Early bird gets the worm
  |  First Published: December 2004

December means early morning fishing action, lunchtime sleeps and back into the action in the late afternoon. Well that’s how it goes for me this month.

Sure, you can hang tough and fish through the middle of the day but, more often than not, the results just don’t warrant the effort.

Storms are another important factor with December fishing: The build-up period in the late afternoon can mean good fishing for trout and native species. Some of the flying ant hatches in the Oberon-Bathurst area have to be seen to be believed.

Of course every trout in the district will be on the lookout for the termite hatches so make sure you have some good fly copies in a few different sizes. It is about the only time trout on the Central Tablelands become selective feeders.

Spin and bait anglers can miss out on this bonanza. Their time comes after the storm has passed and trout are on the move searching for tasty morsels that have been washed or blown in. Areas of small inflows and discoloured water are good spots to cast a lure or drift bait.


Many anglers across the region have been eagerly waiting the opening of the cod season. Some will choose to travel, while others will have had there eye on a particular piece of gnarly structure in Wyangala or Burrendong dams.

Bigger cod love good, solid structure – something they can get back under. These are the spots to try during the warmer daylight hours. As light levels drop, these cod move out from their bunkers and begin to prowl.

Last year I can recall a large cod being caught at Wyangala along Pitt Straight three metres down in around 15 metres of water. What that fish was doing out there is anyone’s guess but it just goes to show they will move around when light levels are low.

Rivers farther west such as the Macquarie and the Lachlan are also an option. I have been surprised at the water clarity in recent years in the Lachlan, mostly due to low flows. Last year in December Glyn Sargent and I lure-fished down around Forbes and were quite happy with the water clarity.


Lake Windamere traditionally slows up a little in December, due to higher water temperatures; anglers there must adjust to keep catching fish. Chasing the shade has always been a red-hot tactic for me during the hotter months.

Trolling deeper is another good tactic. A few years ago, finding a small lure that dived past six metres was a hard task but these days they’re a dime a dozen. Thin braided line tied direct to the lure is another little trick to squeeze out a few extra feet of depth. You will lose the odd fish due to no stretch in the line and the treble hooks pulling out, but that’s better than hooking nothing.

Night fishing with bait and lures this month is something that will also be quite good.

Windamere golden perch feed up heavily on firetail gudgeon this month during the wee hours of the night and into the morning. They can be caught on small surface lures and shallow-running minnows brought slowly across the surface with lots of pauses.


Redfin in Carcoar and Ben Chifley dams usually seek out deeper water this month. Eight to 10 metres is a good band of water to start with and early mornings and late afternoons are prime time.

Trolling small deep divers is a good way to kick off your afternoon on the water. If you run into a few fish in one spot, it’s quite often a good idea to return later as the sun goes down to drift and cast soft plastics. This is when you have a good chance to catch quality fish. Generally the fish will rise up in the water column as the light drops, so keep this in mind when you return to your trolling spot to cast.

Don’t let the activities of other water users put you off fishing down in the main basin of Carcoar or Ben Chifley. I have caught plenty of deep-water redfin with speed boats and jet skis zipping past.


Lake Lyell and Oberon Dam traditionally fish really well for trout this month. It’s a sunset-until-whenever you’re ready to go home bite, so make sure you carry some form of good lighting.

Fly fishing with traditional wet flies such as the Mrs Simpson and Craig’s Night-time will be very popular. Long casts are not usually needed or wanted because the fish move into shallow water to feed on mudeyes and yabbies.

Big moth and beetle patterns also catch quite a few fish. Don’t be too quick on the hook-set, though: Let the fish get the fly down before setting the hook. I usually start out on the beetle and moth patterns and then switch over to a wet fly when it gets too dark to see.

Remember, you can catch me bright and early on Saturdays on Australia’s No 1 fishing and boating radio program, Hi-Tide with Kieren and Bruce, usually between 5am and 5.30.


Small Deep diving lures capable of at least six metres, such as this AC Invader, are your go to lure during the warmer months.


Cod season is here again. Remember, little blokes like this are too much fun to catch just once so let them go and watch them grow.


Slow-trolling the depths during the middle part of the day was the undoing of this Burrendong golden perch.

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