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Worst Day ever - South West Rocks, is crossing the bar worth it - Plan B saved us.


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On our last day at SWR, Fisho “Hadz” and I decided to cross the bar and chase some big Spotties and a drift we stumbled on with blue spot Flatties. We crossed the bar pretty easily (as we had three times previously that week). The wind was from the south on a 1/2 tide, so best possible conditions, except the river was still pumping out a strong flow even with a run in tide, this produced some pressure waves, but the 5m Quinny managed it with no worries. Once outside we headed to the bait grounds, but unlike the previous days, really struggled to get live bait. After 30 mins we had enough to tempt some big Spotties (🙏🙏).

it was one of the worst (non productive days) I’ve experienced at SWR and the day got worse. Even though we got fish, and lost a lot to sharks - the fishing was tough. The plan was to head back at 1/2 tide again and be back by late evening, pick up Haddon son Jenson and drift for bream and Flatties - but on the way back the wind changed to NE (not good for crossing the bar), but I thought we’d be OK, till we got to the river mouth and saw the bar pumping. The only (safe) option was a beach recovery at “The goal ramp”. We’d checked this out earlier and decided that because the ramp had 30 m of soft sand to the water, it was going to be too hard on Hilux. However after 2 hours, my Hilux with a snatch strap, recovery gear and 3 three fellow camper/ fisho’s we got the boat out without damage, but the trailer coped a hammering and I’ve since rewired  the trailer and replaced 2 skids. Thanks to Daniel and his son for the selfless help they provided (not a raider as not a fisho).

Moral= Get Local advice, Check the conditions, be prepared and always have a plan B.

 “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed” (Proverbs15:22)



Edited by Pickles
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The ramp at back creek would have been a better alternative , there is a sharp turn to the left just before the sand but after that it's very mild.

One time I was in my Savage Lancer 5.3 and decided to use the back creek ramp as the main ramp was pumping hard.

Well I crossed the breakers approaching the beach and made the sharp left turn, unfortunately I miss timed it and the next wave picked me up and lodged me firmly onto a sand bank. My mate with me was 5 ft 2 inches tall and he said he would jump out and push the boat off the sand bar, unfortunately he jumped out the wrong side of the boat and went straight under in deep water. Funny at the time!! . I got out the shallow side and we managed to float the boat.

Time it right and all is well.

The bar is a nightmare when it's pumping as it goes on forever.


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Last time I was there the ramp at the Gaol was concrete and pretty good.

Can I ask if you dropped your tyre pressure before you got stuck or thought you might be ok with them pumped up full ? Ive gotten stuck like you before because I took to much time getting the boat onto the trailer, which allowed the trailer wheels to sink in the wet sand.

Depending on your transducers some times its better to pull the boat out onto the sand and then wind it on the trailer.

Ive done that bar crossing a few times and it can be really nasty and long. I put my boat through a reasonable wave on Narooma bar last week which had the bilge pump working hard. As the wave washed over my electric's the plotter decided to send out a mayday message, which I wasn't aware it did!!!!

Anyway it sounds like you had quite an adventure and a good experience to look back on. 

A set of treds or maxtrax may of popped you straight out, I use the tred-pro and can't recommend them enough.

Edited by JonD
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5 hours ago, frankS said:

The bar is a nightmare when it's pumping as it goes on forever.

can be ok but when it changes its a nasty bar that "goes on forever"

The ramp at Hat Head creek is usually ok but only in the top half of the time. Haven't seen it since the recent floods though.

Glad you made it back without injury


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Cheers for feedback and comments - the big weather dumped many, many tons of sand on the beach, so ramp is now 30 m from the water at high tide (at least is was a week ago).

I deflated tyres to 18lbs on both vehicles but not the boat trailer (had pressure gauge, pump & recovery gear etc, but no maxtrax - will get some before the next trip though).

We checked Hat Head ramp / bar the day before and it was too shallow. Spoke to some of the local fisho’s, one warned against even trying as he had been “dumped” in his boat previously and had been going to the camping area for 30 years and said - “don’t even try”.

We winched the boat onto the trailer, but beach was steeper than it has been in past years and with tide still coming in it was still a challenge. I have wide, but legal tyres, so thought we’d be OK- I guess we were as we did get out, but it was a bit of an adventure.

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been caught there myself pickles , glad you had a plan b,last time i could feel the boat skidding sideways under me as i was trying to keep on the back of a wave,and  needed new undies after  .the pros there really earn there cash i only go on charters there now.but i luv supporting the local coop there. fresh prawns on a fresh bread roll the best cheers dunc333

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