Tuesday, November 29, 2016

An Afternoon On The Adelaide River.

Hi there,

Last Sunday afternoon was spent fishing on the upper Adelaide River with Arrabmundi.
Here comes the tall tale of it.            

  • We fished the upper Adelaide River.
  • We got a few Barramundi.
  • We got all our fish on the cast.

Arrabmundi picked me up at my place a bit after lunch time, no need to get up early.
Still I woke up at 6:00 am, wondering if I should check my fishing tackle bag one more time, you know, just to make sure that I had everything needed, and that nothing got forgotten.
But the time arrived and on the road we were.
The journey to the river was as usual spent talking about fishing, big fish and all the ones that got away.
A bit like high elite athletes having a prep talk before an event...
Nah, just like two totally obsessed fisho really!

As we arrived the water was a bit lower than planned, but we launched quickly enough, to realise once on the water that we had forgotten the fishing lures in the back of the car...
Back to the ramp presto and off again, in direction of Goat Island.

Zooming up Adelaide river.

The water colour was very good, and not a ripple was to be seen.

Calme water on the Adelaide.

This photo was made from a boat going full throttle, as you can see it was very calm water.
In no time we were at Goat Island, just for a little chat with Kai, whom neither Arrabmundi or I had seen on a long time. But we didn't have the time for one of his famous burggers, we had other priorities we were there to catch some fish...

So back in the boat and we pushed still higher on the river.
Practically in the first spot where we stopped, I got a nice silvery Barramundi on my lure.
The little guy jumped all over the place, and I lost it at the boat. But for us, this wasn't a failure, it was a very good sign that the fish were around, and that we were to catch plenty.
Or something a bit like that. Something that you tell yourself when you lost a fish early in the trip.
And for once, it was going to be true. 
Even if it was to be a bit of time until the next fish.
We were casting soft plastics against a bank, Arrabmundi was telling me to let my lure sink, that a big snag was placed between the bank and us. He said that often there are fish hiding in this snag, and that your lure has to go through the branches of it to get a hit.
So I let my weedless soft plastic go to the bottom, and started to reel it in slowly, scraping some submerged timber on the way back. I felt a bit of a hit on the lure, but no hookup, and nearly immediately after that... Bang I was on!
I short fight latter and I had a small Barramundi jumping near the boat.
Now, not wanting to have the same result I had previously, I just lifted the rod and the fish, straight into the boat.
And voilas! I had my first little fish of the day:

Sweet little fish of mine.

This one was too short to keep, but I hadn't caught a Barramundi in a few weeks, and that was definitively something to make me happy. Simple things are sometimes the best...
We missed a few more fish there, before going to try our luck somewhere else.
By now the water had changed colour, but was still very calm.

Flat as a pond.

We saw fish on the sounder, in a deep hole, and tried to troll some deep diver over them, for no results. So we stopped, put the electric motor on, and sent heavier soft plastic in the deep hole, still no fish. Then we decided to try some vibe: no fish either.
This deep hole must have been a bedroom full of sleeping Barramundi, as we couldn't even get a tiny small hit in there.
What to do then? 
Well that is simple, go to another spot. This we did. And we found a few fish there...
First Arrabmundi came up with the first legal fish of the day:

Arrabmundi with the first legal Barramundi of the trip.

A keeper is a keeper, and that fish went in the esky, no more school for him.
I then got another rat:

Fishing selfie.

Yes, as you can see from this pic, I am not very good at selfie...
Which is why many of the small fish I got after that I didn't photograph.
And to be honest I didn't photograph the little ones caught by Arrabmundi either.
We did get a few fish there and were happy with ourselves.
And we started to slowly make our way back down river, the weather was perfect for this time of the year:

Adelaide River in November.

It did get a bit hot, but not too much, and we didn't get caught in a storm.
It was perfect fishing weather.
We stopped at another of Arrabmundi spot, hoping to augment our tally...
And catch fish we did...
First Arrabmundi got hits after hits casting against a log in the water.
The fish kept having a go at his lure, but never fully connected. 
And finally he said: Got it!
And a nice silver barramundi game trashing at the surface. Quick as I could I got the net and the fish found himself in a boat above water.

Arrabmundi with his best fish of the trip.

Yes Arrabmundi finally got this fish that was teasing him. And it was going to be his best fish of the day, sweet revenge.
There the technic was the same, send your lure as close as you can from the bank, let it sink, and hang on once you are hooked on, because the fish won't have long to go to brick you in the snag... You already caught it at the heart of the snag...
And that is exactly how I got my best fish of the day too.
But lucky me, it came straight for the surface, and tried then to swim around the boat to get to the middle of the river, instead of back in it's snag.

