Aussie Public Holidays

There are many great reasons to visit Australia; it is such a vast country with so many exciting things to see and do.

To get the most from your travels you should find out what fantastic events are coming up in which areas, and when, and plan your trip around them. On the other hand make sure you are not heading off somewhere when the place is closing down for a few days rest.

To help you plan your travels and to find out all that is going on, there is a great web site packed full of interesting information on holidays in all the states and territories and even down to the local municipal level for two years ahead.

www.aussiepublicholidays.com has detailed descriptions on every holiday in Australia, its history and a list of things to do during the holiday period. It even has the school holidays for every region!
Whatever you are planning to do and wherever you are planning to go you will find this website a great travelling resource.

Enjoy yourself in Australia!

Tennis Travelling

There may be many reasons to travel with a tennis racket in your baggage. If you are an active player, you will want to practice your game even while on holiday. Or maybe you can only play indoors at home, and your holiday destination allows outdoor playing at last.
Another good idea for those who are keen to improve their game is to take part in tennis clinics or camps. Experienced coaches will tell you that you will make better progress having 5 1-hour tennis instruction sessions during a week, compared to 10 lessons over a 10 week period!

If you travel just to watch tennis games, then you are in a different category. You like to watch the tennis superstars competing for ATP and WTA points. That is great fun, and so much more interesting than watching them on TV. Also, as a tennis fan you can combine other interests with a visit to the next ATP event. Those tennis tournaments are often held at locations with great touristic value, which allows you to satisfy your cultural interests as well as watching your favorite tennis player playing a live match.

Here is another intersting aspect: if you have been watching tennis players close-up in a competition, you will have picked up many details about their game, more than you would have on TV. You may want to place a bet on the next game, using the additional info you now have to make a little profit. This is a great way to lower your overall travel expenses. The more of a tennis expert you are, the more lucrative betting on tennis events can become.

We have also found a great site on the topic of tennis betting here. The webmaster is a former high-level player and professional tennis coach. The articles on that site contain invaluable info both for tennis bettors and the improvement of your own game. You will never look at a tennis match the same way!

Turning Tennis Into a Tool for the Growth and Happiness of Our Children

Most athletes, coaches and even the fans come to associate their sport simply through the lens of either achieving victory or being dealt a defeat, but sports is so much more than those two polarizing ends.

While victory and defeat are indeed part and parcel of every competition, it hardly sums up why most people take part in sports. At its core, it is a game that is as enjoyable as it is competitive, playing with friends and close ones often is more fun than anything else.
One organization that looks to turn the sport of tennis into something far more than a sport, is “Srndpty”, their main goal is to afford children the happiness and healthy lifestyle through the use of tennis, and their aim is to become the leading competence center world wide concerning tennis activities for children under the age of 13.

So, if you need you’re looking for a new activity for your youth tennis enthusiast then give Srndpty a look.

Find the lighter side of tennis in this YouTube channel named Tennis Life. It’s by two former pro tennis players showing off the aspects of tennis you don’t see too often on TV. Great fun viewing! Click here to check it out!

Fishing For Redfin (European Perch) in Victoria, Australia.

An article by Ultimate Fishing (FishingTackleLures.com.au)

Redfin Species Information:

Redfin Perch is a moderate sized, relatively elongate, fish with a pattern of six or more tapering bands on the sides of the body. It has a noticeable black mark at the rear of the first dorsal fin; its pelvic, anal and caudal fins are red in colour. Body colour varies from olive green to grey, fading to green or silver along its flanks and whitish on the underbelly.

englisheuropeanredfinperch

This species has a humped back behind the head, a large mouth, a slightly forked caudal fin and two dorsal fins (the first with 13 to 17 strong spines).

Perca fluviatilis occur in a wide variety of habitats including lakes, dams, billabongs, swamps, rivers and streams. However they are most commonly found in still to slow flowing freshwater environments or backwaters in rivers and lakes, especially where there is abundant aquatic vegetation. Redfin Perch can grow up to 60 cm in length and 10 kg in weight, but more commonly reach between 40 to 45 cm and 1 to 2 kg.

Redfin are voracious predators, frequently consuming crustaceans, worms, molluscs, insect larvae, frogs and small fish. Juveniles feed mainly on small crustaceans and insect larvae.

 

Victorian Redfin History:

Perca fluviatilis (Redfin / European Perch) was introduced to Australia from Europe in the 1860’s.

In 1868 a consignment of English Perch was received from England in Ballarat, Victoria. They were held in a wire netting enclosure in a reservoir, and nine weeks later it become necessary to lower the water in the reservoir to allow of necessary repairs being carried out, when it was found that seven fish had survived.

These were released freely into a swamp in Ballarat, which was later converted into a large body of water now known as Lake Wendouree. These fish were the original parents of the redfin stock so widely distributed throughout Australian freshwater river systems, lakes and dams to this day.

