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Forster Fishing Carnival March 2011


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Hi all

Another epic, I am afraid - but it WAS a long week on the water!! :1prop:

I have finally had a day off from the water, after 9 days of kayak fishing solidly for 8hrs a day!! I am totally knackered today, aching all over & that was even after taking some anti inflams!!! I have lost a bit of weight too, after all that effort, every day, fishing about 10kms of Forster waterways most days!! :biggrin2: Even tho I am sore, I reckon I am fitter now than I was!

A bunch of kayakers from Qld & NSW had gathered at Forster last weekend for the start of the Forster Fishing Carnival, which started first thing last Monday!!! We had such fun 2 years ago, I was more than keen to do it again! My main fishing buddy was Michelle (from Nelson Bay area) and she is keen to join Fishraider & attend the Entrance Social & share my site!! :D If I was fishing the Carnival on my own, I have no doubt that I would only have fished the high tides & a couple of hours either side - at a more leisurely pace ....... but Michelle was really keen to get out at 6am every morning (I compromised with a 7am start ....) and fish thru to 3pm, giving us plenty of time to weigh our fish in by 4pm.

Michelle had fished the ABT Yak comp on the previous weekend (which Luderick Luke won!!) and unfortunately had not been able to find fish, so was keen to make amends during this week of fishing! In the prefish, she'd left the hooks off the lures, so as not to 'sting' the fish & had found some good spots, so on the way 'home' chucked on a lure with hooks (guess which one) and hooked into a very nice 48cm breambo!!! But had had a bummer on the Sat/Sun, finding it very hard to catch legals! Lots of 'just unders' but no ABT legals! :1badmood: I caught a few fish on day 1 of the ABT but was fishless on day 2 - so saved myself $150, by not entering!!! Let's face it, I suck at most fishing comps!!!

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On Monday, Michelle & I hit the Breck Channel & tried a couple of leases for some bream - we both had hits & hookups, but nothing special - not surprising, given the hammering it had been given over the weekend when the ABT Yak round had been on in Forster!! We moved on to the Paddock & finally found some bream, with both Michelle & I catching a few, my biggest was about 29cm, whilst Michelle's was about 26/27cm. Somehow, I ended up in a tie for first place with Brian Rutledge (another ABT yakker) for 'biggest Kayak Bream' on day 1!! We both scored Shimano Rods & reels! Ross took out the biggest flattie & also got a rod & reel!! No-one landed whiting or blackies! In a raffle, Lesley won a fresh fish tray of a Teraglin & a Kingfish, which was cooked up for dinner that night! It was really yummy - many thanks to the chef, Ross!!

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So day one was run & won ......so far, we all found it very difficult to catch all 4 species on the one day!! I thnk everyone had been trying mainly for bream & any flatties were almost 'bycatch', but after the heavy fishing of the previous ABT weekend which included the Bream Megabucks as well & now the FFC, the fish had gone mysteriously 'quiet' & quite honestly, It was tough enough just trying to catch the one species!!! We all hoped for better luck on Tues ........

Tuesday was equally as lovely a day as Monday, but we had some cloud cover, which was a terrific change ..... and we think it helped the fishing too!!! Michelle had found a nice bream honey spot the day before & was keen to give it another go on Tues, as the water would be over the racks, first thing in the morning!!! I headed to the lease where I caught my fish yesterday & virtually first cast, caught the first bream, a nice 31cm!

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A couple of casts later, over the racks, I hooked a beautie!! It tried to burrow into the lease, but couldn't, so scarpered for the nearest bolt hole, the 15cm gap between the 2 'close' racks ..... and somehow, I managed to turn it's head & skull dragged him back over the oysters & to the yak!! It went 34cm. Happy with that!! :D

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I SMS'd Michelle to let her know that I'd hooked 2 nice fish & she expected to see me fairly soon! That was, until the Oyster Men came into their lease (the one that I was in, fishing!!) and started moving racks around!! I could hardly ask them to move their barge, as I was the interloper!! So I continued going up & down the racks, on the neighbouring lease, hoping to catch a flattie, keeping an eye on them to see when I could 'escape' when possible!! I met up with Ross & Lesley, who was able to tell Michelle why I hadn't turned up!! No flatties caught, tho I did have a couple of touches! Finally, they left & I skidaddled out of there, meeting up with Michelle, who in desperation, had come looking for me!!! She had a 'full bream bag' in her livewell ...... so was happy with that, tho disappointed it didn't happen on Sat or Sun during the ABT event!! She had vindicated herself tho, so was happy!

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Try as I could, I could NOT land a blackfish!! I am sure that Max only added it to the "Kayak Species list'' as he knows that I fish for them!! Well, I used to fish for them, but in the last 12 months have only blackfished a couple of times!! I'd found some cabbage on one of the leases & tried that, for a couple of 'downs' but no hook ups! So, I moved spots - I figured this spot should produce & was in a world of my own, drifting along one of the lease fences, with my float ahead of me, deep in concentration, when I notice a boat fast approaching me!! It was one of the other Boat Competitors, & it looked like he had a cameraman on board!! They pulled up & asked if they could take some footage of me fishing!! I said "sure"!!! Very soon, I would regret ever saying that single word!!!

I thought that it may be more productive if I tied up to the lease & watch the float more carefully, so I 'paddled' over to the fence & tried to grab it, to slow me down & stop! The tide was in full swing & it was very difficult grabbing an oyster covered railing ........ so I missed - a few times!! All the while, the camera is filming!! I grabbed my net to use it as a 'brake' & put it over one of the fence poles, in an effort to slow me down. The force was so great that it pulled the 'net head' away from the handle, which was all I ended up with in my hand ..... and all the while, the camera is still filming!! I finally manage to grab the fence & back track along the fence, to grab the rest of the net!! In the mean time, my blackie rod & line had become so entwined that it would take 1/2 hr to sort out the mess & only after cutting the line & setting up again! Still drifting, I figured I'd cast for whiting with a surface pencil. The rear rod got caught around one of the poles & nearly pulled it in half!! The camera continued rolling! I unhitched the rear rod & finally, the cameraman appeared to lose interest & they moved off!! Later that day, I bumped into my buddy again - Jinx is my nickname for him now - and he told me that it was the Prime/Channel 7 News team, getting some shots for the Forster Fishing Carnival segment on the news tonight!!! I can only hope the whole bloody lot ends up on the cutting room floor!!!! HOW EMBARRASSING!!!!! I do not know if it got onto TV, but Chris (manager of the caravan park) had heard about it & had a good laugh!! I didn't use the F word once!! Must be a first!!!

I headed down towards the bridge in the hope of catching a whiting - had a few follows but no hookups! Shame we can't fish the other side of the bridge, as they are queued up there on the out tide!! Heading back up to the Paddock, I cast for flatties along the weed edge & had one terrific hit, that came to a very sudden halt, massive weight, 2 head shakes & it got off! Had it stayed hooked, it would have been a VERY nice flattie!!

We make our way to the weigh-in & it looks like I may have the heaviest fish again!!! Mark had a bream just 10gm lighter! His son had pulled in a terrific fish today & won his Junior section, which was great! John had taken out the Big Whiting and received a great bag of goodies, including 2 new berkley HB lures, DVD and other handy Hobie stuff!! I think it was Woodsy who took out the flattie tonight and also got a rod & reel! Lesley also won a Lowrance Fish Finder in the lucky draw!!! How good is that??

Then I went & collected some weed for my blackie outing the next day!! :biggrin2:

Some of the yakkers been having a few dramas over the last few days - losing gear overboard & other stuff & now it was my turn! ...... I had one of those Plano Bottles for Soft Plastics (gulps in particular) and it was filled to the brim with gulp (possibly about $100 worth). I reached down to put a gulp on & no bottle! But it is always there in front of the Mirage Drive/pedals. I checked the rear deck - not there! CHecked at home that evening - GORN! It must have fallen out when I packed up the previous afternoon & didn't notice it, even tho I DID 'look around' after I'd packed the yak up. Bummer!!

