Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, the COVID-19 virus has reared its ugly head and is once again threatening a second wave of lock-downs.
I, like most others, thought we had dodged the worst of the pandemic, but the increase in the number of people contracting the illness has revealed just how virulent this virus is and how important it is for us to continue all the preventive measures such as social distancing, and hand washing and sanitising.
While we would all like to go back to the times pre-pandemic, we must all face the fact that we are not out of the woods yet and we must be prepared to suffer a little more pain before it is all over — and if that means that we delay that longed-for fishing trip, then so be it.
Just think how much more enjoyable it will be when we do get to go.
As it stands, the restrictions do not prevent you from wetting a line, but keep in mind the need to practise social distancing.
Reports from those who have been out and about have been patchy this week.
The Goulburn is still running high and dirty, and the banks are slippery and dangerous, so take care.
With the water as it is, bait fishing is getting the best results, chicken, cheese, worms and — if you can still find some — yabbies are all worth a try and should be fished around snags and fallen timber. Hot-spots are between the Broken River and Murchison although some fish are biting downstream from Shepparton.
The Murray River and especially Lake Mulwala are also fishing well; but the Murray, unlike the Goulburn, is low and harder to navigate.
Eildon is still fishing well and large deep-diving lures are getting results in the river arms as well as in front of the wall. Cod are active on dusk, and surface poppers are being used with some success. Yellowbelly are just starting to become more active, but, like my old rod-making buddy Bob Darley used to say, the best time to fish for yellowbelly is when the wattle begin to bloom.
As winter settles in, the trout are becoming more active and trolling a Fender baited with a bunch of worms or a mudeye is worth trying at Eildon as well as Dartmouth Dam. Fishing the pondage at Dartmouth as well as the Mitta and Snowy rivers is also worth trying at this time of year. Best baits are worms and mudeye, but one old-timer told me oysters were also worth a try.
Depending how fresh they are, I think I would rather eat them than use them as bait.
Reports of redfin being caught at Waranga Basin are still coming in; the best method is to use a deep-diving hard-body lure, preferably red, and make sure to bounce it along the bottom. There are also reports of an occasional trout being caught around the inlet channel.
At Queenscliff, Rod Lawn from Adamas Fishing Charters said he and Peter Smallwood were still getting snapper off Barwon Heads as well as inside the bay; he said they were also bagging flathead and calamari squid, and schools of bluefin tuna were also in the region around the 50-fathom mark towards Anglesea.
Western Port was also providing anglers with snapper although the run of larger fish is still some months away. There were also gummy shark and flathead being boated, the former in the deep water off Cowes and the flathead on the sandy bottom.
While we can still travel to NSW, John Liddell at Eden said snapper, morwong and other reef fish were biting along the inshore reefs, and the crew from Freedom Charters reported getting among a school of kingfish this week.
Further north at Narooma, Graham Cowley reported that the fishing was about the same with plenty of action along the inshore reefs as well as towards Montague Island. He said there were also plenty of good-sized flathead being caught along the sandy bottom between the reefs.
With the Victorian school term ending on Friday, there will be people going on holidays and that means extra traffic — so take care on the roads, keep practising social distancing, wash your hands, and stay safe.