We finally arrived at our starting point, way up river, the furthest point I had been so far, and I’d only gotten here once a few weeks back. That particular day this part of the river did not produce many fish, but on that day also I had to contend with a crop duster spraying crops for the local farmers. We pulled in to the bank at a small back eddy and set about attaching lures to our rods. Directly across the river was another larger piece of backwater and we proceeded to cast our lures into it, second cast and bang I was on , third cast for Brod and he was on, I brought in a lovely little JP, and Brod landed a nice little Sooty Grunter. Hadn’t been fishing for five minutes and we were both on the board, time for a quick photo, a fast release, the back into it.
They were on, I got another, Brod got another, then me, then him, the tallies were starting to rack up. I’d put four JP’s in the boat and Brod had landed five Sooty’s, the Sooty king was not happy, he was yearning for that first Jungle Perch. What made it worse was, a few times my casts were bringing out into the open small groups of JP’s all chasing the lure. Jungle Perch love to lay in wait for their food in shaded areas, generally near the bank, so fishing for them requires some precision casting at times. Hit the right spot and the fish are on before the bail arm has time to be flicked back over. They are great little fighting fish, and hit the line hard, but they also have to be one of the most attractive looking fish going around. Their distinctive marking make them the fish I love to catch the most.
We were using the Rapala SR5 lures, I had on a light/dark green version, and Brod had the gold/black, by morning tea he’d realised he was probably on the wrong colour, so he changed over the same colour as me, the elusive JP had steered clear of his offerings so far. Brod’s mum had made a cake and we enjoyed a nice cuppa and some lovely sponge cake and chatted about our success so far, we were both sitting at around eight fish each.
I love this type of fishing, sight casting, casting into shadows, casting under trees, using light gear with the drag set just right. Sootys and JP’s hit hard and you need to let them take line on that initial run, this is especially the case when Tarpon are on the bite, they are very soft around the mouth and you lose a lot more Tarpon than any other species. A good percentage of fish landed are actually seen taking the lure, its heart in your mouth stuff and really gets the adrenalin pumping.