My best Barramundi of the afternoon.

It wasn't a monster fish, but it was still going to be the fish of the day. 
And like all fisho who suddenly, even if it is for a short time, gain some bragging rights, I was really happy with that.
Not to be undone, Arrabmundi got his third keeper of the day, just to show me what he could do:

Third keeper of the day for Arrabmundi.

By then we decided that we just had a good session, and that we would head back.
But on the way, Arrabmundi couldn't resist and showed me another of his secret spot.
A seemingly unassuming place, where he flicked a lure under a tree, and immediately got a beautiful little fish, with was promptly released.
I lost a fish  who spat the lure at me, just after. This was the confirmation that this was indeed a good spot. 
Then I got another hit.
The fish grabbed the lure, and swam straight back in the invisible snag and got me bricked before I could do anything. 
Of course in my mind, this fish was much bigger than the one I had just seen spat my lure in the same spot a few minutes before. After all, he had taken my lure and stuck it in a branch before I was able to turn it back. This was a story that I would tell for a long time...
Well maybe not...
Arrabmundi used the lure retriever to unstuck my lure, and told me that he believed that the fish was still on... And yes I could feel something pulling on my line. 
Excitedly, I cranked my reel back in action, pumped the rod, and...
A nice, very small Barramundi came to the surface. Certainly the smallest fish of the day...
In fact it must have taken the lure while it was in the centre of the snag, and just turned it's head to the side to get stuck in a branch. Making me believe that I had just hooked a huge fish...
We had a good laugh about it, and said that by now we must have spooked all the fish in this snag by getting my lure back with the retriever. So we went back to the ramp in earnest. With just a very short stop at Got Island for another short chat with Kai. To know how other anglers had done during the day on the upper Adelaide. It seemed that with our ten fish we did well.

Arrabmundi new boat just fly on the water, and it was a quick trip back to the ramp.
The night was falling upon us, and the river seemed peaceful.

Sunset on Adelaide River.

One could have easily forgotten that these waters are full of big crocodiles.

Thanks again to Arrabmundi for inviting me on his boat, I had a ball of an afternoon.
It was a long time that I hadn't see so many Barramundi up close.

The only problem with these kind of fishing trip, is that they are addictive...

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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Reidy's Lures Winner

Hi there,

In each issue of the North Australian Fishing & Outdoors Magazine (NTMAG), a fishing report posted on the free fishing forum FFF, is reprinted and earns the writer a $150 fishing lure pack courtesy of Reidy's Lures.
And guess who won it this time around?

The Magazine cover and page 7.

Yes it's noted on page 7 that I won the Reidy's Lure Pack.
This was a great surprise and honestly it did make me very happy.
I love fishing lures, and Reidy's lures are right up there among my favourites to fish the local waters of the Australian Top End. They have a wide range of strong lures, with great action and colours. Basically the team are locals to the area and as such make the best lures when it come to catching the local fish. 
And because I am good at loosing my lures while fishing, it is always nice to get a few new ones.

I contacted the people from Reidy's via Facebook to ask when I could drop by to pick up my prize. Karen kindly replied that despite the fact that they close before I finish work in the evening, she would be happy to stay a bit longer for me to have the time to drive there and choose my lures.
Now talk about a great service, not only they offer the prize, but they were ready to accomodate my time schedule so I could pick them up!

So off I went to the factory that very day. Yes I couldn't wait! I was like a kid before Christmas, I wanted to get there as soon as possible...

The Reidy's factory.

Just on the outskirt of Darwin, the factory is just a short drive away and it didn't take too long to get there. Once there, I felt like Willy Wonka in the Chocolate Factory...
Lures, fishing lures everywhere... 
I didn't know where to look, my attention could not focus on any in particular, there was so many of them.
First I had decided what lures I was going to choose, then I would pick two of them.
Yes every lure would come as a pair.
Well it's rather simple really. The fishing report on the FFF Forum was the story of a fishing trip on Brett's boat and I had decided to share the bounty with him as a thank you.

After much inner debate, I made my selection and was able to walk out of the factory with a great bag of lures:

My favourite sort of party bag.

What is in the bag, some of you might wonder...
Here it is:

First two Big Lucifer in the H-CHAR colour:

The Big Lucifer.

I really like this colour, and think that it might be slightly underestimated by a few anglers.
I already had the B52 and the Junior B52 in this colour, but didn't have any lures in the Big Lucifer size. 
Now I do.

