THE SURAT Fishing Competition went off without a hitch this year and was very well attended by hundreds of competitors. The fish weren’t that cooperative, but most people had a great weekend thanks to plenty of good company, a few quiet drinks and plenty of great entertainment.
Over the whole weekend, a total of around 40 fish were weighed in which was a disappointing result. The most widespread theory for the lack of fish activity was the large amount of food in the river. Locals tell me they haven’t seen the fish this quiet for a long time, and that usually this time of year is quite productive. I certainly had no luck during the competition; I used some of the biggest live earthworms I’ve seen and they didn’t even get looked at. There was certainly a lot of activity on the river, with heaps of boats trolling and driving up and down, so I don’t suppose that was conducive to great fishing.
Since the competition the fishing has remained very slow. I have only heard of a few cod being taken despite the regular efforts of quite a few people. The usual story is that the baits were left untouched or that water rats or turtles robbed them. There has been very little rain for the last three months and the water level in the river has dropped. We desperately need more rain so perhaps a run in the river will stimulate the fish to feed more freely. This being the case, September may be the perfect time for me to finally catch a few yellowbelly.
Despite the slow fishing, the river still looks attractive and plenty of people enjoy camping along its bank. People camp on both sides of the bridge leading into town and it’s obviously a very popular spot as it’s nearly always got people staying there. There is no set camping charge for staying here, although most campers are keen to support the local fish-stocking club with donations.
Ever since a few weeks before Easter, the Surat Fishing and Restocking Club’s recreation area has been occupied with a multitude of campers – mostly people quite well set up in caravans, mobile homes or camping trailers and many equipped with boats. Many of the boats are very sophisticated platforms with full floors, four-stroke and electric motors and all the latest in electronics. The importance of freshwater fishing to the economy is obvious and we should do all we can to preserve our inland waterways and keep them well stocked.