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Yellow Belly Tactics

The almighty Golden Perch is a prized catch amongst the punters. A few little tips to crack a few yellas:

  • Fish right in against the tree trunks through the day. The trunks warm up and they hang against them to get warm. Careful of the branches with your boat floating about. 
  • Drop a live yabbie, shrimp or a worm down there and see what you can find.
  • If you don't get anything in 5-10 mins, move to the next tree.
  • Try a few different depths.
  • I always have better luck on deeper diving yellow, orange or green-ish lures. Stump Jumpers, Mudeyes, etc in a firetiger pattern can do well. 

Good luck!

Carp Catching

If there's one thing that puts a dampener on the local native Australian freshwater fish population, it's the menace that is carp. 

Carp are classified as a noxious species in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. They suffocate the river systems by muddying waters, causing bank erosion and generally giving the natives less of a chance to get by. 

While government is doing their bit to manage carp - you can also have a bit of fun catching them yourself. Just make sure you dont release them!

How to catch carp

  • Use corn kernals on a hook for bait. Place 3 or 4 on a hook, depending on the size of the hook. Carp will also take your conventional earthworm, as well as bread squashed onto the hook to form a dough ball. Your best bet is to try corn on one rod, bread on the other to see what the flavour of the month is. 
  • Don't use shiny hooks if you can help it. Go for black hooks as the best option. Smaller hooks in a baitholder style will also work better. 
  • Have a look into hair rigs and coarse fishing. The idea being carp will suck up the corn bait leaving the hook free to catch on much more easily. 
  • Use light line - 6lb or less for the best results. And don't have too much drag on - if they feel resistance, they'll drop the hook.
  • You don't have to cast a long distance - they will keep close to banks. Look for an opening in the reeds and weed beds, drop in the line and start working some burley. 
  • For burley, theres a few options:
    • Buy a tin of creamed corn, poke a few holes in it, tie a rope on it and throw it in a hole for burley. Don't forget to take the tin home with you.
    • Use a loaf of stale bread
    • Alternatively, throw a few kernals of your bait in the same place where you cast the bait.
  • Handlines are fine for catching carp - if you're using a rod, it's handy to have a bite indicator such as bells attached to the rod tip to let you know of imminent action. If there's a few taps, set the hook by sharply rising the rod.

If you manage to catch some and have time on your side, chop them up for use in yabbie nets for bait on the more prized species. 

I've seen places where the river is completely overrun with carp, it was pretty sad to see. But you may as well have fun getting rid of them where you can!

Updates to recreational fishing rules

As of the 3rd of November 2014 - there are a few key updates to NSW recreational fishing rules. 

  • Saltwater
    • Dusky flathead bag limit down to 10 (previously 20)
  • Fresh
    • Release all Murray Cod over 80cm and under 60cm
    • Bass closed season now extended 1 month, from May - August (Previously June - August) 
    • A bow fishing trial on carp is being held in 2015 (Strictly monitored by NSW DPI. Currently no bow fishing is permitted inland)

There's more detail about the changes at the NSW Department of Primary Industries - Fishing site. 

 

Wallamba River

Just north of Forster-Tuncurry, running off the Great Lakes / Wallis lake system is the Wallamba River. We pulled up the tinny to the Holiday Park 5 minutes north of Tuncurry and were pleasantly suprised by the cabins and general facilities. The park has 2 good boat ramps, one reserved for people with accomodation only, and a public ramp 100m over. A boat wash area is nicely provsioned, and there's good areas for shore based fishing. 

As far as fishing goes - top spot for the time we came. I couldn't help but notice the Holiday Park is a waterskiers village, so I'm not sure how it'd go once the warmer months came around. We showed up in the off season and got a cheap waterfront cabin for $100 a night and almost had the entire place to ourselves. The serenity was impressive. After only catching small fry of bream and flathead, and having a chat to some of the park caretakers, I was unimpressed to find that the river is still frequented by pro fishermen. Why it does not have exclusion zones like Lake Macquarie I do not know, as this system would be absolutely awesome if taken care of properly. 

