How things have changed on the fishing scene over the years

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olfart
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by olfart »

Olfeller, you realise that what we're doing now is what we used to do so many times back then,,the only thing missing is the assortment of sit upons, eski's, the smell of woodsmoke and cooking fish. The night whitey sat on the barbie plate was farken hilarious at the time, but the poor bugger spent more than a month eating his meals off the sideboard in his loungeroom. Tough old bloke tho', he fished on all weekend sittiin' on a pillow case full of foam rubber i ripped out of me swag. By monday night his jocks were welded to the blisters on his date, he travelled back layin on his belly in the tray of the tojo on what was left of me swag. Maz reckoned it took an hour to soak em off in the bath. Bob kicked off last year in Atherton, and reliable sources have told me he still had a bright pink bald patch on each cheek. Some blokes were hardcase.. He was case hardened.


" YOUTH is a GIFT "
"AGE is an ART "
"Doesn't mean you get any smarter..just wrinkled and cracked".

"No angler watches nature in a passive way...He enters into its very existence." (John Bailey...Reflections on a Waters Edge)

"Govern a Family as you would catch a small fish....Very Gently." (Chinese Proverb)

"Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish." (Rafael Sabatini...1857-1950)

I pray that one day God sends me a fish so big that, when talking of it...I have no reason to lie.
luke79
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by luke79 »

Love the old stories, the memoirs part of the fshing mag is always my favourite. Im reasonably young and I havnt been in the top end for too long but thankfully some of my mates at work are long timers and always have some great stories from the past.
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by jeffish »

Good post olfella
I first came here in 86 for a mates wedding,the best 2 weeks of my life .my mate had his honeymoon at robies sandbar on the Daly and yes we were all invited even his mom and dad ,just loved sitting at fire listening to his olman tell fishin stories about the good old days,,,oh yes the times they are a changing ,,,, good fishin olfella :fishing:

cheers
Jeffish
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by olfella »

olfart wrote:Olfeller, you realise that what we're doing now is what we used to do so many times back then,,the only thing missing is the assortment of sit upons, eski's, the smell of woodsmoke and cooking fish. The night whitey sat on the barbie plate was farken hilarious at the time, but the poor bugger spent more than a month eating his meals off the sideboard in his loungeroom. Tough old bloke tho', he fished on all weekend sittiin' on a pillow case full of foam rubber i ripped out of me swag. By monday night his jocks were welded to the blisters on his date, he travelled back layin on his belly in the tray of the tojo on what was left of me swag. Maz reckoned it took an hour to soak em off in the bath. Bob kicked off last year in Atherton, and reliable sources have told me he still had a bright pink bald patch on each cheek. Some blokes were hardcase.. He was case hardened.

Yep, sounds like one of those horrid mishaps to a mate that the rest of the fellas got heaps of mileage out for years after..........and still are..........
My ol mate Norm of the North was a true character that could fill a book of yarns and exploits, he kicked off earlier this year.
I made the mistake of sitting on blokes Coleman eski when I was a new chum........got put straight very quickly and never ever sat on one again until these new superdooper heavy duty ones came out.

But I have to take your first comment on mate, what I do now is heaps different. On any given dry season weekend if I wanted to fish/camp by myself I had a choice of 33 places, now I have none. I used to choose a fallen tree , throw a match in it and that was my camp fire for the weekend. You could leave your eski's under a tree and go fishing for a whole day without a worry. Now I don't crack my first beer until 5pm, had to buy a chain saw to be able to get enough decent wood for a camp oven and bring my fillets home with the stinking skin still on them.
But I still love it with a passion but I mainly must do it by myself now as the kids and missus have lost interest, my mates are dead, left or given up on it.

Do we know each other ??
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by barra mick »

olfella wrote:Hi fellas, I have followed my young mates lead and have decided to make my maiden speech on this site( or any site for that matter) given I have been having a bit of a sniff around for some time and enjoying some frank and seemingly honest stories and advice.
I caught my first Barra in 1976 at the Nourlangie Water Holes. For us older blokes who have been around a bit , that was back before Kakadu came into being.In those days a 12' car-topper was considered a big rig. Most, if not all of us, including myself, had a 11' tinnie and a 15 HP 2 stroke.

