Issuu on Google+


Majorcraft Basspara Rods

10

win

Visit our Facebook page and name three features of the Majorcraft Basspara Rods to be in the running to win a Basspara light spin rod 6 foot 3 inches, 3-6lb.

Mulloway are a prized catch in any water but large specimens caught in the estuaries are particularly rewarding. Fishing a soft plastic prawn imitation on light leader resulted in this solid mulloway for Keith Stratford. Check out Starlo’s feature on page 16 for tips on unlocking the estuary code. Photograph – David Granville


12 36 38 40 44 134 138 142 144 150 155 163 The low light periods of dawn and dusk are absolute prime times to target flathead on the flats Photograph – David Seaman 11


A large school of yellowfin bream milling around a rocky, oyster-encrusted outcrop in a temperate estuary. Current, structure and the presence of food are all critical to finding fish in our estuaries. 16


17


A grey-hounding lit-up 180kg blue performs at Condor Bank in the Azores.

48


49


Catching the biggest of a species tends to distract a lot of anglers, but targeting smaller, tastier specimens for the table can be just as rewarding. In this article, Dave Seaman takes a shallow approach to one of our most valued estuarine species, the dusky flathead.

F

rom the moment I crossed the threshold of the restaurant, I knew my wallet was in serious trouble. The dim lighting and audacious furniture crowded the room, while a smiling, clean-cut young man drew the padded timber chairs away from the table. A delightful girl wearing a black uniform and gold stickpin delivered the leather-bound menus with the restaurant’s name embossed on the front. It opened on the entree page, and beside each course was a number that looked like a score out of 30. Each of the entrees had scored very well indeed! There wasn’t a dollar sign anywhere on the menu, and I guessed this was the stylish thing to do and a way of not reminding the patrons that their hard earned was about to be extracted from them. The mains on the following page scored well beyond their entree starters. As

74

I scanned the list, I found myself looking at the names of the dishes and mouthing each syllable like a primary school child until I was confident enough to say the entire word out loud. I wasn’t sure food should be as complicated or as involved as this, but the place was full and no one seemed to realise they were being had. Under the name of one of the mains was the description that translated into normal people-speak as “flathead tails on a green salad with a balsamic dressing”. Looking at the price, it was then that I realised we anglers really are very spoilt. We have relatively easy access to a wealth of terrific seafood, and for those living on the coast, the added advantage of proximity is amazing. It is all too often taken for granted, as is one of our estuaries’ finest table fish, the dusky flathead. When we think about flathead, the last few hours of the runout tide on a hot

summer’s day is considered the prime time to target fish buried along channel edges and dropoffs. It is mostly true, and many fine specimens are taken by fishing the edges with lures and baits in that exact scenario, but it isn’t always available to us. Anglers are always trying to optimise time on the water, accessing windows of opportunity that are carefully considered and executed to the best of our ability. Unless you are single, independently wealthy, or simply don’t work, these prime fishing windows have to fit into a schedule of unencumbered free time. Time that isn’t consumed with rego checks, shopping, appointments, house and yard maintenance, or simply playing catch-up with the mundane cycle of life and work. With everything stampeding past us at a seemingly ever-increasing rate, opportunities become more like take what you can, be pleased you had a chance at all, and just hope there’s vacant space on the


Surprise from behind. Flathead blast out of the sand to snatch their prey before it has a chance to react. The vacuum of water inhaled into the flathead’s mouth helps draw dinner to an imminent death. 75


The Hobie loaded and ready, just a short walk to the river.

86


Micah Adams reflects on some of his favourite remote estuaries perfectly placed for the kayak fisher.

N

o one could deny how popular kayaks have become, and they mean different things to different people. For many, owning a kayak is a simple alternative to budget or storage restraints. Others just love the synergy between a kayak and nature. For me, owning a kayak is about accessing waterways I could not otherwise fish with a boat. I'm lucky in that I own a few boats, but my kayak is a special for the remote, barely-reached locations I'm able to fish by virtue of this portable device. Living at the bottom of the New South Wales coast, I'm blessed with arguably the best southern estuaries in the country. Some are well suited to high-end bass boats, while others can only be accessed by four-wheel drive or have no road access whatsoever. This is ’yak territory at its best, and the very reason why my tandem Hobie has become a pivotal part of my fishing arsenal.

The Wilderness Coast The rivers and lagoons I’m referring to in this article are those on the relatively isolated and, at times, dangerous stretch of coastline between Lakes Entrance in Victoria and my home town of Merimbula in southern NSW. While many would love exact river names and locations, my personal well-being is truly at stake! Honestly, the adventure lies within the adventure itself, so to speak. A simple scan of a coastal map will reveal myriad estuaries, mostly small, that have no roads to them — bingo. Anywhere you cannot drive to is exactly the place you should be looking for, from small lagoons and creeks, to larger lakes and rivers. There is just so many to pick from, and so many adventures waiting to be undertaken! Over the past 20 years, I've made a career out of exploring and fishing these remote gems, with my passion for the wilderness and the Holy Grail of black bream and estuary perch 87


The Yorke Peninsula’s picturesque coastline. It’s also the perfect place to search out sand holes in-between patches of reef. Both sides of the gulf have pristine whiting grounds, just waiting for that fresh bait!

110


Beautiful weather and big King George whiting. These fish can be caught year-round along the South Australian coastline.

King George whiting are one of southern Australia’s most revered ‘bread and butter’ fish, and South Australia is widely regarded as having the ‘gun’ fishery. Surprisingly, keen SA angler and FishLife contributor Lubin Pfeiffer had never lifted a finger in pursuit of this species, but we put him to the task and with the help of a few local gurus he documents how easy and enjoyable it is to score a feed of KGs.

111


Big Murray cod are such a valuable resource and far too good to catch just once. When taking photos, try and minimise time out of the water.

120


Despite a 30-plus year fishing career, David Granville had never fished for Murray cod until just recently. His first session on the mighty green fish left an indelible impression. Here he offers some valuable advice from the lessons learned as a first time cod angler. 121



FishLife Issue #10 Preview