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wazatherfisherman last won the day on May 7

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  1. Hi Fishii what style of fishing are you looking at doing with it?- there are many different Alvey's, if you give us an idea of the purpose, we will be able to give plenty of advice!
  2. Sorry to hear of your loss Neil. Thoughts are with you Waza
  3. Hi KC as Dieter says Cowan most reliable but in 'good years' there are plenty in the Harbour, Newcastle Harbour and in years past, some giants came from Botany Bay. Coffs Harbour had a mass "invasion" of them years ago and they regularly catch them in places like Cairns Harbour, not sure about the size of them there though. Akuna Bay in Coal and Candle Creek (a tributary of Cowan Creek) was once the gun spot, but since the marina was built, for whatever reason/s,(I think maybe the noises of auto-bilge pumps and the like) it doesn't produce consistently like pre-marina days.Still can produce good numbers if there are big schools of Yakka's in there, as they need a large bio-mass of baitfish to feed the big schools. Back in the late 70's we caught them all over the Harbour, right up to Drummoyne and Birkinhead Point. The bigger the bio-mass of the schools, the more they seem to rove around of a night looking for food. The "daytime" and "night-time" bite patterns also can vary from super timid, soft, slow takes by day, to really aggressive, strong, fast takes by night. Sometimes this is reversed, particularly in deep spots like Clifton Gardens and Box Head where by day, Hairtail bites were mostly a firm grab of the bait, followed by a strong movement down and away. Flint and Steel also sees them bite aggressively in the faster moving water. They are genuinely fascinating fish and great fun when around in numbers.
  4. Hi Andrew no good- I had my life-changing health event from wearing cleats and getting impact injury, so is important topic to me. Light-weight shoes with plates attached is important. We used to put a "bar" inside shoe (volley's) to stop plate bolts pulling through, then 2 layers of home-made rubber "innersole" to prevent "bolt-strike" which is similar to plantar fasciitis often suffered by people wearing extreme high heels. After changing to Kay Dee sandals we glued same thin rubber on top of sandal as they can "turn" when jumping, due to slick surface of plastic
  5. Just a warning for anyone wearing higher cut boots- make sure you can get them off easily in the water. Try swimming with them first. If you are washed in they can be like cement shoes- I experienced this once and went back to KD's then Volley's when they wore out. Volley's started being made in China and the quality became too poor to use Like Green Hornet says plates are the go on most surfaces, especially for kicking cabbage in.
  6. Hi GF thanks! -Rock fishing is an adventure regardless of what you catch!
  7. Not long after joining a fishing club- the NSW A.F.A (then meeting at Canterbury) we started fishing the rocks and within a couple of months were invited to go 'down' the Mattens cliff with one of the veteran members of the club- Wally McLuckie, who lived in North Bondi. Wally had been fishing the Mattens for many years and although in his 'veteran' years (his words not mine!) he was still a regular and fished there every week, relying on fresh fish for a couple of meals per week. As reigning Sydney Metro Veteran rock champion (about 7 or so times) he always got enough fish for a few feeds, taking basically what he needed for himself and his wife. Blackfish were his regular target by day on the lower platforms, but come late afternoon he'd get himself a couple of Bream or have a fish for Snapper. Night time excursions were only about Snapper- anything else was "bi-catch"- why would you stay on the rocks of a night for anything else? was his creed. Wally pretty much only used three different baits for his Snapper fishing, Garfish he caught himself, Blackfish gut and Squid that he used when the Cuttlefish die and float around inshore after spawning each August (he'd of course use Cuttlefish if he could get a fresh one, but Squid were more readily available). The Garfish he mainly caught by trolling for them out of his canoe, either around Neilsen Park in Sydney Harbour or down at Batemans Bay where his holiday house was, often catching enough for both a feed and for bait. Squid were usually around at the Mattens just before dawn to pre-sun up and the Blackfish gut was from both his own fish and from everyone else who didn't want to keep theirs. For the Garfish, a set of 4 x 5/0's ganged hooks, with the gut or the Squid, just a single 5/0 or 6/0 Suicide. No lead ever, no matter which of the several Mattens spots he was fishing, the gut, a whole Squid or a big chunk of rarely obtained Cuttlefish, was always heavy enough to throw out on his heavy hand-line. Yep, hand-line! Whether fishing a low platform or high up on a perch, Wally used an old hand-line for his Snapper fishing. It was 45 lb and pretty thick gauge and as we were to find out later, very stretchy. One night, during Sydney's annual rock fishing championships, the sea continued to rise. As the tide got higher, we had to retire to our cave, well away from the sea, as it became too dangerous to fish any of the lower spots. Wally