There was no boat ramp at the South Alligator so, upon your return, your fishing mate had to scramble up the bank if it was low tide with a rope to tie to the back of your ute to pull you onto dry land. You could fish all Saturday on the top of the South and be lucky to see another boat.If another boat turned up they would exercise the ethical decorum of the era and fish well away from you.Usually you would fish one fork and they would fish the other. Those 2 forks up the top of the river are now 'out of bounds'. On the dropping tide the fish would go ballistic.

One day I was up on the right hand fork and the Fisheries Police turned up to check out my safety equipment.I couldn't believe a police boat was on the water let alone checking for something called safety equipment. Besides I was onto about my 9th White Can for the morning so was a little on the cheeky side.The copper brought to my attention there were only 2 cars back at the bridge ( may have been a boat ramp by then ) so it was unwise to play silly buggers, give my correct name and address and to cop my $200 fine on the chin. Obviously I was being made an example of.
Fortunately a rugby mate of mine, who played for the same club, was in the police at the time. He came to me at training and suggested that I owe him a carton of Green Cans as he spotted my name on the fines list on his work computer and hit the delete button........anyway that was mateship for you back in those days.

I shudder now to think that what was considered responsible drink/driving back then was that you didn't crack your first can when going fishing until you drove through Humpty Doo. It was nothing to drink a carton of heavy cans for the day and drive back to Darwin. I am not proud of that aspect of fishing but unfortunetly that was very common.........somehow we survived.

When Stage 2 of Kakadu was legislated horrid little signs started to appear on the tracks to Red Lilly and 2 and 4 Mile Hole etc saying the roads were closed for the wet season. Upon complaing about this to the head bloke(who will remain nameless) of Kakadu we were told that those signs were only to protect tourists and that we could drive around them......but that wasn't to mentioned if an irrate ranger turned up. There were no problems for some years until locked gates started to appear. These to were ignored and the full letterof the law was applied. That is , if you are not caught opening the gate and taking the signs down then you can't be charged for being in a closed area. But things tightened up, deals were done and finally the gates now remain locked until officially opened.

Also back in the late '70's and early 80's you had to get permission from Point Stuart station to fish Shady Camp. Now that was hot fishing.There used to be a big floodplain a couple of kilometres up the creek that ran off to the right a few kilometres below the S -Bends.On the dropping tide those channels would produce catches of up to 70 Barra ( between 2 fisherman) up to about 90 cms. But unfortunately by the late 90's the channels had been overgrown with trees and bush.

Back in the early to mid 80's I had a choice of 33 spots to go Barra fishing and camping for the weekend where you wouldn't see another sole. Now I have one.

Then 'big rigs' on trailers started to appear, some were 14' !!!

I still used my car -topper for the Kakadu billabongs ( mostly I would take my 3.9 Stacer ) until my 11 year old daughter was nearly taken by a croc last year.

Over the years all my ol fishing partners, mates left Darwin,disappeared or gave up fishing.
Fortunately a group of young fellas have allowed me into their fishing circle, mainly for the expert advice and fatherly direction......well you older blokes know what I mean.
They opened up a whole new scene and adventures by introducing me to Chambers and Finke Bay etc as well as genuine blue water fishing.
The only real Blue water stuff I did was out of my 11 footer around the Peron Islands in the 80's,using a handline and a lump of lead on some rope to detrmine if there was any reef below the boat.

So this year I purchased a 4.85 Sea Jay, some braid, a sonar and a Chart Plotter, got my young mates to show me how to use it all and .....Kakadu billabong fishing/camping is now,almost, a thing of the past .

I can't believe that for 17 years I have lived only a 5 minute drive from Buffalo Creek boat ramp and only used it for the first time this year !!

I have seen a lot of changes in the recreational fishing industry since 1976 but I think there are more drastic changes to come ?? Eh fellas ??

