scomber

Solution to Hawkesbury River winter shut down

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As a keen student on the frustrating Hawkesbury winter shutdowns, I've recently found the solution to tempting those hibernating bottom dwellers.

Always fishing with plastic I thought I'd try the "Carolina rig" rather than just the standard plastic on a jighead. The Carolina rig is basically just a bait rig re-purposed for soft plastics and has always been popular with the Yanks for bass fishing when the fish are asleep.

Run your mainline braid down to a swivel with a running bullet sinker and a glass bead. Below the swivel, a FC leader to an unweighted worm hook.

The theory is that as you drift or retrieve, the sinker bounces along the bottom, stirring up the mud and sand while making a yabbie-like clicking sound as it hits the glass bead. Trailing about 30-60cm behind this is a tempting unweighted plastic fluttering along screaming "come and get me". Depending on the speed of the drift or retrieve you can vary the leader length to get the plastic closer or further away from the bottom. Its important that you use a soft plastic that floats and it doesn't matter how heavy the sinker is, as long as it makes the bottom, the plastic will still have great action. Great when the current is strong.

The worm hook also allows you to rig "weedless" and the bullet sinker is friendlier when the bottom is snaggy.

I've used this method since the June rains and have had the embarrassing problem of catching too many fish, mostly big flattys and mid sized Jew.

The Lower Hawkesbury is a complicated system to fish in winter (unless you are hairtailing) and I've found that fishing the run in tide and chasing where the warmer sea water meets the colder river will reward you with winter fish.

On the larger tides the big lizards have been heading into some of the creeks on the lower Hawkesbury, with Mullet and Mooney MooneyCreeks firing on the making tide.

My only advice is to keep the leader heavier than you would in summer because the jew and lizards are bigger and really wake up when they near the boat.

If you want to catch a few horse winter bream on the same rig, set another (2nd) much lighter leader to the top eye of the swivel about 60cm long with a smaller grub plastic and Mr Bream will join the party as your bottom rig bangs along the bottom.

Tight Lines!

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Will definitely give it a try! Thanks mate

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Thanks for the detailed information mate

Sounds really effective

I'll be sure to give it a go

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Awesome!! Will be trying this. Do you have any pics?

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Great advise, Something new to try on those days when nothing is working..

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What plastics do you use?

Not sure if my ones float or not

Edited by sam bros

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Thanks for the tip . I will be trying it in the Georges with some of the ZMans as they are buoyant and keep up from the bottom .

Regds Bob

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MAGIC TRICK!! YOUR A LEGEND! please report success you guys! im sure gonna give it a tried! been getting babies everytime i head out lol

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What plastics do you use?

Not sure if my ones float or not

Most of the Zmans float, I've been using a 4- 6 inch shrimp, lots of action, pre-scented and the Hawkesbury fish don't need much persuasion since the real ones start appearing in a few months time.

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Thank you for your solution. Talking about this rig. The rig design to use worm hook/jungle hook. Not sure if it work on bait keeper hook.

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Long hook should work well i think, as long as it is exposed shoudnt be any problem when the fish bits

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Top tips there scomber. I will give it a go next time I manage to get out. I was doing well in the Hawkesbury last year, but this year it's been a very long dry spell for me so I'm keen to give anything a go. What colours do you find work well in the Hawkesbury.

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Top tips there scomber. I will give it a go next time I manage to get out. I was doing well in the Hawkesbury last year, but this year it's been a very long dry spell for me so I'm keen to give anything a go. What colours do you find work well in the Hawkesbury.

I'm a fan of natural colours, though I don't have much success with the darker greens. With creature plastics, I don't think it matters as much, as the action and wiggle of appendages is more important. For shads and fish- like plastics its always "match the hatch" ie try to match the shape and colour as much as you can to what they are currently feeding on. In spring this means lighter colours (preferably light undeneath, dark on the top) - to resemble fledgling poddy mullet, hardiheads and recently spawned fry. A splash of red on fishlike plastics seems to work well too, making the fish look injured.

In summer, prawns are king in the Hawkesbury, so the golds, brown through to purple/blue with a fleck, in a prawn or nipper form always works well.

If you are chasing bream with plastics close to the shoreline, try to match what they feed on. In winter its black crabs (try a Crabby if you can afford $$ or the real thing found under rocks on mud along the shore) and at the beginning of summer as soon as the cicadas start chirping, nothing beats a floating cicada popper - especially where the trees overhang the shore.

Good luck & see u out there!

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Thanks. I've had luck previously on pumpkin seed minnows and nuclear chicken nemesis, but it's been a while since i had success on plastics there. I always found it hard with the deep water, and strong currents. Normally end up having more success on bait. But will have a go at the SPs on a california rig - it's the same rig i use for bait.

Have had a crack at a floating black cicada lure previously but no luck, though keen to give them another go when the cicadas are at full chorus.

Do you use soft vibes there for flatties? If so, what size? I tried them for the first time last weekend quickly. Was using the 98mm (4inch) 20g version. It seemed to sink like a brick and i wasn't quite sure how to work it. They also do a 60mm 7g version but they seemed too small.

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Awesome tips and write-up scomber.

Most people tend to simplify lure rigs as much as possible especially when it's quiet, so it's good to see that a few well thought out tackle additions can improve the rig.

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