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Hidden Dangers of the Cliffs


wazatherfisherman
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Fishing really "opened up" for my mates and I after joining a fishing club, the club members all friendly and really knowledgeable. More like "passionate" about fishing would be a better description. Before long, we were fishing all over the place around the Sydney area.

Firstly, it was mostly around Sydney Harbour, where we'd been fishing for quite a few years already, then rock fishing came into the picture, with the prospect of more consistent, better sized fish for shore based trips.

If you fished off the ocean rocks during the dusk or dawn periods, Tailor were pretty much a "given" from most Sydney ledges in the 70's and 80's, add some Bream and Trevally, plus the odd Bonito or Salmon-(the Salmon not as common as they are these days)- and that was the general "low-light" species assortment. Day-time, add the now hated Leatherjacket (by most it seems!) along with Black Drummer (now called Rock Blackfish) and of course Luderick for those "in the know" of catching them. Every now and then, someone would get a Snapper or a "Jewie", but these were more of a chance encounter than a targeted species in those early rock fishing days. Kingfish, although often sighted and occasionally hooked, managed to evade capture for the first couple of years, mainly due to the inexperience of those on the rod and some of the locations being totally unsuitable for landing anything large.

As time went on, after excursions all along the southern Sydney coastline, pretty much from Burning Palms in the south to the infamous "Gap" at Watson's Bay, we eventually became regulars at the "Mattens" below the towering cliffs of Dover Heights.

Climbing 400+ ft cliffs, is definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but guided by early rock fishing mentor Wally McLuckie (great name for a fisherman!) who was a long time member and the veteran champion of the A.F.A club and reigning Sydney Metro Division Veteran Rock Champion of A.F.C.A clubs, we learned both the right way down the hidden "goat track" and the method of climbing the two big rope climbs down the final 160 odd feet. No gear was carried on the last rope climb, which was roughly 115 feet, straight down a vertical wall. Instead, it was all lowered from a permanently mounted pulley, with a lowering rope about as thick as your finger. The climbing ropes were anchored by four solid iron rods, cemented into a tiny, flat spot at the very top, protruding up about a foot and around an inch and a quarter, inch and a half diameter - roughly the same diameter as the ropes. As a comparison, the ropes are a similar size thickness to those used on the ferry's at Circular Quay. Watching people in movies climb cliffs on ultra thin ropes gives the wrong impression, you need thick ropes to hang onto properly and you need two ropes- one in each hand for steady climbing.

Once down at the bottom of the climb, a huge expanse of area was available to fish, encompassing virtually all types of rock fishing waters, from waterline rocks and ledges to high cliff-side perches. A natural "lake", gutters, an island, several bombie's and plenty of deep water "straight-edges" along with 5 platforms completed the location. Sea dependant, there was always plenty of places to fish and most of the time, plenty of fish.

Over the years of fishing the Mattens, with exposure to the great variety of species and the styles of fishing and methods needed in the different locales, experience grew. Instead of just going fishing for whatever we could catch, species would be targeted specifically and mostly, by working to the rough plan of what we were after, the results got better and better. Having said this, you still had to be willing to do different things if your chosen quarry simply weren't on the bite, so the tackle kit had to expand. By expand, I really mean become more specific, as you could only carry a limited amount of things in your backpack, leaving of course, plenty of room for the catch.

Due to the difficulty of the climb, trips quickly became overnight affairs, necessitating a "full kit" of gear. When you spend around 24 or so hours on the rocks, you of course have time to try a variety of methods, necessitating different tackle. Mainly, we carried 3 rods each, all 9-12 ft one piece. In summer though, that could change and mean 4 rods and 4 or 5 reels, plus the associated tackle, food, drink, rock-plates, float tube, keep-nets etc. Even the hooks and sundries in the small  tackle box were limited to only the necessary items, so as to stay within the limits of both weight and space. The pulley rope was dropped from the pulley and carried to the fishing areas as a safety line, in case someone got washed in, but again, had to be carried the last 750 metres around the rocks at the bottom to the spot as well. 

