Another Weir Story rising water big mullet and shattered rod

by Dean Price Murwillumbah NSW Australia

Sea Mullett

Sea Mullett

This is another weir story I will try to make it the last one although some of the readers of this great blog site may find it interesting. I went down to the local weir and saw that the local council have put up barriers to stop the big high tides coming over the weir and infecting the local drinking/town water with salt water. This has been happening for about 18 months now. It first happened when a tide came over during a succession of king tide days. The council warned everyone not to drink the water until they managed to clear enough salt by using very large pumps to pump the salt water back over to the salt side. The salt water is heavier than the fresh so the hoses that suck out the saltwater sit on the bottom on the fresh water side of the weir. I'm not sure if this has ever occurred before as I have only lived there for 12 years but locals have never mentioned it happening before as far as I know.
Council now put barriers with sandbags up every time predicted king tides are to occur. The council have spent a huge amount of money into research on how they are to approach this problem and wrote up a report suggesting the tides will continue to be big based on scientific studies . I wont go on about rising waters but the issue for council is that years ago, council made a regulation with landowners upstream that prevents them from raising the height of the weir.

Anyway back to the fishing, with the barriers lined along the entire length of the weir the usual fresh water that continually flows into the salt was forced into one corner where there is a fish ladder which allows fish to move to either side to spawn.

On this day the water was running very hard through the fish ladder and there was this big school of sea mullet in the flow feeding on micro plant matter. They are large powerful fish that travel a long way through the ocean and continue far up the rivers. I started to cast a fly in the large school and occasionally would get a quick eat and spit out. I then realised that the school was so thick that all I had to do was let my fly sink a little and then just swiftly lift it up to jag a fish. I think I hooked 1 in the mouth and 3 in the body for an almighty fight that saw 3 bust offs and a shattered rod! It took a few seconds for the fish to register that it was in danger and boy did they go hard. The 5x line size was not really a match for these strong ocean goers. The last hook up, I really tried hard to restrict the fish from turning and the fight lasted a bit longer with the fish running frantically through the school, then again it busted off as well. The school then moved down away from me about another 15 meters. I changed my set up to a better connection knot between the casting line and tippet and made the cast into the middle of the school. I let the fly sink a little, a quick lift and bham 2 of the mid section pieces of the 53m just totally shattered.

I decided to leave the mullet alone and went home happy about getting to fight strong fish but wondering what happened with the rod. I was able to replace the parts easy as I had a broken (my fault) Daiwa 43m and lucky that the broken 43m had the parts that needed replacing on the 53m. I since realized that as I have had the 53m for such a long time and have caught many fish with it over some years for many fishing trips I believe the 2 pieces that shattered were due to the way I have been breaking the rod down. Because the 53m's thick bottom to middle pieces are quite durable I have been jolted down upon the pieces when breaking the rod down. I have been using lighter rods lately and realized that I should be firmly holding the pieces and pressing them downwards gently into the fold down positions. I think I may have weakened the fibers of the 53m by using this jolt down action. Chris what do you think?

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


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