The first trip was a “hunter gatherer” mission as Jill’s relations were over from Sydney to visit the "newborn" (originally from WA) and I was asked to get them all a feed of fresh fish – didn’t take much asking really. Headed out on Saturday afternoon with Michael (zOOm - he seems fairly keen to keep in touch and head out with me and we always have a good time). Conditions were very calm after the Easterly (perhaps too calm) and the plan was to fish relatively shallow (20m+) from NW of Hillarys, South to the Southern Cardinal Marker. It is fair to say the fishing was fairly slow although zOOm got a nice sized gummy and I got a sized Breaksea in the first hour or so. The gummy was released but the Breaksea is Jill’s favourite so went in the slurry. We landed a variety of other species on our travels and released them all.
We got to the spot to anchor up for the night fish and the sounder was much more positive. Set the burley pot a few metres off the bottom and the activity continued. The fishing was improved with a fairly constant bite with quite a few undersized pinkies, undersized Dhu and a variety of other things. Everything released well as we were in fairly shallow water and it was certainly entertaining. Just after dark I dropped a slab bait down and it was immediately snaffled by something with a bit of size that was peeling line off. After a lively fight it was good to see the 5kg+ Dhu come to the boat. Nice, mission accomplished and the in-laws would like that offering. Not a huge fish but a good one in relatively shallow water.
ANZAC Day is the annual Wally Lothian Competition at the MACC, in honour of a legendary club member – see the Club website for details on Wally. The “Wally” is an inshore comp with the boundaries being the Ocean Reef leads to the North, the Southern Cardinal Marker to the South and the reef to the West. It is a 4-hour event with the sail past at 8am following the service and the weigh in by noon. The fish is all filleted and cooked by “the fishers” for consumption by the general members in what is always a good afternoon in the Boatshed.
With the rising swell on Monday the plan was to go early and chase some of the inshore pinkies (not to be weighed in of course as they would have been caught outside of comp hours) as the Wally is a social comp you are not restricted to leaving the marina at a certain time - the comp begins after the sail past. Up early and let’s just say the conditions were atrocious so I went back to bed. I did give some thought on “bailing the Wally”, but the significance of the day got to me – what is a bit of rain, wind and swell compared to what our WW1 Hero’s had to sacrifice to guarantee our freedom. Yes, I was going to get wet and it was going to be uncomfortable (I have a small open boat) but you just have to do these things. I let the young deckie off however as she has had the last 2 comps in the rain, so it was solo for me.
Conditions in the lead up to the sail past were not too bad and I was so glad I participated in the event. To hear the Ode and the Last Post across the water (it was so clear as sound travels really well over the ocean) was truly awesome and a nice moment to reflect on the fallen hero's. I took a photo of the Club and all of the people on the lower level but it didn’t come out that well. The other image is a “zoomed” photo from shore with my little boat on the right with me in my fluoro rain gear.
Back to the Club (didn’t bother to weigh-in) to fillet the fish. As I was filleting we got another storm rain event and the gutters discharged onto the filleting tables and drenched me with more water, and fish guts. Anyway, I kept going and handed in my handful of filleted, skinned and de-boned fresh fish for the day – a small offering but I did it.
At least I could go home, after a couple of brews, and have a hot shower (20 minutes in the foetal position trying to get warm again) before going back for an enjoyable afternoon with good people. Our Diggers did not have that luxury.
LEST WE FORGET.