The first thing I did when I got home tonight was to drill 2 holes into the rim of the Berkley Net & secured it with 2 self tapping screws! I fully recommend you all do it too, as I reckon a big flattie. kingie or jew would severely test it & cause the head to come off, possibly losing a trophy fish. The 2 little plastic 'lugs' that actually holds the net head onto the handle are insufficient for any serious weight, I reckon! I will now actually remove the screws, drill the frame straight thru & replace them with a few strong cable ties, to prevent corrosion

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So far, Michelle & I have been fishing 5 days straight (including the 3 days of ABT/prefish) with early starts ........ something I am NOT used to!! It is great fun out there with good buddies - many other yakking buddies are already asking for next year's dates, to book the same sites for the next FFC!!!

Wed ....... I planned on concentrating on blackies & whiting, maybe flatties - Michelle had a mission to get another 38cm bream, like the one she got on prefish day!! Knowing where she was fishing, I reckoned she would pretty well do it, too!! Well ..... we wanted a 38cm ...... and I got it!! A beautiful big blackfish!! It's been ages since I've fished for them, let alone from the yak! it towed me around a bit, I can tell you!!! Nearly lost it to the lease it was hiding under, too. I caught 3 legals & was going to keep them for smoked fish pie, but you really need about 6-8 to make 4 good sized pies (to freeze), so let them all go to grown bigger! I caught heaps of little ones too! They love that Forster Weed! All going well, I was going to show Michelle how to fish them the next day - using her new rod she won for biggest whiting tonight!! I got the biggest Luderick & won a Sienna 2500 & shimano rod,

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The bream were 'off' again - the sun was bright & high & very little cloud cover. Shame! Michelle caught at least one legal, from memory, but John caught a very nice 36cm bream, coming in the same weight as my blackie, 680gm!! I also hooked a nice 41cm flattie, that I was going to keep for the table ..... but somewhere between capture & exiting the yak, it got out!! A Houdini in our midst!! The blackies didn't manage to find their way out,even tho I ended up letting them go anyway!

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Some fish from the tank ..... a bunch of flatties

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Well, Thurs started off like this ......

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It ended like this - Michelle, Brian & I got caught in a torrential electrical storm - I think it even hailed at one stage, as the temp dropped so much!!!

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It was a gorgeous Forster Morning this morning when we set out - confident of getting decent fish, as it was quite cloudy today. I headed up towards the Paddock - we'd left from the Marina this time, as the Hobie guy from Barclays wanted a bunch of us in a PROMO pic for next year's event ...... so we'd agreed to meet up at 3pm at the marina for some pics! I started out trying for whiting, then flatties, then finally got a small bream that would have been just legal!

I could see some beauties everywhere I went & persisted with topwater, when obviously, I should have done sps & divers ..... funny how you get a mindset & even tho you know it's the wrong thing ...... you keep on doing it!!! I nudged up to a jetty & wham, the top runner on my blackie rod busted off! I managed to tie it back on with some spare braid that I had .... even the dog felt sorry for me!!! (Wilma is GORGEOUS!) She greeted me with a bark every time I came over near her jetty! Hmm, she barks at EVERYTHING that comes near her jetty!!

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I started blackie fishing & caught a couple of small ones, thrown back & I drifted along, hoping for a nice one to jump on!!! It didn't! I chucked a couple of lures around & ended up in the same lease as Michelle - she was going for bream & me for blackies. Got another baby, no decent ones - not surprising, as the tide was falling fast! We could see some black clouds in the distance & started back towards the Breck Channel ...... it had been forecast to rain on Thurs, but only about 5-10mm .......I was drifting down the channel with my float ahead of me when it started! Michelle suggested I put my 2 Spin rods in her PA, lying down, for safety & I kept flicking the float ahead of me as I went. My float dived under the water & my rod came up onto a nice 32cm blackie!! At this point in time, I'd given up hope of having a fish to weigh in!!! Michelle couldn't believe it!!! SPEWING!!!

