Bream on Blades

 

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Now that we’re well and truly in the midst of the cooler weather, most southern black bream have long departed the shallow flats and structure laden shorelines in favour of deeper haunts.

Whether preparing to spawn, resting between more active feeding periods, travelling from one part of a system to another, escaping from floodwater, or perhaps all of the above, one thing is for sure, bream school in big numbers over wide open and seemingly barren ground during the cooler months. Once conditioned to religiously targeting various forms of structure, chasing bream out in the middle of a tidal lake or river, well away from snags, undercut banks or rock walls, certainly takes some adjustment. Sounding is the key, though it still pays to concentrate on the more subtle forms of potential fish-holding structure such as a ledges, drop offs or sloping banks adjacent to a fertile weed bed or mud flat. Sweeping bends, points, feeder creek junctions, patches of reef or gravel and slight depressions or mounds all seem to attract schooling winter bream. Following periods of heavy rain and flooding, expect the fish to push further downstream. Depending on the system, this may simply mean further out into the lake, closer to the mouth or perhaps outside the entrance entirely. As the water clears with every incoming tide, bream will gradually move back upriver. If you’re lucky enough to find these post flood schools, they really can offer some mind blowing action. Imagine all or most of the bream within a given system gathering in one general area, waiting for the floodwaters to ease and salinity levels to return to normal. Whilst they tend to bunker down and sulk for a few days or perhaps even a week or so, depending on the amount of freshwater runoff, it won’t be long before they’ll be hungry and on the lookout for a feed. Metal blades are the perfect lure choice for this scenario and indeed whenever bream are holding low in the water column.

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Most blades built for bream range in size from 30 to 45 mm in length and weigh about 3 to 6 grams. Due to a relatively fast sink rate, these lures are an ideal choice for working deeper channels, drop offs or any open space where bream are concentrated deep in the water column. The key target area or strike zone when working a blade is within less than half a metre of the bottom. Ideally, depths of about 1.5 to 8 m are preferable, though blades can certainly be worked outside of this range. In terms of colour, darker shades of green, brown and purple, along with silver and gold, are generally the most productive. During the cooler months, there seems to be a distinct preference for black, which is likely to more closely resemble the type of shell bream feed on at this time of year.
Much of my success can be attributed to the Berkley Power Blades in Midnight, which is mostly black with strip of UV fluorescent orange under the belly. Of course, it is always worth experimenting with different colours and more recently the Shell pattern has also been performing well for us down south. The Power Blade design emits a high frequency, fish attracting vibration via minimal rod movement, which helps keeps the lure close to the bottom and nearer the fish. They also glide naturally on descent, both after the cast and in between hops off the bottom. The most basic retrieve involves casting down breeze ahead of a slow drift. As the blade descends, keep in contact with the lure by maintaining a slight bow in the line. If a bream bumps, nudges or intercepts a lure before it reaches the bottom, the line with flicker or twitch ever so slightly, which is the key to lift the rod tip and set the hooks. If the blade makes it through the school without getting hit and comes to rest on the bottom, the line will relax. A short, but relatively fast rip of the rod tip to get the lure moving say no more than 20 to 30cm (and then allowing it to lay motionless on the sand or mud) is the way to go. Double hops or perhaps even three to four sharp jabs of the rod tip, barely lifting the lure off the bottom, yet at the same time generating plenty of energy and vibration, followed by a pause, often attracts some attention. More often than not, bream will either intercept a blade as a sinks (on the drop) either after immediately after casting or in between imparting some action, or pick it whilst it’s lying still on the bottom. If you happen to miss the tell-tale flick on the line, the next time you lift the rod to impart action on the lure quite often you may feel weight. When this occurs, keep the rod moving back over your shoulder, quickly crank the reel handle to take up any slack line and drive the hooks home. A number of fish may be bumped off in this scenario, which can be frustrating. You may also foul hook quite a few in the side of the face or up under the chin which is where the deadly sharp Owner treble hooks really come into play.

