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:

Rats on the Chew

It’s been since March that I got my last barra keeper. This was the 16th time that I have gone out and targeted them without personally pulling one in. I was up at 4.30am, it was very hot on the boat (it’s November after all) and we put in some serious hours on the water.

Mud got two barra, the biggest was 47cm. I got one, though technically not landed, I might have put more of an effort in had it been size, I would estimate 35cm. So it wasn’t all bad.

We headed to Salt Water Arm, we even got a Tales from the Tinny report from Shane Compain for SWA on the way there. Last weekend he got 30 fish, 20 keepers, it was as healthy as he had ever seen it, all we had to do was…

So we followed his advice, without much luck.

One thing we realised on the way there that TEBs was at SWA and there were going to be boats everywhere. My only consolation at my current cold streak is that I spoke to quite a few boats, and it seemed much the same. Three didn’t have any barra at all, three had a single keeper, all barely legal.

Well I am off to the tiwis next weekend and if I can’t get barra there, I will have to think about a retirement… maybe start targeting tiny cod, I’m good at that.

Me: 35ish barra*
Mud: 47cm barra, 40ish barra

Random story of the trip
It is possible I hooked a monster fish at the narrows, but I am still pretty sure it was the ground. Mud thinks line was peeling off to fast to be a fish, but it was about 2 seconds before the line snapped, so who knows.


Promises Lead Nowhere

A very early wake up to be on the water at first light. We headed to a coast creek near the boat ramp, about a third of the way to where Brian usually fishes, I didn’t want to go the full trip because of the afternoon wind. Things started pretty well, hit some snags and Brian pulled out his first barra, 47cm. He pulled out two cods before I got my trademark small cod of the day, but soon the water receded and across the low we didn’t think we would catch anything. The signs were good, bait was around, every now and again a large fish would jump, or we would hear a barra boof.

We waited and waited for the fish to charge up the river like they did the last time, but it never happened.

Things got more quiet as the water came in, the bait were gone and nothing was happening. We decided to head back and in desperation I stuck a line out to troll back. Nothing happened and I was about to give up before BAM I was on.

It resisted at first but allowed itself to be wound into the boat, so I was thinking catfish. But suddenly it was peeling off line like there was no tomorrow. It kept up this trip for a while, it was impossible to bring to the surface, it wouldn’t over resistance but as soon as it was near the surface it would peel off. If I wasn’t in 1m of water I would have thought a GT. Brian was hoping for a barra but without the jump I didn’t think so.

Anyway, it was soon worn out, and it revealed itself to be a nice sized Queenfish. The reason it was acting so strange was because I had hooked it through the top of its back, meaning it was impossible to turn its head. But hey, it was great fun, it has been a while since my line got peeled off, and I personally love the taste of Queenies. I’ve got some Nummas (Cerviche) in the fridge as I type.

I was really disappointing that the barra weren’t on, as this time I was prepared with a bent minnow and a popper. But oh well, still a fun day on the water, and I’ve got a feed for this week.

Last week will be my last trip for a while, I need to stack up the freezer soon!

Me: Nice queenie, small cod
Brian: 47cm barra, 2 small cods

Random story of the trip:
The queenie had a little fly hook in the corner of his mouth.