Giant fish invades coastal lake!

WATER warm? Check. Clear? Check. Little breeze? Check. High tide, prawn run? Check and check. Everything was right but where were the damn fish!?

After about an hour casting surface and shallow diving lures from my kayak over some prime terrain in Wallis Lake on the NSW mid-north coast, all I’d seen was one nice whiting. My partner in crime for the morning, Warrick, I think had a zero. I paddled over to see how he was going and saw he’d switched to a small plastic and was targeting small strips of sand amongst the weed beds in deeper water for flathead. As I got nearer I saw him score a flathead of around 40cm.

I told Warrick how I wanted to head down toward the bridge to fish the pylon structure. As I was about to paddle off I glanced around and decided on a quick cast, for reasons unknown – maybe the hunter in me knew something I didn’t. As I retrieved the pink Sebile Stick Shadd across the surface the lure sustained a massive hit and all I saw was a large mouth. Warrick yelled “big tailor!” but the fish hadn’t hooked up. Then in a blink of an eye the fish came back and inhaled my lure and I set the hooks.

“Salmon…” I corrected Warrick with excitement in my voice.

Then the fish made the most spectacular jump, its body twisted and contorted in unnatural ways nearly four feet up in the air. I then could clearly see it was a giant herring, a fish I had seen on display at the co-op once before and a fish talked about in my early days in the local sportfishing club.

The fish proceeded to do two more amazing jumps then smoked off, making my Shimano 2500FI Stradic scream like it had never screamed before! I soon had plenty of 6lb braid  that had never seen the light of day in the water. The fish then slugged it out for nearly 10 minutes before giving up the ghost and I gently lifted it into my kayak. The fish looked amazing: kind of prehistoric, so silver, long and slender and built for speed. I quickly took it to the shallows for a few photos and released my latest new species.

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I often find that with fishing, a lot of days are about one fish. This day was exactly that. I’ve since learnt that these fish are extremely rare this far south, which made this capture even more special. I’m now learning to always expect the unexpected.

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