Tag: fishing

Cape Domett

the needles rock formation cape domett

Some bloke at the cafe in Wyndham told us Cape Domett is an awesome fishing spot. He didn’t really explain that local knowledge is necessary to navigate there. The tracks didn’t match what we had on the map. It took us several hours of trying alternative routes and asking random farmers working near the side of the road before we even started heading in the right direction. A few more turns through various intersections and gates and a fair slog through some rough old tracks finally had us at our intended destination.

Cape Domett marks the eastern edge of the entrance to Cambridge Gulf. In the middle of the gulf is Lacrosse Island and the opposite cape is called Cape Dussejour. It’s a remote part of the country, not many tourists visit. A group of local campers were there when we arrived and we enjoyed chatting with them and getting some fishing tips. I managed to catch many small bream, which we ate, but nothing else.

There’s millions of tiny sand crabs at Cape Domett. They all excavate sand and roll it into little sand balls. Huge areas of tidal flat get completely covered with these little sand balls.

For every sand crab there’s a million more midges. I suffered huge midge damage by stupidly trying to repair something under the car right when the midge plague kicked up one afternoon. Midges are weak flyers and tend to stay close to the ground, making your feet and legs most vulnerable to attack. Lying on the ground presents your entire body quite nicely to millions of the pesky parasites.

Big Ord River Barra

big barramundi ord river

We all know catching big barra is pretty manly and tough but what about when the barra is so big it’s illegal to keep? That’s what happened at Ivanhoe crossing on the Ord River near Kununurra. This barra had to be chucked back being over the 80cm legal limit.

big barramundi ord river

83cm barramundi ord river

Not just long, this barra was fat and heavy and difficult to lift. It slipped out of my hands and managed to get the lure hooks stuck into one of the thongs I was wearing. Thankfully my outback safety boots protected me from the hooks.

Apart from catching big barra, we also checked out some of the waterfalls and pools along Parry Creek Road – the dirt track alternative route back to Kununurra from Wyndham. Black Rock Falls was notable for the millions of butterflies flying about. I caught some undersized barra at a spot called Mambi Island but hardly worth reporting when I’m landing +80cm monsters.

Kununurra and Wyndham

wyndham jetty sunset

From the Bungle Bungles we headed into Kununurra – our first major centre since Alice Springs a couple of weeks before. We were in need of a big shop and enjoyed relaxing at a green grassy caravan park with a flash swimming pool. Some time was had at the Hoochery Distillery tasting rum and getting ideas about future brewing projects.

kununurra from kellys knob lookout

Kununurra from kellys knob lookout

Mirima National Park from kellys knob

Mirima National Park from kellys knob

Kununurra is a pleasant, attractive and liveable town with nice green spaces, a lake, good shops, plenty of choice for eating out, heaps of activities and tours for tourists and delicious local rum. Wyndham has none of that and it’s awesome! It feels like you’ve stepped off the edge of the earth when you come into Wyndham. It’s hot, arid, inhospitable, dilapidated, surrounded by mudflats and nearly deserted yet we had a really great time there.

Before Wyndham is the Grotto – a deep, cold waterhole that’s fun to climb down into and great for a brisk cold swim.

the grotto near wyndham

Heading into Wyndham we first checked out the Wyndham prison boab tree then drove up the Bastion (big hill overlooking town) to Five Rivers Lockout. The view across Wyndham Port, Cambridge Gulf, the rivers and the vast country is really impressive.

wyndham prison tree opening wyndham prison tree from the inside

Wyndham Five Rivers Lookout (The Bastion)

View from Five Rivers Lookout with King River top left. At the top centre of image is a part of Cambridge Gulf called The Gut and is near the confluence of the Pentecost and Durack Rivers. Out of view of this image is also the Ord River and Forrest River.

After the lookout we stopped at the big crocodile.

wyndham big crocodile

Then we checked into the Wyndham caravan park and headed off to the social club for beers and pizza. We enjoyed chatting to the friendly locals, many having interesting stories to tell about life around town and how they ended up in Wyndham. Both the beers and pizzas were delicious and we had an excellent night.

Next day was spent wandering around exploring the various attractions, enjoying food and coffee at the one remaining cafe in town and fishing off the jetty. The pub and various other eateries have all closed down along with a mine that used to export iron ore at Wyndham Port. There’s an old video store / convenience store that’s still open where we went for icecream and enjoyed listening to the owner’s stories of being in the circus and touring the outback with Slim Dusty and local gossip about why the pub has closed. Unfortunately we missed the museum because it was closed for roof repairs.

