I wrote last week that I don’t necessarily have a lot of time for winter and to be honest, nothing has changed… at all… Spending 2 weekends on Lake Macquarie in winter may seem like the silliest thing to do for someone who struggles to fish deep but I guess that’s what you do when you love fishing
The drive to Lake Macquarie on Sunday morning was filled with dread and anxiety with the thought of blading for 7 hours not exciting me at all. From the outset I wasn’t looking forward to it but it was made worse by all of the reports of tough fishing and a remarkably still morning. With that news, the possibility of 7 hours of blading turned into 7 hours of blading and potentially for nothing. If fishing was going to test my patience, I knew it would be this blading session in the deep for nothing that would push me over the edge.
Fast forward 3 and a half hours to a boat with an empty livewell, two frustrated anglers and no obvious options. I was ready to throw in the towel and to a certain degree, I did. We decided that we’d giving blading the flick and rather than be bored, hopping blades while catching no fish, we would opt to be bored, throwing crank baits, stick baits and blades while fishing boats, pontoons and edges but likely not catch any fish as well. We figured, we might as well present ourselves with a casting accuracy challenge, instead of no challenge at all.
Now, I’m not exactly spiritual but it seemed like the session was a test put on by higher powers because as soon as we made that decision, the wind picked up and the clouds started to get an angry look to them. We came to the first lot of boats we ended up fishing and I said to Bernie “they are here, we’ll catch them” and my gut feel was right. I caught a fish from a boat hull, using a crank bait on my very first cast!
You can imagine I was pretty excited and it didn’t end there, we got blown away by a fish on a pontoon and managed to scrape together 4 fish in total. I was pretty pumped to be freezing cold and catching fish like it were summer. I felt like I was saying to the Lake Macquarie system “you can’t stop me fishing structure” with one of my fingers raised firmly in the air, I felt like I was doing it my way.
We still needed one more and we were working our way back to the start point. I figured that some of the boats around the start would have been fished by other anglers but while the wind was absolutely howling, I was confident in our ability to land casts in the wind, while others were heading straight to the sheltered bays and banks.
I was confident and ready to go with a crank bait and fished the boats like a mad man but it was Bernie at the back with a blade that hooked our last fish. Time was short and I barked the instructions “cut the lure off, dump the fish in the well… we’ve gotta go, we’ll sort out the lure when we get back”, all of this while I packed up the electric motor, my rods and Bernie’s rods. I heard the zip, click, click of his life jacket going on and he barely got bum on seat before I was under power.
It wasn’t a tournament winning limit, nor one that would push us into the top 5 or even 10 but one that reminded me that I have to make my own way in those types of situations. I don’t have the patience that others have when they grind it out in the deep…
The morale of the story, I still hate winter and the next session won’t be like this one but my preconceived idea of a boring, dreary, deep bite was wrong. The winning team claimed they had a session around the pontoons to match any deep water bite, proving winter fishing isn’t about rugging up so you look like Bibendum (aka the Michelin Man), while throwing blades in 20 plus feet of water . I just hope I remember this for next time.