Cape Conran Again – Day One

5am start and we headed out to get some gummy sharks at the turn of the tide. Nearly as soon as we had dropped anchor the skipper pulled one up. However, from there on our it was slim pickings.

Soon we moved to the flathead spot and tried that for a bit. We got one or two, the highlight was the skipper pulling up an enormous flathead.

The skipper and my dad continued to pull up flathead. I wasn’t having a problem getting fishing – but they were nearly all gurnards. The other would get one or two, but for me it was nearly only that. We also got a few Morwong. I was getting frustrating I think the culmination was this bad boy:

Soon a seal came by to check our fish out. I finally hooked a flathead, and I was sure the seal was going to appear from nowhere. I kept my rod tip in the water, soon enough I got the flathead to where I could see it, and presto a massive brown shape charged at it. I launched the rod tip upwards and the seal only just missed by centremetres and it burst through the surface.

Interestingly, the skipper got a gurnard soon after that, and the seal swam straight to it, changed its mind, and just hung around. Not interested in the spikes I guess.

We hung around for the next change in tide, marking 13 hours on the water. I got back extremely knackered and was barely able to make it past 9pm. Of course I got to wake up and do it all again the next day.

Caught:
Me: 3 flathead, a couple of Morwong
Dad: 5-8 flathead
Skipper: Gummy shark, 7-10 flathead, a couple of Morwong

Story of the trip:
I thought I had seen idiocy before at the boat ramp. Nothing compared to what happened when we got back. There were spearfishermen and snorklers getting around the ramp and boating channel with no markings, nearly invisible. Kayakers were launching there. One launched and fell out of their kayak about 2 metres from a running prop (why wait until the boat is out of the water?). Someone drove their boat trailer directly onto rocks while he was going forward, he wasn’t even near the part where you need to start reversing.. and he struggled to get it off (and this is a guy the swimmers are trusting not to run over them!).

Cape Conran – Day Three

Up early again on the last day and it was once again pretty cold on the water. Once again there was a line up at the boat ramp. I went down to see if anyone needed help in an effort to get us going a bit faster. The answer was that everyone did. Quite amazing how many people were putting their boats in danger, but anyway. We soon got underway and went back to the gummy shark place. There wasn’t anything for a while until BANG I locked up on something large. Unfortunately it stuck itself to the bottom and refused to budge, as I slowly dragged it up, I was pretty sure it was a skate. Well, I will take a bit of bit of action and a free knot/drag test, so I got it to the surface and got my gear back, before sending it on its way.

The amusing story for this was that I managed to get a small live baitfish for bait. Dad managed to get a live crab. We put both down there to see who could attract the gummy. After a while I couldn’t feel my fish moving, so I wound up to see what had happened and the crab was eating him! Aside from getting a massive tangle, he had taken my baitfish’s head clean off.

After that we went to the flathead spot. All of a sudden I was on fire. I pulled up about 5-6 flathead in a row, Dad didn’t manage any and the skipper had one or two. I used Dad’s old joke against him, asking if he needed me to show him how to hold his rod. Soon we went back to the mark and things got a bit quiet. It seemed it was quite difficult to figure out how to drift. The next move yielded great results, we were taking them up very regularly. I got my first double header, unfortunately the second flathead managed to wrap his tail around the braid so badly I gave up on getting it apart, and had to retie up during a gold 5 minutes of fishing.


Notice the braid wrapped around his tail, very annoying

We only had a few hours to fish, as we were out by 1pm so we could get on the road back home. I did manage to get a Red Butterfly Gurnard fish, who wrapped himself around Dad’s gear. I was a bit disappointing when I got him to the surface, as I thought he was going to be a monster, but actually I was dragging an extra sinker as well.

Caught:

A bit hard to say. I think I likely got around 15 flathead and the gurnard. The skipper got one gurnard too, probably 10 flathead. He got a few thumpers, I didn’t manage to get a real “photo flathead”. Dad got a bit less than him I think. All in all it was similiar fish than the day before, but it much less time. Minus the Gummy of course.

