As we ease into the frosty months with the usual apprehension, the fishing across the district continues to fire.
After one of the best Summers for trout, bass and cod in a long time, fishos across the New England are keen to get into the best of it. Most of my Summer and Autumn angling this year has focused on trout but others inclined more towards the natives have also enjoyed some excellent cod and bass angling.
Throughout the gorge country the cod have been consistently on the chew. Although river levels have fluctuated wildly with near-record flows at times, the fish have been freely taking lures and flies.
Some excellent cod have come to bank recently in the higher streams near Emmaville/Glen Innes. Large, slowly retrieved minnows will produce and the full moon is excellent for after-dark activity.
The Severn River is known locally for the quality fish it can produce and the past month has been no exception.
Access is largely private but a little study of the maps can put you ‘in the block hole’ for some excellent cod action. Armidale angler John Everett has been putting together some footage for a New England fishing video and the Severn area is apparently providing him with plenty of action.
Warrabah continues to cop a hammering but nearby private waters have offered some very nice cod. Upstream of Bingara is also fishing well and the dams, particularly Copeton and Keepit, will fire.
A couple of sizeable fish have been reported from Split Rock Dam although the low water level won’t make it hard to guess where they are hiding.
Heading towards the Winter, my advice would be to fish big and slow. The cod and larger yellowbelly will be keen to put on more condition so offer ’em a works burger, not a dim sim.
Fish may well be willing to move station at this time of year and where the action was quiet one night may well peak the following evening. Be prepared to cover more water than usual but hang on tight, some solid fish will be taken this month.
Down in the gorge country the bass continue to be prevalent and willing to get involved.
Many of the older hands reckon it’s been one of the best seasons for a good while.
The boys at Bass Lodge had a television crew fronted by Rob Paxevanos up for a few days of heli-fishing and the bass really played their part. Over twenty fish from one hole during an evening’s outing adds up to great action.
The trout season has been a bottler. Ebor in particular has fished outstandingly with plenty of fat little blighters willing to hammer dry flies.
Reports from the upper Wollomombi watershed have also been positive and although I haven’t been down Walcha way much this season, I’m told it has also fished better than usual.
I don’t know whether the last few tough years reduced the numbers of anglers and hence gave the fish a bit of breathing space but if you want to hook a trout then between now and the season closure in June you’ll never get a better chance.
I had a couple of ‘trout virgins’ in the shop the other day asking if they would be able to see the trout.
While on occasions you may sight fish a New England rainbow, most of the time you’ve two choices: Fish blind or wait for rising fish.
Blind casting will certainly fill the day and often prove very productive. Fish the running water 90% of the time and you are in with a good chance.
Alternatively wait for fish to begin moving and you’ll enjoy even greater success.
A few evenings ago I left home at 4pm and 40 minutes later I eased the car through the property’s gates. A further half-hour later I plonked my butt down on the edge of a glassy pool.
I knew the run I wanted to fish and over a lovely cigar waited in the shade for the first fish to rise. About 6pm, as the shadows lengthened, the first dimple of a rising trout broke the pool.
I’d already rigged a small (size 18) Parachute Emerger at the end of a fine tippet and soon had moved into a position for a cast. On the second presentation a small but chunky rainbow took the imitation and shortly after I released it.
Over the next hour I caught and released another three fish and dropped two. All came from the glassy, flat pools and I was quite chuffed to head back to the car having outwitted a few fish.
Recently my Dad was in Sydney for several months having cancer treatment. I contacted fellow NSWFM writer Gary Brown and asked him if he could tell the old fellow a couple of spots where he might have a fish. Gary did that and also took Dad on a lovely day exploring Botany Bay by boat, resulting in a few fish and laughs – a great day on the water.
Back at the boat ramp Dad’s new ‘guide’ passed over a couple of his fishing DVDs as an extra present. I watched Gary’s A Day On The Bay recently and the thing that struck home, along with some terrific fishing action, was the ability to make decisions depending upon conditions.
One of the biggest faults fishos make is getting locked into one tactic. Sure, your mate caught bream under the road bridge on blades last week. Just like the guy from the local club cleaned up on cod with StumpJumper lures last week.
The key is being prepared to change tactics when they don’t work.
Trusting your instincts and changing tactics comes from confidence and fishing maturity. Be prepared to take advice and, as they say, chew the fat. But ultimately you decide what goes on the end of the line so vary your options and back yourself, you’ll be a better angler for it.Reads: 1989