Generally, on these overnight trips, we based our "camp" in a wind eroded cave, set well back and high up above the water. It was also set well back underneath the cliff, and had a nice flat area to both sit and lie down on to give the back a rest. Between fishing sessions, we'd go up to the cave, which of course meant going underneath the base of the cliff wall. Going under would expose you to anything that came over the top of the cliff and vigilance was needed looking up as you ran to the safe underneath wall. This "vigilance" became second nature as time went by, even through the night, when you couldn't see anything coming down from above anyway, you still looked up and bolted the last 6 or 7 yards to the safety of the wall.

All bar two of the different fishing areas, are well out from the base of the vertical cliff wall, so while fishing, you didn't have to worry about falling objects. Falling objects?? Plenty of things come over the top of the cliffs, presenting another danger to add to the list of concerns for the fishers below. It isn't just waves and the swell that can do you in, being hit by a falling object from 400 feet above means serious, if not fatal injury.

Often, clay, dirt and small bits of sandstone would come over silently, dislodged by either wind, water or the cliff dwelling creatures, such as lizards, pigeons or Sulphur Crested cockatoo's- which seem to nest in cracks and crevices. Rats also lived all over the cliffs, but being pretty sure-footed, they seemed to get around easily and silently, without dislodging much of the constantly eroding sandstone.

Every so often, a larger rockfall would take place and it was hard to tell what size rock it had been, due to it pretty much just "disintegrating" on impact. Now and again, a mudslide would occur after heavy rain, bringing down mud, sandstone and cliff-side plants. Mostly, there was no warning, or sound until it crashed onto the ledge directly below. 

Then there were objects that came over from one of the eight or so houses, whose homes backed onto the cliff edge directly above us. A letterbox drop of PLEASE DON'T THROW OBJECTS OVER THE FENCE AS THERE ARE FISHERMEN BELOW put and end to much of that though. 

Most of these homes had swimming pools as well- it is a very exclusive and expensive area- and a few times, a pool seemed to be emptied, straight over the cliff, causing mini "avalanches" of debris, but mainly just water- still annoying and scary if you were needing to get past it below.

The Mattens wasn't the only rock spot to have these problems, "The Block" accessed below Eastern Avenue and Rosa Gully just a bit further north, had houses above some of the main fishing ledges and things often came over there also.

 The "Lighthouse" platform, further along towards South Head, had a more sinister problem though. Down the bottom of the cliff, well back from the water, were stacks of bags of dead dogs and cats- I mean stacks, we saw about twenty broken open bags, in various states of decay, suggesting that it was a regular dumping ground for them. There were a few different theories, from council "disposal" to a an unethical vet. First time I was there, we reported it to the Police on the way back.

Worse even still was fishing at the infamous "Gap". There are two completely separate platforms at the Gap. The more northerly one was easily accessed, by just hopping over the fence back up in the corner above the boulders and climbing down a short, permanently fixed iron ladder of about 10 or 12 feet, then scrambling a short distance around to the ledge. This ledge sits out a bit from the cliff and not much other than people's take away food packaging and the odd drink bottle came over.

The second however, sat almost directly below a much higher part of the cliff, only accessible via a short rope ladder that was dropped through a hole in a ledge, only about 20 odd feet down below the cliff top. Then you walked and climbed down a fairly accessible route to this larger of the two ledges. I personally only fished each spot a couple of times and only rated them as average spots, compared to others along the South Head to Bondi stretch of coast. A few of the club guys that didn't fancy the real big climbs, fished there a bit though, mainly at the rope ladder spot (Big Gap it was known as) and they had a few stories of things coming over. 

One night on a weekend, three of the club guys were fishing Big Gap on a really dark, moonless night and had three separate "incidents"- firstly the empty coin box of an old pay phone came over, smashing almost on their gear. About half an hour or so later, the metal inner bin of one of the old style council garbage bins came down and frightened the wits out of them, fishing only about 30 yards away from the impact zone. They decided to get out of there after that, but before they'd finished packing up, a pushbike was also thrown from the top, narrowly missing them as they were just about to leave. Considering it's about 130 feet down to the ledge, it also made a heck of a crash on hitting the bottom.

