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NPD Stunning Weather And Extremely High Expectations

Drop Bear

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A few days ago @rayke1938 posted that there was a Decky spot and after the last trip to NPD I jumped at the chance. 

I had cooked up the Bass from the last trip for the family with some soy, ginger and spring onions and we all loved it so keen to get more. The red claw i took from the last trip were simply boiled and eaten like prawns and so sweet. I am yet to learn how to deal with the strong fresh water flavour of the yellow belly. We ate the one I caught but struggled to like it. I don't like the idea of disguising the flavour with loads of spices so am in search of complimentary ingredients and techniques. The flesh is soft and moist and you can get great thick fillets from them... The struggle is real people.

So with a ridiculously early alarm set I rubbed bleary eyes, made coffee in the surprisingly cool dark morning, packed the Nordic Stage Gunslinger and headed off. By the time I got to the yellow gates the full moon was in the windscreen and the massive golden sun rising in the rear vision mirror. I don't think you can make out the moon in the photo soz. P.s. i stopped to take this photo... Stay safe on the road people. 


This was going to be a good day!

Ray rolled in like the rockstar he is. The paparazzi was there to great him. They said they wanting access to the ramp saying they wanted to take drone footage of the lake. But we all knew their hidden agenda was stalking out Ray's fishing spots and techniques. The guy had no licence to use the area and Ray told me he was a bit rude so he was summarily ushered away by security.

I got to meet the delightful @christophagus. I had enjoyed reading his reports, especially about land based shark fishing, so it was great to finally shake his hand. 

Ray's boat is a simple old tinny... If you believe that I have a bridge in Indooroopilly that I can sell you for very cheap... at about 5m long it is the best set up boat I have ever had the privilege of sitting in. He runs 2 electric engines and has an enormous battery box in the middle of the boat.


This would normally be an annoying space hogger but as the boat is so huge and it is so well placed it becomes a great bench for weighing and measuring fish (and for coffee cups)  he has so many little tool holders and every seat has access to knives, lip grips, nets, fish rulers and an ingenious fish keeping set up. He even has a fish magnet! That's it sitting on the ruler.


This boat is chock-full of well built, carefully thought out and well placed tools that help enormously. For instance he has a bow rope. Dropbear... everyone has a bow rope. Ok, true but at the moment mine is too long so gets in the way of the anchor, is very likely to fall out and wrap the prop and is just tied to the bow rail. Ray has a beautifully spliced perfect length bow rope with a handle spliced into the bitter end. The ramp at NPD is not very steep and the boat charges off the trailer if untethered. No problem Ray has a cleat on the boat winch riser that he uses as a break to slow the charging boat into the water. So simple but fantastically practical.


Electric motor with dynex rope and  snap shackle makes retrieval a breeze. There are many many more optional extras on this boat that either I forgot or just took for granted. It it such a great boat for 4 people to fish from. 

It was a stunning day with very little breeze and no chance of rain.


The Pelicans flew off as we made it down the ramp, leaving behind their nights mess as well as  an egg?! We wondered if they taste good. Something thought it must as it wasn't there when we got back. I reckon it would have made a cracker jack Pavlova. 


So off to check the shrimp traps.


The first ones seemed like they had been share farmed. If only they re baited them it might not be such a problem but the first few came in virtually empty. The further from the ramp we got the fuller the traps were and we pulled in plenty of shrimp and a stack of red claw. yay. 


Then I set up the rod as Ray sounded around a few likely places. No one was home so we headed for his favorite spot.


Percy was thrilled that Ray and Chris were into it pretty much straight away. Look at the conditions we had to put up with. 


The Bass were small and not in huge numbers. I think they had gotten nearly 10 before I got my first, I'm blaming the clearly unlucky starboard side of the boat:whistle:. The sizes soon picked up and we got the clicker up to about 30.


Ray got an eel tailed catfish and showed me how to hold them. I have always struggled with them and am afraid of the spikes. I hope in this pic you can see how Ray holds them safely and securely. He sure is a deft hand at handling fish but his makeup application techniques might need a little work... :whistle:


I did get a few bass but all a bit small. Ray and Chris got some bigger ones. 

But then it happened.

Small soft bites.

Something was gently chewing the Macrobrachium australiense.

Take it...

I felt a soft pull down, quick lift...

I was on!

Thumping powerful beats down low among the snags. Not fast circles like a large bass but unrelenting heavy drag pulling thumps resisting my attempts to pump and wind. I could feel the line rubbing against sunken timbers and remembered so many times having good fish on only to loose them. 

