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Winter patterns forming well
  |  First Published: May 2009



As the days get shorter and the nights colder, the river starts its transition to its Winter patterns.

There will be a shift in target species for most anglers. Some will be leaving the estuaries, heading for the beaches and stones to target bream, blackfish and the big jewfish that shadow the mullet on their quest up north.

But for the anglers wishing to stay close to home, there is still some great fishing to be had in the Hawkesbury.

Bream are still about in good numbers in the lower estuary from Wisemans Ferry down to the mouth. I’ve had reports of good fish up to 1.5kg coming from Pumpkin Point and the Vines on fresh Hawkesbury pawns.

To stir them up, a steady steam of berley consisting of chicken pellets and tuna oil with the odd head or tail of a prawn also is just the shot.

Those wishing to tangle with bream on lures should start to fish a little deeper this month.

Let your soft plastics and blades get right to the base of any rock wall you may fish and work them a little slower.

Catching them in water as deep as 10m isn’t uncommon.

Scented lures will have best results with the lower light levels down deep so don’t forget to add some of your favourite scent to help that big blue-nosed brute find and snaffle your lure.

FLATTIES A GODSEND

Flathead have been nothing short of a godsend this year for most anglers.

In recent times I have seen some respectable fish come to the boat for a quick photo and release.

Most have fallen victim to live baits intended for that big jewie but soft plastics have also accounted for some ripper fish.

Live tailor, herring, yakkas and poddy mullet are top of the list for live baits.

Soft plastics and blades that imitate the aforementioned live baits are the order of the day for those who like to be a little more active during their outings.

A recent fresh concentrated a lot of fish down towards the mouth but there are still a few fish up-river around Laughtondale.

Fishing the top of the tide will yield best results.

With the water clearing around the tide change, this would be your best chance with lures to secure a few last-minute flattie fillets before the cold of Winter sinks in and shuts them down.

Good reports of jewfish have filtered in, the best being a 103cm fish taken on a soft plastic by Ian Kovaks, land-based around Slippery Rock. That’s a good fish in anyone’s books, especially on light bream gear.

Matt Brown scored an 85cm fish on a live yellowtail further downstream at Gunya Point, with a couple of respectable flathead thrown in as by-catch.

There are plenty of soapies around Bar Point and the bridges and they are taking most offerings as they feed up hard before it gets too cold and slows their metabolism.

I tend to find in among all of those small soapies a decent-sized schoolie will show up so keep persevering and perhaps increase the size of your baits to riddle out some of those small ones.

BASS, PERCH

Further upstream, bass and estuary perch will school up and make their way down to the holding areas to feed before they make their last dash down to the correct salinity to drop their eggs and milt.

Remember, June 1 to August 31 is the closed season for these Aussie battlers so make sure all fish are released in good condition.

Careful handling of these fish is very important because they are carrying our future stocks, Environets are the way to go and supporting their body weight while handling is crucial.

Techniques for winter bass and EP's are pretty straightforward: Fish deeper and slower on the rock walls and weed beds.

Keep your eyes peeled for big eddies on the major bends and use your sounder in these areas to help you locate fish holding deep.

If you find fish in an area, stay with them and cover the area thoroughly with your presentations.

Arm yourself with some soft plastics, blades and some rattling bibless hardbodies. Favourite plastics are 2” and 3” grubs and minnows from brands such as Berkley, Atomic, Slider and Squidgy.

Don’t forget to rug up and for all the latest news and gear, drop in and see the guys at Windsor Bait and Tackle.

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