Well I am a lousy fisherman, always have been, but while I am exiled from family for the next ten weeks I intend to to my damnedest to learn. After all there is plenty of fish in the ocean and the Strait seems to have more than its fair share. Plus, apart from drinking and rugby league there is sweet F.A. else to do up here.
An American mate I meet in the Amazon Jungle a couple of years ago, crashed on my couch a while back and left me a fishing rod, which I hauled up here. But I soon realise I may be under-gunned. My line is 15 pound strength, and the locals tell me 150 pound snaps like cotton. I suspect it’s an old fisherman’s tall tale…
My first endeavour involves sitting on the dock dangling prawn tails on hooks, but not a single nibble – I go home empty handed.
Then on the second attempt a couple of days later I manage to catch what’s known locally as a Monkey Fish, inedible and I was the laughing stock of the other fisherman on the wharf, they were pulling Trevally and coral trout a foot long. You had to be quick as there as a two metre Bronze Whaler Shark snapping the fish right off the lines as they were pulled in, a couple of time it breached clean out of the water. He didn’t go for my fish, it was too small, it didn’t even come out in my photo!
On my third day I hung out with some local lads, and one guy, who will call G, taught me some local knowledge, firstly how to caste, secondly how to read the tides and most importantly what bait to use.
This may be hard to believe, but they use crayfish as bait up here!
I managed to catch a slightly bigger fish than my previous attempt, and G said it was a keeper. But he felt sorry for me and gave me a couple from his esky from my dinner.
He told me you he makes fish curry using the lemongrass from the community garden on TI (Thursday Island in local talk). He also leaves some fish on ice over night to tender it up.
The following night, using my new found knowledge I managed to pull up a nice trevally, despite the same shark jumping out of the water as I did.
Panfried with oil, salt and lemon juice, a dinner of champions…