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Couta

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MACKEREL (3/19)

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  1. Wazz's great stories have prompted me to add one of my own. Waz reminded me that he used to fish at a spot called Julianne, in Sydney's eastern suburbs. I used to fish this place a lot. It was a good producer of bonito and kings. It would get fairly crowded as the best spot to fish from only comfortably accommodated two or three people. Live baiting was OK as you would leave your rod in one of the many rod holes but if you wanted to throw lures you needed to get there early to get a spot. One summer way back, it must have been in the 1980's because Prince Henry Hospital was still operating, I went down there. It was the week between Christmas and New Year on a week day as I was on annual leave from work. Being a week day there was no one there, had it been a weekend there most likely would have been others there. Anyway, I had brand new expensive Rapala diving lure which I was keen to try out for the bonnies. I started casting and after a while I hooked one and quickly brought it into the rocks and landed it. I used to keep my gear way back on a waist high ledge in a big cave so I took the bonnie back there with the lure still attached. I needed to get back there because the trebles were well embedded in the fish and my pliers were in my bag. Anyone who has caught a bonito will know how much energy they have with the endless shaking and jumping around. I went to grab the fish and one of the hooks on one of the trebles went right through my finger. I didn't feel a thing, I just saw the barb poking out the other side of my finger. Now I have a lively bonito on the end of my impaled finger. I had to hold it down with both hands for what seemed like an eternity until it died. If I didn't hold it still I was worried the shaking would tear my finger to pieces. Of course it was my right hand and I'm right handed so I had to try and use my left hand to cut the hook with the pliers. My left hand was not strong enough to cut the hook or the ring or the attachment wire on the lure. I don't recall but I probably had one of those tiny fishing pliers which didn't help. All I could do was cut the line. Then I had a brainwave - head up to Prince Henry and get them to get the hook out. I left all my gear on the ledge and off I went. The hospital was just up the hill, on the other side of the golf course. The outpatients was almost all the way up near Anzac Parade, so in I walked carrying the bonito and sat down in the waiting room. As you can imagine everyone in the place was giving me all sorts of looks. It wasn't too busy and fairly soon they ushered me in and wanted to know why I was there. When they saw the fish and heard the story there was much laughter among the nursers and doctors. They were coming from everywhere to have a look. I felt like a real goose. They finally settled down and set about getting the hook out. The doctor got some pliers and I said cut the hook not the attachment wire but of course he cut the attachment wire which meant my brand new lure was ruined. Anyway, hook was removed and I walked back down to Julianne with my bonito. My gear was still there as I expected. It all turned out OK but I don't know what I would have done if the hospital wasn't there.
  2. I also almost got hit a golf ball fishing neat the footbridge out at Cape Banks, the ball hit the rock right beside me. I practically lived at Julianne I fished it so much. I've got a great story about catching a bonito there, I might post it some time. I also used to fish the Trap a lot in winter. There was usually no swell when the westerlies blew so it was safe but you could still catch trevally. I saw a bloke get swept off it once when I was over at Julianne. Saw some great fish taken at Julianne, mainly Kings and bonito. In those days I lived at Maroubra so all these spots were close. I love your stories Waz, keep them coming, they bring back so many memories.
  3. Back in the 1980s me and my two mates fished out there regularly. It was not really a good spot but we fished there nontheless. Shakey is actually a large boulder at the tip of Cape Banks. I was told it was called Shakey because in a decent swell, if you were standing on it, it would shake from the waves hitting it. We never fished off Shakey, it was just too difficult and not productive. We fished on the ledge at the point, to the south of Shakey, or if that was too rough, back inside where it was quite shallow. There used to be a shipwreck inside the point. When we started fishing there you could step off the cliff onto the side of the ship but now days it completely rusted away. We never did catch many fish there but sometimes we could rustle up a snapper from inside in the shallows. One night I fished there with my mate. We were fishing from right back in the corner near the footbridge. My mate caught this huge snapper, it was too big to lift so he made me jump in the water to grab it. The water was only waist deep and quite safe. The snapper went 17 pounds, the biggest any of us caught there. One night the three of us fished well into the night. We used to park our cars near the houses up on the road and walk across the golf course. The houses belonged to the army. This particular night we arrived back at the cars at about 1am. We were met by the military police who had come all the way from Victoria Barracks. The people in one of the houses called them about our cars being there. These cops were not happy, having to drive all the way out there in the middle of the night. My mate, Wally, decided to take them on, saying that we were entitled to go fishing on public land. However I knew that we had parked on army land and were in no position to argue so I quickly defused the situation with lots of apologies. They let us go with a warning. Waz, you mentioned Jolong. One night we fished there and I saw a penguin asleep on the ledge. You are right, it was a dangerous spot; on the cliff at the top of Jolong there used to be a stone memorial plaque for some unfortunate fisherman who drowned there. It told the story of the guy who loved rock fishing, with his name and at the the end it said simply "So long Jolong". It was very sad seeing that and I always remember it. Another time we walked across the golf course at night, this is the NSW Golf Club, one of the top courses in Australia and we saw people on horses galloping across the greens! There were so many stories about that place. Thanks for bringing it up Waz.
