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Thursday 17th

The morning started as any normal morning would, woken early by the kids with a knee to groin just for good measure. But this morning wouldn't see me franticly running through the house completing the normal S,S & S manoeuvre in a half pike position before trundling off to my beloved employer....rather the anticipation, excitement and build up to the ensuing trip (which we started planning 6 months ago) would finally be realised.

The forecast for the next four days was 'windy' to say the least, so we felt we might be up against it.

Fellow Raider, Coyote picked me up after dropping off his kids at school with boat in tow and we made a b-line for the Shoalhaven River pulling up to Grady's at approx 12 noon to hunt down the mighty Aussie Bass....

The plan like last year was once again attempt to not kill a fish over the 4 days and only use plastics, hard bodies and poppers.

Boat launched and in travel mode our fears of wind, was realised with a 15knot NE's blowing hard and our normal haunts to blown out to fish, so it was time to explore. We gave the usual Haunts a little go but only

managed a small tailor that climbed all over my brand spanking and 1st ever SX40 (now the collection begins).

We found a nice stretch of river and we hugged the bank with an awesome setup of fallen trees, gutter, weed bed, sand and then our boat. The very likely looking area proved the undoing of the fattest 29cm

'breambo' I'd ever seen, who thumped my SX40 and made a dash for the cover of weed and locked me up....as I put the FireBlood 2500 put into free spool, out she came with a little more ZZZZ....ZZZZZZ action.

Finally, netted and boated on 4lb crystal with 8 lb vanish. Phew opened the account nicely, she fought and looked like a mid 30's fish and we were both shocked when put on the lie detector.


Soon after, our target species was located by Coyote in a short but tenacious tussle as the first Bass of the day was boated which he pulled from a very likely looking weed bed on a 2' Gulp shrimp in Natural.


Wind blowing a little harder now, we glided up the river pushed by the 'leccy' but given the environment, no mobile coverage or worries, the wind issue was easily over looked.

The next few hours were al little tough but we did manage a couple more bass each and the odd by catch of Breambo on a mixture of SX40, Squidgy Pro Range Critters and 80mm wrigglers in Bloodworm.


About 5.00pm we picked up Coyote's father who'd join us for the first day and a half of the trip. A very experienced fisherman who puts many of our PB's to shame whilst growing up using baits but his use of

Plastics and Hard bodies was limited to a brief Bass session last Christmas holidays up at Nambucca heads.

With the sun beginning to dip over the tall hills and the shadows getting longer on the river banks, our hopes of a quality popper session were building.

A mixture of poppers, plastics and hard bodies were thrown with the only real fish coming in on an SX40 another quality Bass.


Popper time now and it was a little tougher than expected, be for this happened.

I've launch a Juro 45mm popper deep into the heart of a monster snag and was about to reach for the leccy controls when it got smashed by a very hungry and energetic bass....With the 4lb crystal grating over the

heavly submerged branches I feared I've never see the Juro again let alone get a glimpse of the dirty fighting bass, a good couple of bursts from Mr bass and we finally pulled alongside the massive stricture but

my line was still 5 to 6 feet away from me and wrapped around too branches deep in the snag....

I climbed onto a large branch and grabbed for the only stabilising branch with my spare hand and held Fireblood in the other....then 'Snap' the stabiliser breaks off and the boys grab me from behind before I

could hit the tannin colour Shoalhaven water. With a handful of shorts they ease me out to get a better look....there was no way we could untangle the line.....quick thinking by Coyote saw him grab the net

whilst I tightened up on the fish and brought him within striking distance, one shot only with net cause the Crystal must be on its last legs. A swish of the net and I quickly throw into 'The Blood' into 'free

spool' and we drag the fish, the net and ourselves back into the boat after a very eventful 15 minutes. The Popper is down deep but a quick visit to the dentist, a few snaps, a measure (42 cm) and a quick swim,

the fish swims straight back into his lair none the wiser to just how close he was to wearing a popper for a couple few weeks. Oh yeah, that's my PB Bass on popper.



Getting darker now and still very little action on the surface when Coyote's Mega Dog X Jnr gets pumped on the surface from a very likely looking Aussie Bass and Coyote is hoping he can put Stella through her paces.....a strained fight ensured with not a lot of go in this fella....upon netting we discover he was tagged which no doubt heavily hindered his ability to play up. 33cm's and we record the info on the tag which indicates some form of reward (fingers crossed it's a Stella 2500, but we thinks that's a long shot).


