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 Post subject: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:01 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
I think every Angler has a dream destination or activity which dwells within him .... and in my case it was to once experience fishing by helicopter.

There are limited locations that offer this type of angling, Canada and Australia immediately come to mind. I was deterred by the exorbitant cost involved and kept postponing it until I finally decided that it was now or never.

I was in Western Australia on a barra fishing trip and by chance, an outfit there was offering helifishing
trips for half day ...... this made it reasonably affordable.

We were to be given a helicopter accommodating 2 persons , so a lot of thought went into the limited gear that could be carried on board.

I took a short 6 ft Ugly Stik ( 2 piece) with a selection of barra lures stowed in a small tackle box,
which also contained a lip gripper, spare line and leader and a packet of Squidgy soft plastics.

I also stored a ferro rod with striker ( to light a fire if needed), a whistle, mini flashlight and a signalling mirror .... just in case of an emergency in one of the remotest areas in Australia.

Contd...


Last edited by kingfish on Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:14 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
On the chosen day, due to some mixup by the heli operators, our early 6am departure got postponed to
9am ( thus missing out on prime time fishing).

The 2 person helicopter somehow morphed into a 7 seater and there was another pair of anglers with us!

I was not in a very good mood, as we had missed the best fishing time and in addition had to now share
the fishing with others.

We finally took off at 9am. The vertical takeoff in a helicopter does take you by surprise and takes some getting used to, as do the earphones for internal communication.

The scenery was magnificent, with green irrigated areas supporting large sandalwood plantations and there were enormous fields of chickpeas for export to India.

These gradually gave way to a semiarid area and small hills gradually appeared with deep fissures which held pockets of water to support the local wildlife of kangaroos.

A bit further on, the Ord River snaked its way towards the sea and there were numerous channels which were now cutoff from the main river . These are usually called billabongs in Australia and hold a good amount of fish that have become trapped when the channel got cutoff from the river.

Contd...


Last edited by kingfish on Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:26 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
After flying for some 30 minutes, with the young pilot showing us some of the sights, we finally landed near one of these billabongs.

Once we came out of the cabin, the pilot gave us a safety briefing and a talk on do's and don't'. The main warning was about the saltwater crocodiles that inhabit these billabongs ... being an ambush predator they lie low in the water near the shore and attack with frightening speed. Plenty of people have been killed by these crocodiles when fishing.

We were to check our surroundings for crocs and to stay well back from the waters when casting lures.
If a fish was caught, we were to reel it onto the bank and only let the pilot retrieve it, as he was an experienced Angler and familiar with crocodiles.

The other danger was from snakes. Australia has the 7 most deadly snakes in the world, with our Indian
cobra coming way down the list at number 8.

The brown snake and the taipan were the ones that could kill you with a bite within half an hour if no
medical help was available (thank God we were with a helicopter).

Contd...


Last edited by kingfish on Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:36 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
With these warnings in mind, we spread out keeping one eye open for the crocs and the other for any snakes.

I started my first few casts with a popper, so as to get a barra's attention and also not snag on the weeds which were in abundance there. Later on, I switched to shallow running lures but had no action. The
novice anglers were having a rough time learning to cast but soon got the hang of it, in fact they had
a barra strike but could not hook up due to inexperience.

We hammered this billabong for half an hour with no luck and pretended not to hear the pilot when he
kept asking us to go into the really heavy bush and cast from there to get more action. I guess his
sermon had made all of us a bit apprehensive.

contd....


Last edited by kingfish on Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:00 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
We then took off and landed at a channel which was quite long and with a gentle flow to it. The sides were clear and one could cast easily to the opposite shore fringed with reeds.

The place looked very promising and so it proved to be ... I had tied on an Xrap 10 in Ghost White and after casting I gently twitched it back. A barra immediately struck and came to the reed edge after a brief
fight. The pilot came running and swiftly landed the fish, a quick photo and we released it back into the channel.

