Using up extra brownie points.....
Talk about hard work - mostly because I have grown soft in my air-conditioned school science lab! As a sheep farmer's son, my long dead father would roll over in his grave at my softness!
I am still sore all over, with old sports injuries inflamed and pain-killers taken.
But lifting a 20 kilo jack hammer to head height 180 times will do that - used the jack hammer to drive in the 180 star pickets in to compacted ground for the fence line. Then again using the jack hammer far easier than the old ram style by hand method.
So the wife was looking kindly, maybe even fondly!, at me each evening for the 'hard work' I have been doing. So there was not even a murmur when I said I was thinking of fishing on Sunday.
Peter and I hit the water Sunday morning around 6:30am. Hightide was at 9:30am and a spring tide, so we needed to be back at ramp by 2 to avoid not enough water at ramp when taking boat out with Low tide under a meter due around 4pm.
Given we like to SWOFF hard at Lee Point a couple of hours after the high tide, the plan was to detoured to Weed Reef and Mandorah before heading to Lee Point.
But the big problem with fishing Sunday was the wind, the forecast on Thursday had me thinking fencing would be better - lots of wind forecast. On Sunday morning a quick look in the iPad and the forecast was better but gusty 10-15 knots by midday - would that be enough time to target the prime dropping tide at Lee Point??
Weed Reef was empty, Mandorah was empty at first glance but then we saw the birds and then the queenfish and small grey mackerel under the birds!
The water was already exiting Darwin Harbour at 8am and as the water pushed over the reef ledges the predators were taking full measure of the baitfish schools.
We hooked up to several fish, the several boats of lure tossers and bait guys caught nothing!
Another win for the SWOFFERS!!!!!!
Every queenfish that attacked the fly (to its downfall!) - used the fast flowing out going tide to make it feel much larger at the end of the taunt fly line. it was a lot of fun. I once got three fish in four casts - see video for a bit of this action.
The extra swell and chop between East Point and Nightcliff that pounded us as we traveled out of the harbour stopped by the time we got to Lee Point.
Finally at the reef, the water flow just wasn't there. Which was strange given an hour earlier we experienced much faster tidal flows at Mandorah! We still needed an hour at Lee Point before the conditions were similar to the awesome SWOFFING we have had here over the last few months.
For the next hour it was one eye on the reef looking for baitfish being harassed, and the other eye on the expected and forecast strong wind from the East-North East. As usual Peter kept casting and casting with the occasional follow and a few fish hooked - me just waiting for some action before casting (remember the getting soft concept - got to save my energy for the important moments ).
First sign of action beginning was the quantity of garfish increasing. These slender long fish were zipping about the inside edge of the reef. Then the garfish started to show panic and would jump about as mackerel and queenfish marauded the smaller baitfish amongst them. Occasionally, quite large slashes were happening as larger fish were really attacking the garfish. You just had to cast when this was occurring.
We caught plenty of fish but then the wind came! And came with a passion!
Frustratingly the fish were just starting to go crazy with regular surface bust ups along the edge of the reef - BUGGER!
However, we kept casting but the wind was causing havoc with out casting. One fly into the back of my head, one in Peter's shoulder blade, then one near Peter's nose with the hook point sticking in his buff material just below his nose - a close one! Time to go home!
But you know how it is even if you have caught some good fish, in numbers - you just can' help to try another location on way home. so we ventured across harbour to Mandorah again.
We caught no more fish but did have a shower from the wave wash the boat created as it hit every swell and chop wave there and back. Both of us were absolutely soaking wet as we drove the boat back to the Dinah Beach boat ramp. we just had enough water to get the boat in. A tiring but good day's SWOFFING.I kept a few queenfish for the kids and myself. Been on a health kick for a week now,
heaps less sugar, no fizz drink (coca cola mostly!), less processed foods and more exercise!
So breadcrumbed fish fingers and finely chopped salad for dinner tonight.
Today was a good warm up for the NT Fly Fishing Social Mob's Sheep Station Stakes on next weekend.
The five fish species drawn from a hat for Saturday's bonus points are - Mackerel, Mangrove Jack, Cod, Diamond Trevally, and Threadfin Salmon.
First Three should be ok and I feel confident of catching, but the last two will be more challenge. 50/50 on the Threadfin but the diamond trevally will be interesting.
Look for the Sheep Stakes report after next weekend outing.
Tight lines and go tie some flies
The Stig (aka NT Swoffer)