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Club Magazine "Reel Talk" March 1953

This is a copy of a Reel Talk from the early days, when the club was called the "Surf Casting and Angling Association of WA"

 The front page header on the March 1953 Reel Talk

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

Editor's Note, by Lloyd Dunn.

No doubt the first thing you noticed about our new issue was the cover. For this we have to thank Vern Pocklington who designed the cover and had it printed for us. In future this cover should become very familiar to all ardent amateur exponents of the art of Isaac Walton, as we are having 500 copies printed and distributed by the fishing tackle retailers in an endeavour to increase our membership and make the club more progressive.

There was no issue of Reel Talk prior to our last field day, but in future we hope to have it posted regularly each month.

It would be wise to make a note of these dates. The Club meeting is held on the second Wednesday in each month at Aussie Cycles in Hay Street, opposite Skipper Baileys. The Field Day is the following week end, usually from about 4 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday. Closing date for all entries in our News Letter will be the Friday after Field Day.

Members will be very pleased to learn that Mr. A.J.Fraser, the Chief Inspector of Fisheries in W.A., has agreed to become our patron. Mr. Fraser has taken a very keen interest in our activities and has been very willing to help us with advice and information on any subject we have asked about. We have appreciated his assistance very much and I'm sure we are all going to benefit by getting to know him better.


The site chosen for our first Field Day this year was a stretch of open beach a few miles north of Mandurah near the rubbish dump. This spot was new to most of us and we were quite pleased with it. It was comfortable on the beach at night but fishing was somewhat difficult because of a strong drift and sand being "churned up" for some distance out.

For about an hour in the evening and another hour in the morning tailor were on the bite, but they were small and only those who realised this fact quickly and changed to a small rig did any good.

Vic Davis made the game look easy by lying back in a deck chair (Davis Pattern) and adding a few flourishes to the hooking of tailor and small sharks. Not satisfied with an ordinary "double header" he caught two tailor at the one time on a pair of ganged hooks then followed it by landing a shark and a tailor together. He finished up with 41 points - a good start on most members for this year.

Unfortunately the attendance was poor. Perhaps most thought they could afford to give us a start. If so they'll have to get going very soon.


The March Field Day was held at the 14 mile reef south of Mandurah and we were pleased to see a very big improvement in attendance.

It was quite an eventful trip with two car breakdowns, tons of seaweed and occasionally a good fish. The outstanding feature of the weekend was the Marathon race by our Committee man Nelson Smith, who ran a good three miles over rough track to bring the news of Pete Fallick's breakdown.

The fishing itself was patchy with Vic Davis in his usual good form and finishing on top of the list. He was closely followed by Lloyd Dunn and Noel Knight.

A strong northerly drift made things unbearable at times and lots of weed was brought up to the beach. However, a good time was had by all and the most gratifying sight was the pleased look on Peter Fallick's face on getting the Ford into Mandurah after a gruelling track run in second gear, the only one he could get.

Dave Ferguson caught a small stingray and it earned him two awards. Vic Davis got most points of the trip and Noel Knight the biggest fish. However, it is rumoured that the Vice President is heard to have said-that the Swan River Kingies are still the best to catch.

Lloyd Dunn missed a good shark and we shall hear of this at next meeting.

This Month's Fish Story.

While fishing with Vic Davis near Crawley one night in February, Noel Knight hooked into a big "kingie" (or something) which proceeded to leave in a hurry. Two hundred yards of line were taken out and for about 15 minutes it was even going. The fish was turned once. At this stage a boat of the Val class came in too close and things were finalised there and then with the fish plus hooks and some line leaving.

P.S. The Vice President is very thankful that he has some witnesses.

This Month's News.

For a while the emphasis in local fishing seemed to move from the surf to the quieter waters of the river. Only a few small tailor were reported from the ocean while the big "kingies" made mouths water along the River's edge. Noel Knight landed five of them which weighed 29, 40, 30; 27 and 30 lbs. Although some are still chasing the big ones in the river, most fishermen are back at the ocean chasing the tailor and herring. Good catches of tailor are reported from Triggs Island by those who go down at "first light."

A whisper reached us that Pete Fallick has been bitten by the "Mulloway Mite."

Len McWhinney has had so much practice at spearing meat in his butcher shop that he had no hesitation whatsoever in gaffing a fellow club member in the hand (accidentally) whilst trying to land an undersized whiting at Pippidinny recently.

