August Club Trip - Phat times in the Bay
6 September 2014
Well... What can I say? The forecast changed its mind a number of times during the week, but eventually it held steady enough for us to make the call for a bay trip on Saturday. The plan was to hit the mangrove lined beaches early, and then play it by ear....
Three boats each with two crew lined up for the shotgun start from the National Park Boat ramp.... Once out of the river, a b-line was made for one of the mangrove lined beaches over at Cape Cleveland, to have a shot for some barra as the tide slowly began to recede. Two hours in, and all we had to show for it was one lonely missed barra, but that's what you get when you don't use bite tippets, Dave.
Eventually a call was made to change tact, and at this point all indicators still pointed at this being a trip just like every other. The decision was to find some shallowish weedbeds in the hope of tempting a school mackerel or three. This wasn't to be, but.. and it's a big but... the by-catch was prolific. The wolf herring were schooling, and in places they were so thick we were sight casting to them. Dozens of these toothy critters were hooked up, jumped off or released boat-side, with only the odd one or two actually making it inside....
Wolfies up to a metre in length were caught, and the highlight of course being numerous double hook-ups, a rat queenfish to Dave's 4wt, and Richard Wallace's first fly caught Spanish Mack.
It was about now that a quick rest and snack was had, while we recounted the fantastic session we had had over the past hour.... It was here that Steve Munday hooked into two very nice tarpon, in just about consecutive casts, the biggest just shy of 60cm he almost needed a gimble belt to get it boatside... Not wanting to be done, Dave also hooked into one that would have been an addition to his top 10 at somewhere also over 50cm... However too much messing around led to a quick release before having a chance to measure it ... In this instance, two inches of 15kg bite tippet is NOT enough when said fish are hungry enough to engulf the whole fly!
It waas at about this point that Brad and Dave noticed a little bit of action over on a small nearby flat, and a race ensued for poll position... Though I'm not sure if the other two boats were fully aware of this. First up a large school of something was seen, a cast made, and a yellow - tail scad boated... Next up.. a cast into some slightly deeper water just off the edge of the flat resulted in a hook-up to a nice golden trevally... A fantastic capture on a 6wt!
As it turns out, the flat, although small, was a fantastic fine, with lots of micro-structure for smaller trevally, and blue salmon to hang out, and there was no need to move on for the rest of the day.
Each boat consistently hooked and landed fish after fish. Numerous small trevally, including blue spot, giant and bludger were haunting the flats, with a number of miscellaneous species such as happy moments and a single ray being hooked, as well as two very nice blue salmon.
For the most part, the choice of fly was much like the Model T ford. Any fly was eaten as long as it was white. That was the story for most boats most of the day, except towards the end. Brad switched to an orange shrimp pattern an continued to account for fish after fish, while Dave, persisting with white, had interest wane. The proof was definitely in the pudding, with almost immediate results once he changed flies to a spawning shrimp with plenty of orange. And the last fish of the day was another pretty golden.