As we all like to do occasionally, I spent a bit of last month traversing the countryside, hitting Lake Awoonga to investigate how the fishing was after the floods.
I’m afraid that at the stage that we were there, the answer was not well.
We did it tough. The oxygen levels in the lake water at that stage had unfortunately crashed.
The water level had settled after its initial rise but rotting vegetation was starting to suck the oxygen out of everywhere except the deepest holes.
We did locate fish on the sounder in deep holes and around the river bed but it didn’t seem to matter what we bounced off their heads, they didn’t care.
After a few days we decided to forget it and hit the adjoining Boyne River, where there were reports of plenty of fish that had survived the wild ride over the spillway.
It was quite sad to explore the upper reaches of the Boyne; the number of barramundi carcasses was incredible.
It was also humbling to realise how much water had come down that valley; we spotted dead barra wrapped around tree trunks 6m above the river’s level.
But with the bad there was the good and there were plenty of barra that made it and were eager to eat and the Boyne turned it on for the last few days of the trip.
So what went on around home while I was gallivanting about? Plenty!
I returned home to more stories of great mackerel captures, excellent bassing and fantastic weather – why did I go away?
The mackerel were going crazy on lures and seeing the shortage of bait in the area, who can blame them? They must have been starved!
However, they now seem to be wising up a little to the hardbodies.
I was in the tackle store the other day assessing the stock level of Halco Laser Pros and do you think I could put my hands on a 160? And this is in a store that normally has a couple of hundred of them!
There must have been so many lures buzzing past the mackerel over the past two months that they’ve started to become wary.
A few weeks back I did get a hot tip on the spot someone had been finding a few sought-after slimy mackerel so maybe the bait schools aren’t far off.
As for other fishing offshore, I broke up a few trolling runs to drop some soft plastics down around Sawtell on a recent trip and found some reds willing to co-operate. I’ve heard reports from further south that there were good pearlies from in fairly close willing to eat a Jerk Shad dropped to the bottom.
For the game fishers in the area, my mate Troy Boulton can do no wrong.
Last month he went wide to find some great wahoo and this month he has added some great billfish captures.
He has put a few marlin under his belt in recent weeks and he recently spent a day out with Paul Davidson and scored two blue marlin for the trip – not bad for one of the smallest boats in the local fleet.
I’ve spent a few days chasing bass and although the fish are there and are plentiful, in recent weeks the better quality fish seem to be found only after dark.
It’s usually the case that a day trip would produce a lot of smaller fish but you’d normally see the odd better quality fish mixed in. I haven’t spoken to a lot of my regular bassin’ mates for a while to see how their trips have gone but the quality fish seem to be a little shyer during the day than I’ve found in the past so night trips are the way to go for quality.
Anyway, it’s been so warm that night is the most comfortable time to be paddling up a creek. But remember the bug spray, the mozzies have been crazy.
I have been finding plenty of bream hanging around the gravel beds in the Kalang up South Arm Road. There have been plenty of just legal fish but nothing much more exciting, to be honest.
In the estuaries further south, my fanatical kayak mate Adrian Ryan has been finding plenty of trevally up the creeks and tells me he has been seeing a few good kings from the V Wall at Nambucca – well worth a look if you’re down that way.
As usual this month I’ll be in the ’yak hunting bass but I’ll be also in the blue water after more mackerel. I’m still yet to christen my kayak with a mackerel so we’ll see how that goes.Reads: 1013