Daly River 2020

And jacks, salmon, jewfish - tell us how you went. NT, FNQ and Norwest.
wonderwobler
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Daly River 2020

Post by wonderwobler » Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:18 pm

Large scale pestilence is something I never gave much thought too.

Like most outdoorsmen I have experienced mozzie’s in numbers that lower your blood levels, sand-fly’s and midges at a density that cause your skin to be on fire and your sanity to be in question.
Lets not forget marsh fly’s with their ability to drill through clothes, not to mention their brutal cousin the buffalo fly who can pierce leather and make even the toughest flinch when they stab a victim with their lance. All these things surely are uncomfortable and to some degree dangerous with transferable disease possible.
But real pestilence like a locus plague I has never experienced.

Over the last few weeks I have observed some extreme events insect wise.
First were the flying ants, I don’t know if they are ants as they are active at night, most ants are not, but the number of these insects attracted to our lights for a few nights was astounding, could have been millions. The cane toads were feasting, as was I with my .177 air rifle, head shooting toads at 15m was challenging fun for the whole family.

Then came the moths. These things got into everywhere, much to the dismay of those who don’t like holes in clothes or anything fibrous. The darker places held untold numbers of these invaders, I made the error of leaving the window of my Ute open, yep the cabin was full of moths, had to set an insect bomb off inside the car to get em.

When I first noticed the caterpillars I didn’t take much interest, then over a few days there was a visible change in some of the trees around the house, they were being stripped of leaves by a mass of caterpillars. This hoard of bugs increased in number very quickly and was systematically eating the lower branches bare.
I swear there was so many that during quiet spells when there was no wind I could hear them chewing. With the added bonus of being shat on if you were under the tree. There was so much caterpillar poop on part of the house roof I had to gurney the tin clean. I had to drain one of my rain water tanks and clean it because of caterpillar poop. Under the trees the ground is discolored by bug poop.

At the moment an outbreak of wasps is happening, never seen so many.
I guess they are harvesting the caterpillars placing them in their neat little clay coffins they build, creating an ongoing dry season job for me to scrape and wash these robust structures of the buildings and machines.

You can tell that the river is not attracting my attention, not because of a new found fascination with insects. They are a distraction from a situation and conditions I never anticipated, I'm in denial.

Perhaps the bug events are influenced by the weather conditions, things aren’t the same as my experience and observation has been in the past. The current conditions are all new to me and the outcome concerning, I find it difficult to accept the possibility of another dud wet.

The boffins who claim to have the knowledge think the river can survive a dud wet season, they also think two in a row will have dramatic impacts on the river.
Meanwhile there is no change in the management parameters for the extraction of water, contamination of water or the harvesting of fish.

What could possibly go wrong?



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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by Matt Flynn » Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:48 pm

Nicely written.

The lack of "adjustability" to take into account external factors is a great concern, they can't claim to be managing the river if they can't turn the dials to deal with seasonal variability.

There has been rain all over Cape York and down much of the East Coast, almost like a verticle monsoon trough, it is very strange.

We had a plague of wasps here one year, I thought it must be a local nest, but they were everywhere up in the hills too, it was unsettling going bushwalking with the constant hum.

This year, I've seen maybe two or three.

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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by theodosius » Fri Jan 31, 2020 5:40 pm

We had heaps of cicadas this season in Darwin too

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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by al57 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:09 am

we too here in hervey bay have had no rain events this season meaning the big barra in our rivers arent going to breed ,leaving them now at the hands of the pros that decimate the river each year.they will not gives a rats with taking the big breeding fish out ,just thinking of the money but will be the first to complain when the fishery collapses.we were talking the other day and wondering in these events where we know the fish are stressed and wont breed can the closed season be extended to stop the carnarge in non rain seasons to try an protect the delicate fisheries.could be a solution for you up there in the territory too.

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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by wonderwobler » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:23 am

“Records are there to be broken”
This statement is used for all sorts of events and situations. It’s commonly quoted for sport achievements.

In the past it was very rarely connected to anything negative or nasty, braking records generally were seen as an achievement to aspire to, something to aim for.
The term broken record now has a somewhat concerning if not frightening use. The most frequent use of the quote nowadays accompanies weather events, record heat, drought, storms etc., etc.

Unlike a human who creates a record that may never be broken and does not have negative impacts the same cannot be said about the weather.

