There was a flurry of activity at the boat ramps last week as fishos made the most of the last few days of the demersal fishing season. Fortunately, I had a few days off also and better still, my mate Jungle Jim Nilsson had a brand spanking new 6.1m Bar Crusher, named ‘Jungle Free’, that needed the Suzuki 140hp motor to be run in. In my mind though, given how bright and sparkling it all looked, what it really needed, was some blood on the deck.
Earlier this year we decided to look for some new ground and the tactic had paid off, landing two Dhuies over 25lb. We had only hit the spot once since, with the same result, so it was worth seeing if the fish were around at a different time of the year. Now for all the years I skippered a similar boat, the deckie was always the first with a line over the side. So of course, me now being the deckie, I considered it only fair that this ritual would be continued, especially as I had already made an extra effort to look after the skipper on the day. This included having hot coffee immediately ready as he pulled into the driveway at 5:45am, supplying squid for bait and I am sure many other really valuable contributions that just won’t come to mind at the moment. So imagine my surprise and utter indignation as Jungle literally shouldered me out of the way when we pulled up on the spot. I bit my tongue given it was his boat, but it was in the back of my mind for later use if necessary. Unfortunately, it was needed sooner rather than later, because when my line hit the bottom I had to bring it straight back up as Jungle was onto a good fish. He worked his light gear perfectly, not overplaying the fish and as it turned out just as well. When the 32lb Dhufish was landed, one snelled hook had rubbed off and was imbedded in the gill, while the other held in the corner of the mouth. When the fish was landed, I briefly cast aside my indignation and we high fived as Jungle Free had been appropriately christened. Of course I expertly netted the fish, Iki Jimi spiked it, bled it both sides, gilled and gutted it in heaving seas before placing it in the ice slurry. However, during this process, I did make sure that sufficient amounts of blood and offal were amply applied to remote corners of the vessel!
Naturally the fishing immediately went quiet as I landed a shark and Gurnard for my trouble. It was soon time to move on and Jungle needed more hours on the motor, so we ventured out further, using the opportunity to play with the electronics, trim tabs and all the other ‘tweeters and woofers’ on the boat. With a two metre sea and 10-15 knot wind on our beam, the Bar Crusher handled the conditions extremely well. The next hour was like fishing up north as we landed sixteen pink snapper and the largest skippy I had ever seen. Great day out, but the moral to the story was make sure you are rigged up, baited up, rod at the ready and wear shoulder pads whenever you are the deckie.
To answer last week’s question is, if you see 6 quick flashes followed by 1 long white flash on a buoy, safe water is south of the marker. This week’s question is, ‘What does an orange flashing light on the water indicate?’
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