Black CC

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Black CC last won the day on November 13

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  1. Dave, That was actually my 8th trip to the Monte's with my first being in 2000. One issue I didn't mention in my report was the number of sharks that smashed up our gear. We caught our bag limit very quickly but lost over 300 rigs to sharks. On my first trip almost 20 years ago, being "sharked" was rare and on this trip the rate was about 1 keeper to every 1 lost to a shark. The locals in Exmouth are really struggling with what to do about the problem because it is even worse if you try and fish anywhere near the mainland. Someone needs to find a commercial use for the sharks or the problem is going to get even worse. Cheers, Tony
  2. I recently went on a fishing Charter out of Exmouth in Western Australia to the Montebello Islands. Before we left we had a couple of days with Peak Sportfishing and caught 8 Sailfish across the 2 days. This was the biggest one. At the Islands we managed to catch our bag limit of table fish (20kg of fillets each) pretty quickly with Coral Trout and Red Emperor being the prize fish. There were a lot of Coral Trout that were all around the 4kg mark like the one below. After the table fish box had been ticked we concentrated on casting for GTs and there was no shortage of these around the islands. The picture below was the largest caught. If you haven't been to the Montebello Islands put it on your bucket list.
  3. I just arrived back from my 5th annual crazy kayak trip. The first 2 trips were from Coral Bay to Exmouth in our Hobie Outbacks, the next 2 were in the Fitzroy River in the Kimberley (using Alpacka Rafts) and the 5th and most recent installment was from Steep Point to Turtle Bay up the East Coast of Dirk Hartog Island. All the trips have been in WA as I'm the only one of the 5 crazy kayakers who doesn't live in WA. So I think my Hobie Outback is now probably one of the few kayaks to catch the train from Sydney to Perth and back 3 times. We packed up the 5 kayaks on a trailer and drove from Perth to Denham. After a quiet night in Denham we had a local diver operator drive us (and all the kayaks and equipment) across Shark Bay and drop us near Steep Point early on the morning of Saturday the 8th of June. We don't take a great deal of food so catching fish is a pretty important part of the trip and fortunately we were into the small Black Snapper almost from the first time we put a line in the water, so we didn't go hungry. As we made our way up the East Coast of the island, the fishing just got better and better. We reached Turtle Bay on Tuesday afternoon so it took us 4 days to do the 90km journey. During the Wednesday and Thursday we were completely blessed by the weather gods and had near perfect conditions. This put some of the more serious pelagics on the menu and we managed to catch Spanish Mackerel (1.25M), Shark Mackerel (1.2M), Giant Trevally (1.2M) as well as a few decent Spinner Sharks (2.5M), which are to be avoided if you are not very well prepared. In terms of fish for the table, we caught more than 50 Pink Snapper up to 80cm, about the same number of Black Snapper to 60cm, a nice Malabar cod that went 84cm plus about 10 Rankin Cod to 70cm, so we certainly didn't starve. We kept a small amount of the catch each day for food and everything else went back. The dive boat picked us up from Withnell Bay (10km South of the Northern tip of the island) and took us back to Denham on the afternoon of Friday the 14th of June. The weather had turned nasty on the Friday with a 20 knot Easterly, so launching the kayaks into a 1.5m shore break and then kayaking 10km in a gale in open water was not ideal but it is the only sheltered place for an extraction along that stretch of coast. The logistics of a trip like this are pretty challenging. We have a master list of equipment and everyone has 2 or 3 jobs to do for the week. My jobs are being the rubbish man and preparing all the fish for the table ready to be cooked. We have 2 satellite phones, a full medical kit (one of the guys is a vet) and 2 gas cookers. I have a bunch of photos I am trying to share but they are all seem to be too big, so I will work out how to shrink them and will add them to this post tomorrow. Cheers, Black CC
  4. I have gone South for the last 2 years and this thread motivated me to give North a try yesterday. I bagged out on flatties with a 50cm average in an hour. I have bagged out plenty of times heading south but never that quick and never the consistent size. So north it is for the next few sessions.
  5. I was out yesterday as well and managed to score a few decent flatties but I went South and found them in 40 metres of water. Heading back in with the wind and swell both from the South made for a pretty uncomfortable ride and a few moments where I had to back right off and make sure I didn't go down the waves too quickly. Felt like surfing a couple of times. Blaxland, I have a 5 metre Evolution and I wouldn't have wanted to be out there in anything smaller yesterday once the wind got over 10 knots but there are plenty of better days than yesterday to venture outside and you don't need to go too far to find a feed of Flatties.