If you haven’t noticed, things are very different at the moment. Old people from here where I live (including me) are seeing the river in a condition that can only be described as sick, the illness is spreading with weed infestation and insect populations out of control, things that would normally be managed by heavy rain and flooding waterways.

During a recent chopper trip it was very noticeable that what were once considered permanent billabongs have dried or shrunk to mere puddles. The current wet season is making last year’s look good, another broken record.

Talking with others of similar vintage as me we concluded that we are glad to be as old as we are, we have seen and experienced what may be the last of the good times, we will still catch a few fish but we certainly won’t be breaking any records.

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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by NinjaFish » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:47 pm

Speaking of broken records...

Like a birthday card with well wishes here’s another one from the authorities wishing you 50-150mm with isolated 200mm falls in a few days time around the Daly.

We can all only hope now WW.
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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by Matt Flynn » Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:03 pm

During a recent chopper trip it was very noticeable that what were once considered permanent billabongs have dried or shrunk to mere puddles. The current wet season is making last year’s look good, another broken record.
Similar reports around the world. Extremes both ways. Look at what happened to the Mekong River, and others.

I have cracked ground here, a load of hard "moondust" instead of grass in the yard, the underground-seepage fed dam is very low, and yet I did not have to order the water truck this summer, except for some backup fire-fighting water. I think there was enough rain to top up tanks, but the extra wind and heat just evaporated all the ground-fallen water away, and the ground is so dry that much of it just runs off. The water table appears to be gone.

I was encouraged to find a tree-ring study that said the worst Australian droughts were in the 1700s.

Perhaps this will eventually turn around to record floods. Global weirding.

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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by wonderwobler » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:51 pm

Electronic wizardry can be wondrous and frustrating. The information provided can influence decisions and expectations, some good, others not so.

The sounder/gps plastic box in my boat has so many features and programs that I probably will never have the time or inclination to use many of the things it can do, I bought it to see under water, the GPS feature just happen to be included. I fish in a river that over the years I have become fairly familiar with.

The sonar it is capable of is, to me astounding, the ability to see structure and things that swim in fine detail including shape and depth causes me no end of decision making. Although I’m not confident I’ll ever really get a handle on the side scan interpretation.

The GPS feature I do use is the trip programme, it provides me with a log of distance travelled, and I use this as a guide for engine maintenance, I don’t have an hour meter and I do my own servicing.
Last month the plastic box said I travelled 581klm in search of fish, some days I travel as little as 100 metres other times as much as 100 klm depending on river conditions.
Thank heaven for four stroke engines. I could not afford to do these distances with the 2 bangers of the past, although I used to when I was working, retirement changes many aspects of life.

I began to notice the sonar part of the plastic box was changing the way I fish, my dependence on the information it provides was growing, and decisions to fish a spot were being made by the wizardry rather than my knowledge, gut feelings and observations. No fish shapes on the screen at spots I thought might have a fish or two had me moving on without putting in a decent effort.

The result was I was travelling more and casting less. At first I blamed the river conditions on a diminishing encounter with fish, even though I was going to spots that have produced fish for me for decades, the reality was I wasn’t fishing as hard and ignoring the things I have learnt.

While there is no doubt that river conditions are playing a significant role in my success. I have returned to my approach of following my gut feeling and learnt experience resulting in less burnt petrol and more bent rods, I won’t dismiss the wizardry, its valuable information, shame it’s sometimes hard work for an old man.

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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by NinjaFish » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:26 am

Couldn’t have said it better.

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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by pms » Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:51 am

581km on one river in one month, WW you're a legend.
Really enjoy your posts and thoughts about how a river system works and how to figure out fish.
I have been trying to learn about sidescan and tried a friend's unit on my boat for a trip recently and we travelled big distances and didn't really fish some spots that hard because the scanner said there weren't many fish there. I think the electronics are good info for sure, especially for trolling, but I have been wondering if it is as reliable at seeing fish hard up against the bank or on the shallow sticks where you might normally be casting for them at some drains. All the online videos I have seen about them seem to be talking about finding fish in the main body of the waterway, not on the outer edges?

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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by ronje » Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:44 am

What's the verdict on the NT wet this year?