I really like the Big B52, simply because my best Barramundi so far was caught on a Big B52 and the fish measured 111cm (43.70 Inches).
This is why I went for the Big B52 in a newly released colour:

Big B52 in Midnight colour.

Karen had just told me that if I was after a certain colour in the range and couldn't find it on the shelves to ask for it, and that she might have it at the back.
Immediately I asked for this one and she got it from the factory storage area for me. I really wanted one like that and nearly took all the lures in the Midnight colour.
I never had a hardbody lure in black before.
Now I do.

Another lure that has been released only a short time ago is the Renegade:

Renegade in the colour 008.

As some of you might know, the colour 008 is my all time favourite in the Reidy's range.
If I had to have only one colour for all of my lures that would be the one.
When the Renegade was released I went to the shop to get one, and I wanted it in this very colour.
They didn't have it in this colour yet at the time, so I didn't get one.
Now I do.

For the grand final, I chose the biggest B52 that you can find, the B52 Big Ass 200:

B52 Big Ass 200.

This one is the largest of the B52's family, as its name suggest it is 200 mm long (7.87 Inches).
The lure is building a solid reputation as a big Barramundi lure, and can also be trolled fast for pelagic. In other words, a good all rounder, it was released in 2015.
I chose this one in the colour called Purple Rain.
Why did I choose to take it in this colour?
Well I didn't have a single lure in this colour...
Now I do.

And here is the full loot of fishing lures:

My Pack of Reidy's Lures.

Big thanks to the FFF Fishing Forum and Reidy's for this win! You guys made my day.

Now, I realise that on the first photograph of this post you can't read the full story that allowed me win these great lures...
Well you can buy the North Australian Fishing & Outdoors Magazine or go on the FFF forum to read it there. There is even a blue link to take you directly to the forum at the beginning of this post.

As to the quality of the photographs in this post, well please be indulgent, as this is the first time that I written a post, where all the images were produced with only my mobile phone.

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fishing In The Mangroves.

Hi there,

Yes, I went back to Channel Island...
  • I fished in the morning.
  • At Channel Island.
  • Even small fish are sweet.
I arrived at Channel island earlier than usual. As I wanted to fish a different spot than the one that I usually go to there.
Every times that I went fishing on Channel Island land based, I walked past a small clearing in the mangrove. Both Theosodius and Arrabmundi had told me that they got fish in that clearing. I needed to try it.
It is a beautiful little place:

Arriving near the mangrove.

To arrive at the mangrove, you first have to walk on the rocks, and this is the hardest part of the walk.
Luckily it doesn't last very long. Once there, it is like a small oasis, or the tropical mangrove version of it:

I fished from there.

It is a great little spot. Without much room to flick a lure from, every cast there is for me a mini challenge.
Yet I was thinking that I could manage to get a fish from there, and was rather optimistic about it.
In fact I keep waking up in the night leading to it, being as exited as the average kid on the night before Christmas. No I don't have a fishing problem, I just like it...
Anyway, perched on this little outcrop made of mud and roots, I had a great view of what was swimming in this waterhole. And I felt relatively secure crocodile wise, yet I wasn't too cocky. And was definitively not going to get down in the water if my lure had been stuck on a submerged pice of timber or anything else.
This was good thinking as Theodosius told me later on that he had seen a crocodile in this very spot in the past...
For me still looking for a spot where I could take my child for her to have a go at Barramundi fishing, where I would not fear for her to be taken by a crocodile... This was not going to be the spot, that is for sure.

So all seemed good, except that there was no bait swimming around, and that the spot seemed strangely calm...
Not a single hit on the line...
Starting to be a bit bored, I went to look at the rocks from where I previously fished on.
Once there I immediately saw that the tide was still way too high, and that I could not fish there.
Back to the mangrove was the plan.
It was still very quiet, the only difference was a couple of big diamond scale mullet lazily floating around. No jitters in these fish, obviously no-one was trying to make a meal out of them. At one stage I was even starting to take photographs of the mullets, that how fast paced the action was.

Relaxed Mullet.

