YOU WILL NEVER KNOW IF YOU DON’T HAVE A GO
When it comes to fishing, the rewards often come to those who are prepared to ‘have a go’ and make the effort to try new places.
Famous outdoorsman Paddy Pallin once said, “The only trips I regret are the ones I didn’t do.” Now I don’t know if Paddy was as keen on his fishing as he was on his camping and bushwalking, but I reckon his quote is spot on for us anglers. As the title of this article implies, you will never know how good the fishing might be if you don’t have a go at wetting a line there.
THE SEARCH FOR THE BEST FISHING SPOTS
Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours scouting around trying to find overlooked fishing spots. I’ve poured over maps, ogled over Google Earth, driven hundreds of kilometres down dusty bush tracks and bashed my way through almost impenetrable scrub to get to places where other anglers don’t often venture.
Sometimes this investment of effort has been for nothing and I’ve ended up in standing in the dry gully where a beautiful creek should be. Worse still, what looked like a pristine body of water on the screen has occasionally turned out to be little more than a polluted swamp with more car tires and shopping trollies than fish. At times like this, it’s easy to give up and say, “why bother?”.
The reason I keep persevering, however, is because every so often, all that effort pays off big time and you find yourself in a piece of fishing paradise. A place where the fish are large and plentiful and haven’t yet got sick of looking at passing lures. As a passionate angler, that’s a dream come true and the sort of fishing that gets remembered around the campfire with your best mates.
IN PLAIN SIGHT
Now I know I’ve given the impression that these places are tucked away out of sight and out of mind and a lot of them are but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, productive waterways are right out there in plain view, but there’s something keeping most people out.
Usually, that’s private property. Sadly, these days a lot of what should be publicly owned land is coming under lock and key. Considering the mess and vandalism some visitors leave behind, you can hardly blame landowners for trying to protect their property. After all, if everyone picked up after themselves, left their dogs at home and didn’t light fires everywhere it probably wouldn’t be such a problem in the first place. Aside from access, the other big handicap is a lack of launching facilities. I find that if you can’t back your boat down a nice wide concrete ramp, most casual anglers are reluctant to try any other way.
It’s never been something that’s stopped us. Over the years we’ve done a number of beach launches and even had to resort to lowering our tinny over high banks on ropes, just so we could chase a few Barra up a tight mangrove creek. It’s not something you see many others doing anymore though which is a bit of a pity.
Where it’s safe to do so, fishing from a personal watercraft like a canoe or kayak is the easiest way to get around both problems. These days, I mainly fish from the relative comfort of my Hobie Pro Angler, as I do a bit of tournament kayak angling. It’s really a bit big and cumbersome for that caper, however, I’ve also owned several canoes and these knockabout craft have allowed me to get into places where you simply can’t launch a bigger boat.
As long as there is public access somewhere close for you to launch like a bridge or crossing, you can quite legally paddle most waterways (there are exceptions of course). Provided you don’t get out on the banks, you’re not trespassing as the water belongs to everyone. Just remember to treat everyone respectfully and do the right thing while you’re there and you should have no issues.
While I could go on and on about the advantages of exploring and fishing out of canoes and kayaks, the take home message from this little ramble is to encourage you to simply have a go. Take the time to check out your local area. I’m sure you will find there are some great little spots tucked away there somewhere just waiting for you to explore. If you make the effort and have a go regardless of how the fishing turns out at least you won’t regret not having tried.
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