I think the pilot was happy that we had a fish, as apparently back at base the pilots have a wager on whether their clients will catch anything!

My wife was next with the largest barra of the day, caught with a Gold Bomber of mine fitted to the rod and reel provided by the pilot.

contd..


Last edited by kingfish on Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:10 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
After some more fishing with little action, my wife and I returned to the shade of the helicopter to have the lunch provided for us. This was chicken burgers with an icy cold local beer or cold soft drinks of your choice.

The wife of the other angler joined us for lunch as she had also caught a barra, leaving her husband trying desperately to catch one!

We were all wishing that he would catch one but it was not to be .... he promised to return on another day and fulfill his desire.

Our half day was now ending and we were happy to return back to our hotel after a really unique
day of helifishing.

It leaves me hankering for more!

Kingfish


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:18 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
Pictures.


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:20 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
More


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:34 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
Another view of the channel, with the helicopter in the background.

If you get stranded here on your own, there is no one to help you. No person within several thousand square kilometres, no phone reception ... nothing.

You do have the saltwater crocodiles and the lovely snakes for company, though!

Kingfish


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:05 pm 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:28 pm
Posts: 1062
Location: Bangalore, India
That was a lovely report Kingfish! Thank you for sharing!

How far off from the sea were you guys from?
Wonder what the actual shore fishing is like in remote places like this.

Maruthu


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:46 pm 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
Hello Maruthu,

Thanks for your kind words.

At a rough guess, we were some 15 minutes flying time from the coast.

I had initially been promised estuary fishing by the helicopter pilot and was told to expect catching barra, queenfish,Trevally, MJ, threadfin and blue salmon and grouper from the shore.

As usual, at departure this all changed and we just fished for billabong barras.

The shore fishing for barra can be hit and miss but there is a good chance of catching the species listed above.

Time you did a helifishing trip, Maruthu?

Regards,
Kingfish


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:45 pm 
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Fishaholic
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:20 pm
Posts: 529
Location: Bangalore, Kanyakumari
KingFish, thanks for sharing a nice trip report.
It would be a hell of an experience to fish in such a lonely wild environment..


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:02 pm 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
Thanks, Venkat.

Very few wild places left nowadays, lucky Australia has such a vast landmass with a small population.

Had we gone earlier in the morning with the 6 am departure, I am sure we would have had a lot more
action.

Kingfish


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:53 pm 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:28 pm
Posts: 1062
Location: Bangalore, India
kingfish wrote:
Hello Maruthu,

Thanks for your kind words.

At a rough guess, we were some 15 minutes flying time from the coast.

I had initially been promised estuary fishing by the helicopter pilot and was told to expect catching barra, queenfish,Trevally, MJ, threadfin and blue salmon and grouper from the shore.

As usual, at departure this all changed and we just fished for billabong barras.

The shore fishing for barra can be hit and miss but there is a good chance of catching the species listed above.

Time you did a helifishing trip, Maruthu?

Regards,
Kingfish


Kingfish,

I'd be lucky to hop on a bus and get to one of my favourite places by the shore these days....
It would have been nice to have been there earlier and fished the estuary for the species you mentioned.

Did they at least give you a discount on the price for not taking off earlier or could you have rescheduled this trip because it was their fault of not making it on time in the morning?

Cheers!
Maruthu


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:13 pm 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
Hello Maruthu,

I am afraid no discount was given. I could not reschedule the heli trip as I had a very tight itinerary.

One just has to go with the flow, sometimes.

Kingfish


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:18 pm 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:28 pm
Posts: 1062
Location: Bangalore, India
kingfish wrote:
Hello Maruthu,

I am afraid no discount was given. I could not reschedule the heli trip as I had a very tight itinerary.

One just has to go with the flow, sometimes.

