There has been a bit of media attention in the newspapers lately about the downturn in the Pilbara, with specific mention made of Karratha and Port Hedland. This is our second year spending time in both these places and we are yet to see any serious signs of withering towns. Sure, the boom times of years gone by are no longer evident, but if they were still with us, then someone would be complaining that the towns do not have the infrastructure to cope. Yes, there are residential buildings not accommodated, but according to preliminary regional population growth statistics, the local population of over 26,000 has remained stable since 2014. Funds from the big mining companies and Royalties for Regions Grants means the sporting, recreational, cultural and boating facilities are second to none and why shouldn’t they be given that the emphasis is now on permanent workers with families, as opposed to the previously high percentage of fly in fly out workers. We met a couple in their 50’s last year who had just arrived in Karratha from Victoria in their motorhome. Within two weeks of arriving they had both picked up fulltime jobs, one as a manager of the local supermarket and the other as a trade assistant. We caught up again this visit and they are now renting an apartment, have both been promoted, the motorhome is in storage and they are loving the region.
If you are a keen surfer, then for sure you may not be inclined to live permanently up here, but for anyone keen on boating, this place is paradise. There are numerous creeks, bays, islands and open ocean to explore and the mixed bag limit of five fish per person is a little more generous than down south. Having options is great, especially if you have a day off, as there is always somewhere you can go with relative safety. So I have just finished planning tomorrow’s trip, with a strong north easter being the determining factor. This eliminates any ocean or island exploration, so the creeks around Cleaverville are on my radar as the wind will disperse those much loved sand flies. With a high tide due at 11am, I am hoping to get on the water by 9am with the intention of setting mud crab nets and then scanning the creeks with the side sonar for signs of any barra. Soft plastics have come into their own over the years, so I have purchased a collection of 80mm-100mm squidgies for tomorrow’s session, with the aim to trying something different. Once the fish, if any, are located on the sounder, rather than trolling past all day with hard body lures, or waiting for ages with a live bait, I intend to cast right into the strike zone and twitch, flick and even noodle to entice some action. Noodling is where you use the current or drift to place your cast and with a combination of slow retrieve and slightly flicking the soft plastic up, you can suspend it in the strike zone for quite a few seconds, making it look wounded. Sounds great in theory, so will let you know if anything eventuates next week.
To answer last week’s question, old vehicle and boat lead acid batteries must not be disposed of with household waste as they emit toxins in the environment, if not recycled properly. This week’s question is ‘Where is the North West Gas Shelf Project situated?’
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