With the weather warming up so has the fishing around the Shoalhaven. The marlin have started showing up wide, the whiting are whacking surface lures in St Georges Basin, the dolphin fish are hanging around the FAD (Fish Aggregating Device) off Currarong and the bass are smashing surface lures in the Shoalhaven River.
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Fellow NSW Fishcare volunteer John Daley, Mark Fisher from Outback Rods and I have been getting out early in the morning targeting bass on the Shoalhaven River. We have been targeting snags and rock walls around Longreach and been averaging 10 to 20 bass a session. You will need to get up early for bass fishing success, with the bite window being between 5am and 7am in the morning.
When planning to go bass fishing you really need to monitor the barometer, if it’s around 1020Hp then the bass will come on the bite. Also look for a high barometer with a predicted sharp fall i.e hot day with a southerly change coming through early evening. Fishing just before a thunderstorm is about to roll in is also worth a go, but be mindful that a lot of fishing rods have graphite which conducts electricity, enough said.
In terms of tackle I fish 2kg to 4kg 6 to 7ft rod, 1000 or 2500 sized reel spooled up with 2 to 4kg gel spun line. To allow for line shock when surface fishing for bass I prefer to use 8 to 10lb clear mono traces.
The majority of the fish we have been catching have been on surface lures, particularly those which resemble cicadas. Surface lures are proving effective from 5am to 7am, then we have been moving into crank baits (shallow running diving lures). So here’s John Daley and my lure recommendations for a cracking bassin session:
1. Tiemco Soft Shell Cicadas - without doubt the Hornet is the no 1 pattern, I would also get some Chartuese and Black Golds.
2. Jackson Ebi Panic 4G 70MM Lures, they have a unique rear tow-point design creates a realistic imitation of a fleeing prawn. A small cup on the face of the lure agitates the water’s surface to attract attention without frightening the fish.
3. After 7am use the Pro Lure Crank baits - Slow roll them off the snags and rock walls. Start with a long cast and retrieve with a simple ‘slow roll’ and don’t be afraid to bump your lure in to structure. You can add the odd pause during your retrieve to assess the behaviour of the fish on the particular day. I like the Phantom, Violet and Pearl Shrimp colours in these crank baits.
Get your lures in tight on snags and rock walls, most of our strikes have been within seconds of the lure hitting the surface.
Kasey the Deck Dog's weekly tip is use your senses when bassin, look for fish rising near snags or swimming in the reeds. Listen for where the cicadas are singing the most and keep your eyes on for fish slurping, then cast your lure right there.
On a final note please be mindful of sun safety while out fishing in the summer. It is important to wear long sleeve fishing shirts, sunglasses, a hat and remember to slip, slop and slap. Consider wearing a head sock or cravat around your neck for added sun protection and also looking a bit trendy on the water. Keep yourself hydrated, take an esky to keep your drinks cold. Not only does fishing early morning or late afternoon produce more fish, it also keeps you away from being on the water during hottest part of the day.
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