Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 11:37 am
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Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:53 am Post subject: Shady Camp from Buff Creek
As some of you know I headed to shady camp for a stay on the Botel leaving from Buff creek, because frankly, it seemed like a fun thing to do. To say I spent some time sweating on what the weather might do would be an understatement. But in the end the weather played out to the forecast nicely.
The other logistical issue was going to be fuel and having enough of it, especially since I only owned two jerry cans. I quickly found three more at the right price and then put a call out here for some more. The response was very positive with several offers to loan out as many as I needed. Thank you to all that offered and to Paul who I met up with.
The trip over was a dream run. We arrived at Buff creek at 4am, rang the bell for the compound and launched the boat. I headed off up Buff creek and thought oh no we are too heavy, but moving some weight around the boat came back into to trim and off we went. By the time we got to the Vernon’s the weight had come down by 15 litres and everything was great. Note to self, that is the absolute weight limit in ideal conditions, less next time.
We took our time and arrived at Ruby Island about 6am for first light, taking on the clear advice we went on the inside. We stopped for a drink and had a cast at the spit but to no avail, so off we went to Marsh creek.
At Marsh there was plenty of fresh water out the front, about 1km out to sea. We pushed up onto the flat for a look but the tide had fallen too much. We tried trolling around and the big black croc came out to welcome us. I hooked up to a small thready but dropped it. So off we went to the Botel.
If you haven’t been to the Botel, go. We got there about 9am and dropped off the fuel and gear an then went out the front for a troll. We got our only fish trolling quite quickly, a small thready which I thought looked too tasty to throw back. Found quite a few fish on the sounder and even some big ones but not much was getting caught by the few boats that were there. Yes there was only 12 boats at most on Thursday morning.
So back to the Botel for lunch and a rest. In the afternoon we went to swim creek. AAnd that ended up a daily afternoon routine. Cook up a sausage sandwhich on the Botel, tidy the boat and go to Swim creek.
At swim we had a few hits, the barra were boofing and we saw a few get caught by the other boats including a small one on ours. Feeling pretty happy with the day we went back to the Botel for the night.
Day two and we headed up tot he barrages and creeks and we were not disappointed. At times the barra were boofing all around the boat and it was a hit a cast. I landed 8 barra and my mate just 2. We left them on the chew to get back to the mouth for the low tide for a trolling run. And we got nothing and neither did the other boats which again were few in number by Shady camp standards. We had our feed and then off to swim creek and I got another 3 barra taking my days quota to 11.
The plan for Day 3 was to go to the dead forest, but at 6am on Saturday morning I hadn’t seen any boats go past. A quick decision was made and we went to Marsh creek instead and to my surprise we were boat number one. Well today was my decky’s day. A few casts in and he had his first for the day at 69cm.
About 30 minutes later he hooked into a horse. His drag was probably set a bit light, it was only a 6kg rod and this fish went berserk. It shot out the mouth and peeled some line jumping 3 three or four times as it went. He got some line back and then back out the creek it went, straight for the snags in the mouth. The line was rubbing away and I thought he was going to get done when it stopped. But out of the water she came another few times. Then she went back tot he sticks and stayed down and we feared the worst. We left her a bit of slack and out she came, straight back into the air. A minute later she came to the boat and got welcomed into the net. We let her sit there for a couple of minutes to catch her breath and I instructed my mate to get out the tags and the brag mat and to turn on the deck hose. The hose went in her mouth as I removed the hooks which almost feel out and put a tag in. Onto the mat and she went 97cm, my friends personal best. A quick snap and we released her on the bank side and she took her time to swim. But just as I thought we might have to take her she decided that it was time and off she went. High fives all round.
We hooked up to another big one, well my decky did but it threw the lure. To say he was pleased with the lure selection I had given him would be an understatement. Finally just before 8am the second boat arrived followed by the third. There were a few boofs and I think the other boat got one too, sorry can’t recall.
