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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Sunday 16 January 2011

Sunday Tarpon

By Dave Little
Lu worked again last night, so to give her some sleep time without me harrassing her I decided to head for a drive to chase a few tarpon. I've been having a ball lately in the south with my new toy (a 7ft 6 4wt SAGE Flight), but today I went in the other direction to check out a few streams that I haven't seen in a while.

I sent a text to a mate that lives not too far from my destination to see if he wanted to come, but he was with family, and his words were something along the lines of "you'll struggle this morning because of the rain we had last night"... my heart sank :( ... Sure enough, I arrived at my first stop to a very strongly flowing creek.

But the tarpon were absolutely going off. So a smile was quickly brought to my dial for the next hour! As it turned out I don't think I went a cast without a strike. Not huge fish this morning, but fun never-the-less. I spent my time casting gurglers, pink and black clouser minnows, mini-pink things, deceivers and even an orange and white deer hair minnow that the small to medium sized ‘poons just devoured!

It was one of those mornings where I didn't even bother counting the fish I caught, or the flies I lost, because even the small fish were absolutely hammering my little offerings. Suffice to say my little fly box needs quite a bit of restocking ;-) They swallowed the only 2 gurglers I had in my box in short time, providing me with some spectacular views of these fish cart-wheeling out of the water to inhale them.

It’s one thing to chase tarpon in lagoons and slow flowing streams with light gear, but in creeks that are in flood, with a 4wt and 6lb tippet these pocket rockets are a whole ‘nother ball-game! They even ate a couple of small deceivers and a little orange and white deer hair minnow, which provided some more aerobatic fun, before I finally decided to go pink and black.

I visited a couple of other spots that usually hold fish to no avail, and then went for a look at a couple of other spots, heading ever closer to the estuaries, and the ever present crocodile. Sure enough there were plenty of fish, but they were just out of range of the fly rod (and I DON’T wade in these waters!!) so I got out the ‘sin stick’.

Out comes my custom samurai with 4lb fireline and I’m in the game again! There were some big tarpon smashing bait under the bridge and also working downstream at a junction at a location I haven’t had a great deal of luck at in the past. The ‘sin stick’ was just what the doctor orderd, because matched with my secret weapon, a 55mm squidgy wriggler in "killer tomato" ie PINK, I landed the fish of the day. Not a monster, but still an absolute beauty that had me worried a couple of times. But check out where I got it from, there are two creeks joining there with timber, floating weed for 3m out in front of me, and trees a meter either side of me. This fish stripped drag off me with ease a number of times and I was really worried I was going to lose it.

Ended up with a couple more from there, and a few more small 'uns at another spot. Went back to where I started the morning and the poons were still there. So just for something different I tried the soft plastics here for a couple more.

Tip: When the ‘poons weren’t smashing the plastics as they landed, the best retrieve was a slow lift with a long pause. Cast the plastic in the vicinity of the boil, let it drop, and you should feel and / or see the bump as they take the plastic. If the line is limp, don’t be alarmed, they’re probably just swimming towards to, retrieve quickly and do your best to keep the tension on to give you the best chance of landing these little fellas. Small plastics are great, today I used a 55mm squidgy wriggler in the killer tomato colour, rigged on a size 4, 2g squidgy finesse jig head.