At last the water has started to climb to a more pleasant temperature and the fishing is much more enjoyable, with more willing fish and the air temperature making it much more pleasant for anglers.
Depending on where you are fishing in western Sydney this month, water temperatures should be in the late teens and early 20s, depending on where you’re fishing.
Given daylight saving is also upon us this month, there are plenty of opportunities to get out there and get some good fish.
I love fishing in October because there are a lot of different techniques that will work. The bass are willing to take a lure or fly and everyone begins to get more consistent catches.
With the bass still heading upstream to their Summer residences, you’ll find them right along the Hawkesbury/Nepean.
I love using spinnerbaits and other bladed lures, like the Wild Things that my brother in law and I have started making, but more on them later. If you’re fishing from a boat fitted with a sounder and find some fish, work over the area with your spinning blades. With the sensitivity tuned on my Humminbird I can watch exactly where my lures are and work them through whatever level the fish are located.
You can work spinning blades at all depths and if I had to fish with just one lure for the day, it would probably be a bladed lure. They’re versatile enough to work right on the surface with the blade and skirt making a commotion, or just under the surface right down to bumping them through timber and weeds, they’re certainly versatile.
One potentially fishy area that doesn’t seem to attract much attention is around bridge pylons. With eyes on the usual areas like weed beds, timber and rocks, many bass anglers overlook bridges but they usually hold some form of timber and associated debris and are great places to fish.
Unless you have deep-divers that can really get down there, the best choices are lipless lures and rotating-blade lures like spinnerbaits. Unless you cut off the leading hooks on the trebles, the hooks on lipless lures snag up more readily than the upturned singles on spinning blades.
Jetties, large moored boats and pontoons are also worthwhile bass-holding targets. When it comes to these areas, soft plastics are my main choice, especially ones that you can skip-cast well.
Your choice of grub would probably be the best type of plastic to skip under low structure. I tend to go with the lightest possible jig head and often just a hook. Thin braid and a well-tied slim leader joining knot, a properly spooled reel and a quality graphite rod are important to make good casts with light plastics.
If you’re going to skip-cast, it might take a little experimenting to decide on your favourite plastic, especially if you want to use something other than the grubs.
Whether you’re fishing under docks, around bridge pylons, working the banks or wherever, cast upstream and work your presentation with the boat facing upstream. It’s often easy to work with the current, especially if your boat has an electric motor and you’re trying to save the battery by working with the current.
Working with the lure working back with the current, the fish find your lures more natural, just as they would expect to see bait moving towards them in the current.
As the weather warms, more insects become active and surface lures and flies become great fish-catchers in the early morning and late afternoon. Although bass can be caught all day on the surface in shady areas, it’s early and late in the day for best surface action.
Some anglers think they have to start retrieving the moment their surface lure hits the water. It seems most things in life these days are geared towards speed – fast food, fast banking, fast cars and boats, but you don’t need to rush surface luring.
Allow the lure sit for a while before starting your retrieve. The length of time varies considerably, from leaving the lure until the ripples cease or counting to 10 before starting the retrieve. If the fish are on the job, you won’t have to wait long, while at other times the fish will really test your patience.
If you’re fishing an area that has been worked over by a lot of anglers, using a popper all the time might not be a good idea. Everyone loves poppers and the fish can become very familiar with them.
I enjoy the challenge of heavily-fished water, except in the few competitions I get to fish. When I’m fishing for fun, there’s often some serious thinking about how to turn on fish. The Nepean at Penrith is easily accessible for me and I love its challenges, especially when the bass have seen a lot of anglers.
Apart from hitting the water earlier or mid week, I’ll challenge myself by fishing weekends when I’m sharing the water with other bass lovers. My lure choices, especially surface lures, will be different from most anglers.
I’ve found pencil lures with a walk-the-dog retrieve have undone bass when other lures have failed.
As well as using different types of surface lures, different retrieves are important. Start/stop and intermediate retrieves work well with popping lures and walking the dog is great with suitable lures but making the lure behave differently from everybody else’s is a skill worth acquiring. Be a bit more creative and you might find you do better than normal.
Kayak anglers have been doing well lately, especially with surface lures. Paddling into more remote or inaccessible areas can some great fishing and a spin rod around 5’6” can cast a wide variety of lures.
Street directories provide plenty of likely spots and areas around Camden, Wallacia, Penrith and downstream offer a lot of access points to launch for fish where few other anglers can reach.
Time spent in the backyard working the cobwebs out of your casting will pay dividends on the water.
Remember to always to finish the retrieve, regardless of how dodgy the cast; there have been plenty of times where a stray cast has resulted in a fish.
Don’t waste the opportunity to get your lure working; ripping it back in puts the fish on notice. A lousy cast has caught me fish uncountable times over the years.
Dreamfish is a company owned by brother-in-law Rod Cumming and me. We’ve recently released some products and you can find more information at www.dreamfish.com.au.
The Australian Bass Angler at 105 Batt Street Penrith is the exclusive retailer in Sydney’s outer west. Dreamfish products are also available from the Dreamfish Websites and we welcome inquiries from other retailers.
This month will be a great time to cast some Dreamfish Wild Things, left, into the timber and weed, as well as spinnerbaits like these from Secret CreekReads: 763