Robinvale cod remain a no-show
  |  First Published: May 2017

The Murray River at Robinvale has good numbers of golden perch taking bait, but Murray cod still remain a no show so far this season. Downstream towards Wemen, anglers can expect good numbers of perch on bait amid a mountain of carp, with no reported cod captured this past month.

Further downstream to Nangiloc, where 300 competitors hit the Murray River for another competition during mid-March, numerous golden perch and carp were landed, but by competition end the large field of mostly bait anglers managed to raise only one legal sized Murray cod, measuring in at 56cm.

The real truth of the black water kill down this area is starting to hit home. Other than the Swan Hill area, cod captures of any notable size have remained all but non-existent from below Boundary Bend all the way through to Renmark in South Australia. The good news is there have been some good cod landed down lower in the South Australian lock system, where the black water was eventually shandied out.

On another note, it’s a sad but true fact that fishing lines catch far more than just fish. As an angler, it shames me at times to arrive on location only to be confronted by the mess left behind by other anglers. Often I’ll see plastic bags, bait containers, discarded lure packets, empty cans and bottles and last but not least, tangles of fishing line. Every year many animals fall foul of discarded fishing line and the numbers continue to grow as angling becomes more popular. In the past few years, I have rescued several different varieties of birds including a pelican that had its beak tied shut in a tangle of hooks and line. Unable to feed, this poor bird had wasted away and was very light for its size. Another memorable incident involved a large shingle back lizard trailing a tangle of line and bark from a fish hook lodged in its front leg.

On a recent trip to the river we by chance came across a white cockatoo whose screeching calls from the steep clay bank drew our attention. It was early morning and the large red gum root close by had been stripped bare of most of its bark by the panicked bird. On closer inspection, we found the cockatoo was bound by the foot and tethered to the root by some braided fishing line. Judging by the bark striped root, we guessed the bird had to have been there for at least a day. With the temperature set to once again soar above the high 30s, it would no doubt have succumb to the heat and lack of water if we had not happened along.

Although our intentions were good, the tethered cocky took great displeasure in our attempts to cut him free, latching on to a wayward thumb during the procedure. With the line cut and unwrapped from around its foot, the cocky flew off to a noisy reception from the rest of the flock. It was a good ending, but one that need not happen in the first place had the line not been left lying around the river bank!

On almost every trip to the river, I come across discarded line, be it tied off a branch or stick or just simply left lying on the ground. Often there are hooks and sometimes bait connected, which will intern attract the interest of a host of animals that are likely to eat the baited hook. Surely it is not that hard to take home these materials and put them in the bin. At some coastal locations, PVC containers have been placed on piers and near cleaning tables so as discarded line can be placed in them for collection. Next time you are down the river feeding the ducks and birds, take note, as if there are a good number of them on location you can almost be assured that at least one will be sporting fishing line or the injury’s derived from it.

Swan Hill Comp

It was smiles all round for anglers competing in the Swan Hill Services Club Fishing Competition during March at the Pental Island caravan park. An impressive 69 boats hit the mighty Murray River, loaded with all manner of secret bait and lure in the hopes of catching a few fish.

There was 55 legal sized Murray cod landed over the two days, the biggest stretching the tape out to 69cm. There were five legal-sized golden perch landed as well, along with numerous carp. There were a good number of undersized Murray cod captured, also providing hope that in time we might once more see some larger cod in our local waters.

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