Then .....it BUCKETED down! Worse than torrential, as it was coming in on a 45 degree angle with a huge wind as well!! I am not sure if it hailed, but wouldn't be surprised if it did, as it was SO cold. We were both saturated.

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Note how the yak is in sharp focus - the water isn't, 'cos it was being blown so hard by the wind & rain!!

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Normally, we would have been at our cars by this point, but because of the Photo Shoot, we all parked at the marina!! Michelle took refuge under the jetty of the Paradise Marina, I soldiered on until I reached the Red Spot Boatshed, where I gave up & got out!! I put the wheels on & took to the path under the bridge, back towards the marina! I asked a cafe worker to commemorate the day on digital as I laboured thru town! (Much to the amusement of everyone sitting high & dry inside, sipping on cafe latte!!!) I finally ended up turning the yak around & pushed it back to the marina - MUCH easier than pulling it!!! Needless to say, I cancelled the photo shoot!! Believe it or not, the sun then came out!!!

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Ah well, ya gotta be in it to win it!!! I had a spare Jarvis Walker Black Queen that I gave to Michelle & rigged it up for her, so she could have a Blackie lesson on Fri & have a shot at the blackie title!!!! As she said ....... May the best fisho get the biggest blackie!!! I thought her Steez reel was a bit extravagant, but as she said - it's the only spare one she had to put on just now!!! Michelle brought in a bream & a whiting, but was beaten on the day by bigger fish - a nice couple of flatties were weighed in, too, so along with my blackie, all 4 species were be on show for the first time!!!

Friday. I hit the water before 7am & started chucking topwater for lures, catching a small breambo. I worked my way around to the Paddock and caught up with Michelle , the intention being for her to catch some blackies!!

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She hadn't fished for them for many years, so off we went with our small bundles of precious weed & some cabbage!! We could see some monsters lurking below the leases & I managed to land a 34cm one between some poles. Michelle landed some small ones & was surprised how hard they fought! We moved to another spot & I got busted off by 3 really big fish before the tide made it difficult to fish there.

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Moving to another spot, and fished some really shallow water and was dusted by a really big fish, busting the braid, so I set her rod up again, ready for the final Comp day, Sat morning. Back at the Weigh-in, there was a massive flattie weighed in today!! It was relatively short, but massively thick in the body & head!!

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Another nice breambo

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Saturday and the Final day of the Carnival - given the nice high tide, I thought I'd duck up the Breck Channel & try to knock off Bill's 800g big bream in the yak section, especially seeing as how he was dedicated to the Flattie Classic n Fri!! I made my way along the Breck Channel, chucking topwater lures at the mangroves & even a shallow diver, trying to duplicate the massive hit (and bustoff) that a buddy had when he was fishing with me back in Jan ......sadly, it didn't happen! Going along with the tide, it was quite an easy journey, as i fished the flats along the way for some good hits but no hookups. In front of Wallis Island, I fished the area that Michelle hooked her 38cm prefish bream, for nought & then headed around the top of Godwin Island to make my way back to the Paddock & the waiting blackfish!!

OMG!! The 'High High' Full Moon tide was belting in, making it very difficult to make headway against it - I hugged the shore & pedalled HARD!!! Sweat was pouring off me & it took about an hour to get all the way back to the Paddock, and I was almost totally whacked!!! I could see Michelle was in her favourite lease, tempting bream onto her lures ...... and went to the spot I had been busted off by 3 BIG blackies the day before!! The water was CLEAR AS & you could easily see the bottom & all the fish in between!! I was GOBSMACKED when I saw a HUGEMONGOUS toad fish!! I called Michelle over to check it out & she'd never seen any as big as this before, either! I have pulled in 35-40cm toad fish from the lake & they really weigh a lot, so looking at this thing, which would have been closer to 60cm+ with a head almost the size of a netball ...... I reckon this thing would have weighed in excess of 10kg!!!

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I could also see lots of flatties, including this mumma & her paramour!! I dropped a squidgie fish ahead of the smaller flattie & a completely different flattie hooned in & tried to grab it, but missed and took off......I tried again on the smaller one, but it disappeared in a puff of sand - so then tried to interest the biggie with the squidgie fish as well ..... she just took off too!!

