Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 10:20 pm
Barrabucks points on hand:
Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:40 pm Post subject: Kimberley Billabong follow up session
Friday didn't go exactly to plan and as a result Zak and me were a bit late to head off on our weekend camping trip. Last weekend we had discovered a little billabong that held a few nice barra, not to far from Wyndham. I had been thinking about that spot all week. I had also picked up a couple of ideas from some keen fisho's on this forum.
Indecently the Wyndham FESA were holding a fishing comp, the inaugural "Brown Water Classic - Beyond the Bastion" on the Saturday. Our plan was to camp somewhere close Wyndham on the Friday so we could head into town and register for the comp at 5am. We got to our camp site after dark where we immediately gathered some fire wood and got it burning. We then had a good feed, a couple of beers (fruit juice for the boy), rolled out the swags and went to sleep.
We got registered early and headed for the billabong. We arrived some time after 6am, the sun was just poking it's head over the hills. Arriving at the spot I new we the only ones in the area, its plausible that no one had been near this place since last weekend. I also new it was going to blow 10 to 15 knots in the gulf as the breeze was already starting to pick up. I was feeling confidant in my decision to fish land based for this comp. I also felt that if I could land one of the bigger fish I had seen in this pond then it would be competitive on a day that was going to be hard to find big Barra.
We got organized quickly and started flick'n the same soft plastics around that had been successful last weekend. We went up and back the whole stretch for not even a sniff. Same lures, same snags, same drop offs as last week but not a sign of a fish. It was cool and the billabong was still in complete shade so I though I needed change it up to try and entice a bite. If that failed we were going to hike to another billabong that I had identified on the map as having potential. That would, at the very least give the water some time to warm up.
Hard body was the obvious change but which lure. Last week I had tried a Barra classic for about three casts before reverting back to plastics. The choice was a Nilsmaster spearhead in Elton John, a classic billbong lure if ever there was one. I poked around with a few flicks for no result. I decided to try a technique that I use occasionally when things are quite. First cast was into the snags on the opposite bank then ripped back, second and third cast was the same. Those little spearheads blow out pretty easily, they also dart around a fair bit at the speed just before blowing out. That was the speed I was trying to achieve. On the fourth cast I paused mid stream, as soon as that lure moved after the pause.....bang fish on! I measured him at 56cm which qualified for entry, took a couple of snaps for the judges and released him to fight another day. Needless to say I tried the rip and pause thing for the next hour and had a few taps but no more hook ups. Tin ass luck I though!
By now the sun was up and hitting the water in a few spots however most of the pond was still in shade. Zak had had a break from fishing but decided he needed to get a Barra on the board himself. I put my rods down and concentrated on helping the young bloke for a while. He fished well without luck. He can't quite get his lure far enough out to give himself the best chance of encountering a fish. He had a red hot go though. He did get a few hits and we both saw some followers. I had seen enough action to change back to the hollow belly from last week and give it a go before we went hiking.
The light and shade and the water had made what appeared to be an ambush predators paradise. Standing on the same ledge that I had been previously and seen some good Barra in the 80cm range I pinged out the rubber and slow rolled it back. Out of the shadows at my feet two Barra emerged and seemed to compete for the lure. There was a lot of commotion for no hook up. If I was wearing one of those heart rate monitors the AFL guys wear, well.....well you would of known I was alive!
Next cast, same tactic, same thing happened! This time there was only one fish, it was the big one and it nailed that hollow belly like it wanted it dead. By now the heart rate monitor has blown up! It was a worthy contest with and angry Barra that did not want to concede...but I won that battle. I had to pass my rod around a tree and climb down the rocks to get to the fish. Got the photo on the brag mat for the comp. It went 78cm, typically I had over estimated as fishermen do but it was a solid fish none the less.
The one major thing I changed from last week is I paid major attention to the sharpness of my hooks. That session is one I won't forget for a while. I ended up with 5 Barra and witnessed one Barra following my lure about eight or nine times. It was coming up underneath the lure, with gills flared and tapping the lure with its nose. I tried a hard body and it did the same thing. Then I tried a treble stinger on the plastic which got a brief hook up but basically continued to get tapped. It was a bit frustrating but I love the challenge...the Barra won that battle.
We went on our hike, we found a few more water holes but all were lifeless. We also drove around and checked out several more spots that I had picked on the map. None were as good as the first one we found. None of them produced any fish.
Things did go a little pear shaped in the afternoon. We were fishing on the King River on our way back to Wyndham when Zak started flicking lures at a Pelican. He was no chance of hitting the bird but I noticed the difference in his casting as a result of having a firm visual target. His casts were going out long and low. I was at the ute getting some grub organized and watch proudly as my boy wandered the bank flicking a Barra Classic.....when it happened. It was a lazy cast but the lure hit him smack it the back of the head....dropped him like a school bag! My first thought was "sh.t I didn't flatten the barbs". I always have a pair of small bolt cutters for such an occasion so I quickly cut the lure off. I quick hair cut with the braid scissors revealed a deeply embedded treble. A couple of attempts to remove the hook then off to Wydham hospital we went. No doc on duty there so the lovely nurses there wrapped a bandage around his head and put some stuff on the back of his hands.
Now I still had a fish that was worth entering in the comp. I asked Zak if he would mind if I checked it in. Luckily he didn't mind because I was checking that fish in no matter what! We got that done, then drove to Kununurra where the fine people at the Kununurra hospital removed the treble. Our camping had been cut short by one night and but we were home safe and well.
I got a phone call on Sunday arvo for the comp organizers. That billabong Barra was the biggest land based fish for the comp.....happy days!
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