Kayak Fishing Journey Around Australia E-mail
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 05:16
 

Up until the turn of this year I'd been working in the realm of journalism in a variety of industries, from outdoor recreation to computer technology, politics, pollution and poverty. I didn't much enjoy most of it and over time this and coupled with endless deadlines, the whole gig generally kept me unnaturally busy. So whenever I did get spare time on my hands I was always desperate to get outdoors and onto the water. As a result, my five year long obsession with kayak-fishing was reaching unnatural proportions during last years Snapper season in my local fishery of Port Phillip Bay. Perhaps that's why my wife-to-be decided to pull the plug late last year, which incidentally, occurred only minutes after losing my job at the time. I was actually happy about losing the job but what I first thought was providence soon turned to disaster. Through a series of unfortunate events, things went from bad to worse as I watched assets stripped from me and almost everything I cared about taken away. My life was instantly and completely inverted as I was literally transformed from living the so-called great Aussie dream to the worst of nightmares. What's a man to do?

Naturally, this began as a relatively depressing chapter of my life but soon after my new-found freedom became increasingly apparent. Unburdened by the weight of relationship commitments and unrestrained by a job I hated, for the first time in many years I felt completely liberated. With a whole lot of time on my hands and loads of ideas - all of which I was now free to explore - it was only a matter of deciding which to pursue.

At the top of the list was an epic kayak fishing trip around the coastline of Australia. I'd been entertaining this idea for several years so now felt like the perfect time to put the plan into action. I couldn't think of anything more healing and spiritually cleansing, which is exactly what the doctor had ordered I do. Going 'walkabout' it was suggested, might not be a bad idea.

Planning began in earnest, continuing for six months of working towards the end goal of elongated kayak fishing escapism. The first step was to start selling everything I wouldn't need to take with me, which I did by way of ebay. Preparation for the trip began with the creation of an extensive plan that I used to connect all of the dots. There were many questions for which I needed answers. How long would I be gone for? Where exactly would I go and on which course? What kind of kayak would be most suitable? Which fishing, camping, navigation and computing solutions would be most appropriate?  And what exactly would I hope to achieve?

Physical preparation began in my home state of Victoria in the southern region of Australia. Inadvertently, this was almost all done in the colder months of the year and launching into water temperatures as low as 5°C (frequently), it proved to be rather character building. Throughout these experiments of trial and error I experimented with several kayaks, numerous rigs and fishing outfits as well as sounder mounting alternatives. Due to a unfortunate kayak fishing trip a few years earlier (that caused serious long-term injury to my shoulders) I was only interested in pedal powered kayaks, so I was always going to go with Hobie, regardless of the model. I started out with the Hobie Outback kayak, which I perceived to be a great all-round fishing kayak, with great primary and secondary stability and plenty of storage space. Eventually, however, I determined that speed would be more important than stability to me, so I finally decided upon the faster, more versatile Hobie Revolution. The Revo has turned out to be a great choice, as it paddles almost as well as it pedals. The ability to do either comfortably seemed like a big advantage and thats exactly what it has turned out to be.
 
Soon after hitting the road, however, I learned that I was heading down the wrong direction on some other points. Despite being well-seasoned to both fishing and kayaking conditions down south, I soon learned that various things were very different up north. I discovered this pretty quickly because after enduring months of near-freezing temperatures in the south, when the time came to begin the journey I decided to start my adventures in the central region of the eastern coastline where the weather was much more accomadating. It took a few trips for the reality to hammer home, but I soon discovered that for the most part, fish are bigger up north. They also have a bigger appetite to match, commanding a need for larger lures. So the further north I travel I am continually having to update the equipment on my tackle box. This is proving to be an on-going financial challenge. I've learned this lesson the hard way several times, hooking onto fish that were either too fast and strong for my rod and line, or two toothy for the tracer lines I started out using. On top of this I have also had to review certain knot tying and rigging techniques as well. It seems that almost every time I fish a new destination I learn another lesson. There's been thrills, spills, highs and lows but it's all been worth it because I'm having a hell of a good time. The journey has only just begun to, so it will it'll just continue to get more interesting as I go.

My intention has always been to stop in at every potential kayak fishing destination around the coastline of Australia and record my experiences in the way of fishing reports, destination reports, photos, videos, blogs and more. I always knew that there would be some places that I'd arrive at during the wrong time of year, so I set out with the plan of traveling the coast twice. For the first time around I am taking a very methodical exploratory path and my intention is to go straight back to certain places on the second pass. Anywhere that I encountered poor weather or fishing seasons are going to the top of my list of places to return to. A good example of this is my recent visit to Noosa (the home of Aussie kayak fishing icon, Billybob, editor of fishingnoosa.com.au). Upon reaching the area, torrential rains and winds of cyclonic proportions moved in and persisted for over a week. This shut down the fishing for days afterwards, so I notched it up as a place I'd just have to return to at a later stage.  

