Well, last week was not a complete loss, but I did not go fishing for reasons I will explain.
I was able to get some Christmas shopping done and for the first time I will not be faced with a last-minute rush to get all of it completed before time runs out.
The recent river rise put a damper (pun intended) on fishing for the opening weekend of the cod season and now the water level has dropped so it was wet and slippery along the banks of the Goulburn. I considered it too dangerous to attempt to get to my preferred fishing spots — hence the shopping.
The recent weather also explains why most of the news about fishing is coming from the lakes and dams not affected by the increased flows and also from further north into NSW, which did not receive the downpour that we did.
From Eildon comes news of yellowbelly, some cod and trout as well as redfin being caught — the latter around the tree lines and relatively deep in 6-7m of water, while cod were falling prey to large deep-diving lures around the wall and yellowbelly were taking Jackal lures along the rock ledges in the Delatite arm.
Wading the rivers and streams in the north-east should be put off for a while at least until the river flows recede and it becomes safer to enter the water.
Trout have been caught trolling a Ford Fender trailing a bunch of worms or mudeye in the early morning around first light at Dartmouth. The fish then go deeper as the day warms up, and down riggers or lead line will be needed to get the bait to where the fish are.
Former Goulburn Valley champion bike rider John Thorson reported a nice fish taken at Lake Mulwala during the week.
He was fishing with his mate Noel Maskell and trolling a mid-water red and black lure when the fish struck. It took two people to lift it into the boat and measured more than 100cm.
Last week turned out to be a good one for saltwater anglers according to Rod Lawn and Peter Smallwood from Adamas Fishing Charters at Queenscliff.
They said they managed to catch quite a few good sized snapper as well as a variety of other fish including whiting, salmon, squid and flathead.
I also heard of a couple of biggish shark being caught as well.
Rod said around Mornington some bigger fish were taken using a variety of bait. He said putting a spread of unweighted lines off the back of the boat was the preferred method because the tidal flow was less than around the heads where a sinker was needed to keep the bait in the strike zone.
Peter said you should not strike until the rod was really bouncing, and you should wind like crazy until you could feel the weight of the fish before hooking it.
Off the coast around the submarine dive sites, gummy shark were being caught using fresh fillets of salmon or trevally. The latter were biting around the mouth of the creek at Queenscliff just near the ferry terminal.
Fishing at Western Port was also reasonable with good hauls of snapper biting along the edges of the shipping lanes off Hastings. Whiting was being caught along the shallow grass beds near the submarine and also off Corinella and Phillip Island meanwhile gunny shark were also on the bite in the deep water.
At Eden, John Liddell said inshore fishing was still providing anglers with plenty of action from snapper, morwong and other reef fish on the chew. He said some jumbo sized nannygai were also being caught in the deep water off Green Cape.
John said the game boats were starting to see marlin off the shelf although reports of hook-ups were few, but some kingfish and late season tuna had been caught.
A little further up the coast at Narooma, Graham Cowley said his son Nicholas, who is the skipper of a charter boat, reported plenty of table fish along the inshore reefs as well as good hauls of flathead from the sandy bottom.
He said trolling lures around the northern end of Montague Island was resulting in hook-ups with some good sized kingfish as well.
Graham said when it was too rough to go offshore anglers could still spend some quality time fishing for bream and flathead inside the lake. Soft plastics were working well when fished around the oyster leases and other structure.
The action at Flinders Island was also improving and James Luddington said he was boating good bags of flathead as well as gummy shark. He said the variety of other fish was also providing plenty of action. He said snapper were biting along the reefs near Lady Baron.
James said he would expect trumpeter and albacore tuna to come on the bite some time in the new year, but it would be a good hour’s boat ride to get to the shelf to fish for them.