Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Channel Island Two Days In A Row.

Hi there,

Yes last weekend I went to Channel Island, again, a lot...
I went there on both days of the weekend.
  • I fished Channel Island.
  • I didn't catch any Barramundi.
  • I did catch a strange fish.
First on Saturday I went fishing with Theodosius, on his boat.
We launched nice and early from Dina Beach and made our way to Channel Island.
But we arrived there a bit early and the water was still too high.

High tide in the mangroves.

Due to the tide, we couldn't catch a fish there. 
The water was flat as a tack, and we moved to another spot.

Flat waters in Darwin harbour.

This is about when the special apparatus, destined to the best fishing possible on the mud flats first appeared:

Higher is better.

Yes, a step ladder was erected on the cast deck, giving a higher point of view. Permitting to spot the unsuspecting Barramundi from far away.
And it worked.
As soon as Theodosius got perched on it, he saw a Barra hiding back in the baby mangrove.
He flicked the lure toward it:

Casting from the ladder.

The Barramundi took the lure, but failed to connect.
This had nearly be a massive success, but it still was exciting to see that the idea wasn't bad.
But still, we couldn't get any fish there.

So we went in beautiful little creeks in search of success.
The scenery was grand.

Tree in the water.

Tree on the bank.

The fish were not.
At one point we came across a snag, and Theodosius told me that he often caught fish on it.
So... We sent our lures swimming over it.
First, we saw a big boil just behind my lure.
Following cast and I got a hit from a small Barra, but didn't hooked it.
So we continue to flick our lures on it, making them swim very nooks and crannies of it.
Then a better Barramundi hit my lure, give a sharp pull on my line, and swam away like if nothing...
No, we couldn't get any fish from this very snag on that very day.
So we moved along.
Arriving on a new large flat, from the top of his post, Theodosius saw a Barramundi that I could not see from the casting deck.
He made the right cast, and swam his lure in front of the fish, who presto got onto it.
And a nice big slab of silver Barramundi started to dance on the surface of the water, between us and the shore.
Quickly I got my lure back, and grabbed the net...
And then went on to commit the worst crime that a ducky can ever commit...
I was simply unable to open the net properly, and by the time this very nice harbour Barramundi was boat side, I was still battling the net, and not ready at all.
What happened after that is what you never want on your boat.
A skipper with a nice fish ready to be netted and a decky, who is not even able to open a net, is by itself a pretty bad combo... Yes you might have guessed it by now, the fish spat the lure after fighting on the side of the boat for a little while.
This was criminal from my part, and I felt rather bad after that. 
The fault was all mine.
I think that I am lucky that Theodosius didn't just show me the way to Darwin and said : Swim!
Now all kudos to him for taking it in a very cool way, and even still trying to put me on a fish after that.
We arrived in a new creek where he said that he snag should be there under water, but that we couldn't see it because of the water condition.
We send our lures in a few different places, until I screamed: I'm on!
to which he replied: You must have found the snag then.
I wasn't on to a Barramundi, but still Theodosius had the net ready in the water before I could get my small fish near the boat.
And he netted it first try, this was a little cod:

My first fish of the weekend.

This fish was too small to keep, and was put back in his element. To grow up and hopefully lead a happy fish life.

My skipper for the day climbed back on his ladder for a little bit, but not more fish were sighted, and we decided to call it a day.

Scanning the water for Barramundi.

This had been a very pleasant morning on the water. Thank you for inviting me on your boat Theodosius, and sorry for not being able to net your fish.

On the following day, Sunday, it was a land based attempt.
This time I was fishing with Tony, the maker of the beautiful Captain Seaweed Lures.
We arrived to channel island parked the car and walked straight where I had been on my last land based attempt on this island.
I did feel sorry for not insisting that Tony take a good pair of shoes as he hurt himself walking on the rocks.

The rocks of Channel Island.

The spot is nice and shady in the morning, expectations were high.
With the tide starting to recede, I walked a bit further on the rocks.
But a few big splashes in the mangroves on my left, kept me on my toes. I couldn't figure if it was a crocodile or a shark, and I didn't liked it.
As I was on the rock, I saw a very nice Barramundi swam next to me, it must have been in the mid 70cm and was just cruising past. I sent my lure in front of him, and brought it back, twitching it under his nose. He didn't even take any notice of it and went on his way. Either he was not hungry at all, or was the most snobbish Barramundi ever.
A tad frustrated I kept looking in the water all around, to spot the eventual fish, or approaching crocodile. Luckily no crocodile were seen on the day.
But a massive Queenfish came very close. 
Once again, it didn't even had a second look at my lure, and just swam calmly toward the horizon.
Thinking about it I was just reeling in my lure, when I saw something from the corner of my eye, having a go at my lure, but turning away just before hitting it, very close to the rock I was standing on.
So I made a long cast, and tried to retrieve my lure, in a way that would make it pass just between the rocks at my feet. 
And bang! This time the fish took my lure in earnest and was starting to pull on my line. It wasn't the fight of the century, but at least I had a fish, it was a small cod:

Rock cod from the rocks.

This one was just the right size to be put in a soup, so in the esky it went, so Tony could have a fish soup.
Yes, this is becoming a spot where I catch more cods than Barramundi.
But still a fish is a fish, and I was happy.

The tide by now was becoming low. 
Tony had started to use a surface lure.
I had to do long cast to give my lure a chance to swim before hitting the bottom rocks. 
It is just on one of these long cast, my lure had just entered the water, and no more than two turns of the handle on my reel were made when...
I was on again!
I saw a flash of silver, so it wasn't a cod or a shark.
It started to jump.
But seemed a bit skinny for a Barramundi.
Maybe a Queenfish?
But it didn't look quite right for a Queenfish...
It was a Chirocentrus dorab, most commonly known as a Wolf herring:

Surprise of the day.

Not much to write home you could start to say...
Have you seen its teeth?

The Wolf herring.

Some being have a face that only a mother could love...
I personally think that even the mother of this one has nightmares.

I had caught it on a small Junior B52s made by Reidy's, and started to think that this was going to be my lucky lure of the day.
Well it didn't took me long for the lure to get snagged and for my line to be cut on the oyster rocks.
I had lost my new lucky lure...

Still it was a beautiful morning in a beautiful location:

Calm waters from the shore.

Looking at the calm waters of the harbour, and the falling tide, I got a second surprise for the day.
My lost lure was floating very close to the shore.
And a little puffer fish was munching on the back of it.
In no times I walked toward the water edge, flicked the soft plastic I had attached to my line and hooked the floating lure, bringing it back to me.

Not lost after all.

I was very happy to get my little lure back.
But by now it was time to go back.
On the walk back to the car, we got more or less lost and visited the back of the island and the camp that was on it in the past.
Walking back Tony remembered that the last time that he brought his sons fishing near the same spot, he had seen a Bowerbird bower somewhere around it.
Sure enough he spotted it again and showed it to me:

Bowerbird's bower.

This is another part of the Australian bush that I really like. 
There is always something interesting to see, if you just take the time to look around you.

Now about all the Barramundi that were caught over the weekend?
Well I don't really know what to say about that, as none were caught by my fishing comrades or me...

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

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