As with the weather, the fishing in the Hawkesbury should be heating up this month.
The bass will be completing their journey to the sweetwater, while the flathead will be doing the exact opposite by fulfilling their breeding instincts in the lower reaches.
The trawlers will be working most days, trying to find where the best concentrations of prawns are. Coincidentally, these are good areas to fish once the trawlers pack up.
Grabbing a kilo or two of prawns straight off the trawler for live bait, and perhaps a feed later, is not such a bad idea, either.
Bream, flathead and jewies find it hard to resist a live prawn.
There are two simple methods to rig up.
If anchored, I prefer to use the standard estuary rig of a sinker (as light as possible for the tidal conditions) above a small swivel with about 50cm of trace tied to a No 1 or No 2 baitkeeper or octopus pattern hook.
Pin the prawn in the first segment behind the head or lightly through the end segment of the tail.
When drifting along rock walls, it’s best to fish the sinker straight down to the hook. The sinker size should only be enough to waft the prawn down gently.
Recommended weight sizes are 00, 0, 1 or 2 – any heavier and the prawn is more likely to come off the hook when casting. Hook sizes 1 and 2 in baitkeeper or octopus patterns suit this style well.
Pin the prawn in the first segment behind the head and flick in and around the eddies and among fallen timber.
Once a bite is detected, allow the fish a little slack before setting the hook.
The brackish reaches around Wisemans Ferry have been fishing exceptionally well.
Jewfish have been the main focus with fish to 12kg coming to the net regularly. They followed the mullet upstream in mid-August but were mainly feeding on small whitebait that was concentrated in the same area.
Soft plastic stickbaits 3” to 4” long are favourites as the water warms and the fish become more active. Use a two-hop retrieve on the bottom to ignite their senses.
Colour can be important in the Hawkesbury at times, so a selection of whites, pumpkinseed, silver, bloodworm and nuclear varieties will help you crack that silver slab.
Areas for prospecting include Dads Corner, the mouth of Webbs Creek, Macdonald River, the cave, Spencer and the Windsock.
Good numbers of bream are being taken from sentry box up to Lower Portland.
Most have fallen victim to live or very fresh prawns fished in a berley trail or flicked unweighted or slightly weighted around the rock walls. You can expect a few flathead and estuary perch as by-catch.
Small prawn imitation soft plastics and hardbodies are also catching solid fish to just over a kilo on most rock walls.
In bright conditions look for a wall with partial shade; the fish tend to find a little more security away from direct sunlight.
The bass should be on this month. These top little sport fish attract a large following of anglers, and for good reason. Most who have experienced an explosive surface strike from a bass are usually hooked for life – I know I am!
This time of year lends itself to surface luring, with numerous insect hatches and warmer water making the bass get quite active and they won’t usually think twice about smacking a topwater presentation.
Fizzers, chuggers, poppers, walkers and stickbaits will account for fish. Don’t forget the fly rod, either, nothing beats hand-to-fin combat through a long, floppy rod tight in structure.
Dahlberg Divers with a weed guard and any cicada-type pattern or foam popper are reliable flies.
The local feeder creeks and rivers should be filling up with bass heading to the sweetwater to gorge themselves on the plentiful bait stocks they house.
A good set of hiking boots, a topographical map, a backpack, a small spin combo and a handful of lures will get you into some sensational bass action.
Creeks worthy of mention include Little Cattai, Cattai, South Creek, Redbank Creek, Weeney and Little Weeney, the Upper Macdonald, Grose River and Erskines Creek up in the Gorge.
For all your angling requirements and local info drop in and see the guys at Windsor Bait and Tackle.