The Hard Row (Words and images by Paul Davidson)

I recently bought a kayak and I’ve flicked a couple of lures and soft plastics but mainly fished bait.  I am just new to the kayak scene and really like my fishing and have watched the AFC on TV and wondered if there was a kayak series.

I’ve only been targeting bream for the last 2 years and being a member of the Nicholson angling club we just bait fish.

Now sitting on the bank for hours was starting to wear thin hence the reason for buying the kayak. Not that there is anything wrong with bait fishing for bream

I ran into an old boss of mine, Dean Gamble, as a regular on the bream tournament series, I asked him about the Hobie kayak series.  Dean told me there was one coming up in Marlo in a few weeks. So I pick his brain about everything tournaments and got the ball rolling.

The challenge I had was that I had a sit-in kayak and would struggle to fit a live well within the kayak.  With a bit of innovation, I came up with a cradle made from 90mm drain pipe and an engel 60lt esky. I tested the setup in the next door neighbours pool, it floated so that was a good start for me.

I looked at magazines and dvd’s Micah Adams DVD “Hard copy” was like a bible. I just tried to copy his fishing style and actions.  I swapped a couple of mini bikes I had in the shed with a guy I knew, I got 30 hard bodys of my choice and 10 packs of soft plastics.  The time had come, I packed my car and headed for Marlo.

Now I have to say not knowing anyone, not ever been to Marlo before and not knowing what to expect I was packing myself.  When I got to the start point there I could see everyone with there sponsored shirts and Hobie kayaks, which got me thinking, “what am I doing here”.

As everyone jumped on the kayak, I had to tie my live well to my kayak and I found out that it didn’t float too well without water so I had to fill my livewell up before we even started and immediately thought that this was going to be hard towing this thing around.

My aim for the weekend was to catch “a” fish. With my limited experience with lures I knew enough to get by but thought I was out of my league to remain competitive.

I thought the field would go upstream so I went down towards the mouth hoping the wind might blow me back later in the day.  My first 2 casts, I caught fish and this gave me great confidence, so a few casts later I thought I’d head up towards the rest of the anglers.

I was knackered by the time I got to a rock wall just past the front of the first Island, so I threw out my anchor and gave it a crack.  I tied an Austackle Blade on and was casting towards a rock wall and just worked a semi circle from where I was anchored.

I caught a couple of small bream and my first keeper. I hung out there for about 1/2 hour when “whack”, I had one hell of a bite and had line peeling off the spool and with a great fight, I got the fish closer to the kayak and saw a silver flash and thinking “Ahh its a perch” thankfully, as I brought the fish to the net it was a cracking bream.

I guessed at the time it was about 1.5kg later at weigh in it was 1.4kg. I was over the moon 2 keepers by 8.30am.  I made my way up stream further and caught another bream which was a keeper and had my limit.

I caught so many fish including flathead, bream, poddy mullet and a silver trevelly.  So heading back to the weigh I weighed a 2.555kg limit and was happy, after all I wanted to catch “a” fish and to end up with a bag like that put me in 10th place for day one

I was a very happy camper.

Day two started much the same, paddling with the 60lt live well ( like a dead body) behind me, my aim was to get around the first Island.  It took me 6hrs to get around the island with the current, the livewell, my arms and the heat (35-38 degree both days) working against me, I was spent.

I caught a heap of tailor and small bream but finding it hard to get a legal sized bream.  Time had ticked away and I was ready to head in for the day, so I pulled in at the weigh-in site with 1 bream. Before I could get my key tag onto the board, Dean Gamble came over to see how I had faired, I told him I only had the 1 fish.

Dean’s response was, “don’t give up, just go out the front and see how you go” so I went out and flicked and flicked and caught a couple of perch and small bream.

I had about 20 minutes to go when I got another fish. I weighed my fish for a total of 1.41kg which was better than I thought so to end a hard but great learning experience I ended up 18th overall out of 70+ kayakers,

What a great weekend and I would recommend it to anyone.  Since the last comp I have purchased a Hobie outback and have practiced flicking lures and am pumped for the plenty of comps to come.

12 responses to “The Hard Row (Words and images by Paul Davidson)

  1. What a great Read,Enjoyable from start to finish which had me wanting to keep reading.Congrats Paul on a great result in your first comp, I wish my first teams was that memorable

    Thumbs up

  2. Thanks for your comments mate, it was a really hard day and to finsh near the pointy end made the pain of towing the esky fade away. I recomend it to anyone.

  3. Great read and well done! I’m sure you’ll enjoy many more comps and at least you know what to expect next time.

  4. Great article Paul I didn’t realise you were that famous when we met. I am guessing you will be a little higher up the leader board at the Coota round. Lets hope we all Smack Em!

  5. Hey Blair how are ya m8 we had a great session the other day on the sand flats. M8 I hope I am a little higher up this time round at Coota. Hard place too fish very up and down. Good luck and we will SMACK EM!!!

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