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Surf Casting and Angling Club Logo Surf Casting and Angling Club of W.A. (Inc.)

August 2001 Fishing Field Day Rottnest.

In a nutshell, it was big! The weather was beautiful, the winds light, the tides were running between 0.6 and 0.8 metres and the enthusiasm was high. But the swell was big VERY BIG! The Rottnest waverider buoy measured swells over 4 metres and this made for some very vigorous conditions. But let's start at the beginning.

A very animated group of 19 anglers gathered at Northport to catch the first ferry across to Rottnest in the chill dawn of Saturday morning. Gear was packed, rods stowed and we were off. It did not take long for us to realise the swell was up and the crossing was punctuated with some rainsqualls and lots of spray.

Upon our arrival we made the obligatory detour past the bakery before trudging off down the road to the Kingstown barracks. The Sergeants' Mess was our base and the sleeping arrangements were quickly sorted, the gear unpacked and final preparations made. The bus duly arrived to take us out to the West End. Various spots were checked out but the majority of us were dropped off on Radar Hill and frantic tackling up began.

The Club owns an air conditioned holiday house at Kalbarri which is available for rent to the public and club members at competitive rates

The view from the top of the cliffs was pretty daunting. Huge swells built and crashed onto the reefs with white water everywhere. From up the top it looked pretty awesome. A number of members were nursing injuries and had opted to fish dry rather than wade. Tony D'Alonzo, Ian Taggart, Brad Zaknich and the Terpkoses as usual headed in the direction of Wilson's. Another group suspected that Cathedrals would be the better option and I also headed over in that direction. It was every man for himself as we piled into the water to wade out and get the opening cast away. The first lures into the hole produced a few strikes and it was Matt Sneddon who landed the first tailor, a nice fish of about 1 kg, that true to form was promptly released. Some other fish were not that lucky and ended up in reef bags. But the action was a bit slow and perhaps the sudden arrival of 8 anglers and lures raining down on their sheltered water had something to do with this.

Mark Farnay headed out to the island with Darren, myself and a trail of other hopefuls coming along behind. Large waves were rolling in along the reef flats and some very big sets came through. Mark was first onto the island but was spectacularly hammered in a very large swell and got bowled over breaking the stem of his reel in the process. We hurried over to him and although a little shaken he was OK. The conditions were just too tough to fish the outside with any safety and we all retreated to the dry to reassess our options.

Most of us now headed for Wilsons and Radar in the hope of some fishable water. A few tailor were about at Wilsons but these were on the small side. Some snook were in evidence at little Radar and George Holman and Ric Parker each had a nice specimen in the bag. After watching the sets coming through for a while Damian and myself decided the outside reef was worth a try. Wearing reef boots and taking the minimum of gear we struggled out. It was fishable. Just. And there were some better tailor to be had. It was energetic to say the least but we were there long enough to entice Cookie, Spencer, Andy and some of the others out to join in the action. Some were successful and other had swimming lessons again. Some of the Buff Bream landed were a sight to behold. Massive behemoths that really pull like mad and landing one while struggling to stay upright on a maelstrom-covered reef deserves more credit.

As the swell appeared to subside later, George and Ric put in appearance and the 2 old hands caught a few tailor in pretty short time. George also picked out a small spirited yellowtail kingfish out from amongst the tailor. Mark came along later with a back-up reel and his day improved with each fish landed. A few herring were out in the white water but these were scarce in the calmer stretches and they were sometimes difficult to find. Kade Ross caught two nice snook on spinners in the calmer waters just to show us how it was done.

The evening came along all too soon and the group of wet and tired anglers gathered waiting for the bus swapped tales of their day braving the elements. It seemed as if most people had caught a few fish but there were some very weary and battered bodies. When the bus arrived Peter Booth and Ken Black were already aboard and both had done rather poorly while nursing injuries and trying to stay dry and avoid the rigours of reef fishing.

The showers at the Mess were soon busy and the kitchen was alive with activity as the needs of many cold and hungry bodies were satisfied. Some corks were pulled, stories told and plans hatched for the morning assault. Some brave souls made a sortie to the pub but most were happy to climb into bed and dream of chances missed. The night reverberated with snores, with Frank and Vic sawing particularly tough jarrah logs all night.

