Sunday, January 25, 2015

First Barramundi Of The Year.

Hi there,

Here comes the tale, of my first caught Barramund this year.

  • I hooked up five fish and boated only two.
  • It was my first ride in Brett's new boat.
  • Brett caught more fish than I, once again.
  • All our fish were caught casting lures, soft plastics and hard bodies.
  • I caught my first Barramundi on a Cultiva Tango Dancer.

I had not really had the possibility to go and do some serious fishing yet this year.
So when Brett invited me to have a go at fishing on Darwin harbour in his new boat, I jumped on the offer and said yes in no time.
And has usual, serious fishing with Brett, was full of laughter and it was a very good day on the water.
Brett picked me up from my home a bit before 11:00am, and we were soon launching the new boat from a ramp not very far from my place, nearly at the heart of the city.
The plan was to go at the top of Sandgroves Creek, and to be locked for the low tide, behind the rock bar.
And this is pretty much what we did, after having a look around in some mangrove first to see if we could sight cast a fish or two. But the water conditions, certainly due to the previous rain, was not in our favour,  so we went back to plan A and up Sandgroves Creek we headed.
We arrived a bit before the tide started to recess, and already we could hear a little boof here and there. I started to get excited, with the anticipation of catching my first Barramundi of the year.

Sandgroves Creek at low tide.

As we arrived I started to cast on the right hand side corner and just after a few cast, as my lure was passing the corner, I felt like if I was hitting the mud or a snag. So I gave it a very soft pull, to make sure that I had not encounter any timber. The line suddenly tensed and a little Barramundi started to show us how good it was at aerial acrobatic.
Yes I was on!
It was no monster but it was in my eyes, legal nonetheless and I started to get in the "I am more excited than I should" mode.
But it was not to be, as this feisty little fish was not only good at acrobatics, but it wasn't too bad either at spitting lures.
I didn't like this demonstration as much as the jumping one...
But hey, now we were sure to be in the right spot, fish were around.
This one had been hooked and lost on a soft plastic, rigged with a single hook.

Not discouraged, I continued to cast in the same spot, hoping that it would have a few brother, or maybe even a big sister hanging around the same ambush point.
And yes it took just a few casts to be on again, same lure, same trajectory, slightly smaller Barramundi... And same result...
A few jumps, and an award in lure spitting/escaping 101 for the fish.
Red card for me...
Well I tried to think that there is always another round, and that I would get my revenge.
It took a bit of time but it eventually happened.
We had moved to another arm of the creek and we could see the Barramundi boofing around us, but we couldn't manage to tempt them with our offering.

Having already lost two fish with soft plastic and single hook, I decided to try a hard body with trebles, as a way to turn the odds in my favour.
So I elected to use a little Tango Dancer.
I had heard by many people that this was a great surface lure, and this is no secret that love fishing with surface lures. At the moment my favourite walk the dog type of lure is with no doubt the DUO Realis Pencil 110, but I was afraid that it would be too big compared to the bait that the Barramundi were feeding on, this early in the season. This is why I choose the small Tango Dancer, as I don't have any of the smaller DUO Realis Pencil.
Well truth to be told, I now also really like the Tango Dancer in small size.
Because it got me my two fish of the day! And got boofed a few other times, where I lost the fish.

Brett, told me to look where the bait was shimmering on the surface of the creek, and to cast straight on it or just behind it.
So I did it.
We saw a school of bait being very nervous on the surface, next to a couple of trees standing on the mud, and we both casted in the direction of it.
Brett a soft plastic and me my surface hard body lure.
We couldn't see Brett's lure but I was attentively looking at my little lure, walking like a puppy on the surface through the bait school who got even more agitated. 
The lure going right, left, right, left, ri Boof!
No more lure on the surface! Where is my lure?
The straight line pulling away from me, and a Barramundi jumping at the end of it told me quick smart where was my lure, and with whom...
Oh I didn't want to loose a third fish, it wasn't very big, but I really wanted to finally land my first Barramundi of the year.
Because of the smallish hooks on the lure, I had my drag rather loose, and the fish was able to take a few nice run, and even when it was close to the boat, it dived again, and made me turn around the boat to know where it was going.
finally, with the fish boat side, I grabbed my leader line, and pulled it inside.
First Barramundi for 2015!