and another guy named Max- of roughly the same vintage as Wally- were quick to realise that of the two high spots, only one would be worth fishing. "Magpie" as we knew it (others called it "Scarecrow") was a ledge that sat about 50 odd feet above the water, it protrudes out about 20 feet from the cliff wall and you could fish straight down into about 40 or so feet of water. Wally and Max went up on Magpie well before dark and were out of our line of sight. To get up to Magpie, which was well above our cave level, first off, you had to climb about 8 feet up a single thick rope, dangling freely off an overhang adjacent the cave. There were two big knots tied, about two feet above each other, that you used for "steps" to squeeze both feet around. Then reach above and take hold of the three steel pegs the rope was tied to and pull yourself up. A short scramble over a couple of bits of fallen ledge and follow the wind-eroded natural archway that got so narrow, you had to face in towards the cliff and shuffle carefully along while leaning in- about a 50 ft drop behind you to the sea. Where there were protruding bits of ledge that blocked you seeing your feet and the "path" narrowed to about 7-8 inches, someone in years past had chiselled a hole and cemented a steel peg in, which you grabbed with your left hand, giving at least something to hold onto, then about 4 feet further along a second peg, just in reach after swapping hands during the shuffle. Once past the second peg, the path widened to about 2 feet, but there were head and chest high protrusions you had to be careful of, bumping one could send you over the edge. I actually fractured my skull (hairline fracture) on one of these protrusions a few years later than this night, but that's another story! On reaching the fishing perch, which was just a wind eroded "cut" in the cliff wall, there was about a fifteen foot long by 6 foot wide space, reasonably flat, with just a little bit of protruding ledge against the cliff wall, which acted as a sort of table to keep your gear on. Care always had to be taken moving around at all on Magpie, as there were uneven bits underfoot, and bits of wall sticking out here and there. Definitely not a place to stumble or trip, and a fall would most likely be fatal, even though you'd land in deep water, there was nowhere below to get out for about 70-80 yards and even then, there was the Mattens only "permanent" wash between Magpie and the lowest ledge called "Bombie", where the water was always pulling outwards from the shore. As Wally and Max (Max wasn't a club member nor fishing the comp) hadn't been sighted for a few hours and we were unable to fish, the rest of the guys and I decided on going up to see how they were doing. We didn't take any fishing gear up, as there's only really enough room for about 3 fisher's on Magpie and no real way of casting anyway with sandstone walls and ceiling all around you. So eight of us climbed up and shuffled along to where Wally and Max were, to see Wally holding tightly to his hand-line and muttering something about "wrong bloody line". When comp fishing, you always want to be catching fish to weigh-in, so after trying first for Snapper with no luck, he'd put the heavy line away and got his "Bream" line out- which was about 20 lb or so- just thin enough to still get a few Bream when it's rough, but not too thin to haul them the 50 feet up to the ledge. A real nice Snapper had taken the Bream line and after playing it out completely, it was lying on the white-water surface straight below. On other nights, when not so rough, Wally had caught other big Snapper from Magpie, put his hand-line spool on his arm, shuffled back to above the permanent wash and skilfully washed the Snapper up on "Bombie" ledge and after climbing down, scurried out and retrieved them between waves. He lost a few, but he got plenty as well and they were nearly always big fish. This was a good one, but as the swell was up and Bombie wash pumping out, there was no chance of getting it that way. We all took turns and had a peek over at it, just lying there on the surface. Must be some way to get it? Everybody that fishes, has moments of "brilliance" where you manage to work out some way to either hook, fight or land (or all three at times!) fish that you really have no "right" to actually get- yet you do. This night, luckily for Wally, I had one of those moments. I looked at Max's fishing bag and already knowing Max carried all his "everywhere" fishing gear with him, asked him if he had a Mullet jag in his bag. He did! A Mullet jag, for those who don't know, was about an 8/0-12/0 treble, often with lead wrapped around the shank, which was used for casting out into the huge schools of migrating Mullet and ripped back into them. It was a popular practice for getting Mullet years ago, but rightly outlawed, as it inflicted dreadful injuries on fish and it was equally dangerous for anyone near the jagger's as the hook was "swiped" violently with sideways strokes of the rod, to snag the hapless Mullet anywhere the hook would land. Max got the old jag out- it was about a 10/0 old bronzed version, with a bit of lead wire wrapped around the shank in a couple of layers. Everyone looked at me, intrigued as to what my plan was- I actually didn't have a plan, just thought that somehow we might