Kingfish


Sorry to hear that Kingfish! It was still an excellent report.
I could now say that someone I know had done the heli fishing trip. That's how close I'm going to get to Heli fishing :-)

Cheers!
Maruthu

PS: There are some new fishing spots that me and my buddies will be exploting soon. Stay tuned :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:30 am 
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Fishaholic
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 4:58 pm
Posts: 3102
Location: Hong Kong
kingfish wrote:

I had initially been promised estuary fishing by the helicopter pilot and was told to expect catching barra, queenfish,Trevally, MJ, threadfin and blue salmon and grouper from the shore.

As usual, at departure this all changed and we just fished for billabong barras.



Nice Report Kingfish, sounds like a rip-off, was it? It's exiting going in a Helicopter and all, but the results, do you think they were questionable? Would Canada have been a better option? One of my friends has done this Canada/South America heli fishing, he said it was spectacular. I was invited, just had to buy may plane ticket, the rest was paid for. This guy does not really fish, but his customers do who took him on this adventure.


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:49 pm 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
Hello Bobby,

No, it was not a ripoff. The helicopter outfit is first class and someone I know, who is a jet pilot, spoke very highly of them when I checked prior to booking the trip. I do my homework before plunking down my money.

I suppose every now and then schedules and helicopter availability go out of kilter and then they have to juggle things to satisfy everyone. No hard feelings, long term, from my side.

As for results, yes they were disappointing. Fishing such a remote area should have resulted in strike after strike but we had to work to get the barras to hit the lures. I put it down to fishing late in the day rather than early morning prime time.

We may have had more action if the pilot had taken us for estuary fishing but I think everyone was keen to
go after barras.

Hope you can take up your friend's generous offer, if it is still open. I would gladly take your place!

Regards,
Kingfish


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:23 am 
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Fishaholic
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 4:58 pm
Posts: 3102
Location: Hong Kong
Hi KingFish,

The reason I said "rip-off" was because you sounded a bit disappointed, and the fact what you were promised or rather verbally showcased did not live up to your expectations.

I had a similar experience recently on my trip to Houston, we were supposed to be fishing for Tarpon in "Tarpon Alley", my brother who had organized the trip, paid a small fortune, the lady at the other end of the phone whetted our appetites with "Tarpon on the bite" tales. I know nothing of Tarpon fishing so I left it to the guide.

He had us fishing for sharks the whole part of the morning, the best part, it is only later in the day when it was a bit too late on my cross questioning did he drift out the Tarpon lures. My daughter and brother caught some fairly large spinners and blacktips, but I was not really interested in catching sharks. We had to cut the trip a bit short because my brother was feeling really unwell. But we missed the best part of the morning 2 days before the full moon screwing about with sharks.

It was only much later when the guide saw me coaching my daughter who beautifully played and landed a 7 footer did he realized that I knew a thing or two about fishing and started to go about looking for Tarpon in earnest, but it was too late by then.


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:05 pm 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
Now that is a rip off!

Promised and charged for Tarpon fishing and not providing it ...... the stupid guide probably thought that you were novices and humoured you by going after the plentiful sharks.

By the way, Bobby, it will be nice if you could write a report about this trip for us ... there are very few articles being submitted although a lot of members are fishing regularly.

Kingfish


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:14 pm 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:28 pm
Posts: 1062
Location: Bangalore, India
kingfish wrote:
Now that is a rip off!

Promised and charged for Tarpon fishing and not providing it ...... the stupid guide probably thought that you were novices and humoured you by going after the plentiful sharks.

By the way, Bobby, it will be nice if you could write a report about this trip for us ... there are very few articles being submitted although a lot of members are fishing regularly.

Kingfish


I agree Kingfish! We need more reports....

I just haven't been fishing much lately, but will try to spend some time by the water as much as I can and report back. Managed to do some freshwater fishing this past weekend. Will post a report soon....

Cheers!
Maruthu


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 Post subject: Re: Heli -fishing
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:36 am 
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Fishaholic
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 4:58 pm
Posts: 3102
Location: Hong Kong
Sure, will pen down a couple as soon as I get the time


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