Hooks, line, sinker… action

Part 2: Newbie fisher Belinda Cay’s survival guide for taking the family to the Murray for a day of fishing.

In Part 1 I was thinking through this assignment and getting geared up. In part 2 the reality starts to set in.

With a car full of fishing gear, excited kids and a dog, we were ready for our fishing adventure. 

But where to go? Thank goodness for Google. We simply chose the closest Riverland town to our home... Blanchetown.     

After an easy trip up the highway, we were greeted with a glorious day and, after a few laps of the town, we found the perfect, grassy bank for fishing.

Excitement was high for the set-up. The kids has spent most of Friday night practising casting off our back verandah… my three-year-old son caught a thong.

For beginners, a simple rig set-up using a three-way swivel does the trick (see image). Now for the bait. 

Depending on your target River Murray fish, bait selection will vary. Bait choices can include molluscs, worms, gents, shrimps, mice, birds and even rabbit meat. The general rule is to use bait which is sourced from near your fishing spot and be prepared to try a few different things. 

As beginners, we decided that we were going to go for carp (Cyprinus carpio). As an introduced, noxious fish (code word for introduced pest), the population is large and they can be caught in most stretches of the river.

This may not sound like an appealing choice, but for us it was about experience, increasing the chance of catching something, and education.    

For carp, there are four main bait choices – worms, invertebrates, corn and bread.

To attract the fish we threw handfuls of corn into the water, only a few metres out. Then we threaded corn onto the shank hooks and cast out 10-15 metres. No need to cast off into the depths of the Murray, carp often prefer the shallower, warmer water where food is plentiful. 

Wait… 

Still waiting.

Check hook for bait. It’s still there. Recast. 

Wait…

Finally, the line tightens and pulls. The kids wheel in as fast as they can go. After a few minutes, the fish – a carp – is secured in a damp towel. Not the prettiest of fish, but still amazing… and we caught it ourselves. 

As a ‘noxious’ fish, it cannot be returned to the water. It must be killed humanely and disposed. They make good fertiliser so burying it in your garden is a good option, or wrap it tightly in paper and dispose of it in an approved council bin.

After three hours of fishing, our little fishers caught two carp. It was an educational, enjoyable and enlightening experience.

For more tips and tricks, and even recipes on cooking carp, check out the rest of this series in the coming weeks.

For the more experienced fisher, there is an extensive Murray Fishing guide available online.

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