The (Endless) Search

Catching that big trophy fish is the pinnacle of our sport. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Bream or a Marlin, that personal best or specimen bigger than any of your mates has caught is one of the most satisfying things in fishing but it’s not the be all and end all. More than a couple of times in the last year I have caught average fish that have given me just as much satisfaction as a big one.

In this day and age you just figure everything is known about and there are no more “secret” spots. This is going to start as a push to go out there and search for your own secret spots and end up as the story of one we took just lately.

Heres the key, and I’ve said it before but nearly every freshwater creek and river has fish in it. If it flows to the sea, it will have Bass in it. If it doesn’t flow to the sea (for a long time anyway) it will have Trout, Cod or one of a handful of other species worth catching. I remember catching eels in the creek not far from where I grew up in western Sydney and it occurs to me now that there probably would have been Bass in it somewhere (edit: now that I look it up it flows into Cattai creek and into the Nepean and most definitely would have had Bass).DSC_6296 (1)

The Trout bug lately has been what has really had me searching though. I know that there are creeks and rivers not classified as “general Trout streams” that have Trout in them and are therefore not subject to a closed season. Voila! Year round river fishing for Trout…… but I can most certainly tell you that no one is offering up where they are or writing about them on the internet.

So with a bit of scouring Bing and Google maps as well as consulting the Trout and Salmon regulations I found a river that I thought should fish. Now we come to the story part……. I roused the troops for the last weekend of Trout season to go on a exploratory mission to this river.

“No worries guys, I’m sure we can 4wd the whole way there.”

I’m sure you can guess we came to a closed gate. So we backtracked and tried to get in a bit further upriver and came to….. you guessed it, another closed gate. Thankfully this gate was less of a walk to the river. I figure it was about a kilometre and a half but when we got there it was just a trickle. I was still sure the spot I wanted to get to would have fishable water (not so sure about actual fish though) and by the time we got back to the car it was only about 8:30am. We could call it a day or walk from the first closed gate.

“It only looks to be about 3 or 4 kilometres on the map near the gate.” (there was no phone signal to check)

I now know the map near the gate was not to scale.DSC_6243

So the four of us set of, woefully underprepared with regard to food and water, to see what we could find. Looking it up now shows it is more like 8kms each way. Thankfully most of it was fairly flat but it was way further than any of us had bargained for. I kept thinking “surely we’ll be there soon” but after a while I was just thinking “God I hope there are fish there or I’m going to end up buried in a shallow grave here”

A solid two hours later we got to the pool I had seen on the map. We quickly forgot how long the walk was and while we were putting on our waders (which we carried in as well…. it’s only a couple k’s right?) I saw what I was convinced was a fish swim right past the end of the pool.DSC_6270

The first really noticeable thing about this place was that there was nothing to indicate people ever go there. No rubbish of any sort, no tracks, nothing. It was a solid bush bash with a rod in your hand and even though it only looked ankle deep, it was crystal clear and closer to waist deep. It didn’t take long to spot them cruising around, the place definitely had Trout.

It wasn’t a huge pool and all up we were there for an hour and half or so. Vicki got a nice one on a plastic and dropped a much bigger one and Ian got one on a hardbody. They certainly weren’t trophies and I didn’t even catch them but they were some of the most satisfying fish I have had in a long time.

Needless to say the walk back out was very taxing with all of us at our physical limit for the small amount of food and water we took with us. Would I do it again? I’m still not sure. I have to find out 100% whether it is subject to the closed season or not and even then there is only a limited amount of fishable water at the end of that big walk. On the other hand it was nestled amongst some of the most beautiful Australian bush scenery I have seen.

One thing is for sure. I’ll take a lot more food and water next time.

One response to “The (Endless) Search

  1. Yep, it’s one of the reasons I’m going to Florida this year for the Tarpon. I game fished for close to 18 years and for some of that time was involved in it’s administration. I remember one day there were a lot of Kawa Kawa around and I landed a good one which I thought was a NSW 10kg record so I went through the process of registering the claim. I was Secretary of NSWGFA at the time and three days after I had finished processing my claim a claim from another club arrived and I was pipped by half a Kg. So my big fish didn’t last long in the book.

    These days I don’t bother to do the comps and I have lost count of the fish I have caught. The only things which stick in my mind now are; I caught my first Barra in January 1949 and my first Bass in February 1964. I do remember a day in Ramingining the guide commented on how well I kept my gear and asked how many fish I had caught on it. After a quick calculation it was over 400 Barra plus all of the other species caught during Barra fishing.

    I will continue to go fishing but it doesn’t matter about PBs these days it’s the pleasure of fishing and the fish are the bonus.

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