OK, it’s time for my crazy musings on how the weekend just past went at the grand final.
I haven’t been Bream fishing in a while and I haven’t done a tournament in even longer. It’s been Bucks party and wedding season mixed with a few boat shows and work trips away, the last weekend of Cod season and then the opening of Bass and Trout season that were the main culprit for both of those things. As always though I look back after a weekend of tournament Bream fishing and realise I have learned a lot.
I qualified for the kayak side of the GF quite early on and never ended up fishing a boat round. So kayaks it was. Now for those that don’t know, the SSBS grand final is a two day event held in two different arenas. Day 1 on St Georges Basin and Day 2 on the Shoalhaven river. As everybody knows I have a love/hate thing going with SGB as I struggle to understand how it works but have had some amazing results there. On the flip side, most people curse the Shoalhaven river because it is over fished but I look at it and just “get it” because it has tidal current.
The funny thing for me this weekend was I wish it could have been a “choose your watercraft based on the weather” comp. Saturday morning on the Basin had a nice little breeze puffing along before we even started. Perfect! By the time I paddled around the point having picked up a few undersize on the way to the area I qualified for Worlds in, the breeze died and the water went oil slick. Crap! FML!
After 45 minutes to an hour the breeze slowly started come in from the SW. By the time I paddled from the deeper water that is productive in the glassy conditions to the shallows that would start to work in the wind, that nice little breeze just hadn’t stopped coming and was downright howling. The white caps started to roll in and the two fish I got came from what was essentially a rip. All the water and white caps was slowly rolling back out as a line of dirtied water that had fish feeding in it. Unfortunately it just became impossible to fish as I would cast out and could hardly wind the reel for having to pedal and steer the kayak because getting out of position was not an option. Straight on to the waves and it would have been waves over the bow, taking occasional white water from side on is not and option either. I never felt unsafe as I knew how to handle it but unfortunately it just took the constant attention of two feet and a hand to steer. The whole time this was going on I was thinking “The boats will be smashing them in this weather” “I wish I was in a nice big boat today”…. and smash them they did, with the leading bags coming from the windward shallows and topping 4kgs. The worm however, was to turn the next day.
It was always going to be a tough start on the Shoalhaven with an early low tide leaving not much water anywhere kayaks can realistically fish from Greenwell Point. When the tide did turn it really started to hoot in. The weather had a perfect amount of wind with some cloud and haze cutting the light down. I’m a firm believer that when the tide really starts to run hard, Bream will move up into shallow areas that have less current. Why expend all that energy swimming in the channel? Move up onto the shallower flats where the water isn’t ripping through. At the time I was surprised to hear that the eventual winners only had two fish at a time when I had three and was still getting bites. At one point there were about 6 kayaks including that the the kayak side winner Stuey Dunn catching fish on a flat regularly enough in full view of one of the leading boats who simply could not access that area.
I was even more surprised to find that while I had a day where I was upgrading fish many of the top boats that had caught near 4kg and above the day before had only come home with two fish. From where I was wishing I was in a boat one day to almost having a smirk on may face because I was in a kayak the next.
In the end I set myself to just do the best I could with what was happening at the time and try like hell to put a full limit together regardless of what craft I was in for the day. But it was just funny to get that “rags to riches” feeling from one day to the next.