Should have left the net at Home!!
After having such a splendid day on the water the previous weekend I decided to head out again on Monday to see if I could find a few bigger flathead than my previous trip. As the day approached the weather forecast started to deteriorate and eventually it looked like it would be cold, overcast, the chance of light rain and 15 knot winds. Not overly pleasant but the rest of the week looked worse so I decided to head out anyway. The tides were also not ideal with a launch dead on low tide and only two hours of prime time for targeting them in my favourite technique
Launching I was soon in a rhythm drifting with the tide and casting along the shallow sloping banks in about 4 foot of water and concentrating my casting at the drains. After about an hour I finally copped a good hit and knew I was onto my first flathead. Some strong runs and head shakes indicated I was onto my first good fish for the winter and eventually I raised her to the surface. First thing I noticed was that the SP was only loosely pinned in the flatty’s lip and so I knew I was in a precarious position. The moment I gently dragged her towards the net she gave one more run away from the net and the SP slipped out of her lip. Bugger!
Losing the first fish is always a confidence breaker for me as I get that donut kind of feeling and start writing in my head the old “one that got away” story. I continued to drift but could not find a single interested fish for most of the morning. It didn’t help that I had a multitude of black ducks cruising along the banks and more than likely disturbing any flathead lurking in the shallow water. In the end I decided to herd them off just in case they were impacting on my fishing.
Following a similar pattern to my last session I headed upstream further and the incoming tide was nearing its peak. I switched to a Z-Man Streakz Curlytail in Motor Oil in the hope that I might expand my chance to catching a bream as by catch. Casting along one of my favourite banks the SP was picked up a good 3 metres from the bank and the fish turned instantly towards the bank. The rod loaded up and I was pulled directly towards some thick structure by a fish that pulled hard on my 4lb outfit. I exerted as much pressure as I could to steer the fish back to the middle of the river but it was no good. Eventually I was buried and I tried everything to get the fish out.
Grabbing my lure retriever which is a 6 ft piece of electrical conduit I ran the pole down the braid to find that the fish had gone deep under a thick log about 7 foot down. 5 minutes of trying to pull the fish out was fruitless and eventually the 6lb braid gave and I was down another fish. Double bugger!
I quickly retied another Zman Streakz curly tail and I was casting again. Within minutes I was onto another good fish in a similar fashion to the previous hook-up. Again it was a reasonable fish and I felt that I had this fish’s measure and kept it away from the bank, or so I thought! As it reached the yak it stayed down deep and it wouldn’t come up. I then felt that horrible sensation of leader on timber and I was locked up again. The 6lb leader didn’t last long again and my third fish for the day had won the battle. At this point I was very close to hurling my landing net to the top of a mangrove tree!!!
At this point I upgraded the 6lb Nitlon to 10lb FC Rock!!
I eventually drifted up to my favourite creek mouth that has produced multiple species as well as some serious 70cm+ flathead in the past. On the third cast in I felt that unmistakeable rattle of my braid indicated a fish had picked it up on the drop. Setting the hooks, I loaded up to another flathead and I prayed to every god that this one would reach the net. It gave some strong runs and I played the fish very gently and I eventually landed a nice 50cm flathead. In the process of getting the camera out of my pocket though the flathead went berserk and flipped out of the net and back into the water! Luckily I had not yet removed the SP and I re-netted her before a measure and release.
The next small creek mouth yielded a nice 25cm bream before I decided to head back to the car and head home.
I did manage another small flathead on the trip home to give the day an element of success but at least I know there are a few good fish still in there and I’ll be back in a few weeks to give them another crack during the SFC.