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As with all forms of fishing, luring bream on blades requires some skill and detail in terms of presentation and bite detection. In comparison to other disciplines, however, the learning curve is quite achievable for anyone just starting out. For instance, this technique generally takes place in wide open spaces, such as the deeper sections of tidal estuaries, inlets, lakes and rivers, well away from snags, overhanging trees or other forms of obvious structure. Therefore, the need for precise accurate casting and critical boat position is all but non-existent. This allows the angler to spend far more time concentrating on technique, rather than stressing about manoeuvring the boat or losing hardware. In addition, drifting in open water is far more relaxing and provides equal opportunities for more than one angler to cast towards the prime real estate.

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Bream can be expected to continue schooling down deep well into mid to late spring, before gradually making their way towards more fertile shallow ground as water temperatures rise. Over the coming months, we’ll discuss some techniques and tactics for chasing bream with soft plastics, diving minnows and surface presentations. Stay tuned…

Brent Hodges

YOUNGSTERS IN ACTION

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Over the past few months, students involved in the Connections – Fish for the Future program at Lara Secondary College have been learning about local fish stocking initiatives, recreational fishing guidelines, effects of introduced species, marine parks, commercial fish harvesting processes and various other marine and environmental issues. Of course, the program also aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop their angling skills, including learning to tie basic knots and rigs, the importance of bait presentation, casting and retrieving, correct release techniques (to ensure an undersized and/or unwanted catch has the best chance of survival) and the effects of wind, tide and current within an estuary environment.

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Our first field trip was held on the banks of the Barwon River estuary at Ocean Grove where small Australian salmon, yellow-eye mullet and King George whiting were taken on baits on peeled prawn and pipi presented on single dropper paternoster style rigs. The following week, students encountered several juvenile southern black bream during a visit to Spring Creek at Torquay. Again, the combinations of either peeled prawn, bread or maggots as bait and a light running sinker rig proved effected. Presentation is the key when fishing relatively clear shallow estuaries for bream (as well as many other species) and scaling down to just 3 lb breaking strain mainline and leader material and a No. 12 chemically sharpened hook increased the students catch rate.

During a visit to the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre at Queenscliff, students learnt about the nearby marine park at Swan Bay, recreational fishing guidelines, and the role of fisheries officers, as well as some of the local marine life found with the local region.

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As part of Family Fishing Lakes stocking program, students assisted Fisheries Victoria with the release of 500 rainbow trout into St Augustine’s Waterhole at Waurn Ponds. Prior to the second and third term school holidays, more than fifty small waters dotted throughout the state receive a top up of advanced yearling rainbow trout, courtesy of Fisheries Victoria. These small waterways (normally less than 5 hectares in surface area) provide safe access for juniors and anglers with limited mobility.

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Our final field trip was help at Tuki Trout Farm, which is situated a few kilometers north of the township of Smeaton near Creswick. The purpose of this trip was for students to learn about and experience the process of catching, cleaning, cooking and eating their catch. Every student caught at least one rainbow trout and many volunteered to assist with the cleaning, cooking and serving duties in the kitchen.

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Lastly, a huge thank you to Berkley Australia for the generous supply of twenty Berkley Challenger rod and reel outfits and tackle kits for use during this program.

Brent Hodges

Take your kid fishing

Take your kids fishing – there are worse things they could be doing
– By Britto

Regular readers will know I have 3 young sons – all have been mad keen on fishing from a young age, and the youngest is just about to turn 2, and the eldest is 8.

As soon as they came into the world, they seemed fascinated with boats, lures, tackle and things that swim.

At one stage it got to the point I couldn’t out the boat on for a comp or pre-fish without an in depth conversation and negotiation around why one or more couldn’t come.

My eldest, James developed a keen interest in the bream comps, because he watched AFC on the telly, and dad seemed to disappear a lot on these types of adventures.

I tried to fish with him as much as possible outside of comp weekends, however inevitably he started to ask when he could go on a comp.

It was 4 years ago now, that I chose the “Easter Classic” held on Good Friday as his first comp – this is a great family event and promotes juniors quite heavily, and I made a deal that we would fish it every year until he had enough.

This year was slightly different in that we rented a holiday home on the Nerang for Easter, so not only did our boys have fishing, they also had plenty of new things to explored around our new surrounds, and the weather forecast was nothing short of terrible with rain forecast all day.

I must admit when I woke up, I almost turned the alarm off, but I did go and seek counsel from the co-pilot who made the call to fish.

