If you are in the Katoomba, Blue Mountains area from 18th December to 23rd February, or you love a good art exhibition, be sure to check out ...gone fishin at the Lost Bear Gallery, 98 Lurline Street. An exhibition of inspired artworks from Weipa and Cape York. The group of artists are regular visitors to the Cape and often stay on one of our houseboats. You can visit lostbeargallery.com.au for more information. You can also check out the artists websites:
Some of the artwork that will be on display,
painting by Rowan Matthews,
and crocodile sculpture by Ian Swift.
A piece by Scott Marr. Scott uses a technique called pyrography, where he draws by burning on paper (or wood) and painting with natural pigments.
Hitting the ground running- Fishing Weipa in
(thanks to Marcus for this article and photos)
It was my ninth trip to Weipa. I keep coming back to this wild and raw environment to pursue my passion in a place who’s mood is always harsh, tempered with a sense of tranquility in a land where danger is always near.
Fishing, the pastime becomes an event equal to a national title. The trip up takes a full day, with luggage that always includes the new tackle to do battle with some of the nastiest yet unique aquatic dwellers on earth. These fish are big with attitude whose nature is to grab lures and tear them apart. This is Weipa in far north Queensland and this trip did not disappoint.
Our first day was met with a light SE wind blowing up the harbour. The view point from the shore line gives you a perfect position to ascertain the direction you need to head for that day’s action. Generally, this wind gives the angler the opportunity to get some close and personal action in the shallows of the east coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The myriad of opportunity only 15 minutes from the harbour gives you the time to fine tune your bait caster outfit taking in an exquisite expanse of turquoise bommies, reefs and Rockie structure. In depths of less than two metres the residents here included small queenies, trout, cod, striped perch and even some long toms. Now there teeth are sharp. Pliers are mandatory, everything has teeth up here and they know how to use them.
Picture of Trout, Picture of tusk fish
With the day marching on and the wind dropping off it was time to do the poles.
The poles are in fact the channel markers for the ore ships that come daily in and out on their way to refineries all around the world. And while they are necessary to guide the ships safely into port, they are also your next best friend. These poles are structure and so bait fish tend to congregate around them and near them. And so do the predators. Big GTs, and Queen fish, over a metre. Oh Yer!!, now we are talking.
There is a trick to it, however. In the past on earlier trips you sidle up to the pole, drop the plastic or metal down and hook up. Yep ,its that easy. Once line starts tearing off your Sol 4000 you need to move away from the pole or history will mark this instance with discontent. In the early days I was a slow learner as these fish have local knowledge and you’re the visitor. Once away from the pole back off the drag and have some fun with the wild life. Not too much though, as the splashing around may attract the sharks.
Speaking of sharks. My Brother in law Joe accompanied me on this trip. He was a wonderful inclusion into my tackle box and not a slouch when it comes to the art of fishing. In the previous year I come up alone. It was fantastic, however selfies with fish were impossible and many events that were critical moments in time, alone, faded into obscurity.
Joe on this day decided he wanted to play with a shark. Accompanied with his trusty broom stick with 80lb something, he presided to bait a 9o hook. As he had messed this hands with fish frame caught the day before , he placed the broomstick into the rod holder briefly allowing the bait to wash upon the surface of the water. I was facing the other way when I heard small crack and then a gear explosion. As I turned to the turmoil before me, the overhead reel instantly became art in the form of chaos creating a bird’s nest the likes I had never seen before. Lots of expletives later and yes, losing the opportunity of playing with the shark. We worked out never leave a rod in a holder untendered and never leave bait in the water unless you are holding onto the rod.
A new day dawns and this was a day were hunting our query inside the system was the best option as the SE was quite prohibitive and comfort in small craft should always have a place.
We took off up the Hey River not far in distance from our launch sight. Approx 30minutes running time to a spot where a small tidal creek meets the main river. There are many of these areas in the Hey. I have spent years here now and still only know a small area of this surveyed river system. This spot felt strongly fishy and our soft plastics were once again the key to a great day in this pristine wilderness.
On the way home we saw an area of rocks on the shore line around Hey point. My legs needed a stretch so we went ashore and with bait caster and gold bomber at hand I proceeded to undertake a session that will be the stuff of legion. Not saying that every cast was a fish, but hay it was very special. And like the other days in Weipa when time comes to go back to port, we have many great stories to share and many cold drinks to keep us hydrated in the barmy heat of November.
The last day I was once again crewless (Joe was done) and with the SE back down to manageable I returned to my favourite pursuit. The poles!! I caught and released a dozen fish over a couple of hours. Mainly queenies and Golden trevally with a very angry spotted mackerel who unsuccessfully tried to trim my toes while briefly on board.
Over the five days we did battle with hundreds of fish. Most went back with only a meal for us each day taken home. This place of wild and wilderness is indeed a reel fisherman’s wet dream. I placed it on my bucket list several years ago and continue to come back to the excitement Weipa has to offer. This holiday will leave you exhausted and yet exhilarated at the end of the trip. I can only wish that all holidays were like this place called Weipa.
You can Contact Steve or Lisa at Weipa Houseboats for details on booking a trip in November for a group of mates or like I did on my first trip with my family. Family holidays like this will be spoken about again and again.
We have plenty of availability in November 2015 on either of our houseboats.
We take this opportunity to wish all our friends, business associates and customers past and future all the best for the silly season that is Christmas. Lisa and Tilly will be enjoying a whirlwind trip to Sydney which will include a visit to Katoomba and the gone fishin art exhibition. Then we will all spend some time with family in South Australia.
Safe travels everyone, and we will continue to keep you up to date in the New Year,
Lisa, Steve and the Weipa mob