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Michelle was telling me that she had been busted off AGAIN by a big blackie (luckily, a buddy has pics of the battle) and had THEN managed to land 2 or 3 to 32cm with the bare float & leaders, with no weight system!! This brought my knot tying ability into play, as I had tied the knots on both rigs that had busted off!! A hint of 'foul play' may have drifted across her mind, but I can honestly say that it must have been a massive fish both times, that busted her off! The float I gave her has some weight already at the bottom of the float, so the fish would have virtually hooked themselves, fighting the buoyancy of the float, as more than half of the float was above the water!!! Usually, you weight them to 'almost neutral buoyancy' so that only the red stem is above the water, to allow you to detect the lightest of touches! So, that was terrific that Michelle had caught some nice blackies, but a real shame that she busted off on the biggie (which she reckons would have knocked off my 'big blackie record' of 680gm!!) She returned to her 'honey hole' to try & encourage an 800gm+ fish onto her hooks ...... and I meandered round a bit, trying for ANYTHING at this point in time!!!

Keith had picked me up on the previous afternoon, so I made my way back towards the bridge, fishing along the way (still no keepers caught at this stage, my first fishless day,) when it suddenly dawned on me that Keith wasn't picking me up today - I had left the car up past Paradise Marina!! Oh no!!!! That meant I had to get across the shallow sand island in front of the bridge (getting out & towing the yak) and then go against the full flow of the out tide, to reach the car up past Paradise Marina!! After my hard pedal around Godwin Island earlier today, this was the last thing I wanted!!! It took nearly 3/4hr to reach the car - chucking my sugapen all the way! Up near the wharf outside the Pub, I had 2 big hits that, if it had found the hooks, could have been a rival to the current leader bream, an 800gm fish, given the size of the bloops!!! And no, it wasn't a long tom or pike this time!!! Their strikes are totally different!!! If I HAD landed a decent fish, I'd already decided I'd leave the yak with someone & catch a taxi to the weigh-in, as there was only 15 mins left before cut-of!!! Sadly, it didn't find the hooks!

The final Prize Giving list for the Yak Section!! My Blackie was even 100gms bigger than the 'Estuary' Comp winner!! So, I was lucky enough to take out the Blackie Title (tho Michelle reckons it should really be hers, due to my dodgy knot tying .....) I'd been really lucky during the Carnival & had come away with a lot of fishing gear!! :1yikes: including this Hobie Pack of gear, including some Berkley lures - Purefishing sponsored the event as well as Shimano and Lowrance Sounders - some brilliant Prize Packs were donated - so many thanks to these sponsrs for supporting the Forster Fishing Carnival!

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We had all really enjoyed our week on the water & I now have a new PB - 9 days straight, fishing from 7am to 3pm & Michelle was out even EARLIER every day!!! Using the brown Zinc Cream (lathered all over my face, like a bad make-up day) I never got sunburnt - and my lips weren't destroyed either, as I put a double amount on my lips, looking a bit like the black & white minstrel!! Today, having slept in to the luxurious time of 7.30am, I enjoyed just rolling over & going back to sleep when the alarm time had passed for the previous week's event!! :D Well, writing this on Sunday evening, the FFC has been run & won - and a lot of fun & friendly rivalry had been had during the week as well!! Everyone is keen to come back next year & compete again.

Everyone who attended, boaties, yakkers & shore folk had contributed heaps to the event during the week - especially Michelle - if she hadn't been as keen to get out onto the water as early as she did, I know that I WOULDN'T have done it!!! We had a friendly rivalry throughout the Carnival & both of us have learned some new tactics from each other!!! I am really looking forward to her next trip to Forster, so we can really give the blackies a SERIOUS go!! In the meantime, hopefully she will be able to attend the Entrance Social & we can have a go there!!!

All going well, The FFC will be on again next year - we have to wait until the Lands Department (who have recently taken control of the land over from the council) gives their permission for it to use it again next year!! SO, as soon as I know the dates for NEXT year, I will post them immediately, so that anyone keen to attend, can start organising their holidays to fit in with the Carnival!!! Everyone here this year is already chasing Chris (Park Manager) to book the same sites for next year!!