In 1888 some of the fish from Lake Wendouree were transferred to ponds near Queanbeyan in New South Wales, and from there they escaped or were introduced into the Murray River system, where they have increased enormously in the most sluggish waters created by the building of weirs and dams.

English_European_Perch_Fish_Redfin

Redfin traits and fishing advice:

Melbourne and its surroundings boast many small inland lakes, dams and ponds which are generally situated in and around housing estates and local parks. I would suggest that more than 90 per cent of these small waterways contain redfin and if you search a little, you will be surprised as to where you will find them.

Redfins urban habitat regularly involves them spending a lot of time in reeds and weed beds. This provides protection for the fish and with their dark vertical lines helps them to blend in with the vegetation. They will usually stay in this area, eating smaller fish as they swim past. This ensures in or near reed beds as being some of the best areas to throw lures around.

At times they can be easy to catch and range in size from a few hundred grams through to the odd specimen close to a huge 3 kilos. They will accept basically all lures, including spin lures, hard body lures in all variations and soft plastic lures. When not using lures, the best general baits I have found for redfin is large scrubworms and raw prawns.

If fishing for redfin in rivers and streams, lures are usually best, but very easy to loose to snags as these areas are usually full of fallen tree branches (driftwood) and river rocks. The good thing about stream and river fishing is that redfin are mostly a schooling fish, meaning they stay together in packs, sometimes more than 50 can school together for protection, when you find a school, throwing a lure in and giving it a few quick jigs will usually lead to a quick hook up.

Large lakes also usually lead redfin to school for safety instead of hide away underneath or behind driftwood or inside weed beds, so the same benefits can be found in lakes, usually though you will require a boat or kayak to get best results for catching schooling redfin in large lakes. Redfin which don’t school and decide to live alone usually inhabit areas near fallen driftwood or in between reeds where they can keep some cover, while waiting for a meal sized fish to swim past, a lure infront of them in these areas will usually lead to a quick strike. While many people loose a lot of lures in these areas at first, they are one of the best places to target redfin.

Redfin Equipment & Lures:

My favourite lures for redfin are grub style lures, with a 5 gram weighted jig head (weighted hook) on the end, however spin lures and blade lures of a similar weight are also enjoyable and produce good results. Usually however, soft plastics won’t produce as many fish if you simply cast and retrieve, you need to jig the lure, that involves reeling the lure in slowly for around a second, then pausing and letting the lure drop, then flick the fishing rod upwards to make the lure rise and fall, then repeat the process, this helps your soft plastic lure seem like a distressed or spooked fish, and entices the redfin to bite more than them seeing a lure simply wizz past their heads.

Hard body lures are much easier to snag off but produce a good amount of fish, most colours are suitable but anything with red, pink, yellow or green is usually preferred. Popper lures are great when you come across a school of redfin and they are in feed mode, small popper lures can produce some entertainment as the redfin basically jump out of the water to grab the surface lure.

If you live local to a lake or river in Victoria and want to improve your chances of catching redfin, an excellent method for this is to burley (throw fish pellets) in the area where you are planning to fish for redfin a few days later, visit this spot at the same time each day, throwing in a fair amount of burley pellets (trout feed pellets tend to work best), after 2 or 3 days, return to this spot the following day at the same time and fish, usually the redfin become accustomed to your food being in this location at a certain time, and it increases the chance they will be in the area. Unfortuately this also increases the chance of European carp to be in this area too, so it is not always a win win situation, carp is always going to be a by-catch in urban environments as are eels in streams and rivers.

The growing Redfin situation here in Victoria:

Redfin has a tendency to eat as many fish as they can, they are also extremely quick and very accustomed to hunting their prey with great success. Because of this they are known to kill off a large number of juvenile native fish and reptiles, causing problems for recovery programs and conservation.

In Victoria for the moment (as of early 2014) it is still a personal choice whether to catch and release redfin back into the water or dispatch (kill them), however as native fish recovery is quickly becoming important for conservation and river health, this will likely change in the near future so all redfin caught will require dispatch, and without allowing them to be returned to the water under any circumstances.

Redin can be dispatched quickly using a fishing priest, which is basically a wooden or metal rod with a heavy blunt end, a strike to the top of the head just behind the eyes will usually dispatch a redfin very quickly and painlessly.

Victoria has a very large population of small native fish species which are often unknown to the angler, these fish provide management for river health along with our own health, from control of mosquitos and surface insects, to aquatic insect control, algae and water quality control and control of fry fish overpopulation.

These fish also have the important trait of being able to pass through weirs where larger fish are incapable. In order to begin methods to protect these species, Redfin dispatch may be enforced the same way it is with European carp in Australia, requiring the fish to be killed immediately after initial catch, and either taken home for food or required to be placed in a bin.

It is worth noting that the small common Mosquitofish, which was introduced to Australia from America and has taken over most urban waterways, is a problem fish in it’s own right, as it out-competes native species for food, you will often find mosquitofish in closed lakes and areas between weirs where the fish can not travel upstream, in cases like this, redfin may actually help control the mosquitofish populations of these areas, so while the law still allows it, catch and release of redfin may not always present a major problem in waterways such as these. Most times where mosquitofish exist, very few if no native fish species occur due to their ability to consume available food a lot faster than native fish are capable of.

