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Working with the wind
  |  First Published: August 2004



NO DOUBT about it, August is one of the windy months, which is good for the fish because it stirs up the surface layers and turns the water over in our Central Tablelands dams.

Wind waves and cool temperatures are also the No 1 source of good oxygen levels under the water. What does all this mean for Central Tablelands angler? Good fishing in shallow water for those brave enough to take on the wind.

Lake Oberon gets plenty of wind in August and usually fishes reasonably well, especially for brown trout. Most of the browns should have finished spawning by now and will have dropped back down into the main basin.

After the rigors of spawning and very little in the way of food intake, they should be very hungry. Shallow-water presentations, such as Rapala 7cm brown and rainbow trout patterns, cast along wind-blown shores are a good start. Cast at an angle to the shore, covering the water in front of you as you walk.

If the water is muddy from the wind, a larger, dark-coloured Rebel crawfish pattern or rattling Rapala RS Shad Rap would be my first picks. A black Jensen Insect spinner is another good alternative.

TAKE YOUR SURFBOARD

Thompsons Creek Dam is another wind-swept waterway in August.

Last August brings back a windy memory for me: I was hit by a gust while walking along the dam wall and had to drop to one knee just to keep on my feet.

Now I’m no featherweight, so this was quite a gust. While on one knee, a wave crashed into the rocky wall below and sent a spray of water all over me.

I had to tell myself I was not on some wind-swept rock platform down on the South Coast.

For the record, it was my best day’s trout fishing for a long time and I had the whole dam to myself. The key was casting well-weighted, compact spinning lures from the lee side of small points out into the waves and working them back through the edge of the rough and smooth water.

Kilo rainbow trout, connected to your line and taking to the air with water streaming off their silver flanks, were quite a sight to see.

This sort of fishing in shallow water is what is available for those brave enough to handle the conditions.

THE FLIPSIDE

Boating in this sort of weather is downright ludicrous, so pick your days.

For those odd gem days in August, it’s time to drag out the boat and hit one of the Central Tablelands many redfin dams. Carcoar and Ben Chifley dams would be the pick although, having said that, Burrendong can also produce the goods.

Working heavy jigs vertically among a school of fish found on the sounder is a good way to get connected. Sometimes tipping the jig with some worms will give you the edge.

Shallow-water trolling with a Tilsan Bass or Viking Talisman in your favourite colour is also a good way to get connected. Repeat your successful trolling runs as redfin tend to gather in groups.

Female redfin are fully roed-up in August and weigh quite a bit more than they normally would, so it is a good time of year to better a personal best.

LAST MONTH FOR COD

This is the last month anglers will be able to target Murray cod in our dams and rivers. While August may not be considered to be prime time to target cod, there’s still the odd one caught about the place.

One of the reasons for a closed season on these fish is their aggressive nature during the spawning period. For savvy anglers, fishing the last few weeks of August this can mean the undoing of a few fish.

All I ask is that anglers handle the fish with care and return them to the water unharmed.

Traditionally, August for me is a time to check out some new cod water for later in the year when the big fellows have finished doing the business.

WINDAMERE BAIT-FISHING

Silver perch and catfish bite well during the Winter. Scrub worms are the No 1 bait.

Fishing from the bank is the most popular method and it’s a good way to pass away a few hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Keep your terminal tackle as light as possible – 3kg or 4kg line is about right – with a light, pea-sized sinker running right down to the hook or to a swivel about 60cm above the hook.

Place the rod in a holder (a forked stick is fine) and keep the rod at a low angle to the water.

Some people fish with an open bail arm; others close it up. A good compromise is to use a reel with a bait-feeder option. I’m told that once you use a quality spinning reel with the bait-feeder option for this style of fishing you will never go back.

Silver perch average about 500g although fish of 2kg are not out of the question. Most of the catfish are around the same weight and give a good account of themselves.

Of course, golden perch can also figure in the catch but, on the whole, silvers and catties will outnumber them.

Remember to stay tuned to Australia’s No 1 fishing and boating radio program, Hi-Tide, on 2KY, with Kieren, Bruce and me just after the 5am news for up-to-date reports on the Central Tablelands.

NO1-

August is always a good month to target bigger, weighty redfin such as this. Light spinning tackle is well-suited to redfin.

NO2-

Windamere catfish will never win any beauty prizes but they are nearly always willing to take a well-presented scrub worm in August.

NO3-

It’s last chance for a Murray cod when the closed season starts on September 1 so get out there and enjoy it while you can. This small cod nailed an old Heddon Sission Wood.

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