be able to "gaff" the Snapper with the jag and haul him up. As for the "gaff" line, we only had Wally's old 45 lb "Snapper" line. I got a big ball sinker from Max and put the 45 lb through it, around the line with the Snapper on it, then back through the ball sinker and tied the treble on. There's a small "V" shaped bit of the ledge on Magpie and club President Jim Clarke along with Frank T sat either side of the V with me at the point of the V and I slid the treble down into the darkness, you wouldn't read about it, without being able to see the Snapper, I jagged it first go. That was the easy part. Jim, Frank and I slowly and painfully started getting the Snapper up towards us. I say painfully, because the old line was cutting into our hands and was really stretchy- you'd get about a six inch lift each before whoever's hand was next, took hold below the one above. Without saying much at all, we slowly got the fish up, closer and closer to the V we sat around. Then after about 3-4 minutes of lifting, the fish was just below us. It hadn't even kicked once during the lift, but we all knew if it touched the V it would no doubt kick, which would have been too painful for we haulers, so decided to get it totally through the V before grabbing it. As it came into view, the jag was clearly visible, but not in the fish as we'd thought- it had hooked the front hook of Wally's two ganged hooks! We carefully got the fish through the V and it was secured! Wally was wrapped! We all marvelled at the fish, before deciding to go back down to the cave for a feed. Wally cut Max's jag and sinker off the heavy line and threw out a whole Gar on gangs (the first Snapper was on a Gar tail and 2 x ganged 3/0's) and we left he and Max behind to keep fishing. The sea was too big to fish again, so we were ready to go early next morning and Wally and Max came down from Magpie. After we'd left them with the Snapper, before we'd even gone out of sight, Wally got another one. This time, on the heavy line and he fought it out, then pulled it straight up by himself, it weighed 3.4 kg and those two fish and a Bream won him yet another Sydney title.
  8. Hi JoshGTV fillet them (easy to get totally boneless fillets) and either put flour on them then bbq or crumb them and deep fry. They are also good steamed, but my favourite is crumbed. Flour, beaten egg, crumbs. If you want thicker coating repeat process a second time, leaving in fridge for about 15 mins between 1st and 2nd process for crumbs to 'set' -No need to remove silver, but if you don't like the taste of it, simply remove when cooked. Deep fry on 190* - don't add fish until oil at that temp. Drain, then place on paper towel to remove any excess oil. If you like sauces like sweet and sour, add to fish pieces on table is my preference. Enjoy!
  9. Well done Swordies! You certainly picked a nice day/night to go. Some great eating there
  10. Great fish! Big as your smile! Hope he ate well
  11. Hi KC lucky man! Pity others don't appreciate Alvey's like we do
  12. Thanks Frank I've been searching for one for Pete for ages and thought -just give him one- search over! Fishraider community is just full of great folks! Thanks for the nice words Regards Waza
  13. Thanks Pete I know it's gone to a fantastic home! All of us old Blackie fishermen deserve one! I actually only used these as Bream reels- I reckon the best Bream reel ever made. Avons/Eagles too hard to beat for Blackies! Glad you like it mate Regards Waza
  14. Went to the Mattens below Dover Heights for a day trip instead of the usual overnight stay. Day trips usually meant far less gear, as you generally targeted only one or two types of fishing. By types, I mean methods such as Blackfish fishing and on this particular day "cunje fishing". Cunje fishing was actually using cunjevoi- those brown-topped "pods" that squirt water if trodden on, found at low tide, growing in clusters on low platforms and in amongst tidal pools, particularly where there are boulders. Inside these pods, there's a red meaty interior that most rock dwelling species love to eat. So cutting some cunje and extracting the meat for bait always provided a mixed bag of fish for the table. The sea was really flat this day, meaning getting onto most of the lowest spots, many just above waterline, which was always good. There were four of us and although I love Blackfish fishing, I spent a few hours with two of the guys- Fraser and Ben, dropping cunje down these rarely accessible spots. The fourth mate- Ross, happily got into the Blackie's while the rest of us did the cunje thing. A good mixed bag could contain Bream, Tarwhine, Leatherjacket, Black Drummer, Blackfish and the odd Groper, plus the usual bunch of unwanted species like Kelpfish (which we've always called Rock Cod), Wrasse and if your bait got too close to the bottom, Wirrah's- known as "Boots". We all used 6 inch drag-less Alvey's, 10-12 ft fibreglass rods and around 10- 12 lb mono, all Tortue "Super-control" brand- the rock-hopper's choice. Rig the same basic set-up for fishing the rocks all around Sydney- a pea sized ball sinker running freely between a swivel and the hook. No leader line required, you just use the same line you've got on your reel, any bust up from a big Drummer, or a bite off from a 'Jacket' and you just reverse the swivel end and you're back