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Weather improving for fishing

May 22, 2023

How about that? A weekend without rain.

That’s pretty damn good.

This meant that despite the fog, frost and cold, it was still good for fishing the rivers.

You still have to watch the muddy and slippery banks, but you could remain dry as you wet a line.

Fishing the rivers has been slow.

Dirty, muddy water and high flows have slowed the fish, but as the levels settle down and the turbidity decreases, the fish action will increase.

It will be mainly bait fishing, so the old standbys need to be reintroduced, such as worms, mudeyes, yabbies and shrimp if you can still find any. You can also try chicken or cheese.

Fish the deep holes or where the water flow is slow, such as backwater around snags.

The use of lures will be restricted due to the muddy water.

But if you can, try for cod at this time of year — I get good results with a frog pattern, dark green and black spots. However, you may have success with brighter coloured lures as well.

Generally speaking, the best freshwater results are the dams such as Eildon, Waranga Basin, Hume, Dartmouth and Nillahcootie.

I advise trolling lures, as well as using an attractor such as a Ford fender or similar — autumn leaves are the best.

Why do they call it a ‘Ford fender’? Well, years ago, the bumper bars on cars had a couple of pieces of metal called overriders — these were supposed to protect the body of the car in the result of an accident.

In America, the bumper bar was known as a fender. Note, the general shape of the attractor is similar to the overriders of the fender, hence the name a Ford fender.

The flashing of these resemble fish feeding, so trout seeing a nice juicy morsel apparently missed by the supposed fish can’t resist and hence are caught by the angler.

Other fish are also drawn to a fender, including redfin, but the main victims are trout.

Towed behind a boat, a fender works its magic and attracts trout.

We all know worms, but many have no idea what mudeye are.

They are the larvae of dragonflies.

If you can find a bait shop that sells them, well and good, but they can be netted in shallow ponds with grasses growing in them.

Muydeye look like a sort of beetle, and trout take to them like a child takes to lollies.

The best speed to troll an attractor is a little above walking pace, so that the blades of the fender do not spin, but move from side to side, thus imitating a moving fish.

Then about eight or nine centimetres back you have either a lure or a bait.

The tip of your rod should flick with the movement of the blades.

When the fish takes the bait, the rod will give a pronounced bend. There is no need to strike, just play the fish, as it will already be hooked.

We are getting closer to the end of the cod season, which will be the end of next month, but the trout season, which is closed in most rivers and streams, will reopen, so there will be a bit of action to follow in the next few weeks. This will only affect freshwater fishing.

Down south at Queenscliff, saltwater angling continues and Rod Lawn from Adamas Fishing Charters said he was still catching plenty of pinky snapper off the inshore reefs.

Rod said most snapper were pinky size and were on the reefs off the bluff at Barwon Heads, as well as Point Lonsdale and Ocean Grove.

Rod said these were resident fish, as the bigger snapper were still about four weeks from returning for the breeding season.

Rod said the flathead were still being caught on the sandy bottom between the reefs.

He said the whiting were still to come on the bite, but squid were filling the gap.

They could be caught on the grassbeds between the ferry terminal and the heads.

Squid were once only thought of as bait, but since the influx of Europeans following World War II, calamari have become sought after as a table fish, or to be exact, a cephalopod, and if cooked properly are delicious.

At Queenscliff there are two species of squid: arrowhead and southern calamari.

Both are not only great for bait but also for the table. Both are caught using the same method — a baited jig or shrimp-like lure.

Rod said a close relative of the squid is the cuttlefish, which can be caught in the same manner.

Cuttlefish are found all over southern Australia, but they gather in their hundreds of thousands in the sea off the South Australian city of Whyalla in a breeding frenzy.

Scientists have no idea why the cuttlefish gather in that spot, similar to the spider crab gathering in Port Phillip Bay. Why they gather there is just one more of nature’s mysteries.

North of the border at Eden, John Liddell said onshore reef fishing was good, with snapper and morwong being caught from Boyd’s Lookout to Green Cape.

South of the cape on the sandy bottom between the reefs, the crew from Freedom Charters reported good hauls of flathead and gummy shark.

There were also schools of kingfish, as well as couta, and mako shark to contend with.

Mark, the skipper of Freedom Charters, said there was not a lot of action off the shelf.

Further north, Graham Cowley said it was a similar story around Montague Island.

He also said snapper were getting bigger.

He said since the banning of fish traps, it had taken over 10 years but the result had been an increase in the size of the catch.

Well, that’s it for another week. Stay safe on the roads, in the water and from COVID-19 and the flu.

Until next week, tight lines.