Jun 012014

gary  008

the last couple of weeks we have had gary and his son tim, staying with us. gary is an old mate of my brother, simon’s and they have been threatening to come for a fishing trip for about 10 years, simon is always too busy and finally gary got sick of waiting and rang me and told me he was coming and as simon was once again unavailable he decieded to bring his son tim.

i guess simon does have the excuse this year that he and his family are just about to head off to canada for a month, but he missed out on a pretty damn fine adventure!

we have struggled with the weather a bit, its been very windy for virtually their whole visit, with typical dry season south easterlies of  15-20kts every day, but we have made the most of it. their first day here i took them to my seekrit spot to try for some land based barra and we got a few nice fish, the photo above is tim’s first barra so that got things off to a good start.

gary  009

the next couple of days we worked hard for little reward, bashing across the bay so we could fish the creeks, we got a couple of fish and a feed of mudcrab, so it wasnt a total loss. the little croc having a snooze on the sandback was about 20m from where i jumped out of the boat to push us across a shallow spot trying to get into the giddys river at low tide. i had a good look in the water before jumping in, but forgot to look on the bank! luckily he was having a nanna nap in the cool conditions!

the second week we headed out on the hama pearl ii for a 3 day charter in buckingham bay, the plan was to target barra, but we had left our run a bit late in the year, the cool water and lack of run off meant there were not many barra around and the ones that we caught were mainly rats. the trip was saved by a couple of days of fishing the reefs off the front of kurella creek where we were anchored. we caught a heap of goldies and quite a few big jewfish.

on the last day kai and i climbed to the top of the hill on the bank of the kurella river and took some pics of the hama pearl anchored in the river, finally thanks to brad and kim for an amazing charter, we had our stomachs stretched with a constant stream of fantastic food, from full cooked breakfasts everyday, yummy cakes and biscuits, filling lunches, plates of nibblies to have with cold beers at the end of a long days fishing, magnificent dinners and filling desserts! the boat was always spotlessly clean, nothing too much trouble for our hosts, cool beds in the air con cabin and hot showers!

if anyone is considering a charter in arnhem land you cant go past ss charters, http://www.sscharters.com.au

all in all its been a great couple of weeks, many fine memories for all involved and we are already making plans for another trip when the weather is more conducive to bagging the elusive barra!

Apr 202014

nyinyikay  010

friday saw me headed off to nyinyikay, a small homeland on the tip of arnhem bay, i was joining lirrwi tourism in supporting a film crew shooting some reality TV rubbish involving 6 young city things being taken out of the surburban comfort zone and being confronted with challenges to their personal stereotypes. its all pretty voyeuristic and exploitive, but they wanted to shoot an episode in arnhem land, hence we were driving 5 vehicles, 2 towing trailers, in torrential, tropical rain, 4 hours from nhulun to nyinyikay.

we had to cater for 15 crew as well as the cast of 6, so its a lot of resources, tents, stretcher beds, bedding, food and drinks for 21 people for 4 days over easter. given that it had been raining for the last 3 days solid, we were not sure whether we would even be able to get out to nyinyikay , nor whether the cast & crew would be able to fly in on saturday morning.

as it turned out the rain did stop on saturday so we were able to get all the tents set up in time and we had the catering set up on the verandah of the house we were staying in so we had shelter if it rained again. the whole entourage, with thousands of kilos of camera and sound gear, flew in on about 5 seperate small charter flights from gove airport.

between looking after the clients, we were able to get some good fishing in, i think we ended up with about 5 barra that were keepers, half a dozen each of blue salmon, mangrove jack and golden snapper.

all of the families of the nyinyikay community were fantastic with sharing their culture and land with the visiting mob, and its certainly a good example of the potential for cultural tourism in the region and the benefits it can bring to small communities seeking sustainable economic models.

i dont know what the TV show is called even, so i cant tell you to watch out for it anyway, which is just as well because i think the cringe factor will be high.


