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Back to work after a long weekend. Beautiful day and with my truckie away I had to get out of the office and drive around town doing the pick-ups and deliveries. Normally a good excuse to get out doors but today all I could see was clean, flat water looking like it needed my kayak out there to complete the picture...

For the long weekend we had a few options but had elected to stay home and make some day trips instead of heading for the hills for the closing of the trout season. Of the many choices we have we started the weekend off at Cuttagee which has always been my "lake never-fail". I have had winter sessions there where I have caught 40 to 50 bream but never take many home as they have been big breeding fish.

After I broke one of my two most used rods a while back I have been looking for what suits me and the way I fish. Also checking what was affordable after the child bride was made redundant. With her encouragement I finally settled on a T-Curve inshore travel rod, 7'2" 3 piece 3-5 kg. Very light, nice fast action, casts well and suits me. That's all that matters. I picked up the rod before the weekend and set it up with the 1500 reel I had used on the broken raider and all I needed was a place I knew well enough to be sure to blood it.

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Cuttagee was an absolute picture. Beautiful. The peace and quiet we are familiar with was broken by a yell "OK men, move out"... Down on the water there were 8 or 9 kayaks, touring boats not fishing yaks, setting out for a days exploration of the system and under the control of an authoritarian leader. We unloaded and set up, taking notice of the high water level that has occurred while the mouth has been closed to the ocean and also found out soon enough that the temperature was freezing. The tally for the day was a flathead strike while paddling out and late in the day a skinny water bream that fought hard. The flathead pulled the hook but the bream made a couple of nice runs before I was able to land it and avoid a doughnut. They were the only two hits either of us had and both were on the small finesse rod so the new rod remained untested.

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I didn't get out on Sunday and had to wait till Monday for a second try. Monday morning the conditions were almost ideal for an ocean paddle with light winds and a small swell. I changed the rods and took a baitcaster combo loaded with 20lb braid and rigged for live baits, the T-curve rigged for plastics or baits and the finesse rod rigged with a sabiki for gathering live baits. As the bride doesn't do ocean paddles I headed for Shelly beach at the mouth of the Moruya river and rigged up the A.I. polynesian style and realized that I had left the prawns at home but the child bride brought them down for me... a sacrifice of time that paid off well.

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After launching into an ebbing tide I drifted out past the rocks on the south side of the river and worked the sabiki over the weed beds and reef but only had a few bites and no hook ups. The schools of bait fish I was looking for were conspicuous by their absence and as I drifted I baited up a 4/0 jighead with a whole peeled king prawn and dropped it over the side leaving the rod resting in the rod holder. As I was passing 12 to 13 meters depth the rod sagged back for a brief moment before it snapped backwards under heavy pressure and as I lifted it out of the holder the braid was transmitting the feel of heavy head shakes through the rod. I don't think I will ever grow tired of that. The new rod was well bent and I was grinning like the Cheshire cat as it sat well in my hands with the butt running under my forearm. No-one else has to like it but here the proof was in the pudding and it didn't just suit me in theory but fit me beautifully in practice too.

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The fish took a bit of time to play in, not long but also not just a case of wind it up, a nice 36cm snapper. Beautiful table fish... and not a bad way to blood a new rod either. The seaward drift continued and although I caught some other fish which were returned to the water the swell was building as the tide ebbed and it was looking a bit suspect back towards the beach area so I headed in and went home for some lunch.

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But I still felt like I wanted some more water in my life before I had to go back to work so I headed back out again to check out Barlings beach. The plan was to drift through the bay and try to find some flathead but all I found was a clown on a jet ski making a lot of noise and running through an area where a lone fisherman was standing on the beach and holding a beach rod. Although my search for flattie was fruitless I spent the last of the daylight drifting along the edge of the "island" at the east end of the bay and the sounder lit up with fish. I was casting a vibe and had a big hit which turned into a nothing fight and hauled up another Sgt Baker which was not what I wanted but then the baited rod started showing some signs of fishy attention, just small taps, but as I picked up the rod it loaded up nicely, yielding a nice bream a bit over 30cm.

It wasn't a massive weekend for fish but from the three paddles I brought home a nice meal each time. The highlight, fishing wise, was the snapper as the first fish on a new rod, but the conditions were just about perfect and it was a superb weekend on the water enjoying this wonderful area of the NSW south coast.

cheers

John
 

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jon, thats some fairly beautiful country you have down there.

i mite start fishing the AI with one outrigger as per your pic. the revo is on her last legs and that looks like a great set up fro storing gear.

i think the sergeant baker is a great looking fish personally. i dont get out deep due to sea sickness but the ones ive caught always looked much duller than the ones from down south which often look really red. ours tended to be a dullish reddy brown.

conggrats
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
grinner said:
jon, thats some fairly beautiful country you have down there.

i mite start fishing the AI with one outrigger as per your pic. the revo is on her last legs and that looks like a great set up fro storing gear.

i think the sergeant baker is a great looking fish personally. i dont get out deep due to sea sickness but the ones ive caught always looked much duller than the ones from down south which often look really red. ours tended to be a dullish reddy brown.

conggrats
grinz, I used the AI with one outrigger a couple of times back in 2009 before I got the tramps and didn't think much of it back then. I've had the tramps now since 2010 and only fairly recently gone back to fishing it with one o/r complete with tramp. Makes a world of difference and I end up using the tramp as a work bench, landing platform etc and it is hugely convenient to have that space when re-tying or even just removing hooks from fish.

The sgt bakers are a funny fish and would be all right for a feed if you could find a way past all the bones. The one in the photo fought like stink - it did not want to come anywhere near the yak but the one mentioned in the report just followed the hook all the way in. Very inconsistent. I wonder if the colour difference is due to sub species, water temps or just geographic isolation???

Pity about the sea sickness. I still get sick if I don't go out for a month or 2 and then I have to load up with pills but once I've been out I'm OK if I keep getting out regularly. I don't pretend to understand it and I am just grateful for the chance to get out...

John
 

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John as grinz said, that back water is one very pretty spot, and with a trio of successes you could ask for no more during your free time.
 
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