1770 – Tom’s Creek Barramundi – 6 December 2014

Saturday

After a great capture on Thursday, I had to go back to Tom’s Creek on Saturday. It was pouring with rain in the morning and pretty miserable, so I had a lie in and decided to fish the afternoon run out tide. It would be a big tide with plenty of run, as it was full moon.

Low tide at 1770 would be at 2.12 pm, so I assumed it would be half an hour to an hour later, up in Toms Creek. On previous days there had been plenty of bait in the creek, even on the last of the run out tide. I arrived to fish at about 1.00 pm.

I started with the soft plastic that had been fishing well on previous days – the GULP Jerkshad, this time in the Camo colour. Because it was the middle of the day and the water was fairly clear, I had dropped down to 12 lb fluorocarbon leader. The rain started to fall again and the skies were grey. The midges and mosquitoes were biting. It seems that being very uncomfortable is a prerequisite for a good fishing session.

I started off fishing through the gaps in the mangroves, as the tide was too high to walk along the edge. I caught a few small Moses perch, but my first decent fish was a dusky flathead who was obviously sitting on the bottom, just behind a rock. I let the flathead go and as the tide had now receded I walked up the creek a little.

It is very shallow and by this stage boats could not come up. This means the few hours around the bottom of the tide are very quiet. There are some deeper channels and holes and this is where I focused my efforts. I dropped down to a smaller 2” GULP Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I soon found a few more flathead but these were the bar-tailed variety. They were all too small to keep but it was encouraging to see that the fish were here.

I moved further up the creek, casting into the deeper pools where the water had carved out a vertical bank at the foot of the mangrove roots. On the next corner I found a small cod – about 30 cm long. I was now running out of water to fish so I went back to the car for a drink and a break from the insects.

Refreshed, I decided to give the fishing another try. This time walking south towards the mouth of the creek. I beefed up my leader to 16lb fluorocarbon and put on a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead and a GULP Mantis Shrimp, in the Peppered Prawn colour. There were big yabby holes all along the bank so I felt the mantis shrimp shape was my best match for a yabby.

I slowly moved along the muddy bank casting at the far side. It was about 3.30 pm. I could see a fair bit of bait around and every now and then, something was taking a swipe at it from below. I was moving as slowly and quietly as I could, in the thick mud.

At about 4.00 pm, I was standing in about 30 cm of water and casting into no more than a metre when something engulfed the soft plastic,as it landed, on the surface of the water. The fish took off and launched itself out the water at the end of its initial run. It was a medium sized barramundi. I had a chance with 16 lb leader but I was fishing with my light NS Blackhole Trout rod. There was no possibility of muscling this fish in. It was a long fight but fortunately we were in an area of sandy bottom and the water level was below the mangrove roots. It surfaced a few more times, shaking its head but the hook was firmly set.

After what felt like a lifetime but was actually about 5 minutes. It came to the surface on its side. It was a beautiful looking fish, around 60 cm long. But it was closed season on Barramundi so after a few pictures , it swam back to wonder what had happened and grow bigger.

By now, it was raining again, I was hot, knackered and the bugs were humming. I packed up with a smile on my face and headed home for a cold shower and an even colder beer.

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1770 – Tom’s Creek – 4 December 2014

Thursday

On Thursday morning I drove down to Wreck Rock to fish through dawn. When I arrived the wind and swell was up and the tide was higher than I had expected. After an hour and a spectacular sunrise, I decided to give up and look elsewhere for some fish.

I stopped in town for a quick breakfast and decided to go back to Tom’s Creek. I wanted to know what had bitten me off the day before. By the time I drove down the four wheel drive track to Tom’s Creek, it was about 10.30 am. I rigged up the light rod with relatively tough, 16lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. I cast this around in the same area I had been fishing the day before.

The tide was about half way out and was running quickly. I used the same technique as previously. I was casting at the base of the mangrove roots on the far bank. Inevitably I lost a couple more jigheads but when I finally put the soft plastic right up against the roots, something slammed it again. I tried to pull it out but the rod did not have the power and with the aid of the current the fish slipped into the rock bar and that’s where I left the jighead.

I re-rigged using a heavier ¼ ounce, 1/0 hook jighead and the same 16lb fluorocarbon leader. This enabled me to cast more accurately at the base of the mangroves, and helped the soft plastic get down in the water column faster. The first taker was a small grunter bream. I released it and carried on casting.

I swapped to a GULP Mantis Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. There were big yabby holes all over the banks, so I thought this might be a good shape to offer up. After a few casts I was on again, but after a short and furious fight I got half the yabby back with a bent jighead, but no fish.

It was now just after 11.00 am. I re-rigged with another ¼ ounce jighead, but I had no more Mantis Shrimp soft plastics, so I went back to a Jerkshad – this time in the Pearl Watermelon colour. Just a few casts later, a solid fish grabbed it. This time I had the drag tight and I pulled hard straight away. The fast running current helped me get the fish away from the rocks. It put in a few more determined runs but after a few minutes, I had the fish subdued at my feet. It was a great looking crimson coloured mangrove jack. I measured it at about 47cm, took a few pictures and released it to fight another day.

I fished on for about half an hour but could not find another fish so, at about noon, I gave up for the day.

1770 – Getaway Beach and Tom’s Creek – 3 December 2014

Wednesday

Wednesday was a beautiful morning but a disappointing one, from a fishing point of view.  I was still at 1770 and I decided to walk round from the beach that has the desalination plant intake to Getaway Beach. There is some really fantastic looking fishy terrain along here but apart from small dart and Moses Perch I have yet to catch anything decent here. I started at about 4.30 am and witnessed a beautiful sunrise but after a couple of hours of casting hard bodies and soft plastics all I had caught was a tiny sand flathead.

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I decided to retire and do something different for the afternoon session. I drove down to Tom’s Creek which is a tributary of Round Hill Creek. The boats can only get up to it for an hour or so, either side of high tide, but there are a few spots where you can fish it from the shore. I have had some powerful hit and runs, whilst fishing with soft plastics here but, apart from a few good grunter bream (javelin fish), I have landed very little.

It was now about 9.30 am and I started fishing with my light rod and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I fitted a 1/8th  ounce, 1/0 jighead and loaded it with a GULP 4” Minnow in the New Penny colour. I lost a few rigs working out where the snags were located.  I kept getting fast, aggressive bites but was struggling to hook up. I slowed things down and after about twenty minutes I connected with a mad fish – it was a Tarpon about 35 cm long, and it leapt around all over the place. I photographed and released it. I had a couple more bites from its mates, but could not hook up.

The tide was running out fast and so I swapped to a slightly heavier, 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead, but continued with the same soft plastic lure. This soon produced results and I caught a couple of grunter bream, the largest of which was about 35cm long.

I swapped to a bigger GULP jerkshad soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was casting as close as I could to the mangrove roots, on the far bank. At about 10.30 am something slammed the soft plastic, as it sank. It immediately headed for some rocks and after a couple of runs, it unhooked itself.

By about noon the water was fairly shallow and the tide had slowed, so I gave up for the day.