As anglers we all like to challenge ourselves, right? We challenge ourselves to catch bigger and better fish, to catch fish more effectively under any conditions and of course to out-fish our mates. The Social Fishing team are always trying to push ourselves and set each other new challenges. On the recent annual Social Fishing trip my personal challenge was to target river natives using soft plastics.
Prior to the trip I wasn’t unfamiliar with using soft plastics, having landed my very first metre cod on a 100mm plastic in Blowering dam last winter. I had confidently used soft plastics fishing for natives in the pristine and crystal clear waters of Blowering dam, but how would they go in the dirty waters of the Murrumbidgee River?
So, with this challenge in mind I started the annual Social fishing trip with a 110mm Berkeley Rib Shad tied to the end of my line. With 3 days of fishing ahead I had plenty of time to hone in on the fish and really work the timber well with my soft plastic.
There was no shortage of snags to cast at as we drifted slowly downstream. I worked the soft plastic in a similar manner to a spinnerbait – casting in tight to the structure and letting it flutter right to the bottom before retrieving it with a slow roll. From early morning until lunchtime I belted cast after cast into some very fish locations, but only received a short bump as the lure sank in front of a willow. The Rib Shad soft plastic had an unreal action on the slow roll, and at the end of each retrieve I couldn’t help but admire it as it swam back to the boat resembling a small fish – surely any resident fish couldn’t resist that action! At the end of the day the plastic had not accounted for any fish, but that just made me more keen to get one on it the next day.
The next afternoon the plastic was back on the end of my line. The evening session was really slow for everyone, but just before nightfall a thunderstorm rolled in and we had our fingers crossed that it stirred some fish into action. Light was fading fast and we were working a bank lined with she-oaks and a few small logs. I placed four casts in to a small log tight up against the bank then moved to another log upstream. I couldn’t resist putting another cast in to the first small log and I definitely didn’t regret it – half way back to the boat the plastic was annihilated by a strong fish which immediately powered downstream. The powerful runs were the tell-tale sign of a feisty trout cod and the fish stayed low before we could finally get it to the top for a look. The fish was a cracker measuring in at 63cm and my cries of jubilation rang out into the twilight night, contending with the thunderous booms of the impending thunderstorm. The feeling of success was sweet when you challenge yourself and you finally succeed to reach that milestone.
Its milestone moments like these in fishing that keep me coming back for more, seeking out the next challenge and putting it to the sword.