Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Hooked-Up Boat Hire

Hi there,

I don't know if you remember, but I was very lucky to win a Hooked-Up Boat Hire for a full weekend.
Thanks to last year FFF Seadogs fishing competition. And yes, I am doing the comp again this year!

How was it?
You mean, the full weekend that I was able to spend fishing on a great boat?
It was really good, even if the fish played hard to get. But after all it is called fishing, not scooping...

So what did the boat look like?
It looked like that:

Brett launching the boat at Bynoe Harbour.

Yes, I had invited Brett to fish with me for the weekend.
Why Brett, who has a boat, some of you may ask...
Well, because Brett had been the first member of the FFF fishing forum to invite me to fish from his boat, a few years ago. And had since regularly invited me. So to me it was a way of saying thank you, for once that I was able to invite someone on a boat.
We picked up the boat in the afternoon of the Friday, which was great. Thank you to Peter the boss of Hooked-Up Boat Hire, for the great service and being so easy to deal with. The guy had a great Territorian attitude.

So to Bynoe we went, and the plan was to first chase some Mackerels and maybe some Tuna. Then a few Jewfish at the end of the day. To finish with some Barramundi on the Sunday, before going back to civilisation. What a plan! 
And this was our plan B. Because originally, we had made the plan to go for some big Barramundi at the mouth of the South Alligator river, where I have never been yet, to catch the big mamas.
But the forecast was bad, too much wind, so we decided on Bynoe, as another great plan.
Well, someone somewhere must have told the fish about it...
Because we could not find a single Tuna. 
One medium sized Mackerel hit Brett lure, and spat it, so no Mackerel in the boat...
By mid afternoon, it seemed a bit bleak and we started to wonder if we would find any fish...
Plan C: catch some reef fish...
Well, at the first drop, Brett got a good Golden snapper, that went straight to the esky.
That was it, we had found the fish!
Or so we thought...
Because after that, we got a few smaller fish, but nothing big enough to keep.

It was time then to try for the Jewfish part of plan B, and we sailed toward a jewfish spot.
Once again, first drop and Brett is on:

Brett fighting a strong fish.

I got excited, even a bit more than Brett who was fighting this obviously very strong fish.
I should have asked myself why that, but no, I did not...
And when he finally got the fish at the boat, I knew why: it was a big Catfish. Now I know that in some parts of the world, people actively target big Catfish. But here in the Northern Territory, they are more seen as a pest than anything else... To the extend that many fishermen/women, don't even want them in their boat. And this is what happened to this one, it was released at the side of the boat.
Brett, got another one, and started to tease me that I didn't get anything.
Then I got a nice little cod, which would have been perfect size to eat, but I released it. Too impatient to eat this big jewfish that I was going to catch...
What was that old saying? Don't count your chicken before you eggs have hatched, or something like that...
Well, I should have listen to common sense, and after the day we just had, I should have kept that cod...
Here comes the tale of my big Jewfish...
I had just dropped my bait to the bottom, less than five seconds on the floor of the ocean, when I started to feel a light tap on my line. I waited for a full 2 second before the rod buckled on itself and the line started to peel at great rate from my reel. Beauty I was on to a good fish!
But it didn't fight at the botton, it went straight for the surface. Brett had told me about Jewfish going directly on the anchor rope, but I was safe about this one, as we didn't put any anchor out. We were using the electric motor to keep us on the spot.
Well where did this fish go then? 
You have probably guessed by now, in about three second after being hooked, the fish had gone from the depths, to around the electric motor...
Brett didn't know if he should laugh or throw me overboard for letting such a rookie mistake happen. I quietly suggested that laughing seemed a much better thing to do, from my point of view...
Any way, Brett raised the electric motor got my line untangled, and the fish was still on and started to pull again.
Taking me all around the boat, this time I put my fishing rod deep under the water to avoid the outboard on the other side of the boat. And danced with this fish to finally find myself where it had all started a few minutes earlier. And the fish was still taking some good runs. But finally, I got it near the surface, and I saw it in all its glory. A magnificent Catfish was giving me a hard time at the end of my line, not a Jewfish...
I un-hooked it, tried to not look too disappointed, as all along I had thought that it was a Jewfish.
Put another bait on and waited patiently.
The sun was setting, and it was a beautiful evening:

Sunset on Bynoe Harbour.

A beautiful evening, but with I think just one more of these big Catfish for Brett, and nothing at all for me.
It was time to find a creek to moor the boat for the night, and to get some food cooking.
Two big steak in the frypan, a pasta salad, and that was done.
I was more than exhausted and fell asleep in less time than it takes me to write it.
After sleeping like a log all night long, I finally woke up, with the day rising, and started to flick a surface lure in the semi obscurity, but alas for no success.

