Over the weekend, Graham ‘Graz-dog’ Fifield and I went down to Wallaga Lake, accompanied by our much better looking lady friends.
On Friday we hooked up the boat and went out to see if we could muster up a few fish. It was a stunning afternoon, with a warm sun and not a breath of a breeze. We went straight to my new favourite spot, which is a relatively shallow channel adjacent to some weedbeds and the main basin of the lake. Second cast and I felt a few touches, so struck to try my luck. Success! I felt the weight of a fish on the line. As it was small, it was by the boat in a matter of seconds, after which there were a few more seconds wondering what it was. I picked it for a tiny tailor or baby snapper, but on pulling it into the boat realised it was a nice little whiting. A whiting on a plastic in winter…awesome start.
From this point on Graham and Rache comprehensively outfished me. They both landed about 4 or 5 nice flathead each, while in the meantime all I could catch was a small pinkie. It’s amazing when you’re fishing with other people how much luck can and can’t go your way. I had the handy excuse of being ‘tour guide’; moving the boat around, netting the fish, taking fish off the hooks, popping them in the bucket, photographer extraordinaire etc., but sometimes these excuses just aren’t enough to explain plain bad luck! I theorised about a few other things while Graz and Rache pulled in a few more fish, but concluded that it is a great feeling to be able to put people on the fish, regardless of whether or not you’re the one catching them!
On Saturday Graz and I went for a solo mission, and I managed to redeem myself with 4 or 5 decent flatties and a nice gurnard on a placcy. Graz got a couple too, as well as a nice pan-sized tailor.
As the flathead bite slowed leading up to high tide, we decided to have a look near the flats. As we were approaching the front of the system, a wild little south-easterly seemed to materialise from nowhere and we decided to park the boat, tie it up securely and head over the dunes to have a look at the far south end of Tilba beach. On walking over the dunes, I nearly suggested to Graz that we pack it in and head home, as the wind was so strong. While I didn’t say anything, Graz could see the look of ‘no way do I want to stay out in this weather’ in my eyes, but he had other ideas and insisted it was worth a few casts, so off we went to see if we could even cast into the fishy-looking gutter.
First cast and I managed to get about 15 metres behind the beach breakers into the gutter. Not a great effort, I thought to myself. Nice one Graz, here we are in the cold wind with a huge storm approaching. But as the belly in the line got picked up by the wind and the lure started skipping parallel to the beach, about 10 big salmon erupted in a spray of foam behind the lure, jostling to eat it. Without winding the reel once, I had a hookup, and as the fish was only a few metres from the beach breakers, was subdued quickly and dragged up the beach with a wave. After some yelling and whooping Graham had joined me and we pulled in 9 big salmon in similar fashion until the weather, sand, sea spray, fish slime and terminal failure started to get the better of us. It was one of those incredibly short, intense sessions where the hot bite might only last for minutes, so you want to get the most out of it.
The wind was dropping off a bit, and after 2 or 3 fishless casts, we called it a day and went back to base. We didn’t do a huge amount of fishing after that, although there was one little session off the bank at Beauty Point on Saturday evening that produced three nice flatties in quick succession. Two of these were caught by Rache, who showed me that it was just as easy to catch flatties in dusk in 20cm of water as it is in 2m of water. You can learn some important lessons by watching others catching fish! Usually I’d wind straight over these areas and assume that they wouldn’t hold fish. Silly me!
All in all a great little weekend. Wallaga continues to impress me, producing fish year-round and in good numbers. Can’t wait to get back down there!