Here comes a true fishing tale, which took place on the day before Christmas, in the land down under.
Knowing that I had changed my holidays plans, and was going to stay at home for the full holidays, good mate Moz gave me a call, and asked if I wanted to go for a morning of fishing on the day before Christmas.
Of course, I said yes. I hadn't really fished for a long time, and I missed it big time.
People who know me, tend to say, that I am rather keen on the fishing thing...
The plan was to hit a few of Darwin Harbour creeks, in search of Lates calcarifer, yes we were going to catch some Barramundi!
We left in the morning, but at a reasonable hour, with the sun already awake.
Morning on Darwin's Harbour.
We found a bit more wind than we had expected, but once in the creeks, it become nice and calm.
So we enter this little creek, and Moz tells me that here is a place where it is best to fish with small soft plastic, lightly weighted. So as he start to fish, from the front left hand side of the boat, I quietly go to the back to change the set up on my line. Getting ride of the clip, and putting a small soft plastic on the line.
Just then I heard Moz saying: Yep! I am on!
So Still crouched over my gears, getting my line ready, I ask without looking if it is a big one. To know if I should drop every thing and get the net. To which Moz reply that no it is just a small one...
And just after that I hear a little Splouf, A louder SH..! and a mega SPLASH!
I quickly turn over to look what is going on?
All I can see, is that no one is standing on the bow!
What!?! Now I drop everything and run to the front, look in the water, on the left, nothing...
On the right, nothing... On the left again, nothing!
Now I start to freak out, and to think that the only thing that could have happened, is that a big crocodile, came, jump and got him. Dragged him under water, and is eating him under the boat just right now.
This is in my mind the only explanation, he has been under water for way too long for anything else to make sense... Nothing on the water, even his hat is not floating ... it is calm, I am alone, and my good mate has just been eaten by a crocodile... I shout: Hey where are you? Can you hear me?
Aï aï aï!!!
What I am going to do! Why why why???
Then I see something moving under water, coming toward the surface. Is that the crocodile coming back for second serve? No! It is a hand holding a fishing rod, and just behind, Moz came out gasping for air.
He his passing the rod to me, so I grab it in my left hand and extend my right one to him, and as quickly as I can help him to get back onboard.
Good, I have not soiled my pants, and he is still alive and seems to be in one piece!
His first words are: I am very upset, I lost my sunnies!
To which I say, What?
He then proceed to explain to me that he was thinking that he had a small fish, and was taking it easy on it, then the little fish turned into something bigger and suddenly pulled the fishing rod out of his hands. So without thinking he dived behind it to get it back. (Anyone who knows the Darwin's harbour creeks, knows, that they are inhabited by crocodile, sharks, jellyfish, stonefish, stingrays and god knows what else...)
So he dived, behind his sinking fishing rod, and could not grab it, so swam to the bottom of the creek (3.4 meters, 11.154856 foot, yes I checked the depth sounder as he told me so), and started to touch all that he could touch at the bottom of the creeks, and finally in the darkness of the muddy river, felt between his fingers the fishing rod. Took it and started to get back up, this is at this time, that he felt his sun glasses fall from his face. But was starting to get short on air and had to get back up as quick as he could to the surface, where the city boy that I am was starting to seriously panic.
As he finishes to tell me the full story and to repeat how upset he his to have lost his sunnies, because he really liked these ones, I realise that I still have the fishing rod in my hand, and that there is something happening with it. Yes the fish is still on!
I gave him the rod and he reels in a very fine specimen of Darwin Harbour Barramundi.
The fish that made Moz swim.
At 79 cm (31.102362 inches), it was a nice silver fish, healthy as can be.
We discussed for a few minutes if we should keep it or release it. It finally ended up in the esky.
That will teach him to loose Moz sunnies!
We got many other hits in this creek, but couldn't stay connected to anything.
Then another boat arrived in the creek, and started to troll and cast a cast net here and there.
The hits shut down, and we decided to go and try our chance somewhere else.
We tried the flats around Channel Island for a little while, to no avail.
But a flathead by Moz, which managed to unhook itself just at the boat.
And some sharks that we saw swimming not far from the boat.
Then, passing under the bridge, we saw that we thought were Trevally busting the surface, so we casted to them for a few minutes, before we realised that they were big Milkfish, feeding on some very small fishy prawns white things.
No way we were going to catch them on our had bodies lures...
Off we go to the next creek, passing along a crocodile trap.
As soon as we entered the creek, we saw that it was full of bait, so our hopes went right up once again.
The last creek of the day.
This was going to be the last creek of the day.
Despite all the nervous bait, we couldn't raise a single scale, and it was now nearly 12 o'clock.
So we started to slowly make way to the mouth of it and I was considering that this was going to be another of these days where I can't get a fish...
In desperation I did the longest cast that I could toward a little drain on the side. I had on a little green soft plastic that Arrabmundi had given me with a whole lot of other very cool lures the day before.
I was reeling in this little lure, wondering if I was just lacking focus, and if that was why I could not catch a fish...
Just then out of nowhere, my line suddenly tensed and started to fly away from my reel! It had been brusk and I didn't expected it anymore. The line was peeling, and going for the depth.
I must have shouted much louder that I would normally do, I have a fish!!! I am on!!!
In a split second, nothing else mattered but to try to boat this fish.
The fight was aggressive, and going in every direction. This was not a Barramundi fight, maybe a Catfish, or a Stingray? Then we saw a bit of colour, and I started to wonder if I had finally hooked on my first ever Mangrove Jack. This was no Mangrove Jack, it was a Golden Snapper.
My Golden Snapper.
This might not have been a monster one, but it was so far my biggest Goldie caught on a lure, and that totally made my day.
Moz quickly got the lure out of its mouth and said that they often swim in school so I should recast where I got this one. This is did a few times, and didn't get any more fish. Yet I was still very happy, as this would be great food for my little family.
The fish was gutted, placed on ice in the esky, and we started to go back.
Moz also gave me a big fillet from his Barramundi, so I got plenty of good food, from one very pleasant morning of fishing, on the day before Christmas.
Thank you Moz.
Yes I have never caught a Mangrove Jack yet...
But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,