  6. Some photos below. It will be a few days before I have the go-pro footage. We found the dead croc just sitting in the water. One of the guys is a vet and he was pretty sure it had just died of old age. It was pretty big for a freshy.
  7. I bought my raft specifically for that trip but we are planning to do more trips in the Kimberley in the future. We imported them from the USA and they are pretty expensive but after dragging them across some very sharp rocks they are worth every cent we paid for them.
  8. I will try and work out how to post the photos during the next couple of days. The go-pro footage going down the rapids is pretty amazing, so I will hopefully be able to include that as well. I have been too lazy to work out how to do it but I'm sure it's not that hard.
  9. A few weeks back I went on my annual crazy kayak trip. Last year 5 of us kayaked 150km from Coral Bay to Exmouth in our Hobie Outbacks and this year we thought we would tackle the fresh water of the Kimberley. We flew to Broome and then chartered a light plane, which took us to the Mornington Wilderness Camp. We then put all out gear in a large all terrain vehicle, which drove for 3 hours before dropping us off at The Traine River, in the King Leopold Rangers. The next morning we inflated our Alpacka Rafts, prepared the fishing gear and took off on our 100km journey back to Mornington. We could only carry a very small amount of food so catching a fish was pretty important and fortunately there were plenty of Sooty Grunter around. We spent 3 days going down the Traine River and there were parts where there was very little water, so dragging the rafts over the very slippery rocks was not great fun. We reached the mouth of the Traine on the 4th morning and this flows into the Hann River. The water flow in the Hann was much greater than we expected and encountering some pretty serious rapids was a challenge. We only spent a few hours going down the Hann as we reached the Fitzroy River in no time, due to the very rapid water flow. We spent the 5th day going down Sir John Gorge. Absolutely amazing part of the world and very challenging to negotiate the water falls (sometimes having to drag the rafts around the larger falls). We caught a couple of nice Barra around the 70cm mark in the gorge, which made for a nice upgrade from curried Sooty Grunter. Downstream from Sir John Gorge there was a very challenging stretch where a lot of trees had fallen across the river and there was a plague of spiders. The spiders are pretty difficult to avoid when their web runs from one side of the river to the other and 10cm above the water. Fortunately none were poisonous but still not much fun pulling them out of your hair, eyes and ears. There were a lot more Barra in the Fitzroy so we ate like kings for the next couple of days. We then headed up the Adcock River and I managed to lose a Barra that would have been over a metre. It took me under a snag and snapped my 80 pound leader. Trying to catch a big Barra in a blow up raft is not an easy task and this big girl towed me around all over the river before snapping me off. We packed up our gear on the morning of the 8th day of our crazy adventure and hiked 6km back to the Mornington Wilderness Camp. We all lost a bit of weight but had the most amazing experience. There were plenty of Fresh Water crocs but fortunately the Salties don't venture that far from the coast. There was a huge amount of planning and preparation that went into this trip which helped ensure there were no injuries, apart from the nasty blisters on my hands.
  10. Yes, lots of sharks but only small ones. On the 3 calm days it was like an aquarium so it was very easy to see all the sharks. It was also the lead up to the full moon, which is when all the turtles lay their eggs on the beach so there were absolutely millions of turtles everywhere and we had to be very careful not to disturb any nests when we were camping.
  11. We paid a guy $100 to drive the car and trailer from Coral Bay to the Learmonth airport. The guy who runs the bus service between Learmonth and Exmouth (who is a good mate of one of the guys) then arranged for someone to drive the car and trailer to his facility in Exmouth. When we arrived at Tantabiddi Creek we called the guy who runs the bus service and he drove the car and trailer to us and called a cab to pick him up. He generously brought 10 cold beers in an esky so we had 2 each, which helped with the pack up process. The kayaks, the car and the trailer are all still in Exmouth at the moment as we are all going on a live about charter to the Montebello Islands from the 5th of November to the 11th of November and the charter company has agreed to take the kayaks out on the charter. So we will have the 5 kayaks 120km out to sea with the plan to try and catch a sailfish or Marlin off the kayak in a couple of weeks. The 2 guys who drove the car up from Perth are then driving it back on Friday the 12th of November. I get to fly back with the rest of the guys. There are 12 on the live aboard charter which is an annual trip we have been doing since 1994.
  12. The food issue is not as extreme as it sounds. You could catch a feed off the beach with your eyes closed in that part of the world. There are some pics but pretty boring photos of cod and smallish Mackerel. There is some pretty amazing go-pro footage of a couple of the rough days but some of the guys involved are not keen on sharing this on social media as they are worried about the reaction from their employers. It comes across as a bit crazy that anyone would be in those conditions but this doesn't take account of the planning and risk management of a trip like this.
