Once again October and November have provided some excellent fishing, and hopefully this should continue over the Christmas holidays.
Over the past couple of months I’ve made some productive trips into Pancake Creek that have seen me sight casting poppers to golden and giant trevally. We’ve also shaken up the reef species on soft plastics and have donated a few more Prawnstars to the resident jack population. In a four-hour session over the flats we caught four species of trevally, metre-long queenfish, bream, cod and flathead, all on 6lb Fireline and on poppers.
On a recent trip to the Baffle with my four-year-old son Hayden we pumped a few yabbies and got into a good school of grunter. We also nailed a few nice bream, and while waiting for bites we worked a few soft plastics and caught trevally and tarpon. I highly recommend a livewell in the boat when you take the kids fishing as it keeps them amused for hours while you’re casting lures. I also got a few small jacks on the Prawnstars around snags that had good schools of jelly prawns around them.
I also had the pleasure of fishing my first Rocky Barra Bounty with Steve Cooper from Polycraft Boats. It was a steep learning curve, having never fished the Fitzroy River before.
I decided that when in Rome I should do as the Romans do, and purchased a few of the locally-made Richo’s lures. After the pre-fish and the first day of the competition they certainly proved they can hook barra – we just weren’t good enough to get them in the boat. And to make matters worse, a few of the Bundy Boys and a couple of QFM staff who were fishing the comp (Steve Booth and Shane McKee) felt it was good form to give us a fair bit of curry over our zero on the scoreboard.
Well, after a late night drinking a lot of cans of knowledge Steve and I hit the water for the last day, albeit a bit late. We couldn’t understand why the boat wouldn’t come off the trailer; that was until the tie-down rope snapped, and then we were off.
Our plan was to head into the town reach of the river and fish the big Prawnstars in and around the rocky crevices and drop-offs. It paid off, with Steve and I tallying four barra for the boat with the biggest being a respectable 84cm. Three were taken on the honey pot colour and one on the pink. Our total length was around 2.4m of barra, which not only snuck past the rest of the Bundy Boys but also blitzed the two QFM guns, which really was our only aim.
All in all, we had a great time at the comp. It was well organised, the people were friendly and the food was great. We will be certain starters for next year.
I recently met a mate of mine at Proserpine to have my first crack at the monsters of Peter Faust Dam. Steven John Wilson and I found out what it’s like to hook 50lb barra at your rod tip amongst timber so thick that manoeuvring your boat through it is a mission. It was awesome being absolutely humbled in freshwater on 30 and 50lb braid and it’s something every sportfisher should experience.
I was being busted up regularly by fish taking the lure no more than 8ft from me. I got to see all but one of the fish that smoked me, and the one that hit that lure was motoring like a 50lb trevally, not a barra.
We got some good advice on lures and spots from the guys at Proserpine Bait and Tackle on the highway, and also enjoyed our stay at Camp Kanga. Camp Kanga is located right at the dam and reminds me of my school camps, with demountable blocks surrounding camp kitchens and toilets. We met plenty of sociable anglers staying there. We also put the boat in at Shute Harbour and fished a few headlands with reefy drop-offs. We cast poppers around the points and caught a few trevally and even a few squid. This is a very pretty part of the world, with clean blue water and white sandy beaches. Even the missus would love to come for a fish here.
With Angler Rods’ release of the Stealth series, the Angler range now covers everything from barra and offshore to bream and bass tournament rods. I’ve been lucky enough to have been fishing with a few models from the new range for the past few months, and have found each rod has performed well above its rating and my expectations.
For my flats fishing, throwing poppers and light plastics at cruising fish on 6lb Fireline, I used the 7’ IMG40 in model 843 and I have caught 5kg trevally and metre-long queenfish on it, as well as bream and lots of flathead.
For my baitcasting I have been using an IMG40 666, which is a 6ft 6kg rod with lots of grunt. I use this for my mangrove jack fishing, and recently took it to Peter Faust Dam where it was stretched to the limit by several monster barra.
The other baitcaster is the DEX 842 – a 7’ version with great sensitivity for fishing Prawnstars and spinnerbaits. This rod has caught jacks, barra and some nice bass.
However, by far my favourite at the moment is an older model that I’ve had modified – an Ultragraph 3000 in the spin. I had high foot guides put on it and shortened the butt, and this was the rod I caught my barra on in the Rocky Barra Bounty while fishing the big Prawnstars. It cast big lures with ease and is light on the wrists, and can pull you off your feet when loaded up.
With all the different styles of fishing I do it’s important to have gear that’s versatile, and I have found all these rods to be very flexible and also reliable. Check them out when you visit your local tackle shop.
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