Redfin the red-hot catch

February 09, 2018

Matt Dyson, from Mooroopna, with a 115cm fish that was caught on a yabby in the Murray near Echuca.

The fishing action in our region has again been good with the word of the month being ‘‘redfin’’. They have come on the bite with a vengeance, taking bait and lures with equal gusto and all regular spots have fired up, including Waranga Basin, Greens Lake, Eildon and Lake Eppalock — and here is one out of left field: several nice redfin were taken in Lake Victoria right here in the heart of Shepparton.

But like all fishing, today’s action is tomorrow’s quiet day. A friend found this out when last week he was showing off a bag full off fish. But earlier this week he journeyed back for a return bout and ended up with just three fish for his troubles, but that is why they call it fishing and not catching.

No limits

Redfin are an introduced species and also go by the name of English or European perch. There is no bag or size limit and anglers are urged not to return fish back into the water as they can replace native fish with their superior breeding rate. They are an ambush predator and tend to school in large numbers, all about the same size. They are also cannibalistic and will eat small-sized brothers and sisters.

They will take all the regular baits including shrimp, worms, yabbies, soft plastics bladed lures and hard-body lures. The colour red on the lure tends to be a trigger to get them to bite, but unlike carp — another introduced fish — redfin are one of the best eating freshwater fish.

Good cod

Other reports from around our neck of the woods indicate that an environmental flow is going down the Goulburn at the moment and while there is a rise, this brings the fish on the bite. When the fall comes, it will make for some muddy banks. This could be a hazard for land-based anglers.

Cod and yellowbelly are still being caught in the Goulburn and Murray rivers. Spinner baits and other lures are working including surface lures best fished around dusk. Wear some industrial-strength repellent as the mozzies come out in force when the sun goes down.

Trout are also being caught in the rivers and streams in the north-east but at Dartmouth and Eildon, they have moved into deeper water and down riggers need to be used to take your bait to them.

The best method is still a Ford Fender trailing a bunch of worms, but black crickets are also a good bait and they are starting to hatch at the moment.

Saltwater fishing is still all systems go, according to Peter Smallwood and Rod Lawn, from Adamas Fishing Charters at Queenscliff. They say some big flathead are being caught off the back of Point Nepean. Although snapper have slowed down, some pinky size are still being caught around the mouth of the Barwon River.

Rod said plenty of back-slapping whiting were being caught close in at Portland and tuna were still to be found off Point Lonsdale, although getting them to bite took a bit of work.

Western Port is also patchy with flathead and whiting taking a bit of work to catch, although some nice gummy shark were caught off San Remo in the deeper water using fresh fillets of salmon or trevally.

Up north

North of the border at Eden, John Liddell said a new owner had taken over Freedom Charters. He is catching good bags of reef fish, including snapper and morwong, and jumbo-sized flathead were biting in around 30m of water along the sandy bottom near Green Cape.

John said schools of kingfish were also providing anglers with some back-breaking action as they were one of the toughest fish pound for pound to land.

He said live bait using slimy mackerel or knife jigs worked well when a school was found.

Narooma is firing, according to Graham Cowley.

He said his son Nicholas was taking out plenty of charters and getting some great hauls of fish.

Off the shelf, they were still catching and tagging an occasional marlin but the season was drawing to a close.

Graham said the lake also provided another option for anglers when the sea was too rough to go offshore.

He said some jumbo salmon had been caught around the breakwater and flathead and bream were taking bait and lures near the oyster leases.

Down south

At Flinders Island, James Luddington said it was all go for gummy shark and flathead, and he had found some snapper near one of the islands at Lady Baron.

He said the good thing about fishing in his region was that he could always find an area to fish despite the rough conditions.

A group of locals is planning a trip to the island at the end of this month and James said things were looking good for a successful trip.

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