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Summer winds make reef trips a challenge

ADVENTURERS: Damon and mum Lorraine de Roode on their kayak trek up the Boyne River.
ADVENTURERS: Damon and mum Lorraine de Roode on their kayak trek up the Boyne River.

WITH the summer coming on and more unstable air coming through, the south-easterlies tend to strengthen as the land heats up.

This sucks in the cooler air off the sea and combines with the hot northerlies which stream in, dragging down hot moist air.

Planning trips out to the reef just gets that little more difficult.

It's about this time that we tend to turn to the more sheltered waterways to cure our fishing fix.

I was chatting with Nev "Nifty" Welch late last week, as I know this fella is a very keen angler who likes to go fishing when everyone else is at work, and work when everyone else is on days off.

I have mentioned Nev a couple of times, but after an excellent chat about this past week one could paint a picture as to how alive this whole region is.

Nev loves to fish with light gear, being 4lb (2kg) line, with an 8 or 10lb leader flicking "walk the dogs", small poppers, along with other surface lures.

This past week landed himself a 51cm (mangrove) jack, in two foot (60cm) of water, just upstream from the Benaraby bridge, along many others which attacked his lures.

This jack took about 10 minutes to land, mainly because using only four and 6lb line, you tend to be very careful as to how you play your fish.

With me coming from across the ditch, in Invercargill, trout fishing was all about that finesse, and how you played the fish as you too were only fishing with four and 6lb line.

The excitement comes with that fight, or battle, and your heart does race, and to be honest, it's all respect to the fish too.

I see Lorraine de Roode dropped her kayak in the water, just down from her son's place at Benaraby, along with Damon and his kayak, and off they trekked, or paddled, into the wilderness… well up the river anyway.

Now, this lady who is in her 70s, is absolutely full of life, and here they were, mother and son, paddling all the way up to Mann's Weir; approximately 5km upstream.

Moving along in stealth mode you do see the environment at its best, and this part of the river is just wonderful as it is chokkers with barra, jack, bream, queenies, flathead and whiting (in places), along with many other species.

Kayaking and sucking up what the region has to offer is an excellent way of fishing without waking up the neighbourhood, so to speak, with an outboard.

St Clair Hayes, one of our local vets, is another who is an absolute champion at catching barra up at Awoonga Dam from his kayak or canoe.

Last week he caught three barra in one session, one of which was over a metre, playing it for 15-20 mins and it jumped out of the water about eight times, one of which landing on the front of his kayak!

With no sounder to find them, he goes out looking for them in the quiet bays quite often having them bump into the underneath side of the kayak, returning another day to try and catch them.

This is an excellent sign of the fishing up there over the coming summer months.

But if you are thinking of fishing the dam in a kayak be aware of the weather, especially out in the middle as it can get very rough. One of those inflatable PFDs are the go, because usually you'll be out there on your own.

Just remember that barra are off limits in the salt, but with regard to impoundments like Awoonga these monsters can be caught all year round, and in the off-season you are allowed to take one per person per day, but who'd want to take one out of the fresh water home?

Last weekend we saw the Gladstone Seafood Festival held at the Marina Parklands, and around 20,000 turned up.

What an awesome social day out, munching on some prawns, or battered fish, washed down with a chilled beverage, all while listening to some very cool music by local talent.

A lot of work goes into these events, and the organisers, and volunteers, need a pat on the back, and I'm sure they will be endeavouring to make it bigger, and better next year.

In the meantime Darren Brown has been working feverishly getting his boat show event ready for tomorrow's opening at 9am.

Pop along to Curtis Coast Marine in Chapple St and have a gander.

Topics:  darryl branthwaite fishing outdoor-living outdoors top spots