Getting Ready for Rain
  |  First Published: February 2003

THE WEATHER watchers say that we’re in for a deluge or three, and everyone’s hoping they’re right. Clarrie Hall’s grassy foreshores hold all forms of insect life, and if the water covers them in a rush the fishing will be red hot in the shallows. Small shallow-diving crankbaits, 1/4oz spinnerbaits, and surface lures will be the order of the day.

Even if we don’t get rain though, the dam is experiencing great fishing as it is. The timber is still the place to fish, and the shaded areas of the dam are also productive. The best shady areas are in the gullies with their steep-sided banks, such as Ugly Gully, Rainforest Gully, The Eagle’s Nest and the backs of some of the bays. I prefer to use Crawdads in natural colours or in a hot fluoro, such as red. You need to throw your lures into heavy cover to get the best results, and you can reduce the chance of snagging up by removing the middle treble.

Spinnerbaits are the lure of the moment in Clarrie Hall, with the pick being 3/8oz and 1/4oz lures. The 3/8 has a little added weight, with generally the same size blades as the 1/4oz. This offers a faster presentation with a similar-sized lure. The 1/4oz lure allows for a much slower presentation, which is something the bass appreciate. Colour doesn’t seem matter much at the moment. I alternate between white, green, and red and black.

The points are always worth fishing, and a few fish will be caught on T-tails and shad-style plastics. 1/4oz is the best all-rounder, and my favourite colour at the moment is green with a fleck of gold or silver.

When surface fishing, target the points, timber and shaded areas of the dam early and late in the day. The cicadas are almost deafening at the moment, and strong winds have been blowing some of them into the water. A Summer storm late in the afternoon is ideal for dislodging cicadas, making for primo surface conditions. When this happens, fizzers do the job well. Use a short, slow retrieve with pauses to imitate a cicada struggling on the surface. There’s nothing better than seeing a bass crash a surface lure!

At the time of writing the ramp is still providing good access, but it can be slippery. If it looks a bit wet near the water’s edge, get out and check to be on the safe side. Remember to have your NSW fishing license, stick to the bag limit, and use paddle or electric power only. The dam is ideal for canoes and kayaks, with plenty of areas for calm and safe canoeing.

The facilities at Cram’s Farm (where the ramp is) are excellent, with toilet and BBQ facilities available, and the grassed area is big enough to accommodate a couple of cricket matches. It’s a great spot to visit during February.

1) Simon Goldsmith with a Clarrie Hall bass. The timbered areas are currently the best places to fish.

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