First fish on the Tenkara (plus a south coast fishing report)

Well it was back to work today which was a very rude shock after five days of action packed relaxing. As is the norm after returning from a long weekend at the coast filled with early starts, late nights and a few too many old fashioned’s I’m a little flat, mostly exhausted and questioning whether I could possibly be hungover despite taking it easy on the last night.

First off a quick fishing report. Eden is generally fishing really well. The bottom bounces were bringing in big mixed bags filled with desirable fish such as, flathead, snapper, morwong and other assorted niceties. The Bonito are still around in numbers off many of the headlands and wharves in the area. Lots of salmon and tailor are around and easily caught from most of the headlands and beaches early in the morning and late in the afternoon. The nearby easturies aren’t fishing as well, there are still bream flathead, whiting and mullet to be caught but the fishing has definitely slowed since the big rains a month or so ago. All the fresh that ran through the systems seems to have slowed things up a little bit. Onto Kingfish which I spent a bit of time chasing on the weekend. They were quite. Arriving on Thursday for the weekend we missed out on what was apparently the best fishing of the season, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Kings were going beserk, with all boats reporting massive catches of large fish. It was drop and wind a fish back to the boat sort of fishing according to some reports. However, like kings tend to do, by the time we arrived they were in a different mood and far harder to catch. They were still there, with lots of good schools on the sounder and they were still catchable but it was a lot of drops between fish. Hard hard work. (we caught 6 over two half day trips, best just over a meter to the tail). After half a dozen trips where its been catch as many fish as you want fishing, the weekend definitely brought me back to earth. I’ve still got a lot of learning to do! In any case, if your planning a trip soon don’t despair, the Kings mood could turn on a dime any moment.

In any case, with that out of the way, onto the fishing highlight of my weekend. Catching my first ever fish on fly and what a fish it was! Elusive, majestic, the engine room of any good estuary system. The might poddy mullet. Many a time these canny beasts have eluded me. Enticing them into traps is a skill that may seem easy, but for me whenever I have a Jewfish session lined up, seems inordinately harder than it should be. I’m convinced that the fish can sense my intentions and use their unrivaled powers of premonition to avoid my traps. They are not usually chased with rod and line. Line fishing for poddy mullet is really the realm of the true fishing enthusiast, most fisherfolk are too afraid to commit to the hours of hard slog needed to guarantee success (or at least the focus and dedication needed to not simply go and chase larger quarry).

Well for all you frustrated poddy mullet fishermen out there I may have found the answer. Fly fishing, with a tenkara set up. The tenkara fixed line fly fishing system is designed for fishing for small fish, is relatively cheap ($100) and as proven on the weekend could be the oft searched for yet mythical weapon needed to fool the mighty poddy mullet for the average fisher person.

Anyone who has read the blog will know I bought the Tenkara set up a while ago, on what was really a whim. To date its only been tested two times, both on King Parrot creek chasing trout. Until the weekend, my quest for my first fish on fly had been a tough one. In two trips I dropped two little trout and had failed to slay my fly fishing virginity. That all changed on Monday, a rest day on what was an otherwise hectic weekend.

There is nothing quite like cooking a whole animal over a fire
When you have a dress up party which is themed “African Safari” expect the smell of cooked meat to attract wild beasts
One of the proud hunters surveying the catch while on a break

The weekend was spent down at Eden at my parents place with a about 20 good friends. We had arrived on Thursday and by Monday everyone was pretty flat, we had partied, cooked a lamb on an Asado (Argentinian style), had fished out of the boat, dived for abalone and urchins, spearfished and generally tried to fit in as much as we could to what turned out to be far too short a long long weekend (If anyone wants to start a campaign that long weekends should be a week or longer I will gladly join the cause). So Monday was designated a rest and relaxation day. On Monday morning everyone made their way to Whale beach at the entrance to the Kiah, most via the Hamish run ferry, some by canoe others by kayak. The day was spent lying around on towels, reading books, swimming, drinking spritzers, beer and G and T’s (by everyone but me who had to drive the ferry back in the aternoon) and being pulled on a fancy rubber tube known as the G-force which earned the name the “destroyer” by days end (note to anyone thinking about buying a G-force, stick to the recommended speed of 20 mph, a few 30 mph turns and a bit of testosterone to keep me holding on and I am still in pain, thankful I didn’t dislocate a shoulder).

According to these two, when used within the guidelines the G-force is fun
The beginnings of “the worlds most epic skurf” well over a kilometer almost all the way across Twofold bay
Sadly, none for the ferry driver

By mid afternoon I had done the maximum amount of relaxing recommended by medical professionals and decided it was time to go for fish. The other health conscious amongst the group joined in, so I pulled out the Tenkara. It was time to finally catch a fish on the damned thing!

I tied on a bread fly and started a floating burley trail in a likely area (by likely I mean the area in front of where we happened to have set up shop for the day). To my disappointment at that time, the only things to come up and have a go at my bread were poddy mullet. I persisted, for about half an hour hoping something bigger would come and see what all the commotion was about. They didn’t and my bread fly was too big for the poddies to inhale. So it was back to the drawing board and my impressive collection of five or six saltwater flies. Amongst them was a little bread looking fly with some red stuff hanging off the end. If my memory serves me correctly it was dubbed a “garfish” fly. It was the smallest of the bunch and looked kind of like bread so on it went.

Tenkara in hand, mentally readying myself to take on the mighty and esteemed poddy mullet

From then on the fishing really heated up. The poddies could fit it in their mouths. After 10 mins I dropped a fish! Maybe just maybe I had found a way to defeat my foe. Numerous ill timed strikes later and I was getting the hang of it. Then all of a sudden, bang I was on, the rod bent (thanks to how light the tip is), I lifted it and into my hands came my first ever fish on fly and my first ever fish on the Tenkara! The mighty poddy mullet.

Mission successful! First fish on fly (on the third attempt) and first fish on the Tenkara.

From that point on, I had cracked it, six more poddy mullet and a garfish quickly followed and some bigger fish finally started joining my trail. But then alas, it was all cut short, the weather was closing in and some of the other beach goers started pestering me to bring forward the departure of the ferry. It was time to go. I left the big fish for next time and there will definitely be a next time. I’m hooked!

Biggest fish so far on the Tenkara. I’m not sure how long the record will last though, I’m pretty keen to get out there and have a proper fish with the outfit. Its a lot of fun, even on modest fish like these. Fittingly caught on a garfish fly.

Over and out and hope you all had a great easter and stay tuned for the easter exploits of my blogging companions.

Hamish

4 thoughts on “First fish on the Tenkara (plus a south coast fishing report)

    • May 4, 2011 at 12:07 am
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      Also nice work on the Tenkara Hamish. I learnt to fish using a similar setup in durras lake. We called them ‘Ned Kellys’ and only difference was we used state of the art tree branches and mono instead. It’s great fun watching your bait dissappear when its slurped up by a hungry mullet or gar. Dan

      Reply
      • May 4, 2011 at 7:37 am
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        Ahhh”Ned Kelly’s”, I’ve used similar set ups as a kid. Great fun! I’ve just matured the whole set up so now it uses flys… The only difference is the rod, the tenkara casts mono, or flourocarbons lines not fly line.. Its stupidly simply…

        New years is already lined up for Eden. This, bigger than easter with more dead animals cooked over fires (Pigs this time)… We are having a Carolina “Pig Pickin”. Your welcome to come…
        Hamish

        Reply
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