I have Crazy Leg withdrawals.
The last of my Gulp Alive 5 Inch Jerk Shad Crazy Legs in Chartreuse Pepper Neon was flicked to the mud monster last Friday after subduing six monster bream and a half monster flathead.
My local Tackleworld is not my favourite haunt. But my withdrawals were palpable, so I ventured into the overpriced and under-enthused abyss. They had about a dozen Gulp Alive tubs, a couple of 7 inch Jerk Shads, some Sandworms, Shrimp and Peeler Crabs. Peeler Crabs? Who the $#@% uses Peeler Crabs anyway? That thought was enough to furrow my brow, my addiction unsated. I had to converse with those of little interest. “Do you have any Crazy Legs?”. “Nuh” came the concise response. I waited for a moment to give him time for the more customary continuance of ‘But I can order some in for you’. None was forthcoming. At least I avoided giving them my custom again.
I headed to my quant local tackle store. The owner was much more enthusiastic, but unable to help despite his willingness. He used to stock Gulp, but the local Tackleworld had complained to his supplier about actually having competition. So one would help me if he could, the other wouldn’t help me though he could.
And tackle shop owners complain about the internet. I don’t. It came up trumps. Two tubs, to my door cheaper than Tackleworld would sell it to me after begging for a decent range. But I would have paid that extra, just to get my fix.
My fishing withdrawal still won out. The Crazy Legs fix was in the post, all juiced up but no-where to go. I had somewhere to go, but my juices weren’t flowing. I headed to Local No 4 in with an ominous lack of craziness in my legs.
I would have launched at around 10:15am. This was delayed by about half an hour through having a long chat to the ranger, that just happened to be a Texan kayak fisherman. He’d spent some time fishing for Kings at Longy, but was not on AKFF. Between shared stories laced with lies, he informed me that the lake had recently been almost 2m deeper. The recent rains, high tides and big swells had conspired to open it around a month ago. So there was a reason that it had fished so well (other than my well known angling skills and guile of course).
I decided to try to manufacture a Crazy Legs by filleting a 5 inch Jerk Shad. Instead I filleted my thumb just as the ranger was about to depart. He initially took my enthusiastic waving as a sign of our newfound friendship, but stopped and rummaged through his first aid kit for something to hold the blood inside my thumb. He found something well before I became pallid. Suitable pressure applied, it was back to slicing my gulp into something that looked like the result of a gulp juice primed ménage a toi between a fish, a squid and pool noodle.
The weather was awesome, a slight sea breeze chilled the air, the water temperature was 14 and my pulse rate 140 as the paddle to the honey pot rekindled my desires. I trolled an sx40 this time, still to find the perfect 3m diving lure. I wasted no time, making a bee-line to success. I presented my mongrel to the awaiting masses. First cast, second twitch, first interest pulls tight. A decent fight was difficult to read. Was it a medium bream or a large flathead? I will never know as it released just before it could be identified.
Half an hour passed with hardly a touch. Then a brief hookup followed by slack lines. Twenty minutes later, another solid hookup, another ambiguous fight. I don’t know what it was as it self released just before identification.
It was slow going. Perhaps half an hour later, another peck, soft weight, a solid strike and an ambiguous fight. I don’t know what it was as it self released just before identification. This was not going well.
I changed plastics. First I tried a Squdgy Fish. Nothing. Then I tried a Squidgy Grub. Nothing. Perhaps an unmolested Gulp 5 inch Jerk Shad? Immediate touches. Gulps were definitely the go. Another hookup, another ambiguous fight, another self release within a breath of identification. It was time to change locations as well a lures.
I headed across the flats. These were mostly 1.2 to 1.5 metres deep. The tea coloured bottom was visible through the tea coloured water. I passed a remnant channel around 2.5 metres deep and peppered it with plastic. My Nuclear Chicken radiated from my yak, but all directions came up empty. I carried on.
Google Earth told me another channel was apparent at the edge of the flats. It was a sudden dropoff from 1m to 2.5m. Unfortunately the predominant species in those 2.5m depths was snot weed. I peppered and peeled the weed from by Shad, but my desires were waning. I skirted the flats near the dune blocked entrance hoping a flathead would enjoy the clean sand. I was wrong. Back to the dropoff I headed, trolling a Bubble Pop far behind. Not a sausage. Surely not a doughnut?
I returned to my honey pot, peppered it with recharged Gulps. I had many hits, figuring these to be undersized bream. Bait balls, completely lacking during my recent successes, appeared everywhere. Fish symbol taunted me almost continuously on my sounder. Why do I never catch fish when my sounder says I should? Eventually I did hookup again. I don’t know what it was as it self released just before identification.
It went quiet again. I changed to an Ecogear blade and started trolling the dropoff. It was monstered once which gave me heart but no hookup. Ten minuted later it was monstered again, and this one stuck. The headshakes were unmistakably that of a flathead, a good one at that. I never got a chance at a measure. It self released just before identification.
The blissful quiet of the lake and surrounding national park was emphatically broken.
One last blast with the gulp. More pecks, more twitches, but lacking in the subtlety that I’d come to know from the monster bream. But finally, after four hours of casting, I hooked up tight enough to yield success. Doughnut averted, just. It was perhaps legal, but a shadow of those that had come before. It mattered not. I avoided my second ever doughnut by minutes.
It was a reality check. This lake was not to be taken for granted. It was indeed as fickle as all others. Normal transmission had resumed. I was indeed the same pretender that I’d come to accept.
At least in the absence of Gulp Alive 5 Inch Jerk Shad Crazy Legs in Chartreuse Pepper Neon.
Last edited by Ado
on Sat May 19, 2012 10:30 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Adrian36cm Redfin, 58cm Golden Perch, 35cm Whiting, 38cm Tailor, 42cm Sand Flathead, 62cm Dusky Flathead, 32cm Snapper, 47cm Black Bream, 68cm Salmon, 30cm Flounder, 42cm Frigate Mackerel