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Searching for Melbourne gold
  |  First Published: October 2016



After a reasonably wet and miserable winter in Melbourne, spring is finally revealing itself. The recent weather provides anglers with a taste of what’s to come. Longer days coupled with mild air do a world of good to angling aspirations and give us the boost we need to put some time in around our freshwater locations.

October is a good time of year to be out fishing the fresh in Melbourne. Most suburban lakes still have a few rainbow trout eager to take a bait, lure or fly. Fish like redfin and golden perch are also feeding up after a bit of winter dormancy. It’s perch, and mainly the golden variety, that are good to target this month.

Golden perch can be found in a handful of locations in Melbourne, with Albert Park Lake and Sugarloaf Reservoir two of the better known places. While baitfishing can work well for goldens, lure fishing is usually more effective to catch them. In the case of Sugarloaf reservoir, fishing with natural baits like worms is not actually allowed.

Lure fishing or spinning normally sees the angler become more active and mobile – this in itself can be the key to catching. Golden perch can at times be found in decent schools, comprising of similar sized fish. The issue is that when these schools of fish are concentrated, they may only be found in a couple spots in amongst a whole big lake! Being able to move around until you locate fish can quite often be the difference between heading home defeated or hooking into a few and having an awesome session.

When it comes to the pointy end of the discussion, there are lots of different lures that will catch golden perch. There are somewhat fewer lures that will catch metro goldens in a lake or reservoir situation consistently. The main styles of lure I tend to rotate through when searching for metro goldens are beetlespin style, spinnerbait booms rigged with soft plastics between 1/4 and 1/12oz, Jackall TN vibration baits 40-60mm, soft hybrid vibes, suspending hardbodies in the 45-75mm size range and sinking spybaits. All of these lure styles have their time and place, whether it be cast and rolled back along a featureless bank at a medium pace, or slowly hopped along the bottom amongst a patch of fish.

While golden perch can be very aggressive hitters at times, normally they’ll bite a bit softer as they start to feed up while the water warms. With this is mind, using a light graphite outfit similar to what you would use on bream and flathead is ideal. I enjoy the feel of a lightweight baitcasting outfit for rolling lures. like spybaits and beetlespins. Anything you can cast all day and feel subtle bites with is spot on. Over the next month, we should see the activity level increase a bit more, but being able to catch these fish while they are still a bit ‘doughy’ gives most anglers a good sense of satisfaction.

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A seasoned selection of lures suitable to ‘prospect for gold’ around Melbourne.

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