Back in the saddle…

Well, it’s been a while. A few months in fact, since I’ve turned a reel handle chasing bream. It’s been a busy few months, filled with all manner of fishing firsts.  Black Bass, Black Marlin, an almost-meter-Barra (99cm to be exact), and a wonderful cultural journey back to PNG.

But after 3 insane weeks at work, working 18 hours a day, I was really looking forward to last weekends NSW Bream Classic on Sydney Harbour.  Frankly, I couldn’t have cared less if I didn’t actually catch a fish, to be on the boat and not working was going to be the release I needed.

With no fixed game plan, no prefish, and no time on the water since the end of June, it was decided that the Run-and-Gun approach was in order.  Justin and I agreed that we’d spend no more than 30 minutes at a spot (unless we found fish).  With the start right on the high tide, and the first spot of our usual “milk run” highly dependent on good current flow, we decided to hit the flats in Hen and Chicken Bay… Yes you did just read right!  I can’t remember the last time I hit these flats, much less in a tournament.  We caught ZIP!  Not even a bite. Plastics, Crankbaits, Blades…

Fishing my favoured crankbaits tight against the structure, and Justin fishing deeper in the water column, we eventually found a pattern.  The bream seemed to be suspended in the 3-4m range, holding in the current.  We pulled 1 off a submerged reef, but the rest came from floating pontoons, bridge pylons and boat hulls.

Lures with a loud rattle seemed to put the fish off, with only 1 of my 12 or so bream coming from my favourite Atomic Crank.  The rest of my fish were taken on the silent, deeper diving Camion Dredge swum either across or with the current flow. For anyone interested, check out the September issue of Fishing World Magazine, for an article I’ve written about crankbaiting in Sydney Harbour.

We didn’t catch any monsters, but it was certainly good to be on the water, and our bag was good enough for eleventh place before THE LATE PENALTY.  What’s this you ask? Well heading back to the weighin, under Gladesville Bridge, I lost drive to the motor.  It was revving, but no drive.  There were no warnings, no loud bangs or explosions, just no go…and a snapped gear shift cable.

Now anyone out there who says that sportsmanship is dead amongst tournament anglers has got it all wrong!  I have to send a big shout out to Steve Gill who stopped to make sure we were OK.  I’m sure he was about to grab a tow rope to give us a lift. There was no way he’d tow us back in time for the finish, so we waved him on.

I got on the phone to Chris, and he checked with the organisers.  He dumped his fish in a weigh tub and made the mercy dash back to meet us at Gladesville.  We swapped boats, taking our fish and key tag, and made it back to the weighin 8 minutes late.  Thanks little brother…

Well the diagnosis is a blown gearbox.  Likely a legacy of the blade I threw off the prop at Mallacoota earlier this year.  Looks like I’ll be off the water again for a few weeks – in the boat anyway.  Think I might get the kayak back out, with the warmer weather upon us.

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