Yes fishing Corroboree Billabong in winter is not often a synonym of success, and now I know why.
Yet it was a great day in the Australian outdoor, worth of a little post on this blog.
My good friend Jason Arrabamundi who now lives interstate, was in Darwin for a few days last week.
He had rented a car and a boat to go and fish at Corroboree Billabong for a full day, and had invited me to tag along.
It was a long time since we fished together, and I was more than keen.
At about 5:00am Jason picked me up and on the road to a new fishing adventure we went.
It was great to catchup viva voce in the car, and the mood was flying high.
Then the adventure part started, with a punctured tyre.
The flat tyre.
This photo was made in day light, but the puncture happened way before any light was seen shining anywhere...
It was in fact closer to a bit before 6:00am when we first stopped to inspect this now unusable front wheel, and decided to try to change it.
Yes I wrote try, because try we did, and then we quickly realised that the rental company had not put the adequate tools in the trunk of the car, to change a tyre... Oh, they had put some tools in there, but because of the alloy mag wheels, we needed a special size socket to unscrew the wheel studs. And the special size socket was now where to be seen. We looked from the glove box to the boot, and could not find anything remotely similar to what we needed. Slightly irritated we decided to call the rental company, Jason did it, better than I would have, for sure.
And they replied that the guy to help us would be with us in about one or one and an half hour...
So we started to wait, and to pass the time, to make some photos of the rising day on the bush. Instead of the billabong where we had planned to see the sunrise, and start to get some early fish.
(Early fish was definitely not going to happen anyway).
Early morning on the Australian bush.
As a side note, this is not the sun, but the moon that you can see in this photograph.
These two first photographs, were made with my phone, as I was trying to preserve the battery from my camera, for all the fish that we were to catch later on... Yes, optimist me...
Anyway once the day had fully set, a bit before 9:00am a Toyota Troopy with three local indigenous stopped near us and asked if we needed any help. We didn't say no to them, but we explained that we needed a special size socket... One of them said, " Oh yes I might have that in the back. I was going to get my tools out of the car before we went hunting, but left them in."
We were in luck! The guy had all the tools we could need and the change of wheel was quickly done.
One of them seeing the fishing rods in the car said: "Hey, your fishing god must be laughing at you right now!" It made everybody laugh, Jason and I included. With the wheel just changed, not long after 9:00, as the three helpers were going to go, we saw the mechanic from the car rental company arrive with a big smile, in a big truck, just after the battle...
Jason gave $20 to the guys who helped us, and had a short talk with the mechanic, and off we went to catch all these fish...
Well once on the water, it didn't went exactly according to plan either.
Nothing bad happened, but all the fish were hiding from us...
I had even prepared a lure especially for this trip. A fishing lure that I was thinking was going to be dynamite on the Saratoga. Well, I did get a beautiful hit on the first or second cast with it. But that was it, a hit and nothing else, no hook up...
The customised Mepps.
The idea was that by cutting off the treble and replacing it by a single, it would spin and be weedless. Which should have been perfect for fishing at Corroboree Billabong. Maybe next time, but not on this day. I will give it another chance, at the first occasion.
I was in fact going to be 1:45pm before the first fish was going to be boated.
And I was very excited, because it was by me!
And what a fish! A Tarpon, one of the cutest ones that I had ever seen. Why cute? Simply because he was very small. Normally nothing to write home about. But a fish is a fish, especially if it took you half a day to hook it...
My prized Tarpon.
You may have understand by now, that this was not exactly what we had expected. But when you are with a good mate, catching up, with him telling me all about the Giant Trevally that he his now targeting near his new home. That we had in fact a good laugh at this greedy little fish who had taken my lure.
Of course, I could not help but to say that so far, I had caught the biggest fish of the day.
Not very long after that, Jason was on to a nice and feisty little Saratoga:
Jason reeling the Saratoga.
This didn't look like a monster fish, so I asked him with a smile, if he wanted me to grab the net or call the press first? He laughed and just pulled it in.
The only Saratoga for the day.
It was not a bad fish and was actually going to be the biggest fish of the day.
After a quick pic, it was released, like all the fish that we caught on this fishing trip.
We continued to fish, with about the same amount of success. A few hits, but nothing was staying connected.
At one point as we were flicking our lures all around us, we spotted a reasonably sized crocodile, and a little bird walking just in front of him:
Corroboree Billabong crocodile and a bird.
I got the camera ready, waiting for the old crocodile to pounce on the bird. But no, he must have had a full belly as he just looked at it pass under his nose without even making a try for it.
Maybe it was this bird lucky day.
And then it didn't take long for things to take a turn for the better, I caught a billabong Barramundi!
But once again it was no monster fish, far from it:
My best fish of the day.
Yes it was going to be my best fish of the day, as it was so much bigger than the Tarpon I got before...
Ok, it was just a rat of a fish, but it still made me smile. I guess that once again it must have been the cute factor...
And we had finally found the honey hole as Jason was on too, and in no time. He too boated a majestic Barramundi:
Yes, it needed just one hand to be handled, it too was a rat of a Barramundi.
But we laughed that now I was not the only one with a Barra any more.
And that was going to be it fish wise, not that we stopped there and then, but just that we would not be able to boat anymore of these massive fish.
Yet it was a great spot to be, as beautiful in winter than it is in spring or summer:
Casting to the weeds bed.
Finally it was starting to be late in the day, and we had promised to the lady from whom we had rented the boat, that it would be back at 4:30pm. It was time to head back towards the pontoons.
The wind had stop, and in the serenity we could nearly have forgotten that the place was full of crocodile.
Corroboree Billabong in winter.
It was great to spend a day talking about the destructive power of the Giant Trevally while laughing at the small size fish that we were catching. Thank you Jason for inviting me on this trip. I am ready to do it again!
Even if we didn't catch that many big fish.
But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,