Good or poor?
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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by slug » Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:23 am

pms wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:51 am
..... but I have been wondering if it is as reliable at seeing fish hard up against the bank or on the shallow sticks where you might normally be casting for them at some drains. All the online videos I have seen about them seem to be talking about finding fish in the main body of the waterway, not on the outer edges?
x2

No problems with large areas of water with little other structure, but in tight creeks/channels of only 15/20mtr wide and 1mtr deep, or up tight and shallow on a draining rockbar in 1/2 mtr where I do a lot of my fishing - no good.

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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by ronje » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:26 am

PMS

Does your sounder have the ability to look left OR right separately and can those images be put horizontally on yr screen (one above the other)?

If u're in a creek 20m wide, then the range that you need to dial in is 12m each side.

If the bank that you want to look at is on the RHS, then only look at the RHS image. The whole screen will be viewing the RHS so you'll get better resolution.

Ditto with the LHS bank. Better resolution.

If you still want to see both banks then put the LHS and RHS images one above the other horizontally so u're using twice as many pixels to see each image.

ergo..better resolution in the snags rocks etc especially close to the bank edges.

Works for me.
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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by pms » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:03 pm

Thanks Ronje, yes I have seen a youtube video showing how to set it to left/ right. But I wonder if pinging the sides from the transducer leaves out progressively more info the wider you go?
ie directly below the boat, you see the whole water column, half way to the bank (eg at 6m, if set at 12m wide, in a 20m creek that's 1-2m deep, like you say) you are only seeing the bottom half of the water column and none of the top half, 3/4 way to the bank you are only effectively seeing the bottom quarter of the water column, etc.
My understanding is that sidescan shows you the bottom of the waterway well, but it is not showing you the mid- and upper- water fish the further you go from the boat. As you get closer to the bank and further from the boat you lose more and more of the upper water column. This would be partly negated in situations where the waterway gets shallow on the banks (so no upper column), but not in channels or steep-edged drains.

You judge the depth of a fish off to the side by the distance its shadow sits from its body. Once you get wide enough you cant see shadows any more, and maybe not fish either?

So sometimes driving past a drain and deciding there are no fish there, maybe you should be stopping for a while to flick the edges, maybe this helps explain why wonderwobbler gets better results with his gut than his electronics.
I don't really understand how different waterway shapes will appear on the screen, what a channel with steep walled banks would look like compared to a flat/ pan-shaped creek. I also don't know if you can tell bottom depth accurately away from the boat> Ill try to attach a drawing to show what I mean. Regards Phil
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Re: Daly River 2020

Post by wonderwobler » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:53 am

Migration is common with many things, birds, fish and animals, even plants migrate with their seed moved by the wind, water and animals. Humans are probably the most prolific and successful of migrators.

I’m experiencing an interruption of migration on the river. The effects are immediately obvious to the eye, but some effects are more subtle and not quite as visible until I get over the obvious difference and start to fine tune the senses and observation of the environment I’m in.

Firstly it’s very quiet, I live in a peaceful place, and mates reckon you can hear a grasshopper fart at my place, but at present it’s the quietest I have experienced. It took a while to pinpoint the reason, no aircraft or boats. Not that I normally have many of either going over or past my home but it’s noticeable.

Secondly the river is calm. I have been travelling on the river in search of fish on a river that’s like a sheet of glass, the submerged snags and rock bars stand out like dogs balls creating ripples and upwelling’s that can be seen from an amazing distance. The tidal bore is so obviously pronounced even the smaller incoming tides are visible. Fish can be seen disturbing the surface at great distance as they move about.

Thirdly the water seems clearer. Particularly in the middle reaches say from Kangaroo rock to Alligator head, I have never seen the S bends so clear on rising tides.

My fishing effort has had variable success, as it does. A few of the sessions when I got it right as far as time and location goes have resulted in busy sessions with a couple of dozen fish hooked and about half that number landed, as normal. The size of the fish leaned toward the smaller end of the measure with many fish in the 40 – 60cm calibre, I haven’t tangled with any big fish, not though lack of trying. The mullet are somewhat calm and don’t seem to be as nervous as they should be, I can only guess there is not as many predators around. The crocs are more relaxed and a bit cheeky, I’ve had more than one want to share the space with me and not move on when encouraged to do so.

The fishing has been far from good, it’s no surprise given the poor wet season. I think my reasonable success is based on a lack of migration that has created a quieter, calmer and clearer river not to mention the ability to select a spot and work it undisturbed. The virus is a terrible thing, but every cloud has a silver lining.

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