During our last week in Broome we were starting to get Caravan Park fever as the peak season was upon us and the town was humming. Much like Margaret River, Broome relies on the tourist population to keep the small businesses running and the backpackers turn up in droves to fill the many hospitality jobs that cannot be filled locally. So we decided to do an overnight camp at James Price Point, which was the proposed location for the now cancelled Browse LNG project.
As we drove down to the beach, just after the high tide, you could not help but be in awe of the contrast between the red cliffs and blue ocean. Believe it or not, fishing was not on my radar here. With no-one else around, we set up a ‘bush’ camp with the sole intention to walk the beaches, light a fire, look at the stars and of course enjoy a bottle of red. With the slide on camper back in Broome, this was indeed a bush camp with us sleeping in a mossie dome and so as the moon came up after 9pm we were able to watch it throughout the night. After returning the next day, however, I immediately started preparing for my last shot at a barra on the Fitzroy River and so by the next morning I was on the road again for a another quick overnighter.
On arrival at spot X I was pleased to see that the nearest camp was at least a hundred metres away and so started getting the fishing gear and throw net ready. As I was doing so my ‘neighbour’, a lovely elderly bloke by the name of George, turned up for a chat. George had never caught a barra in his life, even though he had been travelling around Australia with his wife for thirteen years. George was full of questions, so I took the time to show him how I used the throw net, basic barra rig, discussed free spooling when the fish run, different lure options and much more. After he left, I proceeded to try and put all these skills into action and so slogged through the mud to catch some live bait and then fished most of the afternoon and well into the night for the grand catch of one catfish. Like all good fishermen I was full of excuses and so the strong wind and colder weather justified my dismal performance. The next morning, while again braving the wind and mud, George bobs up from behind the mangroves to ask how I have been going. When I inform him that the barra must have shut down because of the cold weather, he politely informs me that wasn’t the case for the 68cm one he just landed on a strip of mullet bait and a gang hook! I broke into laughter at the irony of it all, which George was well aware of. I had spent almost two hours telling him how to catch a barra, fished hard for about ten hours for nothing and George had ‘broken’ all the rules, never caught a barra in his life and landed a good one on a gang hook with a strip of dead bait. I renamed him King of the River and of course he was just a little chuffed that all the ‘expertise’ in the world did not always produce the desired result. That’s fishing!
To answer last week’s question, an interstate or overseas boat license is only valid for three months once you move to WA on a permanent basis. This week’s question is, ‘What is the minimum age to be the observer on a vessel used for water skiing?”
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