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Fishing becomes easier
  |  First Published: February 2008



In this final month of Summer we should see the fishing become a little easier and the weather more tolerable.

With the holiday period over, boat traffic not as heavy, the ramps easier to access and the days not quite as warm.

The rivers have continued to receive fresh flushes in recent months and when they clean up they fish really well, especially around the quarter-moon neap tides and their reduced tidal flow and slightly clearer water.

Begin at first light with surface lures or shallow crankbaits around the bases of the trees and reeds as the tide recedes, then work out into the deeper water using crankbaits or spinnerbaits.

The Jackal TN 50 works well in the river snags because it sinks very slowly. Some of the clearer colours are best in very clear water but if the water slightly stained, go with more solid colours and contrasting patterns.

If you find the bass are hitting but not hooking up, keep changing colours or even the size to convert hits into hook-ups. Sometimes a slow retrieve works best and other times a fast one is required – just keep changing the approach.

When using surface lures it’s very important to wait until the fish actually turns its head before setting the hooks. I also like to use mono or floating leader so the lure sits in the water correctly.

I have also found working spinnerbaits right up near the surface to also be very successful early and late in the day. Keeping the rod tip high maintains a shallow run. My favourite colour spinnerbait in late Summer is the Secret Creek grasshopper pattern worked very close to the surface.

Along the deeper sections of the Paterson, Hunter and Williams rivers where it is around 4m to 5m deep, trolling 40-50mm lures is good once the sun gets up. Even out in the middle reaches is well worth trying with brighter lures, with green or yellow the first options.

Trolling Beetle Spins with 3/8oz to 1/2oz jigs is also a good option, especially rigged with the new Berkley Jigging Grubs in watermelon.

The non-tidal Williams river above the weir will produce some excellent catches but the bass can be very tiny. In this clear system very bright colours seem to work best, especially some of the fluoro ones.

ST CLAIR TOUCHY

Lake St Clair is still producing some good fishing but some days they can be very touchy so you might have to be prepared to keep changing lures and techniques until you can establish what they are biting on.

Because there are plenty of small bass in this dam, smaller lipless crankbaits are a good idea.

With continuing changes of water levels in the dam there has not been sufficient time for the weed to get established around the banks but working the edges just on daylight and at sunset with surface lures and buzzbaits will give you plenty action.

As the day moves on the deeper water adjacent to the weed in around 6m is best worked with lipless crankbaits, deep lures and 3/8oz to 1/2oz spinnerbaits.

If the day becomes very still and the water very clear, as is quite often the case this month, you may have to head to some of the 10m to 15m sections of the Broadwater or Fallbrook Arm and, with help of a good sounder, locate the schools.

In this depth use plastics on 1/2oz jigs, ice jigs and Jackal Masks or TN60s.

Trolling is also very productive to firstly locate the fish, bass or goldens, and then establish what colour lures they are attacking. It can also fill in the time around lunch.

The best lure seems to be one with a tight action that gets down to around 6m, has rattle and is a dark colour incorporating tiger stripes.

The usual worms, shrimp and yabbies work for bass, silvers, goldens and catties, especially off the banks around the camping area.

St Clair at present is also excellent for casting from the banks across subsurface weed beds. This is where I like to use neutrally buoyant lures or shallow-running crankbaits.

GLENBAWN CHANGES

Lake Glenbawn will undergo a definite change this month with bass and silvers moving around the dam and goldens seeking out the more heavily timbered middle reaches. It is very important to use your sounder – and intuition – to help to locate the fish and this is why trollers can have a very successful time of it.

This will probably be nearly the last month for a low-light surface bite but I always give it a try adjacent to heavy cover.

While the goldens and silvers tend to be adjacent to structure, the bass can hole up virtually anywhere but they usually like water around 10m to around 25m close by.

Goldens and silvers can be targeted using plastics and crankbaits, while the bass are best on vertical presentations of jigs and lipless crankbaits.

When fishing the deep bass use jigs from 1/2oz to 5/8oz rigged with Berkley Gulp Minnows and Power Minnows, 3” Slider Grub and Bozo 3” Smelt. The Jackall TN and Masks in 60mm or 70mm also work.

Trolling for bass and goldens, which are usually in prime condition, requires lures that run down around 6m to 8m with purple the prime colour. Target the main wall and also the section from Yellow Buoy Bay back up to The Narrows.

Around the eastern foreshore worms and yabbies can be very productive for catties and giant silvers.

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