LOVE them or hate these feral fish, redfin are always high on the agenda for Albury-Wodonga anglers and February is probably the pick of the months to chase them.
And who can blame them? There can be no arguing that they are our finest freshwater fish on the table and they can be great to catch. Lake Hume is the place to chase them.
The time-tested method of bait-fishing with a paternoster or running-sinker rig fished below the boat will as always be your best bet. It’s always good to start prospecting for the big schools by moving from tree to tree, preferably in water of 2.5 metres down to 10 metres. If this fails in finding the action, it can be worth drifting with your baits just above the bottom. Make sure that you have an anchor on hand to drop if you start getting into them.
With a little luck, yabbies should be a little easier to track down this month because the big reddies love nothing better than a 50mm yabby. Last year was a nightmare tracking down bait because of the drought but now it shouldn’t be a problem tracking them down.
Worms always work but they generally score only the tiny fish. Cocktail prawns, which you can buy cheap, frozen from the supermarket are great producers. Albury/Wodonga’s tackle shops will all have bait in stock. Expect to pay $4.50 to $6 a dozen for the yabbies.
Trolled lures will also be worth a shot, although it can really be hit-and-miss. Firstly you have got to find them. Keep your ears open around town or it can be easy to see on the water just where it is happening – congregations of boats in an area will give the schools away.
Last month I talked about trolling small deep-divers with a soft plastic dropper in front of the lure. When you do encounter a school, double hook-ups are frequent and, most often, the big reddies fancy the plastic over the lure. This month they can be found very deep, at nine metres most often, so choose appropriately. I just tried the 30’ AC 50mm Slim Invader in the redfin colour and brained them up near Talgarno on the Murray arm.
The upper Murray from Lake Hume to Jingellic has fished reasonably well for cod. Trout cod (a totally protected species) have also been regular catches but results have been primarily on bait. The water is always high there throughout Summer but extreme caution should be taken boating. Very fast current is the norm and gravel bars and hidden snags make it dangerous water.
Your best bet for trout this month is likely to be on the higher lakes. Geehi Dam and Tooma Dam are great Summer propositions. Probably the most popular technique on these waters is to troll with cowbells with a Rebel Crickhopper lure or worms in tow. On both these lakes I have had great results on the ultra-deep 6cm Merlin. Mudeyes fished on 1.3-metre leaders will be the best bet for bait anglers.Generally these lakes have small browns and rainbows but they are enjoyable places to fish. Small boats are more than suitable but I highly recommend a 4
Dartmouth Dam should be worth a look but you should have a couple of downriggers. Most trout will be picked up in 10 to 15 metres. You really cannot go past the Cobra style of lure, such as Lofty's or the Tassie Devil.
Up the top of the lake, particularly the backed-up waters near the Mitta Mitta River, you can catch Macquarie perch (again a protected species) by tying up to the rock walls and lowering baits to just above the bottom. Worms are the No 1 bait and it’s a good idea to try berley.
On a Sunday afternoon mid-December, my girlfriend, Tina, and I checked out the Kiewa River water level, which I’d heard was very high. I didn’t plan to fish but I thought chucked in a couple of rods. We pulled up at a picnic ground, grabbed the rods and then, I hate to say it, I locked the bloody keys in the car!
I then thought, ‘stuff it’ and had a few casts to ease the pain. After five minutes’ casting at the picnic ground, I left Tina while I rang for a spare key. I suggested Tina wait in the shade and have a few casts into a deep hole.
Five minutes later, I was jogging back and I heard a few weird noises, then a scream from Tina.
She’d just spun up a cod and she was shaking. She’s trolled a few up to 10kg with me but this was special and she even rates it as her best. No one was there to offer advice and she just did her thing. She still had the cod, which would have been just over 50cm, in the water waiting for me as proof. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera but it was unforgettable and seeing it swim away was also great. To see someone else get that same buzz out of catching a fish is what it’s all about.Reads: 1991