Bob Wells of the Bunbury Angling Club is to be congratulated on his 128 yd cast. This gives most of our members something to aim at. We're looking forward to more news from Bunbury.

Reward. A reward is offered to anyone landing a large mass of seaweed at Yanchep and returning three brand new spinners he should find in it, to Nelson Smith.

The Cowaramup Bay Area, by Vic Davis.

Cowaramup Bay is situated between the Naturaliste and the Leeuwin and is about seven miles north of Margaret River. It is an inaccessible spot, as the last five miles of road into the bay is as rough as it can get, and still they get through, such is the love of the Bay.

There are no habitations there; all supplies have to be taken in on the first trip as no one will leave the fishing or face the road back after he gets there. This piece of coast line is rugged and dangerous. WATCH IT!

There have been many deaths by drowning there - the latest, only last year, was a professional fisherman. Waves come up from nowhere and there is no getting out once you got in. I am speaking of the area north and south of the bay on the open coast - the bay itself is a safe and fairly tranquil spot, but take no chances with the open coast. Naturally this is where most of the fish are and it can be fished and is fished all year round.

When I first went to the Bay 15 or 18 years ago we were forced to get into bad spots as we only had bamboo poles and 10 feet of line, whip sticks, no reels, but modern casting gear makes the job easy and it is possible now to stand back from the bad spots and fish over them,

In the season there are millions of herring there and with a little burley they will come in around your feet and make the water boil. In this season salmon come in and tear through the herring schools and then the game is on. With a No. 1 or No. 2 Southam, two hundred yards of 15 lb nylon and a good geared reel, salmon are the sportsman's delight. In the summer time Blue Groper are plentiful in and around the bay and crays grow to ten pounds. I have caught 7 pounders and have seen bigger ones brought in on big lines at night. Dhu fish hang around the schools of Silver Drummer, and an occasional one is caught.

There are fresh water streams every half mile or so along the coast and the weather is usually mild.

Easter camps can be a trap as storms blow up quickly, so take a good tent and a dry change of clothes.

Any of our members may ring me for detailed information on the best spots.

Rottnest Trip, by Vic Davis.

Last month three members of the Association went over to the west end of Rottnest to punish the local fish population.

Vic Davis, Dave Ferguson and Wayne Gardiner were the team and it was a first class trip. We left on Friday by plane and were over Fish Hook by 6 pm. We got two dozen crays off the reef that night and were set for bait for the rest of the trip.

That night Dave set his alarm clock (yes he actually carries one on those trips) for 4 am, despite Vic Davis' protests (it was then 1 am). Long before the dawn rough hands and rough language woke poor old Vic and in a state of somnambulistic trance he blundered off into the darkness loaded down with gear. About five minutes afterwards a terrific racket broke out in Dave's hip pocket. After Dave had got over the shock and climbed down from the top of a tree we found in his pocket the alarm clock - it was 4 a.m.

Each night Dave set the alarm and each morning he got up two hours ahead of it. The only way we could be certain of getting any sleep was to lash Dave to a tree. He's a menace!

The fishing was good but the big ones consistently broke us up. Wayne got into an argument with an outsize groper which promptly broke his rod and left for South Africa with about 100 yards of 47 lb. line.

Dave made the mistake of using sporting methods and light lines on fish that had long outgrown all sporting instincts. When last heard from he was writing to Point Cloates for help.

Vie landed two big rays, one shark and one good groper, and all three members caught an abundance of 12 to 16 pounders (mostly Silver Drummer) with a hitte groper for Wayne.

This, like all trips to this perfect spot, was voted a complete success, and given the McArthur pledge.

WARNING. The west end was crawling with snakes and on four occasions we nearly trod on them, Wayne nearly trod on one while backing away from another one - the island is covered with a low dense gorse-like bush and it is better to leave the snakes in peace than to meddle with them - the advantage is with the snakes.

Hints on Blue Groper, by Vic Davis.

The Blue Groper is one of our most spectacular and best fighting rock fish. He is particular and hard to please and is generally educated to at least University standard. He can read and write and recognises old friends (fishermen) at 300 yards range. Therefore, when caught by fair means on rod and rod, he is a fish to boast about. He never lives away from the reef and his favourite sport is sawing Nylons off on the razor edge of submarine caves. The inside of his comparatively small mouth is made of hard rubber and hooks bounce off it. However, he CAN be caught and here is how you go about it.

