I spent the last week housesitting for my parents down at Wallaga Lake. I was there by myself and had worried that I might get bored. That certainly wasn’t the case: how could a keen fisherman, writer, cook and gardener possibly get bored with such a wonderful playground at their fingertips!? Having a whole week to play with is nice, as you can really find out what is firing on the fishing front. Also, you don’t feel compelled to fish ’til ya drop, which is sometimes the case during shorter forays. With one day of constant rain and no fishing, I had plenty of time to suss out what was happening.
I initially focused my efforts on the beach, which is generally a pretty good bet during these colder months. The view from Mum and Dad’s balcony out over the lake told me that the baitfish weren’t active. Nonetheless, I took note of the schools of hungry cormorants and resolved to fish it eventually. On arriving at the beach I was greeted by a nice swell, some beautiful gutters, and the odd bit of washy whitewater coming off the back of a few sandbars every few hundred metres along the beach. Perfect salmon conditions. It wasn’t long before I had my first strike, a solid thump on a 40 gram raider just behind the beach break. After a few small runs, I noticed that the fish hadn’t jumped and guessed it would be a tailor. Moments later and I dragged a nice tailor up the beach. I landed three more during a 45 minute session, so it was pretty good fishing. Not hot, but consistent. I was happy to have dinner taken care of and went home to a cold beer.
Day two was spent mounting a sounder and transducer to my little tinny and taking it out for a test run. It was relatively straightforward in the end – at least I thought it was until I had it out on the water. I initially had the transducer a little low in the water, resulting in a spray of water shooting about 3 foot in the air while underway at any decent speed. A few adjustments and it was all good. I spent a few hours out on the lake, soaking in the sun and playing with my new toy. I was looking for a couple of fabled jewfish holes, and while Wallaga certainly isn’t renowned for its jewfish, I have heard a few good stories and seen some photos of a brace of metre-plus fish that were caught in 2011. Despite not having seen much evidence of baitfish from the balcony, the sounder gave evidence of large schools sitting in deepish water. Every now and then I would spot some large arcs under the schools, and have a few casts with a large plastic. There were also a few garfish getting around, but they didn’t respond to the bread burley for some reason so the fly fishing will have to wait ’til next time.
I managed a few decent flatties in the deep and a few good hits, but I don’t think I was ever that close to a jewie. Nonetheless, it’s exciting to have some technology to play with and I think when the system is a bit more ‘active’ I’ll be in with a better chance. However, despite pouring over a bathymetry map and even using the GPS on the sounder, I still wasn’t able to find these holes, even though I was looking at a map of them on my phone! More exploring is definitely required…
The rest of the time was spent focusing on the beach. The swell was gradually increasing and with it came more fish. The tailor were as thick as I’ve seen them, with some fish to 2kg putting up a good stoush on the bream stick. Once the weather really started to deteriorate, a few salmon appeared and I managed a couple to around 1.5kg and lost a monster, which I estimated to be around 5kg. This fish didn’t want to stop and made half a dozen long runs before jumping and throwing the hooks. On inspection of my lure I realised I never really stood a chance – a cheap slug invariably has cheap hooks, and one had broken off and the others were bent. In saying that, it was still a $5 slug…surely you can expect the manufacturer to put some decent rings and hooks on it! Might be worth a review at some point…
So that was pretty much it…the lake was quiet and the beaches were hot. The best thing about the south coast is that it’s so rare that both are dead at the same time. It’s great when it all comes together, but having to make the choice of beach or estuary isn’t bad at all. Other than that, I spent my time cooking, writing and taking a few photos. I’ll be sure to write a recipe for the tailor cakes soon. All in all a very relaxing time.
Thanks for reading 🙂