A Very Sad Time on the Water

29 05 2012

This is almost as much of a report on fishing as it is a report on the effects of overfishing, unlawful fishing and the damage humans can do if they do not show respect for the environment, the fish and the law.

I had been talking with another very keen young angler and a relative of mine, Ethan, who was extremely excited to get onto his first surface cod. Together we had spent over a month planning a trip to my favourite stretch of water. This stretch can be found in reports such as Hittin’ the river with best mate and brother – Day 1 and Hittin’ the river with best mate and brother – Day 2 as well as many of my early reports which can be found on Tacklebox. This stretch has provided plenty of trips where we’ve caught 30+ fish and our average number of fish a trip is mid 20’s with the worst trip in terrible conditions still seeing 8 cod landed.

Upon arrival we find that there has been 2 groups of people fishing the one stretch for over 2 weeks. This we did not see as a problem, as the way I see it the more people enjoying this great sport the better.

However to begin our disgust whilst setting up camp the first thing we notice is reflections in the trees coming from empty cans and then on closer inspection we notice that there is other rubbish also laying around on the ground.

Getting out on the water just as dark set in we started by working the surface, however to no avail. After on towards an hour without any fish we decided to make our way to the most productive hole I know of in the local area where we had often get 3 fish in 4 casts (never managed the hat-trick) in the past. But even this honey hole proved a dud after a solid fishing with only 2 follows into shallow water and one surface strike.

By this point we had put it down to bad luck and decided to head for our swags and try again in the morning.

Rising before the sun Ethan was proving exactly how excited he was to get into some surface action. Now deciding to begin our morning in the ‘honey hole’ we ended at last night.

Getting to the hole the fish were a little more playful with Ethan soon getting his first cod surface strike. Not long after this while fishing over a drop off I know  very well for producing a lot of fish I get a hit from a small fish. Instructing Ethan to cast in the same place and how to mimic the retrieve I was doing he soon had his lure smashed from the surface and onto his first surface Murray Cod.

After a few difficulties getting down a ledge and un-snagging the fish it was in his hands and ready for a photo before a quick release.

Moving to the bottom of this once pristine hole our eyes turn straight to a track that has been recently made through the trees and grass to this hole making it much easier access for everyone, draining from its once secrecy. However this isn’t where the issues really rose (and blood boiled) taking a better look at the hole now as the sun was producing enough light we notice set lines lining the bank.

Concealing my anger and disgust I decide to move on further to take Ethan to an area very small in size and holding many small fish which would hopefully have been overlooked. Upon reaching the destination I pay close attention to the area and there is no obvious signs of anyone being there recently.

Having my first few casts with a surface lure my heart skips a beat as a good small water fish of around 70cm rolls on my lure and is foul-hooked somewhere along its side. The fish doesn’t stay on long and pulls the hooks from itself while heading back to his snag. From here we continue to fish this little bit of water that seemed a bit more promising.

Eventually I decided to mix things up and tie on a Severn Chances in attempt to find another fish of a similar size to the one I had just dropped. Fishing along a snag I begin to get hit on my large lure cast after cast by small fish. I tell Ethan that one is tiny and another is hitting like it’s around 40cm. Before long I hook up to what was probably the smallest cod Ethan had ever seen.

Straight after this I cast back out and the next cast I manage another cod somewhere around 40cm.

With now watching me pull in two fish in two casts using the Severn Chances Ethan decides to give one a go and straight away is on to an even smaller fish getting extremely aggressive over such a large lure.

From here we had to make our way back to where we had camped as other commitments meant we had to depart early.

Once we had returned we were in for even more bad news. My brother Greg, who stayed in his swag rather then getting up for an early fish, had kicked out the tinny and had a look around the first water we fished the day before. To his disgust he came across several setlines and droppers. All of which he cut and left ‘friendly’ notes on.

Now I understand that part of the lack of fish activity may have been due to poor weather conditions at the time but seeing what used to be such a haven flogged out and treated so poorly really does disgust me.

Now for anyone not clear on the rules and regulations surrounding set-lines and freshwater fishing here’s a link to a PDF file containing the 2012 Freshwater Recreational Fishing Guide, however I’m sure my audience on here is well and truly informed of the laws, abide by them and treat our fish and fisheries with respect.

NSW Recreational Fishing Guide – Freshwater

However, even with coming across some very sad sights, the trip itself was not a failure as the whole reason we had headed out was to get Ethan his first surface cod and that is exactly what he had done. Congrats Ethan!




One response

29 05 2012

mate, that sucks. Nothing worse than finding a once pristine area ruined for everyone.

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