GUESS WE JUST GOT LUCKY EH!
Usually I am working in the northwest from early April, but this year not until early July, so it has been great to experience a few decent storms, check the rain gauge as the water tank fills up and watch the greening of otherwise very dry vegetation. During last week’s storms, while doing a course in Busselton, the word was out that pink snapper up to 14 kg had been landed off the Busselton Jetty, not at night as many might expect, but during the middle of the day on a low tide change. I saw the photographic evidence on a client’s phone and these three snapper were worthy of any boat fishing expedition, although the guys did use heavy hand lines to avoid losing the fish to the jetty pylons. Some research on fishing sites later revealed that the pinkies were indeed running hot in shallow water in Geographe Bay, less than 2km off the coastline, with squid and blue swimmer crabs also on the move.
With this in mind and given I had not caught up with my Dunsborough mate for a while, I organised a catch up last week with the possibility of a crabbing session, weather permitting. On arrival, he was full of pessimism, because in his words you only catch crabs in poor weather with a howling westerly. On this particular day it was easterly and the sun was shining, but I insisted we set off anyway. Given I spend a lot of time working at boat ramps, it was great to be ‘incognito’, just like any other punter, having a day out. Well, it seems like a lot of punters don’t work in Dunsborough, because the place was humming. The first burly, bearded bloke we meet sarcastically announces that this is actually his boat ramp, anything caught off or near it has his name on it and could we please keep our distance when he was casting. And so the good natured Aussie banter began! I immediately retorted that he indeed looked like he would need the whole jetty and that with the 10/0 ganged rig and whole parrot fish bait he was using, he might land a white pointer. He won this first skirmish by replying that the previous evening, with the same rig/bait, he had landed a 10kg pinkie. OK, score one nil, but I wasn’t giving in that easily. During our time there, about eight boats launched and retrieved and we pulled our crabs nets each time, adopting the clearly signposted rule of boating having priority over fishing. When old mate kept casting, I asked him if he could read signs yet and also that I knew a bloke who did skipper’s tickets down this way who hated fishos who kept their lines in the water while boats came and went. He replied that this bloke must a crap teacher who can’t drive a boat, because he had been doing it for years and not ever tangled his line in a boat prop. With no admission from me who the teacher was and the score now two nil, it was time to back off a bit. But old mate was on a roll now, so then started admonishing us because any decent fisho knew you only caught crabs in poor weather with howling westerlies. My mate smiled at me as if to say, ‘told you so’, but in the next thirty minutes, with eight large crabs landed, old mate went mysteriously quiet, so as I walked back with bucket in hand, I couldn’t help but proclaim that we must have just got lucky eh!