Bubba competed in the Bets Bream comp there today, with over 50 boats competing - Bubba & his mate did well, winning an Engel Fridge/Freezer! Can't remember where they came exactly, but it was Top 10!

So it's goodbye from me ..... until next time!! Thanks for reading!!



more pics of fish in the tank!

Nice blackie

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Another very nice breambo - this one went 1.5kg!!

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Paul had hoped to fish the FFC, but his car was in a workshop, requiring attention & when the wrong part was sent, he was without a car for the whole week, so Max took care of him, with a 'consolation' prize for his bad luck. He usually fishes for bass

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Fish I caught on the ABT weekend the previous weekend

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Edited by Roberta
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Woah, a report and a half there Roberta :1yikes:

That was a fantastic read, i really enjoyed it, always love your write ups, and the pics just top it off really well :thumbup:

Everytime i see a new thread by you i always go straight on it and read it, and i am never disappointed :)

Thanks for sharing, i am so keen to get back up to Forster for a more serious fish ! to much happened last trip so i think i need a fresh trip :):1fishing1:

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Thanks guys - I am hoping the FFC will become as famous as the Qld Flattie Classic in time!!! Try & get there for the whole week next year! :biggrin2: You won't be disappointed!!

Great meeting up with you & Greg, Justin - will be checking out Lure and Fly for lots of tips, to!!! :biggrin2:

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Some more pics that John & Michelle took

THis is why no yakkers put in on Sun!!! Marina Mayhem!!

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Michelle, me and John's wife, Dawn

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One of my blackies

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Open 7 Days ....... NOT!!!

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Big Blackie Prize - the Symetre is already spooled up with 6lb braid! :biggrin2:

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This little piggy got caught up in a nasty situation!!! He wasn't there the next morning - probably eaten by crabs! :wacko:

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Another great read Roberta, took me 2 sessions to read it but well worth the time, some fantastic fishing in all conditions and great pics, love the fishy pics and the wind on the water too..

Congrats on a some super sessions and hope you enjoy your prizes.. :thumbup:

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What a herculean effort! That's a lot of time spent on the water Roberta. :1yikes:

No wonder you were enjoying a little down time :biggrin2: Congrats on your well-deserved prizes :yahoo: Terrific report as always, and accompanied by some great photos. :thumbup:



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  • 2 weeks later...

well as you can see Roberta and I put a lot of time on the water in 10 days, what a lovely holiday, up by 5am and on the water for 6 to 8 hours a day. I hate to think how many kms we did. I just love Forster and would move tomorrow if I could but my job is in newcastle.

Once again I caught some nice fish in great company and learnt a lot from Roberta about blackfishing [including how to tie my own rigs in future :biggrin2: ]. She gave me an old black queen fishing rod which I am putting new runners [off a rod I broke at the weekend] on for using in the yak. Haven't found any blackies in Lemon Tree Passage yet but I will.

Roberta sure deserved her win

Forster is an amazing waterway and well worth fishing aspecially in the yak as you see so much

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Congratulations Roberta! Great prizes and well deserved. :thumbup:

(How did I miss this when it was first posted??? :wacko: )

Sensational report. Terrific read and top photos. :thumbup:

Absolutely brilliant!

Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.



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:1welcomeani: :1welcomeani: :1welcomeani: Welcome to Fishraider, Michelle!! :biggrin2: You'll enjoy reading up on all the top bream, flattie & blackie reports (past and present) here!! :yahoo:

Look forward to you popping up for a visit again, soon!! :thumbup:

Also, Looking forward to reading a report on the Port Stephens Trailer fishing comp you competed in during the weekend!!



I know for a FACT that I wouldn't have been up every morning & on the water THAT early, if you hadn't encouraged it!! :biggrin2: I testing out fixed depth floats - if/when you get busted off, the float is virtually still attached to your line, so should go 'missing in action'!

Edited by Roberta
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