Saturday, August 27, 2011

My blog in the newspaper

Hi there,

Well, in fact to be honest just a snippet of my blog was in the local newspaper the NT News, in the  Sunday edition, nearly a week ago.
And I dutifully missed it...
(What can I say, I was busy trying to get a fish...)

If it wasn't for Ms. Dig being in Darwin at this time, and not only seeing it, but bringing me the paper at work the following week, I would not have seen it.
(A co-worker saw it and brought it to me too, thanks Gavin).

To be honest I was very surprise of that. This was mostly a good surprise, even if they published my name in the paper, which is nowhere to be seen on this blog...
But hey, I am not going to complain too much about this, as it shows that at least one person is reading this blog and find some of the post interesting enough to republish them in hard copy.

So here is the proof in image:

Do you recognise the photo?

This was taken from this post.
The best to me, is that this would tend to confirm my theory about the importance of fishing in the general culture of Darwin city.
Without being too biased, I would argue that a fishing museum in the city would be a very good tourist attraction, and have success with the local too.
After all we have very keen anglers coming from all over the world every year during the run-off season.
They surely would enjoy a bit of local fishing history to be seen in the comfort of air conditioning, before being stuck fending off the mosquito between a river full of crocodiles and some residual monsoon rains.

So was I in the paper for my angling prowess or offered a publishing contract?
Surely not...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A lure in the mailbox

Hi there,

Today the post delivered a little box at work for me.
The security guy called me on the phone and said: "Hey mate, a parcel just arrived for you".
Having an idea of what it might be, I rushed to the source of the call, and saw a nice little cardboard box with my name on it... I said to the man who had called me: Guess what is in this box? He looked at me and in a very calm voice said: A fishing lure...
And he was right!
But I immediately asked myself if that was bad, when people start to assume that every time that I got a parcel, it is a fishing lure...

Any way I was too happy and excited to ponder on the matter for too long, and went back to my office to open this little box. Just a few days prior to this event I got a private message on the Lure and More forum, from a well known and respected Australian fishing legend, asking me for my postal address so he could send me a lure... That was a great surprise, and since then I was waiting for the postman like a kid on  Christmas Eve...

The parcel was from the famous Australian fishing lure designer Rob Gaden.
An artisan who has already designed over one hundred fishing lures...
And the lure he sent me has quite an history.

I will write here exactly what (and how) Mr. Gaden wrote on the letter that came with the lure, enjoy a piece of Australiana fishing:

      This lure was given back to me by Alex Julius .... Owner of 'NAFA' magazine & well known T.V & media fishing presenter.
He returned it to me in 2004 while I was living in Darwin. He had caught more than 150 Barramundi on this lure in 3 days, and joked that he wanted warranty... ... As the paint had come off.
  Another noted N.T. fishing guide & legendary fisherman, Rowan 'Shorty' Short, a good mate of mine, saw the lure hanging in my workshop. He reckon's I dragged it behind my car for 100 km's to make it look like this. He was also joking, and is a big fan of the "Classic-Barra 120" lures.
  It is yours to keep for your display, if you want
                                                                  Rob Gaden

And you bet that I want! I can tell you now, that this lure is not going to swim any more, it is not going close to the water, not on my watch. It will stay at the office, even if I too am a big fan of the Classic Barra.

So you may have suspected by now that the lure in question is a Classic Barra, once again a +10, but this one with a rattle. I am not too sure of the original colour but I am inclined to think that it may have been the Coward Dazzler. A colour that has worked for me in the past, albeit not yet with such success. If you think of another colour, you are more than welcome to leave a comment about it.

So do you want to see it?
Here it is, and you are spoiled as I will show you 5 images of it:

Left side.

Right side.

From above.

From under.

Close-up and leader's knot.

Now that's a lure that has been catching some fishes, and has the scares to prove it.

This is a lure that I will cherish and take care of. This is not often that you can come across a lure like this one, with so much information about it's past, by the man who designed it himself. This is a very generous present, thanks again to Rob Gaden.

So does any of the fishing lures that I personally use has ever caught that many fishes?
Of course not!

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top End Barra Series Round 3

Hi there,

It was time for the round 3 of the Top End Barra Series, and this time the action was taking place all over the Mary River Billabongs.

I was ready to be deckie in a new team with whom I had never fished before. When on the Friday before the event I found myself boatless, as the skipper had to attend some very urgent family business. 
All seemed to be lost for my weekend of fishing and I put a message on the FFF forum asking if any one had a spot on his/her boat for me.

Well I did get very lucky to be offered at the last minute a spot on Arrabmundi boat for the Sunday, and even if I had never met him before, as soon as the offer came in I said yes in a heart beat.
I was not going to regret it.

He told me that he would pick me up at 5:00am, so as a very eager kid, I woke up at 3:15am and could not fall asleep anymore...
So I got up to check my lure selection one last time and the overall state of my gears... 

Then before I realised it, he was there and I jumped in the car and we hit the road, destination the billabongs.

During the trip, I asked him as innocently as I could: "Have you fished the billabongs before?" and the reply came simply as any inexperienced angler who was going there for the first time would have dreamed it: "Hundreds of times mate".
Great I was in with a chance to catch a fish then!

Because yes, I had never been on these billabongs yet, and kept reading about it.

We had a quick stop at the Corroboree tavern for a few snack and a quick chat with Bullet and Co about the previous day of fishing, and then in no times we were at the boat ramp.
Where, as discretely as possible I was trying to scan the water for any signs of crocodiles...
None were around, or I did not see them, and off we sailed first towards the Rock Hole, to try to catch the first action of the day on day break.
To say that the weather was nice and fresh would be an understatement, And I started to wonder if I should have taken a pair of mittens with me...

A nice and fresh morning on the billabongs.

Yet it was a great thing to see, a place I would love to take my child to, one day.

Any way as we arrived to the spot we saw Zulk and Uncldug casting away in front of a Pandanus, and not far away Dingo, Doors Off and Muntzy doing more or less the same.

Casting lures in front of the pandanus.

The skipper decided to troll and that was absolutely fine by me.
First I used a Big Lucifer and got a strange hit wasn't too sure of what was going on...
I started to reel it in, thinking that I had a strange lump of weed, or maybe a baby catfish, a billabong's kitten maybe...
But no, I had a Glossamia aprion, a fish that most anglers know under the name of Mouth Almighty.
This was the first time that I saw one, what a great looking little fish!

My first ever Mouth Almighty.

In fact I did show the photo to the fish specialist at the museum today, and I was told that this was a very pale and interesting specimen.
And I was told that I should have brought it back for the museum collection...
I told them that I did not eat it, that I just put it back in the water, honest, scout honour and all... But now you know if ever you were to catch one of a simillar size and colour, the museum would be very interested to have it in the collection. I was told that this is because usually they are darker.

So we troll again, me just happy to look at the scenery and to have seen this nice little fish when bang! 
Another hit and this time with more punch than the last one.
I started to reel it in, but the thing do not jump at all just go for the depths and in a very amateurish kind of way I say: Maybe it's a Toga? (Remember that at this point I was yet to have ever seen a saratoga in the flesh).
To which I am told no, this is a Barra!
And sure enough this is a clean little Barramundi that Arrabmundi scoop easily in the net.
Ho yes I was happy! Only 61 cm, but hey I got it!

Look at the chrome on this fish.

Do I look happy or what?

Now, usually if you have a lure that caught you 2 fish in a few minutes, you stick to it... Well being who I am, I told myslef, time for a change of lure...
And I put a little Shaker 60 SR made by Ofmer, in the gold colour...
This was a good move, not even 15 feet in the troll run and I was screaming: I'm on! I'm on! I don't even think that this little lure had the time to descend as deep as it is made to swim. First a good pull on the line, then nothing... Then another pull and a nice jump, then another stronger pull and the line start to peel from my reel and .... nothing ... 
I got busted in open water...

I usually alway check my leader after each fish and I didn't do it after the first Barra...
Should have, this is a lesson that I hope to remember...
That was a nice little lure, and I had only one like this, but apparently a nice Barramundi liked it more than I...
This would have been the fish of the day, and it showed, albeit for a very short amount of time, how this little lure could be effective for Barramundi fishing.

And this was nearly the end of my fishing exploit for the day, and Arrabmundi turn to shine.
During the rest of the day, he was to boat 7 Barramundi, one Saratoga, a Giant Gudgeon and hook quite a few Tarpon too.
Here are two of his fishes:

A Barramundi on soft plastic.

A Saratoga in close-up.

And the full animal.

This was the first time that I saw a Saratoga in the flesh and not just in a magazine, they are very nice fish too. The colours on them is just amazing, for a fresh water fish.

He was getting most of his fishes on soft plastic...
I tried poppers, diver, walk the dog styles of lures, fizzers and finally decided to try some of my own soft plastic...
I did get a few little hits, but no hookup... And he kept telling me: You should try one of mine....
And I kept telling myself: As soon as I'll try one of his, I will loose it to a snag...
And finally by the end of the afternoon when he caught a 64cm Barra just under my nose, his 7th Barramundi for the day, I had to ask: Can I borrow one of your lure for a few minutes please? ...
He smiled to me and said: This is what I told you to do for the past few hours... 
So I did, and guess what?
Just after a few minutes of trying, just where he got his 64 cm Barra, I got an Oxyeleotris selheimi, more commonly called Giant Gudgeon.
This once again was a first for me! And Arrabmundi then said: I should have forced you to use one of these lures...

My first ever Giant Gudgeon.

Made me very happy.

Now, this is the folks at the museum who told me that this is a Giant Gudgeon, and that it is not a sleepy cod.
Apparently the difference is in the fins and some little spots on them. If it has some darker spots on the dorsal fins, this is a Giant Gudgeon.
(Thanks again to the good people from the Museum in Darwin for all the information about fish that they keep giving me)

We also passed by Itsinmeblood and Turtle during the day, they were busy casting some scum frog in the lilies...
Not long ago if someone had told me that he or she had 
spent the Sunday morning casting scum frogs in the lilies, I would have wondered what was that all about?...

So all together, this was a very relaxing day on the water. Very enjoyable with quite a few new fish caught or sighted to me. 
In a truly fantastic location, where I had planed to take more photographs... But got myself busy with the fishing...
But I did manage a few photos of a White Bellied Sea Eagle, and here is one of them:

A magnificent bird.

Thanks again  to Arrabmundi, I had a great day, in a place that I really wanted to see.

So yes with just one Barramundi of 61cm, I was on the board, as this round proved to be hard fishing for most of the participants in the series.
It gave me the 10th position in the round 3, and on the overall board for the Series I am now 13th.
For a total of 38 participants.
And yes on the score board, I am very very far from the 3 first ones.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A colour called Katherine.

Hi there,

Let me introduce you to a colour called Katherine.
This a colour combination to be more exact, found on a fishing lure, a Barra Classic +10.
You know one of these old Barra Classic +10, with the branding on the back, made of urathane and with no rattle.
Because yes, this is how I just got a third one of them...
My mate Seano called me during the day yesterday and asked me if I was at work?
I answered, that yes, this is usually where I can be found during week days...
To wich he replied, that he was close by, and had a lure as a present for me.

Full of anticipation I went down the front entrance of the building where I spend my working hours, and he arrived and gave me this really nice lure. Saying that he got this one in a bag of secondhand fishing lures, and that he was not going to use it. Knowing that I collect them he had decided to offer this precious one to me.

This one was in a colour that I had never seen in real or even in a catalogue.
Yes this is tragic I know, but I do sometimes look at the images in the fishing lures catalogues...
So not knowing what it was I decided to post a photo of it on the Lure and More forum, to see if anyone knew what it was.
And the following morning, I had a reply from Rob Gaden, the man who designed so many very good Australian fishing lures, and among all of them this one, the Classic Barra.
His reply was so great that I wanted to reproduce it on my blog!
After asking for his permission of course, as I wanted to be sure that I was not breaching any privacy issues or any thing like it.

So here comes the words from the man:

The colour was called Katherine....but not after the town in the N.T.

Funny how my last 2 post's have involve my old mate Harro....anyway he had a young lady travel with him into barra-land for a video he was putting together with John Hanke , also in the mid 90's. She had never caught a barra before , & Harro asked me to knock up some "Lady coloured " lures for her. That is what I came up with.....and beleive it or not , right on cue ...with camera's rolling , she caught a metre plus barra while casting to a gutter 200 metres below the barrage at Shady-camp.

A great first a very talented young lady , all on film. The young lady's name was/is....Katherine ( Katy ) Capewell , from Qld.


Could an answer have been better?
No don't even try to find a better one, there is no better one.
This one has every thing: An old mate, a very talented young lady, a new specially made colour for a lure, an iconic location in the world of Barramundi angling and some great fishing...
You could write a book just from that!

Any way, by now I am sure that you are starting to wonder what does it look like, no?
Well, it look like that:

The lady coloured fishing lure.

Non-rattling Clasic Barra +10 from above.

Now Katherine must be happy, I am sure that they are not many people who have a lure colour named after them.
Do you know someone who has a lure colour named after her or him?
I don't.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fishing in the local culture

Hi there,

Fishing is an important and integral part of the culture of Darwin. A city situated in the Top End of the Northern Territory of Australia. So much that many of the local businesses prefer to advertise on fishing lures than on stress balls, or baseball caps.
As an example here are three little fishing lures to support the argument.

First a lure with some advertising for the local casino, and no I do not support gambling, even if fishing might look a bit like gambling to the uninitiated (this lure is a Mad Mullet from Lively Lures).

A lure with the Skycity logo.

Then a lure with the logo from one of the most recognised insurer in Darwin, TIO (this lure is a Taipan from Reidy's).

TIO advertising fishing lure.

So far we have the gambling and the insurance industries represented.
Nice match some of you might say...

And now comes the education industry with a lure produced by a high school to celebrate the 21st birthday of the school (this lure is a Little Lucifer from Reidy's).

From Dripstone High School.

In Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

Ho how much I would have loved that my own high school was producing some cool fishing lures instead of just the T-shirts of the school's sport team...

The array of industries represented here on fishing lures, I believe demonstrate the importance of fishing in a place like Darwin.
Fishing is part of its local culture, like cowboys are part of Texas and the Eiffel Tower is part of Paris.

Now the question is what some archeologist will say about that in the future? Are we going to see one day some budding young archeologists like Ms. Dig look at the subject with interest and write about it in their blogs?
Personally I hope so.
Some people will argue that in the western world today, recreational fishing is nothing more than a hobby. But isn't a very popular hobby part of the cultural background of a society? 

Yes here are some of the questions I ask myself when I spend a full weekend without fishing...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,