Bucket List Gets A Hammering

I recently had the pleasure of taking a keen angler fishing in Tropical North Queensland. He’d set himself up with a couple of trips he arranged through FishingCairns, one out to the reef to chase GT’s, the other up the river with me to chase Jungle Perch and Sooty Grunter. The trips were a birthday present from his wife, and they didn’t disappoint.
 
 
As with a lot of keen anglers, Clark bought his own gear, ideal for the light tackle action I had in store for him. The trip up the river was enjoyable as always, spotting many crocodiles, sea eagles, a Jabiru and many other bird species. With the water levels dropping we made it as far up the river as possible then started the drift. As usual, in my experience the first fifteen minutes produced little action as the fish settled back down from the boat hurtling upstream.
 
 
But it wasn’t long before Clark was onto his first Sooty, and there it was, a bucket list species ticked off the list. He was impressed with how hard these little fish hit and fight all the way to the boat. It’s any wonder Sooties are right up there when experienced fisherman are asked their favourite species to target with lures. I know I never tire of catching them. 

Bucket List Gets A Hammering

As we fished on, the catch rate increased with Clark relishing the action in the crystal clear water.
 
Clear water can be problematic for inexperienced anglers, with fish following lures out from shadows and structure only to see the boat and peel off back to cover. At times like this accurate casting increases the hookup rate as fish will make reactive or territorial hits on the invasive lures. Put the lure a metre from the fish, it will come and investigate, put the lure on its head and you will get a more instinctive reaction.
 
 
The next fish on the bucket list is the Jungle Perch, a lot has been written about this little gem of the north. We drifted down on a JP hotspot and I slowed the boat down with the aid of the electric outboard to allow Clark to get a few cast into this spot. The backwater produced as it usually does, but alas a healthy big Sooty came out and engulfed his lure. 
 
 
But it wasn’t long before the tick was added to Clarks list. It was a classic catch as well, a well directed cast in behind a huge root ball of an upended tree. As the lure began it way back to the boat it had to make its way back over a root running parallel and six inches below the waters surface. We could see the lure inching closer to the apex when the JP appeared from out of nowhere and hammered the lure. Thankfully the fish came over the obstruction with no problems, but it was heart in mouth stuff for a split second.
 
 
As a guide it is always very rewarding to see skills rewarded when out on the river. We’ve all put in accurate, well guided lures on the spot and not been rewarded with a strike. To see visitors to the region come out, hit the spot and get the rewards is very satisfying as a guide. The beauty of fishing in these clearer waters is that even if my clients cannot put a lure on a ha’penny bit, they see hundreds of fish during the charter. A much better experience than casting all day and not seeing any fish at all.
 
Brett Parks
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