Oh well, I was there, I had a fishing rod and a few fishing lures. I might as well practice my casting, and lob my lure as close as I could of the underwater roots opposite me.
Doing so, I retrieved my lure in a rather mechanical kind of way, looking at the marks of the receding tide on the wet trees. When a sharp jerk in my line made me focus back quick and sharp on why I was there in the first place. But the only thing I saw, was a big silver flank followed by a large yellow tail, waving goodbye to me.
After all this time I finally had a hit from a Barramundi, and totally missed it.
I tried to see the positive side of it. At least, I was in the right spot, using the proper lure.
With my attention back to the task at hand, I noticed that baits had entered the mangrove, and that the occasional boof or splash could be heard around the place.
Optimism was back in full force, and I concentrated my casting near a half submerged snag.
I was watching my soft plastic moving in the water, in an injured fish manner. When I saw the Barramundi come out of the snag, and attacking from the side, swallowing the lure.
I hooked him up by raising sharply the rod, and he seemed a bit surprise, not moving, just staying on his side. Then just like that, it hit the burners and made a line for the mangrove. I thumbed the spool, and pulled on the rod. Luckily it wasn't a big fish and this made him change direction and head straight for the middle of the water pool. From there a short fight in zigzag across the water separating us, and the Barramundi was at my feet. I grabbed the leader and pulled the fish out of water.
It wasn't a big one, but when you have been trying for a few hours, even small fish are sweet.

My little Barramundi of the day.

It was too short to be kept, so it was released to grow a few more centimetres before next time.
By now the water had really gone down, and it was too shallow for me to continue fishing there.
This brought me back for the second time of the day to go on the rocks from where I fished on my previous visits to the place.
From there, with a clear view on the harbour, I realised that a storm might be about to hit.
I still wanted a bigger fish and tried to fish there. After just a little while, I saw a guy pass in from of me on a kayak, with two fishing rods in the holders.

Fishing from a kayak.

It was clear to me that this guy was much braver than I.
Between the approaching storm and the risk of meeting a crocodile, I would not have swapped place with him for anything in the world.
A few minutes passed and I began to feel the cold wind, and see the mangrove trees behind me starting to bent and move a bit too much for my liking. The storm was closing in.
It was time to leave, and fast. A brisk walk got me back to the car, just as the first raindrops commenced to fall.

The storm upon me.

So I didn't get a big Barramundi, and the fishing was cut short because of the storm.
I really would like to eat some good fresh fish.

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Channel Island Two Days In A Row.

Hi there,

Yes last weekend I went to Channel Island, again, a lot...
I went there on both days of the weekend.
  • I fished Channel Island.
  • I didn't catch any Barramundi.
  • I did catch a strange fish.
First on Saturday I went fishing with Theodosius, on his boat.
We launched nice and early from Dina Beach and made our way to Channel Island.
But we arrived there a bit early and the water was still too high.

High tide in the mangroves.

Due to the tide, we couldn't catch a fish there. 
The water was flat as a tack, and we moved to another spot.

Flat waters in Darwin harbour.

This is about when the special apparatus, destined to the best fishing possible on the mud flats first appeared:

Higher is better.

Yes, a step ladder was erected on the cast deck, giving a higher point of view. Permitting to spot the unsuspecting Barramundi from far away.
And it worked.
As soon as Theodosius got perched on it, he saw a Barra hiding back in the baby mangrove.
He flicked the lure toward it:

Casting from the ladder.

The Barramundi took the lure, but failed to connect.
This had nearly be a massive success, but it still was exciting to see that the idea wasn't bad.
But still, we couldn't get any fish there.

So we went in beautiful little creeks in search of success.
The scenery was grand.

Tree in the water.

Tree on the bank.

The fish were not.
At one point we came across a snag, and Theodosius told me that he often caught fish on it.
So... We sent our lures swimming over it.
First, we saw a big boil just behind my lure.
Following cast and I got a hit from a small Barra, but didn't hooked it.
So we continue to flick our lures on it, making them swim very nooks and crannies of it.
Then a better Barramundi hit my lure, give a sharp pull on my line, and swam away like if nothing...
No, we couldn't get any fish from this very snag on that very day.
So we moved along.
Arriving on a new large flat, from the top of his post, Theodosius saw a Barramundi that I could not see from the casting deck.
He made the right cast, and swam his lure in front of the fish, who presto got onto it.
And a nice big slab of silver Barramundi started to dance on the surface of the water, between us and the shore.
Quickly I got my lure back, and grabbed the net...
And then went on to commit the worst crime that a ducky can ever commit...
I was simply unable to open the net properly, and by the time this very nice harbour Barramundi was boat side, I was still battling the net, and not ready at all.
What happened after that is what you never want on your boat.
A skipper with a nice fish ready to be netted and a decky, who is not even able to open a net, is by itself a pretty bad combo... Yes you might have guessed it by now, the fish spat the lure after fighting on the side of the boat for a little while.
This was criminal from my part, and I felt rather bad after that. 
The fault was all mine.
I think that I am lucky that Theodosius didn't just show me the way to Darwin and said : Swim!
Now all kudos to him for taking it in a very cool way, and even still trying to put me on a fish after that.
We arrived in a new creek where he said that he snag should be there under water, but that we couldn't see it because of the water condition.
We send our lures in a few different places, until I screamed: I'm on!
to which he replied: You must have found the snag then.
I wasn't on to a Barramundi, but still Theodosius had the net ready in the water before I could get my small fish near the boat.
And he netted it first try, this was a little cod:

My first fish of the weekend.