We headed off to the dead forest for a look. It’s much more over grown than when I first went up there and had to go further than before for it to open up. We had a few cast but found nothing so went to the mouth for a feed and then to troll the low tide. Nothing happened for us and we didn’t see anyone else score. One of the boats from our group did get a 93cm though earlier in the morning and were pretty chuffed until we mentioned the 97cm fish.
We got to Swim creek in the afternoon early to push in with the tide. At first it was okay but then the northwest wind kicked right up and was terrible slopping everything around. Fishing in the mouth was hard and we eventually moved in the creek to join our mates and get dry. We got a load of hits, as did the three other boats and our other mates who were managing to hold ground out the front. But no one could stay connected and only a few fish were boated. The trip back was wet.
Day four and we decided we would go back up stream and had given up even bothering to have a troll. We got there early caught a rat and moved up to the second barrage at Red Lilly and decided to go over (around it) and up into the billabong for a look. We found a small creek and played with the tarpon for fun showing my friend up 5 to 3. We came back to the other barrages and got the barra count up as well getting a score of 4 each. We moved around again and got a few more but again it was my friends day as I would stay locked at 5 to his 8 for the final score in the afternoon.
Day five and we had the boat packed the night before and we left off at 6am to Mash creek for the first leg of our journey, straight out the front and into a storm. The seas were sloppy and it was a wet slow ride. We got there to find two boats had beat us. Normally I would hold back and give people space, but that day I went straight up behind the much bigger guide boat and roped off to the tree behind him. He was pretty good about it too. To show our appreciation we didn’t even fish the first half an hour.
Turns out we didn’t miss much either. The boat behind got the only hook up, the fish ran straight under the boat and old mate drove his rod into the water to chase her. Nekminit this big fish erupted out of the water on the opposite side of the boat and his line snapped with a massive crack and that was that.
At 9:30 am conditions had calmed, we travelled out the front said goodbye to the boat from our crew and headed for Camp Creek. We snuck in for a look and cast at the snags but had no luck. All those snags got us thinking it must be time for a sausage sandwhich whilst we wait for the low tide to make our way around Cape Hotham in the slack water. So we came out of the creek to avoid getting locked in and parked up on the beach with a back anchor set to hold us out. We sat up in the shade and had a bbq and beer which was a pretty good break.
We came back to the boat which was still a float, just… And we couldn’t quite get it moving. We tried desperately but that was it, she was stuck. We cussed for about 30 seconds looking out at the glassy seas, thinking all that perfect timing just went to poop. And then thought, oh well lets grab a beer and go explore as we had at least 2 hours to kill. Hell it’s funny just thinking about it again, you have to have good company when you go fishing.
2 hours became 3 as the water finally floated the boat but the sea was flat. We turned the nose and stood behind the pods walking the boat out to the deeper water. And I got stung by this bl..dy box jelly fish. I ripped it off and jumped in the boat which freaked my mate out so much I blinked and he was standing atop the esky ready holding the net ready for anything! Note to self carry vinegar in the boat.
I said a few choice words and then said “right lets go, the driving will take my mind off it.” The ride around Hotham was glass. In Howard channel it progressively got rougher as the speed of the tide picked up, we had completely missed planned the idle portion of the tide. When we got to Gunn Point the seas were about 1 metre, there was plenty of water so I short cut through the outer hole. At the other side of Gunn Point the seas were 2 metres and it was poop for trip back to Buff creek, slowly settling to about 1m by the time we got there. And yes it was wet.
But that’s part of the adventure and all up we got about 30 barra, had heaps of fun and escaped the real world for 5 whole days.
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:27 pm
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Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:02 am Post subject: Re: Shady Camp from Buff Creek
What a trip and what a write up! Is the botel just a run off thing or is there year round? I'm heading up in early may from tassie and pumped is an understatement! Let's hope you get some more rain out of this monsoon between now and then. Cheers
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