Taking an eighty year old on a fishing charter to catch her first fish is one thing, getting it in is another!
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to witness a school of Spanish Mackerel make the day of three lovely old ladies. Beginning as a peaceful scenic cruise, our expedition quickly evolved into what could be described as an amateur fishing circus performed on the cast deck of the boat.
If you've worked as a fishing guide in the Top End of Australia you have probably come to the understanding that fishing in this part of the world is that little bit more unpredictable and exciting! Those moments you wish you had caught on film have now turn into mildly embellished campfire yarns that will last a lifetime.
Old or young, short or tall, anxious or poised, French or Aussie, we all love to catch big fish!
There’s no better (or amusing) site than watching the faces of first timers having their drag screaming out the back of the boat. Queenies, GT’s, cobia, tuna you name it, they all have their exciting traits.
Over the years I have found one of the best techniques for fishing with beginners is to troll. Not only is it much calmer than bottom bashing out wide, but you have the opportunity to take in the area and coach people individually when their onto a fish. It can be rather monotonous if you’re not catching anything so it's important to choose your location and tides wisely.
Early this year I had three first time fisherwomen in our 7m boat, all eager to fulfill great expectations (partly my fault as I was talking up the fishing).
It was late afternoon at the change of a neap tide and there was little tidal movement. There had been consistent schools of good size Spanish Mackerel at a spot close to camp for the past week, so off we headed. I gave everyone a briefing and a demonstration of how to go about things if they were to hook up. This was acknowledged by three nodding heads, so out went the lines in anticipation.
Fifteen minutes later I distinctly remember the excitement of the ladies fading at a rapid pace. "Looks like the fish aren't here today?" I’m questioned.
“A little bit of patience ladies. It can be quite one second and then you can all be on at once”.
Sure enough within two minutes, WACK, WACK, WACK! They’re all on. One on the right, one on the left and one in the middle all with metre plus Spaniards pulling at the bit.
Well.... The boat turned into a sideshow for the next twenty minutes. Rods under rods, rods over rods, laughing fits, screaming, you name it. With persistence, encouragement and of course great tuition, we somehow landed three giant Spanish Mackerel in succession.
Without needing to say, we had three pretty happy campers in the boat all with big grins and individual stories of triumph. Great fun for the fishing guide let alone three beginners ranging from 60 to 80 years of age. Good stuff!
The sashimi and cutlets went down a treat!