We set out on a bushwalk to explore the upper reaches of Middle Harbour. The plan was simple – access secluded sections of water on foot, throw a few lures about, and see if anything happens.
With our backpacks on and fishing rods in hand, we walked into the stillness of the bush. It was first light and after a short walk we came upon a series of freshwater pools above the tidal reaches.
The country was beautiful. Most sections of water were shallow, with a few deeper pools here and there.
We put our casts in the right places but didn’t see any evidence of bass. Not that it really mattered, considering the scenery.
I was so taken with the mood of the place, I put down my fishing rod and started taking photos of flowers.
After a few moments I regained my composure and picked up my fishing rod. Honestly, taking photos of flowers on a fishing trip?
Maybe just one more.
We kept fishing the fresh but didn’t have any follows on our surface lures until we reached the brackish water. My friend Greg had the first hit. I would like to think it was an estuary perch, but we didn’t see the fish.
Once we reached the upper reaches of Middle Harbour proper, we started to see bream in numbers. They were cruising along the edge of the rocks, where the water dropped off. So we crept along the shoreline, casting up against the rocks.
It wasn’t long before ‘eagle-eye’ Greg spotted a surface disturbance underneath an overhangling tree. The distance was beyond my backhand cast, but I gave it a decent flick. My surface lure fell a few metres short of the fish. But after a twitch of the lure, I saw a small bow wave heading towards it. I twitched the lure a few more times. Then I looked away for a moment, and while the lure sat still, the fish came up and sipped the lure off the surface.
It was a delicate take, but once the line tightened and I applied pressure, all hell broke loose. The fish dived deep and tried to cut me off against the barnacle encrusted rock ledge. My drag buzzed with some of the stronger dives. I was lucky to land the fish. It wasn’t a bass or an estuary perch, it was a decent bream. I was happy with it.
It was a wonderful walk. The beauty of the bush, the mystery of the water and what lies beneath.
I don’t think the freshwater pools hold any bass, but the brackish upper reaches certainly hold bream. Some of them are big. I’ll certainly walk in there again, with a few surface lures in the backpack.