Report: Frost triggers hot native bite

AS we nudge ever closer to the official start of winter we on the western side of the ranges have already seen the first frosts of the season. These first frosts generally trigger the beginning of a hot native bite as the frost’s herald the onset of a shortage of tucker over the following few months. It would be similar to us reading a headline in the daily paper “Food deliveries to supermarkets will be suspended for the next few months”….

This news sends us into panic buying so we can store food to get us through until deliveries begin. Fish can’t store food supplies but they can build up fat reserves and slow down their metabolisms so they can live off their fat reserves until the warmer weather arrives and brings out the freshwater shrimps and yabbies that are the major food source of many of our natives as well as some of our introduced species.

This “frost bite” has started over the past few weeks and will continue for a few weeks until the shrimp and yabbies disappear into the mud to hibernate through the winter period.
This bite will be delayed the further one travels west.

Recently I was lucky enough to share a canoe with Rapala VMC Australia’s managing director Aku Valta, and was very happy to see Aku catch his first and then second Murray cod. While Aku may have missed the hot bite he was just on the edge of it.

The last few fishing trips have all produced some nice cod to 86cm or around 13.5kg.
As well as Murray cod, golden perch, silver perch and freshwater catfish have featured in our catches along with trout and redfin.

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One afternoon last week saw me get an hour or two at “The Cod Hole “. I have been having great success on a large 3/4 oz single blade spinner bait made by Edgecrusher Lures. The first few casts saw golden perch follow the SB to my feet but were possibly put off by the large size but as I was looking for the “King of the hole” I wasn’t unduly perturbed.

It was only after I had exhausted all avenues of raising a cod that I switched to a Jackall Doozer to target a golden perch; several casts in and the Doozer was smashed down deep and what felt like a reasonable “yella” soon proved correct.
While I played the fish close to me I could see deep down a fish rising from the depths and from the white markings around a green marbled back I knew a reasonable cod was having a look at the yella thrashing about on the end of my line. I estimated the yella was around 40cm and the cod was around 80cm and thought that the yella was too big for the cod to try and eat.

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The cod came up under the yella and at first I thought it was just going to swim with it … how wrong I was … it got itself into a position to take the poor yella head on and in a flash the cod had swallowed the fish down as far as the first dorsal spine. Now I don’t know whether the trailing treble on the Doozer had stuck into the cod or the dorsal spine on the golden was stuck in the cod’s mouth, or it was the cod’s sheer determination to hang on but what resulted was maybe 30 seconds of pure bliss as the cod thrashed wildly with a golden perch in its mouth also thrashing wildly!

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I fumbled in my pocket to get my camera and catch the action on video but alas it was all over too quick. The golden was worse for wear and refused to swim so ended up as that night’s dinner. It is this time of time of the year that for a few short weeks fishing can be unreal, hot clear days give way to clear starry nights and the all-important frosts.

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Don’t think that Winter is the end to native fishing. It can mean a lot of casts for a few fish but those mid-Winter fish can be XOS specimens that can more easily catch those lethargic goldens or large lures!

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