Spontaneous fishing trips are usually some of the best, the type where you just get up and go with no real plans or expectations. The March long weekend crept up rather quickly and with a few days off Josh and I decided to head east to explore a small tidal estuary system reserved only for those with kayaks or a small boat.
After a few delays we finally hit the road at by 7:30pm bound for East Gippsland with what seemed like the rest of Melbourne. After a long and tedious journey we finally arrived at 2am, unrolled the swags and tried to get a few hours sleep in anticipation for what lay ahead.
Day one saw us wake pretty early to get the rods rigged and the boat in the water by 7am. A short boat ride across the system to a likely looking bank and the first casts were made. Conditions were near perfect with overcast skies and glassy water, we decide to fish surface lures. After only a few casts we had success almost instantly with a good-sized tailor exploding on a small surface lure, thankfully it had managed to hook itself in the back and the fish was brought on board without biting through the thin 4lb leader. Only a few casts later Josh was on again with his Lucky Craft Sammy. After a solid couple of runs in skinny water we had a solid 39cm bream in the net! We continued to work the area for a few more boils and hits but with the tide pushing in and the sun getting higher in the sky we made the call to move.
We worked our way down to the front of the system where we found huge rust coloured boulders dotted aside the channel to the ocean. With the tide roaring through this narrow passage way, the boulders created eddies and upwellings in the strong current. I made a long cast at the front of one of the boulders with a Jackal Chubby and with 3 turns of the handle it got smashed, the fish really used the current to its advantage, after a few good runs and some tense moments fishing just 3lb fluorocarbon a very fit 39cm Yellowfin Bream was in the net.
We spent the next hour or so working the same area including sight casting to fish positioned on a flat behind some boulders. We watched as fish would hone in on the lures then chase it down in crystal clear water which proved both visually exciting but also frustrating when they would turn at the last second and refuse our offering. We managed a few other smaller bream then head in for some lunch.
The afternoon was spent exploring the upper reaches of the system, looking for some perch or maybe a bigger bream. Although the banks looked ideal with numerous fallen eucalypts and tea trees on the banks. We found the fishing very quiet with only a handful of average bream.
After the exciting surface bite from the morning before, we made the effort to be on the water at dawn the next morning to take advantage of the low light. To our surprise the banks we had planned to fish from the day before were now super shallow from the low tide, this combined with a slight breeze made surface fishing quite difficult and our confidence dropped. The temptation of more hungry Yellowfin was on our mind and made for an easy decision to head back to the front of the system where we located fish the day before.
Finding our way to the entrance turned out to be quite a challenge with overcast skies making it very difficult to differentiate the channels from the extensive sand flats that cover much of the system. After running aground a couple of times we finally made it and began to employ the same techniques as the day before. We could see some big fish feeding around the boulders through the crystal clear water. Instead of positioning the boat with the Minn Kota we instead decided to fish at anchor, not only saving precious battery power but also holding us in a rock steady position, allowing us to concentrate more on casting than boat control.
Both of us managed a few fish each on Chubby’s before I switched to a Zman Slimswimz and on the 5th cast it got smashed and the fish took off 20 meters into the raging current, over the boulders and buried itself into some weed. I free spooled the fish and luckily it swam clear and I got it to the net – another very healthy Yellowfin Bream that went 43cm and my biggest yet! I was over the moon!
By 12 o’clock the fishing slowed and we decided to pack up camp and head to a bit bigger system on the way home.
Upon arrival it was too windy to fish the main lake so we went for a drive and a bit of an explore. We found some really nice water which we fished until dark and managed a few small bream on Bent Minnows aswell as a few mosquito bites!
Monday morning we awoke to light winds and an overcast sky, exactly what we were hoping for and a stark contrast to the 2ft white cap waves of the day before. The plan was to fish Bent Minnows along the tea tree edges with locked drags! With almost instant success we knew it was going to be a good morning. The fish came thick and fast with most casts resulting in a boil, sip, kiss, or clunk of another decent fish. Combine this with the added challenge of trying to extract bream that take you deep into the Tea Tree, you could say we had an eventful morning and a great end to the trip.