A very fresh November - Tilapia, Leathery Grunter and Tarpon

Been freshwater fishing lately? Post your trip here.
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A very fresh November - Tilapia, Leathery Grunter and Tarpon

#1 Post by Ads22 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:04 pm

Over the last couple of weeks I've managed a little bit of time on the water. The conditions have been a little iffy at times, so I have opted for a few freshwater trips.

18/11 - Don River

The first of these trips was out west of Rockhampton for the Dawson River system. Fishing a previously visited hole, I spent the whole morning on one pool on a quest for Saratoga. With the dry conditions we've had, I was happy to find there was still water in the hole when I get there! I was on the water at first light and conditions were great. I had full confidence in getting one on surface, but after plenty of casts and getting no attention, I switched to a small hardbody. More casts and more hitting snags and the open, I still couldn't buy a touch. I came across a snag from which I had previously pulled multiple Saratoga in one session. I received a few half hearted bumps, likely Freshwater Gar. Finally, I changed over to a spinnerbait and received a solid hit right near the kayak. After a brief, but feisty fight, I landed a nice little Leathery Grunter. These are pretty cool fish, as I've previously mentioned, and the hit was very much like a Jack.
Still no Saratoga, I kept hunting. Shortly after the Grunter, I saw a creature in the snag playing around. From a distance I could have sworn it was a Platypus. As I approached, it disappeared under the water. Or perhaps it was a Turtle? About ten minutes later I was on the other side of the river near a snag and found a bigger version come up. This was definitely not a turtle, and after seeing it multiple times across the morning, am happy to report it was indeed a Platypus, I even caught it on video!

I pushed into the second half of the pool searching for the elusive 'Toga. As I pushed through a narrow stretch, a spooked one resting along the bank. Aww man! :idiot: I continued further down the pool landing a couple of small catfish, then switching back to a spinnerbait, first cast to an irrigation pipe and I hooked up to a nice Saratoga. I got it close to the yak once before it threw the hooks! Arrgh! :?: It wasn't long and I was hooked up again to a Saratoga, which again threw the hooks. I persisted with the spinnerbait for a while, then switched to a Hell Yeah Finesse Chatterbait. These things have some wicked action. Coming back through the narrow stretch I hooked my third Toga for the day, only to lose yet another good fish.
Toga Miss 2_L.jpg
The fishing Gods seemed to be a little against me today, but after getting off the water, I searched a little further up the road and found access to another nice looking pool. I wouldn't mind doing an overnighter with a few repeat sessions out there at some stage, if I can arrange the time, that is!

21/11 - Yeppen - Tilapia
It was hard finding a window in the wind during which I had time to get the yak out. With the wife still laid up, I managed to sneak out onto a calm Yeppen Lagoon in Rockhampton for a brief session before I took the kids to school. The aim for the morning was to find some Tilapia and maybe even try and land one on a spinnerbait. I worked the usual edges but couldn't get much, then managed a nice whack on the Hell Yeah Finesse Chatterbait, but missed the hooks, including the stinger.

I worked around and searched for fish on the sounder, too. I came across some action on the sounder near a fence across the lagoon, right out in the middle in 9 metres of water. In no time, I had flicked out a small soft vibe and was onto my first Tilapia for the morning. With only light line with me, given Barra season is closed, the fish fought well but was soon subdued, despite being hook in the dorsal fin. I was getting regular hits, almost every second cast and managed to hook up again, landing a bigger model Tilapia. I continued in this fashion, landing another before I ran out of time.
All in all, 3 solid Tilapia for the morning, the largest about 38cm. Use of the sideview on the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 75sv made finding the action and casting to the right place much easier.
25/11 - Tarpon

I was on call on the weekend, but repeated the early morning Yeppen trip hoping the phone wouldn't ring. The conditions were magic, with not a breeze on the water again, and I was surprised to see 3 other local yakkers arrive as I was pushing off. Getting a little exercise, I went in search of Tilapia again but couldn't find one to save myself. Finally, I found action closer to the highway than the previous trip. What ensued was a hot bite period where I was getting hits or hookups most casts, losing four small soft vibe lures and landing 3 good Tarpon. They have a habit of swallowing the lure then rubbing through the light leader, and 8lb leader meant I had to be super gentle on the drag. Not to mention their habit of dropping the hooks, be it under water, or going aerial! One of them towed me around for over five minutes and I had it called for a Barra, despite being from the middle of the pool. I couldn't turn it and it felt heavy. It turned out that I had hooked it on the soft tissue of the eye and couldn't turn its head. A mate passing on the nearby bridge had messaged me, having seen me locked in battle with the fish.
Heading for home, I stopped near the fence again, and within a few casts received a good hit but failed to hook up. Short on time and needing to get in to work I left, certain that I could have landed more, but reasonably happy with a sneaky session with some good, fun fish!

Everything is burning around CQ now it seems, so the destination of the next session is a big unknown. I had been thinking of another Saratoga hunt in a new pool, but not sure I want to be exploring in this heat! Will have to see how the next two days unfolds!

Cheers and happy fishing!

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Yak PBs
Estuary Cod 50cm; Mangrove Jack 49cm; Barra 108cm; Flathead - dusky 62cm; Flathead - bartail 51cm; Flounder 28cm; Forktail Catfish 60cm; Bream 32cm, Sand whiting 30cm; Striped Butterfish/Scat 20cm; Barred Javelin 47cm; Bull Shark 80cm; Queenfish 103cm; Tarpon 60cm; Golden Perch 47cm; Estuary Perch 33cm; Saratoga 72cm; Leathery Grunter 43cm.

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Re: A very fresh November - Tilapia, Leathery Grunter and Tarpon

#2 Post by arpie » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:01 pm

You are the Tilapia King!!! :wink:

Those Tarpon are definitely acrobatic!! Well done. I hooked a nice Giant Herring the other week - it went ballistic too! I thought I got it on the video but mustn't have pushed the button hard enough! :beye:

WOW! A Platypus! Awesome! Shame the Toga got off!


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