in business. That way, you only needed to carry an old film container with a few 01 ball leads, some 2/0 and size 2 suicide hooks (the 2's carried in case you struck a patch of cunje feeding Blackfish) and a couple of swivels in your pocket. Simple but effective fishing. We had a pretty good day, nice mixed bag with plenty of Blackfish, a few Bream and Jackets plus a few others and were cleaning fish well before 4 pm, in order to get back up the cliff well before dark. Fish cleaned and off on the 20 minute walk back towards the climb. To get back to the rope climb area, initially, you moved upwards to a height about 30 odd feet above sea level, well back and away from the sea, then clambered over a few hundred meters of boulders before scampering down to flat walking for about the last 200 yards, then up a little on some stepped ledges. On the trek back, Ben, who was still a junior club member and about 16, made the remark "what would we do if the ropes were ever gone?" - "we'd start by cooking your fish" the light-hearted reply. As we had a "stash" bag of spare gear hidden up high in the boulder section, Fraser and I went up to replenish it, while Ross and Ben continued on. After adding a bit more tackle to the stash bag, Fraser and I rejoined the route, finishing the boulder section, then as we started the last flat section before the final stepped-up bit to the ropes, Ben was running back towards us. "You aren't going to believe it, someone's cut the ropes" he shouted. He was grinning as he got closer, so at first, we thought he was joking. He wasn't, someone had cut the climbing ropes off at the top and they now lay dangling on the cliff wall, still attached to the "half-way" pegs. A few "expletives" uttered and shakes of heads; no way of getting up the highest part of the cliff, we were stuck at the bottom. It was early May, pretty cool air and probably about 45 minutes of light left, so all four of us separated and went searching for firewood- in fact anything that we could burn. We all had the standard rock-hopper's clothing on- T-shirt, sloppy-Joe and shorts, fine for daytime, but not suitable for just sitting on the rocks all night and no protection from the mozzie's either. So a fire made sense. There's always a few things washed up in a spot known as "suicide"- as it's right on water level and we managed a couple of bits of foam surfboard from there, then working the back of the boulder bay provided an armful of various small tree branches, bits of driftwood and the always present fence palings. For some reason, people liked to throw these palings off the top of the cliff, dangerous to those below and a constant job for the council to replace. A couple of bits of plastic to add to the collection and we had enough to burn for probably an hour or so. We gathered back at the bottom of the ropes, with our motley collection of "burnable's" and picked an undercut spot where we could sit safely, just under the cliff and with just a little protection from the wafts of breeze. A fire pile was carefully constructed, but not lit- we decided to wait until we saw signs of rescue or perhaps other fishermen, although, as it was a Sunday evening, we doubted anyone would come down until at least next morning. There was however, the standard instruction left for those at home, which was, if we weren't home, or hadn't rung to say we were on the way home, by one hour after dark, to give the Police a call. If the car/s were still parked at the top, then there must be a problem down below. This was everyone's standard safety precaution, as there were no such things as mobile phones in those days and everyone's family knew the instruction. It was the one "rule" everybody strictly adhered to- no contact meant trouble. So we made ourselves as comfortable as possible and waited. Well within two hours after dark, in the distance, towards South Head a bright searchlight appeared on the water, it was coming from a boat and trained on the cliff walls. Then a minute or two later, there were two lights, coming from separate vessels. They were still a fair way off, so we lit the fire and piled all the plastic and foam on to get it going. Sure enough, the lead vessel spotted the fire and made haste towards us, staying probably 50 yards out from the rocks. They probably took about 4 or 5 minutes to come down to where they could see the figures around the fire and trained the searchlight on us. The Water Police had arrived. We held up the ropes and indicated they'd been cut and thrown over the cliff, while doing the "thumbs up" to let them know we were all OK. They replied in kind with the thumbs up and pointed high above us, before motoring about 100 yards out fro the ledge directly below us. Sure enough, a Rescue Squad officer in white overalls was being lowered down the cliff. He reached us and we explained what had happened. To say he was horrified someone would cut the ropes would be an understatement. He said it was an act of a bastard. Then, a light appeared up at the pulley adjacent the climb and voices yelled out for us to tie the ropes onto the pulley rope, which we did and the ropes were hauled up to be tied back on again. Great! Now we can climb out- or so we thought. The Rescue Squad officer "Steve" thought otherwise. He stated that as they'd been called and he'd come down, it was