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.


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?)


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.

Me: nothing
Brucesta: nothing


All quiet on the western front

“Beware the westerly” Stewie from work says. He believes as soon as it starts blowing, the barra shut down.

But it had been a month since I had taken my boat out, with the rain and holidays coming up I needed to take the chance. Just out for a quick 5 hours in the harbour.

When we first got there, there was action. A few splashes, and heaps of baitfish. Not only that, but far out, so many boats in my choice creek, a lot wearing the competition outfits.

So I thought we might be in with a chance. Marko and I both got a total of one hit each. Each person I spoke to said they had nothing. And so we headed home, without anything.

Me: 1kg of magpie goose breast, thanks Mark!
Mark: nothing

Took this to help my sell my boat:

Land based hopping

Well I haven’t been out on my boat in a while and Mud and I were planning on having a shot. However a few terrible storms on the Saturday made me rethink the idea of getting out on my boat. A mistake based on the weather and the fishing reports but oh well.

We decided to jump in the car and bit some billabongs and culverts. We hit a billabong early in the morning and there was definitely fish there, you can see them from time to time as the water was pretty shallow. But they wouldn’t take anything. Which is rude as it was a 4.30am wake up to ensure we were there at dawn!

So we headed onto shady camp barrage for a flick – zero water on the salty side for as far as the eye can see. Had a go and fresh, but nothing on.

Decided to head to another culvert that was a long way away. When we go there we were surprised by the amount of water. Only had about 40 minutes there as we had to head back home. Mud got two big hits but no hook up. I caught the world’s smallest barra.

Got one tiny barra, and that’s it!


Sunday walk down the beach

The next day we only had two or three hours as I was getting the ferry back to Darwin. We went to a place closer by which was on a beach. We walked up a remote beach flicking at each creek, but the first two we found didn’t have any barra in it. The third one didn’t look promising but Tom spotted two barra sunning themselves. He flicked his trusty gold bomber and like that we had a 64cm Barra. And that was all we really had time for so we headed back. This made me think about next year being based in Melbourne. Obviously no barra down there, but I think walking up some of those beaches looking for flathead is a pretty fun way to fish.


Tom: 64cm barra