Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On The First Day Of School Holidays.

Hi there,

Yes last Monday was the first day of our winter school holiday.
I had asked my little one what she wanted to do on this glorious day…
And she said fishing!
The gods of parenting must have been smiling upon me.

We dropped Mum at work, and fishing we went.
To a very secret spot, that my good mate Mr Mud had told us about, a few year ago.
How secret is that spot?
Well if you live in Darwin, you will recognise the place very easily from the photographs.

On our arrival we noticed that not one but two people, were sitting exactly on the spot that we intended to fish!
So we decided to fish a few metres from them, as after all, the sea is full of fish, no reason to fret.
We asked them if they caught anything, they said no, nothing took interest in their bait.
Were we to be there on an unlucky day?
This as never happened to my little one yet, and I was really hopping that we would not have to go home with a donut.
But fear no more, plenty of fish she caught.

In fact the first one was just a few minutes after we arrived. The two other guy started to exclaim that it took just a few minutes for a seven year old girl to out fish them…
Oh the pride in me, oh the joy in her…

Here comes the first fish of the day:

First fish of the day.

From what I was told, this fish is a Cardinal fish. It was so cute and pretty, that we did put it back in the water.
Then a car with an elderly couple pulled over, and they started to fish too.
The place was getting crowded , and we needed to catch another fish, the pressure was on.
Well not for my little one, as in no time she caught another fish.
And this time it was a Bream! This one we kept in the esky, hoping  for another one to have a good dinner…
But in all the action, I did forgot to take a photo of the first Bream.
Yes you read it right, the first one of the Breams, other were to follow.

As the two fellow who were there first, hadn't caught any fish yet and started to look at my little one fishing ability in amazement, she was on it again!
Screaming, shouting and jumping up and down, saying that this was a Big Big fish!
And a nice big bream it was:

Second Bream of the day.

This was in fact the nicest Pikey Bream I ever saw being caught from this spot.
Now I knew what we would have for dinner, I was happy. My little one was even happier than I.
But she said, that she now had one for her, one for me, and needed one for Mum.
I did try to temper her optimism, but she wouldn't get any of it, she was to catch one for Mum…

We fished some more… But now fish came to be caught.
Grand Ma came to see us, and brought some little snack.
The elderly couple left, without any fish…
I said that maybe we should go now…
But no, the little one wanted a fish for Mum…
The two guys who were there when we arrived, decided to left, and just as they passed us, the little one caught another bream!

Third Bream of the day.

That was it!
We had a fish for Mum, a fish for Dad, and one for the fishergirl!
We folded the chairs, put the esky back in the car, a last biscuit for the road and we headed back home.
This had been a great day, for the first day of the winter school holidays.

And yes, it might be time to change the line on the little one's reel, as it was broken twice by bigger fish, during the morning. 

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 Top End Barra Series Round 3.

Hi there,

Recently the third round of the 2014 Top End Barra Series was on.
It was taking place on the mighty Daly River, and what a round it was!

Brett, had invited me on his boat for this round, and picked me up, early on Saturday morning.
The Daly River is reputed for its numerous big Barramundi, and our hope were high.
Well don't hold your breath, you will not see any big fish in this post.
Yet, we still had a really good time, catching up with many good mates, and plenty of good laugh!

We launched at day break after dropping some gear at The Banyan Farm, and quickly caught up  on the water with other participants from the competition.

Catching up on the Daly.

In fact they were rather happy to see us, as they had never fished the Daly before, and needed someone to guide them through the divers rock bars and other obstacle hidden in the flowing waters.
Brett knows the river like the back of his hand, and zoomed us all to a place to troll:

Morning troll.

Meeting no success there, we went to another spot to try casting lures at a creek mouth: nothing there either.
We had a small raft-up with two other boats for a little while, swapping fishing stories and other tales.
After all the social aspect is one of the more important thing that makes the Top End Barra Series what it is. A very friendly competition.

We spent the rest of the day searching for elusive fishes, that we could not find.
But we did see a lot of crocodiles:

Salt Water crocodile on the mud bank.

