Monday, April 14, 2014

Mornington squid hunt

An early start to the day today with a squid hunt. Was on the water just after 6 and it was a little lumpy. The wind was about 5 knots, which was enough for a quickish drift. The first 4 or 5 casts produced nothing and as I drifted out further I started getting them. This may be due to the water being very shallow as it was low tide and my usual productive spot was about a metre shallower than normal.

It was hard and fast and I had bagged out by 7.20, with a few good ones amongst them. I went home to show a couple of my sons who were clearly impressed with the capture!

They are in the freezer awaiting a secret silver over the Easter weekend where they will be re-introduced to the water at Corinella.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bemm River annual trip

Another trip to the fabulous Bemm River and this time the kayaks were left at home as we had a few newish fishermen joining us. My sons Ben and Will decided to come camping so we needed the boat (However all are now in agreement that “we ‘re gonna need a bigger boat”) after the fun that was had.

As it was the Labour Day weekend we expected it to be busy, however nothing like what greeted us when we arrived at the ramp at about 1pm Saturday afternoon – Pandemonium! Trailers taking up all spaces, plus both sides of the road to the ramp and some even on the main road near the pub. Apparently two boat clubs had annual tournaments there.  As Dad was towing the van he had taken the scenic route through Lakes Entrance (We powered through Bruthen) so we arrived earlier than him. The boys and I saw Mark at the general store, purchased some prawns and hit the fishing platform. It was a bad start when Ben’s hat blew off on the way out and sunk just when a nice gentleman’s Labrador had almost swum out to it but it improved with many bites. We got a few small bream and lost what felt like a good flathead.

We made our way back to the caravan park to agree on the species for the family fishing competition and decided on bream, EPs, flathead, trevally and tailor. Once again we would take the best fish of each species and add them together for a total length.

As it was still blowing a gale Saturday afternoon we hit the fishing platform again. Not much to report except for a small bream and I pulled up a massive conger eel which bit me off when I got it to the platform.

Sunday morning was a bit blowy but with a 6am wakeup call (And the kids in bed being babysat!) we hit Sydenham Inlet. Motoring towards the entrance you could have been forgiven for thinking this was the Carrum outer artificial reef during snapper season, as the approximately 100m square weedbeds just out from the entrance had 15-20 boats fishing it, some within 10m of each other! It turns out Mark at the general store had live prawns and they were fishing them under floats for perch. We decided to sit out from the river and drift over the drop off. As there was still a fair breeze blowing we deployed the drogue and started casting. Dad had on a 3” fry in banana prawn and I had a strike pro cyber vibe. Within the first 10 minutes Dad had managed a nice flathead of 42cm, a bream of 30cm and another smaller bream so I made a switch to the fry. This meant his early competition total was already 72cm and I was yet to trouble the scorers!

After about 15 minutes I finally managed a hit and pulled aboard a 30cm bream. We both followed that with a few flathead, Dad increasing his best to 44cm and I pulled out a 45cm flathead. At about 9am we headed in so I could pick up the boys from the caravan park (And cook up some bacon and egg sangas) and Dad kept fishing, landing a 31cm bream. After many deliberations, this fish was allowed in the competition and this gave Dad a current total length of 75cm (44cm flathead and 31cm bream) and I was also on 75cm (30cm bream, 45cm flathead). Below is my 30cm bream.

I had picked up some live prawns on the way so we went to the entrance where we anchored and whilst Dad and I flicked plastics around the boys got to put out some bait. It was absolute pandemonium on the live prawns with the boys each landing multiple flathead and bream and having a ball. Ben got a good chance to practice his lift and wind!

We kept a few flathead for the table and all of the bream were released for the day. Back at the ramp I think the most enjoyment came from feeding the pelicans! One great thing to see is fisheries at the ramp checking everyone’s catch, and I had a chat to the fisheries officer and he said that they had already caught a few people with undersize bream on board.

We had a relaxing afternoon and the boys were tired so went to bed about 7, and Dad and I hit the water again. It was quite windy but we persisted for a bit in Sydenham Inlet where Dad managed a 48cm flathead, bringing his total to 79cm. We then decided the wind was a bit strong and headed into the entrance, where it got dark without another hit. As it was dark I tied on a vibe and actually managed a fish – A 31cm yellowfin bream. According to Dad, the self-appointed rules master “a bream is a bream” so it didn’t get added to the total length as we include black bream and yellow fin bream together.

The next morning was Monday and we had until midday, and once again got up early and left with just Dad and I on the boat. I nailed an early 34cm bream taking me to 78cm, still one shy of Dad. We both caught numerous flathead and Dad soon after landed a 33cm bream, taking his total to 81cm. I managed a 46cm flathead soon after but this only got me to 79cm. We both at various stages were bitten off by tailor which it would seem were going to be the competition winning fish!

