At last! Warmer weather is here and while it’s not a good idea to put the jackets and beanies away just yet, it’s time for many of us to get out and fish.
This month more anglers start to fish for bass and with water temperatures around 17° in most local rivers, the bass are more active as they make their way back upstream after spawning. Those who have chosen to leave the bass to spawn in peace will receive a big welcome back from fish eager to hit hard.
Many of the post-spawn fish will be putting on weight and gaining strength for the big swim back upstream. Bigger fish have been caught well above the breeding areas around Lower Portland, typically on soft plastics. Good fish have been caught from Lower Portland well into the upper reaches of the Hawkesbury.
In the spawn areas there are plenty of prawns, herring and crabs worried about their long-term survival. Soft plastics are a great producers for taking fish this month, along with spinnerbaits, especially those with black and red skirts.
Good catches of bream, jewfish, flathead and tailor should continue to feature heavily this month down around Wisemans Ferry.
Greater numbers of kids have been getting into the fishing too, and while a lot of them take on the bass, there’s plenty of excitement to be had with some of the local mullet and carp populations. If it’s a long fight you’re after, mullet and carp leave bass for dead in the fight game.
Most of these fish are caught off the bank and with a plenty of access along the river, there are lots of places worth exploring. Mullet and carp can be found all over the rivers in western Sydney. Try along the banks of the Nepean at Penrith, Wallacia and Menangle but there are plenty of other areas you can fish for them.
Werrington Lake has been a reliable producer of carp for years while monster specimens have also come from Pughs Lagoon at Richmond.
Bankside fishing for bass is possible along a good deal of the river but don’t trespass on private land, get the owner’s permission first. The easiest way to find bankside locations is to simply look up a UBD or Gregory’s street directory. Wherever it is you want to fish there’s bound to be a spot close to it the public can access.
You’ll find easy bankside access at places like Wisemans Ferry, Lower Portland, the Colo River, Ebenezer, Windsor, North Richmond, Yarramundi, Devlins Lane, Penrith and a host of other places. Have a quick browse through the street directory and you’ll find a lot of places to catch bass, jewfish, bream, tailor, mullet, carp and a number of other species.
Another great way to get out on the water this month is by canoe or kayak. These craft are affordable, portable and very productive to fish from – and as stealthy as your paddling prowess can make them.
If you want to get away from the busier waterways, these portable craft can get you where bigger boats can’t go and plenty of bigger fish can be found. Some of the best bass fishing in the warmer months is in the smaller creeks and tight water.
When fishing from a kayak or canoe there’s really no need to take a lot of lures. I generally take a good cross-section of lure types in a range of colours. It’s not often that you find what you’ve taken wasn’t enough. If you’ve given some thought to what to take, you’re generally rewarded with good results.
A 2kg to 4kg spinning outfit with a 6’ rod is a good choice but that depends on the area you’ve chosen to fish. Where there is heavy bankside vegetation, a shorter rod might be an advantage.
Spinning reels can cast a wide range of lure weights, are very versatile and, with a little practice, can cast as accurately as a baitcaster.
There are plenty of great locations to launch a canoe or kayak. Spots at Webbs Creek, the Macdonald River, the Colo River from the Putty Road, the public reserve at Ebenezer, Mitchell Park at Cattai, Yarramundi, North Richmond, Devlins Lane, Tench Reserve at Penrith, Wallacia and Camden all offer easy launching.
Of the zillions of lures we have in our tackle boxes, we always go for our favourites and that’s totally understandable. But what happens when Old Faithful doesn’t produce much? The favourite excuse is ‘There are no fish here!’ but often there are and the anglers just can’t find the key to catching them.
It’s great to feel confident in the lures that work for us and that’s why we tend to stick with producers but it’s lures that the fish want which are what we should be going for.
The solution might be within your tackle box but a lot of us don’t know how to get the best from all of our lures because we spend too much time persisting with the old faithfuls.
One of the best ways to get the best out of your lures is to take notes as you experiment with them. It’s amazing looking back on the notes at impressions I formed about certain lures and learnt how to get the most from them.
Even better than taking notes is to use a mini-recorder that fits easily in a top pocket. It’s a lot quicker and you spend more time experimenting. You simply can type or write out your findings later on.
It might sound ridiculous to some readers to take things this far but when it comes to learning about your fishing, there’s no better way than to take notes as you do it. Looking back over all the years I’ve fished, I’ve probably forgotten more than I would have liked to and taking notes has helped remember past experiences.
Another great way to remember the lessons you’ve learnt is to write a fishing diary. After every trip I record things such as weather, barometric pressure, water temperature, location, what I saw, what I caught and on what, tides, what I experimented with other information. It’s a great resource to read through and a very worthwhile exercise.
Salvinia has managed to survive the Winter from the Nepean right down into the Hawkesbury, although nowhere near as much as over the warmer months.
Thankfully, widespread predictions (including my own!) of massive problems last Summer didn’t eventuate. A contact says that one reason we didn’t have a massive problem was that with the removal of tonnes of the weed, nitrogen was taken from the water, helping stop its rapid spread. I’m not a scientist but whatever the reason, I’m grateful.
You might remember that in ideal conditions this weed can double in area every few days. Thanks to the Government’s decision to increase the amount of effluent going into local waters and reducing natural flow, we could be in for a nasty time this Summer.
There have been concerns lately that the mention of products in fishing articles could be seen as ‘cash for comment’ similar to the acts of certain radio broadcasters. I have no financial agreements with any tackle manufacturers. Tackle I mention in my articles has been bought by me or, on the odd occasion when lure manufacturers have provided test samples, they do not get a mention unless they work. It’s never a case of a free lure for positive comment. If it doesn’t work, it’s not mentioned.
NEW BREAM AND BASS CLUB
Sydney’s newest fishing club, Western Sydney Bream and Bass, has been established to further develop anglers who love to catch these wonderful fish, regardless of their skill levels. Bream and bass have emerged as the recreational tournament species and the numbers of anglers trying their hand at these fish has grown significantly in recent years.
WSBB has the support of John ‘Mr Bass’ Bethune, Sydney guide Dean Hayes and tournament angler Daryl Schroder and these three accomplished anglers are very approachable, and very keen to help club members.
Membership, from novices to seasoned experts, has been growing steadily and at the inaugural meeting it was very clear that this is a club set up to help members become better anglers and enjoy their fishing. One of the major aims is that all members, regardless of their abilities, be encouraged to share their experiences and skills.
Monthly meetings feature guest speakers and other benefits to members include on-water instructional opportunities, discounts at various outlets, social events and entry into bream and bass competitions.
The club meets at the Kingswood Sports Club in Santley Crescent on the first Thursday of each month at 7pm and visitors are welcome. For more information call Dave George on 0412 052 015 or email --e-mail address hidden--
What a way to christen a new rod! Dave Currey went chasing bream around some Parramatta River pylons with his new rod using some Berkley 3” Olive Pearl Bass Minnows and came up with this lovely bream.