Sunday, November 9, 2014

Happy Ending

I snuck out for a sneaky few hours last night, another impromptu session. Conditions were perfect, glassy water, mullet actively splashing about, fast fading light. I had high expectations and a big hit early in the piece resulted in a few seconds of being connected to an average bass. From there a vale of nothing descended for two hours. I worked a range of surface lures for nothing. Rummaging through the tackle boxes I came upon one of my favourite lures, a NutterJuck Fizzer, it was a bit sad, hooks had lost a battle and were bent out of usable shape. I had nothing else so I reshaped the hooks and tied it on. Three fish in three casts fishing over water that I had covered multiple times... The last fish fell off next to my packraft when the hook finally failed but it was still a happy ending.

Friday, September 12, 2014

No Ordinary Winter

The unseasonal warm weather has seen a lot of unusual fishing in my part of the world, bream, flathead, bass and estuary perch all working the surface beyond the usual closing time of late autumn.

last week I walked an area to the south with my backpack and packraft, and fished a few of the more remote estuaries, picking up bream a plenty on the surface, it was like mid autumn was not

A large moon meant big tides, a big front moving through resulted in floods, storm serges, high winds and rain but fishing on proved to be worthwhile, unseasonal but…

I fished last Wednesday afternoon for 12 bream, 3 flathead and four estuary perch, more akin to a summers afternoon for this part of the world.

Climate change, unseasonal weather, freak conditions...who knows 

The EP's are clearly on schedule despite the weather, whenever caught I would move on to avoid them, preferring to let them go about their business undisturbed.

Winter is a great time for wild adventures, a warm sleeping bag, a backpack, packraft and a bunch of surface lures.....not conventional but very rewarding.

Impromptu Fishing

The distance from home to water is never too far in this part of the world and impromptu fishing is a joyous lifestyle benefit of country living. 

My old ute rattled and bumped along the dirt track to the river, the pervasive stink of cow poop wafted in, so familiar yet I had not smelt it since the finish of the bass season on the ugly side of winter. 

I left the Kelpies sleeping in the ute and wondered through the dew laden Kikuyu grass to the river. The sun was well gone but the fading light still hung like a glimmer of hope. 

My koolabung fizzer disappeared into a gentle swirl on its second landing, the rod loaded, I felt the weight and then nothing. At least some bass had moved up from their brackish winter grounds. Predictably, the next cast proved too hard to resist and a fat little 37 cm bass was titled Number One.

The light was gone, stars began to spot the sky, crickets sang their night song and the river trickled a gentle melody. Standing there, a tranquil peace beset me and I lost track of time until a swirl at my feet broke my dreamy state. These bass are not big but they pull hard and leave joy when they swim away.

It's a glorious night, very still and cool. The damp settles and after half an hour of quite fishless casting I am feeling content. I rattle back along the road; within 10 minutes I am sitting on my leather couch by the fire, wine in hand and Kelpies at foot. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tongariro - across the ditch.

It had been a few years since I had fished the winter run of steelhead in the mighty Tongariro river in the middle of New Zealands North Island.  From my place on the far south coast of NSW to the small township of Turangi near Lake Toupo is a good 2 days travel on bus, train, plane and car.
I have previously had some world class fishing  on the Tongariro and surrounding rivers but sadly this trip was something of a let down in terms of fish numbers. 
We managed some nice fish but sadly the day after we arrived the heavens opened up and did not close for several days.  Overnight the river rose to flood levels that had not been seen in years, leaving it a seething mess of chocolate milk like water for the next 5 days.
We tried fishing some of the smaller local creeks like the Hinemaiaia and Waikato but the rain seemed to have flushed most of the fish from all the systems.  We managed to pick up the odd fish here and there but it was very tough fishing in the swollen fast waters.
Eventually the levels dropped but the fish were slow to re-enter the river, the final two days saw us find some pockets of fish which hinted at the fishing I have come to expect on the Tongariro.
So...for 8 days fishing I guess we managed 2 fair days, but as they say "a bad days fishing is still better than a good day at work".  Our stay at the Tongariro River Motel was excellent and Ross that runs it was and amusing trove of local information.  It is an easy and affordable trip to fish Toupo region,  I just hope the weather is kinder next time.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Avoiding Elections with a Camera

