South Creek Bass

If a million fish die in a creek and no one sees it, do they make a sound?

No. They don’t.

At South Creek in Western Sydney a group of passionate anglers act as the eyes for this small but unique fishery. And it’s just as well too, otherwise the devastation caused to this waterway might never have come to light and nobody held accountable.

For those that haven’t already heard about the disaster on South Creek and the lack of recognition from the authorities, you can catch up here.

In short, a factory fire adjacent to the creek in January and who knows how many other incidents have resulted in a critical amount of pollutants entering the waterway. Tests and visual inspections have detected large amounts of oil and a pungent acidic chemical smell was present throughout a extensive length of the creek, with dead fish, estimated to be in the 100’s found floating in the slick and washed up on the shoreline. To this date the council refuse to acknowledge a problem or even send inspectors to sample the water. It was easier to just blame a ‘black water’ event and try to flush the creek to get rid of any evidence.

The South Creek Bass Club have created an online petition in order to try and get a proper investigation initiated to prevent this kind of event in the future. The petition can be found here. Whether you have fished South Creek or not, are an angler or not, you need to sign this. We need some accountability for actions that damage our waterways.

The passion and hysteria about the lack of response to the South Creek catastrophe does prove one thing; the importance of anglers as the gate keepers of their local waters. Without these eyes and ears on the water the damage could continue unnoticed with no follow up or consequences.

The simple fact is that recreational anglers protect waterways.

sd9El14 Feb 2015

A healthy Australian Bass


Back in Bass

DSC027087 Nov 2014Bass on the Disco Crickroach.

The bass are back and the annual Southern Bass Lake Yarrunga Challenge kicked off the hunt for another summer.  Although the bass have returned to the rivers and creeks, the cicadas are yet to hatch in any significant numbers.  They may still be on their way or it might just be a quiet summer after the bumper hatches last year.  Either way the bass know they aren’t around and so are mostly looking for frogs instead.  Poppers and crickroaches stripped two or three times form the bank and then paused will bring a few bass to the surface.  However due to the lack of cicadas the bass are only holding close to the banks for a couple of hours around first and last light, providing a few hours of power.  They are then retreating to the deeper water throughout the heat of the day and should be targeted with sinking lines along the deep water side of weed beds and submerged structure.

DSC0272121 Nov 2014Time for a coffee break after the dawn hours of power

Despite the cicada deficiency, the number of bass caught during the challenge remained good with 52 anglers netting 857 bass over the 2 days.  The large fish were hard to come by, with Chris Harding of the Illawarra Fly Fishers bagging the largest bass on fly at 404mm (tip to fork).  As well as the bass, 21 carp were landed with the largest going to Ray Ellis also of the Illawarra Fly Fishers at 670mm.

DSC026946 Nov 2014Turning up the beats during a tying session back at camp.

DSC027057 Nov 2014Joe Manzano probing the structure amongst the dawn fog.

DSC0272221 Nov 2014Submerged timber is prime bass structure.

DSC027299 Nov 2014Bent to the cork, 396mm.

Joe and I had tough practise day pre comp with only a few bass landed.  Despite the lack of enthusiasm from the fish, I somehow managed to have my fly chased by three different Water Dragons three casts in a row, with one even diving onto the fly from up a tree.  Unfortunately the third one, which happened to be a large male, got his mouth on the Jitterbug before I could pull it clear.  The feisty bugger was a terror to unhook but was eventually released unharmed.

DSC027107 Nov 2014You’re not gonna have fun.

Sight fishing to carp which were in large schools up to 60 fish was a highlight of the weekend, with Joe and I both landing carp at 640mm on olive and black Woolly Buggers.

DSC0272721 Nov 2014-1Wombat hole fertiliser.


Workin’ on your night moves

Why you should fish at night

If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.  Almost similarly, if you can regularly cast and hook up with fish at 25m in the dark, you can handle almost any situation in daylight.

Fishing at night will heighten your perception of sound and touch.  The darkness will sharpen your hearing as you learn to distinguish the clip of a fish taking your fly.  Practise will increase your ‘sixth sense’ (yes it exists) and have you pre-empting takes and knowing when your fly is drifting naturally without needing to see it.

Your casting will improve as you rely purely on the feel of feedback from the rod rather than being able to see the position of your loops.

On many heavily pressured waters fish have learnt to feed at night to avoid being disturbed.  During the heat of summer the night allows fish to feed under the cover of darkness and in the cool.

Big Bass love to hit the surface at night

Big Bass love to hit the surface at night

Fishing at night lets you beat the crowds and get your favourite spots all to yourself.

The big fish feed at night.  They will also feed and hold in shallower and more open areas than they do in the day, making them easier to catch.

4.25kg Lake Eucumbene Brown taken on a flash carrot after dark

4.25kg Lake Eucumbene Brown taken on a flash carrot after dark

So next time you have a night off, when you just don’t seem to have as much to lose. Strange how the night moves.  With Autumn closing in.


Late Season Bass

Bass on at Cliffhanger

Bass on at Cliffhanger

As we head towards the tail of yet another Bass season there is still plenty of action available. Although the surface activity is slowing the odd Bass will still hit a dry on impact. If not, switch to a diving fly such as a Frog imitation, Emerging Woolly Bugger or Dahlberg Diver and stir them up in tight to the structure.

For the dedicated angler however, the best action this time of year is had in the hours after sunset. Stripping a mudeye pattern can be lethal and often bags the larger fish that sit tight during the daytime.

Still plenty of time to land a few more before the tying season begins.