All I knew of the “Mighty Murray” was a hazy recollection of school-work involving the Murray-Darling river basin. The country’s greatest waterway drains one seventh of Australia’s total land mass, but even here near the river mouth, the river was relatively small for such a huge catchment area.
I was in South Australia, visiting friends and family and the plan was to enjoy a traditional Australian afternoon of a barbecue and a spot of fishing on the bank of the Murray River. Access to the river was from a jetty in the small town of Mannum, roughly 50 miles east of state-capital Adelaide.
The target species, for today’s casual fishing was the Common Carp which had been introduced from Europe, with the disastrous effect of so many non-native species worldwide. Carp are an invasive species on the Murray, and threaten the survival of indigenous species such as the Murray Cod – Australia’s largest freshwater fish.
The tackle was simple a couple of 1/0-ish hooks on snoods tied onto loops on the mainline, baited with sweetcorn and some tiny tiger worms. The worms were only about the thickness of the hook, and soon fell off (or were picked off by smaller fish). I threaded the bait onto the hooks, cast in and busied myself with lamb chops and sausages, cooked on a gas-fired barbecue.
With one eye on the rods, I took an interest in bird-life near the river. Flocks of noisy corellas, squawked in the gum trees. These noisy cockatoos are considered a pest. A local newspaper had the headline “Corellas on Rise”, such is their threat.
The rod tip started jerking, and I reeled in a small carp with little resistance.
The law here is that all Carp caught must be destroyed. After landing my first, a pelican popped onto the bank beside me and suggested – in a none-too-subtle way – how I might dispose of the catch. With an outstretched arm, I was able to hand-feed the fish into the bird kingdom’s largest bill.
I caught a couple of smaller specimens, and disposed of them similarly with the assistance of another pelican.
- 3 Common Carp