On The Water With Chris Gartner, YHQLD

If you aren't familiar with Chris Gartner you soon will be!  Not only was Chris good enough to write up a piece about his fishing exploits over his long service leave this past month, he is also the creative mind behind the hand-drawn mangrove jack that graces the latest Yak Hunter Tacticool shirt!  If you haven't seen that yet head on over to the Yak Hunters Store to check out the shirt.  You can get there by following this link.
Tell us a Bit About Yourself

Hi fellow Yak Hunters!

I have been fishing ever since I was 5 years old, but mainly as a bait fisherman. I have only been bait-free and using just lures and plastics for the last 12 months and still have a lot to learn, especially with techiques and the sheer variety on the market these days. 

But I am 100% converted to this style of fishing now and absolutely loving it. I am definitely guilty of having my favourites and find I have had a lot of success using the Savage Gear range of plastics and hard-bodies. I find that the Savage Gear plastics tend to stay on the jigs a lot better than the softer style Z-Man range. 

I own the Revolve 13 kayak from Freaksports and it is a truly awesome yak! I upgraded to the Revolve 13 about 6 months ago from a 3m Dream Kayak and the extra room and stability has made a massive difference to my fishing (as I am a taller and heavier guy) along with the pedal drive giving me the capability of being hands free and concentrating more on catching fish.
Tell us a Bit About Your Rigs

I am a bit of a simple fisherman and use pretty basic gear and set ups with nothing overly fancy. 

I know a lot of people don't use or like mono, but I am guilty of running this on all my rods and have never found it to impact performance, hook up rate, or the quantity of fish I catch compared to other Yak Hunters I fish with. I run 2500 Shimano Siennas on all my rods (except for heavier rods for sharks and bigger fish) and find that it works very well as all my spools are interchangeable and I also find that they are a reliable and tough reel for the cheaper range. 

I generally run three different rod set ups for the style of fishing and target species I usually go for. First is a straight 6lb mono set up for lighter fishing. Second is 10lb mono with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader which is my all-round set up. Third is 10lb mono with a 20lb mono (or) 20lb flourocarbon leader for Jacks and other aggressive species.

I recently had two weeks long service leave and although I didn't get to fish quite as many days as I was hoping to due to other family commitments; I still managed to get a few good days fishing in while I was off. I set out for my holidays with four target fish to catch being: Trevally, Estuary Cod, Yellowbelly and my first Mangrove Jack and can happily say that I managed to tick all four off my list. I found that the saltwater fishing was generally pretty quiet everywhere I went, but kept persisting and changing up my lures and was rewarded with a few nice fish and a couple of PB's.
Cabbage Tree

My first session was down at my regular spot in Cabbage Tree Point where I hoped to kick off my holidays with a nice haul of fish as it generally produces very well and has never let me down. 

After flicking all morning and getting a few hits but no hook ups, I decided to turn around and make my way back to the ramp with the incoming tide. 

Along the way (about half way between Cabbage and Jacob's Well) I spotted a promising drop off near a sandbank and flicked an 8cm pink Savage Gear Pro Grub on a 1/8oz jig head and managed to land a nice 54cm Flathead and save myself from a donut.
The Coomera River

My next trip was to Sanctuary Cove where again, it was another quiet morning and I didn't manage to catch a fish for the first 3 hours. 

I worked the banks and structure for a while with only a few hits and then decided to target the edges of boats and pontoons. Once the tide changed and they came on the bite I managed a nice little 37cm GT on the pink Pro Grub followed by a PB Bream (also on the pro Grub) going 37cm.
Gold Rush!

The next session was the 'Gold Rush' weekend camping trip at Somerset with Luke, Wayne, Todd, and Khean which was actually my first camping trip in my adult life and an absolutely cracking weekend. 

The Saturday saw us fishing in the local river and it was one of the best freshwater fishing sessions I have experienced. Amongst the countless Bass caught for the day I managed a PB Tilapia going 45cm and was absolutely stoked to get my first kayak caught Yellowbelly going 49cm. 

Most of these fish were caught on a pink ZX40 and a purple deep diver. The Sunday at Wivenhoe Dam was not quite as productive and was a rather tough day fishing where I only managed a Catfish on a plastic and a Barred Grunter on a blade. 

It was an epic weekend though with some great fish being caught alongside some seriously terrific guys.
Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
The Coomera Take 2!

The following Wednesday I headed back to Sanctuary Cove with Luke, Wayne, and Khean where the target for the day was Mangrove Jack. 

I got onto a Moses Perch and a 43cm Flathead early on using a white Z-Man paddletail, but it again went a little quiet and was a slower day fishing. 

After seeing some surface bust ups, I was lucky enough to have Luke Lipset take the time to show me the ropes and within a few minutes I managed to land my first ever Mangrove Jack on a Savage Gear 3D plastic shrimp . Thanks again Luke, you're an absolute legend!

On the Thursday I found myself up Cabbage Tree Creek in Shorncliffe chasing Flathead and Cod. I managed a couple of Flathead and a couple of Bream early in the morning before the swarms of jellyfish moved in and shut down the bite, but the Cod alluded me on this trip. All fish were caught on the Savage Pro Grub in motor oil colour and the Savage 3D shrimp hard body.
Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
Tilapia Busters

Saturday I headed to the Tilapia Busters event at Robina accompanying Wayne and Dean Saville. 

It was a great morning on the water, but the poor weather conditions made it difficult to get the large numbers of Tilapia that the system is well known for. 

I managed to hook up to a 30cm Bream on a garden worm which took me by surprise, but in the end it was the Bass that were firing the most. 

I quickly switched species and had fun for the last hour or two hooking around 14 or so Bass on a $5 purple Kmart lure my son bought me for my birthday with 36cm being my largest for the morning.
The Coomera Take 3!

The Sunday was my last day of fishing for my holidays and I found myself exploring some new areas of the Coomera River I hadn't fished before hoping for a Mangrove Jack and it didn't disappoint at all. 

I threw on a Live Shrimp soft plastic lure (as I lost my Savage Gear shrimp to a snag a couple of days earlier) and got countless hits for the morning from smaller fish grabbing the tail of the lure. I found a sheltered section and pulled up next to a small rock wall and cast in, hopping the prawn along the bottom. 

On the second cast it got absolutely smashed and I got taken around some structure at the bottom, but after some patience and a bit of luck I managed to reel in a stunning 45cm PB Cod. After a few quick photos I drifted with the incoming tide and started throwing at the edges of the pontoons and boats. It didn't take too long before the Live Shrimp lure was hit again and line was screaming off the reel. 

After a careful couple of minutes I reeled in my second PB for the day with a Mangrove jack going 40cm.
Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
All up it was a terrific time off work with some awesome fish being caught including a few PB's and plenty of great memories being made while fishing not only on my own, but with some terrific Yak Hunters and friends. Cheers guys!
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