The weekend just past, we got lucky! Just happened to be in the right place at the right time. By 11.30am during the BETS round on Sydney Harbour, Justin and I had no fish in the well, and had pretty much exhausted everything in our game plan. Everywhere we went was conspicuously absent of bait, and we’d managed nothing but the odd undersized fish.
In a “Hail Mary” moment we “paper,scissors, rocked it” and decided to make the long run in the atrocious conditions, from the Parramatta River to Rushcutters Bay, East of the Harbour bridge. Given the conditions, we figured that not a lot of the 90+ boat field would have made the run, and at least we’d have some “clean” water to fish.
Initially we thought our decision was a dud! As we struggled to hold the boat in the wind, staying in touch with our lures, tight to the moored boats, was nearly impossible. Justin decided to change to a heavier jig head, and a slightly wayward cast landed his lure a couple of meters off his mark. To his surprise, when he lifted the rod tip, he felt the weight of a fish, and managed a just legal bream – our first for the day.
At this time, we noticed a heap of “skittish” bait moving through the back of the bay in 6-8 foot of water. We also caught 4 or 5 tailor in quick succession. But, when the lures got down past the tailor, dead sticking them on the bottom (like bait scraps perhaps), it was almost a bream a cast. A pattern at last! I changed to a heavier weight jig head as well, and weeding through the small fish, we managed to put 3 legals in the boat.
Now, aside from casting at a bait school, I’ve never really experienced this before – well at least not to this degree. I witnessed the winning team at a tournament a couple of years ago pulling bream after bream from under schools of Kingies off Gladesville and I’ve heard talk of guys casting into the trail of a stingray fossicking in the sand on the flats, to specifically target the bream feeding on the scraps.
Just as quickly as the tailor turned up, herding the bait into the shallower water, they dispersed, and so did the bite. It happened that we were in just the right place at the right time, and Justin’s wayward cast in the gusting, swirling wind presented a pattern for us to seize upon.