28th February – 7th March 2009
Trip report posted at 1:36 pm on the 24th March, 2009
Locals – CQ business Conference participants had a fun filled week. Whilst the fishing was a little quiet, company and comedy made the week a sucess. Here’s George’s version of events!
The Kanimbla assault on Herald Prong 2
The title suggests a science fiction story and rightly so as it does have some limited science but certainly has its share of fiction.
The highlights of these annual trips include a story telling ritual every night where the attendees embellish the daily events with the sole intention of embarrassing their colleagues. It is a time to enjoy one another’s company and practice their story and joke telling skills.
All true fishermen are theorists. They have a theory to explain everything; why fish bite or don’t bite, why some rigs are better than others, why some bait is better but they always agree on one theory, ‘Why fishermen need to drink’.
First night as we head out it is hard to contain the excitement, anticipation and expectation as the weather forecast could not have been much better.
First day out at Herald Prong 2 reef and with the magic weather we decided to give the weather side of the reef a try, targeting red emperor and larger fish. Sadly the plan did not work and by the afternoon all the dinghies were up on the reef. It is fair to say the fish were a little elusive.
Sunday is a learning day; a day for some to learn how to catch these fish and others to re-learn. With most fishing only occasionally during any year it can take some time to become accustomed to this type of fishing.
Monday was a better day where we landed 140 fish. The challenge is to do this consistently each day. Chris Cameron’s call of a shark and then a cod which ultimately presented itself at the boat with a shell and four flippers was mentioned in the nightly stories.
Each trip has its nightly activities and this group has its nightly “Gump award” where the daily stuff ups are relived and allocated points towards the annual Gump trophy. Each night the Gump leader is awarded the somewhat coveted and somewhat despised yellow jersey and he is referred to as ‘custard guts’. The first night winner, John Klose started favourite by only having caught fish in one of the first four sessions but Norm quickly swamped him by Wednesday.
Daily stuff ups such as breaking a pull cord or throttle cable on an outboard or diving over the side to unhook an anchor rope and breaking rods all earn considerable points.
The night stories contain numerous quotable quotes and stories worth remembering and the following is a small example. In the dinghy Norm was relieving himself and accidentally let a little dribble into his beer (as you can do). Norm responded saying there was nothing wrong with it as he had already drunk it once and was only recycling. Besides the tail of his shirt had gotten in the way and he had filtered it as well.
The weather god had been kind to us with winds mostly 10 to 15 knots and at times on rare occasions reaching 17 to 20. Unfortunately the fish had been reluctant to join in and we had limited numbers in the freezer. Though some nice trout and sweet lip had found solace in the freezer, there had been an absence of notable fish. I think we all would have preferred this situation, a trip with good weather and quiet fishing than the other way round. But it is nice to have both good weather and good fishing.
The Kanimbla hospitality was appreciated by the whole team, most of which had never been on this boat before. Compared to previous trips on other vessels, there was a step change in meal quality, dinghies, general service around the boat and fish quality management. The skipper Bruce and his crew Steve, Kristie, James and Giles are all very capable and accommodating.
The food was “to die for” and when the fishing was slow, many found they were thinking ‘what wonderful delight will Steve cook next’.
My new attendees, Bill, Joel and Norm were enjoying the holiday and fished well. Norm had an excellent Tuesday morning and his boat filled their bin with mainly large sweet lip. Bill had an afternoon when he out-fished his dinghy brothers (one passion-fruit trout to nil). Joel, Ian and I probably had one of the most enjoyable sessions of our trip and together caught a sizeable catch (20 to 30 fish).
Joel learnt the hard way about ‘catering’ for the dories. For a session with Graham and Norm, Joel was responsible for the esky and accordingly packed 4 beers, one each plus one extra because he had heard that Norm was a big drinker. This resulted in a tragic situation that deserved Gump points.
There were enjoyable fishing sessions off the Kanimbla; the most notable being the traditional Chardonnay Tuesday. Every trip has its tradition and this one is well catered for. A few fish including a couple of party crashing cobia joined chardonnay team.
