.
Rainbow trout hit the bait on the go and usually hook themselves. Just make sure your rod is securely attached to the shore. Rainbows have a habit of pulling PowerBait set-ups into the drink.
Shore-based lure-casters should not miss out, either. Hot pink Tassie Devils and brightly coloured spoons and spinners work well this month.
I’m not sure if we will get a false spawn up at Thompsons Creek Dam this year. Last year was pretty quiet.
With very little rain and similar weather patterns to last year’s, I don’t hold out much hope. If good rains are forthcoming I will be the first one up there.
Fly-fishing is possibly the best option for these fish if they do run. A Glo Bug trailing a nymph a good start. It’s all sight fishing and can be quite frustrating.
I may be jumping the gun a little on this one but usually by the end of July there are enough rainbows poking about in the shallows to have a good day.
As always, you can catch me live on Australia’s No 1 fishing and boating radio program, 2KY’s Hi-Tide with Kieren and Bruce, on Saturday mornings bright and early.Reads: 561