I love my Gunslinger. It is so light in the hand. It casts so well but has plenty of guts when you need it. Sitting down in the boat isn't the perfect angle to work a light carbon rod and I ended up high sticking a little but soon got some line. It came in for about 6 winds but when it saw the boat took off again giving me curry and threatening to bust off if the line touched the boat. I wanted sugar not curry! Then Old Yella had had enough and lay on the surface just out of netting distance.

With two ravenous pelicans drooling in the background, I slipped the silicon net under her glistening golden sides and big fat belly as she lay quietly finning in the clear glassy water. Ripper bloody beauty bobby dazzler!


At 50cm she was a cracking fish. Such a privilege to catch her. I find yellow belly one of the nicest fish to handle. So soft and gentle. Not flippy and spiky like bream or snapper. 

A few pics and she was back to her secret loggy hideaway, ready to ambush any Bony Bream that Ray told me were prolific in the lake. I was left to dream about how she would retire to her sunken snaggy shelters in a dimly-lit dampened den. 


The bass became scarcer but the sizes got better. I got the 32nd bass and it measured 32cm. Ray and Chris got larger ones.

Chris got a tagged fish.



It measured 45cm! It was his first tagged fish. He and Ray discussed how he could register it and get a certificate. It was measured, tag details taken and released. We got a few more and Ray got a cute little forky. Percy got it and I'm sure he will turn it into the prolifically potent Pelican poop on the boat ramp.

I caught a tagged fish too and then fish number 40. Sure enough fish #40 was 40cm. So we only needed to get 10 more fish and I could get my first 50! That's how it works right?

We tried in front of the eagle tree where the majestic White Bellied Sea Eagle stood tall, guarding the lake, ready to swoop and clear off un-licenced boats. Really I think Ray has trained this bird. He has ordered it to attack and take down any of the Paparazzi's drones well before they discover his spots and techniques. 


Nothing much happening here so we toddled over to the old sunken tree where Ray told us about a branch that had now fallen. It had terrorized them for years, promising to crush the boat if they got too close. 

Chris got another Tandanus tandanus


and we got a couple more Bass but it got pretty quiet so time to go. I had to meet up with @samsteele115 as he had a net he was going to sell me and @Luvit had very generously dropped off a reef anchor there too.


Back at the ramp the others assured me I wasn't being a Red Claw hog and let me take the 20ish we had caught and I put these in the eski, along with a nice bass I had caught and one Ray caught that had engulfed the shrimp a bit to deeply. Yes I'm sure all of you will be excited, I have grown as a person and brought along an eski... even with ice in it!

So thanks again @rayke1938 for taking me along and it was great to meet you @christophagus.

All up I think we got 43 fish. For mere mortals like myself this number is huge. When you consider that a canoe, that fished the same time and water that we did, donutted and the people on another boat I chatted to said they had got a few before they had a HUGE double take when I said we got just over 40 it was  a great day out on the sweet water. That Ray considers this an extremely small number of fish to catch only goes to show how legendary he is as a Bass angler.

It could be so easy to take trips like this one for granted and I have a cemented resolution not to.

May your hands and boats smell fishy forever

Drop Bear




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1 hour ago, Luvit said:

I hope you get out fishing as often as you can @Drop Bear, because I think your your reports are the best and enjoy them so much. A well set up boat like what Ray has, make the day's fishing more pleasurable.

Thanks mate. I'm loving my fishing. I spoke at length to Sam yesterday and he gave me hopes and dreams for some longtail.

Hey @Luvit what was the YouTube channel you suggested for Marlin? I can't remember what thread it was in?

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1 hour ago, christophagus said:

Hands down your reports are the best @DropBear, second to none! Great to meet you as well

thanks again @rayke1938, you never fail to disappoint when I fish with you at NPD....

if only I could just get my first yellow belly....:whistle:


I thought you had a yellow belly when you got that cracking Bass. Only a matter of time mate. 

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25 minutes ago, Drop Bear said:

Thanks mate. I'm loving my fishing. I spoke at length to Sam yesterday and he gave me hopes and dreams for some longtail.

Hey @Luvit what was the YouTube channel you suggested for Marlin? I can't remember what thread it was in?


You will spend hours and hours on this site. Gives you everything to get started.

When we hear of some Longtails on the chew, you'er welcome to jump aboard. The journey that Sam I did chasing our first Longtail was amazing to share and my kids and I still love catching them.

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