We moved to the entrance where we drifted from one side to the other a few times and got an enormous amount of fish. Most casts we had hits and landed heaps of flathead and numerous bream every drift. About halfway through the second drift I hooked up and had an extended fight, and at the end surfaced a lovely 34cm trevally. This took me to 114cm (34cm bream, 46cm flathead and 34cm trevally) against Dad on 81cm (33cm bream, 48cm flathead). We decided to head in and get the boys.

When we got the boys we once again got some live prawns and headed back to the entrance. Almost immediately they were on, and below is Ben netting a 32cm bream that Will had on, and the subsequent fish.

Soon after Ben’s rod went off and he managed a 45cm flathead whilst Will got a 22cm bream, and both proudly posed with these fish.

We called it quits at midday to pack and head on the long drive back to Melbourne, and the final results are as follows:

A great trip was had with 3 generations all getting into some fantastic quality fish.  The only disappointment was that we didn’t find the EPs this time, but that’s why we will be back soon!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Australia Day squid bash

A quick trip out today with my eldest son Ben, who is nearly 4. I awoke at 4.45 and stayed in bed for about 10 minutes worried what it would mean to take him on the poor old Perception Swing and how stable he would be. We had a practice run at Aura Vale Lake the other day so I decided if we stayed in close we would be ok, so I got up.

I made breakfast and did a final pack of the car and woke Ben up and put him straight in the car. We were off to Mornington by 5.15 and launched about 6.15.

First cast he got a bit of a fright and wobbled a bit but after that it was absolutely fine, plus we were within about 50m of the shore at all times. Second cast we were on to a squid and he even helped bring it in, until it got near the kayak. I handlined it in for the last few metres and made sure it wasn't pointing at Ben. It was abundantly clear that it wasn't pointing at him as when it broke the surface I copped a face full of ink! I quickly dispatched it to the tub behind me and had another cast for the same result.

Although we were only out about 30 minutes before he was done we managed 5 quite good squid and then had to come home via McDonalds. We arrived home at 8.15 meaning that for a 3 hour round trip we got about 30 minutes fishing time - Lucky the squid were on!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Glenelg River Holy Grail 2013

This year was our third trip to the Glenelg River. Over the past trips we have caught some amazing estuary perch, great bream but never a mulloway so that was our target species. I was also keen to actually land a fish in my new Hobie Outback. We headed there on wednesday afternoon and arrived at the shack near Donovans Landing about 8.30pm and unpacked. I quickly threw a couple of rods off the balcony baited with the fresh squid from last week's trip and within half an hour I had about 10m of line stripped from the reel. Last year I struck here and lost the fish, so I played out more line. I knew he was still there so reeled in the slack and struck, and by this stage the mulloway had swum under the next door neighbours shack and got me stuck amongst the pylons.

When I lost a mulloway at this early stage in the trip last year it turned out to be our only opportunity for the entire time we were there - Luckily this was not to be the case this time!

The next morning we awoke at 5.30 and headed to Nelson. The boys went in the boat and I took out the new kayak. As vibes were successful last trip when I got to a spot I flicked them around for 5-6 casts. With no hits I turned to my rod with a 3" fry in the peppered prawn colour. Second cast with this and I was onto my first fish in the new yak - And after a spirited fight on my 3lb line up came my first ever mulloway! Although it measured at 49cm and was well undersize, it was a massive thrill and a culmination of hundreds of trips!

Shortly after that I flicked the plastic near the old jetty and was on again - This time to a 30cm bream who was also quickly released to fight another day after a quick picture. I managed one more bream and it was time to head in to the general store for a coffee and egg and bacon roll (The highlight of each day's sessions, mulloway notwithstanding!).

That afternoon it was decided to launch the boat at Donovans and head up river. I took a seat in the boat for this trip and didn't get onto anything myself, but watched Dad pull in his first ever mulloway, which was caught on a turtleback worm and measured 51.5cm.

Friday morning saw me back in the kayak near the mouth at Nelson and it was time for an explore, so I headed right up towards the entrance. There were a few boats collecting bait and I threw around a 3" fry as I explored and managed a small bream and half a dozen salmon. The guys in the boat weren't successful and we again had the standard coffee with egg and bacon roll at the General Store.

Back to the shack for a rest and then once again we took the boat upstream. We played with the new sounder (Lowrance HDS 7) and figured out some settings so we sounded along as we went. We marked up a good school of fish and I threw in a 5" jerk shad in peppered prawn (Recommended by Brett and the boat hire place).This resulted in another mulloway (My first in SA as it turns out because Donovans is over the border!), and despite sounding up a few more for the afternoon there were no more hook ups.