  4. The tidal flow in front of Andersons is ferocious. Hard to see poddies hanging around there. You need to find a spot well away from the main channel, up of the arms of the estuary where the tidal flow is more gentle.
  5. Fishing off the rocks there I have been hit by kingfish in summer.
  6. Today I went for a fish off the rocks near Pearl Beach. On the way I noticed that there was a tremendous amount of cabbage weed on the rocks that was not there two weeks ago. It was everywhere and very lush. Its the cabbage weed that blackfish eat. I ended up catching a decent size bream and when I cleaned it I noticed that it was absolutely stuffed full of the cabbage weed. I did not know that bream ate cabbage weed but I know they will eat pretty much anything. I'm wondering if the recent flood from the Hawkesbury River may have been rich in nutrients that encouraged the weed to grow. Pearl Beach is just around the corner from the Hawkesbury and the water there was brown for a long time. Has anyone seen prolific weed growth in other areas recently? Would the weed affect the taste if the bream? thanks
  7. I don't like using ganged hooks on the sand because if you hook a ray its almost impossible to get the hooks out as they have a relatively small mouth and tough flesh around the mouth. Then the poor thing has to swim around with all those hooks trailing out its mouth. It's better to use a single hook on the sand. If you are confident there aren't rays around then by all means use gangs. Just a suggestion.
  8. As far as I know you can collect them but be careful the shell is extremely sharp. That's why they are called razor fish. They are easy to see as they are quite large. They are dangerous because the sharp end of the shell protrudes out of the sand. If you tread on one it will slice your foot very badly. People want them removed from Lake Mac for that reason. You can find them easily by snorkling.
  9. I have been reading with interest Waza's stories about the infamous Mattens fishing spot at Dover Heights in the 1980's. I lived a few streets away in the 1970's, in fact just above The Block, another great fishing spot, a little further north of the Mattens. I used to fish the Block, the climb was almost as hairy as the Mattens, but there was a long wooden ladder in the most difficult section and then a shorter ladder further down. Despite that it was extremely dangerous. I shudder when I think I actually climbed down it but I was only a kid in those days. One day I met up with a mate from school and we walked down to the Mattens. He said let's climb down. For some reason we did. When I saw the section with the ropes I couldn't believe it. Somehow I made it down and when I got to the bottom I was almost sick when I thought about the climb back up. I did make it back up, I had to, there was no other alternative. My arms were red and swollen and sore for days. One of Waza's mates, Steve Davies, told me that he won a fishing contest fishing the Block. He was a bit sneaky, he said he went down there the night before the comp with a heap of loaves of bread and berleyed up all the bream in the area. Next day he came back and cleaned up. I think Steve put in the big wooden ladder. I went past it in a boat a few years ago and the ladders were long gone (thank goodness, it was way to dangerous). Waza's stories reminded me of a book I bought in the 1980's called "Sydney's Top Fishing Spots". The cover says "288 pages...with more than 1000 fishing spots around Sydney". I still have the book. Many of the spots have photos, including the Mattens and I scanned a photo of it. (Note that the text below the photo has the description of the location wrong). Its the only fishing spot in the book with the title "Not Recommended".
  10. My brother has a mate with a farm near a creek that feeds into the Hawksbury River, way up past Wisemans ferry. After the recent heavy rains the creek flooded and after it subsided he went down to check it out. He said there thousands upon thousands of small bass making their way upstream. There was just a continuous stream of them swimming past. I assume they were originally washed down in the heavy rains and are not heading back to where they came from. The bass fishing should be good in coming years with that many fish around.
  11. The DPI recommends that for fish caught east of the harbour bridge, the recommended maximum consumption is five 150gm serves of trevally a month and one 150gm serve of tailor per month. The reason for the lower consumption level for tailor is that they are predatory fish that eat other fish and therefore accumulate dioxins that might be in the fish they eat. Dioxins are very dangerous and carcinogenic. Most of the doixins came from the old Union Carbide factory at Homebush. That's where they made agent orange - a lot of it ended up in the harbour (agent orange is the chemical they used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam during the Vietnam war). That's why the DPI says you should not eat fish caught west of the harbour bridge. However you don't know where the fish have been or have been feeding - they might have just come in from the ocean and are completely free of dioxin, or they might have been born in the upper reaches of the Paramatta River, lived there all their lives and are now on their way out of the harbour.
  12. I read a book once about the Australian navy seals who had some kind of training base at Taylors Point and these guys used to swim at night all the way up Pittwater and back (behind a boat). No mention of sharks but you would not get me doing that.
  13. If they won't take a bait on heavy gear, it sounds like trevally. Even moderate sized trevs can strip line from a light outfit. There do seem to be a lot of trevs out there near the entrance to the bay.
  14. I think you are correct Volitan, the dark bird looks like a Great Skua.
  15. In relation to the birds, I think The Producer is right, the first one is an albatross, but its called a black browed albatross. The darker bird is either a shearwater of some sort, possibly the common short tailed shearwater (aka mutton bird) or a great-winged petrel. Its hard to tell from the photo given there is no scale or sense of size to work off.
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