Plenty of golden opportunities in CBD
  |  First Published: February 2016

Now that the weather has warmed up, my mates and I are on public transport every chance we get, to take advantage of every possible fishing opportunity. Recently we headed to Albert Park Lake to chase big golden perch, smack bang in the Melbourne CBD.

I target golden perch for the thrill of waiting for an aggressive take of your lure. The anticipation of the hook-up keeps me coming back for more! When it comes to fishing for freshwater species, without a doubt golden perch are up there in my favourites list. I would highly recommend any juniors who want to catch a native fish to head down to the lake during the warmer months.

The last couple of sessions I’ve fished the lake, we have managed to pull out a few perch in that mid 50cm range as well as a thumper going 60cm to the tip. Boy did that fish pull! Albert Park Lake on average reaches a depth of 1-2m in most reaches so I recommend you use a shallow profiled lure. A lure that has worked very well for us is the Ecogear ZX40. A slow roll retrieve, lifting your rod tip to suit the depth, will keep your lure in the strike zone for a lot longer and will enhance your chances of hooking up. Golden perch won’t just come to you, you will need to get out and find them. Cover some ground and walk the banks to find places that yellowbelly may feed or use as a form of cover and protection. For example, fishing pontoons, fallen trees, and deep drops-offs are the places you should start.

Over the past couple of years I’ve found golden perch fish quite well in Albert Park from the months of November all the way up until about March. I like to fish for them in early morning and late afternoon in low light as they feed and become active.

The thing I love about fishing in the CBD is there’s such a broad range of locations to fish (both fresh and saltwater). If the fish don’t cooperate at Albert Park catch a short five-minute tram (route 96) straight to St Kilda Beach. Here I’ve had good numbers of both pinkies and flathead, all on soft plastics. They seem to feed best when we get a southerly wind the night before, as this pushes the system and the fish down to St Kilda. I’ve had such a good time using light gear to catch both these species. They fight well above their weight and are a great table fish at the same time. A light 1-3kg or 2-4 kg rod with a 1000-2500 sized reel is perfect. Braided line is an absolute must when fishing with lures, for the added sensitivity.

When you get your next opportunity, make sure to get down to the heart of Melbourne and get onto some cracking fish while they’re on the chew.

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