This is the wettest start to a year since I moved to Bundaberg some twenty years ago.
The Burnett River will be awash for months with Paradise Dam actually spilling over and pumping thousands of litres of water down the river. The debris should be gone from the main river by now but care will still have to be taken around the mouth. Fishing options will be limited to when the tide gets to push in and even then I would say the fresh will still be an issue. Normally the smaller creeks with smaller catchments will clean up quickly but there is a lot of fresh being pumped down the coast from our major systems, which will get pushed into the smaller ones.
So it’s not good news for estuary fishing at the moment but all this fresh will certainly be good for fishing in the long run. The mighty Baffle has just been hammering with the catchment area getting more rain than most of our other areas. This will mean that even if we receive no rain from April on, we will still be looking at spring before the upper reaches of the river see any salt. So book yourself some November holidays now as the Baffle will fire as it comes out of winter.
There certainly has been resurgence in interest in kayaking over the past few years and now I have joined the growing numbers paddling for their fish. I am no stranger to kayak and canoe fishing having cut my teeth paddling the Nepean and its offshoots for bass and perch over twenty years ago. In fact I bumped into an old mate of mine in BCF while I was checking out kayaks. Casey Van Deover built high quality fishing rods and wrote about it for many years in national fishing magazines. Casey and I were in the same bass club in Sydney and shared many a canoe fishing trip all those years ago. I gave up paddling a while ago concentrating on other species and a bit of tournament angling, but I have returned and so has my passion for sneaking into places the boat can’t.
I will still be boating but I will be mixing in plenty of yak fishing. After plenty of homework I decided on a Malibu Stealth 14. This kayak met all my requirements: Stability so as I can stand and cast at structure; storage because I am a tackle junkie; ease of paddle because I don’t need paddling to be harder that it already is and; comfort. The Malibu Stealth is a wide kayak that when fitted with a clip in seat is a pleasure to travel in. Obviously these new kayaks can have all sorts of toys and accessories added to them to make it easier to fish from them.
I took the Malibu to Lake Gregory for its maiden voyage and after getting it to the water’s edge I set off and immediately realised I was going to have a wet butt; it appears after some research that the length of your paddle is very important. The formula to get the right paddle is to stand up and put your fingers over the top of the blade and you should just be able to curl your fingertips over the end. My formula was to grab a spare one from a mate who happens to be a bit shorter than me and so is his paddle, lesson learnt.
I headed up the lake and decided to troll a couple of lures on my way. As I headed around the corner one of the rods went off. As it was a windy day I sent my plastic bucket over the side to slow my drift down. It worked a treat as the bucket made a great wind anchor and kept the kayak straight while I landed the bass.
I moved up into a weedy bay and decided it was time to try standing up, at first my forty year old knees didn’t want to cooperate but with the lure of a bass they were forced into it. I landed a small bass on a spinnerbait then decided to head around out of the wind. As I paddled from one side of the lake to the other I noticed out of the wind there were a lot of baitfish flicking around on the surface. I paddled back over the spot a couple of times for a couple of fish then headed off quite happy.
I have had a couple more trips since then including a great trip creek fishing before it was washed out. What I have discovered going back to basics is that without all the mod cons and instant power you tend to get back to using your senses and the age old art of fish finding. I have also discovered by not being in such a rush to get to the next spot you fish the one you’re in more thoroughly.
For all those anglers that are keen try a barra tournament Matt Fraser is running a Trophy event at Monduran Dam on April 17-18. I highly recommend it as will cater for the mad keen to the family anglers and even the juniors will have their own category. There will be an ad in this edition with all the details it will be great fun so see you there.Reads: 1011