I’ve always wondered what it was like to have a boat moored out the back and all you need to do is get into it off the pontoon and go – I must admit, I could get used to it.

Anyways, under heavy skies, we made our way down the Nerang to the start line at the VMR, and as is always the case, James was very excited, as we tinkered with tackle and decided which lures to use – James is a dedicated Berkley and Abu Garcie man, like his father and he can name most lures and colours.

The plan for us on the day was simple – we had a set of canals that we knew we could rely on for a bag if we persevered, and if everything stuck, we would normally end up in the money.

The lure selection was tandem, – one rig saw Berkley Gulp shrimp and craw, loaded on Nitro jig heads fished on ultra Finesse, 1kg straight through flouorcarbon. The rods were Berkley Venom and Abu Vanguards. The idea is to pitch the plastics as deep into cover and shadows as possible and wait for a bream to pick up on the drop. The second rig was a shallow diving Berley Fat Dog in mongrel or snoop, aimed at pulling them along the sides of hulls and pontoons.

The amount of rain leading up to the event was a worry and the canals were a dense “milo” colour, and I was a little worried about how effective the plastics would be.

We had 3 first in the first 1.5 hours, including 1 for James which was a nice 28cm fork length fish. With 3 fish early I started to relax, which was a mistake. After those first 3, our next 5 bites in a row saw us get comprehensively shredded in deep cover, mainly around jetty poles, as the bream made a spiderweb formation.

Fishing 1kg is a balance, as it buys you more bites, but you will pay a price for it – normally it isn’t that high and whilst I am prepared to write off 2 bites per session, 5 in a row was a little heartbreaking.

How to Catch Bass on Gulp Minnow Grubs – Steve ‘Killer Kanowski

It’s late summer at Lake Glenbawn in NSW’s Hunter Valley.  Anglers have arrived from all parts of Australia to fish round 2 of the Australia Bass Nation Series.  As usual at this time of year, the fish are suspended in deep water and can be hard to entice.  This is the time when one lure rises above the pack and reigns supreme, the humble 3 inch Gulp Minnow Grub.  This lure would be the lure of choice for most of the top ten anglers in the competition round.  Its ability to catch Bass in this scenario is unparalleled, earning it iconic status in our sport.  The following are some tips and equipment I rely on to help me catch these often closed mouth fish.

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Trimming – using a small, sharp pair of scissors, trim a small strip from the inside curvature of the tail to achieve a thinner tail that will swim at a much slower retrieval speed.  Slow is the name of this game.

Jigheads – Berkley/Nitro has purpose built range of dam deep series Jigheads colour matched to suit the Gulp colours.  These jigheads are second to none, with hooks perfectly matched to this application.  I use the ¼ and 1/6 oz sizes, using the lighter model when fishing is toughest.

Line and Leader – My line of choice has always been 4lb Berkley Fireline crystal exceed, pretty hard to beat for sensitivity and toughness, for leader 4/6lb Berkley Sensei  Flurocarbon.

Rod and Reel – My absolute favourite rod for plastics fishing is the Pflueger Patriarch PPS 610L-Xf, this rod has a perfect blend of power in the butt section couple with a light sensitive tip that won’t spook timid fish, encouraging them to strike multiple times.  Matched to this rod I use a silky smooth Pflueger Supreme 2000 XTS reel.

Technique – drop the lure vertically to the depth you can see fish on your electronics and wind ssslooooowllyy up through them.  Don’t strike!!!  If you feel a bite, just keep winding slowly, and let the bass take the lure fully, often they will just start at the tail and nibble their way up.  If they stop biting open your spool and drop the lure back for a few seconds.  Sometimes this alone will trigger a strike, sometimes a quick burn followed by deadsticking the bait will be the key.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Electronics – good electronics can make all the difference with this style of fishing.  Most brands have quality units, but for my money it’s the Lowrance HDS units that lead the way.  My touch 7s allow me to track my lure through the water column, when fishing vertically, even see fish leave a school or structure to intercept it,allowing me to predict at times when the bite will come.  They are a great tool and a huge advantage.

