I must admit when fishing I have never seen a yowie, or a bunyip or any other mythical beast, but this week I did see close up an Ornithorhynchus anatinus, not a scary monster of the deep, but you and I know it as a platypus.
In broad daylight, I was amazed as this usually shy, nocturnal animal swam across the Goulburn River and then nose its way down stream along the bank to within 2m from where I was watching, intrigued by this aquatic creature that was oblivious of me standing just above it, as it fed.
This is one of the strangest animals in the world and astounded botanists when first revealed by Sir Joseph Banks, who acted as a scientist on Captain Cook’s voyage, so strange in appearance it was thought to be bits and pieces of several creatures sewn together.
Its sighting is also a strong indication that the Goulburn River is in a healthy condition, as the platypus is susceptible to pollution of its habitat.
To prove this point let me say fishing in the Goulburn has improved since the water level and turbidity have returned to normal following recent releases from Eildon.
On Monday, I caught two silver perch while fishing with worms, and then on Tuesday, the day of my rare sighting of the platypus, I changed to yabbies as bait and hooked a sizeable cod while fishing for yellowbelly.
Both the cod and silver perch were released back into the water, but I also managed a large number of bites which kept me busy and interested in the fishing.
Around our region, there have been reports of an improvement in the fishing with yellowbelly being caught in both rivers and channel as well as in Waranga Basin and also at Lake Eildon. Deep-diving hard body lures are being used to catch cod along the wall at Eildon but reports of trout are slowing down.
The rivers and streams in the north-east are fishing well and anglers, using small bladed lures as well as bait casting, are catching both rainbow and brown trout while wading them or fishing from the bank.
Lake Dartmouth is still the spot to head to if you are chasing trout.
Trolling an attractor with a bunch of worms or hard body lure is the best method but as the days are getting warmer, the fish are mainly caught in the early morning, in front of the wall, and among the tree line in Larson’s Cutting and the bay at the boat ramp are also worth a try.
Down south at Queenscliff, Rod Lawn and Peter Smallwood, from Adamas Fishing Charters, were starting to see more pinky size snapper being caught, mainly along the reefs off Barwon Heads.
Rod said gummy shark were also biting around the submarine dive sight off Point Lonsdale as well as calamari squid near the cottage and also off Portsea.
Peter said whiting were now coming on the bite near the mouth of Swan Bay and the White Lady marker of StLeonards and some larger flathead were boated around the shipping lane.
Fishing around Western Port Bay is also on the improve with whiting close to the grass beds at Hastings and some snapper being caught along the rubble beds and shipping lanes towards the steel mill.
At Eden, John Liddell reported some good hauls of snapper and morwong as well as gurnard and other reef fish on the inshore reefs and the hour-long boat trip to Green Cape resulted in anglers bagging some jumbo-sized flathead.
John said it was between the marlin run and the end of the tuna season off the shelf and anglers were biding their time at this stage.
At Narooma, Graham Cowley said his son Nicholas was using knife jigs to catch some good hauls of kingfish near Montague Island.
He said bags of flathead were being caught fishing the sandy bottom and snapper and other reef fish were biting along the inshore reefs.
Graham said when it was too rough to go off-shore, flathead and bream could be caught around the oyster leases in the lake.
He said bait and soft plastics were the best methods to use for a good catch.