Aussie Gold

Casey Mattson with a great golden taken on a Storm Arashi

Casey Mattson with a great golden taken on a Storm Arashi

Golden perch, or callop as they are more affectionately known in South Australia, are the lower Murray’s favourite fish. They take both lures and bait with gusto, and when the water is clear enough, can be polaroided cruising the edge of the river and are suckers for a well placed fly. In South Australia, golden perch are the only native fish you are allowed to retain for consumption.

The Where

The great thing about goldens is that you can find them in most areas along the river and this allows for endless options as to where to target them. In the lower stretch of the river Murray there are many sand stone cliffs that provide the perfect habitat for golden perch. This is a great place to search. Key ingredients that I look for are the right water depth, which is usually one to three metres, these areas are mostly at the start or the end of the cliff. Every cliff is different along the river and some have the perfect depth the whole way along the edge, whereas others can simply be too deep in my opinion. Other areas include timber snags, which are mainly fallen redgums that provide shelter and a good food source for the fish. Goldens will also be found mooching along clay banks and adjacent to weed beds. Methodically working these areas is the key to getting a bite, some days the fish will fire on certain bits of structure, cast through each type of structure until success. It doesn’t matter whether you own a boat or not because goldens are easy to catch from both landbased or if your on the water.

Spinnerbaits are very effective

Spinnerbaits are very effective

The Lures

Goldens can be caught on a variety of different techniques and it really is a matter of working out which will be the most successful on the day. On a normal outing I will have a good selection of hard bodied lures such as the Rapala FatMax and Storm Arashi. These lures have a good wobble and rattle which is perfect for the goldens to find. Colours dont seem to make a lot of difference to success but having a selection of both light and dark will cover all bases. Spinnerbaits are a fantastic lure for searching out fish and my favouries for goldens would easily be a 3/8oz single arm model with double colorado blades, such as the FT lures explorer. This size has a good sink rate, which doesn’t sink too fast, and can be worked back nice and slow. Once again colours are personal preference but I’ve been having great results on purple and also white. Along with both hard bodies and spinner baits, a few vibes such as the Rapala Rippin’ Raps are worth having in the kit. Both the 05 and 07 are good sizes.

The sand stone cliffs are a perfect place to search out a fish

The sand stone cliffs are a perfect place to search out a fish

The Flies

Goldens at the right time can be caught sight casting along the cliffs of the river. They are quite hard to see as they usually have theirs heads down and tails up. Because they are facing nose down, it makes sense to offer flies that will sit with the tail sitting upward. My most successful golden fly is the goober and I will tie these with a tungsten bead instead of a glass bead. That way the fly will sink nose down and the hook will be nice and exposed so the fish can grab it.

A great landbased golden

A great landbased golden

The Rods

Both spin and baitcast outfits are used when we are targeting the goldens in the lower stretch of the river Murray. If I’m fishing with spinnerbaits I prefer to use a baitcast rod and reel such as the Storm Mojo and Okuma Cerros, spooled with 10kg brightly coloured braid. This casts incredibly well and is a very accurate, which is perfect for throwing spinnerbaits in to tight timber. If I’m using the smaller hardbodies however, I like to be armed with a spin rod. Simply because hardbodies don’t have the same weight and can be more difficult to get reasonable distance with using a baitcaster. My spin outfit for goldens consists of a Storm Trickster and Okuma RTX reel loaded with 5kg braid. Both outfits have a metre length of 10kg Sufix invisaline fluorocarbon as the leader. There are so many suitable setups on the market and it is just a matter of finding out which one suits you and the areas you fish most. If I’m fly fishing, I opted for and 7wt fly rod and floating line. Leader setups are simply a metre and a half of straight 5kg fluorocarbon.

Hooked up!

Hooked up!

The Technique

If I’m landbased, I simply cover all the water that I can access on foot. Spending more time on the hot spots so that it gives the fish every chance to find the lure. The landbased locations and not as numerous as fishing in a boat, so it makes sense to take a bit more time in each location. If I’m fishing from the boat there are a couple of ways to go about it. Firstly, drift fishing would be my favourite way to cover water along the lower stretch of the river. Most of the lower Murray is fairly straight and with the right southerly wind, long drifts can be achieved. I like to position the boat so that both anglers can cast from one side and cover new water the whole time. The other technique we use while boat based is position the boat in front of timber and launch repetitive casts in to it. This gives the fish plently of chance to get razzed up and strike the lure. After we have work the snag from a distance, it can be worth moving in to the snag and jigging vibes tight in to the timber. All of the boat fishing will do is with the help of an electric motor, which gives far more control to the angler and the way you work a lure.

Light spin gear is excellent for the river

Light spin gear is excellent for fishing for goldens in the river.

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