Fish Care – bass caught in deep water need special care to prevent barotrauma.  If not fishing close to structure, take your time bringing the fish up, don’t lift it from the water if you don’t need to, and have a venting device handy if you do.  Fish for the future.

I hope these tips have been helpful.

 

Cheers   Killer

VICBREAM CLASSIC (ROUND 2) – METUNG

Vicbream Classic (Round 2) – Metung

Round 2 of the Vicbream classic series was held at Metung on the mighty Gippsland lakes, a huge body of water that provides anglers with countless options and possibilities. In a system so large the field can spread out and quality fish and large bags are usually needed to be in contention with 10kg for 10 fish the aim.

Prefish

Our plan for the prefish was just to check out the surrounding areas for possible back up plans. I was pretty confident that we would find fish, it was more about managing the spots to ensure we could put 2 bags together that were going to be competitive. We fished a range of shallow flats, boat hulls,  pontoons and timber snags with some success. Although we didn’t find anything major that was going to change our strategy, it did give us a couple of quick spots to try before we really got started in fishing our tournament water.

Day 1

We decided to give 3 spots a quick 5 minutes each before we really started fishing and we got off to a great start with a solid 1kg fish from the second spot. We then moved to the edge and started firing in Puppydogs in pointer and camo worms to the weed patches and fallen timber. Dad had the fish dialled in early, boating 4 out of the first 5 fish. Besides the first 1kg bream we figured that the rest would all need upgrading to be in contention.  Casting in tight to the structure and working the lure with aggressive twitches followed with long pauses proved to be the order of the day and we managed to upgrade the other 4 fish. We weighed in 4.50kg and were sitting in 5th place overnight only 110grams behind the leaders. With the top 10 tightly packed, staying at the pointy end of the field would require another 4kg bag at least.

Day 2

Unbelievably day 2 started in the same fashion as day 1 with a fish taken within the first 5 minutes in the exact same spot. We then settled into working the structure and edges and had 5 fish in the boat very quickly. Unfortunately they were all on the small side and would have to be upgraded to challenge the lead. As the day progressed we upgraded numerous times but it wasn’t until the last hour that we landed a couple of 1kg plus fish, one on the ever reliable camo worm on a 1/32 nitro jighead and the other on a Puppydog in pug colour. At this stage we thought that we had just over 4 kilos but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be enough to steal victory. As we weighed in it seemed that the lack of wind and sunny conditions had slowed all but one team down.

We weighed in 4.27kg but it was no match for Team Lowrance HDS bag of 5.16kg which relegated us into 2nd position. A really pleasing result and an amazing weekend spent tournament fishing.

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Central Vic Lure Caster Super Series – Round 2 Lake Eppalock by Brad Hodges

LURE CASTER SUPER SERIES – ROUND 2 (LAKE EPPALOCK)

Round 2 for the Central Vic lure caster super series (CVLCSS ) was held at Lake Eppalock. I was pretty excited about fishing this comp as I had never caught a Yellowbelly on a lure before and this has been something that I have wanted on do for quite a while.

I fished with Spiro Spyropoulos who has spent a fair amount of time in the past fishing lake Eppalock. His knowledge of the lake proved invaluable as he had us on the fish for the majority of the session.

We started working a cluster of trees and had a slow start, however as we continued to work the heavier structure and we began to work out a small pattern. We were fishing in up to 40ft of water but the fish seemed to be holding around 5 – 8ft under the surface. My approach included using bettlespins and small spinnerbaits ridged with Berkley 4’ Gulp! nemesis in pumpkinseed and pearl watermelon.

My first glimpse of a Yella came when a solid fish followed the lure right out of the snag all the way to the boat and boofed the surface. I could hardly contain my excitement even though the fish missed the lure. Luckily about 10 casts later I hooked and landed my first yella!!!

20150222_124827_resized_1Yella caught on a small spinnerbaits ridged with Berkley 4’ Gulp! nemesis in pumpkinseed and pearl watermelon.

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As the morning rolled on I missed a couple of short takes and Spiro landed a nice yella before we went looking for another area to fish. Upon arriving at the next set of standing timber I hooked my 2nd fish almost straight away. It was then Spiro’s who turned it on with an overweight 68cm Murray Cod wrestled from the heavy structure.

