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Written by Nicki G on 28 Apr, 2004
Fishing is something I have never had any inclination of doing. The image of sitting on a riverbank staring out into the water while the coldness tries to penetrate the thick layers of clothing somehow never filled me with excitement. However, since arriving in Australia…Read More
Fishing is something I have never had any inclination of doing. The image of sitting on a riverbank staring out into the water while the coldness tries to penetrate the thick layers of clothing somehow never filled me with excitement. However, since arriving in Australia I have made it my objective to do things that I’ve never contemplated before, barring all things illegal and ultimately life threatening.
It was with this objective in mind that I signed up for a day of fishing while I stayed at Esperance Backpackers on the South West Coast of Western Australia. The tour was organised by Pete, the hostel owner and was to take place over an afternoon costing $40 with all the necessary equipment and bait supplied. The six of us, four lads and two girls, had professed to having never fished before but Uma and myself were already convinced that the boys would have some innate talent for fishing.
The image I had of fishing was about to change as instead of a riverbank the beach was to be the setting. Our transport to Rose Beach was a 4WD. While driving along Twilight Beach Road with it’s smooth yet windy tarmac coast road I was beginning to thing the 4WD was used for other activities laid on by the hostel, I was wrong. Having driven for fifteen minutes we then slowed to the side of the road, ploughing through the hedge it was like entering a version of the Bat cave this was a beach only locals know about. This concealed entrance to the beach took us over a narrow ‘path’ punctuated by rocks rising from the ground, which invariably we drove directly over. Feeling slightly nervous at this point myself and the side of the van became close, very close - in fact it left its mark along several points on my arm. After the rocks came the sand dunes. Thinking that this was going to be smoother riding I was right to a certain extent but smooth meant fast, fast over towering piles of sand. It was at this point that Pete mentioned his experience rally driving which lead me to trust him more than I had before.
Finally we made Rose Beach. A stunning white sandy beach, the cliché of a beach but here it was in front of me. The next stage was to find holes in the ocean. Now being a novice at such things this was explained to me as needing to find the bits of water that where the waves weren’t breaking, this then indicated that there were fish in that area feeding. Eventually we found a hole, or should I say Pete found the hole as I still had no idea frankly.
First came the practise session. Casting (see how professional I sound) up the length of the beach. The aim was to cast straight and after about half an hour we had more or less got there. Before heading into the water Pete’s word of advice was to have a drink, a beer or wine but it had to be alcoholic this he claimed was the only way to fish and actually catch something. Taking a swig of my wine direct from the bottle I hocked on a frozen mackerel piercing the eye with the last hock as was instructed and headed for the rolling waves. It was then I found that casting in the water straight is a lot harder than casting into the sand. I began my fishing career in the humane way, by feeding the fish rather than catching them while those around me were much more brutal and were actually hocking the fish and reeling them in.
Having got more progressively frustrated with my lack of fish I decided that alcohol was the only option. After 2 hours of just catching enough seaweed to make an accompaniment to a Chinese meal I suddenly felt a jolt. Not wanting to raise a false alarm I battled with what might be on the end for a couple of minutes but it became obvious what this wasn’t going to be a large clump of seaweed. Walking backwards up the beach I anchored the rod into my thigh and tried with all my might to get this shark up and out of the water. A group was forming at the other end of the line ready to drag the 10ft shark up the shore. Looking to Pete to finish it off for me he merely gave words of encouragement. Already feeling the bruise forming on my leg I didn’t think I could do anymore, I’m not sure if I mentioned my lack of fitness.
It was then that I could hear my fellow fisher people getting all excited. I’d done it I had caught and pulled in a 10ft shark, well more precisely a 9Ib Australian Salmon but I was still elated. Needless to say the BBQ that followed the trip was the tastiest I’d ever had. Nothing like going back to caveman roots and catching the food you eat.