Childlike Exuberance

Childlike Exuberance

Martyn White | Thursday, 27 January 2022

It's been a slow fishing start to the year we've had barely any rain for months and the rivers are critically low, the seabass have been away spawning over Christmas. I'm still waiting for rain, but as we get into the end of January the bass are coming back. I took Canadian John out on Monday night for his second boat trip.

After his disasterous first trip, he'd really been out practising with his spinning rod and we'd been down to the shore a couple of times too, so I was confident that I'd not be climbing out of the boat to retrieve lures and he'd probably not lose as many this time. The main concern was getting him his first fish because there's a limited amount of failure someone can take before just giving up and although you never really know how much that is, before the trip he was talking a lot about how many lures he was going to lose. He'd have to at least connect with a fish to despel the creeping negativity.

Usually the fish aren't all back until we get right in to February, and as we left the marina Captain Masuda mentioned that there weren't that many around yet. The night before he had a group of 3 out and they only managed a single fish between them. Oh dear. But actually it didnt take us long to find a few fish chasing bait under some lights. We put John in the front first with a little soft plastic on a light jig head and after a few casts he settled down and put one nicely in the shadow beyond the light and hooked up almost instatntly. It was a nice fat well conditioned schoolie, ideal for a first fish. Unfortunately John's casting is still a bit splashy and we only managed a couple of fish before they switched off. For most of the rest of the night it was much the same, we found small schools and caught one ore two before having to move on. It was only on the last mark we found fish in any real numbers and had a very hectic last half hour probably adding 20 bass to our total for the night, Interestingly the fish were in great condition, with full bellies and seemingly fully recovered from the spawn. It was excellent and a great way to make sure John sticks with the hobby.  It also gave hime a chance to get some confidence in handling his fish and unhooking them so next time I'll be able to spend a bit lest time sorting him out and more time fishing myself.

It's amazing to see the joy of that first fish moment. As much as I enjoy catching fish, I don't enjoy as much as that, only new and incredibly difficult species come close. I'll Just have to get John on the fly rod now before he gets over comitted to the lure buying.