“Firstly just to paint a picture – barrels are around every year but in limited numbers, there are people who have been fishing this area for 5+ years and are still to catch a barrel, what is actually occurring this year is out of the norm. To get a barrel let alone double hook ups and triple hooks up is just crazy” it attracts keen fisho’s from everywhere as you could imagine and who knows if it will ever be the same again.
There are a few reasons that could be behind this, being the pro tuna fleets are more interested in the smaller fish for growth and export sales, and the reduction in long line quotas see more big fish available… but this is something we shouldn’t take for granted either or wipe out the entire system.
A battle on one of these fish can take anywhere from 10 mins to 3 hrs on 24 – 37kg line depending and how the fish is hooked and how it reacts, and sustainable fishing should also be practiced. Regardless, people are always going to keep their PB fish especially when they are this size, not to mention there are number of people that are having their fish moulded – but, my next question is how do we release them after a long fight in a healthy state?? (I am trying to find this out, and hopefully the remainder of that story will follow)
Sooooo….. Our week at Port Mac was epic not only did we have all of “Team justagirl” there we managed to get a mini barrel… our team work and training leading up to it was just amazing and when it came to it we were firing on all cylinders.
The new girls got to meet the locals who treat us like family and make it such an awesome place. After meeting up with everyone we set on our mission!! We couldn’t believe it when we caught our Tuna that day! and that story has already been published up here so we will move on but to say we were ecstatic was an understatement and when we got back with our fish we called Wilbur and Gary who were in Melbourne, while the usual crew along with Matt & Bell came over to see our catch, Bell had been out getting her eagle ray for the year and was stoked she had it 🙂
That night Leah and I snuck off for a few sneaky one’s over at Chachi’s, while Mum and Greenhorn where in Mt Gambier doing shopping. Les & Angela who introduced us to Chris & Mary’s fish and chip shop ( Now a compulsory stop) in the Mount a few trips before also called past and brought with them Ang’s popcorn shark – which was just amazing and so tasty!!
Unfortunately as it does duty called and Whip Cracker and Greenhorn had to head back to Adelaide for work the following week and I had customer visits in the South East, lucky for us we didn’t feel like we were missing out when the weather turned average and those that ventured out didn’t catch anything.
Before we knew it the weekend was upon us again so it was time to head out, the boys had been over during the week with a leg of lamb from the farm for us to cook up, and we had heaps left over. Leah who now has the nick name slicer (because filleting knifes are sharp – LOL) managed to cook up a master chef storm making us a good supply of boat food including a slice, shepherd’s pie and apple crumble. (However not to be outdone by Greenhorn who’s husband is a chef… which we could tell by the way she carved that chicken from the supermarket for lunch wraps 😉 hehe 😉
Chucky Tuna and Steve headed up Friday for a fish as well, it was great to have them share in the experience and the excitement and the Fish were going ballistic. Double hook ups and Triple hooks ups for 2 days in a row!!
Mum, Leah, Steve and I were not only excited by the fact that we hooked up, we had a double hook up on barrels 🙂 🙂 🙂 after a couple of minutes the excitement subsided as we realised that Leah was on 24kg and Steve on was on 15kg and both fishing were swimming in opposite directions away from the boat!!!
WELLLL all hell broke loose…. Mum is trying to skipper, we are all yelling at her where to go, go forward… no go back before Steve gets spooled… quick Leah put your gimbal belt on… Steve your about to be spooled, wind some line in!!!
Me yelling at mum and everyone… quick turn! Turn!… Slicers’ fish has turned and is heading for under the boat.. ohhhhhHHH reverse!!! Reverse!!!! Steve’s fish is on its way to NZ and he’s about to be spooled again… LOL might seem funny, as it does to me now but it soooo wasn’t at the time.. Total organised chaos on “justagirl”
(In game fishing you would normally favour the lighter line, but Steve 30+ years’ experience in game fishing was told to suck it up, of course Steve being Steve as we all know didn’t really like this… hahaha!! But because he could control his fish happily swimming around all over the place, and that was how is was going to be (which worked to our disadvantage as well later….) while we tried to bring Leah’s fish under control)
It was the battle of all battles for Slicer, and then she was finally starting to win… in a world of pain mind you, we did as all good crew members do and coached her on through the pain, we all wanted this to end well! As we reached the hour and half mark Slicers fish decided to head to the front of the boat, while Steve’s fish was still trying to swim to NZ, and unfortunately as the strain increased and Slicers fish swam further under the boat in the opposite direction, the turning of the boat and managing Steve’s line wasn’t possible quick enough… Slicers line was pulling diagonally across the rollers …. SNAP one of guides went flying sideways 😦 … as the guide floated about between the other 2 rollers line was regained and we were all hoping it wasn’t going to end badly!
