Light at the end of the tunnel
  |  First Published: August 2004

THERE’S finally some light at the end of the tunnel after a cold, windy Winter.

Warm, still days are approaching and anglers are finding it easier to get out of bed early to go and chase their chosen quarry.

Anyone game enough to get up early will find some great fishing to be had from the ocean rocks with drummer, blackfish, salmon and tailor all being prolific this time of year around the headlands.

Alex Garriock, who loves to flick lures around for bream, rang me recently and said he’d be staying at my place for the weekend. He was hoping that I would taking him spinning for bream in the Port. We have been good fishing mates since primary school but lately haven’t had much time to fish together.

Alex arrived as a big westerly change moved through. We awoke Saturday morning to find the trees were horizontal, so bream spinning was out of the question. Alex looked a disappointed until I announced ‘Plan B’.

Plan B included a rather large bag of bread, two seven-wrap rods and Alveys spooled with 10kg line. We were off to chase drummer.

After a good berley trail was established from the local rock platform and with the wind at our backs, drummer, bream and blackfish lined up ready to be caught and what was going to be a dud day turned out better than we could have hoped.

Sunday turned out to be just as windy so we headed for another headland armed with spinning gear and a handful of Check Mate metal lures. We spun up a good feed of tailor and a couple of salmon.


Although all the beaches around the Port have been producing quality bream, Stockton Beach has been the most prolific, with diehard locals Jack and Don Wilson hooking into some great Winter bream to a kilo.

Their only problem is keeping their bait in the water long enough for a bream to find it because as the local salmon population has been terrorising the shore break.


After a successful trip with me spinning for bream, Wayne Coles he put the Squidgy idea to catching whiting on the sand flats and came up with 10 or so beauties.

Then he heard of one of his neighbors, ‘Bloodnut’ Russell, catching good numbers of bream after dark in a berley trail. Wayne thought to himself for a while and organised a trip with Bloodnut chasing night bream.

Bloodnut arrived at Wayne’s place with the boat just before dark. Wayne looked up at the trees to see a 30-knot westerly howling. Bloodnut, ever the optimist, assured Wayne that where they would be fishing would be ‘completely protected from the wind’ and shortly after they launched the tinny at the Soldiers Point ramp. Wayne takes it from here:

“We arrived at Bloodnut’s secret spot about an hour before dark. I was keen to try my new Rack Raider rod on some bream using soft plastics after dark in one of Bloodnut’s berley trails. We anchored up and I began to rig up my new ‘favorite’ rod.

“Then Bloodnut opened the berley bucket and the smell quickly engulfed the boat. I had never smelt anything like it! Fermenting bread, off tuna oil, dead pilchards and old rotten crap scraps and shells – the whole thing, combined with Bloodnut's ‘secret’ ingredient, aniseed oil and lots of it. It smelt bad enough but when I looked in the bucket the whole concoction was writhing with maggots.

“By the time I tied my lure on I was faint with the smell. The tide was still out and we were fishing in about 30cm of water but Bloodnut assured me that once it got dark the bream would come on the chew.

“So I sat shivering in the front of the tinny as the wind shifted up a few more knots. As the sun set, the temperature plummeted. Still no sign of fish. ‘Wait another hour, they always come on an hour after dark,’ Bloodnut assured me.

“By this time, snow clouds were gathering on the horizon and I had lost all sensation in my fingers. An hour after dark came and still no sign of even just a bite. ‘We’ll wait until the tide,’ exclaimed Bloodnut, ‘they should bite on the tide.’

“By this time my eyes were beginning to puff up with an allergic reaction to whatever Bloodnut had in his berley bucket, my hands were frozen and I was wondering if I’d ever see my family again. And, finally, after sitting in the cold, wet, smelly darkness for hours on end without even a bite, Bloodnut wound in his line and at 10 minutes to midnight and said, ‘Time to go home now, we’ll have to try again tomorrow night’.

“To add injury to insult, as we drove home through the darkness, my treasured new Rack Raider rod blew out of the boat and onto the road.

“Bloodnut called for me the next night, trailering his tinny. I ran and hid in the study and left my wife to do the explaining. Bloodnut was disappointed that I couldn’t go and couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to. I guess some people are just die-hard fishermen. I thought I was until I went with Bloodnut.”

I’m glad to report that Wayne has almost recovered from mild hypothermia and, after a relapse of pneumonia, is recovering satisfactorily.

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