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.

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