Since we picked up the thumper
Snapper city, what better place to load up Hamachi's new jigging range
Well, once we went around the back of the jetty inside the ship loading channel, we found them. Schooling wide of the superstructure, we drifted big baits back into the shadows under the pylons, and bang! There they were, big snapper, hitting hard. No poncing around with nibbles and taps, these fish just came in and
Solid pink snapper, awesome fun in the shallows on light gear
Without a doubt, though the best fish caught in those couple of trips was a beaut big Malabar Cod (so similar to an Estuary Cod as to be indistinguishable, just a bit dottier) that was within a centimetre of being too large to keep, maximum size limit being 1m long. It was a very very very carefully and repeatedly measured 99.a whisker cms. Keepable, just!
Thumping Malabar Cod pulled from the pylons with
Hamachi's XOS GT'n'Doggie PE2-4 loaded with 20lb braid
With the three of us, coming home with six big 15-20lb fish was not a bad result, and even better it was only a short
Next day we were back again, doing the same, this time with Noel and Andrew in their respective boats. The Same result really, although a jumbo cobia was lost
Hamachi's newly released XOS GT'n'Doggie PE2-4 overhead, one sweet rod!
Well, after sorting out the snapper situation, it was time to head for a long haul trip again, shooting up to Turtle Bay and the top end of Dirk Hartog Island. 50nm across the lumpy, choppy water that typifies Shark Bay. They tell me it glasses off here regularly. Yeah, right, yet to see it. The expression involving Rocking Horse Poo springs to mind.
So, weather forecasts here thoroughly review, the decision was made to make at least a day trip of it, and if the weather panned out to forecast and wind dropped to next to nil, make an overnighter of it. We launched at Denham to a moderate breeze of 15kn or so, expecting it to veer more easterly than the SE we had, and die out in the afternoon to 5-10kn variables.
Half way up the gulf, an hour into the 2.5hr haul, and the wind
Part of our keenness to get to Turtle Bay was that on a trip a few days previously while we were at Point Peron, Noel had headed over to Turtle and sussed out how to get into a pile of Rankin Cod, limiting out on those delicious eating fish in short order. We were similarly keen to do so.
Well, after much pounding etc (see above ad infinitum account) we finally (thank goodness) turned the corner and got into the lee of the bay, no sign yet of the wind easing I hasten to add, (as I noted to myself), and we cleared decks to try a little trolling.
Nice Rankin cod landed by "B2" aboard "Bananas in Pyjamas"
Spanish flags were the first victims, this was looking promising! Even better these are outside the bag limit counts, so I reckoned they were a great target. However, for some reason we didn't hang around too long, I think it was having a bloody bolt-cutter, a Nor'west blowfish (a fish toxic of flesh and slime, with teeth that can
Out and out we cruised, still in comfortable conditions but with a little wind picking up as we moved away from the island... One drop....a 50cm long lizard fish, oh, yay. Next drop, another bloody
Cruising off, Peter gave her some gas to speed up....."
Uh-oh. Restarting wasn't a happening thing. We all exchanged "Ohshitohshitohshit" looks, but luckily Andrew was nearby with his Boston Whaler, so Pete called him over, we were barely three or four
Andrew was able to tow us around the cape again, over to where Noel was sitting (having caught his limit) on the large Parks and Wildlife mooring in Turtle Bay, where we quickly tied up and Pete got stuck
True to expectation, the evidence of pre-ignition of dirty fuel was immediately apparent...the spark plugs were totally stuffed....I am told it is a sign of water in the water free fuel, but I dunno, these things mechanical are a mystery to me. However, restarting was a waste of time, the decision was made after one particularly fruity backfire and clouds of smoke that instead of blowing the whole damn boat up, we would put the cowling back on and sulk about it, which we did.
So, it was now too late to start towing for home, the prophesied
Not the best of sleep that night, the honking wind (not, most definitely not, ten knots) making for a sloppy ride at
with the cheering news from a passing Commercial fisherman that the forecast was for building winds and worse seas for the next four days, things were looking very iffy indeed. Neither Andrews
Given that none of us
My first ever EPIRB activation. This had become a Big Deal.
Whhheeewwwww.....help was on its way!
Dirk Hartog Island's unforgiving western side
After a couple of hours of bagging Pete, chucking the odd soggy tea bag at him (having all decided that this was obviously all HIS FAULT!!!), who was stuck on his boat in the wind to answer his radio, while we had cups of tea and coffee on Noels big cabin boat in the warm and windlessness, Rescue 4 finally rounded the tip of the island, heading for us.
Interestingly, the location given by the EPIRB was several kilometres out from where it was activated, which led to a little confusion....but it is on reflection pretty alarming, EPIRBs are supposed to be exactly, not withing several kilometres, surely? It would be interesting to know the reason for this glitch...
In the still rolling anchorage, pulling this larger Aluminium tri-hull next to Petes sleek white centre console was a stressful manoeuvre, but we did manage to effect the tow attachment and the transfer of the three of us, Pete, Lochie his son, and Myself, onto the much larger and reassuringly stable boat.
A process not without its own entertainment value, however, as for some obscure reason
After being hustled off
I would've got a great photo of this all being done, looking at the flash centre console, empty, being towed thru some nastily wicked seas, straight up the guts of Shark Bay...but someone, no mentioning any names here, Peter, decided to leave my camera bag on his boat rather than have me take more pictures on the way, lol.
So it was some four hours later that
The point was not lost on all of us that after last years trip in which Noels boat (AKA "Bananas in Pyjamas") was nobbled but a cruel use of sneaky inflatable bananas by Pete (see the story in the July/August "Don't mention the bananas!"), this seemed to be a true case of Karma being a really nasty thing, so I guess you could say this tale could be called, "Karma's a