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  1. I turned 40 in May.. and as it happens I managed to get an opportunity to fish for 3 days over the Queens Birthday Weekend (6 to 8 June) with one of (if not) the best saltwater fly guides in Australia (Dave Bradley from Australian Flyfishing Outfitters). We had met socially before and I have wanted to fish with him for a while. So when an opportunity came to share the costs of his boat with one other for the 3 days, I jumped at it. The tides were chosen by the other 'jack' because they were pretty good flats tides, as he is very one-eyed for permit (Trachinotus anak or T blochii in this instance). The weather played the game on day 1, and it was definitely an eye opener having never targeted these fish before. Between us we got quite a few shots at fish, but they were skittish, and after 8 hours on the water we had only managed 4 eats between us.... Thankfully, old mate eventually got what he came for, a beautiful, juvenile T anak. Despite not being able to get one myself, I know I saw enough to make me want to go back for more. The pick of the flies was a quite realistic, and heavy, tan crab. It was super important to get the fly down quick. Unfortunately, for the next two days we only managed a total of about 4 hours on the flats, either due to wind, cloud or rain... So we played around in the mangroves, sight casting to barramundi mostly. It was in one of the few good windows however that I had one of the best compliments ever paid to me, when Dave tied one of my tan merkin style crabs to the end of the fly line. With the weather being up and down the fish were never really happy for the last two days, but of course we persisted, and as a result we also managed some nice barramundi (pick of flies for this was definitely a 2/0 chartreuse double bunny). It didn't start well though... the first 10 fish we saw either ignored us or spooked.... It took a pretty cool cast on my part to break the skunk that morning... A small fish sitting just on the edge of a semi-submerged mangrove with his face pointed towards a small gap in the foliage... The cast needed to be a 1 percenter for it to succeed, and thankfully... right after the guide said 'he's not going to eat either' I slipped the cast into it's spot, stripped twice, and wooted as I watched the little fella attach, and felt him come tight. Next cast I gained some half interest from a bigger fella, but got an eat from a little fella hiding in a drain, before the next cast succeeding in getting the bigger boy.... Not a monster but at 66cm (26.5 inches) he is now a personal best on the wand. It wasn't all sight fishing, but we tried as hard as we could.... There were some super cool eats when we got casts right... One of the highlights was a 60cm model that decided he wanted my bunny just as it was about to be stripped over a branch. He didn't like being pulled over the top, and make quick time for the timber on my side. It took a heap of fancy rod work to keep him out of the timber and get him to the boat. The last ditch session of the three days was pretty darned cool too... just 10 minutes from the ramp.... Some nice timber and drains, I managed a few more. The highlight this time being a fish I didn't get to boat... He was a tad larger than the rest, and when he ate next to a submerged log I knew I was in trouble straight away. The choice I had was give him his head and lose him to the timber... or put the hurt on him and give myself a chance... Oh well you win some you lose some.. and my companions had a bit of a chuckle when I yelled profanities and stomped my feet after pulling the hook.... Oh yeah.. I nearly forgot... We couldn't find any of our aussie baby tarpon, but Monday morning while looking we both added a new species to our lists. Diamond trevally. Being juveniles the filaments on the fins were still intact, and as they swam away were absolutely stunning!
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