Champagne surface bass
  |  First Published: February 2008

The upper Hawkesbury in February can produce champagne action for bass on surface lures as the fish sit under overhanging structure waiting for any insect or small creature to fall into the water.

Often when fishing in creeks on a hot summer you will hear the bass feeding on the insects that fall on the water.

When I was younger and keener I would look at the street lights around home to see if any insects were flying around. If there were, I would grab my pistol-grip rod and closed-face reel and head over the road and through the fence to South Creek and cast my surface lures that my Dad and uncle had made for me. And, more often than not, I would come home with a bag bass for our dinner the next night.

Surface lures are best cast close to cover or around any shallow areas.

Cast the lure as close as possible to sunken timber or under any overhang, let it sit for a while and then give the lure a little twitch, then let sit a little longer. This is when the lure usually gets belted.

If it doesn’t get hammered, wind the lure a metre or so, let it sit and repeat the process.

If this does not work, vary the speed of your retrieve. Active bass often like a lot of disturbance and lethargic bass often strike if you slow down and leave the lure in the strike zone longer.

Surface lures can be used all day if they are cast into the shadows and also work well in open water over weed and along the front edges of weedy banks, especially after dark.

My favourite surface lures are the Taylor Made Surface Walkers, the East Coast Fizzer and Bass’n Fizz, Heddon Tiny Torpedo and, of course, the home-made lures that my Dad made for me that I value too much these days to cast at fish.

There have also been plenty of bass caught up above the weir at Penrith, after the rain we had early in the season allowed the bass to travel.

Some of the better fish have been falling to subsurface fly fished in the deeper areas of the river near the larger rocks and boulders upstream.

The Colo and Macdonald rivers have been fishing well with bass and estuary perch being caught on small crankbaits like Taylor Made Nuggets and on small spinnerbaits.

Bass have been in the shallow areas close to weed beds. The perch are holding in deeper water near drop-offs and the odd jewfish has been caught in the same areas.

The thing I love about fishing the area around Wiseman Ferry is you never know what is going to grab your lure next – Bream, bass, flathead jewfish, estuary perch and even the odd good tailor.


The fishing in Sydney Harbour has been good. Small schools of kingfish, salmon, and tailor have been well up the harbour in areas where the small baitfish are balled up. Most of the bays around the Harbour Bridge have been productive.

The predator schools have been working the surface, busting up small bait balls.

There have also been plenty of kings around the markers buoys and posts, where we have been hooking them on soft plastics jigged deep.

As the water warms the pelagics can also start to hang deeper so it pays to fish deeper.

I have been using some heavy sinkers to troll small live yellowtail, diving lures and soft stickbaits down deep. I have been surprised at the number fish, including kings, salmon and tailor I have been hooking when using these deep tactics in conjunction with a conventional spread of trolling lures.

I usually run a Rapala X-Rap and a Slug-Go a long way back, allowing me to run an extra lure in the middle down deep. I drop it down next to the sounder transducer on the transom and watch it on the sounder swim to the depth that I want.

You can change the angle that the line goes down by adding a heaver lead, which is held on by a snap.

Bream anglers have been catching plenty in the Harbour around the moored boats by casting Gulp Sandworms close to the keels and letting them sink and watching the line for any movement. Most of the pontoons are also holding fish.

Flathead have been caught up around Middle Harbour on larger soft plastics around the drop-offs.

There are also reports of plenty of bream being caught up the Parramatta River around the bridges and rocky shores.

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