Copping the rough stuff
  |  First Published: May 2003

I went out to Keepit Dam with keen cod hunter Jason Bird the other day and after only one cod about 5kg pound and a couple of kilo yellas, we decided to try to beat the storm coming over the saddle wall on the eastern side of the dam.

Within minutes the glassy lake had worked itself up into a frothy washing machine simulator and the ride was what you would describe as rough. My bum was launched off the seat hundreds of times, only to be slammed down abruptly. Standing wasn’t an option in the big chop and the little and increasingly unstable tinnie.

As we came around into the main basin of the dam from the west, we were suddenly faced with small boulders poking their heads out in between the waves. Birdy reacted quickly and backed off straight away, with only minimum damage sustained to the prop.

It could have been much worse, obviously, and lives are in real danger as these peaks dropped off steeply on either side. If you hit something and came undone, you could have been be in a real world of hurt. Worse still, you might not have felt a thing ever again.

With dams so low and always changing, keep speeds to a minimum and keep a good lookout for the unexpected.

The fishing hasn’t been too crash-hot around here lately but the usual haunts are always worth a look. The dams are a still the best options for the travelling angler and the standards of casting or trolling the points, drop-offs and timber stands are producing best results.

For me the Custom Crafted Hammerhead in the largest size has been producing the best results of late. There’s been no real size in the fish landed but enough smaller fish from 10kg down to keep me occupied.

Using lighter gear is one way of getting the best out of these smaller fish. I have been using a 2kg to 4 kg Strudwick SPS rod and my faithful old Chronarch, spooled up with 20 lb Bionic Braid. Considering I have landed a few fish over 17kg on this outfit previously, it is my weapon of choice to get the best out of the sporting side of things but still have a chance to land a good ’un.

Rivers quiet

We have stuck the Koastal Kayak in the river a couple of times lately, and to say things were quiet would be understating the bad results as much as saying politicians tell fibs. Hundreds of pinpoint casts in normally productive waters barely turned a scale.

I suppose that’s what a drought does. When the fishing is hard around here, we turn our attention to carp on the fly and at the moment they aren’t real hard to find. Any river around here that has a drop in it will sustain these mud-suckin’ mongrels.

They fight like buggery and the flies that best bring them undone are small sinking models, generally with a little red or orange on the tail. A gentle delivery just in front of the carp and a slow strip does the trick. Just don’t try to bully them because they’ll just bully back, straightening hooks, and popping leaders. Good stuff when there’s nothing else happening.

A tactic that isn’t practised or written about often enough is the ability to agitate a large fish into striking a small lure when larger lures aren’t producing the goods. A small lure with an unbelievably strong action for its size is the little-known Do Lure from up Towoomba way.

Bruce and Sue Noy manufacture the lures from home and have accumulated a massive following from anglers in the know and all guys with them in their box have enjoyed great success. A huge colour range and indestructible body design means you can really put some hurt on, when a larger fish nails the lure.

Don’t think about it, just Do it. Another aspect of the lures that will get peoples attention is the ability to mail-order straight from the manufacturer on 0427 300 198. There is a tackle store in Tamworth which also has the lures – North West Fishing Tackle, owned and operated by Barry and Rhonda, phone 02 67621 499. They’re great people with a refreshing, down-to-earth manner. You give support where you get support and these people support clubs and events in the area wholeheartedly.

The Big Smoke

I have not long come back from the Mercury Fishing show and 4WD Expo at Darling Harbour in Sydney and with all the crap that’s going on with the world today, it was great to see so many people getting on with life and enjoying themselves. I was working on the Freshwater Fishing casting ally and doing stage shows with Steve Starling.

One thing that is becoming more and more evident in modern life is that family participation sports that are becoming increasingly popular. Families grow closer as a unit by spending time in the outdoors.

To see a kid between three and 16 years old stand up there and win a backpack or rod and reel or whatever and to see their face come to life was great. The stories they relayed, with the animation and enthusiasm of a blue heeler in a butcher shop, makes this big boofhead go all mushy.

Cities aren’t my favourite places to be for great periods and as soon as all my household chores are done on return, it’s off for a stint in the scrub to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the Big Smoke.

Peace rallies that didn’t look too peaceful to me, huge crowds all the damn time and a run-in with an individual who was obviously very in touch with his feminine side all combined to stress me out and make me value what rural lifestyles really stand for. Within minutes from my door, I can be on a river where meeting other anglers is as rare as stepping in rocking horse poop.

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