Posts Tagged "Lancelin"

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.