Finding Spring bass
  |  First Published: September 2003

SEPTEMBER is one of my favourite times for fishing the Hawkesbury for bass and estuary perch. This is when the fish should be heading back upstream to their Summer residences.

You will quite often find them schooled up in good numbers and sizes. You'll also find these fish anywhere from Windsor to Wiseman Ferry.

The best way of find your own action is to pick out a section of the river that you can cover in a day. Set the fish alarm on your sounder and start casting the shoreline and listen out and be alert to your sounder.

When the sounder shows a concentration of fish, double back and give the area a good working over. I find that a sounder that has a wide-angle transducer, such as the Humminbird 3D or the new Matrix 35X, work the best, as it allows you to scan a wide area.

I like to work the corners that have weed beds; I've found that fish tend to hang around weeds at this time of year. Position your boat a little wider than you would in the Summer because the water is clearer and you don’t want to spook the fish. It’s also a helpful way to locate schools of estuary perch, which tend to hold wider than bass.

Another way to cover more water is to troll, keeping your eye on the sounder for fish. It also pays to use lures that run at different depths because the fish may be holding at one depth.


I like to use a variety of lures that can be worked at different depths and speeds. If I have three anglers on board, I will have one using a surface lure like a Taylor Made Surface Walker, Feralcat surface lure or a Heddon Tiny Torpedo. Another angler will be casting small deep-diving crankbaits such as small Feralcats, Taylor Made Nuggets or Knol’s natives. The other angler will be using a soft plastic with a 1/8oz jig head with a small Beetle Spin blade added for more flash and vibration. I find that the bass will eat spinnerbaits but they are a little large for estuary perch, which is why I like to use Beetle Spins, as they will catch bass and perch.

Using three different types of lures maximises my chances of locating fish and if any one lure is catching more fish, the other anglers change to a similar type of lure.


The bottom section of the Hawkesbury has been fishing really well with good numbers of bream and flathead being caught on soft plastics and small divers. Most of these are being caught around the oyster leases and rocky shores.

There have been some good estuary perch caught up around Apple Tree Bay and Bobbin Head on soft plastics and surface lures.

There's also the odd kingfish hanging around the same area. Good numbers of salmon have also turned up and have been caught on fly and lure. They've been taking just about any lure cast at them. Striped tuna also have turned up early out the front of the bay and have taken small plastics, flies and metals.


The Harbour has been on fire with some amazing Winter fishing for salmon, kings, tailor, striped tuna and frigate mackerel – most unusual for this time of year. Plenty of bream have been caught around the wharves and pontoons on soft plastics.


John Bethune (Mr Bass)and I will conduct a live-in bass seminar at the spectacular Bakers Creek Station Resort on October 28 and 29. Subjects will include fly ,baitcasting and threadline casting, how to set, read and understand sounders , spinnerbaits, soft plastics, crankbaits and flies, how to find fish in lakes and streams, fishing in all weather conditions and the importance of water temperature and barometric pressure.

All meals and accommodation are catered for. Ring Bakers Creek Station on 02 6564 2165 for more information

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