First Barramundi of the year.

It was not very big at only 57cm (22.440945 inch), but it was also my first legal Barramundi on my new combo and I decided to keep it. My little family was going to have some fresh fish to eat.

After that, I was happy, and the day could have gone without another fish for me, that it would have been the same... Yet, being a fisherman, I could not stand there, and not cast a lure, while Barra were boofing around us. So I did a cast in the same direction of where I got my fish, and didn't got another fish.
I then saw at least three simultaneous boof just at the back of the boat, so as quick as could be I flicked my lure in the middle of all this foaming watery commotion. This was literally my second cast after my first fish, and I was on again!
It gave a better fight and jumped more, but was in fact a smaller fish, by one centimetre.

Second little Barramundi.

At 56cm (22.047244 inch) it was just one centimetre over the minimum size, so we decided to let him grow a bit more, and in the creek it went again.
Brett was starting to say that it was very impolite to out fish your skipper, and I couldn't help to smile at that. As any fisherman would do, when the skipper is a good mate and you know that you can laugh about this kind of thing. I even pretended that I knew and that this is why from now on, I would just miss all the fish that would gobble my lure...
I shouldn't have said it, because this is just what happened for the rest of the afternoon. 
(Karma anyone?)
Brett would reel in fishes, and I would loose them, either boat side, or just after the hit...
I became good at that.

By example we were just about to move from a spot, when my lure got boofed on the surface, just a few feet from the boat. It made me jump in my shoes! I love seeing the sudden attack of a Barramundi on a surface lure. It always brings jitters to me, it is hard to beat.
As This Barra boofed the lure, it missed the hook and swam away, none the wiser that it might have just avoided capture by the people from above...
Seeing this, we decided to persevere a bit longer on the spot.
And of course, another Barra took my lure with gusto, and of course, I lost it too!
But this one gave me a bit of a fright, because once boat side I realised that the lure had lodged itself under the gill of the fish. Now, it is never a good place to have one's line, as the gills have razor sharp edge, and I started to get afraid that I would loose my lure.
Brett even got the net to try and quickly net this strangely hooked fish.
We could see the fish swimming with one of the gill wide open, and the lure inside of it. 
Even if it had been cold weather I would have started to sweat looking down at that.
Just as the net was ready and the fish close to the boat, it dived another time and made a funny kind of twist, which freed the lure and he swam away.
The line had very small damage from the adventure, which surprised me.
But by now Brett had spotted just opposite of us on the other side of the creek, some Barramundi boofing their head off, so we silently made our way in their direction with the electric motor.
Once there, it didn't take long for Brett to hook is first Barra of the day:

Brett first Barramundi of the day.

Yes it does look like the both of them are poking their tongue to me, as to teach me to show more respect to my skipper... Lesson learned.
The fish was in the 70s cm (27.559055 inch) and was going to be the biggest of the day.
Even if I think that Brett missed a much bigger one on a big Tango Dancer.

Brett missed a few fish there, I didn't even get a half hearted hit. Obviously, my lure was not the one to entice this bunch.

So we moved back to our first spot, where I had missed two fish earlier on, at the start of our fishing day.
On the way there, as I was saying that maybe my lure was good earlier but not anymore, and that maybe I should change it. As we were slowly moving with the electric and casting around, a fish boofed my lure, but once again didn't hook. I need bigger hooks!
So I kept the same lure on.

Brett then got his second fish, and it was a keeper too:

Brett second Barramundi.