Still battling away we saw colour for the second time… with the gaff ready I stood there waiting, watching it do the normal circle, slicer playing it like we all would, gradually pulling it closer to the surface. “Just a couple more lifts and winds that’s all, you have got this” I said to her… Couple more winds and lifts later it was closer than ever… couple more, couple more…
SNAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP………..The line finally caught hold of a piece of the broken roller frame that was still attached to the rod cutting us off right next to the boat, we just stood there 😯 …. and watched a cracker of a fish swim back into the depths….
At this point we all looked at each other dumbfounded and not a word was mentioned, for what at the time seemed like forever…. Then Steve’s fish started running again, back into the action again! Silently we tried to come to terms with what had just occurred, and our eyes welled up for Slicer as we felt her pain and disappointment on what was an epic fight, but at least we saw the fish.
Steve’s fish finally under control and 3 hrs later… we still weren’t speaking about what had happened earlier or wanting to acknowledge it! Steve’s epic battle continued… Tony Bell on “No Alibi” had hooked up near us as well and they were just pulling their first fish in… after a quick radio chat he called at 110kg, good call Tony!! As it later weighted in at that.
We knew those fish came out of the same school, and right then all of our bottom lips left our chin moved south and hit the deck!! We soon re-focused knowing Steve’s fish must be around the same size, and if landed would be a potential record fish on 15kg line.
So, we sat there and sat there as he stood there and stood there, gradually cramping up… 5 hrs later nothing changed, I began to think he was hooked to the ocean floor, so after 6.5 hours of what seemed to me like staying on the one spot, I actually went and asked him (ooooopppss!!!! note to self never do that again!!!) LOLOLOLOL
Another couple of hours and then old mate Mr Bull Seal rocked up!!! And within seconds it was all over. Steve felt the change, pumping and winding, all I heard was LEADER… ready in position with the gaff it was all on… then 😯
Lips hit the deck again!!!! 😦
The seal had got to it and taken a chunk out of its tail… after a long fight were neither opponent gave up, fate was decided again by an external force.. And the most exciting and exhilarating day turned into one of the most disappointing days… and as some of the fishing locals say “Oh Well”….
Hanging our heads and shattered we headed back in to the ramp as the sun was setting, we gave Tony a buzz and asked if could came down to the Pt Mac Game Club to weight up what was left of Steve’s tuna. It weighed in at 92.40kg , with an estimated 15kg of tail missing, confirming that it would have gone around the 110kg mark.
Tomorrow was a new day, people had arrived from Adelaide and Melbourne overnight for a chance at the action and it was again another spectacular day on the water the radio alive all day with double and triple hook ups… I was finally on strike and pumped and you could not have asked for a better day on the water – glass and no wind in Mother Nature’s playground!!
Ready and waiting for a line to scream off, I sat there patiently waiting, and waiting, and waiting and NOTHING!!!! Oh do you think I went home sulking…. Actually Sulking was an understatement, for 2 days there had been countless double and triple hook ups and bust offs and fish lost and I couldn’t even turn a reel. Devastated I went home to a glass of grapes and the sunset pondering my unluckiness 😉
That night we headed out to farm to Wilba & Kathryn’s for a bbq and bon fire, and we met some more of the locals. Over the last couple of weekends we have never laughed so much and felt so comfortable and despite not getting a fish it was a great night with great company. I even managed to hijack the 4 wheeler and took it for a thrash.
We had a conversation earlier in the week regarding a potential fishing trip interstate and that night as we looked at the map of Australia ideas, plans and time frames started to form … who knows there could be an epic road trip coming up in just over 12 months’ time … but I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll save that for another day.
Up bright and early the next morning we had very limited time, with boats everywhere working in the same area’s the fish had been, I was still on strike, ready and pumped … this was going to be my day I could feel it, my last chance before the cray season starts …. Waiting … waiting…. Waiting ….. Sulking again 😦 …… on the positive side, I’m still on first strike for the next barrel trip and as they say good things come to those who bait / wait 😉
The morning was over before we knew it, all tired it was time to head back to the ramp and then head home, but not before going to Chris & Mary’s fish and chip shop in the Mt. for a good feed.… as we recapped the trip in the car and the sun set on the horizon we were nearly home, tired, happy, sad, sore and all ready for good night’s sleep..
To everyone that has made Mum and I feel so welcome and comfortable at Pt Mac & Mt Gambier and then to the new team members – we sincerely thank you!!!
Until our next adventure – Team Justagirl singing out ♥