As well as these incidents from the other locations, there were other unsavoury episodes at the Mattens, such as youths throwing stones at us from the very top of the cliff, stones bigger than eggs, that would certainly kill you from over 400 feet above. These weren't sandstone, but river stones and had been purposely taken there to be thrown at the fishers below. One trip, there were about seven of us staying put under the cliff wall, as two throwers rained rocks down from above. They couldn't see us once we got underneath the cliff base, but kept on bombing us by using a third kid as a "spotter", who was motioning to the throwers from a better vantage point about a hundred yards further north, which allowed a view of where we were sheltering. Steve Davies, who owned South Sydney Bait and Tackle and his fishing buddy Tony Clibborn, both from South Sydney club, ended up making a dash around the bottom without their gear, in an attempt to catch the mongrels, but by the time they got about halfway up the goat track, they were spotted and the bombers bolted.

Same three youths (they were easy to spot as one had really long white hair) also liked setting fire to the small amount of cliff-side vegetation and the fire brigade came more than once while we were watching, fishing from our front ledge, through summer. Problem, other than the obvious fire, was that this vegetation- small shrubs and plants- helped to keep the cliff-side intact. Destroying the plants and their root systems, had a big effect on soil erosion up near the cliff top. After any significant rain, less root systems meant more mud-slides and rock falls.

These youths also started stealing or destroying climbing gear that was left in place and became a dangerous trio. Their mindless vandalism and rock throwing was reported to Police, however, at that stage no action was taken.

The rain, also had a significant affect on climbing the cliff, other than the more slippery rock surfaces, the ground that wasn't rock was either really sandy coarse soil or (mostly) clay, which turned to thick sticky mud in any large downpour. The ropes too, would have a steady stream of slippery, clay "juice" running down them, then down your arms and saturating your clothes, luckily though, the old "Sisal" ropes or the quality ropes sometimes sourced from the fire brigade guys (who fished it sometimes) held up well to water on them and were still OK to climb on. Plenty of trips in summer, a southerly would blow up overnight and you'd be climbing out in pouring rain.

Other hazards were birds nesting in the crevices adjacent the climb, I had a pigeon fly out of a crack, it went between me and the cliff while I was stretched on the ropes going up and luckily for me I managed to "rope-burn-slide" down a few feet, rather than fall about 60 or 70 feet to the bottom. It just startled me and got me off guard. 

That happened the same day as a Blue Tongue lizard fell from the cliff, landing between myself and mate Ross, as we walked back out to fish after having a lunch break under the edge. On this occasion, we suspected it had been hit with a shovel or similar, and flicked out from above, as we were some 15 or so yards out from the cliff wall- a bit far for just a straight fall. Imagine having that engraved on your tombstone- "Here lies Waza, killed by a Blue Tongue lizard"- just doesn't seem right!

Anyway, for those fishing under cliffs or wanting to, consider some of these incidents when planning a trip down.

 

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Well done Waza. I've worn myself out reading your "cliff hanging" story". Will need a nap now.

I bet you never forgot the toilet roll on the 24 hour trips. The fishing would have been great though with such a diversity of species available on any given day.

Cheers,  bn

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Another great read Waza, takes me back to my days fishing under the cliffs around Currarong. We never had problems with objects being thrown at us but vandalism to our cars and milked petrol tanks was common.

I remember climbing out in the rain wearing wet weather gear. having your hands above your head most of the time, the water would run down inside your sleeves and soak your entire body. One trip in winter, I came close to hypothermia I reckon. Took me hours to thaw out in front of the fire.

@rickmarlin62we had a similar incident once with a landcruiser, obviously stolen. While livebaiting for the next couple of months we had some pretty comfy seats.

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6 hours ago, big Neil said:

Well done Waza. I've worn myself out reading your "cliff hanging" story". Will need a nap now.

I bet you never forgot the toilet roll on the 24 hour trips. The fishing would have been great though with such a diversity of species available on any given day.

Cheers,  bn

Hi Neil we had a cache of spare stuff in an old vinyl Adidas bag, stashed in the boulder bay you had to climb over to get to the most fished south end. The rats got in by eating their way through and only ruined the toilet paper. We thought they were eating it but later discovered it in nests more than 200 meters away.

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2 hours ago, Green Hornet said:

Another great read Waza, takes me back to my days fishing under the cliffs around Currarong. We never had problems with objects being thrown at us but vandalism to our cars and milked petrol tanks was common.