This fish was too small to keep, and was put back in his element. To grow up and hopefully lead a happy fish life.

My skipper for the day climbed back on his ladder for a little bit, but not more fish were sighted, and we decided to call it a day.

Scanning the water for Barramundi.

This had been a very pleasant morning on the water. Thank you for inviting me on your boat Theodosius, and sorry for not being able to net your fish.

On the following day, Sunday, it was a land based attempt.
This time I was fishing with Tony, the maker of the beautiful Captain Seaweed Lures.
We arrived to channel island parked the car and walked straight where I had been on my last land based attempt on this island.
I did feel sorry for not insisting that Tony take a good pair of shoes as he hurt himself walking on the rocks.

The rocks of Channel Island.

The spot is nice and shady in the morning, expectations were high.
With the tide starting to recede, I walked a bit further on the rocks.
But a few big splashes in the mangroves on my left, kept me on my toes. I couldn't figure if it was a crocodile or a shark, and I didn't liked it.
As I was on the rock, I saw a very nice Barramundi swam next to me, it must have been in the mid 70cm and was just cruising past. I sent my lure in front of him, and brought it back, twitching it under his nose. He didn't even take any notice of it and went on his way. Either he was not hungry at all, or was the most snobbish Barramundi ever.
A tad frustrated I kept looking in the water all around, to spot the eventual fish, or approaching crocodile. Luckily no crocodile were seen on the day.
But a massive Queenfish came very close. 
Once again, it didn't even had a second look at my lure, and just swam calmly toward the horizon.
Thinking about it I was just reeling in my lure, when I saw something from the corner of my eye, having a go at my lure, but turning away just before hitting it, very close to the rock I was standing on.
So I made a long cast, and tried to retrieve my lure, in a way that would make it pass just between the rocks at my feet. 
And bang! This time the fish took my lure in earnest and was starting to pull on my line. It wasn't the fight of the century, but at least I had a fish, it was a small cod:

Rock cod from the rocks.

This one was just the right size to be put in a soup, so in the esky it went, so Tony could have a fish soup.
Yes, this is becoming a spot where I catch more cods than Barramundi.
But still a fish is a fish, and I was happy.

The tide by now was becoming low. 
Tony had started to use a surface lure.
I had to do long cast to give my lure a chance to swim before hitting the bottom rocks. 
It is just on one of these long cast, my lure had just entered the water, and no more than two turns of the handle on my reel were made when...
I was on again!
I saw a flash of silver, so it wasn't a cod or a shark.
It started to jump.
But seemed a bit skinny for a Barramundi.
Maybe a Queenfish?
But it didn't look quite right for a Queenfish...
It was a Chirocentrus dorab, most commonly known as a Wolf herring:

Surprise of the day.

Not much to write home you could start to say...
Have you seen its teeth?

The Wolf herring.

Some being have a face that only a mother could love...
I personally think that even the mother of this one has nightmares.

I had caught it on a small Junior B52s made by Reidy's, and started to think that this was going to be my lucky lure of the day.
Well it didn't took me long for the lure to get snagged and for my line to be cut on the oyster rocks.
I had lost my new lucky lure...

Still it was a beautiful morning in a beautiful location:

Calm waters from the shore.

Looking at the calm waters of the harbour, and the falling tide, I got a second surprise for the day.
My lost lure was floating very close to the shore.
And a little puffer fish was munching on the back of it.
In no times I walked toward the water edge, flicked the soft plastic I had attached to my line and hooked the floating lure, bringing it back to me.

Not lost after all.

I was very happy to get my little lure back.
But by now it was time to go back.
On the walk back to the car, we got more or less lost and visited the back of the island and the camp that was on it in the past.
Walking back Tony remembered that the last time that he brought his sons fishing near the same spot, he had seen a Bowerbird bower somewhere around it.
Sure enough he spotted it again and showed it to me:

Bowerbird's bower.

This is another part of the Australian bush that I really like. 
There is always something interesting to see, if you just take the time to look around you.

Now about all the Barramundi that were caught over the weekend?
Well I don't really know what to say about that, as none were caught by my fishing comrades or me...

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