Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Exploring New Water

Guest contributor Rhett Thorne from Mad Keen Yak Angling tells us why its always important to keep looking for that perfect spot.

When it comes to estuary fishing, everyone has a secret spot, tucked away in the upper reaches of remote creek. I’m exactly the same when it comes to kayak fishing, as I paddle past many possible honey-holes in order to get to my own secret spot.

After having a long break from my kayak I had been keener than ever to get out on the water and flick my Rapala Lures into my favourite snag. I launched my kayak and began the paddle out to my spot in the glassy conditions of flat water and not even the slightest breeze of wind.

Picture perfect conditions
Wasting half an hour getting to my spot I happily began casting my lure at the snags most likely to hold fish. Only a minute later I was greeted by the frustrating sound of a boat motor cruising down my creek, which so happened to pull up just at my spot. Not so secret eh? I then spent the next two hours casting at empty snags or shut down fish.

My gear of choice is a baitcast combo for throwing larger hard-bodies, like the Rapala Saltwater X-rap 10 at Barra and Jacks in the snags, and a light spin combo for casting the Rapala Ultra Light minnows and shads at flathead and bream. The baitcaster combo of choice was my Okuma V-200A on the Silstar Barra Stik rod, while my spin combo was my new Okuma Avenger II 25 on the Okuma Taurino rod.

The Okuma V-System 200a Baitcaster

After having enough I left my creek and headed off, back towards the boat ramp, where I found a small sand bottom inlet, unlikely for a boat to access.

I cast at the snaggy bank and gave my X-rap 10 two sharp twitches and let the lure pause, as if to imitate an injured baitfish. When I began to twitch again I felt a thump… thump …thump. Then a flash of silver darted through the water. My first call was a nice little barra, but when the fish got close to the yak it became obvious it was a huge bream. The fish thrashed across the surface, shaking it’s head in attempt to spit the hooks. Unfortunately for me he did, before swimming away and down into the muddy water. I think I recall him rudely flicking his fin up at me, as if to give me the bird, while he disappeared into the depths.

Losing fish isn't fun, but you have to keep casting and hope for another.

After I finished crying over what would have been a PB bream I continued my search for a new creek. I paddled my way looking for promising snags till I found a mangrove tree which had collapsed into the water. I cast on an angle which allowed me to land my lure between the branches of the fallen tree. I aggressively twitched my lure into the timber then SMACK it was dragged in deeper by a bronze mangrove jack. I managed to pull the jack out of that snag, but he soon hooked the other set of trebles on a mangrove root in the shallows along the bank.

Once I made it to the bank I jumped out of the yak, into the shin deep water, then pulled him off the snag and pinned him down in the seat of my kayak, so he couldn’t escape like the bream managed to early on. The jack was tagged and released after a couple quick pictures.

The latest trend in fish fashion

I can’t wait to head back up to the new creeks I found with my 6’6” Okuma X-Factor 1-3kg rod so I can chase down those bream. When fishing close into the snags and in the skinny creeks it really pays off to have a shorter rod. But then again my 7’2” Okuma Taurino is unbeatable for castability and is by far a better option for flats, rocks and beaches when casting either soft or hardbody lures.

A nice jack from my my new 'Secret Spot'

This trip really proved to me the importance of exploring my local estuary to look for those hot spots that everyone goes straight past.
Words and Pics: Rhett Thorne - reproduced with permission. Read more of Rhett's fishing adventures at Mad Keen Yak Angling.

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