Landing huge barramundi and salmon in rugged and isolated parts of Australia is incredibly manly and tough. Everyone knows that. But what about landing a river monster in remote Africa?
This monster tigerfish was caught in Lake Cahora Bassa in Mozambique. It’s not unlike the large tigerfish that Jeremy Wade caught on his TV show. I’ve been told that Jeremy Wade is super tough and ruggedly handsome and the similarities between him and myself are clear.
I was in Mozambique to help make this run better:
Some other pics from my stay:
A couple of nights camping mission at Lane Poole with Mum and Nonna saw me land my first redfin perch! This perfectly complements my recent freshwater success with trout.
I caught two perch from the Murray River running nearby our camp site. One was too small to keep and the other a bit bigger but good enough to fry up for breakfast. We camped at Baden Powell camp ground which is perfect for camping with the oldies, with good toilets and fancy camp kitchens. We camped a couple of months ago, before the fires in the area that devastated Yarloop. It was quite cold as you can see by nonna rugged up catching some early morning rays.
There’s no better way to cement our trout fishing prowess then to immediately follow up our first ever trout success with another successful trout fishing mission. This time round Mal, Hong and James joined in the action.
The trip started out with beers and pizza at the Pemberton Hotel. The pizzas were delicious and huge! We boxed up the left overs, chucked them in the car fridge and headed into the forest to find camp by the Warren River.
It drizzled throughout the first day but since we’re super tough we went fishing in the rain. Wet, steep, muddy slopes along the river bank, combined with a couple of beers, was a recipe for a few muddy bum slides and some exciting close calls at the water’s edge.
A few trout were caught, some undersized and a couple just a tick over the minimum 30cm mark. We smoked them up in the fish smoker using banana peel and garlic for the smoke source. The trout tasted fantastic. I’m glad to report the lingering salmon flavour from the fish smoker has completely disappeared after we burnt it all off on the previous camp.
James did not come prepared with waterproof boots or waders so suffered with soggy boots for most of the trip. After drying them off by the fire one night, he was keen to try to keep them dry the next day. He improvised a solution for the wet boots but it was a dismal failure – see photos.
After a bit of a camping and fishing drought we headed off for a quick midweek camp to Wilbinga, just north of Perth. Along for the ride came two past outbackjoe visitors – Hong, of BFC fame, and Malcolm, who met us for a tour around NT a couple of years ago (the trip that landed my first barra). Plus one other chap, Bruce, came along. All four of us in the Hilux.
It was bullcrap windy the for the entire camp. The southerlies kicked and, along with a beach inundated with weed, blew our fishing hopes away. We knew the southerlies were picking up so we camped on the south side of a dune. It helped but the wind wrapped around from the beach so we parked up the hilux alongside. Still not good enough, we partially buried the hilux to make a nice air tight wind break. You can see in the photo the wind eventually worked its way through the sand below the rear door.
We tried fishing but after a couple of casts in the gale force winds only to retrieve seaweed after seaweed we retreated back to the shelter of our camp. Bait was of no use to us so we chucked it all for the pelicans.
A camp oven roast was cooked up on the second night. We forgot to bring salt but luckily Hong had some cup-a-soup packets in his backpack. Worked a treat. Unfortunately without Sharni’s expertise in camp ovens we ended up burning the vegies pretty good. The chicken withstood the heat ok and was quite delicious.
Joe is in Port Hedland working for a few months to save up to fund the rest of our trip. Just coz he’s working doesn’t mean he can’t sneak in some fishing – caught a small barracuda fishing around Port Hedland. Also took some night photos of the ship loading plant.
Borroloola saw the end of our dream to conquer the Savannah Way through the gulf country to Queensland. Continuing was not possible due to heavy rainfall. Nathan River Road was exciting for its mud sliding and near boggings but further east around the Queensland border the creeks were too deep and fast flowing to pass. It was expected – we knew that tackling Savannah Way at the start of the wet season was always going to be touch and go. A week earlier and we would have made it.
Don’t worry, the wrath of the rain gods was offset by the generosity of the barra gods. I landed myself a record breaking 76cm barramundi in the McArthur River at Borroloola. Caught him on a soft plastic lure late in the afternoon. I’m super satisfied at this stroke of luck. Unable to complete the Savannah Way meant after Borroloola we had to head south towards central Queensland to catch the bitumen, leaving barra country and any chance of catching more barra. So it was my last chance which made landing the barra all the more sweeter.
On the way to Borroloola we stopped off at Cape Crawford and the Heartbreak Hotel. This is some pretty remote country so the hotel is a welcome stop. We got there around lunch time and the hotel was closed until evening. We would have loved to grab a beer at Heartbreak Hotel but didn’t want to wait around 6 hours. Instead we hit up a steak sandwich at the restaurant. We also caught a glimpse of a frilled neck lizard. He didn’t want to display his frill for the camera but we still got a couple of shots.
We checked out the fishing village at King Ash Bay, a few km from Borroloola. We were impressed – usually these fishing camps are strewn with debris, abandoned cars, sheet metal, etc. King Ash Bay was clean, neat and well maintained. It was here we discovered the second corrugation failure on this trip – the bonnet latch. It’s held by 3 bolts. One bolt was missing. I believe the missing bolt vibrated loose from corrugations. With only two bolts, the corrugations caused the latch to swing back and forth fatiguing the metal. A few million corrugations later and it sheered off the bolt mounts. The way we noticed the problem was very lucky. A chap had stopped on the side of the road and needed a jump start. We stopped to help. I pulled the hood lever but it didn’t pop. A bit of prodding and poking at the latch and we managed to free the bonnet. This was lucky – the bonnet becoming free at speed is a costly and dangerous situation. The solution to get us back onto the road – a bit of rope holding down the bonnet. Nothing like a dodgy bush mechanic fix on our fancy new hilux.