  13. We saw a lot of sharks but nothing larger than 2 metres. The sharks are very timid inside the reef so when they see the kayak they usually shoot off pretty quickly. It is important at the end of each day to have a wash in the ocean and then clean the fish rather than the other way around as the sharks arrive within minutes of a fish carcass being thrown in the water. We camped in the sand dunes. The gear was stored inside the hulls of the kayaks. Outside the hulls we had 2 small eskys, 1 to store the fish and 1 to store the small amount of food we took and we had 2 rods per person. We took a very minimalist approach to gear, so it only included a tent, blow up mattress, blow up pillow and 2 skins and 2 shirts each. Then each person had their allocated jobs. My jobs were fish filleting (so I had to take 2 knives and a filleting board), supply of all fishing rigs (lures / soft plastics / trace / jig heads / squid jigs) and I was also the rubbish man, so I was responsible for each camp site being left exactly how it was found by collecting all rubbish. Jobs for the other guys included navigation, cooking, cleaning, communications, safety, disaster recovery, first aid and compliance (there are extensive rules that exist around sanctuary zones) and there was no duplication of gear or roles. I think you probably get the picture that a lot of planning was necessary and there were a lot of planning sessions. 3 of the 5 have been fishing together for 35 years so that helps, as does the diversity of vocations with a Vet surgeon, a mechanical engineer, an insurance expert, a tradesman and a farmer.
  14. I just returned from a crazy mid-life crisis kayak adventure. It started with me packing up my Hobie Outback and driving it to Western Sydney, where it then took the long train ride across to Perth. It was then picked up by 2 of my mates and driven to Learmonth Airport (about 1,100km North of Perth) where myself and 2 other mates were picked up from our flight ready for our crazy adventure. The 5 of us then drove to Coral Bay and launched the 5 kayaks at 3.30pm on Saturday the 8th of October, with high hopes of kayaking 220km North to Exmouth. We packed plenty of water, plenty of red wine but a very limited supply of food, as we were hoping to catch enough fish to sustain ourselves for a week. Keeps us focussed. The wind was blowing 50km an hour from the South, so the following sea meant half the time was spent peddling the kayak and half was spent surfing down the waves and trying hard not to capsize at the bottom of each swell. 3 of us were trolling bibbed lures and it wasn't long before the first Mackeral was in the catch bag. We caught 4 in quick succession and kept the 2 smaller ones for dinner. The 2 who were not fishing were way out in front and the first sign of disaster was when we called them on the radio and there was only one who answered. The other had capsized and his radio had come off its tether. The 2 front runners had also overshot the agreed first camp site and it was way too rough to head back South, so we ended up in 2 separate groups for the first night. We still had radio contact so we knew it was not a serious set-back but the 2 at the front had the cooking equipment and the 3 at the back had the fish so one group had boiled rice for dinner and the other had Spanish Mackerel Sashimi. The second day was even rougher with the wind now SSW at 60km an hour. We were now a group of 5 again and agreed to pack everything away and just concentrate on distance. It was extremely difficult to keep the kayaks from capsizing and just before lunch one of the guys went over. He recovered pretty quickly and after doing 35km we decided to camp for night 2 around mid-afternoon. After drinking a bit too much wine, we had a pretty slow start to day 3 and with the wind still howling, and not having very much food, we knew we needed to catch a fish. After about 20km of no strikes, we were now feeling a bit stupid that we released a couple of decent mackerel on the first day, so when we camped for a 3rd time we were forced to use the last of our food with 4 days left. We had some rice and noodles left but that was it for the final 4 days. Massive relief for the start of day 4, the wind had gone completely. We went straight out to the reef and caught 4 decent cod, 2 honeycomb and 2 spotted cod all on soft plastics. Biggest was around 4kg so we were back in business. We were now well past Ningaloo Station and with a couple of school mackerel in the esky during the afternoon, we had a lovely fish curry and battered cod for dinner. There was no wind for day 5 or day 6 so we caught more fish than we could have eaten in 5 trips so we reached Tantabiddi Creek just before lunch on Friday the 14th of October. The forecast was for more howling gales from the South West and we were pretty concerned about the open ocean going around the North West Cape, so we wimped out and decided to exit at Tantabiddi Creek after doing about 200km in 6 days. A pretty crazy thing for 5 blokes in their 50s to be doing (you want to hear what our wives and kids have to say) but we had a lot of laughs and will be heading up to the Kimberley next year for another epic kayak adventure. Hope this wasn't too long.