No boat, no problem
  |  First Published: August 2014

During August the water level in Blowering Dam is generally slightly on the rise. It is common knowledge that slowly flooding water over new ground, weed beds and snags is normally associated with fantastic fishing no matter what species you are targeting. These sorts of conditions draw fish up into the edges of the dam to hunt for food that has just been submerged by the rising water levels, and these fish are normally very active and can be quite easy to catch.

Golden perch

I can’t wait for this time of the year as the fishing at Blowering Dam is about as visual as you can get. Watching trophy golden perch and Murray cod cruise around in the shallows looking for any easy pickings sure gets the heart pumping no matter how seasoned you are.

These shallow water golden perch can be targeted successfully a number of ways and my preferred technique is to cast to these fish with lures. Spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits are my first choices but these generally active fish will attack most lure presentations when cast and retrieved in the right areas.

The key to success is to use something that doesn’t dive too deep as most of these fish are in 6ft of water or less. Shallow running hardbodies are definitely worth a chuck, and shallow diving suspending lures work brilliantly in the shallows and can turn on even the most shutdown fish. This early in the season the goldens aren’t too flighty and all of the lures I’ve mentioned will do plenty of damage.

By the end of the month, however, these fish will have seen a lot of pressure and it can pay to change to lures that are much more natural in their colour, shape and action. Lures that have no rattles and no flash become the best lures to use and it’s very hard to beat soft plastics as they tick all of these boxes. I love 2-3” paddle tail plastics like the Ecogear Grass Minnow and Power Shad ranges, but I have also done well over the years on twin tail plastics. The reason the twin tails work so well is that they look a lot like frogs. At this time of the year and all the way through spring the goldens mostly eat frogs so it makes sense to throw a frog imitation at them.

Don’t think you have to own a boat either because the fish are concentrated around the margins of the lake. If anything, you have an advantage by fishing from the bank as this is where the majority of the fish are. At this time last year I was having a ball fishing from the bank and landing several golden perch each afternoon, with most of the fish being solid specimens. One even earned me the ANSA Australian ‘Length Only’ record for golden perch, which proves that you don’t need a boat to catch good numbers and sizes of fish.

Trolling is another way to target these fish at this time of the year but it pays to stick very close to the bank. It also pays to have your lure a long way back, especially if you don’t own or use an electric motor. The above mentioned casting lures will work well on the troll, so after you’ve had a casting fix you can simply cast your lures out the back and start trolling straight away, with no need to change lures. This is a good way of breaking your day up and it also helps to find active fish. Once you come back across some active fish it pays to pull up and start casting again or continue to turn around and repeatedly troll the area that has the active fish.

Bait fishing can be sensational at this time of the year at Blowering Dam because it’s not just the golden perch that take advantage of the smorgasbord of food on offer in the shallows. Trout, Murray cod, big hybrid carp and even the odd redfin occasionally gets game enough to come into the shallows for a feed. The best baits at the moment are definitely soft baits like worms, grubs, maggots and PowerBait depending on what species of fish you’re targeting. In saying this, if you are specifically after a good Murray cod then large yabby baits or bardi grubs will be your best bet.

Murray cod

This month sees your last chance to head out and target Murray cod as the season officially closes at the end of the month. At this time of the year most anglers prefer to take advantage of the Murray cod’s often aggressive territorial side by trolling and casting with oversized lures (if there is such a thing when chasing Murray cod). Lures really need to be at least 90mm long to really have any chance of making a big Murray cod strike out of territorial aggression.

Big profiled spinnerbaits with a thumping action are ideal for both casting and trolling. Spinnerbaits with upsized blades and large soft plastics added to create even more bulk are the lure of choice for most anglers targeting Murray cod at Blowering Dam. The spinnerbaits will need to be 1-2oz in weight to help get you down and keep you down, as the oversized blades and plastics will make your spinnerbaits ride higher in the water column.

More often then not this is all that is needed to annoy a Murray cod into striking but, because there are so many anglers now targeting these Murray cod with this style of spinnerbait, I prefer to present them with something slightly different to increase my chances of fooling one of these old, smart fish. I’ve taken to using single-bladed spinnerbaits for several reasons. Firstly, they spook far less fish as they look far more natural then conventional twin bladed spinnerbaits. A single blade also cuts through the water far better than two blades, so you can get away with a lighter weighted spinnerbait then you would if it had two large blades. A 5/8oz spinnerbait with a single willow blade will get you down and keep you down better than a 1.5oz oversized twin Colorado spinnerbait.

All up, you have the benefit of a more natural presentation, not spooking the fish and not ending up with one arm aching at the end of a day’s casting. If you have ever cast a 1-2oz lure all day long you will know what I mean, as it can be hard work by the end of the day.

Big lipless crankbaits are another great lure that can be cast or trolled with the same amount of success whilst targeting Murray cod. The fish can be easier to entice with these lures because fewer anglers use them; the cod don’t see big lipless cranks anywhere near as often as spinnerbaits.

Blowering has been very kind to Murray cod anglers over the last couple of seasons with countless big fish over the magic metre mark being landed. Let’s hope this continues for the rest of this season and again into next season.

Until next month, good luck, good fishing and tight lines.

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