The wind was forecast to be a north-easterly that would build through the day and we were 6 days off the full moon. I could not stay away from Fishing Creek – the sandflies were driving me nuts but the good catches of the day before, drew me back to the same spot, just after dawn. The tide was another hour further in, as I waded through the shallows. I stopped at all the usual pools and channels and continued to fish with lightly weighted GULP soft plastics, in the natural Banana Prawn, Peppered Prawn and Watermelon Pearl colors. I caught a couple of small flathead and tried out a new MARIA suspending minnow hard bodied lure, that I have been sent. Sure enough it got the small flathead going and accounted for another two, before I lost it to a mangrove root. I could not find any big mothers but there were some enormous ‘lies’ in the sand, so they were around.
The MARIA lures that I have used so far have been very good. Despite this, they are slightly cheaper than many of the more established, mass produced lures on sale in Australia. Like my favorite DUO lures, they have superb colours and always have a very refined and specific action. I would love to see them in more tackle shops.
I wanted to fish the area where I had found a Trevally the day before. It is a mangrove lined curve in the bank with several fallen trees along it. The water powers round the curve, when the tide is running and the fallen timber offers a good ambush spot for bigger, predator fish.
My hunch proved right. I was now fishing with a 3″ GULP Minnow on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. First taker was a 45cm estuary cod. It tried to lodge itself in the mangrove roots but I let it swim out and then pulled it ashore.
Something was smashing bait close to the mangrove roots and I thought it was probably another cod. I lobbed a long cast and it landed inches from the roots in exactly the right spot. I let it sink and thought – it will either be snagged or it will catch a fish. I twitched the rod tip up but there was no resistance. I let it sink again, paused and repeated the process. I did this about four times until the lure must have been on the bottom, in about mid-stream.
I twitched the lure up , off the bottom and it stopped dead, on something solid. Before I could register line was screaming off the reel. The fish was heading up current but in the direction of the mangrove roots. I instinctively started walking backwards and winding against the screaming drag. This had little impact at first but then it turned back towards me.
I tightened the drag a little and the fish seemed to pause in the current, for a few moments. It then lunged off again. It kept making long powerful runs but they gradually got shorter. After what seemed like a lifetime, I caught a glimpse of large silver scales and a big tail slapped the surface – it was a barramundi. I was as patient as I could be and I let it run when it needed to. I was fishing with 12lb fluorocarbon leader, so brute force was not going to land this fish. Fortunately I was on a gently sloping sandy bank so when I was sure it was played out, I gradually eased it out of the water.
It was a beautiful 57cm saltwater barramundi. As it lay on the sand, the jighead just dropped out of its chin. I took a few pics and measured it and after a minute or two, decided it was just too handsome to eat. I took it back to the water and it swam off. It was about 9.15 am.
Now I was excited, but cast as I might, I could not find another barramundi. I swapped to a MARIA MJ Twitch hardbodied, suspending minnow and cast this out. This got whacked on its second try, but it only pulled up an angry estuary cod.
I moved on to larger GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. After a few casts, something walloped the plastic and took off. It went berserk and started leaping and splashing. I took it for a Tarpon and after a very violent fight, I landed it.
I fished on until about 10.30 am and then decided I had had enough. It had been an excellent mornings fishing in a beautiful location.