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.