Rising day in a Bynoe Harbour's creek.

We moved to another little creek, where Brett had fished with success in the past.
And in this new creek, we did find some Barramundi.
First Brett got one from a snag, on a soft plastic lure.
I promptly changed from my hard body lure, to a soft plastic similar to the one Brett was using.
And started to miss some fish... While Brett got another one.
Brett remarked that every time that a Barramundi was hitting my lure, I was trying to set the hook, like if I was Trout fishing. He showed me a better technic for Barramundi. Old habit are sometimes hard too lose, but I tried as best as I could.
Finally I got one, this was the third fish to come exactly from the same snag.

My first Barramundi of the weekend.

Sadly none of them were big enough to keep. 
Still it was great fun, and we finally started to get some action.
We joked about the fact that this is where we should have come on the first day. But how would have we been able to know that?
This was a great little creek, with some very calm water, and a beautiful morning light.

Little creek with view on Bynoe Harbour.

In the end, we got out of the creek, and just fished the harbour flats.
In some spot, we could see the Barramundi and were casting to them. But they spook very easily and were hard to fool. I changed lure, and put on my favourite walk the dog lure, the DUO Realis Pencil, and this time I used a black one, instead of the white one that I usually use.
It worked very well, first because it gave me a bit more casting distance than the soft plastic lure that I was using previously, and second because it caught me two other Barramundi.

Barramuni on top water lure.

These fish were a bit better than the first one I got, and in retrospect, I should have kept one, but they all went back in the water. The positive about it, is that they should be bigger the next time that we meet, says my optimist side.

At one point, I flicked my lure against some rocks on the shore, and started to bring it back toward me, when a small Mangrove Jack had a go at it. And he did try to hit it a few time and followed the lure mid way to the boat. Brett said, cast in the same spot, he might try again and maybe you will get it this time. 
So I did just that and dropped my lure in roughly the same spot, and as soon as I started to impart a bit of action to it, we saw a nice bow wave moving from the left in direct line for my lure.
How exciting! Well it is exciting until the head of a little crocodile comes up out of the water while still moving in the direction of the lure.
So I speeded up my retrieve to make sure that he would not chomp on it. After all I like this lure.
The young crocodile tried to race it to the boat.
He then looked at us for a little while before calmly swimming back to its hiding spot near the rocky shore.
At least it gave me a great opportunity to photograph it:

Juvenile Salt Water crocodile.

Cute as a button, a crocodile button.

The baby crocodile going back to his home.

Yes I know, that is a lot of photos for a small crocodile. But that was so exciting to see it coming so close to us, and not being afraid, maybe the insouciance of youth was at play there.
It is actually the first time that I got to see a small crocodile that was so confident. I just hoped that mama croc was not too close.

So we moved a bit further away.
And I got another small Barra on the surface lure:

Barramundi on the DUO Realis Pencil 110.

I think that my favourite way to catch a Barramuni is on a surface lure.
The boof, of the feeding Barramundi, is really something to see.

We saw a small group of Threadfin Salmon cruising the flat, Brett casted a bit in front of them, and reeled his lure past them. They all followed, one had a go at it but missed, a second one took the opportunity and smashed the lure, Brett was on:

Brett and the Threadfin Salmon

It was definitively of the right size to eat, but was released too.

By now it was nearly midday, and we wanted to be back in the city early, so we made our way back to the ramp, and to Darwin.

Boat on the ramp, ready to go back home.

I would like to thank the FFF for organising the Seadogs fishing competition, and Hooked-Up Boat Hire for being such a generous sponsor.
I had a really good weekend on their boat, and their service is very friendly. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

It was a great weekend, even if I am yet to see the mouth of the South Alligator River.

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


Nicole Singer said...

Hi, We fell in love with your photo of the fisherman on palm beach and had a question. Is there any way that we can purchase a copy of this print, or if we could pay to have you send us something over the computer that I could then have printed up, without the fisherman in the photo? In other words, if you sliced this portion out of the photo and then we had the print made from that? I actually went through more photos and pictures then you can possibly possibly imagine, and then my whole family agreed that yours was their favorite, but my husband would prefer it not with the fisherman if possible.. it would be going over the couch in our livingroom. There is something just sooo beautiful about this photo. It takes me literally to another world. The way you feel about fishing is the way I think I feel about your photo. I truly love it that much. Let me know what you think, and of course, we are happy to pay you through paypal or however you wish. I hope you will say yes. You really are very gifted. Love, Nicole Singer my email address is Thanks!!!

Rambling Expat said...

Dear Nicole,

I don't have any photograph of fisherman at Palm Beach on my blog.
So I really don't understand which image you are talking about?
Are you sure that you send your request to the right blog?

Have a good day,