Apr 112014

april  002so today was a perfect, windless, wet season day, so we loaded the tinny up and headed out for a fish, the plan was to head up to last chance shoal to troll for a few macks and then on to cape wilberforce for some bottom bouncing on some bommies up there, finishing up with lunch on the beach at elizabeth bay.

the best laid plans of mice & men etc…..we got up to last chance shoal and almost straight away hooked up a fish, i told kai to pull it in and so he started pulling the trolling line in, it came really easy as if it were a very small fish, but when it got to the boat I realised it was a big mack and it was very green – it saw the boat and me swing down to gaff it and it went mental, as it took off vertically out of the water at the back of the boat it tore the hydraulic line out of the ram for the steering on the motor!

i spent the best part of an hour trying to repair it, but had no luck so I had to macgyver a hand steering setup with the gaff, an old boat hook, a roll of duct tape and some cord line! anyway it got us home so alls well that ends well!

dinner was kai’s mackerel turned into thai fish cakes, mango salsa and mountain rice.


Apr 022014

april  016this morning i was reminded of why this is such a special place and how much i love my life here! i decided to go for a fish today and on checking the tides saw it was high tide at about 10:30, i wanted to fish the turn and fall of the tide chasing some barra in the bay, so I chucked a couple of rods in the boat and about mid morning headed out to catalinas to launch. 5 minutes later I was over in the mangroves on the other side of the bay  –   the only boat on the water, a light breeze and sun shining!

I spent a couple of hours working the rocky outcrops and mangroves as the tide started to fall and pull the bait out of their cover, using the electric Minn Kota means its stealth mode and you get to see everything going on in the water, i saw schools of beautiful diamond rays, black backs speckled with white spots, i saw little reef sharks cruising the shallows, schools of mullet and gars, sea eagles waiting for lunch and jabiru storks flying past.

The barra were proving hard to raise, but a beautiful big squid, sparkling iridescent colours, showed more than a passing interest in my soft plastic prawn, but he was too slow and a golden snapper stormed out from a rock and snatched the prawn from in front of the squid, it wasnt long before a mangrove jack was added to the esky and then I had a good battle on light gear with a decent tarpon. in between i caught a few small trevally and a fat old black bream.

I was back at the boat ramp by 1:30 so a quick 3 hours on the water, a wealth of wildlife observed, a couple of nice keepers in the esky, some fish for family on the way home and life is good!



 Posted by at 4:31 pm

Mar 172014

brian  015friends are special, its a self evident truth, but we were reminded of it this week past when old friends Brian & Penny visited nhulunbuy. they left about quite a few years ago, but we have remained in touch over the years and caught up a couple of times.

brian & penny stayed with our mutual friend dave, but the days started at rick’s bar and grill for coffee and ended here for dinner and copious amounts of alcohol! we once again enjoyed sharing our table with others with a fine appreciation for food, meals included char grilled steak with grilled vegetables and french fries, freshly caught fish in panko breadcumbs, thai fish cakes, mango salsa and wild mountain rice, fish amok (cambodian curry), and potato and mackerel bake.

brian, dave and i worked on several EBAs together and i grew to admire his intellect, humour and humanity – and a week of fishing, drinking, eating and talking crap only confirmed what a great mate he is. it was also good to spend more time than we usually find for each other, with dave – we live 100m from each other and dont spend as much time as we should hanging out.

its so important to maintain relationships across time and space, beyond family its all we have and one of the main things that defines us.

as with all really good friends, we may not stay in contact, or even catch up all that often these days, but when we do it just picks up from where we left off.

we got plenty of fishing in too, brian got some nice barra out of the bay  and we had a great days mackeral fishing out on dave’s boat.

anyway, time to let the images do the talking!


 Posted by at 6:08 pm

Dec 292013

bawaka (3)


today was one of those superb wet season days, no rain, light breeze, flat water and hot! so we loaded up the tinny and headed off for a run down to bawaka, we caught a nice mix of fish on the way down and had planned to drop most of the catch off to the community when we got there. everyone must have been off hunting as there was no one there so we took the fish home and dropped it off to family in Yirrkala.

(click on the “i ” in the top left corner for photo caption)

tonites dinner is barramundi cod, not a fish i normally keep as they mate for life, but I caught about 5 in a row and got sick of throwing them back! for some reason i didnt take any pics of the fish!