The Easter break is now with us and the roads are chock-a-block with holiday traffic.
If you are planning to go away for the four-day break, please drive with care and do not become part of the road toll statistics.
There are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident: give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and don’t speed; make sure you get plenty of rest before departing; take plenty of rest breaks; don’t drink and drive; and treat other road users as you would like to be treated.
There is also an increased risk of accidents on the water during Easter, so wear an approved flotation device; make sure all safety gear is on your boat and in working order; check the weather conditions if you plan to go boating on open water; tell a responsible person of your plans and when you intend to return; and don’t drink and go boating, or swimming.
My final tip is for campers: don’t set up your tent or van under a red gum tree.
While the shelter might look appealing, red gums have a nasty habit of dropping a limb at any time. It can be at night when you are asleep, but the rule of thumb is they drop in calm conditions after a storm when you least expect it — with tragic consequences.
The good news is that according to my Angler’s Almanac we are in for some good fishing during the entire Easter break — the best day being Sunday, but conditions for the rest of the break are in the better-than-average shading with the best time to fish around lunch-time.
In our region all the usual spots have been fishing well.
Both the Goulburn and Murray rivers have been worth fishing around the snags with plenty of quality fish being caught including yellowbelly and cod, although some big carp have been landed.
While not a preferred catch, carp can provide plenty of fun if you are using light gear.
Reports of cod being caught in the Broken River between Shepparton and Benalla by anglers using surface lures have been coming in as well as yellowbelly taking bait and lures fished around the snags.
Redfin have been on the bite at Eildon and also in the irrigation channels.
Small yabbies, worms and shrimp are dynamite baits for them as well as any lure, including soft plastics as long as they have some red on them.
At Eildon the tree lines around Jamieson and Bonnie Doon as well as the Delatite arm are the hot spots.
Tie up at a tree and drop your bait down to about 5m or 6m.
If there’s no bite within 10 minutes, move to another tree until the fish are located.
The cold snap has done wonders for trout fishing, and brown and rainbows are now being caught on the surface during the day.
Flat-lining a minnow-style lure or a fender trailing a bunch of worms or mudeye will get results at Dartmouth and Eildon.
The word for saltwater fishing is just as good. Rod Lawn from Adamas Fishing Charters at Queenscliff has been kicking goals, with a couple of 20+kg kingfish taken off Point Lonsdale last weekend.
They fell to a knife jig, but Rod said live baits were also working.
Rod and Peter Smallwood were catching pinky snapper off Barwon Heads and whiting inside the heads around the White Lady Marker and also across the bay at Point Nepean.
Peter said salmon were taking white Occy-style lures in The Rip during the run-out tide.
Gummy shark as well as pinky snapper were being caught off Hastings and whiting were biting along the inshore grass beds near the submarine and off the pier at Cowes.
Reports from Freedom Charters at Eden have been good and when the weather is suitable the boys have been catching kingfish and snapper along the inshore reefs around Boyd’s Lookout and Green Cape.
John Liddell reported game fishing action off the shelf with marlin and an occasional tuna being boated by anglers trolling skirted lures.
John said an unusual number of sunfish were being seen by anglers as they basked around the surface feeding on plankton.
If your Easter travels take you to Narooma, Graham Cowley said marlin were being caught and tagged off the shelf near Montague Island and plenty of table fish were being caught along the inshore reefs.
Graham said kingfish were also providing plenty of action.
Most fish were around the 80cm mark and were giving anglers a good workout as they are reported to be one of the toughest fish to land and never give up fighting.
James Luddington from Flinders Island said flathead and gummy shark were still being caught around the islands at Lady Baron and some trumpeter were also being caught off the shelf.
Trumpeter is a deep-water fish species and anglers need specialised gear to fish for them, but according to James they are a great table fish.
Have a great Easter break with plenty of fishing — all is in your favour with great weather being forecast — but once again, I urge all drivers to take it easy on the roads.