Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Pinkie Snapper Nostalgia

Its winter in Australia at the moment and although the squidding heats up a bit so does plenty of other fishing opportunities, something I have not done for a very long time was grab the plastics and fly gear and head to Black Rock and Rickets point in Port Phillip bay for an old school pinkie bash. Its far from rocket science and although the fish are not big its great fun on the 2-4kg gear and the 6 weight fly rod. This area is known for its resident population of small snapper year round, when you find a patch they will actively take lures and fly's.

Yesterday's forecast was a bit suspect when looking at it over the weekend and the only window of opportunity was going to be the Tuesday afternoon, so we planned the session for the afternoon, was crushed when I woke that morning to find not a breath of wind in the air and blue skies as far as the eye could see. Still stuck to the plan and made the 15 minute trip down the road  to the Patterson River boat ramp, normally Mordialloc would have been the ramp of choice but with the ramp rebuild Patto was the next best option. One of the other advantages to winter fishing in the boat is the access to the water, there were only 3 other trailers in the carpark that has a 300 car and trailer capacity. No cue and clear sky still we noticed that the wind was gradually getting stronger and was now blowing from the south rather than the north west as predicted. Not deterred we put the boat in the water and started to head out from the mouth of the river, the water in the bay was somewhat washing machine like and the chop could not make up its mind on the direction it wanted to travel, although not the greatest conditions it was far from uncomfortable in my 18foot centre console.

After a short trip we arrived to find birds every where and thought we might be able to have a play with some Salmon but we found that the birds were diving on dolphins and was nothing under them. We made our way to the 9 - 11 meter mark and started to sound up some nice patchy reef, did not take long before the first bite occurred and the first of many pinkies landed on the deck of the boat. I could not tell you how many fish we landed but it was plenty, was not often we could cast without lures getting smashed all over the place. There is a lot of small fish in the area so getting bites can be hard to convert into a hook up, its just a matter of working through the undersized fish and waiting to get some better quality fish. It is important to recognise that if you are planning on doing the same trip that you do not expect to be landing big fish. The area is mainly filled with fish up to 50cm with the average being 30cm on a good day. I was using a mix of soft plastic lures but best results came on Gan Craft Big Spider Micro in Gold Lame Lucky Brown and Watermelon bug and Berkley 4" Minnows in Pumpkinseed.

We had landed our fill of pinkies and the wind had died down a bit so I decided it was time to bring the fly rod out for a play, using Clousers in pink, olive and chartreuse I was hooking up when ever I could get a cast out long enough to be effective in a reasonable drift. The big problem came when sammy the seal moved in and started pinching everything I hooked up on. Suffice to say I need to re stock my saltwater fly collection. That said I still had a blast and really enjoy the trips where action is constant even if its not by massive fish, its the initial hit of the lure by the fish that gets the blood pumping. Am looking forward to doing it all again soon and also trying some more slow jigging in the area over this winter when I get back from my trip to Japan later in July (good chance to stock up on some much needed jigging items you cant buy here).

We finished the session with clear and calm conditions and a cracking sunset giving us a smooth and quick ride home, the quick part was most welcome as the winter air after a southerly blow is a killer on the face when its fully exposed.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Long time between sushi

As most people would know I eat very little seafood products and in fact other than the occasional Fillet O Fish from Mc Donalds I dont eat fish at all. However once upon a time I visited one of Melbourne's premier Japanese tappas style restaurant by invite from one of the very talented chefs at the restaurant Ichi Ni who was also a keen squid angler.

Wataru and Uo-Jya = Squid
It all started when I was conducting squid seminars along with Japanese Gan Craft staff Yuya Nakahira and Kotaro Kake, we had just completed a talk session at Anglers Bait World in Coburg when we met with Wataru, I had spoken with Wataru via facebook on occasions but this was the first time I had met with him. At first I was not too sure if we were going to be able to attend the restaurant with a our very tight schedule but after completing 2 days of competition fishing the guys Yuya and Kotaro agreed that we had some time to visit. It was about 2000 on a Sunday night when we made it to the packed restaurant and with a bit of name dropping we were seated in front of where Wataru was preparing sushi and sushimi for the many patrons inside. I was very impressed with the detail that these guys put into their food. I was asked the question "if I can make fish not taste like fish will you eat it?" perplexed I said "yes but only if you can make it not taste like fish" I am not sure of what stroke of genius was mustered but I awkwardly picked up the chop sticks like a knew what I was doing (clearly I did not know what I was doing) and placed a piece of the fish in my mouth. To my surprise some sort of magic had been created by Wataru and I demolished an entire plate of raw fish. We were off to a good start and the food just got better from there. If any one is looking for a place to try some authentic Japanese cuisine I can not recommend this place enough and if you do go make sure you try the JFC rolls, not sure what the real name is but will get back to you when I find out, Wataru had made a very fancy looking version of a sushi roll with a Japanese Fried chicken that was to die for just for me. It was then decided that I must take this bloke for a fish. So here we are.

I have been trying to work out a time to get out with the Sushi chef extraordinare but with his schedule and mine clashing it was going to be a tough task, that was until I managed to get an early finish in at work, a quick phone call and a time was set for us to meet at Hastings to get out for a squid session. All recent reports were concerning as the squid had not been their normal active selves in recent weeks but we can not catch squid from the couch at home so an attempt was made.

We first headed to Crib Point looking for an area that had flow as with the recent rain we were hoping to find some clean water and Westernport is known for its brown poo color after a bit of rain, the visibility was about 1 meter and a quick drift made it clear that this was not the place for us to find some decent squid so a move towards Tankerton was decided as the flow was faster and water change over is higher with the tide movement. We managed to find some clean water and started a drift, it did not take too long before we found a few squid and they just kept coming. Nothing huge but some nice food sized specimens amongst them. We had a good time while the light lasted but it was not long until the sun went to bed and I also had to go to bed having to start work at 0300 in the morning.

If any one is keen to visit Ichi Ni you can go to their website ICHI NI IZAKAYA or contact them on (03)9534 1212 they are located at 12 The Esplanade  St Kilda Victoria, you will not be disappointed with the quality of bot the service and the food at this place, dont tell em I sent you as they have no idea who I am hahahaha.