I remember climbing out in the rain wearing wet weather gear. having your hands above your head most of the time, the water would run down inside your sleeves and soak your entire body. One trip in winter, I came close to hypothermia I reckon. Took me hours to thaw out in front of the fire.

@rickmarlin62we had a similar incident once with a landcruiser, obviously stolen. While livebaiting for the next couple of months we had some pretty comfy seats.

Hi Pete we only carried those really lightweight old nylon type raincoats due to the bulk/weight factor. The very last Sydney Rock championships we fished, it absolutely teemed on the Sunday morning and we had to get about 850 fish plus gear up the cliff, then drive to St George and Sutherland Shire Anglers club for the weigh-in- about 40 minutes drive away. It was in May and really cold.

Due to being held up by rival Easts anglers at the one pulley, we were running out of time and had to leave all the rods and gear along the top section of the cliff and only make the dash with the sacks of fish, before returning in now torrential rain, freezing cold and exhausted to then collect the gear.

It was a "super-human" effort, but 10 of the 11 of us needed the next week off work and school.

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10 minutes ago, wazatherfisherman said:

Hi Pete we only carried those really lightweight old nylon type raincoats due to the bulk/weight factor. The very last Sydney Rock championships we fished, it absolutely teemed on the Sunday morning and we had to get about 850 fish plus gear up the cliff, then drive to St George and Sutherland Shire Anglers club for the weigh-in- about 40 minutes drive away. It was in May and really cold.

Due to being held up by rival Easts anglers at the one pulley, we were running out of time and had to leave all the rods and gear along the top section of the cliff and only make the dash with the sacks of fish, before returning in now torrential rain, freezing cold and exhausted to then collect the gear.

It was a "super-human" effort, but 10 of the 11 of us needed the next week off work and school.

Waza, the things we do for fishing, hey? Nothing is ever too much effort.

Where you mentioned packing your backpack carefully made me think how I had to do the same and rarely had room for a bulky camera back then. Just imagine the pics we could've taken if it was as simple as pulling a phone out of your top pocket like today!

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56 minutes ago, Green Hornet said:

Waza, the things we do for fishing, hey? Nothing is ever too much effort.

Where you mentioned packing your backpack carefully made me think how I had to do the same and rarely had room for a bulky camera back then. Just imagine the pics we could've taken if it was as simple as pulling a phone out of your top pocket like today!

Hi Pete, never took the camera down the cliff, any photo's I've got from actually at the bottom were taken by others. Sadly, most of my photo's I have of fish were taken in my backyard! Not exactly very interesting!

You're right about what we could have shot though, amazing sights and "one- of" occurrence's. That rock comp was it for me

Edited by wazatherfisherman
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8 hours ago, big Neil said:

Well done Waza. I've worn myself out reading your "cliff hanging" story". Will need a nap now.

I bet you never forgot the toilet roll on the 24 hour trips. The fishing would have been great though with such a diversity of species available on any given day.

Cheers,  bn

Hi Neil sorry I missed replying- the fishing was great and you could successfully target heaps of different species during one trip and expect results on what you were after- well mostly. 

After a while though, Kingfish and Black Drummer were the pick of the big stuff to chase, Bream and Luderick the small's.

Edited by wazatherfisherman
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Another good read Waza, closest thing that happened to me was on dusk just setting up at the balconies near bundeena a 21/2 meter branch crash landed less than a meter from us obviously for a fire, after yelling a few choice words at the idiots up at the top of the cliff they didn’t show & we ended up having a nice fire going for the evening 

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1 hour ago, 61 crusher said:

Another good read Waza, closest thing that happened to me was on dusk just setting up at the balconies near bundeena a 21/2 meter branch crash landed less than a meter from us obviously for a fire, after yelling a few choice words at the idiots up at the top of the cliff they didn’t show & we ended up having a nice fire going for the evening 

Hi Dieter lucky that didn't land on you or your gear, that stuff can kill you. What I didn't mention in the story was the amount of fence palings that came over, all removed from the cliff-side fence, which was about chest high. Made long lasting firewood. There was usually enough stuff around the back of the boulder bay we had to pass for a small cooking fire

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  • 5 months later...

