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Avoid the washing machine
  |  First Published: March 2009




Have you ever fished in a washing machine? I know this might seem like a very strange question, but in the heat of summer the river takes on a whole new demeanour.

The serenity of angling takes a backseat to the high-octane wakes created by a swarm of ‘look at me’ water craft.

The joys associated with fishing are overwhelmed by the need for anger management as the river shifts from a place of calm to one of noise and close calls.

On a recent trip a fellow angler had two wide-eyed children slapped up against the side of his boat. Seems the father and driver of the powerboat had misjudged the turn. Thankfully the injuries were minor but some are not so lucky.

There are still plenty of fishing opportunities at this time of year and, like all things fishing-related, they seem to come down to timing. The best time to be on the water is when those that roar around are not.

Early morning will see fish that have roamed under the silence of night still keen to feed before the noise begins again.

Our last few trips to the Murray have produced some respectable cod and golden perch as the first rays of light touch the water. Cod to 20kg and goldens upwards of a couple kilos have been taken around Robinvale trolling a variety of hard-bodied lures.

Downstream of Euston Weir, the window of opportunity is extended as water depth is a ‘doof-boat’ deterrent and other than the heat, you can fish virtually undisturbed.

The fishing in the Wemen area has been very productive on bait and lures and again, early morning has been the prime time.

Most of the smaller rivers are the same with the best captures coming at first light, or if you happen to be there in the middle of a stormy change.

Sudden drops in barometric pressure seem to trigger Murray cod for a few-hour feeding fest that stops almost as quickly as it begins.

It will be good to see the weather begin to cool, but we have got a way to go before that joy arrives. Until then, early morns and anger management will see a few good fish led to the boat.

I use the heat of Summer to go in search of other opportunities and the chance to hit the surf is too good to refuse.

There’s something to be said about the incessant pound of ocean waves as you trudge barefoot down the beach to bait the rod.

CALL OF THE SURF

With the recent spate of hot weather, it seemed time enough for a sea change and a chance to revisit a favourite haunt in Salt Creek for a few days’ surf fishing.

Between Kingston and the mouth of the Murray River, Salt Creek is a popular destination for surf fishos who hope to land a mighty mulloway.

Sleepless nights are spent biffing fresh baits a distance into the pounding surf, waiting for that one moment an elusive creature turns up.

Kinked necks and weary eyes focus on the waving tips as the long rods rock to the ocean swell.

Occasionally the rhythm is broken as the rod bucks sharply to an unknown fish. More common species keep the enthusiasm going as they devour specially prepared baits and rigs.

Among these are some great table fish. A selection of sharks is always on the cards with gummy, bronze whaler and school sharks the most prevalent. All of these are excellent eating and generally put up a good fight.

Occasionally, when luck or timing work, large red-knobbed snapper cruise the gutters in search of an easy meal.

Giant bottom-hugging rays are always about and, for those whose fitness has slipped with time, an epic battle can nearly call for the oxygen bottle. My last encounter a black stingray of more than 50kg stretched my arms and my fitness to the limits.

Sand crabs can be a problem as they scuttle the ocean floor cleaning up all baits within their path. These armour-plated piranhas devour everything, including hard fish baits, within minutes.

As luck might have it, on our trip two freshly-baited rods were no sooner sat in the rod holders than they bent over, losing line to a couple of respectable fish.

The first bait was dropped but the second line transmitted the telltale head shakes as the fish battled away. Although several to 32kg had been landed that week, when a metre of mulloway glistened in the shore break it was enough to ensure that when the next bout of hot weather arrives, we at Salt Creek in search of an upgrade.

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