When the pressure is on
  |  First Published: November 2004

Anglers throughout the land are embracing new techniques in freshwater and Central Tablelands fishos are no exception.

There are many reasons for this embracing of new strategies: Catch-and-release tournaments, top-class informative publications such as this, well-informed tackle shops, and the internet. This is, after all, the information age and anglers every where are sharing what we learn.


There is a flipside to this information explosion, of course, and that is pressured fish. During warmer months such as November impoundments such as Windamere, Wyangala and Burrendong get a lot of fishing pressure. Anglers have to adjust to keep in the action.

Next time you run down the dam in your boat, take note of all the good-looking spots. You have just seen what every other well-informed angler has seen.

On your way back, look hard for small, inconspicuous places between these more obvious places. This is the key to being consistent during the warmer, more popular, fishing months.

Night fishing is another way to keep the action coming. Brown trout in Lake Lyell are very active after the sun goes down. Yabbies and bull-headed gudgeon are very high on the menu for these fish; both these food items live on or near the bottom in shallow water.

Using a floating fly lines and a weighted Woolly Bugger fly fished slowly near the bottom is a great way to catch these Browns.


The drought was always going to have an effect on fish numbers but that’s not to say the odd fish isn’t still about. In the Fishing NSW annual Fishing Monthly’s Parkes area columnist touched on a few options well worth remembering.

Basically, areas with a constant water supply, such as rivers directly downstream from major dams, have fared best during the drought. This is where the better fishing will be.

Most of the trout impoundments have seen small rises recently. Shallow-water techniques will work well this month. Early morning and late afternoon will be the best times, especially later on in November as the weather gets warmer.

A lot of anglers are surprised at how shallow trout will feed when levels are rising and light levels are low. Keep this in mind as you fish.

Make your casts from a few metres back. If you’re bait-fishing, keep your baits in close and set the rod up on a low angle back from the water’s edge.

Always fish with as light a line and sinker as you dare. I find 2kg to 3kg line to be about right in most instances.


Redfin have been well and truly on the bite at Ben Chifley and Carcoar dams recently and this should continue into November. Most of the fish will be small but there will be the odd big one.

Small Beetle Spin spinnerbaits should work well around the ribbonweed beds. For those who have not seen or heard of a Beetle Spin, it’s a lead-head jig with a soft plastic tail and a spinnerbait arm which attaches to the eye of the jig. The set up is very adjustable and just the right size for marauding redfin.

Keep in mind that redfin pin fry will be at an edible size this month and the bigger redfin will chase them down and herd them up. Watch for working birds as they also are a good pointer to a patch of working redfin.

Quite often the bigger fish will be underneath the main school so use as heavy a jig as possible to get to the bottom quickly to avoid hooking up on the smaller fish.

The top ends of Carcoar and Ben Chifley could still be discoloured depending on inflows, so keep this in mind.

Both these dams have populations of golden perch. They can be caught around structure, be it weed beds, rocks or timber.

If you find a spot with all three types of structure you can just about guarantee a golden will be there.

Keep in mind that these forms of structure will be hit regularly by other anglers so keep very quiet and be very careful with your presentations. Softly landed baits and lures fished in these areas will outfish the gung-ho approach every time.


Early November is always a special time for anglers who have the opportunity to fish this wonderful event. I have been fortunate enough to fish every one since its inception 12 years ago.

This year will be the last year that my team, Team Hardcore – Chris Burbidge, Gary Cook and I – will be fishing together. My son, Murray, is five now and would love to have fished the event with Dad this year, but Team Hardcore is defending the title.

So I owe to the boys to give it one last almighty go. It’s not going to be easy as Steve Starling, Bushy and Ian Miller will be back this year along with a lot of other top-notch anglers. We are all looking forward to the challenge.

As usual, you can catch me bright and early on Saturdays on Australia’s No 1 fishing and boating radio program, 2KY Hi-Tide, with Kieran and Bruce. I’m usually on between 5am and 5.30 with all the recent action on freshwater fishing on the Central Tablelands.


Pressured fish? You’d better believe it! Think outside the square to be consistent.


Lake Lyell brown trout feed heavily on yabbies and gudgeon in November. Make sure your presentations, be they fly or lure, are close to the bottom where these critters live. This can be the result.


Redfin are not the only fish that eat Beetle Spins; Windamere golden perch also have a liking for them.

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