Saturday, 15 December 2012

Dog fence Mulloway

It was impossible to drive past Yalata without having another crack at the Mulloway, after failing back in January. The plan was to catch some fresh bait at the Point Sinclair jetty and then head to the dog fence beach for Mulloway. The scenery on the way to Point Sinclair was great with shallow lagoons and towering sand dunes.

The jetty was tucked away behind the point and i started fishing into the night and eventually had a bucket full of good sized Tommy Ruff.

The next day i made my way down the 30 km dogfence track and then another few km's through the sand dunes before i found a great spot to set up camp.

The next morning i was keen to get a bait in the water at sunrise and i set up my rodholder, which i made with an extra plate burried in the sand so it won't fold under load.

The Tommy Ruff fillets rigged on two 8/0's with a Gemini down clip as the first gutter was a fair way out and i had to cast a long way. The cross current was ripping too and even the 170gm grip sinker didn't hold at times.

The first run turned out to be an Eagle Ray which always get the heart pumping.

The rest of the day was uneventful without even another bite. Then the next day started just as slow and eventually i had a bite which turned out to be a tiny Mulloway. That was all for the day.

The next day i moved to another gutter closer to shore but once again, nothing all morning. In the afternoon the rod buckled over and i was away with lots of head shakes. Having never caught a big Mulloway, it felt like a large Snapper which are occasionally caught here. When i saw a decent Mulloway behind the breakers i anxiously backed off the drag a little and eventually the fish was on the beach.

It weighed in at 32 pounds and in the evening i cooked up a great feed of Mulloway fillets with chips and vegies. To celebrate i also had a few VB's which turned into a massive Christmas party which was gate crashed by about 50000 flies.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Steep Point

Steep Point is the westernmost point of Australia and half the fun was getting there.

It's about 100km of dirt road, followed by about 40km of mostly sandy 4wd track, past some stunning coastal scenery.

By sunset i had my camp setup at "The Oven" which to my surprise was empty. There were about 20 people fishing around the corner at "The Faultline". My camp was only 20 meters from the edge of the cliff and i liked the spot i picked and couldn't wait to fish this iconic spot tomorrow.

In the morning there was an offshore wind which made for perfect helium ballooning. As i was on my own i had thought out a plan to make my leaders as long as the cliff was high so i could grab it with one hand and slide the cliff gaff down with the other, should i get a fish to the rocks. I also marked my rope so i knew how far down it went as i couldn't see a thing over the edge and it was about 10 meters high.
By mid morning i was working my Garfish forward and backward as the wind wasn't very strong when a fish took the bait and took off with it. It felt like a solid fish and came in fast after the initial run. When i had him close i saw it was a great Spanish mackeral but to my horror a shark was right behind him so i freespooled him quickly. As i kept looking stright ahead, the Spaniard lept out of the water about 50 meters to my left with the Shark still in hot pursuit. Frantically winding up the slack line i came tight again and the Spaniard swam straight in towards me and i couldn't see the Shark anywhere. The fish looked buggered and ready for the gaff. I hoped my plan would work and positioned myself on the cliff edge, grabbing the leader and sliding down the cliff gaff to the mark. After some wiggling around and some tense up and down movements it came tight and i pulled up a nice Spanish Mackeral which turned out the best fish for the trip.

On the second day i caught nothing, but the aquatic life of the area was astounding with numerous Whales, Manta Rays and even two Whalesharks over the course of the 5 days. I was lucky to get some great footage of playful Manta's and breaching Humpback Whales. Click on the short video:

On the 3rd day i woke up after a restless night due to a mouse in my car, to find my balloon was blowing onshore.

For the next 3 days the wind wasn't any good for ballooning and i was spinning lures. With all these manta rays around, i was hoping there might be some Cobia too and to my delight i came up solid on my first ever Cobia which put up a great fight for its size.

This was a fisherman's paradise and i managed to land a total of 6 Spanish Mackeral, 2 Cobia and a couple of small Grey Mackeral, as well as a small Striped Tuna. Most fish i gave away to the guys at "The Faultline" and a couple released ok due to lucky gaffshots. On one occasion i managed to wave down a dinghy with some guys from a nearby catamaran who gladly took a Spanish Mackeral of my hands.


Monday, 29 October 2012

Shark Mackeral and Sharked Mackeral

Driving past the Quobba Sheep Station brought on a sense of excitement about the day ahead.

When i arrived at the ledge i found two of the station's little Damaras Sheep stuck between a rock and a hard place. I chased them around for ages trying to catch them and eventually they were safe.

The morning started off with a hook up within the first half an hour but a Shark made a quick meal of it. Within the first two hours, i lost another two nice fish to Sharks. Eventually i managed to get a nice Spanish Mackeral past the Sharks and washed it up on the lower ledge. Getting into position with the gaff, the next wave washed my fish off again and shredded the line in the process. After that, some more sharkings and another bust off while trying to land a fish. This was some of the best fishing i ever experienced and all i had to show for it was a Mackeral carcass. If you can't beat them ....... join them.

