Marvellous May madness
  |  First Published: May 2015

The cool starts are upon us already, with dew covered grass, and rocks like black ice that make navigation to the river banks a little bit more difficult. The rest of it though is pure bliss; the fog lining the chilly waters offers the angler that sense of solitude and a backdrop the city dwellers dream of. And then there’s the fishing!

The Tamworth region has had a good start to autumn, with a few decent drops of rain really giving the rivers a much-needed boost. On one occasion I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with gun angler Cameron Jones and stumbled across a few things that really opened our eyes. After reaching our destination, we noticed every pool of water adjacent the river was alive with yabbies, shrimps, large tadpoles and frogs. It didn't matter how big or small the pool of water was, it was chock-a-block with tasty fish lollies, which boosted our confidence that we were in the right area.

Our lures were getting hammered by hungry fish only a short time later, so it pays to slow down and observe your surroundings, as Mother Nature often provides some great clues to give you the upper hand next time you hit the water

peel river

The Peel has been fishing very well in recent weeks and should do so up until winter sinks her cold, icy claws into us. Local fish whisperers Mel Rosey and Simone Elisabeth have been reporting great catches of golden perch and Murray cod in a few well-known local spots. It’s good to see these fish making a comeback in hard fished areas and goes to show that through good fishing practices, stocking, and catch-and-release, these areas will be here for our kids and hopefully their kids to fish.

Namoi River

With fresh water running through, the upper Namoi has been hard to fish with lures, as the fast flowing torrent makes it difficult to keep in contact with the line, but if you can find a few eddies you will find the natives hanging back in that slower moving water. Baits of shrimp or prawn will have you in with half a chance. If walking the banks is your cup of tea, then medium sized shallow divers in the 70-80mm range will see more than a few hungry cod buckle your rod over.

For the golden perch it is hard to go past old favourites like lipless crankbaits. There are plenty out there; Balista, Jackall, Mazzy Vibe, they all have a proven track record so take a selection and see how you go.

The lower Namoi has produced some cracking cod in recent times, with both kayak and land based anglers cashing in on the action. Large spinnerbaits are the most successful lure type, with large yabbies being a favourite for those bait fishing

lake keepit

The dam is currently holding around 4 per cent, although reports have been slow coming in. There are always a few fish to be caught and with the levels so low, I must stress the message of limit your catch, not catch your limit. Follow the rules and take only what you need, as good fisheries can be ruined in just a few short seasons if people consistently do the wrong thing.

I think the dropping water temperature will see the goldens start to school up. The rock walls and islands will be likely holding grounds. Targeting them with soft plastics will be a popular method, and also very successful will be finding a good tree or 2 in 8-12m. Rock worms will be a hard to beat bait, as their lively action and size rings the dinner bell for most species, but getting past the carp might be a problem.

something borrowed, something old and something new

As young kids, those of us who grew up loving fishing were often influenced by our fathers or grandfathers. For me, it was instant — the videos and books grabbed my imagination, and then seeing my father bring home large mulloway from the NSW north coast only had me further hooked. For years he helped grow my passion for the sport

Some 17 years ago we made the move to Tamworth, where I continued to enjoy my fishing, but dad couldn't discover the love for the freshwater like he had back on the briny. Last month though, after seeing my pictures, hearing my adventures, and a little bit of ribbing about missing out, he bit the bullet and came fishing.

Although our first trip was unsuccessful, we bounced back and on the second he managed to catch his first-ever Murray cod. A second 1 not long after followed this on a surface lure. I think that the fire for his love of fishing is returning and now I’m able to show him what he once showed me. So get out there mums and dads and take your kids fishing. You might just have some fun or even change their lives.

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