Change is the spice of life
  |  First Published: December 2007

Personal bests, new species, or a particularly memorable capture are some of the things that keep us interested in fishing and coming back for more. It is easy to get into a rut and do the same old things all the time, and then suddenly something new presents itself and all the enthusiasm comes flooding back.

Flyfishing adventures

As regular readers know, I have dabbled with flyfishing for some years with very limited results, and thanks to Wayne Kampe, I decided to go all out to finally snare a barra on fly. The fact that this decision coincided with Wayne and Denise Kampe’s annual barra expedition to Mackay meant that I could get some first-hand tuition to improve both my casting skills, which were pretty ordinary, and my chances of getting that barra on fly.

Teemburra dam is my favourite fishing spot and I have a host of great memories associated with the place. The weather looked great, it was coming up to the full moon and there had been barra on the chew, but not in big numbers. All in all, I reckoned this was the time to get a barra on fly.

With a 10-weight outfit, self-tied barra flies and plenty of new places to fish in the dam I thought I might’ve been in with a chance. Within the first half hour, I had a barra swirl at the fly, but after five fishless sessions over several hours, I was about to throw it all in. The Kampes’ success nearby only furthered my frustration.

After a little more perseverance, something finally happened. I had mucked up the drag settings, resorted to the old side cast palming of the reel, and eventually stopped the fish among the weeds. I played the waiting game and the fish swam out into the open after which it was landed.

It was a beauty of 64cm. I think the Kampes were almost as happy and excited as I was and after many photos the fish was onto the ice in the esky. What a thrill and it only came about through patience and perseverance, by sticking with the fly when all my instincts were saying pick up a baitcaster and some plastics.

Now of course I am madly tying more flies and leaving little off cuts of material scattered around the house – the enthusiasm is well and truly cranked up.

My next target is to get a large sooty with a fly, hopefully over 50cms. Kampe added to my hankering for a really big sooty, by pulling a neat 50cm fish from the dam on the fly rod.

One of Wayne’s flyfishing mates from Brisbane, Allan and Scott Kampe, flew up for a weekend to see if Al could score his first ever barra. After blowing a a fish weighing around 75kg Al hung in there a bit longer and ended up landing a small 53cm fish on fly. He was stoked and can’t wait to return for more barra bouts. It’s just a case of doing something different and enjoying the change, so try Teemburra dam if your’re stuck in a rut – I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Saltwater fishing

Meanwhile there has been good action on the saltwater front. The small macks have arrived and there are large schools in the Eimeo/Blacks Beach area and they should soon be all around the harbour. I might just give them a run on the fly rod too, now that I’m well and truly hooked!

Another memorable capture took place offshore from Mackay recently when Richard Knapmann from St Helens was out with a few mates chasing reefies (no, this was not in the seasonal closure). He hooked a large and heavy fish thinking that maybe it was a shark. Imagine his surprise and delight when a huge blue spot coral trout came into view!

The fish was way over legal size, so after the obligatory photo session the fish was gently released and swam away strongly. The fish was estimated at around 22kg and has to be one of the biggest trout caught around here for many a day. Richard reckons he got a great thrill out of catching such a monster fish, but nothing compared to watching the huge fish swim back to the depths.

If you have gone a little stale ‘spice’ up your fishing with a trip to any of the great spots around Mackay. Finally, best wishes to our readers and may 2008 be happy and prosperous with many happy fishing adventures.

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