I will be the first to admit that I never use to dedicate much time to fishing the freshwater, and the salt and briny would dominate to piscatorial escapades. Fast forward a couple of years and now the freshwater scene (impoundments and upper freshwater streams) are my favourite fishing haunts. I think the main reason for this is the fact I have discovered some very picturesque and rarely fished locations by putting in the hard yards, setting foot in a river bed and just walking. The fish are never usually on the XOS scale but it seems to matter very little when compared to the diversity of species often encountered, among which barramundi, mangrove jack, sooty grunter and tarpon rank highly.
On this particular occasion, I found an awesome looking pool which had significant depth. I was equipped with my Shimano Stella 3000FE, 6-12lb spin stick, 10lb braid and 15lb leader. This gear is ample gutsy enough to extract most fish from their snaggy havens. The only element that may require upsizing on occasions is the leader, and that is only where barramundi are likely to be caught.
A few tarpon were caught early on, and then I got pretty darn excited when I saw a couple of descent size barramundi following my lures. In the end there were 4 or 5 barramundi in this waterhole but all were very sluggish to strike. I couldn’t believe how exciting and frustrating it was to see the barra follow the lure mere centimetres away from it and not boof it. The best way I could describe this is that it was like watching a seal or dolphin at a water theme park pushing a ball around on top of the water. The barra were right behind the lure, almost nudging it, yet wouldn’t eat it. It was awesome to watch through my polarised sunnies.
The fact that these fish were following the lure continuously with each cast, I knew they weren’t that spooky. Knowing this, I knew I had a fair chance of hooking a couple. It was just a matter of finding out what worked!
Initially I was casting a smaller hard body, then I changed to an unweighted plastic. I tried slow rolling and twitching all to no avail. I then downsized my leader, tried a larger hardbody lathered with scent and experimented with a faster retrieve. It was heart in mouth stuff but in the end we did enough to turn them on. We ended up landing 3 of the 5 fish from this pool before the rest wised up to our antics.
I guess the moral to the story is don’t be afraid to change it up. Also, have faith in your chosen spot if it looks “fishy” enough. We tried every trick in the book and were successful because we found what they wanted to eat that day. Maybe the faster retrieve gave them the impression that the bait was going to get away from them and fired them up aggressively into action. The scent certainly did us no harm either, and I would highly recommend using it, especially on occasions where fish are a little finicky. It’s all the one percenters such as this which gives us as anglers, the best chance possible to land a fish.
Live It....Breathe It....