Cheers

Olfella

that was splendid reading offfella....loved every word
you have to have crack even if your just pissin in the wind
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by skinny joel »

the times are a changin" .............. lets hope its for the better or at least not for the worse!?
that was a good read, i feel ive missed out on a prime piece of life (being only 25)
but at the same time new beginning come from some other beginnings end.
thanks for the yarn.
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by olfart »

Don't be too hard on yourself Joel, for all the good times there were plenty of crook one's, a lot of the waterways were mapped out in broken props and long spells on the oars. we learned to carry at least two props and half a dozen shear pins as essentials. Being the only boat on the river had a downside if you got into strife and couldn't fix it..Made a pull cord out of plaited 100lb line and a big ball sinker, Knocked Smithy out cold, and out of the boat that time, sinker got him smack between the eyes as it come off the pulley :bricks: ..Looked like rocky racoon the next morning, he couldn't see the funny side when I asked him if I could have the goose egg on his forehead for breakfast. I think he reckoned I sconed him on purpose. :roll: .He stayed up the front after that. :idea: Nowadays, you just turn a key, things have definitely come a long way, and yesterdays disasters are now todays campfire yarns. :lolpoint: Old fishermen never really die,they live on in the memories of the next generation,ad infinitum.
" YOUTH is a GIFT "
"AGE is an ART "
"Doesn't mean you get any smarter..just wrinkled and cracked".

"No angler watches nature in a passive way...He enters into its very existence." (John Bailey...Reflections on a Waters Edge)

"Govern a Family as you would catch a small fish....Very Gently." (Chinese Proverb)

"Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish." (Rafael Sabatini...1857-1950)

I pray that one day God sends me a fish so big that, when talking of it...I have no reason to lie.
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by olfart »

olfella wrote:
olfart wrote:Olfeller, you realise that what we're doing now is what we used to do so many times back then,,the only thing missing is the assortment of sit upons, eski's, the smell of woodsmoke and cooking fish. The night whitey sat on the barbie plate was farken hilarious at the time, but the poor bugger spent more than a month eating his meals off the sideboard in his loungeroom. Tough old bloke tho', he fished on all weekend sittiin' on a pillow case full of foam rubber i ripped out of me swag. By monday night his jocks were welded to the blisters on his date, he travelled back layin on his belly in the tray of the tojo on what was left of me swag. Maz reckoned it took an hour to soak em off in the bath. Bob kicked off last year in Atherton, and reliable sources have told me he still had a bright pink bald patch on each cheek. Some blokes were hardcase.. He was case hardened.

Yep, sounds like one of those horrid mishaps to a mate that the rest of the fellas got heaps of mileage out for years after..........and still are..........
My ol mate Norm of the North was a true character that could fill a book of yarns and exploits, he kicked off earlier this year.
I made the mistake of sitting on blokes Coleman eski when I was a new chum........got put straight very quickly and never ever sat on one again until these new superdooper heavy duty ones came out.

But I have to take your first comment on mate, what I do now is heaps different. On any given dry season weekend if I wanted to fish/camp by myself I had a choice of 33 places, now I have none. I used to choose a fallen tree , throw a match in it and that was my camp fire for the weekend. You could leave your eski's under a tree and go fishing for a whole day without a worry. Now I don't crack my first beer until 5pm, had to buy a chain saw to be able to get enough decent wood for a camp oven and bring my fillets home with the stinking skin still on them.
But I still love it with a passion but I mainly must do it by myself now as the kids and missus have lost interest, my mates are dead, left or given up on it.

Do we know each other ??
Olfeller, I was refering to people on the forum yarning the new fangled way...on a keyboard, thats what i meant by the things missing. I still 'go missin' every now and then, but, as you said just finding a possie is getting harder all the time, and forget about leaving your gear unattended.

There's every chance we've banged into each other.Met a helluva lot of blokes over the 45yrs I've been here. :cheers: Shorty.
" YOUTH is a GIFT "
"AGE is an ART "
"Doesn't mean you get any smarter..just wrinkled and cracked".

"No angler watches nature in a passive way...He enters into its very existence." (John Bailey...Reflections on a Waters Edge)

"Govern a Family as you would catch a small fish....Very Gently." (Chinese Proverb)

"Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish." (Rafael Sabatini...1857-1950)

I pray that one day God sends me a fish so big that, when talking of it...I have no reason to lie.
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by BlueyNT »

I was in Jabiru from 1980 -1989 ,

In the same boat as you Oldfella , getting back into fishing as well ,just bought a 4.2 Stacer and a 4 stroke Merc.
Had a no name 12' tinnie and a 15hp Mariner 2 stroke , in fact I still have them and plan to put them to use soon.
The motor I bought from Jack Vealel when he owned Winnellie Marine.