Morning came all too soon for some, but 12 hardy characters managed to get aboard the bus in the chill pre-dawn light. Ian Taggart looked less than well after a memorable night but was resolutely present in body if not in mind. Some folk dropped off at the Caves but most headed for Radar. The view was awesome from the top of the hill. Huge swells rolled in from the south-west with the northerly wind blowing up vast plumes of spray. There was white water everywhere. Some sets were enormous and broke clear across Wilsons bay leaving acres of white water in their wake. But that was no deterrent. Rather hopefully we went to Cathedrals for a look. The swell direction brought the waves straight into the bay and it looked decidedly hairy. But Frank Shim had yet to christen his new rod and I was determined to get him a tailor at least.

So we waded out on the reef during a lull and stood in a less current-affected area with cross-waves peaking over head height. Soaked but resolute Frank cast out his mulie and to my eternal gratitude soon hooked and landed a feisty tailor. Now we could retreat to dry land and safety, mission accomplished.

There was a bit of action at the tennis courts with a few snook providing some entertainment. Even some tailor joined in the action when a Halco Laserpro was swum through the white water. Snook speared in after the lures like missiles but did not strike. They resolutely avoided baitcast mulies and white bait on inji rigs but for a brief time they switched on and I did manage to get three smaller specimens with a small twisty. Cookie also got a decent one and Spencer then caught an absolute ripper of ~2 kg on a mulie.

It was still early. Tailor were scarce and most of those caught had been small. The best ones had come from Radar but it looked deep and the waves powerful. I got out onto the reef OK and fished a while and caught a few tailor and tarwhine. But it was just too vigorous and the constant bracing against the surge and the buffeting swell took their toll and I had to retreat.

With most of the usual spots wiped out we fished for rock species in the reef holes and dried out in the sun. The weather was beautiful with bright skies and light wind. The bus arrived on time to take a weary band home.

The weigh-in was the usual mixture of personal successes, relative disappointments and surprises. Considering the robust sea conditions the members acquitted themselves extremely well. Many of the newer members weighed in very respectable catches and there were some significant masters and grand masters captures, especially with regard to the snook. The tailor were rather small by the usual standards of an August Field Day but we were happy to have them anyway. Damo topped the tailor bag with 6.9 kg. Many different species were caught including tarwhine, herring, mulloway, yellowtail kingfish, King George whiting, leatherjacket, snook, tailor and the capture of the weekend was a surprise dhufish of 4.0 kg caught by the old master Tony D'Alonzo.

It was a great weekend. The weather was perfect and despite some atrocious sea conditions everyone had a good time. Finally the troops cleaned up the barracks, packed the baggage, shouldered arms and marched in a motley line via the bakery to the ferry and home. And another Rotto Field day was over.

John Jardine Field Day Officer


Attendance: Seniors - 18, Juniors - 1, Mini Juniors - 0, Visitors - 0.

Total fish weight:- 76.75 kg - weighed in gilled and gutted.

Name Weight Species Fish Points
Tony D'Alonzo 13.23 kg 8 30 262
John Jardine 10.15 kg 6 16 212
George Holman 7.15 kg 7 12 192
Ian Cook 8.4 kg 4 16 174
Spencer King 4.70 kg 4 7 137
Damian D'Mello 6.90 kg 1 8 129
Ian Taggart 5.30 kg 2 9 123
Vic Terpkos 4.37 kg 2 15 114
Eric Parker 3.20 kg 3 4 112
Paul Terpkos 3.95 kg 2 15 110
Frank Shim 0.95 kg 3 3 90
Mark Farnay 3.75 kg 1 5 88
Kade Ross (Junior) 2.30 kg 2 5 83
Bradley Zaknich 1.80 kg 1 4 78
Andrew Griffiths 0.6 kg 1 1 56
Ken Black 0 kg 0 0 50
Mathew Sneddon 0 kg 0 0 50
Peter Booth 0 kg 0 0 50
Darren Batchelor 0 kg 0 0 40

It should be noted that many members are now choosing to fish for the sport and not the competition. These members are following the catch and release ethic, and although they choose not to weigh in, it doesn't mean they are not catching plenty of fish. Competition rules in 2001/2002 allow them to catch and release and still get field day points.

Masters Fish.

Damian D'Mello Tailor 1.1 kg
Tony D'Alonzo Tarwhine 0.6 kg
George Holman Tarwhine 0.6 kg
Kade Ross Snook 1.3 kg

Grand Masters Fish.

Ian Cook Snook 1.6 kg
Spencer King Snook 1.75 kg
Tony D'Alonzo King George Whiting 0.65 kg

Copyright © 2001 Surf Casting and Angling Club of W.A. (Inc.)

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This page last updated 31 August, 2001.

Display of this page was updated on 21 January 2013. Contents updated as above.

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