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Odds & Sods
A Tall Tale and Fishing with Plastics
Sunday, 30th January, 2005  - David Farmer

Tuross on the south coast of N.S.W was one of that states first estuaries to be closed to commercial fishing. The result is good fishing for all. We spent the Xmas break improving our skills with plastics. Basically they are making bait fishing redundant and they are a lot more fun. Before we get to that detail here is Gill's fish story.

"I was watching a smashing young lady fishing near O'Brien's boat shed when her rod bent double. She was obviously onto a good size fish. I assumed she would need advise on the finer points of tension-drag control and of course help in getting this fish onto the wharf. I rushed to assist, telling her to stay calm, keep the rod tip up and gently play the fish but perhaps ease off on the drag. She said, "really I fine, I can handle this". No, no, wind the fish in gently and I'll give you a hand in landing it. "I'm enjoying myself and can handle this but thanks for the encouragement". Even then I persisted and finally lifted a good size bream from the water. She was not impressed by my efforts.

Later a commercial fishing friend who works out of Narooma and catches kingfish beckoned me over to join him at the local restaurant ‘The Pickled Octopus'. "Gill, come downstairs and meet my guests". I followed and was introduced to famous fishing expert Rex Hunt his wife and daughter. Rex remarked, "I believe you've already met my daughter Rachel."(left) Sometimes it pays to mind your own business and not rush to help people."

The area from the boat ramp at Tuross to the ocean can be divided into four distinct channels. We call them channel one which is the tidal channel and opens to the sea, channel two which generally merges with channel one at the mouth but is almost closed at the moment, a long sand bar separates channel two and three and channel four which is hard up against Potato Point. At the turn of the century channel four was the entrance to the estuary and apparently had a good sized wharf which was used to ship timber back to Sydney. We have fished it often with poor results. Like all areas you need to know the water to catch fish. Channel three, and particularly the area behind the coastal sand dune is a fabulous fish spot and also has quite a deep channel yet very few people ever fish their. It's a great area for lure fishing and the only place we have found in Tuross where you can regularly pick up good sized tailor. These are excellent when smoked. This is also a very good channel for catching small leatherjackets which are fabulous eating.

It was channel three that Gill and I choose to continue our experiments with plastics. The results were spectacular and the photos show the fun we had in a morning session of about four hours. We landed many flathead and had a bag of fun as plastic after plastic was eaten and spat out. Slow retrieval with constant twitching is the technique. Often the flathead would mouth the plastic without biting hard on the lure and its difficult to know whether its weed or a fish. Also the fish would keep at the plastic even after first spitting it out. Gill worked this out before I did. He also used a different plastic which is an American brand and is salted and flavoured with garlic (see the green plastic in the photo). This was far more successful than my grey and gold flecked offering and late in the session I switched to the green wonder.

There is no way that the same time spent with bait would have been as productive. Bait fishing unless you are using live bait will soon be a thing of the past as the plastic revolution builds up.

Gill is famous for going into fishing shops and asking if they have got the lure of lures that will beat all others when used at Tuross. The sly shop owner normally reaches under the counter and grabs what has not sold for a decade and pronounces ‘this is the Tuross trembler'. Honestly some of the stuff he pulls out of his pocket makes me embarrassed and would simply scare the fish. This time he got it right and a new way of fishing rapidly unfolds.

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