I remember the toe breaking "boat ramp " at the south alligator bridge , basically a pile of rocks dumped down the bank.
You had to carry the boat down and then the motor and all the gear ,couldn't risk trying to launch with a vehicle. I busted my toes and ripped toe nails out countless times.
Some time we would launch on the opposite side of the bridge (the upstream side ) we would balance the boat on the bank ,fit the motor on load all the gear into it and one of us would push the boat and run like hell behind it and jump in just as it hit the water .
The ramp at Munmallary landing was a bit better ,it had steel mesh fixed over it with starpickets driven in to hold it in place.

During the wet when the road to Jim Jim was closed (it was dirt and no bridges over Nourlangie Creek ) ,we would launch at the Sth Alligator bridge and go by boat ,It was an adventure , no signs, no markers or GPS ,lots of tall grass and swamp , it was easy to get lost because the place was like an inland sea , the only land mark was the line of fresh water mangroves and a stand of bamboo at the outlet of yellow waters. I recall one year a bloke and his girlfriend went missing for two or three days coming back from JimJim they missed the turn into the South and went on for miles and ran out of fuel .Eventually found by a search party ,burnt and mossie bitten but still alive and bit worse for wear .
Once we got to Home billabong at Jim Jim we would head for the pub , get the latest goss and fish reports and then head out ,after a couple of beers and a meat pie.

The East alligator was a top spot both upstream and down ,did a few post wet season trips down stream to the Magella Creek /East Alligator junction ,sit on the colour change and get smashed all day by barra. Up stream we would got to the rockhole , and even further up as far as the boat would go , then walk right up into the deep gorges and fish up there ,hard going because of the big log tangles and big rocks

My mate had a 13" Seabird dinghy and a 30hp long shaft Mariner 2 stroke his boat had more freeboard than my tinnie , one time we went to the mouth of the South Alligator and right across to Mini mini and fished there , we never saw another boat the whole four days we were there .No radio , but we had a 20.00 dollar compass from the NT General Store to guide us and an map of the area.
bl..dy long trip , we carried extra fuel in 20 litre oil drums and had 2 x 25litre boat tanks.
When one tank got down near empty we would fill lit with fuel from a oil drum , punch holes in the oil drum and toss it over the side.
We caught a lot of fish ,but only kept a couple each as we were low on space in the boat.

We did some hunting there also ,saw a big mob of Banteng and heaps of pigs. We used bows for the pig hunting to keep the noise down , we didn't want to attract unwanted attention.
Fred Pocock was alive then and we would go down to his place for the weekend , we would take recent newspapers ,fresh bread and vegies and other goodies for him .He was a top bloke , we were always welcomed with a big handshake and a smile , he would give us the mud crabs from his fish traps to take home.

I miss those days , my best mate, fishing and hunting partner left the territory and now lives in Bowen on a yacht ,we still keep in touch by phone.
Last time I went to Yellow Water I was absolutely shocked , bl..dy great bitumen carpark , a bl..dy warf and all . Fancy pub , not like the old tin shed which had a ton of character.
The carpark replaced the lawn like grass where we would camp .
Don't think I will ever bother going back there again .
Lots of other places we fished an explored before stage 2 and 3 of Kakadu came about ,I guess most of them are now locked away by the powers to be .
At least I had the opportunity to enjoy some of the best hunting and fishing Australia had to offer , I'm thankfull of that nad I still have the memories.

I reckon we may have crossed lines at at one time or other ,may have met at Alligator hole I recall meeting two blokes there one day , we sat and yacked for hours ,drank quite a bit of booze as well , one bloke was Paul Newman ,he worked for fisheries I think , a year or so later I read of him drowning at Ashmore Reef , IIRC they found his boat but never found him. Cant remember his mates name was it you?

Cheers
Kev
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by ronje »

There are only 2 things that change over time with fishing.

One is the methods and tools used.