Yes it was a keeper too, but we didn't measure this one, as it was obviously a fish of legal size.
Not long after Brett got his third fish, and because he already had two fish for himself in the esky, he decided to let it go.
Yes that was now three fish for him, and two for me, I had been defeated.
And yes, we did laugh about that too.
Which is a thing that I like about fishing with mates, the good camaraderie that enable us to laugh and relax about simple thing. A way to forgot about all of the world insanities, and to keep a good mental health.
Thank you Brett for inviting me on your new boat.

Now how big was this lure that got me my two fish?
As a fisherman would say: It was big like this!

My small Tango Dancer.

Yes a lure rather on the small size, when we think about Barramundi fishing.
But it seemed to match the hatch on the day, and I think that I will keep it in the tackle box, ready to use for my next fishing excursion.
Even if I do think that I should definitively change the hook on this little lure.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Two Nuddies From Moz.

Hi there,

I was lucky enough to received just before Christmas, a present from Moz: two of his own handmade  fishing lures. He even asked me if I would prefer them as nuddies or painted.
I said nuddies.
(Nuddy or Nuddies, are the lures left without paint, on which we can appreciate the colours of the wood that the lure is made of)

In this post you are going to read about:
  • Two timber fishing lures.
  • Both nuddy. 
  • One I will use to fish, the other will stay dry in the collection.
Yes Moz is the maker of the now well regarded Stick With Eyes, a timber lure that has earned its strips on the Darwin Harbour mud flats. With a great amount of Barramundi already caught by this little lure.

Why a name like the Stick With Eye? Well maybe because that is what it simply look like.
Look for yourself:

The Stick With Eyes.

I am sure that now you understand why...
At first glance it does look like a stick with eyes. 
But if you look at it closely, you start to see that it is shaped for swimming.

Hydrodynamic of the Stick with Eyes.

I can tell you that this very lure will be swimming, and hopefully bring me back a Barramundi.
This is what dream are made of...
And yes, it is signed under the chin, like a hipster tattoo:

Signed under the chin.

That to me is a fishing lure, who own its beauty in great part to it simplicity.

The rightly named Stick With Eyes.

At 9 cm long (3.5433071 inch), it is small, but has already proved it efficiency, it is power in a small package at its finest.

Now the second lure, called the Fall Out, is a lure that I have never fished, but this one will stay dry and safe, in my little collection.
It has already proved itself a good fish catcher too. After all, Moz caught a Barramundi that was over the metre mark on it in 2014. What other proof does one need?
And it is a rather beautiful one too:

The Fall Out.

Yes this one is a nuddy too. The more it goes the more I start to love my fishing lures to be "Au Naturel". I am yet to decide if they have the same fishing capacity as the painted ones, but on pure look, they have won my heart.
The Fall Out is a fishing lure of small size too: only 8 cm (3.1496063 inch).
Like the Stick with Eyes, it is rigged with double hooks instead of the more traditional trebles found on many hard body lures.
In fact I have myself equipped some of my Reidy's B52s with this type of hooks.
I then use them mostly when fishing land based, in very rocky places. This help to avoid getting snagged on the first rock or oysters that your lure bump into.
But I have to say that I didn't invent the system myself, no, in fact I had seen a post about it on the great blog: Secret Barramundi, written by Hiro, a legend of land based Barramundi fishing in Darwin.

Portait of the Fall Out.

When it is looking at you, you know that he means business.
From a profile point of view, the double hook, actually look like the fins.

Side view of the Fall Out.

This look like a small lure that would have a great action, destined to go snags bashing and extract fishes from the most unholy places.
The bib is made of aluminium.
Here is one last image, for the road as they say...

Dreaming of catching big fishes.

Both were made by hand, in Darwin, Australia.
We are pretty lucky in Darwin as it seems to be a revival of the cottage lure industry. It is very nice to see so many people making artisanal timber fishing lures; so close to home.

This is two lures that I really like and am very happy to now have in my possession.
Thank you Moz, that was a great Christmas present.

Now, it might be a few months before I will be able to show you a fish caught on the Stick with Eyes, so please be patient, and indulgent.

But hey, it cold be worse.
Have a good day,
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