I have been fortunate in most other places, however. Some of the destinations I have visited are absolutely fantastic for kayak fishing adventures. The fishing town of Iluka in northern NSW, for example, was so nice to paddle and so productive to fish that leaving the place was really very hard to do. At the time of writing I am in Hervey Bay just near Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world. I expected to be for 2 days and have instead been exploring my away around for 2 weeks. There's so many fishing opportunities here, not to mention awesome sights on the water, including various species of dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles and humpback whales (of which Hervey Bay is famous for). Today I'm moving on to the Burrum river, where I hope to catch my first barramundi - a prize Australian sport fish.

As I do ravel further north I have to be more and more cautious of the highly aggressive salt water crocodiles, which have been known to attack people in small powerboats, let alone canoes of kayaks. These are particularly prevalent in the rivers and estuary systems, so as I draw closer to the northern most areas I'll have to stick to coastal fishing almost exclusively. Sharks are common in these waters to, including Bronze Whalers, Tigers and Great White sharks. Many boat fishermen I meet seem to take great delight in recounting their various shark encounters, although I'm really not terribly bothered by them. That may change if I have a bad experience, of course, but I figure I really have a greater chance of being injured (or worse) driving to and from the various destinations I visit.

By my estimations it will take around 18 - 24 months to complete the journey, although I'm not holding myself down to any strict schedules. Upon completion of the trip I will compile all of the information I record along the way into a book, detailing the best kayak fishing spots along the great Aussie coastline, what kind of fish anglers can expect to catch and where exactly to find them. Considering that I'm venturing out onto the water almost every day I expect that at that stage I'll have gained a wealth of experience that should also help me to include a few chapters on various fishing strategies, as well as certain places and situations to avoid. My website (www.yakabout.com.au) is now starting to get quite a bit of attention and as it continues to grow and fill up with trip and destination reports, GPS marks, photos and videos it will likely attract more and more followers. Hopefully it will evolve into a valuable guide for fellow kayak fishermen intending to follow in my footsteps.

Josh Holmes

 

You must be registered to post a comment.


Login

Newsletter

Subscribe here to receive FREE email issues of Kayak Fishing Magazine.

Most Popular

Freedom Hawk 12 Review
  The company calls it the Freedom 12.  It’s the kayak I asked the company to build, sort of.  After using the 14 last winter in Texas I spoke with Dave Hadden...
RTM K Largo Review
RTM Kayaks K LargoLength: 13’6” 415cmWidth: 30 ½” 78cmWeight” 55 lbs 25kgCapacity: 400 lbs 180kg   I had the opportunity to test drive the new K Largo by RTM kayaks....
Quantum Cabo PT Review
Contrary to what companies and slick marketing campaigns want you to believe, there is really no such thing as kayak reel or a kayak rod. As evidence by the box of old reels I...

Random

Bending Branches Hopes to Paddle the Competition with Their New SUP Paddles
  New SUP Paddles from Bending Branches Announcing two new stand-up wood paddles from Bending Branches, the people who’ve made wood paddles an art form since 1982. Both paddles...
Factory Roof Rack ... Fail!
One of the fun parts of the trips we take is that we get to beat up on equipment. In the past we've broken rods, electronics, mounts, and records. Our recent trip to Kodiak was no...
Yakima BowDown Kayak Rack
Yakima has now raised the bar -- we mean lowered the bar -- with the all new Yakima BowDown kayak rack. Includes all the features that make this style of kayak rack the most...

Latest Kayak Reviews

Lifetime Sport Fisher
 
5.0
Cobra Kayaks Tandem
 
3.0
Perception Sport Pescador 10.0 Angler
 
4.0
Hobie Mirage Outback
 
4.0
Current Designs Tailfin
 
5.0
Hobie Mirage Outback
 
2.0
NuCanoe Frontier 12
 
5.0
Native Watercraft Mariner 12.5 Propel Anglers
 
4.0
Hobie Mirage Outback
 
5.0
Pelican Castaway 100
 
2.0
Stealth Pro Fisha 575
 
3.0
Field and Stream Eagle Talon
 
5.0

Latest Equipment Reviews

Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max
 
5.0
Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior
 
5.0
Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior
 
3.0
Columbia Drainmaker
 
5.0
Sperry SON-R Sounder Shandal
 
4.0
Garmin VIRB Elite
 
4.0
Polaroid XS100
 
4.0
Backwater Paddles Assault Hand Paddle
 
5.0
Backwater Paddles Assault Hand Paddle
 
5.0
Stohlquist Piseas
 
4.0
Wheeleez Tuff Tire Kayak Cart
 
5.0
Boga Grip
 
4.0