Freshwater angling over the last few
years has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity, due in the
main to the stocking with native fish of impoundment's and rivers.
Most of our apparently barren dams, angling species wise, have now
been stocked with Golden and Silver Perch, Australian Bass, Murray
and East Coast Cod. Other fish like Spangled Perch and Eel Tail
Catfish are present naturally and are very prolific. The average
size of the fish you can expect to catch will be far in excess of
their saltwater cousins. Golden Perch of 1 kg are common and fish
of 3 kg can be expected, a lot bigger than the average size Bream.
Murray Cod can reach 20 kg plus, and Bass along with Silver Perch
are hitting the 1.5 kg mark.
All these fish take bait, and are very
receptive to lures, which make them terrific all round sportfish
no matter what angling style you use. For the average angler, taking
the family freshwater fishing, using bait is the best way to begin.
On most dams, a boat is almost essential as it allows you to move
around to fish the best spots. Native fish prefer some sort of cover,
be it drowned trees, logs, rocks, weed beds or steep banks. These
are the places you fish and most boats now have sounders to help
them pinpoint the areas where fish will be congregated. Schooling
in one place is a common habit of Golden and Silver Perch as well
known as Bass. The Cod are a more solitary fish, a big on taking
up residence in a prime feeding location, and keeping competitors
away. One important thing to remember, is the depth of the water.
No deeper than 10 metres, normally around the 6 metre mark. The
fish generally seem to prefer these depths.
The bait for freshwater fishing is
quite simple, earth worms, fresh water shrimp and crayfish are the
easiest to obtain. The worms you can dig yourself, the shrimp and
crays are caught with a simple dilly net with small mesh or with
any sort of funnel type bait trap, homemade or you can choose from
the many shops.
The most common way to fish with these
is by the "bobbing" method. You simply rig up using a
#2 to 2/0 french pattern hook with a 1 to 3 ball sinker on top of
it. A small swivel a few centimeters up the line to stop line twist
completes this simple rig. Line size can be any where from 3 to
6 kg, try not to fish too heavy. Anchor or tie up so the boat will
not swing around too much. You may prefer to be secured bow and
stern. Simply drop the bait straight down to the bottom, and then
start "bobbing'" it up and down in regular motion. Just
lift it a few centimeters off the bottom before dropping it again.
Keep a tight line at all times and contact with the bottom. The
direct wind of an Alvey reel is ideal for this method, you will
normally feel the bite as the bait is lifted. Stop and drop it slightly
before setting the hook. Sometimes with Silvers and Bass, lifting
the bait up and bobbing at different levels above the bottom, will
find them, especially in deeper water, Be prepared to shift regularly,
if nothing happens in 15 to 20 minutes, move. Often a relocation
of only a few metres will put you on fish.
Fishing from the bank with bait is
basically set and forget. Cast out just behind the weeds or near
cover, with the same basic rig and bait. Set the rod/s up in a rod
holder or the old forked stick method, and wind the slack out of
Simply sit back, relax and watch for
line or rod moving. You can use a float if the conditions are right,
but make sure you have the bait set close to the bottom.
Lure fishing can take the form of trolling
or casting. Trolling is by far the preferred method in dams as it
allows you to cover more territory and keep the lures down deep.
The most efficient type of lure is basically a deep diving model
that will wobble with a wide action at a slow speed. There are many
different brands available, and some of the best ones are Aussie
made. Bright contrasting colours in yellow, green or red with black
markings are recommended. Trolling is where a sounder is invaluable.
The secret is to keep your lure close to the bottom around the 4
to 5 metre level. A sounder lets you follow the bottom at there
depths, and shows you any structure that might be holding fish.
Troll as slowly as possible (2 to 3 knots) and if you get a strike
or fish, go back and keep trolling over and around that spot, as
most fish will tend to school on a feature like a boulder, stump
or log. Don't be afraid of snagging your lure. If you are not getting
hung up regularly, you are not keeping the lure in the strike zone.
The tackle for trolling should be a non reversing star drag reel,
500C5 or 55C5 matched with a fast taper rod, no longer than 2 metres,
6 to 8 kg line inadequate to handle the size of fish you would expect.
A vital piece of equipment for saving your lure is Tackleback lure
retriever (large model).
Freshwater fish can be caught all year
round, but in dams activity does slow in winter, summer tends to
be the best season. In rivers, the fishing carries on through the
colder months, especially west of the Great Divide. A rising barometric
pressure is considered to bring freshwater fish on the bite. The
great thing is that our freshwater fishery is improving, and with
sensible management with bag limits and ethical angling methods,
it will play a big part as a recreational resource.