Spring has finally arrived and with it the hope of better fishing. Lizards (the reptiles) are popping their heads out for the first time in months to catch their first warm rays of sun.
Those who have been fishing locally through Winter will welcome the start of Spring, as the fishing over Winter has been slow and uncomfortable for those who have persevered.
Spring sees anglers keen for some bass action leave their fluffy slippers under the bed and venture out to take on the fish they’ve been dreaming about over Winter. This month should signal the start of some improved bass action and if this is a repeat of last September, there should be some happy anglers out there.
There were a few late chilly blasts towards the end of Winter but now we should see the temperature nudging higher towards more bearable figures. With the water temperature also climbing to a more comfortable figure for the fish, let’s hope this is the start of some terrific fishing.
As the warmer weather approaches, it’s not too late to start checking over your gear before you go fishing. A great fish lost through not checking the condition of your equipment makes the event even more painful, so do all the necessary maintenance before it’s too late. If you’re confident in your abilities, strip your reels down and give them a good clean and a light oil.
If you’re not confident about the process and think you’ll end up with bits and pieces left over, take your reel to a tackle shop where it can get the TLC it probably hasn’t had since you bought it. A lot of reels don’t get so much as a wipe-over at the end of a session so by the time they’re put away for winter, they’ve accumulated a lot of grime. Have a look at your reels and see for yourself – plenty of debris accumulates in and around the level wind of baitcasters and is a good indication of the general state of the reel.
Check for any chips or cracks in rod guides, too. A little chip can lead to damaged line and you can guess what that might mean. Rods can cop a fair pounding during a season. Using the rod tip to flick a snagged lure off a branch or log, and a rod tip flexed into a rocky crevice or bounced around in a boat can all cause damage, so check them over. If the guides are damaged, replace them. Run a piece of soft wool or a cotton bud through each guide and see if any of the fibres catch anywhere – line could also be damaged there.
Line condition is important as this is the only thing separating you from the fish. Check the last few metres of line and look for any wear. Get rid of this bit and tie on a new leader for a new season.
There are still some flathead, bream and jewfish around in the Wisemans Ferry area of the Hawkesbury River. Those looking for bream have been taking them around rocky points on bait and lures. Soft plastics have also undone some quality flathead, while the jewies seem best taken using fresh baits.
Bass have been taken near weed beds with plastics and spinnerbaits doing the job. Surface lures for bass will become a more effective approach in the coming months. Surface lures and flies still work during Winter, but as more surface activity begins with the warmer weather, they’ll be more successful.
Catfish have been caught in reasonable numbers in the Nepean on worms, and mullet have been in healthy numbers in the Castlereagh area. Those who write off catfish as being ugly fish good for nothing might have to rethink that opinion when they catch one. They fight very well for a fish that doesn’t have an ‘aggressive’ body shape.
The first one I ever saw caught on a lure was in Windamere Dam. Caught on a trolled lure, the 1.6kg cattie took its fight right to the boat and still didn’t want to submit. For a fish that doesn’t look real flash, they don’t taste too bad, either. As far as eating one from the Nepean – I don’t think so!
Those who fish from boats, kayaks and canoes in the Nepean around Penrith will no doubt be more than aware of those rev-heads in their jet skis and ski boats. My concerns about their dangerous antics have fallen on deaf ears. If you’re familiar with The Narrows, near Penrith, and know the Waterways regulations concerning safe distances for skiers, you’d have to question why these thrill-seekers can still do it. One regular user of the Nepean spoke to a Waterways officer about why this is allowed to continue, and was told it was due to the local ski club being located in the area. Two sets of regulations, it seems. So much for public safety!
If you want to fish the Nepean around Penrith, try to make it a week day.
It didn’t take long to get some feedback on my thoughts last month regarding the closed bass season that is talked about every year. It got some tongues wagging and it got people thinking. Most realised there was more to the debate than just having a closed season on bass. Write to the Minister for Fisheries with your views and let’s see a full debate about it.
Hopefully by now you’ve bought your copy of the Fishing NSW annual. We’ve got some great fishing destinations in this State and some equally impressive writers who can help you enjoy these spots. You might even see a familiar name if you read this column often.
While on the subject of great articles, it was great to see Tadashi Nishikura’s story on his plastics techniques in last month’s issue. I’ve known Tadashi for a few years now and have seen his fishing successes on video and in numerous photographs. It’s no fluke that he catches such great fish, so dig out last month’s issue of NSWFM and learn some of his techniques.
Bass Sydney is holding a meeting at Del Rio Resort at Wisemans Ferry on September 20 and 21 to discuss what can be done to improve the conditions for bass in the Hawkesbury-Nepean system. You’ll be able to have your say at the meeting, which is planned to held on the Saturday evening. If you care about our local bass, please try and make it to the meeting or spend the weekend there and have a fish as well.
See elsewhere in this issue for more details or contact Bass Sydney president Alan Izzard at home on 02 9653 2309 or at work on 02 9622 3644. Charles Mangion is the publicity officer for Bass Sydney, phone 0401 699 417.
This little bass has eyes bigger than its tiny stomach but it didn’t turn down the opportunity to hammer this 35mm lure at the Breakaway at Freemans Reach. This little guy is around 12 to 14 weeks old!Reads: 547