We visited the Warriu Park Dreamtime Statues, a couple of old cemeteries, some historic buildings and the jetty. We fished the sunset off the jetty but had no luck, then headed out of town for a dodgy side of the road camp on the way to Parry Creek Road along the Ord River.

gazebo near statues in wyndham

Relaxing under the gazebo at the pristinely maintained Warriu Park Dreamtime Statues in Wyndham.


Free Food Salmon Camp

spotting salmon

Not happy with our $15 food spend from a salmon fishing trip of a couple years ago, this time we decided to go completely free. For this camping mission all food was supplied by work!

camp food supplies

On the menu was peanut paste, long life milk, coffee, vegemite, butter, honey, mustard, vinegar, tomato sauce and 2 minute noodles. We were also forced to steal lemons from a neighbour’s tree based on medical advice that our special camp diet may have us contracting scurvy should we not include a source of vitamin C.

My favourite dish was peanut paste, straight from the cup. It was delicious and easy to prepare.

peanut paste for breakfast

Of course we also ate salmon, either smoked or ceviche, drizzled in lemon juice. To supplement our tight vitamin C rations we collected a load of pigface fruit and sauteed them in a honey and butter mix. We bait fished each afternoon and night hoping to land something more palatable than salmon but unfortunately didn’t have much luck. One herring was all we could muster, and it really tasted great after a couple of days of mostly salmon and 2 minute noodles.

We cheated slightly and did fork out a bundle of cash for a block of highly nutritious red tin beer. It kept us fit, strong and satisfied over the several day camp. Thank you beer!

spotting salmon with help from beer

Tigerfish in Mozambique

tigerfish mozambique

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?

tigerfish mozambique

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.

river monsters

I was in Mozambique to help make this run better:

processing plant

Some other pics from my stay:

Anzac Day Salmon Mission

mal with salmon

Wow it’s been over a year already since our last long weekend salmon hunt. This year, instead of Easter, we headed down for the Anzac Day long weekend.

There are many things different between this camp and our camp from a year ago. A big change is that this time we took quite a varied supply of food rather than just potatoes, carrots and onions. But perhaps the most significant change is the addition of a little mini miss outbackjoe!

joe with baby

baby in the dunes

We’re training her up nice and early to become an expert salmon spotter just like her dad.

teaching baby to spot salmon

On this camp we experienced an amazing salmon feeding frenzy. Salmon arrived in plague proportions and were jumping around everywhere right in front of our camp. The salmon were chasing herring into the shallows and were swimming right around us, even bumping into our feet. The herring were jumping out of the water and beaching themselves on the sand in an effort to escape the pursuing salmon.

We caught a butt load of salmon. More salmon than I’ve ever seen. And as a bonus we had a free feed of beached herring that even the staunchest animal activist would be happy with, since the herring died of natural causes. We chucked back most of the salmon we caught but cruelly slaughtered a couple.

Catching so much salmon is extremely tiring.

salmon fishing is tiring

We tried something different with our salmon preparation this time – salmon civeche. Civiche is marinading raw fish in vinegar and citrus juice (plus whatever extra flavours you want, we used onions and chilli). The flesh goes white like it’s been cooked and remains mild flavoured and relatively tender. Sharni even described it as tasting “nice”, which is tremendous for Australian salmon. Last time she said it tasted like shit. There is a risk of getting food poisoning by eating salmon this way, but fortunately we have the finest sashimi chef skills so that we can safely prepare the raw salmon for marinading.

We also smoked some of the salmon. Last time we smoked salmon it was over cooked and pungently fishy. This time we were extra careful not to over cook it and it actually turned out pretty good. Also it helped that we discarded the darker coloured meat which minimizes the strong fishy flavours.

We had a great camp and improved our salmon preparation skills with some good civeche and smoked salmon. Bring on next salmon season! Maybe we’ll revert back to bringing bugger all food and living off fresh salmon and beer.

Peak Beard at Wilbinga Camp

tailor with nice beard

Just as I was starting to push through the itchy phase, sadly, a stern order was issued: the beard must go. What a tragedy it would be to have the beard removed without some photos of me flaunting it whilst fishing and camping. So a camping trip was commissioned to Wilbinga Beach north of Perth.

We caught a nice flat head and a tailor, both of which were deliciously prepared in the fish smoker. Fishing conditions weren’t ideal with the usual wind and weed keeping our bounty quite low. Other highlights included beach bocce and hours of fun watching people getting bogged on a particularly treacherous section of beach right near our camp.

The beard was promptly removed back home during the post camp washdown. I hope one day it will return bigger and better.

What’s Hong doing squatting on top of that sand dune?

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