This rock was very porous. The waves would create little blowholes and a large cavity inside the rock filled with air and whistled out a hole giving the rock it's name "Whistling Rock". As i watched the sun go down and listened to the whistling, i decided to try another spot the next day as i struggled to land a fish solo.

The ledge i found was much better to land a fish, however the Sharks were never far away.

When i hooked this Shark Mackeral, i watched a Shark chase it and the Mackeral gave it his all to get away with a blistering run, at times almost leaving the water. I stood there with my mouth wide open watching the speedy fella. then he came straight in and it seemed he outran the Shark. By the time he was up on the rocks, he was buggered and i had to keep him.

After that i managed to get another Mackeral past the Sharks. This one i think was a Grey Mackeral.

As i was hoping for a Cobia, i often let the lure sink to the bottom and on one occasion this Gold Spot Trevally picked up the lure, which rounded up the trip.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

First Spanish Mackeral

After chasing Spanish Mackeral halfway around the country and loosing a couple of nice fish along the way, i was keen to try again in Quobba. Even though it wasn't the best time of year, there was still a chance of a smaller fish. I also heard plenty of stories about the sharks which regularly eat hooked fish in front of frustrated anglers.
On the way in, i went past the famous "King waves Kill" sign which was a reminder of the dangers of rock fishing.

After having a look at the Blowhole and checking out the ledges, i settled in for the night high up on the cliff.

The first day was interesting to say the least. The sharks i heard about were visible from the time the morning sun hit the water.

The first hookup came my way mid morning and after a blistering run the fish came within about 10 meters of the ledge when a shark appeared from the left and with one swoop ate my fish, lure and all.
Amazed and excited about what just happened i re rigged and cast the new lure towards the horizon. Maybe an hour later, the exact same thing happened after 2 sharks moved in for the kill. Later in the afternoon i saw a Mackeral close to 10kg grab my lure and took off with it in a hurry. My plan was to freespool when i saw the sharks and as soon as i saw them hone in on my fish, i backed off the drag and the Mackeral took off again. I repeated the process but eventually the sharks got their prize and i was left fishless again.

Here is a short clip of three Whaler Sharks at my feet:

The second day was much a repeat of the day before with the exception of two GT;s getting mauled as well. One of the Trevally must have been well over ten kilo's and when he saw the rows of razor sharp coming for him, he put on the afterburners to get away but he eventually got nailed as well.
Getting frustrated, i spent the rest of the day fishing the bottom and pulled up a few colourful reef fish, which were released of course.

Determined not to let the Sharks get the better of me, the next day started with a Longtom on a lure.

A short while later i saw another Mackeral chase down my lure and i was away. After the run i reeled in the fish closer and to my surprise there wasn't a shark in sight and i got the fish under an overhang of the ledge where i could land the Mackeral. It wasn't a big fish by Quobba standards but i was stoked to finally land one.

Fishing solo always has it's dangers and i took my time climbing up the hill, back to the car as there is no phone reception at this isolated but beautiful and wild place.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Record GT?

Yesterday i hooked a Sailfish and got blown away in spectacular fashion, so i went back to the drawing board and made some rigs with heavier 49strand wire, opposed to the single strand, in case i would hook another Billfish. I was very excited to get a bait in the water and at first light i rigged up a rather small garfish and sent him out on a long drift.

Around 8am i was working the garfish, winding in the line at the time when i saw a splash in the far distance and came up solid. The hookup was about 400meters out and i couldn't see what it was but it felt like a shark. Over the next 30 minutes i gained line bit by bit and the whole time i was convinced i had a fair sized shark on, except it took a fast moving bait. Then i saw a fin and it looked nothing like a shark. The fish turned one more time and i followed him down the beach when i finally saw what i had hooked, it was a Giant Trevally. Instantly i knew it was bigger than the 23.3kg GT i landed a couple of weeks ago on the popper. The fish looked spent and i made a call to keep him.

I chucked him on the roof and took him to town to see what my options were on getting a wall mount done.

Unfortunately there is no taxidermist in town and the freezer truck was just too expensive. As it turns out, the record for the "landbased game" category was still up for grabs and the guys from the Exmouth Gamefishing Club were more than happy to weigh the fish, do all the necessary measurements and paperwork. It pulled the scales down to 26.7kg

I will send in my rig and line tomorrow, which i hope is within regulations of ANSA and await to see if it's accepted as a new record. The neighbour at the caravan park was also pleased to make more Nummus out of the meat.

Update on the record:
Unfortunately my 24kg line tested at 25.02kg and therefore i had to submit for the 37kg record which was accepted.