Social Flathead Challenge IV
Well, I had nominated Saturday for my attempt to chase down some flatties and I anxiously watched the wind and rain reports all week as my day approached. The predicted conditions looked pretty ordinary with up to 15knot winds, rain in the morning and storms in the afternoon, as well as tides that just did not suite my chosen flathead hot spot.
As I awoke Saturday morning the rain was coming down and didn’t clear until 9.30AM. A quick check on the BOM Radar showed it had more or less passed but I still anticipated getting wet and had no idea what an inch of freshwater may do to the estuary I was fishing. I quickly packed my gear and headed off arriving at the launch just before 11AM.
A quick walk down to the river had me a little pessimistic with a big tide that had just begun to ebb. This system on a big tide drains out really fast and can make fishing with SP’s a little frustrating. Regardless I kitted out the yak and launched.
The plan was to let the outgoing current take me downstream and casting at the usually structure that typically hold flathead in this waterway, chiefly drains and the shallow banks of the river. I initially tied on my favourite SP for flathead which was a 70mm Squidgie Fish in Gary Glitter.
The first drain I reached yielded my first hit that missed the lure and didn’t return. Soon after on a long cast along a shallow bank I was whacked hard and when the rod loaded up I initially thought it was a small fish. Part way through the tussle the fish turned and screamed back to the same area I had been hit and buried me in some structure that eventually resulted in abraded leader and a lost fish. I usually chase flatties with a relatively light drag to encourage long runs and less head shakes which could potentially result in a lost fish. Unfortunately some of the tougher denizens of the estuary can then overpower you if you are unprepared. Most likely it was an Estuary cod as I have caught a number at this location.
I continued my drift and at the next major drain I finally managed to hook up on my first flathead which although a small one at 40cm, it meant that I had now managed to get onto the scoreboard. As I lazily floated down the river I continued to cast at potential structure but just like the last SFC this section of the creek was very quiet. I made the decision to turn around and head back upstream to another section of river that typically held a few flathead.
I’m not a big fan of dead time while fishing and so I tied on a lure I was given after the last SFC by kiwozi who makes Tantrum lures. It was hot pink diver with a fairly major wobble and on the troll upstream it was hit hard and the drag screamed off. This fish fought very hard and continually refused to be landed as it lunged away from the net anytime I tried to slip her into it. Eventually with a great sense of relief I finally landed a 61cm flathead which I was thrilled with.
I continued upstream and eventually reached one of my favourite sections of the river. The tide was finally approaching my favourite time and although I did not raise a fish in many of my tried and tested spots, I was still optimistic of an upgrade in the mid afternoon.
I eventually reached a large creek mouth which has seen me catch four 70cm+ flathead in the past but in recent years has been a little quiet. I decided to try something a little different and tied on a Z-Man ????? After a few casts into the mouth of the small creek the SP was whacked and another flattie came yakside. Although not and upgrade at 39cm it still gave me a bit of confidence that a better fish may be on the cards.
Successive casts saw the Z-man get belted multiple times off a snag at the mouth of the creek with the typical sharp hits of bream that just wouldn’t hook up. Eventually another flathead picked up the SP and was a definite upgrade but after a short tussle that had the fish up to the surface it gave a few vigorous headshakes and threw the lure. Bugger!
A few casts later I was on again and this fish was another definite potential upgrade. At this point I was very impressed with the Z-man and made a mental note to add a few more to my SP arsenal. After a nice fight I eventually netted a flathead just shy of 52cm to add to my bag for the day.
I continued to fish this section of the creek but the flathead had gone quiet after my 20 minute purple patch. I did manage a couple of small bream amongst the flathead as well that came off some timber that I couldn’t resist casting at.
The distant rumble of thunder had me reaching for the iPhone to check the weather and it showed a massive storm brewing not far from my location. Luckily it seemed to be heading away from me but I decided it was time to head back to the launch just in case.
On the way back I cast along another bank that always seems to hold a few fish and I managed another couple of flathead at 34cm and 44cm. I also had another spectacular bust off much like the one earlier in the day. Again more than likely a large cod that came out of the broken mud bank I had cast at.
At this point the rain arrived as the fringe of the storm finally reached me so I decided to call it a day and head home. Although I hadn’t managed to land any monster fish I still had a good session in average conditions. The one thing I failed to mention was that throughout the session I was harassed by a plague of mozzies and I reckon they were large enough to harness and drag me around the creek. I must have hit myself enough times swatting at the damn things, to have my wife ask “how does the other guy look?’