I am just back from a trip to Portland in victoria's south west on the ocean,
glad to have all my fingers intact,and nursing aching back muscles .
It started with a decision to go after the Kingfish over the easter break,
Portland being 4 hours drive away [towing the boat] from my place,
my wife Doreen and a couple of friends jim And his wife Karen accompanied
me and after checking into the motel, we could not wait to launch the boat, and were soon motoring out of the vast harbour and into the the ocean,
There was a southeasterly blowing and it looked a bit choppy and i was hoping that the girls would not notice, as we only came for three days, while jim and K aren could only stay till sunday morning as they had to return for Jim's 73 yearold mother's lunch,[ And Jim was not prepared to argue with his Greek mother who is tough as a Tiger shark!]
anyway, soon we reached the spot and while i was riding with the current there was no protests from the girls but the moment I dropped the anchor
and we were facing the waves the girls started to protest, and as i feared
I was soon back in the harbour which is protected on all sides but has deep water to 50 feet, so we decided to fish in it instead, after sounding around for a suitable spot we picked up fish on the sounder over a bit of
reef on the bottom, I soon had a fair bit of burley out and soon the chomped up pilchards[like sardines] drew the fish to our spot, we than
started pulling fish in to about 1 kg each [small snapper] and threw back about 7 or8 fish while keeping about 6 fish for the pan,
we stayed out till well after dark and the girls by now had had their
fun catching these tiddlers on light gear as snapper put up one hell of a scrap! and we were soon back at the ramp, picked up some chinese takeaway and headed back to the motel,after a couple of pegs of scotch
and dinner we all slept well.
Jim and myself secretly decided to hit the water at first light and leave the wives to sleep in, I heard a knock on my door at about 5.30 am,
I was showered and dressed by this time , and we silently started my car
and drove the short distance to the ramp, it was first light as we cruised out of the harbourand soon we were anchored up in an old spot at a place called north shore, where i had caught a lot of fish the previous easter.
It was cold at that part of the morning and i was glad to have my thick jacket and beenie on, and though there was only a light wind blowing
the water was blue with a bit of mist coming off the water, I soon had Jim
working the burley bucket as it was on his side and we put out two rods
each baited with large strips of squid on 4/0 daichi hooks with running sinkers, and 30 pound line with baitcasters on the rods,
Our first fish hit the deck in 20 minutes, only small at under two kg[snapper] when were the kingies going to turn up! i rubbed my hands together in anticipation, and started to wind in my line as i looked down at my bait rising up out of the depths, fluttering as it came up, when it was an inch out of the water i got the start of my life as a four foot long
Baracouta shot out after it with gaping mouth and teeth that can only
resemble razor sharp fangs, snapping at thin air as it missed my bait
and fell back in the water, I let out 'holy shittt! did you see that! Jim!'
we soon were hooked upto some monster couta in quick succession, but were bitten off just as quickly as we tried to wrestle them up to the surface, i than decided to try some lures and realising we did not have any steel traces on board hooked them up to 50 pound leader material,
only to be bitten off losing 4 lures in quick sucession.
I than put out a 8" rubber garfish already rigged with circle hooks on a thick leader, meant for trolling for kingies!
Realising that letting the line touch the water spelt disaster, I started skipping the lure on the surface beside the boat by waving the rod back and forth, the reaction of the baracouta was to be seen to be believed,
Jim did the same on a shiney blue steel lure i gave him, they went crazy
attacking from all sides actually jumping out of the water , smashing into the boat and hooking up every few seconds, screaming off while we hung on to the rods , trying to hold them as they fought us like demons! and all this happening on the surface within 4 to 5 feet of the boat, We were screaming with laughter every time we boated a fish and every time one managed to twist free, Jim was afraid of them and got me to grab them
behind the head as we avoided their sharp teeth to remove the treble hooks with the steel pointy nose pliers,[Jimmy Buddy! sorry but i did promise you i would not mention this fact!]. well! its understandable as
you try to control a fish of 4 foot length smashing around on the floor of the boat, trying its best to impale its hugh teeth into you!
we ended up with about 20 fish and to top it all i had put out a game rod
with a large 1/2 kg squid head on a 4 inch hook attached to 50 kg line and a stainless steel ready rigged leader.
it took about 20 minutes to go off and as the penn overhead jumped into life and the ratchet sounded we both looked at each other, "go for it "
i yelled to jim, "no! it's your rod ! you go mate!" jim yelled back,
so i grabbed the rod and yanked it out of the rod holder and struck it hard, on the shimano beastmaster which bent under a heavy load, and i knew i was in trouble!
Jim tried to put the gimble belt on me while i tried to hang on to the rod
as the butt end dug into my groin area as the line started to run under a heavy drag setting! 20 minutes later i was stuffed but had managed to pump back most of the line, i than convinced jim to take over and after
a good fight we saw color and soon realised we had hooked into a massive shovel nosed ray of some sort about 5 foot wide, and as we got it boatside we managed to unhook it and it swam free.
By than we were stuffed , hungry as hell and happy to pull up anchor and head back.
I can say that my greatest regret that day was not taking a video or photos as i did have the camera with me , but in the heat of the action,
though i thought of it at the time, i was having too much of a good time!
And much against my better judgment i passed up on some fantastic
Ps i'll send some photos to bops of this place and what's left of my gar fish lure, and he can post it for me.
meanwhile check it out on www.wildblue.com.au
it is truely an anglers paradise and its only 4 hours from my house!
Peter from down under!