With only an hour to go we headed back to the cluster of trees and I was rewards with a pair of 43cm yellas. I was stocked and really didn’t want to leave for the weigh in.

Over 120 anglers fished in the event with close to 80 Yellowbelly and 2 Murray Cod being landed. I am looking forward to fishing Round 3 at Lake Eildon, another place I have be meaning to fish for numerous years but have never manage to get there. I can’t wait!!!!

Hodgey

Luke Draper wins ABT BASS (Non-Boater)

With little pre-fishing at Lake St Clair leading up the first round of the ABT, I was confident that I would catch fish. On Friday morning (pre-fish day) I went out with Steve Duff and we went to the edges with weed. Both of us caught plenty of fish using blades.

On Saturday sessions, I had Dave Diggins as my boater. Saturday morning was a bit overcast with sunny conditions. We pulled up at a nice weed edge, feeling excited knowing that I could catch fish using blades. Within 10 mins, my boater had caught 3 fish and I still hadn’t had a bite. So I switch to a jerkbait with rapid results with 2 cast, I had my 2. First one was a 47 cm long and the other one was 41 cm long. With a bag like that was pretty hard to beat as only little fish was getting caught. We then started to look for spots for the afternoon session. We did find a flat holding a lot of fish which we were confident to catch them for the afternoon session. Going in to the weigh in, I knew I had a nice bag but not as big as I though. My total weight was 2.20 kg with the big bass at 1.19 Kg.

Saturday afternoon session, we head out to the flats that we found. Within 10 mins, I lost a nice fish in the tree. After about 30 mins of fishing hard, I got a 41 cm on a blade and I was excited, knowing all I had to do is to catch a rat. We didn’t catch any other fish on the flats so we made a moved to a school that Dave found in the pre fish. I got one on the first drop on a Berkley Gulp-Camo after another 30 mins, we decided to move back to the weedy edge. First cast, catching a fish which was about 37 cm. As I opened the live well, the 41 cm looked very sick and would not survive another 2 hrs. I threw out the 41 cm and kept the 37 cm knowing that 2 fish will weigh more than 1. Back at the weigh in, just made it with 10 sec spare. My fish weigh in at 1.53 kg.

Sunday morning session, I had Brian Everingham as my boater. He ask me what me what did I wanted to do and I told him to the weedy edges and stay there till the sun was fully up. So he could what he wanted to do. I caught 2 fish straight up within the first 30 mins. They were decent size fish. As soon as the 2nd fish was in the net. I knew straight away, that I couldn’t be beaten. As I had a decent lead from all the other non boaters. Back to the weigh in, my fish weight in at 1.49 kg.

LUKE-DRAPER

Luke’s proud moments with his Aussie Bass at ABT

My total weight for 6 fish was 5.12 kgs . I won the non boater, the biggest bag, 2.20 kgs and the biggest bass, 1.19 kg

I was using a Duffrod, 1-4kg with a Abu Garica Revo 10 with 6lb Berkley Fireline Crystal with 6lb Berkley Vanish.

Pirtek Fishing Challenge – Sunday 22 March 2015

Berkley sponsors the Pirtek Fishing Challenge in 2015.

Berkley is proud to continue its partnership with Australia’s biggest fishing competition – the Pirtek Fishing Challenge.

Since inception the Fishing Challenge has raised over $635,000 for Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.  The money raised has been used by PCFA to fund research and awareness campaigns for prostate cancer.

 

 

Last years donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

This year the Pirtek Fishing Challenge will support two organisations which are leaders in medical research.

The Peter Duncan Neurosciences Research Unit at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney has recently been lauded as the number one Neuroscience Research facility in Australia.

Named after Pirtek’s founder and Executive Chairman, Peter Duncan, the focus of the Unit is to study adult stem cells and their role in causing and exacerbating neurological diseases. The goal is to find and apply new neuroscience techniques for patients suffering from diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s, and other neurological infections and stroke.

Continuing our association of the past seven years, the Pirtek Fishing Challenge will again assist the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to continue vital work in the fight against prostate cancer.

In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, after skin cancer. Over 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, which accounts for over 30% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in men, and is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in Australian men.