And that was it from Cape Conran, but I certainly would be keen to go back! Great fun.

Cape Conran – Day Two

Up early to get on the water by sunrise. We made our way out to the gummy shark location and I immediately started pulling up some flathead. Just small ones though, the one that was barely size got used for some bait. Pretty soon, the skipper was onto a gummy shark. After a decent fight, we had our first shark.

After that things went really quiet. We used the last of the burley and were about to head off when the skipper was on again. Unfortunately the runs stopped pretty quickly, and the “shark” seemed to be content to get to the bottom. When the skipper got it to the surface, our fears were confirmed it was actually a skate.

After that we headed off to the flathead location. When we arrived I baited my hooks, and hesitated to drop a line out. The trip over in 5-10 knots had got to me, and unfortunately I was now seasick. It wasn’t too bad but I stopped fishing for a bit hoping it would pass. That was unsuccessful and I retreated to the seat and managed to nod off for 10 minutes. When I woke I felt a bit better and ate a sandwich. A bit of a gambit, but I was hoping it would settle me. It did, and soon I was back in action.

We didn’t get anything for a while, until soon the flathead came on the bite. I got my first one, and my first Victorian fish in a while.

The fishing became reasonable for the next hour or so, I managed around 5 flathead, Dad had twice that, and I think the Skipper three times that.

Caught:
Me: 5ish flathead
Dad: 10ish flathead
Skipper: 15ish flathead & 1 gummy shark

One interesting thing was the damn Octopus… you wondered why you didn’t have a bite, go to wind up, and you could feel the weight there. They usually didn’t hook up, but they were everywhere and a real pain. The Skipper kept a few, wanting to try to cook them up. I have ordered them before in restaurants, but I really couldn’t be bothered.

Nevertheless it was a good day and we got a good feed.

 

Get off my line

Cape Conran – Day One

I haven’t found work yet in Victoria, and my Dad is retired. So when he suggested we spend the long weekend fishing in Anzac Day, I jumped at the chance, though I did wonder what long weekends really meant. Nevertheless, while my wife was working 13 hour night shifts, I decided to head off down the Cape Conran.

Saturday the wind was blowing at 20 knots, so we couldn’t get onto the ocean. The forecast was great for the next two days though, so we sorted the boat out, and decided to go for an estuary fish for bream*.

So we motor along to ‘get some bait’ when we pull up at a shallow part of the river. The skipper puts on his waders and jumps in. Dad explains to me how pumping for worms work. ‘I understand’ I say. ‘Great, because there is a second pump.’ No second set of waders though. So I had to strip down to my boxer shorts and jump in*.


The water was pretty cold, but as long as the sun was out it wasn’t too bad

After we gathered the worms, clickers and pippies, we went off fishing for some bream. It was pretty quiet.

Caught:

Skipper: One Trevelly
Dad: One Bream
Me: One toadfish

When we got back we checked out the wind forecast. Sunday was 5-10 and Monday was 0-5.

So although a pretty quiet day I was optimistic for tomorrow. I had been promised to bag out on flathead and catch a few gummies, but hey, I have head it all before. Time would tell!

 

(* = How different is Victoria to Darwin?)

Fishkill

Made a plan to hit the high at the barrages at Shady Camp. Mud had warned against it, said there was too much fishkill around. I didn’t have any better plans, or anything that open to my timeframe. Besides, how bad could it be? Also, I really didn’t know what fishkill was.

So off Bruce and I went, on the water at first light. Definitely should have listen to Mud, he has good ideas every now and again.

Fishkill was everywhere, and it really stunk. Without the petrol (or time really) to make to the mouth, we gave it out best shot, but there was zero life around.

We pulled the boat out early. Lesson learnt: give it at least a month after those first rains flush the system out.

When I got back into range I got a text on my phone, 24 hours later it appears the boat is sold.

Got:
Me: nothing
Brucesta: nothing

Snap