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!).

Mt Buffalo – Day 4

Not much to write about for this one!

We woke up after the very loud thunderstorm and it was raining good!

We crammed everything into the car and basically took off straight away. The wet stuff made for a difficult clean up. Claire discovered quickly there was a “big thing” for us to stop at on the way home. If you didn’t know, she loves Australia’s Big Things. And so we did.


The Big Ned Kelly

I’ll leave this write up with the best photo that I got from the trip – taken by the wife actually! Love the moon in the shot.


We spoke about how we could make this a yearly thing. Of course, Claire and I will have a 6 month old by then…

Mt Buffalo – Day 3

Woke up after a warm night thanks to cloud cover and it wasn’t long before it started to rain. I got a bit of reading done in the car, and soon we decided there wasn’t much to be done but make the best of it. We went to where there was nice view and waterfall (Brad walked, the rest of us drove) and the waterfall was pretty cool. Given the heavy fog/cloud we were in, the view wasn’t to be seen.


Claire and I at the lookout

Towards lunch the weather started clearing and we were able to enjoy things a bit more. The kids were very keen to fish again, we went on a long walk around Lake Catani. The fishing was fun, some unknown campers from the other sides thought it would be fun to coo-ey us, and what followed was around 20 minutes of the kids coo-eying back. The day before Maddie had said “Dad taught me how to coo-ey, but now he says it’s annoying”. Classic gold from Brad.


Some more fishing

On the walk

And that was mostly it, Marshmallow time seemed to be the highlight of the kids trip, and probably Claire’s too. Even if our weirdo mate decided to join us in silence. Anyawy, figured I should throw in a photo of the kids loving it:

Only just got to bed before the rains started. It was a pretty wild night, we were right in a thunderstorm which wasn’t ideal.

 

Mt Buffalo – Day 1

We arrived at Lake Catani Thursday afternoon, later than I would have liked. I never seem to be able to get away when I want, but this poor even by our standards. Brad and the girls were already there when we arrived.

Nevertheless we set up and were pretty happy with the place. Great campground, good facilities, nice spot by the lake. We had booked 3 of the 4 camp sites in a cluster together that shared a fireplace, only 2 for tonight as Nick and Baxter was getting there the next day. So the issue was that the entire park was nearly empty (sub-alpine country in November) and yet we had someone camping right next to us. We chatted to them and it turned out it was their last night. Then some lone hiker decided to camp in the fourth one, meaning there were six camp sites occupied out of around 50, and 4 of them in a small cluster around us!

But anyway, you make the most of it, especially if it is just for one night. We went for a walk, and as it got darker we went unsuccessfully wombat spotting. There were loads of burrows and droppings but we failed to find them all trip!


Maddie and Isla were loving it.

Very sunny, but absolutely freezing!

Some of the great scenery around the lake

We got the fire ready for the night and stayed up late with the neighbours. They were all a bit odd. The middle aged daughter screamed at her Dad all night “stop snoring” which woke everyone up. The hiker refused to say anything. We also decided to skip the hot water bottles. That was really silly… it was cold that night, colder than I have slept in before. With thermals and a -5 sleeping bad I wasn’t too bad but my nose was sore because it was so cold. Claire also struggled. When Brad woke up at 6am he looked at his car thermometer and it was 1 degree. Except that is as low as his gauge would go, plus it was 6am, so not really when the low point hits. My guess is it was around -5 as that was the predicted low for the night before. We didn’t make the mistake with the hot water bottles again, but it was never as cold as that again.

 

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.