Social Flathead Challenge VI
Well for most of the week the weather ad looked promising for my day on the water chasing lizards but as my nominated day approached the weather predictions became less and less favourable for a reasonable day on the water. Having not hit the water in my kayak for quite a period I really threw caution to the wind and did not really plan my day very well in terms of appropriate tides nor weather but decided to make the most of it and launch anyway.
I awoke early and hit the water on my local just as the sun came up. Unlike previous winter trips and I was pleasantly surprised to see come blue skies and almost no wind which made me feel like a little good karma was heading my way. So launching the yak on a dead low tide (poor planning on my part!) and began casting at my usual flathead target areas of gentle sloping banks, draining gutters and creek mouths. Paying particular attention to the downstream side of the gutters where I tend to find flathead as they wait to gobble up prey items leaving the draining gutters and creeks.
The problem was that these gutters and creeks were not really draining so much as trickling as I had arrived at the bottom of the tide and ideally I would fish the river three hours prior to the low! So by 9AM I was not overly confident of even seeing a flathead with not even a bump for the endless casts I was sending into every likely flathead hidey hole.
As 9AM ticked over there was a sudden shift in the weather as the clouds rolled in and there was a not so subtle shift in the wind. The breeze picked and there was a not so subtle shift in the temperature. It was suddenly a lot chillier and as the wind picked up it began to move the kayak around making fishing a little more difficult.
The tide turned and began to flow into the river and I knew it would not be long before it flooded in and the current became a little difficult to manoeuvre and cast at the same time. It wasn’t until 10:30AM as I allowed the tidal current to drag me up the waterway that I finally managed my first flathead. Casting into a creek mouth I allowed my 80mm Black Gold Squidgie Fish to drift to the bottom before I flicked it back into the water column. As I dropped my rod tip I felt the unmistakeable twitch in my braid as the SP was picked up as it fell back to the floor of the river and I loaded up on a small flathead to open my SFC VI bag. At only 38cm it wasn’t huge but after a morning of no action it was definitely a welcome sight.
The tide began to rush in and I knew my opportunities to pick up a full bag had just gotten a lot more difficult. As I drifted with the current and continued to target my preferred structures for nothing I began to spend more time watching the wildlife and day dreaming than concentrating on picking up a few flathead.
By 11.30AM the first shower came down and I felt my chances of a reasonable bag had slipped away. I decided to head back to the launch and have a few casts and my favourite locations on the way before pulling the pin and heading home.
Targeting a few of the inner bends on the way home I hoped that a few flathead might have moved in as the tide had moved in. Eventually my persistence paid off and I managed my full bag for the day as a second cool shower rolled in and dampened my spirits a little further. At 37cm he was no monster again but left my ego a little more intact than I had envisaged a few hours earlier.
I also managed to pick this catch on my new GoPro which was a recent 40th present and I had been testing out a new mount in preparation for the next bas season
I paddled to the exit point and felt the undeniable urge to try one last time to target some of the structures I had peppered when the tide had been lower in the hope a few flatties had moved in with the incoming tide.
As I paddled further downstream I noticed some very low dark grey clouds heading my way and managed only a few casts before I decided that what looked like an impending downpour was not worth fishing in. I did manage one more flathead before I packed it in but at 25cm it was not an upgrade.
As I paddled upstream I could see the ominous clouds chasing me to the exit point and I just managed to get to pack up the yak and jump into the car the rain pelted down and I was thankful I had pulled the pin when I did!
Thanks again to all who participated whether you managed a few or paddled around for hours trying to find a few! Hopefully the next one will allow everyone to get out!