Friday, 29 June 2012

Cooktown setback

After the last accident, time was spent taking it easy resting the knee and i was keen to get on a ledge again once i felt i was up to it. At first i explored Archer Point which was a wild and windy place.

After the wind died down for a couple of days, there was also a spot i wanted to check out in Cooktown but i had no idea of the terrain so i packed light with just a spin rod and took off for a hike. Half way, the treck became quite difficult and at that point i should have turned around but i figured if i took it easy i should be ok.

Once i made it down the to the beach, the track stopped and i went up the grassy hill on the other side.

From there the terrain became worse with high grass and boulders underneath. Increasingly i became worried about snakes as i re-lived an incident i had some months ago on the NSW north coast. I had to go to the toilet and armed with some dunny paper i looked for a low impact spot between the boulders. I found a nice spot between two boulders which were at head height and provided some ocean view while doing the bisso. Just as i was pulling my pants down i saw a snake launching itself at eye level towards me and as he came towards me, i instinctively fell backwards Matrix style and the snake fell to the ground and took off between the boulders. From what i saw, it might have been a coastal python which would have put some wind up me if i got bitten.
So with that in mind, no phone reception and walking through knee high grass i decided to get out of there.

On the way down back to the beach the inevitable happened, i slipped over and stinging pain went through the knee. More annoyed than anything else i limped back up the hill to the car. Looks like out of action again for a while.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Sunrise joy and pain

Two days ago i went back to the same spot and the plan was to catch some bait on low tide at first light. By the time it started to get light, the tide was running hard already and the gars had disappeared so i decided to throw a popper around for a while. I set up the camera to take a pic of the sunrise and on the first cast i connected straight away and after the first two jumps i put the camera to video mode and filmed the fish coming in:

The gaff shot was high near the tail, so i quickly released him. By lunchtime the tide slowed and the gars came back on, however i did not get another fish for the rest of the day.

Yesterday i heared of some Spanish Mackeral showing up and i decided to service my tackle, just in case i connect to a big Spaniard. Using my home made, roof rack mountable reel spooler, which i made with some leftover ABU7000 carbontex drag washers, some new 30lb Ande line went on the Avet LX reel as well.

With all the tackle in order i got out of bed at 3.30am, pretty excited about the prospect of a Spaniard. I wanted to be on the ledge early and get a bait out asap.
Hiking past the "Crocodile" warning sign once again i made track to the rocky outcrops and climbed up and down to a section which is impassible on high tide but some boulders made it possible to get across on low tide. Making my way down i lost my footing and tumbled straight into the water. Instantly the image of a large Croc raced through my brain, attracted to my head torch just like me to the lit up, yellow Mc Donalds arches at dinner time. I climbed back up as fast as i could and started to survey the damage. The right knee was throbbing with pain and the left leg had a long gash from the oyster encrusted rocks. The mobile phone gave off a couple of flickers before going dead, which meant i couldn't ring for help. Fortunately the camera remained dry and i took a couple of happy snaps on the way back.

The hike went from one hour there to three hours back to the car as i had to limp and stop quite a few times as the knee got worse.
Once back at the van, Kerry bandaged me up and took me to the hospital where the leg got stitched up and x-ray taken of the knee. Awaiting the outcome i realize i was lucky and the sport of rock fishing is a risky one, particularly solo.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Queen's jubilee

With all this talk about the queen's jubilee, i was keen to get in on the action and took my trusty Patrol for a fishing session once again. I left all the boats behind in the harbour and hiked down to the coral beach again.

Once on coral beach, i took a moment to have a look at the sign and decided not to wade through the water today.

As soon as i got to the rocks i saw garfish aplenty and it didn't take much time to fill the pool. The first bait got slammed in no time and a small Queenie came in which i released, followed shortly after by another.
Some time later the live garfish went off again and this time the fight was tougher and after some arcing a big Longtail Tuna showed itself. Unfortunately when i tried to gaff it, the hook pulled and he swam away.
Bait number four turned into another nice Queenie ........ what a great session.

The next day i was very eager to get to the ledge early and i was on the rocks at 5am, hoping to get some bait early and have a spin with some poppers.
Well, by 10 am i still had no bait and was reduced to spinning only:

The first Queenie for the day i put back and eventually i managed some gars. By about 2 pm the rod went off and a nice Queenie leapt in the air several times before i got him up on the rocks.
Another great days fishing, and i even had a few green seaturtles come and stick their head out of the water.

Friday, 1 June 2012


After fishing Mackay for a few days of donuts and then the harbour of Airlie Beach for more donuts, i looked for a new spot closer to the Whitsunday Islands. After some major bushwalking i arrived at a beach made up of coral and the sun made an appearance on an otherwise overcast and rainy day.

The rocks where hard to reach on high tide and i could only make it to the first ledge of four ledges. The next 4 hours i tried to catch some live bait in the form of garfish, herring or a fusilier but all i could get was colorful reef fish. Eventually i gave up and started spinning lures.
Around lunchtime i saw some big fish busting up some gars on the far ledge and now the tide had dropped about 3 meters, i packed up my stuff and moved over to the spot i saw the action. Immediately i caught some five spot gars which are different to the one's we get down south and are highly regarded as bait.
The first gar got hit not long after i sent him out but all i got was a twisted wire leader and some marks on the garfish.

The second gar went out and once i was happy with the drift i started spinning lures again as well. About an hour later the live bait went off and as soon as i set the hook, a nice size Queenfish leapt out of the water and after some more aerial acrobatics i gaffed the queenie with my trusty Hook'em gaff.

I was very happy to have caught another new species of gamefish off the rocks and it was time to pack up too before the big tide would cut me off again.