Its Spearing time!
The original attraction of visiting Fitzroy reef was the fact that potentially, it has it all. A comfortable protected lagoon anchorage, solitude, the possibility of waves to surf and a heap of tropical ocean to go hunting in. Basically it is my idea of success in life…
After falling to sleep the previous night under the milky way, we rose with first light in the morning and prepared for a day filled with as many activities we could squeeze in. Since there was no swell, the obvious choice was to head out spearfishing for as long as Bonita would allow. Recently receiving our new gear from Adreno, it was time to test out the new gear and the new speargun arsenal.
First though we had to finalise on the names we would call our new guns. I find that if something has a name, you will look after it much better than if it just a speargun or a surfboard. Obviously I have names for all my other toys, but we had not decided on what to call our new guns. The end results were for the 130mm Beuchat Marlin Oceania, I named him Big Blaster. Bonita named her 100mm Beuchat Marlin Oceania, Sally. Now that this issue had been resolved, it was time to take Big Blaster and Sally diving.
We loaded up our 2.6m tender and headed off exploring inside the lagoon to begin with. With plenty of reef and bombies to choose from, we slowly made our way around the lagoon. The calm waters made for excellent visibility. The reef was alive and the corals beautiful to look at. The downside being, not a lot of fish. After forgetting to buy some Pilchards for burley before leaving, we had to hunt around for a bit before shooting our first trout. We swam around for a couple of hours before deciding to head back to Nandji for much needed food and a coffee. Managing to return with a couple of trout, so not a bad start to the morning.
Fish cleaned, dry vacced and in the freezer, off we went for a look at the entrance of the lagoon. Logic has it, that there is only one way in and one way out of the lagoon and that is through the entrance channel. If something big wanted to come in on the rising tide, then we would be there to meet him. It was good to dive around the entrance and see with my own eyes what lied underneath Nandji as we cautiously entered the previous day. The natural channel in the reef was skinny and covered with coral. But there was a definitive deep channel which made me feel good about exiting in the future. Unfortunately, our theory did not work and no fish were spotted.
The day was only getting better, with not a breath of wind. So out the channel we putted in our little tender. Half way through the channel, Bonita spotted a good trout hanging out from his little ledge that he must of called home. She was adamant it was a good fish and worth trying to find. I quickly put on my mask and fins, grabbed Sally. The water was only shallow and not deeper than 3 or 4 metres, which turned out be a good thing. I dived down and sure enough spotted this Coral trout hiding under his ledge. He spotted me though and crept deeper under the ledge. I had loaded both rubbers on Sally and this the first time I had used this speargun, was not expecting the power for its size. Aiming true I shot the trout just behind his eye. A good holding shot as he fought to release the spear. I returned to the surface holding the shooting line and trying to yank him out of his hidey hole. With no success, I dived down once more and investigated under the ledge what was going on. Deep under the ledge I could see the trout. Following the shooting line towards the back of the cave, I got hold of the spear and realised it was buried deep into the coral and rocks. Returning to the surface for another breath I told Bonita that the spear was stuck and to stay close in case I get snagged under the ledge.
Happy that my new wetsuit has a hood, covering all my hair that is usually floating this way and the other, I dived once more to attempt in removing the spear. This is why I was happy that the cave was only in shallow water, so I could get right under the ledge and free this spear and hopefully still have the fish. If it was un retrievable I would have just cut my losses and snipped the shooting line. But the water was shallow and I knew I could wriggle the barb of the spear free eventually.
Bonita patiently waiting on the surface, with only my fins showing out from under the ledge, finally the spear freed up and out I emerged from my cave. Bonita happy I didn’t lose her spear on the first day, I got hold of the trout that was still on the end of the spear. Holding him up to show Bonita and smiling cheek to cheek, this was my new personnel best for east coast trout spearing. Shot with her gun, thanks Sally.
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