Saturday morning I took up the offer of heading out in the boat (It was windy, raining and I am a bit soft!) and it turns out that it was quite a good decision. We sounded around "The Poles" area and marked up a tightly packed school. Upon casting into them I had a hit and managed another mid 40's mulloway. It went a bit quiet then so we went to meet some mates who were staying at the shack with us for the customary brunch.

We then headed back to "The Poles" and had only just rounded the corner of the river when the sounder lit up with fish. We quickly anchored and in the next 10 minutes myself and my Uncle nailed 4 between us, including a double hook up at one stage. It was chaos but died off after this until about half an hour later I managed another one. With 4 for the day I was pretty confident, however all fish we had caught were between 44-55cm, and although great fun on light gear we were after something bigger. 

My Dad (Unusually quiet through all these fish and had not troubled the scorers at this stage) finally hooked up. As you can see below he was quite excited.


This excitement lasted about another 5 seconds  when he realised a couple of things:
  1. This was a bigger fish.
  2. 3lb line with 6lb leader may be underkill for a big mulloway.
  3. A Stradic Ci4 FML does not hold nearly enough line on its spool.
This led to me upping anchor and backing up on the fish as Dad could now see his bare spool. This continued for about 10-15 minutes, during which time the fish decided to head into the shallow bay (Rather than around any of the poles near us) the back into the main channel. It finally came up and was gleefully netted. The plastic had just pinned it in the corner of the lip meaning that it didn't manage to bite through the 6lb leader, and at 77cm was our best (And only legal!) mulloway of the trip. We headed in shortly after for a rest.

Saturday afternoon saw us back in the same spot, sounding until we found the school again. In the two hour session I managed another 2 mulloway, but both were around 45-50cm yet again. Dad had switched off a bit by this stage and was messing around making coffees and flicking a turtleback worm up the banks catching small salmon!

Sunday morning was the last opportunity and we had to be off the water by 9.30 so a quick session was the order of the day. It was quite uneventful, with the only capture being my 9th and final mulloway of the trip.

All in all this was our most memorable trip to Nelson and in our 3 trips we have experienced the river holding its 3 main target species in a variety of different locations so I think that local knowledge or a little bit of luck (Preferably both!) are the order of the day if you intend on paying the Glenelg River a visit.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mornington 04/04 - Squid vicious!

A quick report for my first fishing session from the Outback. I absolutely loved it, however over the short distance managed to feel cramped (I'm 6'1" so I'm sure there are taller blokes in Outbacks - Suggestions?) but it more than made up for itself with the hands free fishing!

I awoke at 5.45 and ate a quick breakfast and arrived at Mornington about 6.45. It was still a bit dark (Forgot my light) so I messed around setting up for 15 minutes or so then launched at 7am as the light was appearing. First cast was nailed as soon as it hit the water. As was the second, third, fourth and so on. No massive squid, but the perfect bait size (Heading to Glenelg next week so will have some "million dollar bills" for the jewies). They were attacking anything that I threw at them. I kept my bag, probably caught 15-20 in all with many released and was off the water by 7.30 (Half an hour) so that I got home before 8.30 in order to keep some brownie points with SWMBO and possibly negotiate another trip on sunday.

I don't think it mattered what I threw at them, but the yamashita naturals in 2.5 did the damage - One with the light brown stripes and the jet black one was the other jig.

In the half hour session I think I had 4 casts without hooking a squid, and I even forgot the net and still didn't drop one for the day. I think you only lose them when they are scarce!

An interesting side note is that when I got home I had to spend longer cleaning squid goo off the yak than the time it took to catch them all!

Now to attempt to convert one to a secret silver......

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The new beast

Well as my 30th is coming up (8 months away) my wife decided (With a few suggestions in her ear) that it would be a good idea to get me a new kayak for my present. That was about 2 weeks ago, so with almost 9 month to search it took me a good week and a half to find what I wanted, get it secondhand and it was dropped off today.

A Hobie Outback 2009 model with upgraded sailing rudder, ST turbo V2 drive system, depth sounder, RAM mount and 2 scotty mounts.

Now all I have to do is convince her that I need to take it out for a few trips before my actual birthday......

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It'll never be beaten!

I couldn't make the trip yesterday, but Dad and a mate went out from Coronet Bay.They fished most of the day, landing about a dozen nice whiting and a large calamari during the day, As dusk was settling, they threw some fresh calamari strips out in 6.5m just out from Coronet Bay.

Dad had an almighty run and was nearly spooled. A short time later this absolute beast came to the side of the boat:

94cm, estimated weight of just over 9kg. They managed a few more nice pan sized reds and a keeper gummy, but this was the story of the night.Oh - And despite the fresh calamari strips wafting seductively in the current, it was caught on a dirty old servo pilchard!

I don't think we'll ever get one bigger so I'm back to the jewie quest!