Well at least rooms in the cheap dongas - so I set up the mozzie net beside the boat and put the camp bed under it to then sleep under the stars.
WHAT A DISPLAY OF GRANDEUR the nighttime stars are.
I so had high expectations for the next day!!!
And went to sleep dreaming of screaming reels and tight lines rooster tailing across the calm water's surface - Yeeehhaaahhh!!!!
But I told you the tides were bad for flats fishing in my last blog. But I knew this before I drove to Bynoe. I had some stuff to do on Saturday at Dundee and so why go all that way without taking the boat and taking the chance for some fly fishing!
Very much so bad tides as it turned out, with so little movement not many fish seen, those that were seen - flighty and inconsistent. What is the saying = 'no flow; no go' (??)
It must be said that the Barra were there - but right at the back of the mangroves boofing away at their breakfasts
Sadly for me, with the neap low of 2.9 at 4:40am - it meant that while I was on the water at 6:30am, by the time I got out front of Bynoe to Turtle (or Turkey on some maps) Island........
I was already too late for that prime time of casting flies at the edges of the mud flats as the Barra etc waiting to cruise up and onto the flats for a buffet dinner with the rising tide. Instead they were out of the range of my poor casting skills.
On the way to this spot out the front of Bynoe Harbour while zipping along at 5200 revs and 27 knots - unexpectedly the motor died for two seconds throwing me slightly forward and came to life again surging the boat forward again - "that was weird!" but I kept going arrive at my first stop 20 minutes later.
And after mooching along casting distance away from the edge of the mangroves with the electric motor for twenty minutes of fruitlessness casting (no, it was good casting practice - of which I need heaps more of ! My accuracy was atrocious, my loops far too big to put a fly under the tree limbs or into tight spots) - so time to move on to the next spot but as I go to start the motor =====
I start play with the battery switch (multiple times!!!), every wire I could see was touched and twisted. I next set to undoing, scrubbing and cleaning battery terminals (Battery was in the green in its fancy looking eyepiece on top of the battery - so it was OK),
I check every wire joint I could see, worried about the ones I couldn't - after 20 minutes and much profanity and outbursts of frustration - I shove the battery with much intention and determination thinking I might as well throw it overboard - and would you believe it - a few sparks ensue and power is restored. (thinking it might be a crack in a wire that only connects at certain angles but was too scare to touch it while it was working
I abandon my plan for a full days SWOFFING and head back to the Milne Boat Ramp.
However by calculating the incoming tide and wind direction I am sure that if I stop at Knife Island, I can fish for a bit and get a queenie or two before heading to ramp. and if motor doesn't start then the electric, wind and tide would (hopefully) get me back or at least to Crab Claw to bum a ride back to Milne Inlet Boar Ramp to get my ute and trailer.
As I arrive one other boat is close to the mangroves on the north side of Knife Island. I place a cast in behind them at a disturbance of bait near the rock bar on the north east corner and start stripping the fly with a staccato motion. On lifting leader to water haul and cast again, I see the tell tale flash of an average queenie behind my fly and recast immediately - punching out half the fly line. I thought I was too short in distance but I am on after one short strip. YES! Sorry guys pinched your fish! As it turned out the only one keeper for the day for me after such high expectations. I did catch ten or so small 20-30cm trevally from various submerged rocks around Knife Island, but sent them all back to tell mum (or better still big grandpa) to come visit me!
While fighting the 50cm queenie, I hear a familiar voice - "Is that you Richard?"
It was Jeff Watson and his brother in law who spent the night at Crab Claw
Jeff making a habit of this - three times now he has seen me getting into fish - he promised he isn't stalking me (lol). I see it more of a lucky charm (lol).
We have a bit a chat, I pass over a few of my silicone surf candies- Jeff takes a long distance pic of my fish
Don't you love my footy socks! For sun protection and definitely not a fashion statement - thanks for pic Jeff (email got to me before I got home).
(When looking at this fish - don't for get I am a big guy at 191cm and 110kilo - and most things look small in my hands or so I tell my wife! Trust me it was 50.5cm on the measuring stick (the queenfish not the other 'thing')
So with the fly fishing aspects not looking like improving and boat electrics on the fritz - I start to head home to the boat ramp,
With a artistic and well aimed kick to the battery and a few more ensuing sparks - the main motor has power and off I go to the ramp.
Back at the ramp, another father's day fishing outing is in dire straights for some boaters who got no further than the ramp with no steering.
I have tools and grease but no go on the steering - very sad for them.
I cheer them up by giving them a few silicone surf candies. They were not SWOFFERS, but I tell them how to cast them on light spin gear with a running ball sinker the size of your little finger fingernail on the leader. Fortuitous too, as they had been looking for something to cast to tuna and this fly was perfect (well once their steering is fixed!)
Trip home to Darwin was uneventful (always waiting for a wheel to fall off my poorly maintained boat trailer - so pessimistic lately!).
Just a short stop over at the Sand Palms a minute or two from boat ramp - this to book a donga for the Sheep Station Stakes - only five weeks to go!
Always loved the Bynoe Slam comp of the DFR club - catching 7 specified species in a day (got six once in pre-comp practice outing - but as expected the barra nemesis was the missing fish - arrggghh!)
But the Stakes has its awesome mojo too - with 5 fish species chosen out of a hat for each day of comp to catch for bonus points - it makes you really think about your options and SWOFFING
Certainly glad I will be fishing out of my mate Peter's boat (well I think we are) for the Stakes and not my aging beast that needs a kick to get it working (just like me says my wife!!)
I didn't even get to cast the latest fly - the Bynoe P&C
Next time maybe
See you on the water ---- get SWOFFING!