Spend at least three or four hours the previous day getting all the rock crabs, periwinkles, mutton fish etc. that you can gather. Choose a deep clear hole off the seaward side of a reef (if you get wet through every five minutes it is ideal) and throw in a little crushed up shell fish every five minutes. After three hours, if no groper arrive, try somewhere else. Should a groper turn up drop in your line (at least 25 lb. nylon) and watch the fish. Your bait is a whole rock crab or mutton fish on a 6/0 sea master. Use a 10/0 if you like - it is a better hook - if your fish will swallow it. I bet he won't!.

Wait till he takes the bait in his mouth and turns away, then hit him hard. Keep your drag on as hard as the line will stand, a firm hold on your rod, and pray. If he doesn't saw you off, break you off, reef you, drag you in or break the hook or line you will eventually be able to bring him to gaff.

Spinner Happy, by Vern Pocklington.

It's now about two years since I stood on the beach bait fishing at Yanchep and watched a chap knee deep in water taking a hell of a bashing as waves hit the reef he was standing on with a thud as loud as a B29 landing. Every now and again there was a whip report of a Southam 3 as it sent a shiny object straight as a bullet whistling through the air. I followed the flight, and to my amazement it landed with a tiny splash 120 yds out in the dull grey waters.

What the devil is this bloke doing? He's now winding in. This went on and on - cast, wind in, cast, wind in. I began to feel sorry for this guy. Perhaps he's not all there, why of course, he's nuts. He's not even baiting his hooks. Perhaps he's just practicing casting the hard way which explains why he can got a 100yds further than I can.

It wasn't long before this peanut came in - oh no! not the way any sane person would. This fisherman liked the hard way. He came in with the help of a "sneaker", that's those waves that come up from nowhere and really go places - pick you up and just keep rolling along until they find a nice piece of jagged reef to dump you on.

Having never approached a fisherman who fishes without bait before I picked up enough courage to ask him "Catch anything mate?" "No," he said, "it's a bit rough today, but last Sunday I got five tailor." I eyed him off with a look that spelt "liar" and asked him if his name was Vic Davis, he assured me that it wasn't.

Being very crafty I played my ace card with a feeling of "get out of this one if you can". How could you catch five tailor if you don't use bait? He looked me up and down as if saying, Just another peasant, and answered my question with "I never use bait. I'm a spinner fisherman."

 Cartoon from the March 1953 Reel Talk

"Now, laugh THAT off, you ----"

From that day on we were the best of pals, regularly going out every Sunday spinning. It wasn't long before we discovered a third spinner, a little twirp who did spinning off Triggs Island. To discover a third spinner in the State was like Robinson Crusoe discovering Man Friday. We were a bit annoyed at first as this twirp could always double our catches, and casts. We thought we were good till we saw this bloke in action.

Our kitchens at home were turned into factories for making spinners. We were turned out of the house by wives with no sense of humour.

Bait soakers to us are peasants. Now boys, don't take that too much to heart, because the truth is that spinners are just too darn lazy to mess around cutting up bait etc. and spinning is just too easy. Look at it this way. You decide to go fishing. O.K. You take your rod, reel and spinner, walk along the beach, see some tailor, maybe salmon, you cast out, bang a fish, drop it on the beach, cast out again, bang, and so it goes on. Now be honest as fishermen always are, what will tailor or salmon or pike go for mostly? A bait dangling in the one spot, or a flashing spinner darting from side to side, diving up and down, a spinner that darts around just like the small fry do? Here's proof. Last winter at Yanchep two of us were spinning each side of a bait soaker who was using gardie for bait. The spinners caught 30 tailor in 30 minutes, the bait soaker caught nil tailor in 30 minutes, and that's not one of G.H.'s stories.

Now for the spinners. We only can catch tailor, salmon, pike, herring - not much variety. Yet we must agree spinning has really caught on from that day two years ago when I first saw a spinner fisherman at Yanchep.

Just in case some of our members are interested, and with the Editor's permission, I would like to give some of what I consider to be worthwhile hints on spinning in our next issue.

Copyright © 2002 Surf Casting and Angling Club of W.A. (Inc.)

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This page last updated 31 December 2002.

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

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