Illawarra Flyfishers Club

“BERRARA BASH”  WEEKEND 19 – 20 May, 2007

Over the weekend of May 19 and 20, Neil arranged a weekend for the club’s committee and a few ring-in’s at Berrara, near Sussex Inlet. Neil and I drove down on Friday night with two kayaks where we met Ray and Dianne Ellis waiting patiently for us with their four metre tinny in tow; the others in the group were to catch up with us the following morning. After settling in with a cup of tea and a chat, we hit the “fart sack” with the intention of going for an early fly fish at the beach, which was only fifty metres away.

 Just before the sun came up, I heard some movement in the house and through bleary eyes saw Ray bolting out the back door with a fly rod in hand; Neil and I quickly got ourselves ready and joined Ray at the beach on what was an absolutely stunning morning. With a slight South Westerly breeze blowing, we found a sheltered bay with the wind to our backs and before Neil and I could tie on a fly, we heard a “yahoo” from Ray who had hooked a nice 35cm Salmon on his 6wt. For its size, the fish gave a good account for itself and jumped several times giving Ray a bit of fun before it was beached and then released. We soon headed back for breakfast and were joined by Chris Harding,

Kim Prehn and Barry Gentle who had driven down early in the morning.


 After breakfast we fished nearby Berrara Creek with no success and the strengthening Westerly wind made fishing extremely difficult. After lunch we decided to give Sussex Inlet a go, even though the increasing wind strength was going to make life a bit difficult for those of us in kayaks. However, it was not long before we had found a spot protected from the wind on the channel which travels North to St. Georges Basin. 

Using an intermediate line and a “Ray’s Epoxy Fly”, I soon found a school of tailor and caught about eight in as many casts. Chris and Ray also caught one or two tailor before I hooked onto something more solid which had me in tow for a few minutes. I found it very difficult to land the 42cm trevally in a kayak without a net, as they are hard fighting fish. As the afternoon wore on the wind dropped which made the fishing even more enjoyable. The fly that I was using was just on fire, as I ended up catching another 42cm trevally, a 35cm bream and a small red bream. Chris managed to get a nice trevally to the canoe but had to concede with an early release. The others in the group did not have the same luck and on reflection, the fly that I was using was quite heavy, which must have got it into the “strike zone”. 

That night we enjoyed a BBQ and few drinks after which a few not-so-subtle hints were directed at Kim and Barry to take up a position on the committee. No pressure at all lads!! The following morning, Ray and Dianne took off early for another arrangement with Southern Bass on the Shoalhaven River and we introduced Chris, Kim and Barry to beach fly fishing. Chris caught a small flathead and I caught a small salmon and a few small flathead on the epoxy fly. After getting a wet backside from the surf, we all headed back for breakfast before heading off for a bash on Lake Conjola, launching the kayaks from the Cunjerong Point side. David Screen, President of Lakeside Fly Fishing Club also joined us for breakfast and the session at Lake Conjola. David and Chris both caught a small flathead, but for some reason the fish were just not interested in biting at all in the gin clear water. We saw plenty of whiting and several large flathead and I think the small flow of the incoming tide contributed to the poor results. However, we all enjoyed the beautiful day discovering new waters. ;Thanks to Neil for organizing the trip and we all had a great time.

Leo Harding