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Quality over quantity


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It’s been some years since I have posted a report, preferring to sit on the sidelines and give others the benefit of my experience as well as the odd silly remark for a laugh. I thought I would come out of the woodwork and do something, for old time’s sake. Well actually my posts are more like a story.

Christmas is also my birthday so I decided to give myself a present and took myself out for a fish. That’s the only way I can get a present these days (and yes I can hear the violins in the back ground) . I didn’t think too many people would be out on the water on the 24th of December so I didn’t get to the ramp too early. I was right about the bit where I said “I didn’t think” because the last convenient parking spot was taken 30 seconds before I could get there. I recently had an attempt by thieves to steal my aluminium trailer so I like to park in an area at my ramp where there is a heavy guard rail through which I thread my freight-70 chain to lock it up. I also use an electronically alarmed lock. On top of that I also use a trailer hitch lock and a club lock on the car steering wheel. Each lock has a different lock/key type so the would-be thieves would need to have a broad skill-set to open them all. Anyway, I left the boat in the water and drove 200m to lock it up against a telegraph pole and jogged back to the ramp – not a fantastic start but now I was ready. Fortunately no one stole the boat while I was locking up the trailer because I realised I left the key in the boat.

I first set out a couple of crab pots in the river, not far from my fishing spot so I could see them, then parked at my first spot. No sooner had I set the gear out, the little rod goes off. The fish zoomed everywhere and tangled the other lines, the burley pot rope and around the anchor. While trying to unravel the mess, the fish nearly spooled my little reel. I had to pull in lines, cut other lines and run around like a madman to stay connected. Finally I pulled in this mystery fish – a 58cm kingie. Well most people would say ‘Wow, what a fight’. Instead I said ‘all that for a fish I have to release?’. I think I’m becoming a grumpy old man! That fish was laughing as it swam away, I reckon. After resetting, the fish were coming in regularly, but finding a bream bigger than 27cm was proving a challenge. While they are legal, I was looking for bigger fish so I released them all. I moved around a bit but it seems the fish are all the same size. Then the stingrays moved in. Time for a rethink.

The tide was fairly well down so I decided to try the river mouth. On my way there I noticed two boats close together and both guys were fighting (fighting fish, not each-other). Us fishos are pretty good spies so I slowed down to initiate ‘operation sticky beak’. I saw one guy land a nice whiting so I knew I was in a good spot. I thought ‘privacy over piracy’ so I parked 50m away, not in their burley trail like some do. Hopes were high and I didn’t wait long before a rod goes off. Now I know what a stingray feels like. They usually stay deep and get heavier as they approach the boat. Cursing my rotten luck I pulled the ray in with total disregard but I couldn’t see it because it went under the boat. When it finally emerged it was silver!

I missed the first attempt at netting the fish and it realised I was either an amateur or an unco-ordinated old man so it tried to go around the motor. I felt like my netting style must have looked like I was trying to swat a fly but I finally got it. Before lifting the fish in, I looked at the other old guys to see if they were now spying on me. Sure enough, they were. It seems my fly-swatting attempts must have provided them with some entertainment. Lifting the bream over the gunwale told me it had some weight and it hit the deck with a thump. It was well over 40cm and well conditioned. I just love it when a random unplanned plan comes together! The moral of the story for these old guys is to fight a fish with the rod held low and pretend to be REALLY annoyed and disappointed when the fish comes up, in case passer-by boats stop and fish your spot. Then net the fish and leave it there, and pretend to be unsure what to do with it until the passing boat is gone. Then lift it into the boat. Works every time or me!

The NE wind was starting to pick up, so some of the smaller boats left but the fish were still biting. I stayed like a stubborn child coz I had the adrenalin going now. The next hookup was a bit different – good fight but more erratic. I couldn’t pick it until I saw some pink. I had forgotten what a legal red looks like because I don’t fish the ocean anymore, but a quick measure and the snapper went 34cm. My mum would love that so the adrenalin was still going. It’s amazing how the air of anticipation just MAKES bites happen because it did. Next I had a double hookup and my chronic indecisiveness found new highs. I picked up one rod and the fish was bolting but the other rod was doing the same. Ever tried to do what they do on Wicked Tuna and pull in a second rod while fighting the first rod? Well I tried that but it’s multi-tasking and it was almost as bad as my fly-swatting netting attempts. So loosen the drag on the second fish and concentrate on the first fish. I could tell it was a trevally so I needed to make sure it didn’t tangle up the other fish. I chased it around the boat, the anchor, out the other side of the boat before I could fly swat him. Nice fish in the mid 40s, then jumped on the other rod. This fish had taken a bit of string by now and so was a longer fight. I love how they turn sideways in the current and just when you think they are tired, they turn and bolt. The boat was bouncing around now in the chop and netting this fish was starting to prove tricky but he joined his buddy in the boat. How good is that? I was stoked. I stayed for a bit longer and it seemed the bite slowed down but when I pulled in some gear to rebait, I realised there was a fish sitting on it. These were some thumper whiting and they did not move until I pulled in the line. Then they shake their head and randomly bolt for about 2m and stop. If your drag isn’t set properly they will break your trace. I caught 3 nice whiting and released several more legal bream. No other boats, no jet skis, no noise, but the wind picked up and I noticed the anchor was dragging. Try as I might to reset the anchor with a long lanyard but to no avail so I called it a day.

Driving back to the ramp, I swear I could hear the theme to Rocky playing in the background. I was really happy that quality prevailed over quantity. I caught a few for my family, for the parents and out-laws as well as releasing a fair few legal fish. These fish were a nice present so I thanked myself and return to the woodwork from where I came.

Merry Christmas to all Fishraiders.


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Great report Keflapod, thanks for the detail - a nice mixed bag of quality eating fish there. What ramp do you use, it’s sounds a bit of a worry with security issues? you might need to put a few red rock cod around the trailer - anyone steps on them trying to knock the trailer off, won’t forget it in a hurry, it is one of the most painful experiences I’ve had.

Don’t leave it too long till you get out again.

Edited by Pickles
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Nice bag of fish, and it is quite a while since I have read one of your stories. 

If I see someone looking at me while pulling up a fish, I try and pretend that there is nothing there (not easy with a jewie kicking about on the line) or for a smaller fish, turn away from them and pretend to throw the fish overboard. :074:

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18 hours ago, jenno64 said:

Epic report and catch! Well done and happy birthday...bait nippers?

Hey Rob,

The kingie, trevs and big bream were caught on pillies. The whiting prefer the worms and the remainder of the fish were mainly nippers and some on the worms. I have to admit it can be expensive to buy all these baits but these days I value my work-life balance more than ever so I want to make sure I have my bait-bases covered when I'm out there. So if plan A doesn't work, I can go to plan B, etc, until I run out of letters.

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