It’s great to report that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for local waters and it seems a fair bit of it is green.
Much has happened since our last report, not least the capture of some very good Murray cod in waters that have lain quiet for several seasons.
As predicted, good numbers of cod have repopulated many sections of the Murray in an upstream migration that shuffled the fishing and bought joy to many who have not seen a green fish for quite a while.
The waters around Hattah Kulkyne National Park have produced several giant cod over 1m on bait and lures. Most of the action is coming during the periods of low light around dusk and dawn.
Grubs have been the pick of baits and shallow-diving minnows the best of lures.
Golden perch, too, are thicker than the hairs on a cat and an easy catch around the deeper sections of backwaters.
Reports from Wemen speak of similar events with some good cod landed within sight of the boat ramp. Golden perch are also about in good numbers and there are enough carp to keep the kids busy for at least several lifetimes.
A few catfish have also been caught on bait and it’s important to remember these are protected species and while it’s OK to take a photo, they need to be returned to the river unharmed.
Robinvale looks like it might return to its former glory as a prime location to target big cod and the next few months will no doubt reveal just how many good fish have found their way back into this deep section of pool water.
The Kerang Lakes continue to produce some good fish with the majority on bait. Kow Swamp has produced some solid golden perch on shrimp with few fish on lures because the water clarity is quite poor.
Lake Charm and Kangaroo Lake are a similar story with good numbers of goldens and a few redfin on bait. No reports of cod yet but all these lakes hold a few and some thumpers among them.
Lake Boga, the clearest of these waters, is producing redfin and golden perch on spinners, blades and plastics with shrimp and local whitebait accounting for good fish bobbed on the drift.
Fishing knowledge is acquired in many ways. While much is self-taught over an angler’s life, other lessons are taught or shown by those who have already trod the path.
Recently I was given a lesson on the Murray River in the art of bobbing shrimp to catch large golden perch.
Mildura angler Gareth Lynch was keen to demonstrate this simple technique that was taught to him by his father when he was just a boy. As I sat back and listened, it was obvious that Gareth and his Dad had shared much fishing time as he recalled numerous catches at many locations.
With a bucket of fresh river bait, we tied the boat off to a snag set wide of the bank and lowered our lines directly down among the drowned timber. As soon as the sinker hit the bottom, a slow lift and drop routine was used to work a single large shrimp up and down among the timber.
A sharp tap was the first sign that a fish had taken the bait and the rod loaded under the weight of a solid golden. How easy was that, I thought, not two minutes in and a solid fish already.
Several moves and an hour on and we had landed five big goldens and missed several more.
While the art of bobbing shrimp might sound simple, success often hinges on several things.
The first and most important is the way you approach and tie off to the chosen snag. Ramming the snag or banging the boat against will often scare away the fish, especially where the water is shallow.
It’s important to size up the approach, idle in and position the boat as quietly as possible.
Make sure you have a good supply of shrimp because you will have a hard time replenishing bait amid snags that often hold good numbers of golden perch.
Gareth says a single large shrimp hooked through the tail on a paternoster is the most effective rig.
The sinker slowly bouncing among the snags stirs up small puffs of silt, not unlike the movement from startled bait. In this case however, when a hungry perch comes to investigate the sound and disturbance created by the sinker it is greeted by a large shrimp hanging precariously from the hook just a foot or so above. Too good to be true, the fish will often tap the bait before taking it in its mouth.
Don’t strike on the first tap; wait and you will feel the fish’s full weight as it takes the bait in its mouth. A sharp lift of the rod is all that’s required to set the hook.
While I never met Gareth’s Dad, I am glad for the lessons he taught his son. As the fishing life rolls on, I will happily share them with my young bloke.
With heaps of goldens and some very good cod back in our local waters it’s go for green as we head into what’s no doubt going to be a very memorable cod season.Reads: 2013