Saturday, 24 May 2014

27th May 2010

Four years!
Yes, it's four years since I started up my blog.
Have I regretted it? No
Have I gained from it ? Not certain about that, probably not.
Have I enjoyed writing it ? Yes. So that means I've gained from it...I suppose!
On top of that, I'm not too bothered what others may think of my writing, it's a personal diary , and that's the way it will probably stay.Unless I get some signs of wisdom in my dotage!

Late May
I've come back from Australia, fair to say, I'm refreshed by the experiences over the 30 odd days.
Meeting up again with the family and seeing how Ted and June's kids have matured, also meeting their offspring, and how they are fitting  in with the new multicultural world of theirs.

I'm also refreshed by the state of the garden, all fully grown since my last view back before Easter.
I've missed the great tits fledging, but the nest box has been taken over by a colony of small bumble bees, so I shall watch what they are up to with interest.
Apart from cutting the grass in the back garden which must have been a good six inches long, my front garden was looked after by John from around the corner ( my quiz team mate), there's just a bit of tidying up needed.
The ivy which has taken over the flank wall of my house needs trimming back or removing, but I've found a wren's nest, it's empty and probably an offering by the male wren not taken up by a mate.
I'll keep an eye on it
I've found a song thrush nest with 5 eggs in the hydrangea next to the front windows, a surprise find because the local blackbird pair took every opportunity to chase them off earlier in the season.
We'll need to have another go at the vegetable patch, the slugs/snails have made a good meal of them.
The fruit trees are looking well laden as are the fruit bushes, so a good crop expected all round.

Front garden

For the very first time our wisteria has flowered

My "dry" river bed

 back garden


the pond

I've had my first pint of proper "warm" beer, well three, yesterday lunchtime

It's make my mind up time this month.
Do I renew my Barbel Society membership and Scunthorpe Pisces, or my subscription to Coarse Angling Today ?
Do I look at different opportunities to fish? I must admit the call of the tench is stronger than it has been for some years?
My CAMRA membership is due for renewal, tempted to put that to one side for the time being, the jobs done there I think.

So just about ready to get out and fish...maybe Tuesday to see if there are any tench..Down in the Valley.

It's just stopped raining, so I'm off out to enjoy the countryside....via the bottle bank!

I think I've been bitten!
two elbows!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Australian Experience(Part two)

The itinerary

On our last visit to Australia 8 years ago, we started in Perth(via Singapore) moved up to Exmouth, back to Perth.
The we got on a train to Adelaide, flew on to Melbourne, then by plane to Sydney and then across to the North Island New Zealand we couldn't get the the South Island because the Cook Straight was closed due to the weather. Then home(via Bangkok).
We decided we would have to go back go back to see more of the country. It took a long time, but with much world travel in between time!
I think I have, somewhere the report I did to our travel agent, I may well put it on here!

17th April to 19th May
This time, using the same agent, we decided to see a little more of the country.
So, we started in  Kuala Lumpa , had two days there before flying on to Sydney and two days more. Then flying up to Cairns for a couple of nights and to pick up a hire car and drive slowly down the coast to Brisbane over 13 days.
From there we flew across to Perth, had an overnight and then flew up to Exmouth (Learmonth) for a week with my brother Ted, his wife, of 40 years June and the dog Mollie!

Whilst there, we met up with their second daughter Vicky and her husband Jeff ( a boat owner) and their two kids (Alex and Axel). More about that later.

Exmouth is a town on the tip of the North West Cape in Western Australia. Located 1,270 kilometres (798 miles) north of the state capital Perth.

After the week with them we flew back to Perth for two nights, and to see the rest Ted's "kids" Katie, Debbie, (little) Ted and their 8 kids,
Vicky,Ted, Debbie and Katie
Then straight home, business class on Malaysian Airlines.
All in all a great trip, with plenty of very good food. I could detail our experience but I'm not certain it will interest my readers.
I can say is there is still a great deal to see, so before we leave it too late, we need to get back, to visit Tasmania, the South Island (NZ), maybe Darwin and the north and more fishing off Exmouth!

The fishing

With Jeff, working for most of the week we managed, apart from a couple of attempts at shore fishing with lures, to get out on his boat for one day, in an autumn temperature nudging 30c.

Our day started with the launching of the boat from a trailer into fairly strong on shore winds that were pushing waves straight into the jetty giving us a good chop to contend with and potential to push the boat back onto the loading ramp, or into the jetty..

At first, Jeff was of a view that it wouldn't be an easy task to do this, what with my inexperience and young Alex age 11, also holding the ropes.
So we held off for a while awaiting the expected calming of conditions.
In the meantime a more experienced team of 4 arrived and launched their boat without a problem,  so Jeff said OK, lets do it. I'm not certain that Alex was very confident with that decision!
After a slight struggle and some bumps, Alex and I managed to secure the boat to the jetty, whilst Jeff moved his 4 x 4 off the ramp to a parking area.
The trip out was a bit bumpy, to say the least, and although I don't suffer from the mal di mer, young Alex was a bit peaky.
He soon overcame this, when within 5 minutes of trolling off the back of the boat I hooked into and landed a Spanish mackerel. I'm advised of about 13kg.

There were no more takes on the way to Jeff's first first mark.
I must confess at this stage, that I've always seen sea fishing as a bit of a chuck it and chance it way to fish, so have not put myself out too much to fish this way.
Over the mark we pulled in the trolling rods and made use of some lighter tackle, my first problem was the fact that I had little experience of a multiplier reel, especially one set with a right hand wind!
Anyway, after baiting up with strips of mullet, I was soon fishing at about 20 metres depth with a heavy lead on the bottom and two baited hooks up the trace, and the boat on a drift through the mark.
This is where my thoughts changed on the chuck it and chance it approach,as I was soon feeling the tugging of fish and hit into a big tug which turned out to be a very colourful rankin cod.
It was rankin HOT!!
It was a hard pull up from the bottom as the fish was a good size, but with the kit, I had no experience of a fight....that was to come later!!
We landed a good few fish, moving marks in rapidly improving weather conditions, including tomato cod, bluebone. Some of the catch were undersized that went straight back in, some not fine eating, but which backed up our bait bucket, which was rapidly diminishing.
tomato cod

What we hooked and didn't land, as we weren't fishing for them and our tackle wasn't up to it, were the sharks!
On two occasions I had what I felt were good fish taken by shark, one minute I was hauling up, the next minute my rod is bucking and pulling it's way around the boat.
My first straightened the hook, the next I thought I had the better of, but it bit through the trace after a hard tussle. This was the fight I hadn't experienced earlier.
So after some hours of drift fishing, sometimes with a drogue,especially over the deeper marks, Jeff thought we should see if we could get ourselves a marlin or sailfish.
The trolling rods were put out again in flat calm waters and I was very soon into a fine barracuda, I'm told of about 10 kg.
We didn't get a picture as Jeff was quick with the long handled pliers to remove the hook whilst the fish was still in the water, and I was too excited to think about the photo opportunity.... I do remember it had a fine set of teeth, not certain I would have fancied it on board though!
I did get one more fish on the troll before we got back to shore, which was a small longtail tuna.

No luck with the big game fish though.

We had fish and chips that night, Jeff did the preparation and cooking. The cod were very fine tasting fish, gently fried in a crumb.
The mackerel was expertly filleted cross cut into steaks and is currently in brother Ted's freezer.

I'll be back!