Fishing With Mates - by Luke Elson
It felt like a life time since i had a fish, let alone even caught something decent. Lots of sessions with absolutely no luck. I'd had a gutful of it and started thinking to myself I've got to get out of the coast and go for a fish somewhere else. A friend of mine has a property down south and he had invited me and a couple mates to go chase murray cod on the first weekend of march. To say i was amped is an understatement, this would be my first cod session. One week out of my first cod fishing trip, had all my gear ready, a tackle box full of new lures for targeting cod and then it happened!! Days on end of torrential rain. I had my hopes up that all was good, but sure enough I got the phone call.. "Sorry Lukey the trip is cancelled, they had too much rain on the property and its flooded." At that point i was devastated! Luckily my mates and I had spoke about going elsewhere in case there was a cancellation. Fishing For Barra!
It was thursday arvo when we pulled the pin on cod fishing, I spoke to the boys and we were all on the same page, we were going north regardless. A quick run to the shops for some supplies (beer and some Water), picked up the tiny, changed my tackle for barramundi, roughly 2 hrs sleep and we were off at 2:00am friday morning. We arrived at the 'spot' in 4.5 hrs and the conditions were amazing. There was already a boat on the water and another getting ready to launch. The fellas launching gave us some really good advice on what to expect and what sort of lures to throw around. We got the boat in and we were off..
We were warned of shallow areas throughout the system and it was only a matter of time until we found the first obstacle. The motor was up, Brae pulling all the weeds off the prop, jordy and myself up the front skull dragging the tinny through. What we could see on the other side of the shallows was something that gets all fisherman pumped, SURFACE ACTION! Once we were sorted and back in the deep it was literally seconds until jordy had a barra on the deck. Although it was small the hype was enormous. Ten minutes into the trip and there was a barra on the board already.
A few fish landed in a short time and we were cheering, beers for breakfast to celebrate! We moved on from the first open area and kept making our way up the river. We found more shallow ground to navigate, once again followed by another pristine opening in the river. Lilly pads and snags lined up on both sides but we had no such luck in this area until we came across which looked like a dam which that was connected to the system. We poked into the dam using the electric and we were on again. Only an hour passed since we seen a fish landed but it was all an adventure none the less. I put on a zman swimmer in pearl colour and rigged it weedless, first cast then boom i was on. Barramundi pull extremely hard at the strike so all the fish seem massive. Not that we were complaining but we had stumbled upon another pond full of small barra, in the 40-50cm range.
Onward and Upward in search for some bigger models. We navigated through another shallow section and like the other shallow parts, followes a big opening lined with all the goodies you want for targeting these fish. We skipped all the snags as we seen the blokes that were launching early in the morning and they were hooked up on what looked like a decent fish. We used the electric to get close to them and they had landed a 70cm barra, at this stage we were getting pretty pumped again. There was a little creek feeding into the river and the boys had their spot lock on and were cleaning up hard out of it. We didn't ask, but we stayed in the same spot and we all started fishing together. Its really amazing that they never told us to nick off, quiet the opposite, they were happy to share. We fished together for an hour or so, trading barramundi and beers, Laughs all around. Times like these you don't forget. Still nothing major was getting caught but we were all having a blast, it was like throwing your lure into a fish tank.
After the locals called it quits we set up for lunch to give this spot a breather. A feed, more beers, a dip in the river and back into it. Brae decided he would downsize his lures to a smaller profile. We don't call him the fish whisperer for nothing, first cast 75 cm barramundi. The norries doing the damage and continuing on his next 10 or so casts until he only had one lure left. While he was catching fish, myself and Jordy were just watching him drinking beers and basically being his photographer for a couple hours. It wasn't until he decided to save his last lure we started playing catch up. We stayed at the little creek for hrs, jordy and brae were catching decent size barra with the smaller models being in the high 60's and bigger models mid 70's. I was finding it really hard to catch something decent, I had dropped a couple of really nice ones at the strike and then inexperience got the better of me. We called it a day and made our way back to the car.
Up and at it again at 2:00 am saturday morning, i spent the night getting roasted by Brae and Jordy about how bad i did the previous days fishing, couldn't even get a barramundi over 60cm, what bastards. We launched the boat and decided to go straight back to the creek we fish the day before. It was a full moon so you could see as if it was daylight at the spot. the boys started fishing, i sat back down looked at my gear and started making changes. Got out my roll of leader and re-tied on some new leader (30lb Fluro), looked in my bag and remembered that i had grabbed a couple chase bait prawns prior to the trip. At this stage the boys had been fishing for 20 minutes with no luck. I stood at the back of the boat, threw my lure out and put a perfect cast in behind the eddy of the creek, took up the slack, one jig and BANG i was on! Finally a fish over 60cm. To my surprise my luck didn't end there, with my next 3 casts the fish just kept getting bigger until finally I got one at 73 cm. The prawn was dominating and it had the boys scrambling through my tackle bag for the other prawns I had. Before i knew it, myself and brae were nailing fish on the prawn and Jordy was getting it done with a luckycraft surface walker. Fishing under the cover of darkness then fishing sunrise was the best session of the trip, good barramundi landed even tarpon hit the deck.
What would a story be without the fish of the trip in it! We had fished the creek under darkness and super early morning, it was time to give it a rest. We had planned to leave at 9:00 am saturday morning and at that stage we only had an hour left. We went back to the creek after a 20 min break. I was still running the chase bait prawn, I put the first cast into the creek and got belted but missed the opportunity. Second cast same thing happened, the boys were now tearing shreds as we'd been on the beers again for the morning. Third cast in the same spot, BANG! I set that hook like an American bass fisherman and was not going to miss it this time! The Fish took off like a rocket, when the line starting peeling off we all knew this was the fish we wanted all weekend. It came at the boat and swam under us! Brae was up the front with me and when we saw it and both looked at each other... It was the biggest fish of the trip by far! My legs were shaking and my heart was racing, it had me buried in the weeds for a good minute until with some persistence and patience I pulled her out. Jordy was on the net and the pressure was on him hard. First attempt on the net was a fail and i thought that's it she's gone..
When you know this is your personal best barramundi then you see it dance around in the net and get away your heart sinks, thankfully i was quick enough to think to loosen the drag right back and i played her, let the rod and the reel to the damage. Jordy had another 2 attempts at netting the barra, both times failed. At this moment I thought it was a stitch up even Brae was getting worried. Fourth time lucky, I yelled at jordy "net that bloody fish jordz". He got her in the net, we were all cheering like school girls. The fish was decent sized, but no where as big as it looked in the water. My Pb barramundi coming in at 85cm and caught it on a Chasebait Prawn. This was the perfect ending to an already amazing trip with the lads. There was so much laughter, good times and memories made, hopefully not the last. Going on this trip with my mates i will never forget!