From there we decided that it was time to get back to the Banyan Farm, for a shower and a meal.
And a great meal it was: all you can eat roasted lamb! It is with a full tummy that I went to bed, to find a much needed sleep. 

The morning chill had a savage bit to it. It was a long time since I had been so cold while going fishing.

Sunrise at the Banyan Farm.

On the water, it was beautiful, and as cold as on land:

Early morning on the river.

In such conditions, we had no other alternative than to cover up:

Brett's piloting.

Your's truly.

No, we were not gangsters on our way to a high sea robbery, just peaceful fishermen on our way to catch some elusive Barramundi.
It was in fact so cold, that I even had to wear a pair of sock!

Socks in the Crocs.

Not very elegant, but oh so comfortable. In fact so comfortable, that it is only when we went back to the boat ramp in the evening that I remembered to take them off… I will put that on the fishing focus …

But let's stop talking fashion and let's get back to the important stuff: fishing for Baramundi.
Well we did find a school of Barra deep down the river's guts:

Barramundi on the sounder.

Seeing them we decided to tie the boat to a snag and cast to them, as we could not entice them to take a lure on the troll.
We casted so many different lures to them, for no success that it started to be slightly frustrating.
Then Brett put a small soft plastic, in the reddish colour, and he was on!
That was a beautiful Barramundi, easy in the high 80 cm and he fought strongly. Brett got it to the boat, I had the net ready, and… The hook bent…
Not a thing that you would wish to anyone during a fishing competition, specially when it is your skipper, and that it is the first good fish hooked in the weekend.
I felt bad, but there was nothing I could have done, this Barra was just to strong for the hook of the small soft plastic lure.
So I put on my line a big soft plastic, with a big hook…
And a very good fish took it. It peeled the line from my reel, like if it didn't had any drag. In fact the drag was practically locked to the maximum, as we were fishing in very snaggy country, and the goal if we hooked would have been to get the fish in the boat, before it took us to the snags.
But after two very powerful, but short runs, it spat the lure, and I never saw this fish.
Which in fishermen language, just makes it even bigger, trust me.

And finally I hooked a small Barramundi on a 5 inch Reiddy's rubber:

My best Barramundi of the weekend.

It was definitively too small to be a point scorer, it was in fact so small that it would have been illegal to keep it. So in the drink it went back. Yet, as you can see on the image, it had really tried to scoff the lure. little fish are still good to catch, when they are the first of the weekend.

we did try some more, but no more fish we caught…

So we went back to camp, to rest for a few minutes, before going to the camping's restaurant for a Chicken schnitzel. That was the biggest Schnitzel that I had ever seen! I did finish my plate, but felt like I would not need any more food for a week. Basically, it was enormous and delicious.
I liked the Banyan Farm for the camp ground, now I like it even more for the food.

But during the evening meal, we learnt about a man who had been taken from his boat by a crocodile, while fishing another river from the Northern Territory.
It did put a bit of a chill in all of us.
Every body went to sleep.

The following morning we decided not to fish and to make our way back to Darwin.
We took the touristic road, if I may say, so Brett could show me a haunted bridge, and the Daly River crossing. Two place that I had heard a lot about in the fishing circle, but never seen yet.
It was great to see them.

From the Daly River crossing.

It was nice to finally see these places in real, and not in a fishing magazine.

I did lost a few lures to snags during this round. But was lucky enough to have Rosco giving me a still in the box Classic Four X for my little collection of fishing lures. And Brett gave me a DUO Realis Pencil 110, a lure that I wanted to try since a long time. I will use it in the upcoming rounds of the Top End Barra Series, and hopefully get a few point with it.
Here are the two lure, thank you Rosco and Brett:

Two good Barramundi lures.

And as I don't have any good fish pictures in this post, here comes a little film done with the video function on my point and shot still camera. Definitively not a Kubrick movie, but it shows a bit how beautiful is the Daly River:

Thank you again Brett, that was a great weekend, even if we didn't catch many fish, we had some good laugh.

Yes, this was my first donut of the year, and maybe not the last one too.

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