Some of the best advice I have received in my life was to pick my fights and the same can be directly applied to fishing as well. Now I am a firm believer in going light to get the bite and have caught a lot of awesome fish on what can only be described as bream gear.
Amongst these captures were barramundi in the mid 70’s, salmon in the high 60’s and even a cracking 49cm mangrove jack. These fish were caught on a 2-4kg spinstick, shimano stradic 2500Ci4 reel, 6lb braid and 10lb leader. What I will also say is that I was quietly confident I would land these fish due to the fact I was fishing over the flats which were devoid of harsh and nasty structure. Therefore I picked my fight here as I knew I could take my time with these fish, even though they far exceeded the desired target weight of my gear.
A recent example where I didn’t pick my fight so well was a couple of weeks ago chasing barra in the estuary. We started off flicking over the flats and landed a couple of token flathead but then we anchored up and were casting vibes at mangrove roots, snags and overhanging tree’s. I honestly don’t think I have had a more frustrating day on the water than this. I got busted off 5 times and my mate Rhys got busted off 3 times. The first couple of times I lost fish on this trip was because my drag was too loose and I couldn’t turn the fishes head before they buried me in the mangroves. So what did I do? I screwed the drag up a few clicks (fair few actually) so they couldn’t bury me anymore. The next 3 fish I lost was due to the braid not being heavy enough to cope with the pressure of the fish at one end and the pressure of me at the other, and both of us were being relentless. I guess I had no choice, I had to turn these fish as we were fishing very close to the sticks and had no room for leniency.
I was using a 6-12lb spin stick this day and had it matched to my stlella 3000FE and 10lb braid. Now this is certainly a very capable combo and has muscled some great fish also but the 10lb braid just could not cope in this tight country. SO in essence, this was an example where I didn’t pick my fight well and I was dictated to well and truly by the fish. Like I said, if we were on the flats though, I have no doubt I would have landed many more of these fish.
I guess that’s why it’s called fishing though hey and not catching. Sometimes the fish win and sometimes the angler wins and if it was too easy all the time, it wouldn’t be as fun, nor challenging and therefore not as appealing.
Whilst recently on a Tourism Queensland Film shoot in my home town of Mackay, I caught a fish that I will remember for a very long time to come. This fish was a 125cm Queenfish caught on topwater and all was caught on film during the film shoot. I was also landbased which made a fish of this size, even more epic. I was using a 10-20lb spinstick, Shimano Sustain 4000 and 20lb braid. This fish gave me some serious curry. As the braid screamed off my reel in 60 and 70m blistering runs I was beginning to see colours in my braid I had never seen before (ie the spool was getting low), however I knew I could take my time with this fish as it was in a sandy channel, once again devoid of structure.