As is usual, redfin have been the main targets at Blowering Dam over the Winter.
Good numbers have been caught at times but most anglers are reporting that this season has been slower then the past few. However, there have still been enough around for everyone to at least get some action. Any angler lucky enough to have found a patch that hadn’t been flogged by other anglers was bagging out, with some good-sized fish among them.
Jigging with blades, ice jigs and soft plastics has accounted for most reddies, with bait anglers also doing well most of the time.
The trollers have found it very much hit and miss because the fish have been really spread out or have been hanging on deep drop-offs where conventional trolling lures and methods just can’t reach them.
This month the majority of the redfin will still be in fairly deep water but the odd bunch will start to break off from the main schools and move around in the shallows.
These fish will mostly be smaller but they will at least be accessible to all anglers.
During early Spring the majority of Blowering’s golden perch spend most of their day right up in the shallows to warm up and recharge their batteries after Winter.
These shallows are rich with all types of food that the fish need after slim pickings throughout the Winter. They can be opportunistic at this time of, feeding on most things within an easy couple of metres of where they are basking in the sun.
But there are short periods during the day when they roam in search of a good feed or a potential mate and at this time of the year their main food is the plentiful frogs. They also feed on insects, yabbies, small lizards, baitfish or worms that wash into the system.
Polaroiding these big golden perch is exciting and at times very rewarding. Most fishos will tell you that it doesn’t get much better then being able to spot your quarry, cast to it then watch as it eats your lure and take off once it feels the hook.
Unfortunately, you do tend to see and scare more fish then you catch in the shallows so it pays to find a likely looking area and put in long, searching casts so you don’t spook and cover a lot of water.
Because most of these fish are sitting right up in the shallowest of water, you need lures that get down only a few feet or are reasonably light so they don’t drag the weedy bottom all day.
The worst thing you can do is cast right up into the back of a shallow bay, get your lure fouled up with weed and then drag it all the way back through where the fish are holding.
This almost always results in the fish shutting down or taking off, so it is critical to make that first cast count, then slowly let the lure get deeper with each cast until you are just touching the tops of the weed on your retrieve.
My favoured lures for this style of fishing are light lipless crankbaits like the Prism Murrin, Ecogear VT55 and Jackall TN50. Also worthwhile are soft plastics like the Ecogear Grass Minnow and Power Minnow on 1/8oz or 1/16oz jig heads, Balista Dyno60s and, if they are really shut down, shallow-running suspending hardbodies. It is also worth throwing small-profile spinnerbaits like the WD Low Profile Outlaw, which I designed specifically for golden perch.
Trolling with the abovementioned lures can also be rewarding but for best results, keep your lures as far from the boat as possible. This will limit the numbers of fish you spook with your boat.
COD CLOSED SEASON – GET REAL!
At this time of year a lot of Murray cod also seek the warmth and tucker on offer in the shallows, and they will also be up there looking for a likely spawning spot. Once they find one, they tend to be very aggressive which makes them easy to catch. That’s the reason we have a closed season.
Trying to limit the number that you hook by using small lures is still difficult, because the cod are so aggressive. But anglers who use massive spinnerbaits and 90mm-plus hardbodies supposedly to target ‘golden perch’ are having a lend of themselves.
The number of monster Blowering cod boated during the 2012 closed season on lures definitely designed for cod was sickening. Targeting them during the closed season is wrong, but to get around on social media bragging that you had achieved something special by catching a fish out of season, when at it’s easiest to catch, just isn’t fishing.
If you happen to hook a big breeder cod while genuinely targeting golden perch with suitably-sized lures, don’t feel bad; it happens and you definitely weren’t targeting it. Just get your lure out as quickly as possible and get the fish into the water so it can get back to its business and hopefully make many more Murray cod for us all in the future.