Good Friday Fish
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Being Good Friday I thought I'd follow suit and think fish... there's got to be at least one day a year where deer isn't the main focus of my attention.
I caught these good sized Yellow Belly at Windermere Dam near Mudgee NSW. Yellow belly can be temperamental, however I always manage to rattle a few up using live yabbies as bait. If you find some good structure with a lot of depth (Windermere has a lot of dead trees that are great for this) you drop your line and live bait directly underneath the boat to the bottom, then raise it up about a foot. If you're in a good location, it should be more than 5 minutes before the Yellow Belly bites. A fish that's quick to go straight to the bottom and sit, the best bet is to skull drag them up with a good reel (Shimano Stella or Shimano TLD 25 recommended) and don't think to much about technique or finesse. Just get them up. They can be a heavy drag to the surface, but are also great for kids to learn to catch due to the fact that if you can keep turning the handle, you will probably get them into the boat. If they're on you're likely to catch 25 or thirty in a day (please watch bag limits). If they're off... well we all know that story.
Yellow Belly are not known for being very good eating, however if you catch them and keep them alive for 5 days, their flesh turns from the typical Yellow Belly slimey goop, to quite firm and quality table fare. If you are willing to go to this extent, purge the fish by removing it from fresh water and placing it into brine (salt water) of about the same salinity as sea water (by taste) for an hour, and then replace it into clean fresh water about 8 hours before you kill it to make it a truly good meal. This is the same way that some gourmet Chinese and European restaurants prepare the stinking European Carp as table fare and charge a kings ransom for it.
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