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Barrenjoey 26/2/11 - putting a smile on my dad's face


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Hi Raiders,

My 73yr old dad is over visiting from the UK and could wait to get out fishing when he got here. Last weekend I had some boat trouble but we did manage to get out on sunday evening. It was the most amazing sunset I have ever seen and we trolled the heads and harbour - despite the fact that there were fish busting everywhere we could not get into them. Dad says - 'are you sure you catch all of these fish you tell me about?'. Yesterday we were in the water at 0500 in pittwater, tried to find some squid but no good so went on the troll around Barrenjoey. I put out a 4 inch mack bait on one rod and the gaudiest, cheapest 3m diver that I had in my box on the other. They hadn't been in the water when the cheap lure went off and I brought a 4kg mack tuna to the boat, after that we set off again and picked up bonito after bonito all on the cheap and nasty lure. I headed out towards open water to set up for another troll when guess what - the cheap lure went off again and this time dad is playing something that is fighting harder - a 58cm king. I have only caught one king myself so after some friendly banter where I say that he is going to be banned from the boat, I change my mack bait for another cheap and nasty lure and set off again towards Palm Beach where we were going to drift. We hit loads of bonito on the way over.

We set up to drift with fresh bonito as bait and I catch plenty of flathead but dad brought up banjo rays, flathead, shovel nosed sharks, numb rays - he is having the time of his life on all the new species he is catching. At one pointed I landed a reasonable flathead and as I was unhooking it found that it had picked up both me and dad's baits - that's never happened to me before!

Anyway I know that these catches are nothing really out of the ordinary but this was dream fishing for dad and it was great to see the smile on his face, he was telling fisherman's tales all night and wants to know if we can get out again today. Oh - and the other thing I have learnt is that sometimes the $5 lures outfish anything else.

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Do you know if the shovel-nosed sharks/rays have a sting or spine in their tail? I've been catching a fair number at the beach, and then using sticks to put them back in. I notice your dad is just holding it pretty casually, there, so I wonder if they're ok to handle normally.

Are they any good to eat?

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This post made me smile. There's no worse feeling than having a visitor come half way across the world to go fishing with you and you get nothing. Don't play down the catch. Flathead is excellent eating!

Edited by pdelux
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