Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Old school fishing

In the late 80's I was a uni student. I had a part time job - in a fishing/shooting sports store of course, which paid my rent and allowed me to meet guys with similar interests. Long term friendships were forged and they remain strong to this day. Brian had access to his dad's boat, a Steadecraft I think it was, in the 14'6" range. We'd take her out on an evening, fish late into the night and then sleep aboard in the clothing we wore. It got cold - I remember that - but being 19 or so years of age sleeping on a cold deck wasn't the drama of cramps, aches and pains it would be today! We'd berley hard and fish West Australian pilchards into the reefs and rocky areas around The Noises, Maria, Ahaahaas and various bits of foul. The fishing varied from very good to kinda average, depending on moon, tide, time of day, but one of us almost always scored a fish "over 5kg" amongst the catch (maybe my memory has faded a bit...).

I'm not young enough to consider sleeping in The Booger, she's an inshore/day craft but the weather over the weekend was too appealing to ignore. I knew exactly where I wanted to go. I needed to be there before 06.00 to have the berley pumping. There was almost no breeze to speak of when I arrived at Castor Bay to launch, however the remnants of a SE swell (peaking at a massive 12"!!) rolled in now and again, not the usual for the bay. Meant I couldn't risk backing in as far as usual as I didn't want a wave to dump over the door sill into the truck (equates to instant write off as far as insurance is concerned!. I downloaded the boat into just enough water to float her, turned her into the "swell" and anchored her. What I didn't notice was that I'd given the transducer a decent smack.... On with chart plotter, everything ship-shape and off I went. The water was glassy and I managed a reasonable 22.5 kts. The trip was smooth and arriving at my spot I turned on the sounder - hello, no signal. I reached over the stern to push the transducer into position... and it was floating. Sh1t, I'd managed to completely dismount it - rather than kicking up it had dislodged. Damn. Oh well I'd have to set the anchor by memory rather than park exactly on the rock in question. The berley went out first, then handfuls of cubed pilchard remnants from a previous trip. On the darkness a hoard of jack mackerel swam in the berley, followed by a cloud of piper. I tell myself now that the first fish that took a bait wasn't a snapper, but deep down I know it was, a screaming take then as I set the hook the big head shakes.. it made cover in seconds and pinged me. A quick re-rig and then a short wait. The next fish hit like a train but I got him under control and played out a 3kg fish in beautiful condition. Rapt! Following that came a succession of hits starting at about 07.00 as the sun came up and half a dozen nice pannies came to hand. I kept a couple and then a horse kahawai for the smoker. They were boiling around the boat - fly time! 2.5kg kahawai on the #6 are a fly fisher's dream - guaranteed to give you a sore arm. I boated several and then the temptation got too much for another boat, who came in to anchor in my berley trail. I spazzed out a bit before another passing boat kindly gave the guy the message that I wasn't happy, so he upped anchor and moved.

The fish went off the boil after the sun was well up but it was a nice place to be, plus with nowhere else I had to be I wasn't exactly in a hurry to take off.

Funny thing here - when I returned to Castor bay and anchored to go and get the truck, I saw a black wedge shaped object washing around in the small waves - turned out to be the spacer that goes between my transducer and the hull - it had been knocked off some 6 hours earlier! Should have gone and bought a lotto immediately.

Old school still works.

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