It’s blowing 15-20 knots and you are itching for a fish. What can you do?
One of my favourite ways to fish when conditions aren’t quite so pleasant is to hit the creeks. There are not many systems that don’t have a creek or two feeding into the main rivers and bays. The good news is that all of these creeks hold some sort of fish and are usually quite calm when conditions are not so nice else where.
Keen tourny angler Andrew Death and myself decided to do just that recently and we had so much fun we went back for a second round a few weeks later. We loaded the Hobies and headed to an old favourite that always seems to produce a few quality fish.
Fishing from the Hobies has a few advantages in this type of tight structure. Being so low to the water means we can skip lures under the tightest of gaps beneath overhung branches. We can also position the kayak really well whilst we are casting and retrieving lures.
I’ve found that fishing into a headwind is the most practical way to go. The wind should be pushing you back out of the snags which is a great bonus for two reasons, firstly you can hold position with the mirage drive whilst twitching and pausing lures in the strike zone and secondly when you do hook up the wind is already giving you a bit of pulling power to get those bigger fish out of their snags.
As far as choice of lures goes I’m a firm believer that you should just use whatever you are confident with. Andrew fished the snags with topwater lures like NW pencils and i think i actually heard every hit he got. Top water is a great way to fish the creeks because the fish are often looking upwards for their next meal whether it be a cicada that has fallen from a tree or a bettle or even a shrimp skipping on the surface. It’s also a great way to fish because every hit is like a mini explosion, especially when the bass are biting. I fished mostly with soft plastics and rigged them on light hidden weight jig heads. I like fishing this way because I find I can get my plastics right in amoungst the branches and keep them in the strike zone whilst any fish that are looking at them make up their mind about whether or not they will eat it. I mixed it up by throwing some sx40’s as it got a bit later hoping the noise of a hard body lure would attract more fish.
Its interesting to note that topwater,plastics and hard bodies (crankbaits) all worked equally well.
One thing I really like about fishing these skinny creeks is that you don’t really know what will come next. It amazes me that we catch bream side by side with bass and also get the odd ramdom flathead in totally fresh water. I got lucky with a few of the better fish I hooked and had a few bass and bream come from the middle of a mess of twisted branches and twigs yet still make it to the kayak with 4lb leader.