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wazatherfisherman
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Billy and Adolf from Coogee Fishos used to drive a tinny to the Mattens and get out at the back of it.Very successful with blackfish ,always seemed to be cleaning a 3 figure catch back at Coogee.Really appreciate the history or your stories Waza,and respect the gutsiness of the climbs.

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2 minutes ago, wizza said:

Billy and Adolf from Coogee Fishos used to drive a tinny to the Mattens and get out at the back of it.Very successful with blackfish ,always seemed to be cleaning a 3 figure catch back at Coogee.Really appreciate the history or your stories Waza,and respect the gutsiness of the climbs.

Hi wizza was Billy an ex commando? If so say g'day from Warren. If it's the same guy I'm thinking of, he had his tinny at North side of Bondi. They used to shoot the break to get into the lake with the boat- there were two different tinny's that did it and they all just did Blackfish. Eventually Bill started climbing the cliff. Glad you are enjoying the old stories and it's great that Jamo posted the movie so people can see what the location is like

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To continue from above- the Mattens is actually an awesome spot for spinning as there are normally bait like Slimy Mackerel, Yellowtail, squid, Pike and most of the year Tailor. Add Frigates and Bonito in season (Bonito likely any time) and occasional  schools of both Gars and Pilchards and you generally had the recipe for big stuff to be in the area. Kingfish were a daily occurrence hence being such a realistic target, Rarely a day went past when they weren't sighted at some stage through the daylight hours, often cruising really slowly along or coming up from the depths to harass a hooked fish.

It was live baiting that became the preferred method though. We normally fished our live bait deep during the daytime- 15 to 25 ft and that resulted in both Kingfish and Mulloway. If after a Bonito, Tailor and Salmon about 15 ft was the depth. Night time live baiting for Mulloway with larger live bait was set about 15 ft and either a cyalume light-stick or in some cases a sealed light source pushed into the cork as a strike indicator. Alan Skelton the great float maker from Bronte also made really large corks that accommodated a tiny "pen-light" torch (they were used at the murks so as to be more visible in the "thicker" water there).

As many of the LBG guys will attest, 8-10 ft under the cork/balloon is common practice at other locations and it was also a well practiced method to send the bait out a fair distance- not so with us, we found most of the action was close in to the rocks, but I guess that is location specific. I reckon if there had been more guys live baiting at the spot instead of just two or three (often I was the only one) and baits sent out further, then a bigger range of Tuna would have been likely, but personally, I loved catching Kings (and eating them too) so was mostly after them.

As for club competitions, in regards to fish, the old system was one point per fish and ten points per kilo, regardless of species and methods. It's easy to see why mainly only three species dominated catches at weigh-ins. Tailor, Trevally and Pigs were concentrated on due to the sheer number of fish that could be landed in quick time, add Kingfish and Tuna for outside fishing and that was pretty much it. The very last comp I fished was the annual Sydney Metro Division Rock Championships and I weighed in 139 fish, but due to rules being broken by others and the general hard work of getting the fish back up the cliff, I decided it was my last go at the comp scene. Those fish were caught between 3 pm Saturday and about 6.45 am Sunday morning and the story is a tale in itself, not the catching, more the "Herculean" effort of getting everything up- we had over 1,000 fish between 9 seniors and 4 juniors.

As for the generation gap, I don't think the Alvey thing had any more to do with it other than that was the most practical and successful tackle to use. For a time, we did use overhead reels etc, but went back to Alvey's due to ease of use  and particularly ease of landing large fish

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Thanks Wazza - as usual a great response, you obviously fished in a great area but clearly also put in countless hours to learn what conditions, baits, tactics, time of the year/day worked for the different species that were available.  Love the story about the Murk floats with the built in pen torch - once the light disappeared what was the signal to set the hook?  Maybe they hooked themselves?     

Did some mental arithmetic on catching 139 fish in 15 hours - that is almost 1 every 6 minutes with no spells for food, sleep or toilet breaks!!  Can't imagine how much bait and burley you must have used.   In addition to simply landing that many fish your group then had the not insignificant task of hauling, literally a tonne of fish, plus gear etc up a 400 foot cliff.  What time of year was the annual comp?  Assume the various teams got huge hauls when conditions were favourable with smaller catches if it was too rough or too flat?   

I have been thinking about how many fish I have seen caught in one session - maybe a few hundred on a charter boat trip around Stewart Island off the South Island of New Zealand (with maybe a dozen folks fishing).  All bottom dwelling Blue Cod - no fight but good fish to eat.  Off the rocks around Dee Why and Curl Curl maybe a few dozen trevally plus a few tailor and bream would have been my best effort - if the pile got too big someone would point out (a) the time required to clean them and (b) that it was time debrief at a pub somewhere

 

DY Jim

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12 minutes ago, Dee Why Jim said:

Thanks Wazza - as usual a great response, you obviously fished in a great area but clearly also put in countless hours to learn what conditions, baits, tactics, time of the year/day worked for the different species that were available.  Love the story about the Murk floats with the built in pen torch - once the light disappeared what was the signal to set the hook?  Maybe they hooked themselves?     

Did some mental arithmetic on catching 139 fish in 15 hours - that is almost 1 every 6 minutes with no spells for food, sleep or toilet breaks!!  Can't imagine how much bait and burley you must have used.   In addition to simply landing that many fish your group then had the not insignificant task of hauling, literally a tonne of fish, plus gear etc up a 400 foot cliff.  What time of year was the annual comp?  Assume the various teams got huge hauls when conditions were favourable with smaller catches if it was too rough or too flat?   