That concludes the day and on the way back we speak with a guy who's been there for a week and hasn't managed a fish over 40cm's so we reflect on a tough but eventful and rewarding day.

Feed of take away and we head to Lake Conjola for a brief night's sleep.

Friday 14th 5.00am

Alarms goes off and we spring to attention, quickly pack and head to Tuross to see resident Fishraider Moderator 'Hodgey' at 6.30 am who graciously let us drop off Coyote's boat for the day as we prepared to

climb aboard a well know south coast estuary charter whom it's been said of 'can Whisper to Flathead'. Hodgey looking bright eyed and bushy tailed (and probably a little jealous of the three of us) was heading

off to work for the day but we planned a Sunday morning session with the popper master in his own backyard.

7.00am and we are on the water and heading to a Estuary Perch stretch which has been firing of late.....EP's will be a new species for the three of us and we are pumped.

I had no idea the finesse required in targeting these prized fish and am certain that without the assistance of our charter friend, we would have never found or for that matter felt them. Super light jig head to 1 gram

and shrimp patterned paccy's, we work fallen trees and stumps in a super quiet stretch of Tuross. A few solid flathead to 45 cm's were raised by Coyote before he got smashed by an EP to open his account of EP's for the day.

With the lightest of bites, flick of the line and the constant attention required astounded me as we glided around Hodgey's back yard.

A solid snag with deep logs and a 12 ft drop off held 4 great EP's to mid to high 30's....the power of these great native Aussie's was unbelievable and high fives all round when we all opened our account happier than 3 year olds in a lolly pop tasting factory.

The overcast conditions and brief rain patches couldn't put a dampener on our enthusiasm as the predicted 18kn winds hadn't shown up and the cooler conditions made life very comfortable.

With just one other boat sighted for the entire morning session we cruised further up river working all the likely EP haunts until we hit a snag that produced about 8 quality EP's.

The last couple of the morning being the pic of the day as Coyote and I managed a double hook up....two very strong willed fish that put us through our paces as we wrestled them from the timber....quick work by

the charter to net both fish in succession and high fives around again.

Wiley Coyote's (aka Coyote's Dad) largest went 33cm and only his second legal on Placcy deserves a commendable mention with his new found technique(we think we've partly converted him now), Coyote's largest EP went 36cm and Poddy Trapper's went 40 cm all PB's for the three of us in a morning that saw us bag 15 EP's all unharmed and released to fight another day.


After lunch, it was whiting on popper time, but with the wind stiffening and the barometer dropping 7 points in an hour and half things were going to be a little tough.....we had tried valiantly in the past to popper for whiting only to be told our 'blooping' action was way too aggressive and we quickly caught onto the correct technique. We did raise a few fish only discover a by-catch of both tailor and bream, we unfortunately went home 'Whiting-less' on popper, however with our new found skill set, our plans to smash the Nambucca Whiting come January is now our next challenge.

We climbed off the boat exhausted and collected the boat from Mrs Hodgey who had kept a watchful eye on it for the best part of the day. (Thanks heaps Hodgey and Co....really appreciate your help and kind gesture)

Pizza and beers and fall into bed.

Saturday 7.00am.

Launch Coyote's boat at Tuross again and said good-bye to Wiley Coyote for Round 2 with the EP's this time un-assisted by the Flatty Whisperer (who coincidently had a fishing mag writer on board and proceeded to bag 29 Ep's for the day much to our horror).

Being Saturday, it was standing room only, or at least it felt like that and the EP's must have been sick of watching lures wiz past their ears.....we managed some solid Flatty's to 45 cm as by-catch but struggled to get on the board with EP's. Finally I managed a nice one to probably 30cm off a snagged that we managed to pull a fish off every time we peppered it.

I also managed my first worth of mention Snapper on placcy, only 30cm by funnily enough I pulled it from an EP Haunt on a Squidy Critter in Bloodworm. (I guess with the lake now closed, they will be feeding in

slightly obscure areas especially with the 3 dolphin trapped in the system, whom for one unfortunate fisho they follow him around for about a hour really disrupting his little troll session)

Coyote was dirty and he worked valiantly until he came up tight on his PB EP of 37cm as he wrestled it from the timbers with a little ZZZZ ZZZZ action.....quick pic and slid him back in....to fight again.



