If you’re anything like me, life in this digital age is faster than ever and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon! Add in the four kids I have and you can see why it’s extra busy around the Pax Family household. I happily manage all this by taking a deep breath and savouring the bedlam...but there’s one thing I adore even more: some quality time out on the water with family and friends.
To me there’s no better thing that cruising about quietly on a kayak amongst one of the many pristine water ways the NSW South Coast is blessed with. I do this with my fishing mates but more importantly my wife and daughters love it too. It’s good for parents to put work behind them and the kids certainly love putting school and chores behind them too. The sights and sounds of nature as you quietly slice through the water strings it all together - some of the best re -connection times I have had with my family are on our kayaks.
On our most recent trip my 9-year-old daughter Hailey was well and truly ready for this as she’s had a particularly busy year thanks to the success of her “Kids Fishing Book”. So it was with great joy we slid our kayak off into the shallow sections of the Clyde River in search of relaxation, and a flatty or two for dinner.
If you are new to Kayak Fishing simply try trolling a small diving lure that gets down around two to three meters deep. Stay in about two to three meters of water where the weed beds thin out and your lure occasionally bumps the sand. From there simply cruise around any of the hundreds of rivers or lakes on the NSW South Coast and a flatty or two will come your way - it took about 15 minutes for us this time, and we didn’t even get to the prime time of dusk! If you find a small river or lake (there are plenty) that boats can’t get into it’s even easier-you have the flattys all to yourself!
Soft plastic lures cast out around sandy bays, points and drop offs also work great. Softies are cheap and easy to use and flattys love em. If the kids get impatient for a bite remove the plastic and slip a prawn on the jig head and the bites will come quickly...albeit usually smaller fish.
There’s much more to learn but simply getting out and moving around is the key - flattys spread out around water systems in summer , all you have to do is sneak up on them and the kayak is perfect for that!
You can also target the masses of garfish, estuary perch, and bream in these systems. This time our target was flatyys and besides catching half a dozen and keeping a perfect 45 cm one for dinner we had a ball exploring – the south coast is a magic family friendly place for it.
We saved the brightest hottest parts of the day for a refreshing swim and some Oyster Collecting. The Clyde between the Highway Bridge and Nelligen is riddled with large and tasty oysters-we pedalled up under some mangroves and got loads in no time at all. Low tide is easiest to access the oysters, all you need to do is wear oyster proof shoes (old runners suffice) and take some aero guard to keep midges away. Note that midges mostly hide when it is sunny and breezy - another good reason to collect oysters during the day.
I must add that there are shellfish rules and regulations for each system, and you must collect this info from your local tackle shop. Shops can also advise of Oyster quality - some times, eg after heavy rain, oysters are dangerous for human consumption. Some systems also harbour oysters that dangerous to consume – again check with a local tackle shop or the authorities for more advice. Rest assured with a little homework and you’ll be more than fine, and during our trip we were advised the Clyde River Oysters were in their typically brilliant and healthy condition!
Oysters are easily opened by placing them in a micro wave for 40 seconds – they went down great with the flattys later that night.
For more experienced and patient anglers a Kayak is THE way to catch the elusive jewfish. For example on a recent 3 day trip to the Clyde I caught 7 fishing hard with berley and baits late into the night. The following 3 days I fished only an hour either side of the tide change with softies and vibes and caught 9-during the day! Guess what was more enjoyable! You will need a kayak with foot propulsion so you can hold into the wind/current and cast upstream, hoping your lure back across the bottom. But I must say the easier flattys fishing is infinitely more fun than going for large ‘ego massaging jewfish’ which can by the way be very hit or miss.
Whatever the target species I could happily paddle about swimming fishing and playing all day long, my family and I need these escapes and I can’t wait to hit the water with them again these holidays.
Footnote: Readers can learn more about fishing in this area in Robs books and dvd’s available at www.fishingaustralia.tv/shop