Natives or redfin, your choice
  |  First Published: June 2004

ANOTHER fishing season draws to a close as I see the last Autumn leaf raked up in the back yard. Someone else did it while I was out hunting, bless their heart.

The nippy month of June sees the last of the trout fishing with the season closed from 11.59pm on Monday, June 14, until the Saturday of the October long weekend. Trout anglers will have to wait until then to get their high unless they look for an impoundment, or another State that has no such laws. West of the Great Divide there are some angling opportunities but you have to watch the weather carefully lest you get a wet backside as well as no fish.

My mates Gordo and Dave have been very busy using their new Loomis GL3 783-2 spin rods, two-piece sticks suitable backpacking and plastics tossing, to try to work out the whats, wheres and whens of the local redfin and have enjoyed some recent success.

Redfin are one of those enigmatic fish, seeming to switch on and off for no apparent reason. You can think everything is spot-on but not raise a scale and then catch the mother of all redfin in the worst weather you can imagine.

These are river redfin I’m talking about and around here the best populations can be found on the western side of the ranges in the Gwydir catchment. I think we are all a long way off finding out what makes them tick.

Disregarding their feral nature, they sure are nice fish to catch and great to dine on. Being Northern Hemisphere imports, they are catchable over Winter, too – at least when they do decide to bite.

My last native tour for the season, for Murray cod, could be a real cold one. I don’t normally do these trips so late in the year for the native species, except that the angler is coming all the way from the US and really wants to catch a greenfish – so who am I to deny him?

If past experience is anything to go by, the high-country cod will be hard to secure in the freezing water, even if the weather conditions are optimal. While it can be awfully hard to get the fish interested in conventional hard-bodied lures at this time, I suspect the slow-moving spinnerbaits and ultra-slow soft plastics will bring us some results.

This time I am also ready to resort to just about any means to get a hook-up and even if it means drifting a unweighted live shrimp on a circle hook, then that’s what we are gonna do. First thing though – we would have to find a shrimp that runs on anti-freeze!

Bruce Mackenzie had a lot of fun rounding up this trout in some skinny water.

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