Yes we both had managed EP's without the assistance of a guide....

Weather was unexpectedly good considering the forecast 18-25 kn southerly and we were fortunate enough to only be pushed around by a gentle southerly for most of the morning with it freshening in the


Dabbled with the poppers in the afternoon again for whiting and saw plenty of them feeding and blinking in the shallows but couldn't raise one.....(the guide again tried to put his patron's on them too, but they couldn't raise one either, so that eased our dissatisfaction somewhat)

Cheap Chinese meal, beers and into bed

Sunday 6.30am

Meet up with resident Tuross guru / Raider moderator Hodgey at boat shed....a light southerly dusting along the Tuross system with a good cloud cover.

First up we targeted the shallows for some quality shallow water Flathead. Hodgey and Coyote both striking early and some hard fighting fish both fighting well above the size and went like the clappers with plenty of ZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZ. Some bigger girls had been seen a few days prior when we popper'd for whiting in the 60 to 80 range......unfortunately, we couldn't raise any council workers shovel heads.....we all were feeling a little under gunned anyway with 4lb crystal across the board and 8 to 12 leader....playing big girls in the shallows would have been entertaining to say the least. Coyote and Hodgey managed a couple each and we all dropped a couple from memory....

Hodgey suggested we get stuck into the poppers which Coyote and I jumped at the chance to watch the Tuross popper master in action. He showed us some of his breambo spots and we had high hopes of getting some quality fish given last years and early 08' posts from the master. The weather was a little cold and the southerly started to blow up deluxe which made targeting racks touch work and the weed beed weren't firing either. We did get a few enquires and I managed a tailor to 25cm plus (est.) and Coyote managed to get hammered and then the fish pinned him to the rack and did the Harold holt but that's as close as we got.

The water has been a little cold in Tuross and the Bream have been patchy so Hodgey tells us, so unfortunately our dreams of half a dozen blue noses to 45cm will have to wait another day.

We dropped Hodgey back to the boat shed about 11am had a final EP flick (with no result) and pulled the boat out at noon for the trek back to God's Country (aka 'The Shire', although Hodgey could quiet easily make the same claim to his system) to once again slip back into reality of kids and family life (which I wouldn't swap for the world) and we now long for our next year's south coast fishing trip....

Thanks Coyote / Wiley Coyote and Hodgey.....one of those trips that will certainly stick in the grey matter.

(for the record, only one fish died on our watch over the 4 days, a 30 plus cm breambo, who had inhaled a jig head deep down and we instructed our charter to take him home for his tea, all hard bodies and poppers

lived to fight another day but we did part with numerous 1gram jig heads thanks to the heavily timbered Tuross system and smashed up a heavy number of placcy's.....but it's all worth it and money worth spending on memories that will last a lifetime)

Edited by Poddy Trapper
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Aweome report. Sounds like you guys had a blast, caught some terrific fish too by the look of it. Mentioning Grady's Riverside Retreat certainly brought up some memories, we camped there for years as kids. Can't imagine what it looks like now though, haven't been there in at least 15 years.

Well done on a great trip.

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Fantastic report mate :thumbup: You fellas travelled a lot of miles but were rewarded with some nice bass and EP action!

Shame the bream didn't play the game on Sunday, but the shallow water flatties were a blast. Coyote certainly had his handsful with the first fish of the morning :biggrin2:

Thank you for a great day on the water. Weather was mediocre, as was the fishing activity, but the company was great!! :thumbup: Look forward to doing it again next year!



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Aweome report. Sounds like you guys had a blast, caught some terrific fish too by the look of it. Mentioning Grady's Riverside Retreat certainly brought up some memories, we camped there for years as kids. Can't imagine what it looks like now though, haven't been there in at least 15 years.

Well done on a great trip.

Loxo - Truth be told we only first visited last year.....but I'd suggest very little would have changed in the last 15 years.

Robeebee - Can't say I did....got a few waves as we travelled through Jarasic Park ahh i mean the caravan park from a few locals.......Coyote and I figured that if we were even on the run from the cops and needed to dissapear you could almost do it at Grady's.....that said I think Cape York might be a better place for that doing something like that.

Hodgey our plan is to attack the south coast again next year same bat time......but mimicing Swordy's Glenbawn adventures are also now under heavy consideration.....I've never thrown a spinner bait in my life.....but that would change in heart beat if I new it would result 150 fish....

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