The ebb and flow of drought is certainly no stranger to this land. All share its burden and none feel it more than the fish that watch their watery world shrink with every sun-drenched day.
The Murray River is as low and clear as I have ever seen and the fishing under such dramatic conditions is nothing short of brilliant.
Those accustomed to drowning baits have embraced the spinnerbait revolution like a long-lost friend. Many campsites along the river have enjoyed a feed of fresh fish courtesy of these flashing lures.
Golden perch have made up the mainstay of catches but there have been some respectable cod landed on them.
The Australian upgrade of the imported Chatterbaits are also making a splash in local waters. These strange-looking lures are taking Murray cod and golden perch regularly.
Shallow sections of river, such as those below the loch at Euston, have been fishing well on bladed lures and small hardbodies. Golden perch have been abundant in this area through to Wemen and beyond.
In a few short hours, my young bloke and I landed 10 solid goldens and a cod on bladed lures. Bassman spinnerbaits and Mumblers accounted for a very memorable session.
The last golden of the day, pushing 2kg, was nailed right next to the boat by a 30kg-plus cod which sucked in the large struggling meal with little effort.
Unfortunately the double hook-up did not occur because the golden had wolfed both the stinger and fixed hook down deep. It was a remarkable sight and one young Jock will remember for many years to come.
All sections of the Murray have fished well and should continue to improve as the water temperature steadily drops. From Robinvale upstream to Belsars Island there have been several cod landed to 38kg with plenty of smaller fish in the mix. Once again, lures, both hard-bodied and bladed, have been the most productive method.
The Wakool has also seen some nice cod landed on a mixture of lures and bait. Golden perch to 3kg have been a notable catch on trolled spinnerbaits, it seems these lures are the flavour of the month wherever you go.
With the bardies taking to wing over past weeks, a few anglers have had success on surface lures. Cod to 15kg have been taken on the Halco Night Walkers in the Wakool and Murray rivers.
As I said earlier, the fishing has been, and will continue to be, nothing short of brilliant. In fact, if the water remains low, as it looks like doing, this could possibly be the best season many of us have seen.
Unfortunately, this will also mean many large fish will leave our waters due to a few self-indulgent morons flaunting current methods and bag regulations.
Last trip out we managed to troll up no less than three river-width cross lines, each set to carry at least 100 hooks or more. These were removed from the river and burnt.
This sort of find should be reported to DPI Fisheries and left for them to deal with. In my experience, though, such reports are seldom followed up on. A lesson in reality is that there are far more morons out there exploiting the river than there are Fisheries officers to protect it.Reads: 503