Opinion

Wet a line because fishing’s back

By Shepparton News

To quote the words of Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the moon, ‘'that’s one small step” and as of midnight Tuesday, we too can take a similar one.

Because now we can can resume our recreational pursuits of fishing and golf - although I feel that chasing the ball around the place just ruins a good walk (just joking).

There is, however, several restrictions in place that will affect where you can actually go.

Firstly, you are not permitted to spend the night away from home and you are still not allowed to camp.

That means that driving, say, from Shepparton to Portland is not really an option if you have to return the same day.

Even the three-hour drive to Dartmouth, then fish for eight hours and then drive back is pushing the boundary a bit too much.

On the other hand, a trip to Eildon or Mulwala is definitely on the radar as they are closer and make the travel time more manageable and safe.

So if we get through the next four weeks and we all do the right thing, then who knows what other liberties would be passed on, and camping could be back on the menu.

As I said at the beginning, it is a small step, and we are still restricted to social distancing.

That is not such a big deal although it does affect people who fish from a boat, keep your distance and keep washing your hands and all should be well.

This now brings me to what has been happening around our neck of the woods since restrictions have been lifted.

The Goulburn is running a little high and is muddy from the recent rains so bait fishing is the go.

I have heard that most of the fish caught have not been large but there have been some keepers among the haul.

Find and fish the back waters where the current is not as strong and either cheese, chicken, yabbies or worms are doing the trick.

The cold snap has driven the shrimp into hibernation so you can scratch them off your list.

At Eildon, anglers using large deep-diving lures have been reporting catching cod in front of the wall and on dusk using surface lures in the river arms and around the boat ramps.

Think about it - the last thing anglers do before they take their boat out is to get rid of unwanted bait and this acts as a berley and will attract fish to the ramp, so it's worth a try.

Reports of redfin are starting to dwindle as the temperature begins to drop although trout can now be targeted as they start to move to the surface, feeding up as they prepare for the breeding season.

Hopefully more news will reach me as we anglers get back into the swing of things following the lockdown.

If you plan to brave the weather this weekend, then drop me a line and let me know how you get on.

Down south at Queenscliff, Rod Lawn and Peter Smallwood from Adamas Fishing Charters said they had been waiting for the go-ahead for anglers to get back on the water and already reports of snapper are coming in.

Although their charter operations are still a no go due to social distancing, he said he would take an angler out but the cost for just one person would be prohibitive.

At Eden, John Liddell said it was still a no go for charter boats but local anglers were still reporting bags of kingfish and other table fish being caught along the inshore reefs as far south as Green Cape on the Victorian border.

He said some big flathead were also being caught when drifting over the sandy bottom although the jumbo-size fish were in the really deep water.

Further north at Narooma, Graham Cowley said anglers were going out when the weather permitted but the charter boats were still tied up.

He said he was hearing the metre-plus kingfish were being caught to the north of Montague Island and plenty of quality flathead were biting along the sandy bottom.

He said snapper and other reef fish were biting along the inshore reefs although action off the shelf was not happening yet.

At Flinders Island, James Luddington said he had called it quits for the season due to the lockdown.

But he was looking forward to doing some fishing on his own.

He expected to still bag a few flathead and gummy shark around the Lady Baron area as well as off Chapel Island.

So let us all enjoy our freedom to go fishing once again and golf (if that is your thing), stick to social distance of one and a half metres and keep washing your hands.

Stay safe and we will all get through this together.