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Golden start to Spring
  |  First Published: September 2011



September is the beginning of the unofficial golden perch season, especially at Blowering Dam.

Murray cod are now off the cards because of the closed season and anglers who love chasing native fish will be after some sort of fix.

Fortunately, the goldens start to really fire this month and they then tend to bite well all the way through to the reopening of the cod season – a perfect scenario for those addicted to catching natives.

The days are starting to get longer and the air and water temperatures are much more to the liking of fish and fishos.

And because it is not too warm yet, this also helps to keep the water skiers away for just a bit longer, making for a peaceful day on or beside the water.

STRATEGIES

During early Spring the majority of Blowering’s goldens spend most of their day right up in the shallows, were they can be spotted easily.

They spend time in shallow water to warm up and recharge their batteries after a long, cold Winter.

They can be opportunistic feeders at this time of year, dining on most things that are within a couple of metres of where they are basking in the sun.

However, there are short periods during the day when they roam in search of a more substantial feed and at this time of year their main substantial food source that they hunt are the dam’s plentiful frogs.

But these fish will also be feeding on any insects, yabbies, small lizards or worms that have been washed into the system.

Although polaroiding these big golden perch is exciting and at times rewarding, you do tend to scare more fish than you catch.

It pays to find a likely-looking area and make long, searching casts to avoid spooking the fish and to cover a lot of water at the same time.

Because most of these fish are sitting right up in the shallowest water, you will need lures that get down only a few feet.

My favoured lures for this style of fishing are light lipless crankbaits like the Prism Murrin, small Sebile Flatt Shad and TN50 Jackalls. Soft plastics like Ecogear Grass and Power minnows, T-tails or Bozos Smelt should be rigged on 1/8oz or 1/16oz heads.

Shallow-running, suspending hardbodies also work and it is also worth throwing around compact spinnerbaits like the WD Low Profile Outlaw, which I designed for golden perch.

Trolling many of these lures can also be rewarding but for the best results try to keep them as far back from the boat as possible; this will limit the number of fish you spook.

REDFIN ACTIVE

If you’re keen on numbers, want to stock the freezer or have kids on board to entertain, it is hard to go past vertical jigging for redfin.

They will still be around in fairly large schools this month and although the odd school can be found in fairly shallow water, the majority of fish, especially the big ones, will still be out in fairly deep water.

Once you find a school with your sounder, by drifting or by trolling, stop the boat and use ice jigs, lipless crankbaits, soft plastics or bait – or a combination of these.

This form of fishing is easy and can be very rewarding. It’s bound to keep the kids on board entertained all day long.

COD ON FLY

I have recently started work on a series of DVDs and the first is due to hit the shelves in late Spring or early Summer.

Murray Cod on Fly Basics pretty much sums up what’s on this DVD packed with action and information. I talk through all the basics of fly-fishing for cod and then practise what I preach.

There are a number of firsts, including the first metre-plus cod on fly filmed in full HD and the biggest cod landed on a surface fly in front of the camera.

My other half, Sharon, who has been fly-fishing for only a few months, also catches a few to prove that it is nowhere near as hard as people might have you believe.

For a pre-release taste of the video, jump on YouTube and type in Murray cod on fly.

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