Occasional thrills in the chill
  |  First Published: September 2004

THE WEATHER along the Murray River remains cold and it seems most anglers have slipped into hibernation, opting to spend their time watching the idiot box by a cosy fire rather than venture out on the water on the off chance they may get lucky.

Then there are those with bad cases of drippy-nose syndrome who thrive in soggy, wet clothes, with fingers so cold that rolling a fag is a juggling act. This is all part and parcel of Winter fishing along the Murray.

While I have lost this youthful enthusiasm to freeze to death on a faint hope, those who push the angling passion to extremes are, at times, rewarded with some memorable sessions during the dead of Winter. Big cod are always on the cards, as are good numbers of golden perch.

Remember there’s a closed season on Murray cod in NSW from September 1 until December 1 to allow them to breed.

As the days begin to lengthen and we head into Spring, it’s prime time to target goldens in many local areas. Wemen, Hattah and Boundary Bend are all worth a look at this time of year.

The techniques used will depend entirely on the water quality, which will become a week-to-week proposition. If water quality is poor, bait-fishing is the best option. Any backwater containing structure will hold fish waiting for an easy meal to happen along and, if it is fished correctly, can provide impressive catches.

There are a few tips to fishing the Murray to its full potential that many bait anglers have lost sight of.

Sinkers serve a twofold purpose: To aid in casting distance and to hold your rig in the required position. It is not necessary to use lumps of lead large enough to lift the river level on splashdown.

Regardless of where you fish, use as light a presentation as conditions allow – fish are far more likely to accept a bait that is not pinned down by an anchor.

As for the bait itself, don’t be tight: Pile plenty on the hook. Several worms and a couple of shrimp make a tantalizing smorgasbord for a hungry golden perch.

The drawing potential large baits offer, as juices waft along the current, is far more effective than a single worm pinned on a hook.

If water clarity is good, small lures worked around the timber will turn up golden perch. While the water temp is down, don’t be in too big of a hurry to move on. Work over each snag heavily before leaving the area.

The Wakool River near Kyalite should fish well over the coming months.

At present water clarity is still quite good and anglers are turning up some nice cod on bait and lures. For the bait fishos, grubs have been the No 1 cod catcher while spinnerbaits in darker colors have accounted for some very nice fish as well.

Goldens should also begin to put in an appearance as the days grow longer and things begin to thaw. It can’t come soon enough!

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