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Big rains wash the angling slate clean
  |  First Published: November 2016



The almost biblical rains that have fallen across the lower half of NSW and Victoria over the past month have changed the face of a well-trod fishery. All that we have come to know and rely on has been washed away in the turbulent flows of change. Creeks and rivers now run fast with muddy flow and will do so well into the open of the cod season if the rains continue.

Tricks of seasons past will be lost in these turbid flows and anglers will be forced to shift from what they know in order to put a bend in the line. The use of lure and fly will be lost in the rolling mud, as will surface and soft plastics. Bait will be the mainstay of most early season angling encounters and, with a little nous, will open new doors to some excellent angling opportunities.

Golden perch are easy game and bite well in the pockets of backwater on baits of shrimp and worms. Large rolling eddies with jutting timber snags will hold good numbers of well fed perch that are revelling in the heaven sent bounty of freshly washed edibles. As the water continues to warm, the bite will escalate as the breeding run peaks in the flow.

Huge numbers of carp will also sweep in on the bait, as will the odd eel-tailed catfish that are now starting to make a comeback at many locations.

Rigs are many, but a basic running sinker rig straight through to the hook is simple and effective. Hook size is dictated by the bait used and sinker weight should be just enough to hold bottom. Some anglers prefer a paternoster styled rig, which is all good and well under calmer conditions.

In dirty flow, the same rig sees the bait flail around in the current like a feather in the wind.

It’s very hard for a fish to zero in on the exact location of the bait, especially dirty flows where last moment visual locking is taken out of the equation.

The running sinker rig pins the bait in position and the fish can simply follow the scent trail up the flow and onto the bait.

It’s the small things in fishing that make the big difference.

I use this style of rig for all dirty water bait fishing scenarios, including giant Murray cod once the season reopens.

Along the Murray, good numbers of perch have been caught at most locations from Swan Hill through Robinvale, Wemen and beyond.

It’s a seasonal bonanza as the fish feed in the dirty flows that only come with a well-timed flood. If the past is any true indication, yabbies should start to move very soon.

With this event, the camp cooker will waft the delicious odour of fresh cooked yabbies in the breeze. I love these tasty crustaceans and welcome their number in the flows. Fishing will take a swing from the norm with the coming season, but the high water will bring a new flush of life and a ripper breeding season for our native fish.

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Most spring run golden perch are in excellent condition.

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The Murray River has broken the banks ensuring an excellent breeding season for native fish and the promise of a good feed of yabbies.

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A sizable shrimp bait for golden perch. Note the free running sinker all the way down to the hook.

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