So it has been a long while since I did any serious amount of posting on X-Stream Fishing.  Out of necessity, my work life has dominated my time for the last year and half and adventure time was pretty minimal to say the least.  Things have again turned and I am once again able to pursue my walking, paddling and of course fishing.  Over the next few months I have numerous adventures planned that will take me around my beloved southeast, over to NZ and Tasmania. Here is a little photo essay from last weekend, an election avoidance trip with my friend Matt to camp and fish a small hidden estuary that I have missed very much.  Click on the images to enlarge them ;-).

The Wait

The desire to tie on a surface lure and lob it at some gnarly bankside structure always peaks on the 1st of September. The self imposed closed season that allows Bass and Estuary Perch to go about their business undisturbed felt very very long, the warmer than usual winter temps only added tension to ‘The Wait’.

Mike, Jeff and I don’t really plan to fish the start of the season, it is a given, no plan is required. So as with seasons gone, we met as and where we do, readied gear and launched. We cracked a beer and drank a salute the start of our season; it was nice to be back on the water, talking fish, sharing our hopes and plans for the season ahead.

As often happens with fishing, expectations exceeded reality, the fish proved tough and as the light of the afternoon faded so did our hope of early season bass. It was almost dark when a tubby little shallow diver was clobbered half way back to the canoe.

It did not hit like a bass, fight like a bass nor indeed look like a bass, my mid fight call of flathead was right – flattie! Normally I am happy with by catch but…

We settled into a rhythm of lure and retrieval variations, searching for the winning combo. I was in the midst of a beer renewal when my stationary lure was boofed hard…damn missed chance (fresh beer though). A quick recast and more subtle retrieve with more pauses paid off with another solid surface boof, this time I was connected.

We don’t consider EP’s by catch, we often put a bet each way by selecting from a small group of lures that will take both species. In the grey area that contains both bass and EP’s it makes sense.

It went a little quite after that, cold air sank onto the river and we started moving around searching for more fish. After a few more boofs and a few missed fished we found a small group of EP’s along a reeded bank and connected with a few better specimens. Mike was all smiles with his first for the season.
As is often the case with Perch, they hang in schools year round, so it was no surprise when we nailed a few more in relatively quick succession, all off the top with the pulse raising boofs that tells them apart form their cousins the bass. The sound of an EP boof is totally different to that from a bass. 

The bass manage to elude us so and so the hunt for our first bass for the season continues but…..The Wait is over.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Last shimmer of bronze

On the far south coast the bass head down stream earlier than their northern siblings, so I usually leave them be from April on. I then pursue the EPs for the final month of the season as they begin their breeding cycle later, about the time the 'season' closes I am ready to let them go about their winter business.

My buddy Mike and I headed out for our final pre hibernation fish to a nearby estuary that we both like to paddle. The fishing was (as always) pretty consistent with some nice EP's caught and quickly released, I love catching EP’s and this season has been a great one for them with both numbers and some size encountered throughout the season.

Amongst the EP's there were a few other partygoers wanting some cheap eats, we landed bream, tailor, silver trevally and some large Sambos had found their way up the system and provided some fun on the light gear in the blow up boats.

This tailor took a liking to Mikes Thermafleece; pretty funny watching him trying to get it to let go, jaw like a mousetrap.

It is always interesting when unexpected fish hit EP offerings thrown into snaggy country, a few times I thought I had hooked the elusive super trophy EP...but alas another sambo... it will have to wait till next session now.

In a few weeks I pack my sport fish gear and head to Arnhemland for my winter fishing adventure fix but I will come back keenly awaiting the opening of the Bass and EP season.