Another trip to Nelson and another round of the friendly family competition. This time we purchased a Berkley long sleeved fishing shirt, not because of the design (I personally would have gotten one with subdued colours and a nice bream on it!) but because it was the brightest red, and it has become known as “The red jersey”. This was awarded to the competitor who was currently leading the competition and Dad got to start with it due to winning the last competition at Corinella when he nailed a good snapper a month or so ago.
We also had Patto come along, as well as two of my sons, who at 4 and 2 years of age also entered the competition with gusto!
We arrived at “The Shack” after the obligatory McDonalds stop at about 10.00 on Wednesday evening and had to put the boys into bed and settle them down before casting in off the back deck. The shacks along the river, particularly at Donovan’s landing are awesome! We were using the squid for bait that I had caught earlier in the week and almost instantly I was onto a mulloway, the first of 3 for the night and Dad had only managed to hold onto the red jersey for about 15 minutes before losing it. The mulloway were from 42cm-45cm so I was on the board with 45cm.
A later than expected start the next morning as intermittent showers and cold winds had put us off (Fair weather fishermen who enjoy a good breakfast) and we took the boat to Nelson to launch, where it was extremely windy. Hindsight says that we should have launched at Donovans however you can’t get a good gauge of how windy it is there as the cliffs protect you. Patto, myself, Ben and Will were in the boat whilst Dad was doing some recon for the first half an hour. I managed a 27cm bream and a 25cm EP on a strike pro cyber vibe but the rules of the competition stated that the fish have to be size to count (Except mulloway as they are respectable at any size!) so we were still at square one. We saw Dad at the ramp so went to pick him up and it turns out that the Canoe hire place wasn’t open so he had been sitting at the general store with an egg and bacon sandwich and a coffee. Reluctantly he left these nice surrounds and joined us on the boat for about an hour and a half of fruitless lure casting before they dropped myself, Ben and Will (Who were both a bit over it by this stage) at the car and we drove back to the shack for a rest. Dad and Patto met us at the shack later that afternoon and had not managed to trouble the scorers, except for one lost mulloway.
All of us went out for the afternoon session where we managed a few fish, with some more undersize mulloway coming in (Dad on the board with 42cm) and a few near misses. Still no decent bream though.
Friday morning was another leisurely launch and the fishing was a bit slow, but I managed a couple of EPs to 36cm and some more mulloway. Dad got in on the action with some soapies as well however failed to upsize.
Back to the shack for some lunch and a change of plans saw us on the river with some pilchards and I took Ben and Will’s rods. They both managed to catch fish, with Ben nailing 2 mulloway to 44cm on lightly weighted pilchard cubes and Will getting in on the act with some small bream, and managing to photobomb the first picture of Ben with his mulloway.
Ben didn’t understand the significance when I told him that it took me almost 30 years longer to catch my first mulloway! Patto got a few small bream as well.
Saturday morning saw us all put on the vibes and heading towards Dry Creek. Again it was the mulloway dominating with Dad and I getting a few each – Dad upsized to 44cm and mine were all again 42cm-44cm. The boys once again needed a rest so we returned to the shack and Patto and Dad took out the bait rods. We started by driving into town for some supplies and I found the canoe hire place open so went in to get some local advice. They agreed that vibing was the best method and all the recent rain had all but driven away the decent mulloway and put a few fish off and I left with their #1 recommended lure – A strike pro hummer in black with an orange underside. I got a coffee and the boys played on the park and Patto and Dad returned about 5 hours later, whilst myself and the boys fished off the shack intermittently, with Will getting on the board with a 42cm mulloway and a 29cm bream - I even managed a 29cm bream and these were the first fish kept for the trip as we were having fish and chips for dinner. When they did return it was an ominous sign – Dad had managed mulloway to 45cm, a 38cm bream on a pilchard cube and in a couple of casts of the vibe just before they left nailed a 27cm EP to give him the red jersey! Patto was also happy with a 44cm mulloway and 31cm bream. Patto was tired so Dad and I headed out for the last hour of daylight. My new strike pro hummer was nailed first cast but failed to hook up and didn’t have another sniff for 45 minutes, whilst Dad managed two small EPs. Then just before dark I pulled in 2 mulloway in two casts, both around the 44cm mark.
Sunday morning was our final session with us having “lines in” at 10am. It started exceptionally slowly and we were about 1km north of Dry Creek and it was about 8.30am before we found a school of fish to cast to. I then got about 4 fish in 6 casts (All on the new hummer), with a few good EPs and an upgrade of my bream to 31cm. Dad was a bit slow, but suddenly his line went tight and after a short fight he landed a 35cm EP and was suddenly 6cm ahead. I landed a few more fish, including another bream of 32cm to take the lead down to 5cm however the quantity of fish was not enough for the size of Dad’s one, with his 38cm bream (Controversially caught whilst I was stuck at the shack with the kids!) putting him ahead and giving him the championship.
The final tally was as follows: