Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Rambling Expat On ABC Radio.

Hi there,

It was a real surprise to have a message from Mario from the excellent radio show Tales From The Tinny from the local ABC team.

He basically was asking me if he could do a quick interview with me, about my last fishing trip on the Adelaide River, and we did it.
Arrabmundi the very good skipper who had taken me aboard his boat for this very trip, had already talked to Mario and had told him to contact me.
This is the very simple way, on how I ended up on the radio.

Here is the link to it: The Rambling Expat on the Radio.
If you are very keen you can go through the two hours program, to hear what I say, and try to recognise my accent...
I'll give you a clue, my artist name is Pecheur, as this is my name on the FFF fishing forum.

This was a fun and unexpected experience.
Fun to do, because talking about fishing with passionate anglers is alway fun.
And I had fun listening to the program, as the guys who are doing it are real characters, in a very good way.

But yes, hearing myself, after over 15 years spent in Australia, is a bit of a shame job...
I sound like if I had just landed on the tarmac...
My shoes still full of dust from the old country...

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Three New Scurvy Dog.

Hi there,

Today I was very lucky and was offered three more Scurvy Dog fishing lures.
By whom you may ask...
Well by no one else than Balls himself, the man who makes the Scurvy Dog lures.
How good is that?
Yes, very good I know...

So lets start with the one called Four eyes, because it has two eyes on each side of its body:

The Four Eyes.

Now comes the information about it, and then some more photos.

The colour of the Four Eyes presented here is called “The Baggy Cap”. Proudly representing the Aussies Green and Gold.
It is made of Poplar Pine. 
1.5mm Polycarbonate for the bib, it dives to a depth of 3-4metres. 
Double rattle chamber, each rattle chamber located behind the eyes, both rattles are different diameter stainless ball bearing to produce noise variation under water (different sized bearings travel at a different rate with the lures side ways action).
.09mm stainless eyelets front and two middle hangers, 1.2mm stainless rear hanger. 
Sealed then painted with a white automotive acrylic base coat, epoxy coated, then silver glitter applied to entire blank, dried and the Gold Candy Tone, then Green Candy Tone paint, cosmetics with Pink throat and lime underbelly. 
Automotive two pack clear to seal the Candy Tone. 
Finished with 3 separate individual coats of Mega Epoxy rotated on a drying machine, slow process but looks good with a tough finish to protect the amount of work involved and to lift the bling.

Green and Gold.

The underbelly.

Bib, mouth, one eye and first treble.

This is a very beautiful lure, with a great finish. In fact for a fishing lure made of timber, it has more bling factor than most plastic or metal lures.
In these colours with such a name, this lure truly is part of fishing Australiana.
One can only wonder what Don Bradman would have thought of it?

Then comes a jigging lure for pelagic fishes:

Side view.

Underbelly and hooks.

The jig is poured with a lead and tin composite.
1.2mm, 316 stainless wire in a single harness. 
The jig is covered in adhesive aluminium duct tape, Candy Tone paint, automotive two pack clear to seal the Candy Tone & finished with 3 separate individual coats of Mega Epoxy rotated on a drying machine. 
Balls make the epoxy eyes, these were made from Coke or Melbourne Bitter cans. 
This jig is great for jigging Macks, GT’’s and similar species, especially if you have a bit of water depth to work.

And the last one of the trio is a skirt:

Full length.

Green and Gold again.

This skirted lure is primarily used to target Sailfish and Marlin, but Spanish Mackerel love them too. Unfortunately they either chew the skirts to bits or bite the lure off on the strike, as they are usually rigged with Jenkaii leader & not wire. 
The head is made of a clear resin, from a hand made mould.

The diversity of these lures, all hand made, for a vast range of targets, one for Barramundi, one for pelagic fishes and one for billfish, is a testament to Balls's talent and workmanship in lure making.
This is a man who only fish with his own lures, and who last weekend was nailing some Barramundi in Darwin harbour.

Thanks again Balls, I feel very privileged to have received such a present.
Great care will be taken of them, they are now a precious part of my small collection of fishing lures.

No need to ask me when I am going to test them...
These will stay at the office, and will never swim...

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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Upstream Of Goat Island.

Hi there,

It was 9:00am when I boarded the car of Arrabmundi, and we took off in direction of the Adelaide River. The plan for the day was to go and fish upstream of Goat Island, trolling deep divers over the rock bars.
The previous week a thread by Kai on the FFF forum, made Arrabmundi think that this could be a good thing to do. We were full of hope, and were not going to be disappointed.

We arrived at the boat ramp to be greeted by an almost empty car park, every body must have been at Shady Camp.
The boat was quickly launched and we started to flick at divers little creeks on our way to Goat Island, where we had planned to stop for lunch. Something I was looking forward to, has I had read and heard a lot about it but was yet to visit.
We did saw a few nice colours change but very little amount of bait in the water.
In one of these short stop, casting a B52's I got the first fish of the day. A very young and rather small Barramundi:

Autoportrait with a Barramundi.

This fish was only definitively undersize to be legal, so in the water it went back.
A fish this early is good augur I thought, but that was it for the morning...
We didn't raise another scale even at some spot that had been so productive a few weeks ago.
Had we made the right choice to come fishing this area at this time of the year?

The longest thing that my lure snagged this morning, was an eel... 
And it had wrapped itself around my line, the slimy thing...
It provided for some interesting times...

We passed a crocodile nest, sitting on the river bank, with the tracks of Moma Croc sliding towards the water just in front of it.
The place could have been fishy, but we didn't stay there for very long.

The Crocodile nest.

With Moma's tracks.

Coming from Europe, as a kid this is the kind of things, I would  have never imagined being able to see. We are very lucky in Darwin to be able to see such things not far from our homes. I do hope that my child will still be able to see them as a grown up.

Not long after Arrabmundi spotted a lure stuck in a snag, just out of the water.
It was a The Judge by Reidy's, he din't want it and gave it to me.
I was very happy, as it is one of my favourite +10 lure.
Thanks Arrabmundi.

Well we hadn't had lunch yet, and I was still full of optimism and confident in the ability  of my skipper to find some fish.
And talking about lunch, it was about time to go and get a little something to chew.
Kai had passed us on the river a bit before, and we had told him that we were coming and what we wanted to eat.
But as we arrived on the Island, he was still filling in the fridges that had been depleted the preceding night by some footy guys.
So we decided to go and have a look just upstream, at the places that we were going to fish in the afternoon while the burgers were being cooked.
That was just a very quick reconnaissance, and back we were, for a chitchat with Kai, and to eat the famous burger's from Goat Island. 

I have to say that this must have been the first time since I fish this part of the world, that I was able to sit at a table, in a fresh place, to eat a homemade burger, that tasted like a burger, while drinking a soft drink directly out of the fridge, and this is the kind of luxury I could quickly become accustomed to.
After that I felt refreshed and ready to engage with some mighty Barramundi.
And they were ready for us...

But before it all started in earnest we saw Moz, who was fishing solo on his boat.
Had a little chat with him and he had I think a 66cm Barra in the esky, but was finding the going a bit slow. 
At this point he was going a bit further upstream, while we were going back downstream.
We swapped information and parted route.

It started with Arrabmundi getting a 54cm (21.259843 inch) Barramundi...
1cm (0.39370079 inch) too short to be of legal size!

Arrabmundi first fish of the day.

We are not criminals, so this one was put back in the drink, to grow a bit more till our next encounter.
We had quite a few hits on a very short troll, with Arrabmundi getting the bigest ones. Some of them nearly ripping the fishing rod out of his hands.
But we couldn't stay connected to anything...

Then I got a good hit, followed immediately by another one, then the rod started to take a serious bent...
Arrabmundi who had seen all this happening said: your on!
Almost dejected my response was: No, I just got two good hits in rapid succession, and now I am snagged on the bottom...
So he put the boat in neutral so we could drift back over the snag and he started to get his own lure back. All the while I was just merely getting my line back on the reel thinking how unfair it was that I missed these two hit just to get my lure stuck at the bottom of the river. 
Then the snag emerged of the river full of life, trashing around and shaking it's head with my lure in it's mouth: Barramundi!
That how your pulse rate triple in less than a second and you start to think that you have just done everything needed to loose this fish, so there is no way you are going to boat it.
I tried as much as I could to stay cool, like if I knew all along, but the laughs of my skipper left me in no doubt that I had been an absolute goose.
Still he did  manoeuvre the boat to the centre of the river to give me a chance at it.
Every time that this fish jumped I could see my small lure a Poltergeist by Halco RMG in the Oz  Frog colour, deep in his open mouth. 
In the end the "snag" was netted, after a few runs and a few jumps. It was in fact the only Barramundi of the day, that would produce a few jumps, all the other that were to come, fought mostly deep down in the water column. 
This was to be a 73cm (28.740157 inch) Barramundi and was going to be my best of the day.

My first legal of the day.

Lure deep inside the Barramundi mouth.

I was so happy to have this fish, which I should have lost many times over. 
I now had caught a feed of fresh fish.

Not long after, I got another fish on the same lure, but it was too small and was released to grow bigger.

And then I had another very big hit again on the same lure.
This time there was no pretending, I knew from the start that I was on, and that bit was a good fish.
It was peeling line, going from one side to the other. Not giving me much time to think of a plan, he was in charge.
Once again the boat was placed in the middle of the river, and from there the fight had a chance to turn in my favour, as by doing this we had been able to get this fish away from the snags.
But even once I started to see some of my leader near the boat, it went again for a deep dive straight down. It took a lot of persuasion to get it back boat side, the leader came back in sight, this was starting to be tense and sweet, when the line went slack, and my lure floated back to the surface all alone... With one hook bent... 
Ho, how I could have then cursed the people who build fishing lures with hooks that bent... 
The positive in this was that it had been a very exciting struggle, and that this kind of outcome quickly puts you back in check and reminds you who can be the other player.
Yet... I would have loved to get this fish, that I didn't even got to see...

And then it was Arrabmundi hour of glory, with a brilliant trifecta, with a 74, 76 and 79cm (29.133858, 29.92126 and 31.102362 inch) Barramundi.
Here they are in order of arrivals:

74 cm of silver Barramundi.

76 cm of Lates calcarifer.

And 79cm of joy.

In between Arrabmundi very nice session we saw Moz again, coming down our way.
He hadn't found any fish upstream, so Arrabmundi invited him to troll along the same run than us as it seemed to be productive.
He did hook on a beautiful fish, but this one was not to be caught and buried Moz in the snags.

Has for Arrabmundi 79 cm Barramundi, it was released, with the hope that we could one day catch it again...
But not long after being released, this very fish was attacked by a shark and lost it's tail in the encounter.
Moz was then able to net it.
Here is an image of it:

Moz and the tailless Barramundi.

I did catch another keeper, a fish of 70cm (27.559055 inch) on the dot.
I kept it for my mother in law, as I am among the few blessed men to have a very good mother in law. 
This fish should keep me in the good books for a little longer.

Last fish of the day.

This was the last fish coming aboard for the day.
A day that will stay a great day  of fishing in my memories.
We did loose a few good fish, but got some nice ones too. It easily made up for the ones that got away.
Thanks again Arrabmundi for the invitation.

Yes loosing a good fish because of a weak hook was frustrating...

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Fishing Exhibition Is Coming To Town.

Hi there,

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin, Australia, will soon have an exhibition about fishing in the NT.
To say that I am excited about it and can't wait to see this exhibition, would be a slight understatement.
Here is a copy of how they announced the show on their web page:

Gone Fishin’ – The Reel Top End story

17 March – 16 September 2012
Cleared and stained specimen of the Bluehead Demoiselle, Chrysiptera rollandi, Natural Science collection, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
‘Gone Fishin’...The Reel Top End story’ explores how fish and fishing tell the cultural, scientific and social stories of the Northern Territory.
Fishing has featured heavily in the lives of Territorians from Indigenous peoples, Macassan fishers, the first European explorers, and early Chinese settlers, to modern commercial operations, and the weekend warrior or recreational fishers. Displayed alongside Indigenous fishing technology are a multitude of colourful lures, jars of weird and wonderful scientific specimens, rock art, natural history art and modern depictions of fish and fishers.
‘Gone Fishin’ charts both the development of fishing and the culture that surrounds it whilst also exploring the future of fishing through sustainable fisheries management, Marine Rangers, conservation, ecology and taxonomy.
On display are objects drawn from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory’s diverse collections, enhanced with important loans from recreational fishers, NT Fisheries Division and local artists.
Public Program
Curatorial Floor Talk
Gone Fishin’
Dr. Michael Hammer
11.00 – 11.45am
Saturday 17 March 2012
Gallery 4, MAGNT
Lunchtime Talk
Weird and amazing fishes!
Dr. Michael Hammer
12.30 – 1.30pm
Wednesday 21 March 2012
Theatrette, MAGNT
Free, no bookings required.
A Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory exhibition

For the mad keen anglers and fishers of all sorts, from the north of Australia or from faraway lands and seas, this will be like a very early christmas present.
And there is still a lot of sleep before opening day...

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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Stone Fish.

Hi there,

I went fishing for a few hours with my friend Carl, and the only fish we got was a Stone Fish. A fish that could inflict a very nasty sting...
Stone Fish have a very potent venom, in fact it is told that they are among the most venomous of all fishes.

We were fishing at Chanel Island, I was casting a lure in the hope of catching a Queenfish, when Carl, who was soaking a live bait not far from where I was standing, called me.
He was in the process of landing a Stone Fish, dragging it on the beach, wondering aloud how he was going to deal with this dangerous critter.

It was the biggest Stone Fish that I had ever seen.
It still had nearly half of the Mullet used as bait hanging out of it's mouth.
But instead of coughing up the bait as fishes usually do once landed, trying to get ride of the hook, this one was just quietly swallowing the remainder of his lunch...

Step by step, we could see the Mullet going down the mouth of this beached Stone Fish...
Carl tried to pull the Mullet and hook out, but could not, there was nothing to do, it didn't want to let go of it's meal.

Here are some photos to show you what it looked like:




In the end Carl had to cut the line, to be able to throw the fish back in the water.

It is said that Stone Fish can stay out of the water for about 24 hours. This might explain why this one seemed more interested to consume his prey, rather than trying for an escape.
He had his priorities right.

And this was the only excitement of this short fishing outing.

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Three "Westy" Moller.

Hi there,

Here are three lures made by "Westy" Moller, the son of Eric Moller.
Eric Moller, is often regarded as the man who started the fishing lure making industry in Australia.
The tale as it that one day Eric Moller was given an American fishing lure by a fellow angler, and that it inspired him to carve one himself. This was the early 1960s, and the rest is history, as they say...
Australia has now many companies locally producing some excellent fishing lures.
And a very vibrant cottage industry, when it comes to timber lure making.

Sadly Eric Moller passed away.
Now his son, "Westy" who is in his 80's is still carving and painting wooden fishing lures, like he used to do with his father. The craft runs in the family.

Thanks to a tip from Capt. Seaweed and Top Ender from the Lure And More forum, I was able to source these three lures.
And here they are:

Large one made of Red Cedar.

Small one made of Red Cedar.

Large one made of White Beech.

Even if these look a little rough, I am really happy to have them. 
And this is certainly as close as I will ever be to own an Eric Moller lure, because the lures made by Eric are just way out of my fishing lures budget.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Day On The Adelaide River.

Hi there,

Yes last weekend I went for the first time fishing on the Adelaide River, and what a great day it was.
Arrabmundi invited me on his boat to go to fish in company of his good friend Jamie.
We had a very reasonable start, living Darwin at 11:am, not too early for a Sunday morning, and giving us the time to arrive in time for the tide.
To be honest, I was a little apprehensive to go and fish on this river, due to the large number of big crocodile who live in it.
And Ms Frugal Down Under, was not very impressed when I told her what the destination of my day trip was...

But I found that the boat ramp looked a lot safer than a lot of other where I had been in the past. And we hit the river with no problems, despite a car park full of cars and trailers, the river was going to be busy.

At the first spot where we stopped, I was quickly on to a nice little Barramundi, that Arrabmundi estimated to be in the 60 cm. (23.622047 inch) but I lost it at the boat...
Yes this was on a soft plastic, and this is often the curse of using soft plastic lures.
But still it made me happy as I thought that this was going to be a ripper of a day, if I could be on a fish so early in the day.

We moved to another spot but someone was already there, so we didn't stay long and moved to yet another place. Where Arrabmundi boated the first fish of the day:

First Barramundi of the day.

This was to me another proof that the day was going to be a good one.
We passed Donald's creek, but a boat was anchored in the middle of it's mouth so we moved along.
To another spot where we stayed for a little while, and with good reason.
We started to cast some hard body, at the mouth of a little creek, where the water was showing some mild turbulences.
Arrabmundi got another fish there, and soon I started to get many hits.
Not just little tap on the lure, but full on hit with the fish taking a bit of line or even jumping, then spit the lure...
I lost them all... 
What was going on? This was on a brand new lure, we even checked the hooks, and they were of good quality, and sticky sharp.
I just had a very sever cas of "Dropsytite", and could not hold on to any fish.
All the while Jamie and Arrabmundi were boating some nice fish.

Jamie first fish for the day.

Jamie first fish wasn't the bigest one of the day, but he did catch some bigger ones later on, and even had an 80cm one the previous day. And me you may ask? Well I kept dropping them, one after the other...
When lunch time arrived and my two accomplice stopped for lunch, I decided to try a bit longer. As they were munching on sandwiches I had the water for myslef, and changed lure... 
That was a good move and I finally boated my first fish for the day on a Classic Barra 120 +3 in the Bleeding Mullet colour:

64 cm of Adelaide River Barramundi.

Being my first fish in the boat for the day, I didn't take any risk, in the esky it went. Just in case I was not goint to catch any other, at least I would have a feed.
Then the boys started to cast again and got a few more, and I lost a few more...
As the water was dropping with the tide, we were able to spot the footprints left by a Jabiru in the mud, just next to where we had parked the boat

The Jabiru footprints.

We then moved to the mouth of Beatrice creek, did a few cast just there.
And decided to move between 50 to 150 metres upstream, and this is when it started to be like in a fishing commercial.
I had reverted to a soft plastic, a 5 inch from Reidy's in the Tiger Green colour, when I felt a little tap on my lure. Nothing big, just like tap, tap on the lure, but it didn't feel like a snag, just like if something had hit the line under water. By reflex more than anything else, I gave a small jerk to the rod, this is when the line went tight, and a nice little fish jumped, I was on!
With the amount of fish that I had already lost on soft plastic lures, during the day, I was a little anxious that the same scenario was going to happen again under my very eyes.
The fish first went right, on the other side of the boat, then dived under the boat, to appear just where it had all started. Then it went for the motor, and I feared that the prop would cut the line, from there it was back  on the other side of the boat, trying to go for the middle of the river. Finally, it came to the boat, and Arrabmundi told me to just bring him head first to just slide it in the net. And it worked!
This was going to be my biggest Barramundi on a soft plastic lure to date.

My Personal best on a soft plastic.

Yes, I was more than happy with that! It went 76 cm (29.92126 inch).
As I already had a fish on ice, I put it back in the water to fight another day.
Arrabmundi and Jamie keept landing a few more, there was a very good buzz going on aboard the boat at this moment.

Good mood all-around.

This session was short but for sure, will stay in my memory as a top Barramundi session.
It came to an end when things started to slow down, and Arrabmundi boated the last fish of the day.

Last Barramundi for the day.

We then proceeded to troll for a small amount of time, during which we all had some good strike, but no fish stayed connected.
And it was time to head back.

This was my first time on this part of the river, and I loved it.
The scenery is beautiful, and the fishing was great.
Thanks Barramundi for the invitation.

From the dozen of fish boated only two of them had my name on them.
Arrabmundi and Jamie got the king's share, and this show that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to Barramundi fishing.

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012

And The Giveaway Winner Is ...

Hi there,

Here comes the result of who won the fishing lure from my first giveaway...

In the month of January, during which anyone could enter this free giveaway, this very blog registered a bit over 1300 visits.
From all these visits only nine comments were posted as entries in the giveaway.
Of the nine entries, one I considered to be spam so only eight were in the race.
From the eight left, one arrived on the 1st of February in Australia, but it came from Europe where it was still the 31st of January, so I accepted it.
After all, in the good old time of paper mail, the postal stamp on the envelope would have said January.

Now who won?
Here comes the screenshot from the generator on, so get ready:

The entry number 4!

The Fisherman's Daughter has won!

And the funny thing is that she is the entry number four, and has entered the giveaway on the fourth of January...
Now just try to tell me that four is not her lucky number!

The coveted prize.

The Fisherman's Daughter, your handcrafted timber lure, made in Darwin, Australia, will be delivered to you soon.

Allen Sentance Fisherman, 
Yes that would be nice to catch up one day, and talk Barramundi and other scaly critters from our neighbourhood.

For all the people who who entered and didn't win...
I might do others giveaway in the future, just to keep things fun.
Better luck next time I guess, sorry that I could not have a prize for everyone of you.

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

P.S: And welcome to my latest follower, the first one from Greece:  seaspinning