Local options limited
  |  First Published: July 2005

The next two months always produce tough fishing for me. It’s not so much that I can’t catch any fish but more that I sometimes feel my options are pretty limited.

Granted, if you’re persistent enough, get lucky with the weather and spend a bit of time studying the fishing charts (more about these later) it is still possible to catch the odd native. They do have to eat, after all!

However, the action is usually a far cry from what we’re used to in Summer. Compounding the lack of options is the fact that trout streams are now out of bounds until October for the closed season.

The private lakes such as Uncle Billy’s and Dunmore Waters are top-class fisheries and can provide a release for the frustrated trout angler. Unfortunately many of us have enough trouble justifying our tackle expenditure, let alone regularly paying the tariff to fish these establishments, so they provide only an occasional treat rather than a regular fix.

This brings us back around to my favourite fall-back, the humble redfin. As I’ve mentioned a few times now, over the previous Winter regular fishing mate Dave Browning and I have put some time into refining our tackle and trying increase or success with these enigmatic imports.

Our realisation that soft plastics can be used for more than just bass and bream (OK, so we’re a little slow on the uptake here on the Tablelands) has played a major role.

My first choice on every outing lately has been a pink and white Atomic twin-tail slowly hopped along the bottom. The fish tend to nail the plastic on the drop as it flutters down among the weed and rocks.

Dave has been equally successful employing small Squidgy Spins (an Avocado Wriggler seems to be his favourite) with a similar technique. I think part of his affection for these lures may stem from their propensity to entice the occasional cod that may be lurking around the schools of reddies.

An interesting pattern that has formed as we’ve started to log up the days on the water: The important role that moon position can play in the feeding cycle of redfin.

More by coincidence than good planning, we’ve found that the best bites have occurred when the moon has been directly above or below (major times) and six hours either side (minor times). So far, I’ve noticed this only after the fact as I generally go fishing whenever I can.

It does strengthen the argument for keeping a fishing diary and getting yourself an angler’s almanac so you can better plan your fishing days. Even with this knowledge, some days the fish can just be downright unpredictable. In these situations it pays to be flexible and experiment a little.

On days when the plastics aren’t living up to our expectations we’ve managed to salvage our egos by experimenting with the trusty old hard-bodied lures until we find something that works.

In ultra-clear water small Halco Scorpions in trout patterns or anything that looks vaguely like a baby redfin can work. In any of the western-flowing streams these lures will also elicit a response from Murray cod.


It is a well-known fact that redfin (and trout, to a lesser degree) provide a great food source to the growing greenfish population and smart fishos have keyed in on this.

Being a lure-maker has given Jamie Flett the opportunity to experiment a lot with lure patterns and colours and, among other successful colours, he’s found that his rendition of a redfin can fool some pretty good fish.

In fact, the big fish I alluded to in the June issue of NSWFM was taken on a redfin-coloured Mudeye, ‘Big One’ – a fitting name in more ways than one.

At 137cm and an estimated weight between 55kg and 60kg, it was a PB fish for Fletty and came at the end of a season when more than 20 fish over the magic metre have come out of Copeton Dam.

I doubt that any other Murray cod fishery could boast these numbers of big fish and it highlights New England (and Inverell in particular) as a contender for Australia’s premier location. They’re not wrong when they say, ‘Cod blessed New England’!

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