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A long time between fish – Botany Bay 27.07.2013


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Over the last 14 weeks I have been spending my hard-earned at Mr Musemuchi, Sydney fish markets.
Atlantic salmon, pink ling and barramundi fillets graced my table instead of bream, whiting and flathead.
The shame and humiliation I felt when handing that credit card over the counter to buy fish was mentally scarring….

I almost didn’t let go of the credit card…Like Mr Crabs of Spongebob squarepants fame…

My backyard has been a mound of dirt that needed my attention to get it sorted before the weather warms up.

I had to take a break from fishing to de-mound the yard and make it look like people lived there, not bushpigs.

Seeing as how my mental state was degenerating at an exponential rate I decided that I needed some fishing therapy....
And it goes like this....

Friday night, I opened the garage door. My boat looked strangely familiar, like I had seen it somewhere before.

I remembered that about 10 weeks ago I tried to pull the boat out into the yard to flush the outboard but 3 of the 4 brake calipers on the trailer had rusted shut onto the disk.
The boat was now nothing more than a statue !

I had to replace all 4 calipers, all disk pads and the brake cable as well...

It was like Frank Spencer of Some Mothers do ‘ave them tinkering under the axles…

It could only end in tears….

The whole caliper assembly needed careful ‘persuasion’ with a sledge hammer to get it all off the disk….

Cutting a long story short, after figuring out how everything works,I got it sorted…

The following week I was ready…

All went fine, towing, launching and driving down the river, where I was greeted by a horrendous sight.
A huge flock of cormorants sat in the water where seagulls usually were, near the Captain Cooks Bridge.
Hundreds of the darned things were there.

I think the cormorants must have eaten all the seagulls !

I once created a collective noun for these birds.
I called them "A brothel of shags"....
And there was the brothel, floating on the water…

The whole lot took flight as I drove past....
I shook my fist and yelled at them "Flocking Cormorants !"…

I love those birds, having wrestled with them for fish that were on my line.

Some bouts I won while others I have lost….
Gotta yell at something that won't yell back every now and then...
It's good therapy...

Forget the birds, off towards Yarra bay I went, where the squid where apparently jumping into people's boats….

All the reports were suggesting that so I decided to believe the internet…
On arrival, 4 other boats there there and all on board were twiddling their thumbs.
Within 10 minutes the boat count went to about 20.
Ah yes - gotta love the return to fishing Pitt st....

I tried the entire length of the eastern seaboard, ie, from the suction (That concrete thingy as it was so aptly named recently) all the way to Yarra bay, Frenchman's bay, right up to Bare island.
Not a tentacle to be seen.
I zipped across the bay to Kurnell for the same.
Losing two jigs in the process was salt in the wounds....
But like a true fisherman I'll be out to try it again next time and do absolutely nothing different but expect a bag limit...

Now not to be outdone by creatures aquatic, I had plan B.
I brought some bait to try for my usual bream'n'whiting.
Starting the real fishing at 9:00am is a bit late but I was gonna fish until I caught something edible and legal.
I certainly aint no donut-er, but a nutter, well maybe.

Being in my usual spots and doing my usual thing after so many weeks away was quite surreal. The angle of the sun in the winter sky is lower and there is a definite dullness and shimmer that is very characteristic of the season. The last time I saw the water the sun was still high in the late summer sky and it was quite bright and glary. But winter had descended since then and it looked different, like I had awoken from a deep slumber and the world had changed…

I got goosebumps, even though it was warm.

I jumped around from spot to spot but the baits were coming up untouched after 20 minutes in the water so I was a bit disappointed at that….until the tide turned later in the day. Most boats had gone.

I heard the drag scream for the first time in many hours and I almost didn’t recognize it…

I picked up the rod and felt a good weight and headshakes…

The rod was well bent. It was straight up but the tip was horizontal…

I was liking this, and so was the boat that was approaching me from the bow.

By the time I noticed him he was maybe 20m from me.

The fish rose to the surface and created a bow-wave as I pumped it.

A nice bream in the late 30’s. It’s bronzed flanks reflected the sunlight….

While I was lost in the ‘moment’, the other guys decided they would chase my fish as I wound it in, pointing excitedly at it like it was free swimming….

I had to call out to him to move back else he’s gonna run my fish over !

He looked at me and called out.

“Have you got a big one?”

I was stunned, I stopped pumping and winding and had a look at my crotch. If I had dentures, they would have fallen out at this point. I was happy to see the fish, that’s for sure but I didn’t think his question was appropriate !

I netted the fish and tried to ignore these pet-shop boys who were asking hard questions…when I noticed the rod on the other side of the boat was going off. I dropped the landed fish on the deck and picked up the other rod….

Again this fish felt solid. As I was bringing the fish in, the pet shop boys came around to the other side of my boat and started to chase this fish in as well ! It was like I was dangling a carrot in front of a horse…

Again I had to tell them to back off. Crikey some people are away with the fairies – yes – fairies…

They decided to anchor really close, as is usually the case with fishing fairies….So I up-anchored and moved 20m…

But the pet-shop boys had no patience and left after about 20 minutes…To chase someone else’s fish no doubt…Maybe it was a seal under their boat pushing it around and in disguise…ready to pounce on my fish...who knows…

The fishing was slow but relaxing. I finished up with 7 bream from 34cm to 37cm and 3 whiting around 40cm. Not a great catch but OK for this time of year. It was nice to be out there again…away with the fairies....





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Great read there Tony and well done on those lovely winter bream. It's amazing the things some people do ay!!

You might consider visiting mr musemeci and returning the favor lol, fresh bream at let's say $50.00 a kilo lolol.

Great job mate. I'm actually planning a big day Saturday so fingers crossed.

Cheers Daniel

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Wonderful write up and well done on a nice haul of quality fish!

Sorry to hear the peacefulness and tranquility was spoilt by those silly pet shop boys.

Terrific effort and keep up the nice work.

Thanks for the poetic report too!


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Thankyou all for your kind words.

That seems to be my main motivation for posting these days.

To entertain people and have a laugh....

..oh..as well as to share important information...

like how many cormorants are around...

and how silly people can be who are actually in charge of a boat...

because they yell at defenceless cormorants as they drive by....


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Tony nice to read your posts again its being a while since you posted and of course nice winter bream catch i can relate to the trailer disks being stuck happened to me frustrating is the word we all need fishing therapy but with no time i got mine in a bottle of wine the other weekend passed out only to be woken with my poodles back side in my face we have to organise me you and the groper for a bream bash this summer it will be interesting . cheers Jim Bream

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