Urban redfin in closed impoundments and lakes pose less threat and catch and release in these waters may not present a problem, as they live in this one environment only with no access to rivers or streams.

The river populations however breed in large numbers and school together, travelling up and down the river eating whatever fish, invertebrates or juvenile reptiles they can find. Following your local waterways may result in you finding impoundments, where fish in the lower reaches may be unable to travel upstream, these weirs were mostly constructed to control the flow of water in the lower reaches, while keeping the water levels upstream healthy, but now are also an asset to river health as they stop pest fish migrations upstream, effectively containing them in the lower reaches.

While it is still legal to do so, the choice of whether to dispatch or catch and release is your own, we recommend considering the above if you are more inclined to catch and release however.

Dispatch / Killing Redfin humanely.

The method I use to quickly dispatch redfin to cause them the minimum amount of stress or pain, is to land them in a shrimp net, the netting of this stretches and you can easily place the net down and hold the fish in place with the metal frame, after this I push the metal frame against the fish so the fish sits upwards in the net, then usually with a quick apology to the fish, strike 3 or 4 times heavily with the fishing priest quickly and directly at the top of the head just behind the eyes.

This has never resulted in anything but an immediate death to the fish so far. Leaving any fish out of water to die means a very slow and painful death, so learning how to quickly dispatch using a fishing priest is actually a more humane method which you can feel better about doing.

Also the most important thing if you are planning to eat any fish is to ensure the internal organs are removed as soon as possible after catching and dispatch, the fish should then be washed or rinsed in clean water and stored in a container to keep it cool, preferably one filled with a little ice to maintain temperature.

Eating / Cooking Redfin:

Redfin make a great meal and is relatively easy to cook provided you have a tool for scaling the fish, if you don’t a strong knife can be used, but a scaling tool is much easier and costs next to nothing to purchase.

Start by removing the head of the redfin after dispatch, following the contours of the side gills, after the head is removed, cut from the front of the body towards the anal fin of the fish, lift the fish carcass so that the remaining organs drop out the bottom of the fish. Leave the fins on for the moment, as you will need to hold the fish in place strongly to remove the scales, this is the hardest part. I usually place a knife in the tail of the fish to hold it in place, then scale back towards the head until all the scales are removed, after this the tail and fins can be removed.

At this point, you want to remove the skin, at the base of the fish the skin is usually attached to a small muscle, which is separate from the top muscles (the fillets), so grabbing the skin at this point and strongly but carefully pulling the skin towards the top spine of the fish usually removes the skin without a problem, this is then repeated at the other side until the skin is completely removed, discard the skin.

What is left is the spine and ribs of the fish, and at the top a large fillet of muscle on both sides. To remove this without any bones, run a sharp knife beside the spine until you feel the knife touch the ribs of the fish, after this turn the knife and proceed to cut along the ribs, the fillets will then fall off completely bone free.

My personal method for cooking is a basic batter from flour, water, garlic powder / paste, salt and pepper, then shallow or deep fry for a couple of minutes each side, fish from questionable waterways may be preferred to cook a little longer, or not eaten at all.

Whats on in Melbourne?

A new website aiming to help people find fun and interesting events in the cities they are in or travelling to, is launching live on August 7.

Whatevents.com solves the ever-present problem: what’s on, when you’re there?

The service is a new startup from Perth entrepreneur Rob Whyte and his team of travellers.

“To explain it simply: we tell people what’s on, when they’re there,” explains Whyte, who been frustrated with this very issue for nearly a decade.

“My wife and I have travelled a lot, but whenever we do, we always struggle to find what’s happening on and around us, and it can get frustrating. We would often joke, why doesn’t someone just build a site that tells you? So, we thought, let’s just fix this ourselves!”

The incredibly intuitive site allows users to type in an Australian city, and the date range that they will be there.

The site provides a huge variety of event options, while still making it easy to find something that interests you – whether its a farmer’s market, music festival, sporting event or craft workshop! Having fun doesn’t have to break the bank, with a huge number of fantastic free events to keep you and your friends or family entertained.

You can easily find accommodation options nearby your favourite events, and filter to make sure they meet your budget, which suits people travelling who might not know an area well.

Whatevents works across all popular platforms, and whilst Whyte admits there is still room for improvement “We just wanted to get it working and out there, rather than spending a lifetime making it perfect! It works, so we just want people to try it out, warts & all.”

“Our team have loved working on the project and we’ve had a heap of fun planning our own weekends & trips while working on it”

We look forward to making use of the site here in Melbourne!

If after all that you just want to chill out and read a good book I can highly recommend one at the moment:  “I ❤️ MY DOUBLES PARTNER!!!” An inspirational tennis book written by Adeline Arjad Cook You’re welcome!