Somerset Redclaw
  |  First Published: August 2009

While I always think fondly of Somerset Dam as bass heaven, the current redclaw fishery just cannot be overlooked. This crustacean population is a boom or bust sort of proposition, and at the moment it's going to be boom thanks to the greatly increased water level all round, flooding plenty of pasture.

If you like the taste of crustaceans to supplement your feed of fish from the dam, all you need to do is drop in a few redclaw opera house style traps or work a line of dillies, and a feed of these critters will be certain to come home.

My wife and I had a recent redclaw expedition and were surprised at just how easy they were to catch and handle. I'm an absolute beginner on this topic, which is why I like to write about it – if I can do it you can too! We set our combined limit of eight traps (the legal limit is four per person) in around 6m of water, which was suggested to me as the ideal depth to catch redclaw.

We used a mix of bait. In some traps we used rock melon, in others we used parboiled potatoes while others had both melon and potato together with a couple of blue pilchards in the mix. The traps that we left in overnight had a lot of redclaw in them, as expected, but we still continued to take them through the day as well. We pulled the pots around every two hours while fishing. To my mind, the traps with the pillies in them did best. While all traps had redclaw in them, the fishy ones had bigger fellows and a few more at that.

Although at their best in the warmer months there are enough redclaw in Somerset Dam at the moment to make an expedition in late winter worth the effort. Besides, kids love catching these blokes too so it's a family sort of business. There's no doubt that on a balmy day, Somerset Dam is the place to be. Fishing, redclaw and great scenery!

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