Eleventh Hour High
  |  First Published: April 2009

Ever noticed how you can fish all dang day and not get a thing, but just as you need to get home to pat the dog and feed the kids or feed the dog and pat the kids, all hell can break loose? Skipper and I discovered this and we're lucky it's not the last thing we found out.

We were in the Sandy Strait throwing some herring and mullet out for about 60 hours on this particular Saturday. Nothing happening. Skipper had to clean his BBQ (yeah I know) so we were a bit late getting out, just before the top of the tide, so the whole time we were over there, the tide was running out like a stale curry.

Now I don't know whether you know the Sandy Strait at all, but it's about 2m deep in the deepest hole at the top of a storm surge during a king tide. Now Skipper and I knew this because we may have had the odd problem before. Skipper had a whinge about it but his boat got the front up better without 3kg of sand in the impellor.

So anyway, this time we knew we couldn't leave it too late. So, we sat there for the entire day (well an entire day after cleaning a BBQ) not getting a touch until – you guessed it – they went berko just on dark. Did I mention that this was about two thirds down on the tide? Did I have to?

So there we were, desperate to get home, but transfixed as showers of baitfish arced up into the golden late afternoon sunlight streaming across onto the white dunes of Fraser. And we started to get hits too. We picked up a few flatties but there were bigger beggars out there and we were going to find out what they were or die trying. Which is probably a poor choice of words come to think of it, because that's what we nearly did!

Just as the top of the sun's orb was going over the horizon, we belted out into the Straits, heading for home. It wasn't a good feeling in the boat, but we were pretty sure the tide had bottomed out and we would be able to float with the current up that skinny ar$#d creek and back to the ramp. As we got closer to the channel into the ramp though, things began to look ugly. There was already a boat waiting there, and old mate didn't look much bigger than us.

And he wasn't much bigger but we weren't about to hang around so we decided to have a crack at the channel. After all, it wasn’t getting lighter, and Skipper was worried about rust collecting on his barbie (that's his cooking plate, not his doll – He keeps his doll in an air locked chamber).

Anyway, up we went. There was more bum scraping than a day at the vets. But we battled on, pushing where we had to as the tide ran out…and out…and out. And we pushed...and pushed…and pushed. The only bright spot was when some young fella went breezing past at about 30 clicks in his 10 footer. I could see the smug look on his face. Too bad he was too far away for me to see his expression when he hit the sandbank around the next corner – it made us feel better.

And we felt even better when we got back to the ramp without standing on a single ray or stonefish. We were really up the next day when we looked in the paper and saw that some cove had thrown a cast net over a 4m salty just across the way. Might be alright for you northern boys, but me, I’d rather stick to the stonefish and rays.

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