A change of venue Wednesday yielded no better fishing at Herald Prong 1 and not for the want of trying. It had less gutters and seemingly less fish.
Once again the anchor rope has caught under the dinghy and for the second time Bill has had to go over the side to release it. He quickly wondered why he had volunteered as he realized he was not wearing undies. Norm’s comment was that he was safe; the fish were not biting.
Bill crossed out my name on my work shirt he was wearing. He wrote his name on the shirt with marking pen and claimed he was now fishing better plus he was sick of everyone calling him George. Someone has since gotten to his shirt and added the letters SY. His new name Sybill implied a warranted connection to Faulty Towers.
While others around him had taken a tumble or two, Merv (77 years old) had kept his feet and had fully engaged in this tough going fishing. I hope I am as agile as he is when I am his age. Norm took the biggest step of the trip when he stepped from the back deck to the lowered duck board, a fall of 4 feet. Luckily the few abrasions to his shins were dulled by alcohol.
By Wednesday we had only 380 fish and the skipper has decided to move on Thursday to Lower Sandy. All dinghies were once again on the water and some produced good catches in the morning session.
To provide some action for Graham and Kiwi, the deckie left the bung out of their dory. They didn’t have much more action than that. Ian fished in 5 meters of water on top of the reef and battled the tidlers.
Thursday night is the night of the Gump presentation and it was deservedly won by Doug. The celebration ended late for many. During the night the dinghy roster (allocations set by the dory master) was rearranged. Those allocated to dinghy 4, (Doug’s dinghy, complete with so many of Doug’s space consuming toys) decided on a reallocation. The dory master discovered the treachery about 3am in the morning and promptly allocated about 10 people to dinghy 4. The confusion in the morning was soon worked out.
The fanatical Kiwi and Peter had put prizes on for the largest fish, largest trout and largest sweet-lip for the last morning’s fishing. The ‘trophy hunters’ in my boat, (Bill and Norm) managed to win them all, 9kg Spanish, 3.4 kg trout and 2.7 kg sweet-lip.
The trip once again had its characters. One Allan provided the final draft of his book for some to read while the other Allan contributed some excellent jokes. Taking the dinghy to the exposed side of the reef is just what Graham had to do; make a challenge of everything. Bruce just goes quietly about his business as does Frosty, though Frosty’s business is more focused on frivolity than fishing. There is a threat that you could be allocated to Dick’s dinghy and if that is not bad enough Ed (the talking horse) will be the other crew member (in his modified overalls). Norm is always doing something unusual, found one day that he was wearing two pair of underpants and figured he had forgotten to take them off the previous day. Talk about theories, big Don has one for every occasion.
We seemed to use more sinkers and hooks than expected and I believe it was due to the tough fishing. Moving the bait slightly to encourage a bite inevitably ends in a snag. Talk about theories.
The Kanimbla’s assistance towards dividing the fish was appreciated. All labeled and separated into a bin for each person made everything so quick.
The fishing highlights included Graham who caught his usual red emperor (I think he has a school of tame ones out there), Chris who caught the biggest trout (7kgs), Bill the only mackerel, three passion-fruit trout were caught, a number of cod, bludger trevally and china-man fish caught and Joel who kicked the chefs squid line and rig over the side,
With 20 men on board there is considerable testosterone even if they are mostly over 50. Besides the jovial verbal sparing and satirical humour, Indian arm wrestles seemed to be the challenge.
BCF (Boating Camping Fishing) will welcome home their prized customer gadget man, Joel knowing he will add to his collection of goodies.
When Graham checked his bag of fillets he found two bags of 6 pilchards each. What the heck, we know a man the caliber of Graham could turn them into 12 trout. He is still looking for the culprit.
With all trips there is considerable preparation and Doug and Dick have done very well as there is nothing they hadn’t thought of.
If laughter is the best medicine, we have had 10 years worth and shouldn’t be sick for years.