Off and on in South Gippsland

Weather modelling is partly about crunching the data from past events to predict the future. The trouble with East Coast Lows (ECLs for short) is, they occur infrequently enough for the data to be a bit lacking. So when the forecast for this week’s trip to Andersons Inlet and surrounds with JD promised sunshine and gentleness, I wanted to believe, but wasn’t convinced. A giant ECL was supposed to form off the New South Wales coast a safe distance way, but the models wobbled around with every run – and the different models couldn’t agree anyway.

Calm before the storm

As it turned out, the ECL drifted somewhat further south than predicted – enough for the edge of the system to ‘tickle’ the South Gippsland coast with patches of strong wind and driving drizzle. The fishing was a bit weird in patches too, and rather than blame myself, I’d like to think it had something to do with the massive low which loomed just over the horizon. Fish are meant to be able to sense these things… aren’t they?

Just keep fishing!

Of course, there’s no such thing as a bad fishing trip, just variations in the extent of catching and the unexpected , as Nick Taransky would say. Nick’s philosophy would suggest that tough (or should that be interesting?) trips, are in fact a perfect opportunity to learn, explore, and try different things.

A new spot, thanks to a bit of exploring while we waited for the weather to improve.

In that context, I think the overriding lesson from this trip was perseverance; not in a shoulder-to-the-grindstone sense, but sticking with it, being versatile, and keeping the faith. This trip more than most was about simply being on the water and fishing with thought and belief, so that when the elements lined up in fish world (whatever they were) we were there to take advantage.

Reward for staying on for that extra twilight cast.

The school of decent salmon moving up the Point Smythe channel about midway through the incoming tide, the EPs suddenly coming on at last light up the top of Andersons Inlet, or the Powlett River bream going berserk for half an hour where the salt met the fresh. These and other opportunities could so easily have been missed if JD and I had waited out the weather, or stuck with conservative options.

You have to actually be there to take advantage when that school of big salmon comes through.

So a trip that arguably might be summed up as ‘hard’ or ‘disappointing’, turned out to be one of my favourites of the year; each fish caught was especially rewarding exactly because it wasn’t easy. And I really felt as if a learnt some new things, which after nearly 50 years doing this, is half the fun!

Right place, right time… but you’ve got to be out there in the first place.