Hey Waza, thanks for your stories from the Sydney Stones. It brought back a whole world I thought long forgotten.

I've been searching on line for anyone who fished the rocks off Sydney in the late 70's and early 80's.                                      I fished the harbour as a kid, for jackets, bream, Dory and the occasional slimy that came through. We did all the wharfs and 'private' jetties. Then when I was about 13 I finally made it over the headland at South Head. What I saw below totally changed my fishing life. I saw guys, knee deep in wash, right on the waters edge, pulling in fish after fish, Travelly, Bream , Blackfish. I could tell right away these guys were 'pro's' and i knew i wanted to be part of that action.

Over the next few years I got to know all of those blokes I saw there on that first day and they took me under their wing.     I fished beside them for weeks, my cabbage baits looking exactly the same as theirs, or so I thought and I still never got a down. It took me months to get to their standard, to land fish and know what I was doing.

By the age of 16, when other mates were all about partying and going out, they were picking me up outside my Grandmothers place at 4.00am on a Sunday morning. We fished all those platforms, South Head (alot), The Gap, Rosa, Jacobs Ladder, The Murk (occasionally) and Waverly Cemetery. The Mattens I climbed only once, without gear, to check it out. It was hairy alright, what I remember was the variety of fishing options, gutters, deep drop offs and washes. I fished with a few blokes from the Clubs, both South and East and I'd heard all the stories. I remember them telling me after one comp they erected a makeshift pully system over the top of the cliff and connected the rope to a car and hauled the fish up that way.

They left a deep impact on me those cliffs and I think about them often. There was another spot just South of The Gap's two platforms, I think it was called 'Kazies", you needed your own rope ladder on the last overhang. Platform looked protected from the South, deep water, good for live baiting. I never got down and didn't see many blokes fish it. Macquarie Lighthouse I think I only ever saw fished once. You could see it from South Head out "the front", it always looked beyond the scope of mortal humans. I'm convinced the guys I saw fishing it that day had proper rock climbing gear.

Thanks mate for bringing back the memories..

 

Edited by Phil Remington
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3 hours ago, Phil Remington said:

Hey Waza, thanks for your stories from the Sydney Stones. It brought back a whole world I thought long forgotten.

I've been searching on line for anyone who fished the rocks off Sydney in the late 70's and early 80's.                                      I fished the harbour as a kid, for jackets, bream, Dory and the occasional slimy that came through. We did all the wharfs and 'private' jetties. Then when I was about 13 I finally made it over the headland at South Head. What I saw below totally changed my fishing life. I saw guys, knee deep in wash, right on the waters edge, pulling in fish after fish, Travelly, Bream , Blackfish. I could tell right away these guys were 'pro's' and i knew i wanted to be part of that action.

Over the next few years I got to know all of those blokes I saw there on that first day and they took me under their wing.     I fished beside them for weeks, my cabbage baits looking exactly the same as theirs, or so I thought and I still never got a down. It took me months to get to their standard, to land fish and know what I was doing.

By the age of 16, when other mates were all about partying and going out, they were picking me up outside my Grandmothers place at 4.00am on a Sunday morning. We fished all those platforms, South Head (alot), The Gap, Rosa, Jacobs Ladder, The Murk (occasionally) and Waverly Cemetery. The Mattens I climbed only once, without gear, to check it out. It was hairy alright, what I remember was the variety of fishing options, gutters, deep drop offs and washes. I fished with a few blokes from the Clubs, both South and East and I'd heard all the stories. I remember them telling me after one comp they erected a makeshift pully system over the top of the cliff and connected the rope to a car and hauled the fish up that way.

They left a deep impact on me those cliffs and I think about them often. There was another spot just South of The Gap's two platforms, I think it was called 'Kazies", you needed your own rope ladder on the last overhang. Platform looked protected from the South, deep water, good for live baiting. I never got down and didn't see many blokes fish it. Macquarie Lighthouse I think I only ever saw fished once. You could see it from South Head out "the front", it always looked beyond the scope of mortal humans. I'm convinced the guys I saw fishing it that day had proper rock climbing gear.

Thanks mate for bringing back the memories..