I have been thinking about how many fish I have seen caught in one session - maybe a few hundred on a charter boat trip around Stewart Island off the South Island of New Zealand (with maybe a dozen folks fishing).  All bottom dwelling Blue Cod - no fight but good fish to eat.  Off the rocks around Dee Why and Curl Curl maybe a few dozen trevally plus a few tailor and bream would have been my best effort - if the pile got too big someone would point out (a) the time required to clean them and (b) that it was time debrief at a pub somewhere

 

DY Jim

Hi Jim the pen-light torch bobby cork was fairly common in those years because there was nearly always someone fishing for Mulloway at the murk of a night and cyalume sticks were only new-ish and a one use item. The murks got "murkier" as the day went on and by night time, well, you can imagine the water was pretty (ha) "solid" At Bondi murk it was chocolate brown for about the top 8-10 ft of the water column- pretty hard to see anything under the water through the mess. The big silver fish thrived there and could hunt really successfully in the clouded water. The penlight corks were available at a few different spots, but made by Alan Skelton at Bronte. I still have corks he made for me to put out legal sized Tailor, Luderick and large Pike, baits up to about a pound and a half.

As everyone used Alvey tackle to live bait, if you didn't strike straight away, the inertia necessary to get the spool turning was enough to make the fish drop the bait, as your line was covered in all sorts of horrible stuff like hair, paper and a jellly-like substance that they told me was used to break down the effluent- it resembled those clear jellyfish.. I never live baited there and only fished it a few times with "non climbing" club members- it was just a dreadful place, regardless of the huge amounts of fish there. Definitely not a place to bite your line or give your face a wash!

In cleaner water where we were, if after Mulloway in the late afternoon/night, a three hook snood rig was used instead of the standard two hooks and you would strike immediately when the run started, no problem taking up the slack as the strike is always a "hit and run" at speed and as soon as the line tightened and spool moved you strike. Failing to strike immediately often resulted in the fish dropping the bait. Even when I was using a Penn 4/0 Senator reel (overhead), the large bait, bobby cork and large sinker was a pretty weighty affair at any rate and regardless of minimal start-up inertia, the rig/bait was enough to make the wary Mulloway drop the bait if you didn't strike.

In answer to the comp questions, I'll post the story of the trip in the next couple of days, but we often got a lot of fish, just stopped when we got what we wanted; the comps however, you caught as many as you could. I stopped once for a couple of rolls that night and fell asleep for about 20 minutes, then back into it. That stop, combined with one of my own team taking one of my sacks of fish "by mistake" cost me winning- I ran third by less than 20 points at 1 point per fish 10 points per kilo, we came runner up team (4 per pre-nominated team)

Estuary comps when the Tailor were at Sow and Pigs reef in the harbour saw catches of over 350-400 fish PER MAN! There was a "semi-professional" hand-liner who got 1,006 (he claimed) working with just one other guy, I never liked him, but he probably genuinely caught that many. They were caught a few nights after the annual Estuary Championships, AFCA comps were everybody's "focus" each year. Catching triple figure (into the 300's sometimes) bags of both Tailor and Trevally was the norm for the top ten or so comp teams every comp and it was highly competitive. "Machine-like" Tailor fishing was almost an art form, so "fluid" you had to be. Using 15-20 lb line, 6 or 6+1/2 inch Alvey's, 7-9 ft rods and 3 x 6/0 or 7/0 ganged Limerick hooks you'd go through 3-6 blocks of Pilchards each, sometimes more, plus a couple of kilo's of prawns if the Trevally took over when the Tailor finished. Add burley plus whale-oil etc and it was an expensive trip every night. There was no such thing as "sports-fishing" in most of those comps

The first AFCA comp weigh-in I ever went to was in 1975-76 and the two piles of "free" fish left at Brighton-Le-Sands Fisho's club after the Estuary comp were almost unbelievable- there were about 4,000+ fish that nobody wanted, all Tailor and Trevally. The Brighton club used to give notice to residents that the comp was on and there were stacks of people filling up shopping trolleys, bags etc. I was a junior and was thinking I might win something with my 3 fish! The junior winner caught over 100 fish. After seeing what others caught I was pretty much "hooked" and there was no such thing as conservation/bag limits etc on anyone's mind (including NSW Fisheries)- we just didn't know of the ramifications of the wholesale slaughter- the thinking was always "there'll be more fish- it's an annual thing"

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Wazza, that’s a hectic story! I grew up just down the rod from there, in a house on the cliffs edge. I still fish from my parents backyard sometimes - Best snapper fishing in Sydney! 
Over the years we watched several rescue attempts of fishos, with several Vietnamese immigrants meeting a sad end at the bottom of that cliff. 
Glad you didn’t meet that fate, sounds awfully close to it. 
@JamoDamo I’m curious, how did you find that video?

Tony Cox still fishes around Coogee and is always full of useful advice and information. One of the old-time greats. 
Wazza, it sounds like you two are of the same generation. 
Respect ‚úä...

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2 minutes ago, Yon said:

Wazza, that’s a hectic story! I grew up just down the rod from there, in a house on the cliffs edge. I still fish from my parents backyard sometimes - Best snapper fishing in Sydney! 
Over the years we watched several rescue attempts of fishos, with several Vietnamese immigrants meeting a sad end at the bottom of that cliff. 
Glad you didn’t meet that fate, sounds awfully close to it. 
@JamoDamo I’m curious, how did you find that video?

Tony Cox still fishes around Coogee and is always full of useful advice and information. One of the old-time greats. 
Wazza, it sounds like you two are of the same generation. 
Respect ‚úä...

It just turned up on my recommended, i've been interested in fishing off the rocks for a while. 

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  • 4 months later...

Sorry for 5 month reply delay,just saw note.No ,it was Bill Dihm from coogee fishos who drove behind the Mattens landing in the little lake.Cheers.

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