By Josh Carpenter
Well, they’re really not that big a secret. I’ll give you a hint, once you go down Victoria Pass, look for water and start walking. I had been thinking of taking two weeks off and driving up to Mackay to fish Eungella again with Simon Goldsmith but unfortunately that fell through but at about the same time Brad mentioned he was taking a week of to get some photographic stuff done as well as mixing a bit of fishing in with it.
Not long ago Brad had a tip about a few streams very close to Sydney and with the season opening on October 1st we decided to try our luck at one. Personally, I thought they were going to be much further away than they are. We turned off the main road and traveled all of about three kilometres until we came to a road bridge and parked the car. It may have been a stroke of luck but the weather over the long weekend was less than stellar and there was every chance we were the first people to walk into this spot.
Brad had a few new ultra light Presso rods he needed some promo shots with, one a four piece pack rod and the other a two piece and both being six foot in length. A couple of Presso Iprimi reels with 4lb fluro straight through and a box of trout lures. Basically, you could get away with your average Bream gear and my only advice would be to keep the rods as short as possible, but we’ll get to that part later.
I truly figured that we would have a fun day catching your average six to eight inch Trout but I was blown away with what happened. Have you ever made one of those choices that was just perfect? I always wonder if maybe there is something that would be even better but who’s going to take off the lure that is working so well to find out? The water was a little stained from the weekends rain and the day was overcast. Brads pick for a dull day is a dull coloured lure and he picked a matte olive coloured minnow and started casting towards the first set of rapids we stopped at. He worked a few of the back eddies between the the runs and within a few casts, bang, he’s onto a fish twice the size of anything he or I would ever have expected to see. At close enough to two pounds we both looked at each other in amazement. Unfortunately it dropped off right at the edge and swam away and I had that wondering doubt as to whether we had just hooked the trophy fish for the waterway and not got any photos of it. But, so as not to jinx us, I didn’t say anything.
I must admit, I’m no Trout expert and I was learning on my feet. But if you want to go try it (which I would highly recommend) here are the “cliff notes”. First of all, you want to throw your lures upstream and consequently you’re better off fishing in an upstream direction rather than walking past where the fish are facing and fishing back. This leads on to tip two which is to try and get as far away from entry points as possible. Unfortunately, if you are seeing empty beer cans you’re too close to an entry point and the fishing won’t be as good. The fishing got better the further in we went even though we were well into the middle of the day. The creek we fished only produced Rainbows for us which usually prefer the top of the pool and especially love sitting in current breaks besides faster moving water. They sit in the slow moving water and wait for the faster water to bring food to them. This is really cool because a good cast is usually instantly rewarded with a strike and it’s pure reaction fishing. The things to look for are foam lines which show the current and usually start at the head of the pool in the rapids, boils just under where the water flows into the pool showing where the current is broken, back eddies flowing towards where the water is coming from and most of all rocks which are an immediate break in flowing water they will sit behind.
So why the short rods? Well a lot of the casting is very tight and I would say half the fish (and some of the biggest) came from casts that were less than ten feet but had to be put there accurately. Think about how far ten feet really is. It’s not that much, so another thing to remember is stealth. Trout can easily be spooked on clear days and in clear water so try not to break the horizon and attempt to keep behind any cover you can and appraoch the water quietly.
But back to the fishing. Brad quickly went three, nil up on me with fish and it came time to change lures. I dove into the box and grabbed the same matte olive Gekkabijin Yogiri 4f and tied it on. I was amazed when Brad first gave me a couple of these to try for Bream. They don’t look like they would have as strong an action as they do. I can tell you from there that all of a sudden I was in fish, pulling a two and a half pounder and a huge three pounder in between catching plenty of the six to ten inch range fish. We got plenty of photos and had walked a long way and decided to fish one last run.
It was a great looking run but had one problem. There was a big willow tree hanging right over the head of the pool making it impossible to cast up into the current. “All you can do is fish it down current and hope for the best” was Brad’s comment. There was four or so current lines with pockets in between them where a fish would be and the only cast I could even make was a Steve Morgan style “spin pitch” and let the current work the lure in an arc back towards where I was standing while I ever so slowly wound the handle. It will be one of those instants that will be burned into my memory forever but a big fish hit the Yogiri with maybe three feet of line out before going ballistic jumping around under the willow tree. The problem with landing this fish as compared to every other one was that I had to pulled it into the current rather than downstream which made for the longest fight of the day by far. To top it off it was a beautifully coloured fish and got the biggest photo session of the day. Unfortunately for the fish, being the final one of the day it also ended up baked the next night for dinner. Interestingly, it had three large yabbies in it’s stomach and apparently still had room for the Yogiri.
Images courtesy of Bradley Sissins.