now an official rescue and he said he didn't deem it safe enough for us -or anyone- to climb up the ropes. Instead, as the sea was so calm, they'd take us out by boat, Steve included. In the mean time, the ropes had been re-tied up top and the pulley was lowering a couple of backpacks down. The light and voices were from two of the Eastern Suburbs Anglers club guys who'd come down for a Bream session, Damian and Wayne, and we watched as Damian climbed down the wall. On reaching the bottom Steve had a quick word with him and gave instructions to tie our gear onto the pulley rope when they'd finished using it, as we were going out by boat and couldn't take it with us. No problem, then we four and Steve climbed right down onto the ledge under the ropes and carefully moved out to the front of the platform. You had to walk in small steps as it was slippery with marine growth, regardless of no water coming over the ledge and we couldn't wear our rock plates to jump onboard the Police launch. We'd already told Steve it was about 40 ft deep straight off the edge and I relayed the same message to the boat crew, they needed to know there was no hidden underwater obstacles. As there was no swell at all, they could bring the big Police boat in nose first and we could jump on. Seemed simple enough. The Water Police decided that due to the slippery nature of the rocks, we should all have a life-jacket on first, so they motored right up to the edge and two officers came to the bow and tossed 5 jackets to us then backed a few meters off the platform while we put the jackets on. Then they threw a single rope with a canvas circular sling at the end and one at a time, we donned the sling and simply hopped over the bow rail onto the front of the launch. The skill of the launch driver kept the bow from actually touching the platform and the tide was low enough for us to actually be just marginally higher than the bow, making for an easy jump. After each jumper landed on deck, the launch would back off a few meters while the sling was removed and the jumper ushered down the hatch to safety. Then repeat the process until all were safe on board. The Water Police were great, they gave us a blanket each, a drink and as two of the boys were smokers, a much appreciated cigarette. On hearing the circumstances of the cut ropes, they said there'd been similar problems along some of the other accessible rock fishing spots over the last few weeks. They also asked if we knew about water depth at other spots going back towards South Head, for future reference, in case they needed to bring the boats in at other spots. We were able to oblige with information on the spots we knew well. The launch arrived back at Watsons Bay wharf and was greeted by both the Rescue Squad who'd packed up from the cliff and the regular Police. After having a yak to all concerned and ringing all our homes to say we were safe, we got a lift back to the car at the cliff top. After farewells to the rescuers, we then went back down the goat track and down to the pulley to retrieve our gear. On reaching the pulley, for reasons unknown to us, the gear hadn't been tied on and the pulley rope tied off down below. So I had to climb down and back up anyway! Exactly one month later, with club mates Dave Gardiner -who operates a charter boat on Lord Howe Island these days- and Paul "Sluggo" Sullivan- now one of Sydney's best commercial fisho's, it happened again. This time however, 3 of the top section ropes had been cut, and one was left tantalisingly still draped down the top part. I actually climbed up to halfway this time and dropped the safety rope over and brought Dave up to halfway, but after discussing whether to risk it or not, decided that whoever'd cut them, could have easily cut through most of the remaining rope and although "ropes-confident", I wasn't going to chance going up on the one. Back to the bottom, firewood gathered again and this time, a helicopter with spotlight arrived first. This time the Rescue Squad arrived before the boat, same rescue officer Steve and same method of leaving, by boat. This time though, we tied our own gear onto the pulley and tied the thrown over ropes on as well, to re-attach ourselves. In the 22 years I fished the Mattens, these two incidents with the ropes being cut, were thankfully the only times I'm aware of this happening there. About a month later, when climbing back up after another trip, there were three youths sitting right where the ropes were tied onto the pegs. Where they were, was a spot you wouldn't just sit at for the sake of it and I was worried climbing the last few yards up. As soon as I got off the ropes, I really put it to them- What were they doing there? Considering climbing down- was the unconvincing reply. Then one of the other guys appeared from below and was just as concerned at their presence. We told them to move away from the ropes and come around to the pulley, where we "told them our concerns" and ordered them up the cliff, as their story just didn't make any sense. Two had ugg-boots on- not climbing suitable. We issued them as strong a warning as necessary in regards to going near the ropes, but also offered them the chance to come down one day- if they truly wanted to. There were no more rope cutting incidents after that day.
  15. Some fine eating there Yowie