Fishing

Finnis River Mouth, Dundee Beach

The neap tides meant that Boat Creek remained shallow even at high tide. We thought that would limit our chances of landing a massive fish, so we left Boat Creek and headed south along the beach to the Finnis River mouth. We drove straight across the creek bed to the southern side rather than back track to take the inland route around the creek. The very low tide reduced the risk and made it fairly easy to cross, but it’s still unnerving driving through an area that would have your vehicle submerged at high tide.

Finnis River mouth saw a couple of major milestones achieved – we got ourselves some tasty mud crabs and I landed a small threadfin salmon – both species from the sort after tropical trifecta. Still outstanding is the queenfish which once landed would have me completing the trifecta. The threadfin salmon was small but there is no minimum legal size which means it still qualifies. I’ll catch a bigger one another time, along with a queenfish.

At night the hermit crabs come out in force, typical of the beaches in this area of Australia. I managed to snap up a nice close up shot of one specimen.

It was over 37 degrees every day during our stay at Finnis River and in fact for basically the entire two week camp. Going for a quick dip in the turquoise water was tempting but then we remembered we’d probably die from a fatal crocodile attack. So we resorted to staying in the shade and drinking icy cold beers during the heat of the day, fishing only in the evening.

It is at Finnis River mouth where the infamous catfish bonanza took place. We had two rods in the water and would regularly reel in two catfish at a time. They were in plague proportions. The excitement of hooking up so many reasonably sized fish soon wore off as we were constantly retrieving and unhooking these catfish. The species of catfish we were catching is the fork tailed catfish, very common it seems in Australia’s northern waters. They have no scales, are pretty ugly, inhabit fresh and salt water and grunt when out of the water. In the mix we also landed one small shark which we chucked back along with all the catfish.

Some locals told us catfish were no good to eat so we threw them all back. It may be an unfair judgement based on them being so ugly and considered bottoming feeding rats of the sea. We later read that the small ones are quite edible, with the larger ones being less pleasant. Next time I’ll cook one up.

We broke the annex camping here. Didn’t have it pegged down, and a big gust of wind flipped it up over the roof of the car bending the horizontal aluminium poles. When we tried to bend the poles straight, they snapped.

During the heat of the day we were sittin, drinkin, thinkin when we got to witness some sand driving and recovery mastery. A chap got bogged attempting to retrieve his boat from the sandy beach along the river mouth. His tyres were rock hard. Rather than reducing pressure and driving out, he got his mate to snatch him out. The first few snatches failed to free the bogged vehicle, with each snatch attempt becoming progressively faster until the inevitable happened – the snatch strap broke. A couple of professors were standing right near the front bumper of the bogged vehicle when the strap broke, narrowly missing the recoiling strap. Luckily it was the snatch itself that broke rather than a piece of metal that may have become a flying example of natural selection. Both the bogged vehicle and the recovery vehicle were hitched to boat trailers during these snatch attempts. At this stage the recovery experts decided to unhitch the boat trailers from both vehicles and the next snatch was a success.

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