Old dogs & new tricks

I have had the pleasure over the past 4 or 5 seasons to open the eyes of some very important people in my life to soft lures. These people were the cornerstone of my whole outlook on fishing. They fuelled the fire in my infancy, taught me the basics, helped me develop the patience, and gave me the appreciation of camaraderie and mateship, beyond what is known outside the sphere recreational fishing.

My dad and grandfather have taken to plastics like any angling challenge in their life. My dad now sports more specialist SP outfits than bait rigs, a Hobie to fish his adjacent lake and braid coming out of his ears. He has all the elements in place to be a gun lure fisho. And to be honest he already is. I think it really appeals to his meticulous nature.

Pop on the other hand is something different all together. Where my father was open to new ideas, listened to the mistakes I made and heeded the good oil to fast track his learning – much like I did when I was in his shoes years before – Pop has run his own show. We all gave him the basics, told him what gear to use and what lures to use and where but he rarely listens.

I’m not sure if it is part of old age; he is 80 years old now and probably can’t be given advice by a snot-nosed thirty-something. He will concede we are onto a good thing though, but not initially.

I remember our first session together on SP’s. It was on Botany Bay. We landed over 30 flatties and good variety of by-catch. I was so excited for him because he caught his fair share of fish. I was beaming with excitement and all he could muster was “they work ok…but they only catch flathead, no good for anything else”. He’s is a hard man to please!

What made matters worse was he snapped the tip off his new graphite stick I’d bought him. It was a high-sticking casualty as he tried to get off a snag.
“Bloody rods break too easy…not as good as my (Silstar) power sticks”.

From those humble beginnings has spawned a love affair for plastics. Pop still never admits it but I know he’s keen when he rings me on a Wednesday to tee up a session with me for the weekend. He knows I never use bait. But the remarkable thing is he runs his own race. He uses cheap old reels that wobble like a punch drunk boxer on his last legs. His rods are trusty ‘glass and weight more than my Nissan Navara. He won’t conform. No matter how much I try and talk to him. But in essence this is what I love most. He defies the odds and still from time to time teaches me a lesson or two!

Last weekend at Botany he did it to me again. He pulled out his rods that barely have enough cotton on the bindings to hold on the guides, out came the DAM reels loaded with braid, probably thick enough to use as anchor rope, a jighead large enough to use off the continental shelf. He kicked my butt.
He’s starting to use his new graphite rod again though. I think he likes using it but is scared of snapping the tip, in his own view, on a legitimate manoeuvre to free a snagged lure.

As a side note, the Bay seems to be firing again. The winter chill has evaporated and the fish are ready to play ball. There a few kings getting around but they are timid. The flatties are VERY hungry and the tailor are a good class. The trevs seem to be a good size too with fish up to a kilo on the move.


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