Family friendly fishing fun!
  |  First Published: January 2016

The start of 2016 has left us scratching our heads and wondering – ‘where did 2015 go?’ January will see a lot of family fishing at Copeton Waters Holiday Park so let’s discuss what the average Mum, Dad and the kids can enjoy at Copeton.

One of the great things to do while visiting the dam is to take the kids down to the water’s edge, set up some fishing gear and watch the kids have a ball catching some of our wonderful native species. The main targets for the family fisho are yellowbelly, catfish (eel tailed), silver perch, spangled perch (bobby cod), and redfin.

One of the easiest set-ups is a handline with running sinker to a swivel then trace to a size 2-2/0 hook and a bait of earth worms or frozen prawns – both can be purchased at the Copeton Kiosk as can handlines, hooks, and sinkers. I guarantee this will keep the kids entertained for hours, and you never know when a Murray cod might swim by.

The next option would be a light spin outfit rigged for bait fishing. Again, the standard setup is the running sinker rig described above. An alternative that was used by guests at the park recently was a paternoster rig that kept the bait suspended a little off the bottom, these guys caught a number of nice yellowbelly as well as catfish. Fresh and live bait can be counted on to produce better results than frozen bait. The gun baits are fresh water shrimp and craybobs (yabbies) these can be caught in the dam using traps approved by fisheries. Another great activity for the kids is to search along a rocky shore just after dark with a good quality torch, look for the shrimp’s red eyes, yabbies can be caught by turning over rocks and either grabbing them by hand if you are quick enough or using a small scoop net. The ideal bait size yabby is about 50-70mm long unless you are fishing exclusively for Murray cod, in which case you won’t find a yabby too big to use. Yabbies should be hooked lightly through the tail with a fairly light gauge hook in size 4 to 2/0, suicide pattern are still very popular but a number of bait fisherman are now using circle hooks with very good results. The advantage of circle hooks is that nearly all fish are hooked in the corner of the jaw; this makes release of unwanted fish much easier. If trying circle hooks for the first time remember not to strike, circle hooks are designed to roll out of the gut and throat then hook in the jaw hinge, just let the fish move away with the bait then engage the reel and let the rod load up. Very few fish are lost using circle hooks. If you want to target cod on bait at Copeton then wood grubs and bigger yabbies are the baits of choice. Wood grubs are bait that is well worth securing, as I don’t think any cod can refuse a big fat wood grub. You will need to bring these with you, as they are not available at the dam. Old fallen kurrajong trees can be a great source of grubs in the local area, as can fallen willows.

Another way to entertain the kids and Mum and Dad without the need to muck around with bait is using soft plastics and targeting the little fish in fairly shallow water. All that is required is a light spin outfit with 2-4kg line tied direct to a light jighead of about 1/4oz with a small grub or paddle tail (Squidgies, Gulps etc. in sizes between 1.5-3” long).

With only one hook point, this is about the safest lure fishing the kids can do and it can be a very effective way of catching the smaller species. The kids will giggle and laugh for hours catching bobby cod and redfin. If dad wants some fun tie on a little 50mm stick bait and twitch it across the surface and watch the reddies and bobbies chase it down, which will bring out the kid in any of us. Enjoy the holidays.

• For information on bookings at Copeton for the holiday period please contact the Park Office on (02) 6723 6269 or go to the website www.inlandwaters.com.au/copeton.

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