2014/15 Rock and Beach Fishing Championships

Location: Port Gregory
Date: 27th/28th September

Wild and windy weather greeted the weary travellers of the Offshore Angling Club at the Port Gregory State Beach and Rock event for the September Long Weekend. The swell was up and a front was expected around the lines in start time.

Five members were pencilled in to compete for the club; however disaster struck when a work proposal crossed el presidente’s desk in the days leading up to the event, thus necessitating a late and unplanned withdrawal. Then there were four. Or was there? Unbeknownst to the remaining team members, the clubs latest arrivals, Cherril and Bruce, barely salted up from there very recent arrival on the windy west coast had decided to pack up their rather comfortable looking caravan and make the journey north. This was a most welcome surprise. Bruce was quickly wrangled in as a fifth competitor and the team was set.

Prior to the briefing Greg, Paul and club captain Joe were squirreling up and down the coast assessing the conditions. Adam was but a sheep, arriving in unfamiliar territory just prior to the briefing with no time or energy to contribute to the recon. The prior night, Cherril and Bruce had met some of the fellow competitors from the FAAC and as Bruce and Cherril had never been to the area before, these competitors had generously offered to take Cherril and Bruce with them on the competition, whilst allowing Bruce to still fish for OSACWA. Great sportsmanship shown by the FAAC on this occasion! (We are still processing the intel from Bruce’s mission behind enemy lines…). Only joking!

The compulsory briefing got underway and once the particulars had been addressed the competitors made a very subdued getaway. There was hardly any of the hustle and bustle of previous competitions. This most likely was due to the approaching front and rising swell dampening competitors expectations. A sneaky get away was made by two cars that will remain unnamed. Adam was the third to move away from the parking spaces, the two ahead of him were notably absent from next to his car as he started it up. Sneaky shortcut and well played. You know who you are!

Joe, Paul and Adam arrived at a place we have decided to call Spot #1. Greg travelled further away to a place he had scouted earlier. Real estate was thin on the ground there with a couple of other competitors arriving just ahead of him. He moved on until coming across Joe, Paul and Adam. The storm front had also arrived. Joe, Paul and Adam were hiding away from it in the cars and decided a few cans of courage were in order. The wind was picking up, and the swell looked nasty. The clock ticked 12:45 and it was decided that they should man up and rig up, so, begrudgingly they did, copping a spray from the northwest for their troubles, no doubt they weren’t the only ones to do so!

1:00 pm and we were ready to go, well almost all of us. There was disaster early on for Adam who ran into troubles with one of his very full Alvey’s (user error no doubt). He was forced into a rather long run up the beach to unravel a loose loop that had broken. 170 meters later he uncovered the issue and was back to nice tight spooled line. Huffing and puffing back to the car he went. For situations like these it is handy to have Joe “all things Alvey” on call for some pointers. 30 mins later and Adam was able to join the rest of the crew with bait in the water. The wind had not eased off and a short looking cast to green water, was all of a sudden feeling like a really long cast. The action was slow for a while as the team tried to work out how to actually get behind the shore wash and into the deeper water. All sorts of techniques were tried with varied success. About 2:30 and we started to see the odd fish appear on the beach. Tailor seemed to be the only thing within range. Adam landed the first, about 55cm a good solid start. Then it went quiet for a while until Joe found a couple of mid 30s choppers. Greg however had a purple patch and got onto a run of five in very quick succession with a sixth to follow after a long dry spell. Meanwhile Paul was quietly achieving and picked up a fish here and there, also tailor. By nights end he had close to his bag of 8 as well. It was by no means easy work but at least the team had something to show for effort. They wondered how Bruce was getting on. He was warned that is was going to be hard work.

By 4:30 the bite picked up somewhat, when of course you could hit the green stuff with a bait. Adam and Joe had their bags of eight by 8:30-9:30pm. There was absolutely nothing in close in the wash. The fish had had enough shortly after and it went quiet for a while. Adam walked over and had a chat with Paul and Greg to pass the time, “wish that rod would buckle over and provide some excitement” he said. Not five seconds later it did just that. “Oh sh!t I’m on he cried.” Off he dashed to pick up the rod. He felt a dead weight, no detectable headshakes and it was close into shore. It was called for a stingray (boo!). The drag was tightened up and Adam began winching the creature back towards shore. Didn’t like that very much and it took off at great speed. It was definitely not a stingray. 30 seconds later when it was beached in the wash, it was revealed as a school size, 75cm mulloway. Very welcome variety indeed. The team fished on but for no more result. Greg had a couple of encounters with something large and possibly toothy, though unfortunately no visual was obtained. He was losing a few rigs and got a mini run on the last before he lost the sinker trace but got the hooks back, minus bait. It was his last mulie fished for the night.

Sunday morning the conditions had improved, but unfortunately the fishing hadn’t. The odd tailor made an appearance for Paul and Greg but it was slow going overall. The decision was made to pack up and move on.

The team moved to another location previously scouted by Joe and were greeted with a text book gutter. It looked very nice indeed; unfortunately the fish were probably busy enjoying the scenery elsewhere as it was slow going here as well. It was fished for about 4 hours for a return of 1 Tailor and 7 Dart. An eighth was caught but was really skinny and was returned with a free meal to fatten it up for next time.

With an hour to weigh-in Joe, Paul, Adam and Greg packed up and headed back to the caravan park. Greg found Bruce back at the caravan park and to the teams delight Bruce had caught his first fish for the club and would be presenting it at the weigh in. With his esky tagged in accordance with AAA rules Bruce bought his fish along to the weigh in. The majestic, yet humble herring would add a fourth species to the mix for the team. Well done Bruce, first points for the club, and like the team reassured you, it was not the worst bag of the day!

All told, the Offshore Angling Club team was happy with their efforts given how hard they had to work for a fish. At the weigh in they were certainly not disgraced. Congratulations to all those involved.