First Fishing Rod

Posted on April 18th, 2013 by The Bloke

I still have the first fishing rod I ever owned – not just for sentimentality mind you, but because it has actually been the best.

I was 16 years old when I acquired the first fishing rod of my very own. Half my life ago now. It was 6 foot two-piece rod with a simple spinner reel – a Jarvis Walker 6″ spinner combo. I can’t remember whether it was a Christmas or birthday gift, but what a versatile and capable fishing rod this turned out to be!

An ideal size for pier fishing (or jetty fishing as we call it back west), a six footer is not too unwieldy for a teenager or beginner, and is convenient for travelling with locally. I’ve had more success with this simple rod than with all of my other, often more expensive rigs. My first fish caught with the Jarvis Walker combo was a handsome chopper Tailor at the old Bicton Jetty in Western Australia. The rod being reasonably light, it’s great fun to reel in smaller pelagic species like Tailor – a close cousin of the American Bluefish – since you feel the fighting style of the fish more accurately. I used the same rod & reel almost every weekend for years, landing Striped Trumpeter off the rocks at Fremantle, Tailor in the Swan River around Bicton, Point Walter and Blackwall Reach, until it finally met its match in Lancelin.

Ah yes, the beast that managed to break my first rod. Let me set you the scene for you here, folks.

Lancelin JettyAbout an hour north of Perth is the seaside town of Lancelin, famed for its recreational and commercial fishing, white sand dunes and dune buggies. A popular holiday town. I was  angling off a prime spot at the end of the famous Lancelin Jetty. A steady stream of people on holiday were coming and going along the jetty, but not fishing. The water was crystal clear, without a cloud in the sky, and I wore my polarised sunglasses for a better view of any movement below the surface. The fish didn’t stand a chance. So I thought.

Suddenly I felt the first bite of the day – and what a bite that was. This thing fought like mad, as it pulled one way and then the other. Then all of a sudden as it darted in the opposite direction once more, the guide on the end of the rod loudly snapped off, leaving me with just four guides as I reeled the beast in on my crippled equipment. To my bewilderment, this vicious monster turned out to be a regular sized Leatherjacket – hardly a trophy worthy of Hemmingway. I guess I hadn’t been taking the best care of my fishing rod up until that point, and it had taken a fair amount of abuse, but this fish was a real livewire in its own right. I filleted and cleaned the Leatherjacket – quite an easy task with this species – then put it on ice in my esky, where it awaited my extremely grateful cat when got home.

I’ll never forget a certain laid back dude taking a stroll along the jetty who remarked about my broken fishing rod, “That’s how you know you’ve got a fish!”

“Yeah…” was all I could reply, with my foot firmly on the lid of the small esky that housed the culprit.

After a minor repair job back home, the trusty old Jarvis Walker was back in action. Some people will tell you that you need a fancier overhead “baitcaster” or something with six ballbearings for a perfectly smooth reeling action, though I can’t help but wonder if the slightly more jittery action of the simpler, old fashioned kind of reel more naturally mimics the movement of bait-fish through the water. The difference in my rate of success with that old Jarvis Walker 6″ spinner compared to my more expensive rod collection is downright uncanny. You may be able to spend big bucks on a rod & reel combo with higher specs and fancier gadgetry, but all these years later I like to stick with the first rod I ever owned.

Budgewoi, NSW Central Coast

Posted on December 29th, 2012 by The Bloke

Not a sausage. Not a bloody sausage. My friend and I fished with rods from the jetty under the bridge at Budgewoi on the New South Wales Central Coast around the end of November last year. Despite not catching anything on this occasion, the night was not a dead loss by any means.

We were using Gulp lures for bait, as we hadn’t come particularly prepared – but I do keep a pack of Gulp handy in the tackle box for such moments. I had a 12ft telescopic beach rod, and my friend had a 6ft telescopic jetty rod. Yes, I know the reputation for telescopics breaking under heavy load, but they are undeniably handy travel companions. I bought my twelve-foot American made telescopic for $50 at a fishing show in Perth quite a few years back, after the vendor dared me to break it. I couldn’t resist an offer like that, so another friend of mine held the tip of the rod while I bent the thing by the handle into a parabolic arc. Try as we might, we couldn’t break the rod. Sold. But I digress.

So not a lot seemed to be going on in Budgewoi that night, unsurprisingly enough. It later transpired that the town was hosting an amateur boxing event in which a friend of mine was taking part, and had won his fight. Everybody we asked at the local pub or in the street about local fishing locations responded that they had no idea, since they were just up from Sydney for the weekend too. That being the case – and in fairness to Budgewoi – we may not have picked the #1 spot. There was definitely something biting, though. Several times we each had a strong tug on the line, but whatever it was didn’t seem to be liking our Gulp lures much. Fussy bastards…

All in all though, you can’t complain too much about a quiet night out on a country river in warm weather, with a mate and a few beers. Let’s hope my next Central Coast trip yields a few fish, and a few accompanying photos.

Binacrombi, NSW Blue Mountains

Posted on November 26th, 2012 by The Bloke

Binacrombi is a 500 acre property out past Taralga in rural New South Wales, through which the Abercrombi River flows. Although primarily known for its dirtbike endurance and motorcross tracks, Binacrombi also offers some excellent camping, bushwalking, four-wheel-driving and fishing activities.

The Abercrombi River is a prime location for Carp and Rainbow Trout. The area is accessible by 2WD, but a 4WD is preferable.

New additions to the property include a gym, complete with boxing ring and wrestling cage.  Martial Arts training boot-camps are held on occasion to take advantage of these facilities.

Accommodation at Binacrombi ranges from camping grounds, dormitory, or a comfortable range of self-contained cabins. Booking in advance is essential!