By Kevin Tyler
The annual mid-year winter exodus from this great southern state is about to begin — I mean the school holidays.
This two-week break for students presents an ideal chance for families to escape the clutches of the icy winter weather and head to warmer climates — north of the border and beyond.
Even though it is only a relatively short period of time in the scheme of things, this mid-year break provides anglers with an ideal excuse to pack their fishing gear and head to places north — despite the fact the fish here don’t know that it is cold. They continue doing whatever fish do at this time of year — feeding, sleeping, breeding, then eating again.
For what it’s worth, the fishing at this time of year is generally better than later when it is warmer and more comfortable for us anglers. For example, the tuna are running along the coast, according to Rod Lawn from Adamas Fishing Charters.
His contacts said despite a slow start, the tuna were around in numbers, providing plenty of action.
Around the traps
Freshwater devotees could chase after a cod in the rivers and lakes around this icy region and, places where it is even chillier, trout are shaking off their warm weather torpor and are becoming active in the rivers and streams as well as the lakes in the high country.
Reports of cod being caught in the Goulburn are still reaching me, mainly around the Murchison area and scrub or garden worms as well as cheese seem to be the best baits. Some fish are also taking spinner baits and other lures, including surface poppers.
My window cleaner buddy said he and some of his fishing friends had an unfruitful weekend recently at Mulwala, a couple of days with very little result.
Freshwater crayfish are also patchy. In the Goulburn, they are to be found around the Goulburn Weir, but downstream around Shepparton and Mooroopna, it has been slim pickings.
No reports from Waranga Basin, but in the Murray downstream from Yarrawonga to Cobram the cray fishing has been good.
Trout, some cod and redfin are still being caught at Eildon, mainly in the river arms, but a big deep diving lure fished near the wall is worth a try for cod, while flat lining a fender around the same area is also good.
Lake Dartmouth has been patchy in the past week, with some anglers bagging out while others spend all day for just one or two fish.
The better areas are around the tree line from the boat ramp to the wall and also Larson Cutting. There is also an old creek bed, which runs into the lake opposite the ramp, which always provides anglers with a fish or two.
At Queenscliff, Rod Lawn said snapper, flathead and calamari were providing most of the action around the heads and off Ocean Grove and the bluff at Barwon Heads.
He said there had been sightings of tuna around the rip, but they were shy about taking a bait or lure.
Rod said he had a few vacant weekends at the moment if any angler was keen to try out saltwater fishing at this time of year. I might just take him up on that.
Western Port is likewise fishing well and off Hastings the snapper, while not in numbers, could still be caught, mainly along the edge of the shipping channel, while leather jacket, flathead and gummy shark were also being caught but the whiting had gone off the bite.
At Eden, John Liddell said little to nothing off the shelf, but plenty of action along the inshore reefs.
John said the boys from Freedom Charters were bagging snapper and morwong with some good-sized fish among the catch.
He said kingfish were also around but were a little harder to locate.
The better areas for size and variety appeared to be around Green Cape, where some metre-long flathead had been caught fishing in about 20m of water.
A trip further north to Narooma was always worth the effort, according to Graham Cowley.
He said action was slow off the shelf as it was at Eden, but inshore, along the reefs and sandy bottom, was providing anglers with plenty of take-home table fish, including snapper, morwong and flathead.
Graham said when it was too rough off the coast, anglers could always spend time wetting a line in the lake. Bream and flathead could always be counted on to provide some action, especially around the oyster leases and piers.