South West Rocks, GTS Round 2

The Macleay River serves up coloured water and potentially trying conditions for Round 2 of the Gamakatsu Team Series, Mid Region. 1st Feb 2015. swr1  With only one other event run during winter last year, the Macleay is still a relatively new arena for most anglers including ourselves. With this in mind a prefish was organised the weekend before to scope out some upriver hunting grounds. An early morning start was organised and the boat launched at Smithtown into a mildly dirty river. We knew good populations of fish would still be upriver so it was just a matter of covering some water to find where they were and what they wanted to eat. What we found was large populations of fish spread from Kempsey down to Jerseyville. The lower reaches were explored however low numbers of fish were encountered. The vast majority of fish were quite good quality, ranging between 28 and 35 fork length. Most were caught on CRANKA Crabs and CRANKA Cranks, in any colour. swr4 Tournament weekend: Considering what we had found on our prefish we were convinced a 3.5kg bag would be needed to be in the money. Saturday prefish: reproduced much the same results as the week before: plenty of nice fish spread throughout the upper reaches. The coloured water did not seem to upset them at all; however it was very important to stay away from the black water flowing out of the various floodgates around Kinchela at low tide. This water was totally dead and was actually the cause of fish kills in the Clybucca River, a tributary of the Macleay. While this black water was a problem it would only impact later in the session as the tide dropped. With this in mind it was decided we would still spend the entire session on Sunday in the upper reaches. We knew not many other boats would venture far upstream so we would have it to ourselves. Tournament Day: Anticipation was high as it is with the start of every tournament… Will we catch the fish we found the day before? Will our game plan work or will we have to fly by the seat of our pants and make it up as we go? swr3 Arriving at our first spot near Kinchela, the tide was still pushing in on a small rock wall that had held huge schools of bait the days before. Flicking CRANKA Crabs, CRANKA Shallow Cranks and Grubs parallel to the rocks produced our 1st fish, around 29cm. A few casts later a couple of nice 30cm plus fish and another couple around 29 get poled into the boat. Great, we thought… five fish in the boat in less than half an hour for around 3kg+. What more could you ask for so early on? After this short flurry, things went a little quiet. A move was made further upriver to some other nice banks that we were confident in. From here on in, things didn’t go quite according to plan. For the remainder of the session we concentrated our efforts in areas that had produced solid fish in our prefish the week before. The next five or so hours were spent sorting through a handful of nice bass and at least 50 legal bream but none bigger than what we had in the bag. While this was a lot of fun it was not helping our bag any. A decision was made to move back to where we had started in the hope of bagging a couple of upgrades. Upon arriving at spot A we checked the live well as we do after a longer run. What was discovered is every tournament angler’s worst nightmare… dead fish. Our two largest fish were floating and could not be revived. It’s still a bit of a mystery why, as the other three were fighting fit. We put it down to the possibility of pumping in some black water; we had fished our way past a couple of drains and floodgates. wr7We suspect the long ride back downriver combined with de-oxygenated water was just too much. With 30 minutes to go we scraped up two small fish and pinned it for the weigh-in. Holding it flat the whole way back, we arrived with 30 seconds to spare,  happy we had made it back without a penalty but still devastated we had dropped so much weight from losing our two best fish. We were happy ending up in 6th place with 2.46kg considering the end to our day. Sometimes things don’t go your way but you must make the most of every situation. Never giving up is the motto in our boat and this time it really was the case. Once again a big thanks to Carpet Court and Cranka Lures Mike swr2 swr6 image IMG_3621 IMG_3713 IMG_3714

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