A Day I’ll Never Forget

17 05 2012

At home one chilly Saturday night I made the brave move of planning a quick trip out on a new stretch of river the next morning. Due to cold weather and other commitments the trip itself began much later then hoped with not even reaching the water until just before 8:30am.

However it was from here the magic began. I’m not going to give a step by step account as I actually lost count through the time that I was fishing. I’ll more be posting a brief overview, a lot of pictures and even a short video.

After reaching the river I find the water is crystal clear with visibility as far as the light will shine through. Second cast in some very deep water I watch as a large dark patterned Murray Cod follows closely behind my lure only to spot me and turn before getting a chance to attack.

As I continued fishing I was amazed with how intrigued the fish were by my lure, obviously a result of not receiving much fishing pressure at all. I’d go very few casts without having one or more (up to 3 at a time) fish stalk my lure right to my feet. Continuing a steady retrieve so to not spook the fish I would get the odd fish hit but very few stuck and even less would get close to the bank.

For all I was getting onto a lot of fish I knew that I could be getting on to a lot more. I tried a few lure changes trying smaller hardbodies, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits but the fish didn’t get nearly as interested as they did with the large 130mm hardbodied lure.

After giving up and swapping back to the Severn Chances I decided to play around with technique a little and see how I went. This time I’d just bounce and jiggle the lure with many different jerks of the rod for the entire cast with the odd pause. For the time I trialled this I turned a few more of those follows by fish into fish hitting the lure.

As I moved along I decided to change my technique yet again, this time mastering how to turn a majority of those fish stalking down the lures into takers. My newest technique may sound strange but well and truly proved golden under the conditions.

I’d cast and retrieve at a slow and steady pace until I seen a follower (or two) then I’d stop the lure where it was and allow it to float to the surface. The fish would back away and then move in closer, as the fish got closer I’d jerk the lure down deeper, spooking the fish who would then turn around and follow again. I’d now allow the lure to then float up again . Once again jerking the lure away once the fish got closer. I’d repeat this as many times I could during the cast but eventually the fish would become extremely aggressive and hit the lure repeatedly.

By this point I’d of seen on towards, if not over, 50 cod of varying sizes but not one other species of fish. However as I walked into much narrower, much shallower waters I began doing the un-believable and spotting cod hiding in their snags and stealthily casting my lures over them and strategically bring my offering in front of them into ambush points. This began to see many more fish landed, some of a bit better quality.

Once in the shallower water I notice a dark shape on the edge of a rocky outcrop. After a few casts through the fish doesn’t budge. Now paying closer attention I notice that it is in fact a rather large Golden Perch. Excited to add a bit of variety to the day I changed lures like mad to try and tempt the fish into having a feed but nothing seemed to gain its attention. After a fair time wasted I persisted on even further now once again sight casting fish in extremely tight and hard to access water. Including a very fish filled billabong a fair way off the river.

At many points during the day there’d be not only one or two but even up to 3 fish all hitting my lure at the one time. At one point I even managed to snag two on the one lure (one on each treble) however one shook off at my feet which was a great shame. But on top of that at times I’d have one hooked on and others, most often considerably bigger fish would come over to look or even hit at the lure or even the fish. I did manage one quick video while trying to land one fish.

 

This following photo shows perfectly the condition of the water and how I was managing to find these lovely native fish. This cod of ~55cm was hiding in under some rocks when I snuck up behind him to grab some photos.

Finding a deeper pool with a very productive looking lay down tree I was amazed to see a monster Golden Perch come from the deep and attack the giant (130mm) lure aimed at cod. The fish came back on towards 10 times before finally grabbing a hook. It pulled line hard and gave an extremely enjoyable fight before being dropped at my feet.

However persisting on and casting along the snag the Golden came off I straight away got onto what would be one of the largest fish for the trip.

At one point I noticed a school of Goldfish Carp along a bit shallower area before a drop off.

It was here I had the great Idea of hooking a fish out past the fish and fighting it over the drop off to imitate a cod coming over to ambush and feed on the fish. First cast out I done exactly that which turned out to be quite entertaining as the frightened fish panicked and shot off in all directions including leaping out of the water.

Sadly the end drew near and at 1:45 that afternoon I had to set a course straight back to the beginning where I’d have to then head off home. This day was by far the very most successful I’ve ever encountered with nearly 40 cod landed and estimated 120+ seen I was more then happy with this bit over 5 hour solo session. Now it just haunts me wondering how many would have been caught if I got there earlier, stayed later or even had a mate or two there with me.

The gear I used included..

My amazingly smooth yet powerful combo of Banax Vanessa 6’6″, 10-14lb, 2 piece rod matched to the beautiful Banax Syren which gave me every advantage I needed. Being able to pull it into two pieces made traversing through the rough cover around the rivers edge as easy as possible but then once a fish was spotted or a lure needed steering to the perfect position the added length of a 6’6″ rod gave me the ability to cast long and accurately without spooking fish and easily maneuver the lures past the fish.

On top of that fishing in these conditions where the water is crystal clear most things making the lure appear unnatural or just don’t look right will spook the weary fish. Something like braided line being visible to the fish can be quite an issue in these situations. Keeping that in mind I made certain to use a length of ASSO Big Catch Fluorocarbon leader material over 3 metres long. The fluorocarbon leader is virtually invisible even in waters this clear, minimising the number of fish being spooked by the line.

The lure which done all of the damage, I’m assuming because it was so large and attention grabbing and mimicked a small fish, was the Hydrobug Severn Chances in both Gold and Purple.

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2 responses

25 05 2012
Christine Gaunt

What an awesome day on the water. Great pics. Great write up.

2 06 2012
kurrajong

Great report mate, sounds like an unbelievable day

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