Get involved!

https://pirtekfishingchallenge.com.au

Central Vic Lure Caster Super Series – Round 1 Goulburn River by Brad Hodges

LURE CASTER SUPER SERIES – ROUND 1 (GOULBURN RIVER)

Attending this event was all about curiosity for me. I was keen to see what these comps were like. Having attended my first, I can definitely say I’ll be fishing more comps this year and in the future years.

The tournaments are 1 day events that start at 7am and finish at 1pm. They are held on freshwater rivers and lakes with Murray Cod and Yellowbelly being the top scoring target species, however points are still awarded for redfin, carp and trout.

Upon arriving at the launching and registration spot early Saturday morning it was clear the this event was going to be well attended with cars, boats and tents set up everywhere. And well attended it was with 118 anglers hitting the water.

Fishing wise, my experience in catching Australian Natives (Murray Cod and Yellowbelly) could be summed up as almost non-existent. I’ve caught less than 10 Murray cod and I’m yet to catch a yellowbelly on a lure. Things started slowly on the water with not even a hit in the first few hours. As we made our way up river, fishing different sections of likely looking banks along the way, we just continued to try and put our lures deep into the snags.

At about 11:30 I finally had an aggressive take that caused immediate chaos on the boat as the net was being untangled from underneath the seats and a solid Murray Cod was thumping away dangerously close to the snag that she called home. As my native fishing experience is almost zero the gear I was using was just one of my favourite bream setups, an Abu Garcia Vanguard 3-4kg rod, Abu Garica Revo SX20 reel with 6lb nanofil and 10lb trilene leader.  The Murray Cod measured 63cm and was as fat as a football. This fish really sparked some energy on the boat and 2 casts later a greedy redfin also came on board for a quick photo shoot.Cod8

The 63cm solid Murray Cod on the Abu Garcia Vanguard (3-4kg) paired up with Abu Garcia Revo SX20 and Berkley Nanofil 6lb + Berkley Trilene 10lb Leader

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That’s a healthy looking cod

These 2 fish somehow scrapped me into 10th position. Making the top 10 in a freshwater competition against 118 well equipped anglers was definitely very pleasing and something for me to build on in future events.

The atmosphere before, during and after the comp was terrific. I can see why so many angler turn up to fish this series and I can say that I’m really looking forward to getting my first Yellowbelly on a lure at some stage, hopefully at the next comp.

Hodgey

Doggin Carp

A phone call about a sighting of a brown trout estimated to be around the 6lb mark which was hooked & lost in the Turon River below Sofala and another smaller brown caught by a camper on a bit of bread under a little red bubble float a week later had me thinking of smoked trout for tea. Recent rainfall had freshened up the Turon and had it flowing nicely, with the water still clear but not crystal. Rain & showers were forecast & the clouds were heavy as I headed off to the Turon with a slight drizzle coming in by the time I was far enough from the car to not go back for a raincoat.

Normally fly fishing is my preference when chasing fish in the clear waters of the Turon. Past experiences had seen weighted flies on long light leaders worked slowly along the bottom of the deeper holes to be a productive method of fooling a trout & drifting a weighted nymph down a swift run also works well. Today however I had my spin outfit, a 1-3kg Berkley dropshot rod & Pflueger supreme threadline spooled with 6lb braid, 6lb Sensei fluorocarbon leader. First cast across the pool into the shadows of the overhanging casuarinas, I let the little yellow Berkley Sub Dog sink before commencing a slow lift & drop retrieve. On the second drop the line tightened & the rod loaded up as the fish sped off along the opposite bank with the drag singing, seeing a brief silvery flash down deep as the fish turned & headed back in the opposite direction before coming to the surface at the end of that run, bloody carp. At about 55 cm the carp put in a good fight on the light spin rod before it tired & I was able to get it on its’ side, grab it with the pliers & drag it up the bank. I hadn’t seen the fish & cast to it as is usually the method we use when targeting carp in the rivers as they are feeding and sending out plumes of sediment while they grub along the bottom. The next pool was a bit milky indicating the carp were feeding & after watching for a bit I spotted a plume of silt & cast the little Sub Dog at it, as it sank the line moved & I lifted the rod and another carp bolted peeling line from the little reel & making it sing through the guides. This fish was a bit better & took a while to tire before coming in & lying on its’ side against the bank. After a photo, unhooking & Iki-jiming the carp an inspection of the lure revealed the sticky little Owner trebles were slightly out of shape so after bending them back with the pliers and walking about 10 metres downstream another carp came along the near bank & started to feed. A little flick, let the lure settle to the bottom one slow hop & the carp saw the Sub Dog as it settled on the river bed, it turned, opened its big rubbery lips, sucked at the lure & then exploded in the shallow water & bolted to get as far away as possible as the hooks dug in.

