Sweetwater Yak Fishing
I decided to finally have a serious attempt to land a Sooty Grunter from the Yak but did not want to put up with the crowds and the Dam Lice (water skiers) at Kinchant. I was in no mood for a long drive either so after a couple of coffees my mind was made up to head for the upper reaches of the Pioneer. So armed with a few likely hardbodied lures, a couple of red bulls and snickers bars I departed rather late at 5 am with the sun a lot higher than I would have liked.
The drive out took only 40mins and I arrived at the launch site with eager anticipation, I had never fished this stretch of water before but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of fishy structure in the area. Old bridge pylons dotted the river and fallen trees along the banks offered substantial cover for my target species.
I immediately targeted the old pylons and after 20 mins I hooked up and did this fish go hard! I thought for sure it was my first yak Sooty but a 43cm Catfish was the culprit. I was a little disappointed until I realised it was a PB for me so after a quick pic and a careful release I paddled off to my next target.
A large Gum tree had fallen into the water on the bank so I threw a stiffy minnow in amongst the snags, I then let it sit for a few seconds and WHAM! This fish hit twice as hard as the first and the 6lb braid was screaming off my little Shimano Aernos. I was being pulled ever closer into the branches as the fish dived between the timber, I had to use my paddle to push off the big Gum tree and I managed to steer him into open water. The fight was over quickly after that but my hopes of a large sooty or Freshy Barra were dashed when yet another catfish surfaced, this time a 53cm model.
I paddled off upstream and found a deeper calmer section of water and with my first cast I hooked up to a good fish. The fight felt similar to the last two and I had called it for another whiskered brute but when I caught a glimpse of the dark flanked shape I knew I had the Sooty I had come for. After a good fight which consisted of several screaming runs the 42cm fish was netted with no fuss, a quick photo, a few fist pumps, then released. Mission accomplished!
A great morning, a beautiful spot and a few PB’s not a bad way to start the day.