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Unexpected Happening at Flat Rock.

On arrival at the Flat Rock area for the Greenough River Field Day, October 1976, Bill Utting and I joined up with Ralph and Rudy Lerch. The South Suburban Angling Club members were also present, as their headquarters were at Flat Rock. Bill and I walked around the beach front and were very impressed with the angling possibilities.

After a snack we journeyed with Rudy and Ralph to the area which Rudy had visited before. Bill and I however carried far too much gear, such as waders, sandals, two rods plus all the usual gear we generally carry several hundred yards, not 3 miles or so.

After travelling approximately two miles, I did ask Rudy, "How much further?" and he replied "round the corner, to the next point". My remark was, "How far to Geraldton?"

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 beach sand was soft, with rocky bays where care was needed. Finally, after forty minutes or so, we arrived. Several South Suburban anglers were already there, and one lad from the Bull Chit Anglers Club.

The water looked terrific, with a large gutter coming in from deep water, with plenty of wave action, plus a reef off to the right and left. We just dropped our packs and quietly got our wind back. Rudy and Ralph carried a quarter of the gear we carried, as they had been to the area before. Finally, rods and reels ready, we commenced casting mulies far and wide. Alongside on my left was the Bull Chit angler and on the right side, Bill and Ralph and then four members of the South Suburban Angling Club arid then Rudy. Quite a group fishing into the gutter.

Ralph was soon in business and landed several tailor, with Bill landing a good sized flathead. Up to this period, I had been bringing in a mangled mulie. No doubt the sand whiting were having a feast on our bait.

One South Suburban angler landed a good size rock lobster and surprised everyone. At this point, I had started a routine of casting and retrieving and replacing the mulies, and I was slowly getting to dislike those sand whiting.

The nibbling was continuous, and in desperation I then commenced to move the mulie quickly away from them, and then, and as they finally went to pick, I slowly lifted the rod. Then bingo. The reel which I set on a loose drag just took off and a hundred yards of line disappeared seaward.

I was stunned - sand whiting turning into shark! At least that's what I thought then. The line kept disappearing off the spool at a rapid rate of knots, with the drag on the reel almost right off, I was using my thumb to control the spool.

After the initial long rush, I managed to commence retrieving the line, though once again closer to the shore, the fish had another burst, which again shook me up and by now some forty minutes later, my arm was almost numb. Around me all anglers carried on as usual. I wondered what a surprise they would receive when the fish came through the first line of breakers. WOWIE!

Young Ralph elected to gaff the fish, received a big shock when the giant tail lifted high out of the water, his first stroke missed, and I as sure I had lost him, at this stage I would have been happy if the mulloway had escaped. He fought a wonderful fight and deserved a better fate.

Ralph, in the meantime, tried for the second time to gaff the fish and then I slowly moved him up the beach on the incoming tide. All anglers crowded around, hardly believing their eyes. I personally felt sad, and wished he had escaped to carry on the mulloway generations, as just now it isn't breeding time, and all the mulloway are heading for the river inlets to spawn.

Now came the big problem - how to carry the mulloway back to camp, three and a half miles away!!! While the other anglers carried on, I hurried to our base camp looking for a four wheel drive vehicle. However, to no avail. I returned with the grim news that the only way we could handle the outsize mulloway was a maximum team effort, to which the lads agreed.

Rudy and Ralph commenced the return trip with the gaff through the mouth. We changed hands regularly. The outstanding point was that the lad from the Bull Chit Angling Club took over and with help, we draped the mulloway around his shoulders and he set off with me carrying his pack and. rods. We soon left the main group behind and somehow after many rests and climbing sand hills, etc., we made the campsite at Flat Rock.

Jim Strong and his 30kg mulloway
Jim Strong and his 30kg mulloway.

My sincere thanks to all concerned for this task of carrying the mulloway back to camp. How we all did it I will never know. The mulloway weighed in on Sunday morning at thirty kilos, being 389 grams short of breaking the State and Club record, however, I was particularly pleased to have captured such a fish on a field day.

Gear used:- threadline reel, 550 Mark III Olympic High speed, 19lb line.

Jim Strong, from the Club Magazine "Reel Talk", November 1976.

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

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This page last updated 9 April 2002.

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

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