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Salvinia scourge remains
  |  First Published: September 2004



EFFORTS to eradicate the notorious Salvinia weed, which made unwelcome headlines for the Hawkesbury/Nepean River, have been a largely futile and this scourge will be present again when you hit the water.

Unless something really positive happens to eradicate the weed, you may be required to put in more effort than you might expect to produce the goods.

Weed problems aside, anglers should be starting to enjoy more surface action this month, with water nudging around 17° this time last year.

A difference of 1° can be the difference between failure and success so keep an eye on your sounder’s temp gauge if it has one or consider packing an inexpensive aquarium thermometer.

Betts Spins and Nitro Whiz Bangers should take their fair share of fish this month. Whiz Bangers are popular simply because they work so well. Imagine a spinnerbait with the skirt removed and a 3” Slider Grub replacing it and you’ll get the picture. Coated in your favourite catch scent, they should work well this month.

With insects starting to appear in greater numbers, surface lure and fly lovers will be giving it their all. Heddon Torpedoes and Hula Poppers work well and I always pack Rebel Crickhopper Poppers in the warmer months. The River 2 Sea Buggi has a remarkable resemblance to the cicada, as does the Kokoda Bugger Chug. I’m also keen to try out soft landing Squidgy Bug on a light spinning outfit.

Suspending lures like Halco’s Sneaky Scorpions are also useful in coming months. Suspending lures are ideal for inactive fish or those which have seen a lot of lures. When you stop the retrieve, they sit nicely in the strike zone and rise slowly, giving your lure more time sitting in front of the fish.

More anglers than usual will be concentrating on the weed-free sections of river and as jetski and water skier numbers increase over coming months, they, too, are going to be confronted by large green carpets of Salvinia. This means the speed demons will also be looking for the weed-free sections that you want to fish. You may need to a change tactics to catch some fish.

Where you once shared the water with one or two other anglers, you may have more company than you might like. Fish will become more wary so you might have to be a little more adventurous in your attempts to bag satisfactory numbers.

A HEAD START

Starting sessions before other anglers, trying to fit a mid-week outing if possible and being prepared to try things you haven’t attempted before should be a positive start.

While September might be a little early for some bass anglers, maybe this month you should get out there while others watch the football finals. Getting a head start will give you an idea which areas are going to be fishable and you’ll have some options available for later trips. By the time football fever is over, the others are going to be playing catch-up when they hit the water.

Being a better caster will help you enjoy your time on the water. Accurate casts and confidence in your ability help you put your lures into places others can’t reach.

Get out in the backyard with a bucket or an ice-cream container and practise your casting. Try different casts from varying distances and you’ll be amazed just how well you’ll do on the water. When you’re landing fish you’ll forget the strange looks and funny comments from neighbours while you practised and you’ll lose fewer lures as well.

I’ve practised my casting in the lounge room at times, which takes some courage because the potential of hitting the wife's favourite glassware is fairly high. This pressure forces me to be accurate because the price of a stray cast is not worth thinking about!

Even with all the practice you can fit in, pruning bankside vegetation is something even the best bass anglers do from time to time. Those who say they don’t are probably talking in their sleep.

In heavily targeted areas where water has been flogged by other anglers, the fish will be less keen. When fish are reluctant, try using smaller lures and experiment with various retrieves until you find out what they like.

A little scent will add to the appeal of lures and soft plastics and landing them softly on the water will help prevent spooking edgy fish.

Think about what your lure is doing and what you’re trying to represent to the fish. The presentation might look appealing to you but you should be working on increasing the lure’s appeal to the fish.

NEW FRONTIERS

It may also be time to try techniques that you have not tried before, such as jigging plastics, fly-fishing or drop-shotting. Jigging has been used quietly but very successfully by anglers in deeper water in the upper Nepean, while drop-shotting was developed in Japan when huge tournament fields found it difficult to catch lure-shy fish.

It might take some experimenting to find a technique that works for you but the results will be worthwhile when you hook fish others can’t.

Looking for new water may also be necessary. Topographical maps of the Hawkesbury/Nepean area will show areas less-fished than easily accessible water. Seek landowners’ permission before entering private property. The story of bullets landing around one kayak angler on remote water is a strong reminder that asking permission is a good idea.

Feel free to email me with news or pics.

Aquatic vegetation like that seen in this shot held plenty of bass in the quiet waters of Junkie Creek. Quieter waters can offer fantastic fishing and is well worth finding.

Dave George loves searching for new waters to fish and reaps the rewards for his efforts. We've been keen to share locations with each other and enjoyed fishing in our favourite waters for bass that show no mercy to poorly tied knots or dodgy equipment.

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