At the end of last year, I set myself four fishing goals for the holidays. Dry fly Trout, Bream on fly, Kingfish on fly and prawning with the kids. Well the holidays are over and I actually didn’t do all that much fishing over the break. I drove past the boat ramp on numerous occasions and looked at the queues out onto the road and boats fighting for a spot at the jetty. No thanks, I really couldn’t be bothered.
By the time Christmas was over, New Years Day came and went and we spent days at the cricket and catching up with friends and family, I was suddenly looking down the barrel of returning to work without having wet a line…
Fortunately late December saw us make a road trip down the Coast to catch up with Vicki and Scott to go pawning on Lake Illawarra.
I love prawning. Nicky loves prawning and the kids love it also. Best thing about Scott and Vicki’s version is that we did it from the comfort of our boat. Power pole down, anchored off the channel, scooping the prawns as they floated past. No wading around in the dark, one hand on the torch, the other holding a child’s hand so that they didn’t trip over whilst trying to carry a bucket and a net… Then the usual “Dad I’m cold” after 40 minutes. We had a great night, caught enough prawns for 2 prawn rolls and made the long drive home at midnight, satisfied.
Early January, queue phone call from Josh that went along the lines of “you need to get down the coast, I CAN GUARANTEE you a bream on fly. Thursday is the day”. Blah, Blah… How many times have I written about that phone call from Josh? But Bream on fly was on my short term bucket list. A phone call to Steve Fields from Hobie had a loan Hobie Outback lined up (Thank you Steve) and I made the road trip down, caught up with Josh, Nick and Mark and we went chasing Black Bream on the fly.
I never caught one. The bite was nothing like the one they’d experienced a few days before, but Mark caught his first beam on a home tied fly, and Josh got one after I left on a surface fly.
I had 3 bites on an Ultra Shrimp pattern, and was well and truly shown up by the wily bream in the snags. Fly fishing the snags was so much more difficult than I had anticipated. 3 bites, 3 lost fish. Does that count as half a tick of the bucket list item? And why do I always believe Josh when he says “I guarantee”?
Suddenly I’m back at work and I haven’t achieved half of what I had wanted, so what else do I do? Easy, I’ve extended the deadline and changed the heading to “4 things I plan to do this summer”.
This week I did the dawn patrol on Sydney Harbour with Justin and landed my first fly caught Kingfish. A rat, but nevertheless a Kingfish. The anticipation was immense, as Josh got his first only a few days before.
Justin landed one on his first cast on a sluggo, and on my second cast at the marker buoys, I let the line sink for 30 seconds before starting to strip it back. Although I was anticipating it, I didn’t expect the ferocity of the strike, and the fish had me back on the chain of the buoy in a split second.
A quick retie and I’m back out there again and about 10 minutes later I’m hooked up! I can completely understand the addiction of guys that live to catch kingfish, and to do it on fly was an incredible experience.
In all we caught 5 and lost 2. Not bad for an hour and a half session on the harbour. It makes me realise just how lucky I am to live on such a fantastic waterway – catching Kingfish one minute and back in time to get to work.
Dry fly trout you ask me? Well hopefully I’ll have that one sorted too before the end of summer. I’ve got a trip planned with Flyfishing tragic Josh Hutchins (AKA Aussie Flyfisher) in early February.
If anyone can help me tick this one off the list, I’m certain it will be Josh! He’s now running Guided Fly Fishing trips for Trout from Sydney. If you’re interested, you can check out his Facebook page.
So, what did you do this summer?