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Similar scenarios were repeated another three times before heavier rain had me turning back toward the vehicle. I have to admit it was fun & I was no longer thinking about catching a brown trout to smoke up for a feed. Walking back to the car the rain eased back to a drizzle so I decided to fish a couple of pools that were bypassed earlier. The first one saw me strike too early & missing the fish causing him to spook, at the exit of the next pool a large carp slowly moved across & melted into the shadow of a rockbar, the lure landed where it should and a short twitch saw the little yellow Sub Dog slowly sink into the shadow, the line moved on the drop & I lifted the rod to set the hooks resulting in underwater mayhem causing the rod to load & buck violently as line began to sing through the guides. The carp bolted upstream peeling line off the little reel causing the need to apply gentle pressure to the spool with my thumb in an attempt to slow it down & prevent it from reaching the fallen tree at the head of the pool. The added pressure momentarily caused the fish to head out away from the snag before turning and heading straight under it, luckily the line stayed clear of the underwater branches with the fish staying deep before finally swimming toward the near bank. I hurriedly walked along the bank winding to gain back line as the fish settled into a slug-out pattern. Eventually the fish tired and gave me a close look as it swam up & down in the shallows before laying over on its’ side. At 85 cm & around 9kilos it was a serious fish with a big bulging gut indicating a female full of eggs. After a few pics & removing the hooks I looked back to the spot where the fish was landed and saw another fish starting to feed in the shallows. Grabbing the rod I flicked a cast, let the lure sink & gave it a twitch & watched the carp glide over, open its’ big rubbery lips and then bolt as it felt the trebles sink in. The rain had got heavier so after landing the fish I decided to head back to the car for a dry shirt. It is not my intention to glorify these fish as they are classified as a noxious pest & do compete for sites with our natives, compete for food, uproot aquatic vegetation and degrade water quality by increasing sediment loads when feeding. In my opinion the more carp removed from our rivers the healthier the will become.

DSC_0206-1024x683A few mates & I have been targeting carp on fly for a few years with great success but this was the first time for me with a spin rod & small lures. I imagine other small suspending or sinking lures like the Berkley Prawn Dogs and minnows would work just as well. Good mates, Ken Smith & his son Jeremy, have been smashing the Turon River carp population fishing 2inch Berkley curl tail grubs in watermelon colour this season by walking the banks & flicking them in front of feeding carp. If the carp are cruising they are very hard to catch but when they start grubbing on the bottom they become more likely to pick up the lure. The trick is not to let the fish see you, make an accurate cast just in front of the carp, let the lure settle on the bottom & then move it when they get near it & let it sit on the bottom again. Nine times from ten they come straight over & hoover it up. Carp will rarely take a lure that is being retrieved in the Turon, preferring to pick it up off the bottom. Occasionally they will see it as it is falling & take it on the drop. The carp in Wyangla dam will definitely chase lures and are often caught trolling lures meant for native fish. A good way to target carp in Wyangla & Burrendong dams is to walk the banks along the flats casting to feeding fish in the shallow water.

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I do not regard these invasive pests as a sportfish, although they are fun to catch especially when sight fishing & they do put up a good fight. Carp are good to target when teaching kids how to fish as it teaches them the basics of how to fight a fish properly & are good practise in preparing them for being able to catch more desirable species. Carp can be hard to catch at times & if you spook a fish it will swim through the pool & gather all the others, then come back with them & swim past you eyeballing you like a shark. When this happens you may as well move to the next pool as those fish will not feed after they have seen you. In my opinion the more people learn about catching carp, they can target carp and remove them from our waterways & help improve the environment for our native fish.

Colin Gordon