Last week, I found myself wading through a local creek looking for aquatic life, only to discover my gumboots were no longer the impenetrable forcefield to water they once were. However, discomfort with my soggy sock was soon turned to delight at the discovery of a yabby!
Yabbies are intriguing creatures. Largely nocturnal, they will occasionally feed during the day. They are primarily vegetarian, feeding on algae and plant remains, but also happy to scavenge a variety of foods...including lumps of meat dangling on the end of a string!
They are known for eating each other, but this is not usual behaviour – only in times of overcrowding or food shortage. In turn, yabbies are an important food source for larger fish and many birds.
In times of drought the yabby can burrow many metres down into the ground. It can lie in this dormant state for several years until the next big rain or flood.
Catching yabbies has been an exciting pastime for generations. Nowadays it is important to ensure you carry your receipt for your NSW Recreational Fishing Fee.
If using nets, it is essential you know opera house type nets are banned east of Newell Highway. Net entrance funnel size is also regulated. Platypus and other air breathing animals such as turtles and rakali (water rats) can drown in these nets. An enormous price for the sake of a few yabbies!
I reckon stick to dangling some meat on the end of a string, like the old days. Back then your gumboots always had holes in them, but you never minded because you were having so much fun!