Living in the Kimberley for a short stint took me to some damn scenic fishing spots. I wasn’t expecting to add another one to the list when good mates Snav and Omar suggested we hit ‘the swamp’.
Jumping in the back of Snav’s troopy I found a spot wedged between eskys and live bait tanks. We settled in for what became a hairy ride over craters, corrugations and culverts. At one point Snav pointed out where a car had missed a corner and launched into the King River, a nasty scene I feared we would recreate on the next bend …
The cast nets came out when we arrived at a causeway and a small saltwater croc watched as we collected a few unlucky mullet who joined me in the back of the troop for the ride onto the mudflats. Arriving at the swamp we checked out the remains of a helicopter crash that has an interesting back story. I’m told (and I have no idea if this is true) that the pilot spotted a nice barra floating on the surface and attempted to use wind created by the rotars on his chopper push the barra towards the bank. The pilot wasn’t killed in the crash, but his chopper was.
Baits went out and beers were cracked. The rig is simple – 40-80lb leader and a strong hook. In still water its good if you can avoid using a sinker, the bait will be presented better and move aroud more. Snav was in early and pulled in a chrome fish that hadn’t spent long in these backwaters because he was yet to take on a greenish hue.
Then I caught a dead fish. This was a first for me actually. Somehow my 30cm barra had wolfed down a live mullet and swallowed the hook with it. The strange part is I didn’t even feel a bite when fish that size always let you know they’re hooked. Catch and release had a different meaning when we put this unlucky fella back in the drink. Being undersized it would have been illegal to keep him.
We had a barra virgin along and it was his turn to hook up next. This time it was a live fish and the little guy may not have broken any records but a fish is a fish and Dave had one on the barra board quickly. It’s always satisfying to help someone get onto a catch. Dave was pumped and we had to remind him that it can often take hours, days – or if you are really cursed, weeks to find barra.
Storms threatened to send us packing during the arvo as they circled and dumped hazy torrents down onto escarpments in the distance. Rain and mudflats don’t create a 4WD friendly scene and I had visions of us stranded in this scenic fishing wilderness – not a bad outcome really! I hit Snav up about making tracks but got the old ‘she’ll be right mate’ response. It was a wise call. We caught plenty of fish while the storms merely circled and provided an impressive backdrop for a sweet Kimberley session.