 

Hi Phil welcome to the site, glad you enjoyed the stories, formed a great part of my younger life. I only fished the lighthouse twice and helped the spot's creators- Billy Brown and Dave Carter- along with Jim Clarke put in two huge ladders that replaced a chain ladder they'd put in initially (it was the hairiest, scariest thing I ever climbed). All of the climbing gear was left in a pillbox that went right into the cliff about 1/4 of the way down, but it wasn't safety climbing gear, just a few short ropes and a small ladder. I wasn't scared of heights/climbing but that swinging chain ladder we replaced was bloody terrifying!

I know about the "car-pulley" incident, there were plenty of calls for disqualification as cars were not permitted onto parkland for that purpose and apparently it broke a known rule, but it was (in my opinion) just jealousy from other competitors who were unable/unwilling to do the cliffs.

Sounds like we did similar activities when young as I fished the harbour for Blackies, Dory etc, but "home base" was Taronga Zoo wharf and White Rock along the east side of Bradleys Head.

Turned "professional" after making the Mattens home base when I was about 17, it was a great fun life full of adventure and countless fish. Sadly I have chronic cellulitis now and am classified as disabled, so rarely get fishing any more and Raider is my fishing outlet nowadays- great community here with stacks of really great people. 

Happy to answer any questions related to fishing or the "old days" when life was just a constant fishing adventure!

Hope to hear more from you and happy fishing.

Regards Waza

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Thanks Waza, nice to meet a like minded fisho. 

Great to know also there's someone else out there who knows what it is to have those cliffs behind you, to watch the sun come up over the water.  The Lighthouse sounds as hectic as it looked,  I wonder if anyone has fished it since.? Also the Mattens, I've moved up the Northern Rivers, (none of that Hawkesbury Sandstone up here!), do people still fish it, or any of the other platforms??

Most of the people I see on the stones up here look like they're more likely to be washed off than know a call of "water".

Sorry to hear your mobility isn't the greatest, hope you still get a line in the water every now and then. I'm mainly a beach and kayak guy these days, heading off shore in the kayak occasionally, though all the attacks in the past while have me a little spooked.

I think I remember Jim Clarke, did he fish The Gap lots.?

Cheers

Phil

 

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2 hours ago, Phil Remington said:

Thanks Waza, nice to meet a like minded fisho. 

Great to know also there's someone else out there who knows what it is to have those cliffs behind you, to watch the sun come up over the water.  The Lighthouse sounds as hectic as it looked,  I wonder if anyone has fished it since.? Also the Mattens, I've moved up the Northern Rivers, (none of that Hawkesbury Sandstone up here!), do people still fish it, or any of the other platforms??

Most of the people I see on the stones up here look like they're more likely to be washed off than know a call of "water".

Sorry to hear your mobility isn't the greatest, hope you still get a line in the water every now and then. I'm mainly a beach and kayak guy these days, heading off shore in the kayak occasionally, though all the attacks in the past while have me a little spooked.

I think I remember Jim Clarke, did he fish The Gap lots.?

Cheers

Phil

 

Hi again Phil- the Mattens still gets fished, not sure about the lighthouse. Jim Clarke fished the big Gap a fair few times, the spot that you put the rope ladder down through the hole in the ledge up the top. Fished a lot of different spots with Jim, mostly involved a fair climb in to wherever it was. There is an alternative climb at the Mattens but one slip anywhere on it and it's all over, all the regulars knew about it but I went up it one afternoon with the guys and we decided it was an "up" route only.

The call of "WATER" was quickly learned and sent everyone running no matter necessary or not. We all called it, no worry if it wasn't a big one- better safe than sorry and as we fished the lowest ledges on flat nights in the dark for Bream whenever we could, it was often called. The night time Bream are a different class of fish completely, in my opinion they are more of a nocturnal feeder when they get over the 1.5 kg mark.

A mate down here sold his kayak after a Bull shark incident at the mouth of Hen and Chicken Bay up Parramatta River so I can understand your shark concerns!

Anyway, nice chatting and happy fishing.

Waza

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even being up on higher ledges where you think you are safe doesn't always work. Remember fishing the Gutter at Little Bay one night with a group of mates and curled up on the higher ledges above the spot and still got rather wet with a large swell that snuck up on us. So quiet all night except for that one lone wolf...

