Happy New Year to you all. I have nearly finished another family holiday in beautiful Yamba. What a place for a family holiday! The weather has been kind delivering family friendly surf and a few good fishing days. Fish have been hard to find, with only a few really good feeds of fish in a couple of weeks. Species have been varied and I have really had to try hard to find fish and have used different methods than I may normally use.
I love the bass catch. A great chance to fish and then talk rubbish about fishing over dinner. This year I was a bit strapped for time and not able to camp, so we decided to fish on Saturday afternoon and then go to the barbecue before the drive home. Daniel was with me, so we decided to fish from the tinny above Windsor.
We recently had our club fishing day. We did some planting of trees on the river bank, had a barbecue and then spent a few hours fishing in the afternoon. I say a few hours but in reality it was about 6 hours of solid fishing. My total at the end was 2 fish, another one dropped and another good hit. I fished with Rico and he ended up with 4 with another one dropped. Two of his came from the one spot in the 5 minutes before it got dark. Short story is that the fish were well and truly shut down.
Before last weekend I'd never caught a bass on a surface lure of any kind. Then I finally took one on a soft shell cicada and my boy Daniel got one on a hard Dreamfish cicada. Yesterday (21/10/16) I caught another 3 and had a 3 surface strikes that didn't hook up.
We have just had a beautiful weekend in Sydney to coincide with the annual Bass Sydney October bass catch. You can find out more about the bass catch here. The short version is that Bass Sydney runs a fishing event twice a year in the Hawkesbury/Nepean where all fish caught are recorded for lengths and place of capture and then the data is fed back to fisheries.
My first two trips resulted in donuts and today looked like being the same. I hit the water in the bass kayak at around 3:30pm and decided my best chance was to flog the water with a jig spin. I used the ever reliable slider grub in blue and chartreuse, only for it to be anything but reliable! I did at least hook up after fishing about 500m of bank, but what felt like a decent fish threw the hook before I got a chance to see it. My first hookup of the season at least.
I've never had much success fishing with soft plastics for bream. Mostly because I've never really devoted any real effort to it. Flathead have been a slightly different matter but even then I've never had outstanding results. At the end of this recent bass season I decided that with all of the water available to me locally, it's something I should get better at. The bass kayak is the perfect tool for exploring skinny saltwater creeks.
Another successful trip to Yamba in mid winter, this time for my 50th birthday! As far as fishing goes, the star of the show was again the humble luderick. They were in full flight this trip with fish being caught over much of the lower river, particularly from "the peninsula" and "the middle wall". They were biting very freely on green weed and black, but plenty of others were catching them on cabbage as well. During our week there we mainly fished the middle wall from the boat. Its tricky to anchor and you must spend quality time doing this properly at the start of the session with a two anchor setup, a sand anchor out the back and a pick out the front on the wall itself. The run out from full seemed to present the best fishing. On two days the wind was blowing hard down the river from the west, so we tucked in behind Freeburn Island (at the end of the middle wall) and still caught plenty of fish on the rock wall there.
The weather this week has been sensational. 20 degrees during the day and cool at night, but no need for heaters etc. The blackfish are all through the river and biting freely when the tide is moving.
For a number of reasons I didn't chase flathead in the boat today. So, this afternoon we had another shot at the blackfish around the T-piece. It's great to be able to ride bikes to your fishing spot, catch a few fish and ride home. Yamba is at its brilliant winter's best this week, it was warm enough to swim today and we did, having a body surf at the main beach. The river is full of fish of different kinds around the walls and the dolphins are having a ball bailing them up against the various structures. This afternoon while we were catching blackfish, 2 dolphins were smashing into the school of fish that we were fishing to. In truth there could have been a school of mullet next to them, but I actually had my float hit by one of them!
Back in Yamba for school holidays. We stayed in Grafton last night and arrived via Lawrence and the Bluff Point Ferry. It's superb coming in that way along the river, and especially on such a magnificent clear winter day. We stopped at Palmer's Island on the way in and grabbed some blackfish weed, black magic and some lovely fresh green weed.
Pretty soon it's going to be too cold for chasing bass, especially in the kayak. So, I was determined to catch at least one more before the end of the season. With a good forecast, I thought the early morning would be good and looked forward to hopefully being the only boat on the water.
With my attention focused on Bass fishing over the last two summers, I have had limited trips out in the tinny chasing pelagic species. This type of fishing can be outstanding in February and March and I've missed the excitement and the delicious sashimi.
What a place, you would think that by 2015 it would be buggered like most other popular places. But, it's one of the great survivors. I can't say that in a week the fishing has been spectacular, because by Yamba standards the fishing has been pretty poor. The setting, the facilities, the weather, the beauty of the place have made up for the lack of fish.
I received a text from Tham, he had a craving for blackfish, or at least for blackfishing. I was happy to go along with this as I was looking for an opportunity to take the kids somewhere where they could fish from the shore. Tham suggested Botany Bay, which is around the corner from him, and an easy drive on the freeway for me. He even offered to get the bait! Too good an opportunity to pass up in my book.
Received a text from Tham today asking if I wanted to go for some late afternoon kayak Bassin. The forecast was for stormy weather, but it's nice and warm so took the risk. I was on the water at 5pm, no sign of Tham, so I started paddling.
I had the day off yesterday, so took the kayak and had an early morning crack at some bass. I'm starting to get some confidence now, and back in the swing with my casting. I concentrated on using diving lures. started with a deeper diving Jackall Chubby. It was see-through and mostly green. I like these lures, they cast really well and you can bump them over the snags. This is what has made the difference for me, getting the lure in tight to the bank next to a snag and then bumping the lure across the timber.
The week beforehand was pretty rough, storms blanketed much of Sydney for days. By the weekend the weather was brilliant, warm days and cool nights. We paid for the weather though. The cold water Making its way down the river and cool conditions had the fish pretty well shutdown. Made it difficult for novices like me. In fact, I got a donut. My son Daniel though, did catch two fish, small, but out fished his old man.
Heading up to the Nepean tonight with Daniel to camp and fish for the Bass Catch. The storms have made the river rise a little, but it still looks fishable and decent weather forecast, although not the high barometer, high temperature that we might like. Spent last night getting the fishing gear and the kayaks ready. An array of lures in boxes ready to go, including my new Tiemco Soft Cicadas. I bought these from Fish Head in Queensland, rang on wednesday, got them on thursday morning express post. Fish Head didn't charge me for postage as the order was close to $150. They also threw in a Fish Head branded sun balaclava. Excellent service!