STUDENT/TEACHER CATCH UP
A little bit of history to set the context for this week’s article. When I was teaching a marine studies program for ten years, students had to apply for the course and were interviewed with their parents, which was a little unusual for the times. This wasn’t about academic intelligence, but rather reliability, suitability for marine and outdoor activities and workplace readiness, given the students were with a local business one day every week. One of these students was Ryan Conway, known as ‘Conners’ to me back then. He was a quiet, but reliable kid back, mad keen fisherman and always ready to lend a hand. He did workplacement on a commercial fishing vessel, waking up at 4am to be picked up at 430am by fisherman, Willie Robb. If you weren’t there at 430am, Willie would just drive straight past-Ryan never missed a day. Ryan graduated with all the certificates, license, etc on offer, was fulltime employed with Willie for a few years and is now a Master Class 5 qualified skipper.
So back to the present. Ryan and his girlfriend Ella made contact on facebook to say they were on a north west trip and perhaps we could catch up. I had been scrutinizing the tides while in Kununurra, hoping for a few days of neap tides to coincide with time off work to chase some barramundi. Conners was super keen and when I asked him to meet me at a road turnoff at 630 am, I just knew he would be there early. I had borrowed my mates’ 3.75 dinghy for this trip, as my 4.2m was just a little big to drop off the steep mudbanks. I gave a running commentary via the two way radios during the two hour drive and the big wet had changed the landscape a little, so my truck was only just able to reverse down the gap in the mudbank to launch. Before too long we were happily trolling up and down the Keep River and in the next five hours we had a sensational session with saltwater barramundi. Conners was onto the biggest fish of the day, at 80cm, right on the limit of ‘keepers’, within the first fifteen minutes and he couldn’t hide his excitement. Even though it was his first ever barra, he did all the right things and did not overplay the fish, even when it jumped clear of the water early in the fight. Once safely landed, of course we were high fives, cheering, Ryan’s heart was heaving and he was genuinely ecstatic at such a special fish in a special location. He landed another good fish soon after and then another before we decided he had better swap rods with Ella, because it appeared that one particular lure was doing the damage. As it turned out, this lure accounted for nine of the ten barramundi landed over the two sessions of fishing. This changeover meant Ella was soon on the scoreboard with her first ever barra measuring in at 45cm, lost the next good fish which Conners caught on video as it shook the lure, but then landed a nice 66cm keeper that also did some acrobatics. These guys captured some great action photos and video of the day which are now posted on my facebook site. Great fun, great fishing and great company. Oh, and by the way, the lure was a skin deep 90gram with green top, orange belly and black stripes!
To answer last week’s question is, the first man to circumnavigate Antarctica was Jon Sanders. This week’s question is, “How many rods or lines can a person be in control of when fishing for barramundi?”
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