Jim

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Hi Waza - thanks for the great read.  Put up a picture of the cliffs near some my old spots north of the harbour.  Nothing like the 400 ft cliffs you climbed down.  In fact in our case we just walked around from the beach - a bit of a hike but after doing it a hundred times or so you knew how to hop over and around the different boulders and narrow spots.  There were a couple of dodgy ladder arrangements near where the photos was taken but never saw anyone using them.   Had a few instances of kids chucking rocks down at us - tried yelling at them but obviously they knew we were at an enormous strategic disadvantage.  Best strategy was to wait for them to get bored.  Enjoy looking back on those early morning trips - rigging up just before first light and getting the first cast of the day out into the darkness.  Not as dedicated as you (plus an easier walk out) - we did the low light species, ganged hooks for tailor and occasionally a snapper first then a few bream and trevally.  Back home for a fish breakfast and whatever else the day had in store.  Not a care in the world and a lifetime still in front of us!!

Jim

 

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2 hours ago, Dee Why Jim said:

Hi Waza - thanks for the great read.  Put up a picture of the cliffs near some my old spots north of the harbour.  Nothing like the 400 ft cliffs you climbed down.  In fact in our case we just walked around from the beach - a bit of a hike but after doing it a hundred times or so you knew how to hop over and around the different boulders and narrow spots.  There were a couple of dodgy ladder arrangements near where the photos was taken but never saw anyone using them.   Had a few instances of kids chucking rocks down at us - tried yelling at them but obviously they knew we were at an enormous strategic disadvantage.  Best strategy was to wait for them to get bored.  Enjoy looking back on those early morning trips - rigging up just before first light and getting the first cast of the day out into the darkness.  Not as dedicated as you (plus an easier walk out) - we did the low light species, ganged hooks for tailor and occasionally a snapper first then a few bream and trevally.  Back home for a fish breakfast and whatever else the day had in store.  Not a care in the world and a lifetime still in front of us!!

Jim

 

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Hi Jim hope you're well, great to see Vic coming out of lockdown.  Nice clear picture, nothing beat a dawn session on the rocks.

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Brilliant article a Wazza. Much wisdom here (from experience).

I well remember my 1st climb down Whale beach cliffs to ‚ÄúThe Ovens‚ÄĚ and having an Italian gentleman point to the cliffs and him gesturing that he was leaving and going up. I smiled and gave him the thumbs up and him gesturing 3 or 4 more times - responded similarly, whereupon he shook his head and left. I watched him climb up the rope and then the rope follow him upūüėěūüėě. I didn‚Äôt realise I had to bring my own rope. The really scary thing was, that at the time it was one of my first dates with a really impressive girl - she later married me - a real ‚Äúkeeper‚ÄĚ. I still do t know how we made it up without a rope.

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3 hours ago, Pickles said:

Brilliant article a Wazza. Much wisdom here (from experience).

I well remember my 1st climb down Whale beach cliffs to ‚ÄúThe Ovens‚ÄĚ and having an Italian gentleman point to the cliffs and him gesturing that he was leaving and going up. I smiled and gave him the thumbs up and him gesturing 3 or 4 more times - responded similarly, whereupon he shook his head and left. I watched him climb up the rope and then the rope follow him upūüėěūüėě. I didn‚Äôt realise I had to bring my own rope. The really scary thing was, that at the time it was one of my first dates with a really impressive girl - she later married me - a real ‚Äúkeeper‚ÄĚ. I still do t know how we made it up without a rope.

Hi Pickles and thanks! The second time I went to the Ovens there was still a vacant block on Rayner Rd and you went down that way to the high track that goes above South Whale platform. 

There was a group of four young blokes that had come from somewhere south of the vacant block and one of them had a plaster cast on his leg that went above his knee! I explained that the last bit into the Ovens was about 20 ft down a rope, but he said he was a local and he'd be fine climbing down- I told him he was mad to even attempt it, but he got down. Madness! If by any chance he'd gone in he would have sunk like a stone.

All that for nothing more than a heap of those giant Long Toms that swallow your hard earned live Yakka's. Crazy stuff

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