The second is that it takes all day to do what we used to do all day.
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by olfella »

Jeesus BlueyNt, I read your post twice just to soak up the memories.
Almost all those places you mentioned are old haunts of mine. The first article I wrote for NTmag was about the first Barra I caught at the Nourlangie water Hole in 1976.
I used to motor up the South to the Cooinda pub all the time. Once 3 of us in 2 tinnies motored all the way to Twin Falls. It was a a 3 day round trip and I did 25 shear pins in my old 15 Mariner ( purchased from Jack Veal Marine)
I also used to visit Fred Pocock, though not often. Once a mate and me lifted him into our boat( his legs had gone) to go visit his friends who used to stay in a caravan down the bottom end of 4 Mile Hole. They used to be there every dry season
I can't believe you did the Mini Mini in 2 tinnies. I did the same trip earlier this year but in much bigger boats.
I used to spend about 18 weekends a dry camping on some water hole. I used to camp on Island Billabong and Jabiluka Waterhole and fish that Rock Hole you mentioned up the top of the East. Those 2 bongs were the first closed in Kakadu
A group of us went down to the Magella once and one of the groups motor broke down ( bl..dy ol Evinrude) We took it in turns towing him back until we realised we were going to run out of petrol. So pooled what we had left for ons boat to go get help.
So we must have bumped into each other somewhere .
That wasn't me at the Alligator though I remember that bloke only because of his name. I never knew he drowned
I never camped there much, mainly down from Bamboo Creek on the South or at Red Lilly.
I used to run into blokes and have a bit of a yarn.Once when crashing through the bamboo on Bammboo Creek, with my head down, I ran into a bloke coming the other way. We both nearly shat ourselves. He claimed that was his favourite spot and I was the first bloke he ever came across out there.
I also camped a lot on those bongs between 2 Mile and 4 Mile for 20 years. I would bump into the same blokes there on the very odd occasion.

So yes, no doubt I have seen or met you and Olfart around the traps somewhere
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by BlueyNT »

Talking about Alligator Billabong , caused me to remember , George Brown the one time Mayor of Darwin.
I used to be a volunteer ambulance driver in Jabiru , at that time there was no ST John Ambos in the town .
The NT Health Dept had supplied a Tojo troop carrier fitted out for the community to use.
One of the weeks I was on call , I got called out about 1.00 am in the morning and had to drive out to Alligator Billabong to collect a bloke who had gone leg up with a suspected heart attack .Turned out it was George Browns son , George and his son were camped there fishing , his son had come up from Sydney and they hadnt seen each other for twenty years or so and decided to go fishing for some Father Son bonding.
Any way the son was experiencing chest pain and George drove to the Sth Alligator motor Inn and phoned the Jabiru Clinic call out number.
It was an uneventful trip apart from the rough ride for the poor bugger , we got him back to Jabiru and onto the air med flight ,where he went to Darwin .Some two or three years I caught up with George in Darwin and asked about his Son , seems he survived and managed to sire another child , George reckoned that he had to proove that he still had it in him.
Just one of those things that happen when you live in the boonies I guess.

The Mini Mini trip was in one boat the 13 footer Sea Bird, the 15 hp motor off my dinghy was the back up ,it was a great trip ,and I plan to do it again ,maybe next year , bigger boat this time and a GPS though.

Kev.
I'm not young enough to know every thing .
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by skinny joel »

loving this thread. going to do a kimberley trip in my 4m explorer and make my own history i think.
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by olfella »

skinny joel wrote:loving this thread. going to do a kimberley trip in my 4m explorer and make my own history i think.
Hey, I did a Kimberley trip just last August with a mate. It was 22 hours driving time just to get there and 70 minutes to go the last 8 k's.
We took a 3.7 tinnie with a 15 HP, no sounder. Camped there for 8 nights and caught some good fish.
I wrote an article on it and it will be in the next edition of NTmag. Don't worry, as I had no sounder or GPS I couldn't give much away as to where we caught the fish.
3 out of the 4 boat trailers that were in there, counting ours, were damaged with one actually broken completely in half. The trick is not to carry to much weight in your boat ( we took the motor off and put it in the vehicle) but the corrugations still caused the trailer to snap one arm and the rocks pulled the bung housing out of the boat

One word of warning besides the state of the roads...............don't bl..dy fall in as the sharks are big and hungry. There were a number of spots where we couldn't get a fish to the boat, some were taken as we were about to land them

I am heading back there next year with a mate from down south who and will be camping for much longer.

I did a 9 day charter with Mal Miles in 2007. It cost me $5500 but it was the best money I have ever spent, not just for the fishing but for the scenery and isolation
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Re: How things have changed on the fishing scene over the ye

Post by olfella »

Just thought I would throw in the boats I have fishe out of the last 30 odd years.
The best times were had in the 3.3 and later the 3.9 ( which I didn't get until 1996 )
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