To stay or to travel: Do we really need greener pastures away from home? – Craig Ainsworth

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The second half of this year I made a resolution to put more effort in getting to know my own river much better. Now this was not an easy decision to make with so many great stretches of water within an hour’s drive of my home on the Mid North Coast of NSW. However I was becoming more aware of how little I knew about my own river. During what I thought was a tough Hastings Bream and Bass Club outing, I delivered a dreaded doughnut while others were weighing in full bags of bream. Maybe, just maybe I was trying to be a jack of all rivers but a master of none- not even my own!

Something had to change- so the decision was made.

image005With Bass season open as of September I had a clear choice to head up to one of the premier Bass Rivers on my stretch of the coast 35 minutes from home or to halve my car time and really get to know my home river and tributaries. The biggest difference in what I was doing included a change of tactics which included practising my short range accuracy casting in water that was by any standards skinny even for my four metre tinny. In previous years I had been spoiled with wide open expanses with very little hard structure which liked to claim lures. Now I needed to make deadly accurate casts hard up against shaded snags and undercut banks and Lilly pads.

The last month has seen the use of trusty Baitcast gear and Spinnerbaits. I usually run three baitcasters two of which are the Daiwa Excellers with the third being the Daiwa Viento. On these I use 15lb braid with 15lb fluorocarbon leaders. All held together with two 6”6” Daiwa Spellbinders and the newer Daiwa Black label Finezza. When things start to go quiet later in the day I switch to weedless plastic rigged on worm hooks with small ball sinkers tied into the loop knot.

While the numbers of fish haven’t been huge the satisfaction level has. The battles with Bass from 26 cm babies through to battle hardened 45cm models have been knockdown, drag out, brutal affairs where despite using great gear a win is never assured so close to structure. All the while stonker bream, great Flathead and even a Mulloway have been ready to hammer my Spinnerbaits as they tease their way through the water column. No doubt the sound of Cicadas will bring on the surface bite as well in the coming weeks.

So many things to look forward too!

My fishing over the last month has gained me a new appreciation of the fishing riches which are right under my own feet. The next challenge is to improve that Fly casting and take on these Bass hand to hand on the Long Wand all the while getting to know my own stretch of river.image002

Images supplied by David Poulton and Susan Blanch

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