In all, it was an enjoyable spot and I'd say we'll definitely be back for another visit. 

Beer Battered Fillets

A great recipe to take advantage of that catch of flatty earlier on. 

Ingredients:

  • One cup of plain flour
  • One teaspoon of salt
  • One teaspoon of baking powder
  • Half a teaspoon of dill (dried)
  • 3/4 cup of beer
  • 1/2 cup of Milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 kilo of flathead fillets
  • 2 litres of vegetable oil (sunflower oil is a great lighter option)

Directions:

  1. Mix together salt, flour, baking powder, and dill in a bowl. Add milk, beer, and eggs; mix well.
  2. Place fish fillets in batter mixture, coat well, and let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Place oil in deep fryer and heat to 190 degrees celcius. Place fish in hot oil, and fry until golden brown. Cook fish in batches to maintain oil temperature.
  4. Place cooked fish on a paper lined plate to absorb excess oil.
  5. Serve.

Waterway Conservation

Conservation is a huge topic. There are so many aspects, but so many obvious measures too. What can you do to help the conservation of our waterways? Here's some things to consider:

  • Keep your boat clean of debri.
  • Don't wash your boat with soap.
  • Whatever you take out with you, be sure to take back.
  • Respect no wash zones - bank erosion is a big problem.
  • Obey any marine park sanctuary zones. 
  • Caught a mature female with lots of roe? Catch and release is a great option. This goes for fish and live bait (e.g. yabbies / crawtchies with orange roe under their tails)
  • Only take what you need. Bag limits are there for a reason, but often more than enough.
  • Consider a lower emissions motor, or better yet - a kayak.
  • Watch your depth - propellor damage to sea grass beds can destroy vital habitat.

Fishing Glossary

 Common fishing terms.

Beakie Billfish, aka marlin, etc.
Bommie / Bommy Slang for Bombora - A sharp rise in the sea floor that current runs over and breaks waves on the surface. These structures will usually hold fish, however can be hazardous for boats drifting near, especially with strong currents.
Burley An attractant for fish. Can contain a wide variety of things - bread, potato peel, old meat, chicken frames, etc. Cat food works well. You can also buy pre-made burley 'logs' or pellets at many tackle shops. Generally mashed up and placed in a burley pot.
Dollies Dolphin fish. Also known as Mahi-mahi or Dorado.
Downrigging A method of getting bait and lures further down the water column, as fish will not always be near the surface when trolling, or flat on the bottom.
FAD Fish Aggregating Device. This is a structure - e.g. a bouy or similar which is used to attract fish and offer protection for smaller fish. They may be fixed or drift. Presence of smaller fish in turn attract the larger pelagic species looking for a feed, including tuna, dolphinfish and marlin. FADs are a known practice of commercial operations and are gaining opposition from groups such as Greenpeace - however NSW department of fisheries has seen their value in enhancing recreational fishing and has installed a number offshore in fixed positions.  
Gutter When beach fishing - a deeper hole followed by a shallower sand bar further out. An ideal place for targeting whiting with live beach worms.
Livies Live bait. Poddy mullet, yellowtail, slimy mackerel (slimies). A session of catching these usually precedes going for the bigger stuff. Live bait tank required.
Lizard When talking fish - lizard is a slang term for flathead, which can be seen as reptilian in appearance when compared to other fish.
Yakka Yellowtail. Live bait.

 

Boating alone

Some tips when boating alone: 

  • Dont take risks.
  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Tell someone where you're headed, and how long you think you'll be. 
  • Keep a keen eye on the weather. If the wind starts to blow up, head home. Check and confirm ideal conditions on appropriate weather sites.
  • When launching - choose a spot where the boat can be easily secured while you park the car and trailer. 
  • A cleat horn fixed to the winch post can help tie the boat to the trailer while you sort out the cable.  Consider installing a boat catch / latch to the boat and trailer if drive on method of retrieve is preferred. 

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