It is safe to say that fish finding technology is getting better and better all of the time. The display outputs on sounders these days are so detailed that you can tell EXACTLY what sort of fish are being shown on the sounder at any given moment. You can easily tell the difference between the silhouette of a barramundi as opposed to a catfish or any other species. The distinct head and shoulders of a barramundi stick out like a sore thumb. It wasn’t all that long ago where all fish on a depth sounder were resembled by one unique “arch” or “fish” icon on the screen and there were no real distinguishing features nor detail that set them apart from each other. I thought side scanning imagery was awesome but now there is 360 degree imaging so you can pin-point exactly where the fish are. I find this technology absolutely amazing and to be absolutely honest – who wouldn’t?
Although this state of the art technology is simply mystifying, the sad reality of it is the fact that it can be quite expensive and not affordable to the majority of spirited anglers. Something that IS available for the cost of a simple internet connection is Google Earth or Google Maps. I have lost count of how many late nights my mates and I have spent huddled around a tiny computer screen looking for likely goat tracks which lead to secluded waterholes. Some of the best fishing I have ever encountered has actually been from places where there have been no tracks what-so-ever and a 2 hour walk through dense scrub was a mandatory requirement. Do not underestimate or overlook this powerful tool, it is the best fish-finding apparatus there is!
There are so many pristine freshwater waterholes and sections of estuary that have virtually been untouched and are desperately awaiting a lure to be tossed in. At the end of the day, we all have our favourite honeyholes that we know produce fish and sometimes we fall into the same old fray and keep on revisiting these spots and neglect the search for new territory. Sometimes searching out new ground may result in a doughnut and other times it may result in the holy grail – a spot that does not only produce the fish but is also aesthetically pleasing. Let me just say, when the plan comes together, there is nothing, I repeat NOTHING more rewarding than reaping the rewards of a spot you found yourself through a keen eye, dedication and sense of adventure. You never know if you never go! Lately. I have been fixated on trying to catch a Mackay Jungle Perch, a fish that is very common from Townsville north but are rare as hens teeth around Mackay. I have been using google earth religiously to identify rainforest streams that I am sure would have these fish in there somewhere. I have caught a stack of sweetwater mangrove jacks, barramundi, sooty grunter and tarpon as well as seen some of the most beautiful, aesthetically pleasing waterholes and creeks that not too many people have ever seen all because I have a keen eye, sense of adventure and the help of google earth. All you need is a small backpack of assorted lures, leader, camera and braid scissors and a light to medium spin outfit and you are on your way. I choose to use either a 2-6lb spin stick matched with my Shimano Rarenium 2500Ci4 or my 6-12lb spin stick matched with my Shimano Saros 3000FA. I honestly prefer the light finesse gear. The Rarenium 2500Ci4 is super light (yet super strong) which makes it easy to carry around through a long 10km rainforest stream hike. It’s only a matter of time before I get that Mackay JP!!
The reality of it all, is when someone asks a person a great place to go fishing, the person being asked would be very reluctant to give away their favourite honeyholes that they have spent hours finding themselves. Instead, they would be more likely to give away a spot that is commonly fished, not secret by any means but still have a chance of getting a fish – maybe!
Do the miles – get the smiles! Put in some serious time on Google Earth and locate a few likely spots of your own. If you do make the trek though, make sure you take plenty of water, let your family know your whereabouts but even better still, invest in a personal hand held EPIRB (Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon).
The photos and picturesque locations imbedded in this article are the end result of a lot of long nights in front of the computer, locating potential spots. Many have resulted in zilch but the ones that pay off, definitely make up for the ones that don’t.
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