Shady Camp – Crocodile Ambush

It was at Shady Camp in the Mary River National Park where we were flanked from all sides by teams of crocodiles in a great ambush that the Viet Cong would be proud of. It was night time and we were fishing off the far side of the Shady Camp barrage, with the camping area, our vehicle and all our stuff on the other side. I had just landed a nice 57cm barramundi so was reasonably satisfied with the night’s proceedings.

As the night progressed it became apparent that the number of crocodiles in our area were accumulating. With our torches we could see the eyes of many crocodile insurgents in the water. Never before had I seen so many crocodiles at one time, up to around 20 we counted. They kept getting closer to the barrage from both in front and behind us, making us feel nervous. Hong thought it was time for a break to give it time for the crocodile offensive to subside and clear away. I said I’d be right behind him, just reel in my last cast. Just as I had my lure out of the water Hong was back already. “We’re not going anywhere” he says, shining his torch across the barrage, illuminating a chunky 3 meter croc, resting on the barrage and separating us from the safe side of the barrage. I thought we were fairly boned. Crocodiles closing in from all directions. “So that’s why there’s all those people on the other side of the barrage and none of them are coming out to join us fishing” said Hong.

The only thing I could do to control the situation was be to keep fishing and hope the crocs went away. At least I’d die doing what I loved. My plan worked, with the big croc moving off after about an hour of some of the least relaxing fishing I’ve ever done. We scurried back to the safe side of the barrage, running the gauntlet with crocs on both sides of us. We celebrated still being alive with some beer and sliced bread for dinner.

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