North Pine – Damn! …… by Dale Sinclair

How easy it is to be enveloped in a feeling of well being. Fishermen, more than others, tend to live in their own little world of self-indulgence. We develop selective deafness, only hearing what we want to hear. The night before a fishing trip we get lost in thoughts of preparation and organisation.

Is everything ready?

The author with an excellent Samsonvale Bass

Is the safety-gear in the boat?

Have I got the right amount of lures; you know, the balance between the boat still floating and the fact that every colour and style is available?

Is the battery fully charged for the electric?

This situation describes me very recently. A week’s holiday from work had been approved, and by the fifth day of these holidays, all domestic duties had been completed to the little lady’s satisfaction. Her car had been repaired, the lawns mowed, the garden tidied and the child entertained. Surely on Friday I would be able to go fishing for a few hours. My wife gave the required permission on Thursday evening, so the important preparations began. An assault on Lake Samsonvale was planned to meticulous detail.

The deep-cycle batteries were fully charged, the electric motor removed from the Quintrex Hornet, and readied for fitment to the little punt. The tackle box was loaded with the necessary lures and flies, and then partially unloaded because I couldn’t carry it to the car.

The flathead lures were left out, but the small bream lures were left in – just in case I wanted to fish the shallows. The flies were left in, as were the tailspinners, spinnerbaits and ice jigs. The obligatory soft plastics were included, along with about 30kg of assorted jig heads. The bass/cod/golden perch lures were also crammed in. If I put the tackle box right at the bow, the batteries in the middle and myself at the stern, centrally positioned, I was almost certain that the punt would support this load.

The next consideration was what rods to take? Obviously, trolling would be on the agenda so the two Loomis Crankbaits were an important inclusion. I could cast spinnerbaits and tailspinners with these, so I just needed a casting rod for ultra light lures and soft plastics. The Speed Samurai threadline would have to come too.

The fly gear was a must, so in went the #10 sinking outfit, and the #7 floating outfit. A fast sink poly leader would turn this into a sink tip if required.

Dale Sinclair with a 40cm Silver Perch taken near the powerlines

The rest of the load was taken up with the standard safety gear, wet weather gear, food and drink.

At the last minute, an attack was made on the Hornet, and the Lowrance sounder removed and roughly converted to a portable unit. The transducer was taped to a piece of poly tube, which would be clamped to a carry handle on the back of the punt with vice grips. The bottom of the mounting bracket was covered with velcro so the sounder would sit on the seat beside me.

At 10.00am I set off on the 40 minute drive to North Pine Dam.

As I arrived at the lake, a fellow fisho was retrieving his boat from the water, and advised me that he was going home because the wind coming down the main arm to too strong to make headway against.

I decided that I would stay in the sheltered bay where the ramp is if the wind stayed as strong as it was, after all, I had caught a 54cm Bass in that bay on my last visit.

The boat was lifted off the trailer, and all the necessary equipment was loaded aboard. The fly rods were left in the front of the car, as the wind did seem to be too strong. The car was parked, the log-in process completed and a blank catch card taken from the box. A quick look through the completed catch cards, showed that not a lot of fish had been taken recently. Not to worry, this dam had never disappointed me in the past. I then went back to the car and grabbed the fly rods, just in case the wind dropped.

With everything packed and stowed I cast off. The boat floated, this was a good start. Now came the decision making process, what lure to use?

From the thousands available, the two favourites were chosen, the same two that I always put out first. A purple and black Voodoo, and a red a black Jaysea’s Patriot 65. Out they went, and off I went.

As the wind had died somewhat, I decided it would be safe to troll up-wind to a shallow bay that had been good to me in the past. About 45 minutes later, I arrived at the bay and pointed the boat toward my favourite trolling run. The water depth varies through this area, from about 30 feet down to 9 feet. With lures that dive to 20 feet, I find that most fish have been hooked while the lure is hitting the bottom amongst some small sticks.

My first pass resulted in a snag on the purple Voodoo. Equipped with my homemade snag retriever, this had never been a problem in the past. Slip the retriever onto the line, lower it on the nylon cord, one sharp tuck and hey presto…….Oh no! The line broke. The Voodoo had been sacrificed to the Snag Gods.

Tears were shed. This lure had been my most productive bass lure over the past year. It had caught fish in Maroon, Somerset, Samsonvale and Cressbrook.

Alex Sinclair with a 47cm Bass caught near the submerged bridge

It had caught my biggest bass ever.

Fortunately, I was the only boat on the dam at this time, so I don’t think anybody heard conversation I had with myself. I had not retied the knots before going out, and the trace had been on this outfit for quite some time. My own stupid fault had caused the loss of the best lure in my tackle box.

I tied on a spinnerbait, and cast around the area for about 15 minutes hoping that the lure would float to the surface, but to no avail. Still cursing myself, I tied a small Luhr Jensen extra deep diving lure on and began trolling.

I still had the Patriot, and this lure had caught a 47cm bass and a 47cm golden at this dam a few weeks earlier. The Patriot was now my favourite lure.

To help protect this lure from the Snag Gods, I was now holding the rod forward, and dropping the tip back every time it touched a snag. On one occasion, as I took up the slack, I could not feel the lure’s action. Weed, I thought. As I wound the line in, the lure felt very light. When the line went slack as it got shorter, I started to think the worst. The speed clip came out of the water with nothing attached. The Patriot had joined the Voodoo.

I am now fully aware of why fishermen should not develop sentimental attachments to lures. I was devastated. Both of my favourite lures had gone within an hour. The last lure that I’d lost to a snag was at the Lure and Fly Shoot-out over a year ago. The loss of the Voodoo was traumatic. The added loss of the Patriot was devastating.

Another hour was spent spinnerbaiting while scanning the surface for the lost Patriot, but there was no sign of it.

I decided then, that discretion was called for. A Micro Mullet was attached to the line. This lure should not touch the bottom, and should therefore be safe.

A 46cm Golden Perch taken in 3 metres of water near the powerlines on the Red and Black Patriot

Another hour trolling around the bay, out of the wind, but exposed to the rain, produced no strikes. Unfortunately, I must have ventured too close to the drop-off near the old bridge, and was again snagged. This time it was the little Luhr Jensen, and the once great lure retriever again failed. In one afternoon, I had lost more lures than I’d lost in the previous year.

From now, shallow was definitely the way to go. A Mini Micro Mullet was attached to the line, and one very dejected angler started to troll for the boat ramp.

One last pass of the shallow flats produced a surprise. A strange clicking, scraping sound was emanating from the hull, like something was under the boat. I looked behind the transom, and from under the boat appeared the red and black Patriot. I had run over a lure I had lost at least two hours previously. There is a God and he smiles on fishermen. The Patriot will now be retired to the fishing wall of fame in my garage, and another will be tracked down.

A slow troll back to the ramp ended an eventful day at Samsonvale. The final tally was zero fish, zero strikes, three lost lures and one found lure. It had been a cold, wet and windy afternoon, and my first unsuccessful visit to the lake.

The following day was spent visiting all the tackle shops I knew between Springwood and Carseldine searching for a purple and black Voodoo. None were available, however a lighter purple model was purchased.

A few ‘phone calls to some contacts soon tracked down the makers of Voodoo’s. North Brisbane Sport Fishing Club Inc. are the people behind this lure, and if I remember correctly I met Scott Natho, the Vice President of this club at the BREAM comp at Sanctuary Cove. I’ve just sent an e-mail to Scott, and I’m eagerly waiting for a reply. At least these guys are fellow fishos, and will understand the trauma I am going through.

Until next time, may your lines never be limp.