I am keen to become a freelance fish reporter, and after the success of my first article "The Enigmatic Port River Mulloway", I have decided to submit another report following my latest expedition - "A SMALL PRICE TO PAY".
This report takes the reader west and abroad of metropolitan beaches, some 800 kilometres to a secluded yet rocky Bay known as Frenchman's. Approximately a 45 minute drive along dirt roads from Port Lincoln, Frenchman's was suggested to me by a local as a "hot spot for the real biggies".
An eight hour drive through scenic towns of pipe and steel such as Pirie, Whyalla and Port Augusta seemed like a small price to pay for the potential to get amongst the real big ones from a land based perspective.
I arrived at Frenchmans mid morning, and to my disappointment, I didn't have the bay to myself, as 3 or 4 other anglers were hauling in mullet and chow with gay abandon. I must admit to receiving a few scornful glances as I rigged up. I tied an 80lb trace to the end of the 300 metres of 30lb line which my Penn 6000 holds, and added a 70 gram sinker.
I then clipped my secret weapon onto the trace - triple black magic 7/0 hooks which I had ganged together the night before with swiss army knife pliers and a good deal of blood sweat and tears. I headed for the rocky outcrop which stretched furthest out to sea and cast as far as I could into the foaming green water which lashed me with salt spray everytime a wave broke.
Over the first two hours, I worked my way through half a block of pilchards without receiving a decent bite. Either crabs, sweep or some other scavenger, I decided in frustration. Another hour passed and I decided to switch tactics.
Removing the skeletal remains of yet another pilchard picked clean, I reached into my kit bag and pulled out a massive squid head, which I had been marinating in tuna oil and blood for twenty four hours. I hooked it up, being sure to leave plenty of tentacles floating free and launched the delectable puppy into oblivion.
It took only about twenty minutes for the tasty morsel to be devoured by the biggest stingray I had ever encountered - and I've been to sea world. I knew straight away that I would never beach anything twice the size of the bonnet of my car. The ray would swim 50 meters or so and then sit on the oceans floor and I couldn't budge it using all my strength.
After half an hour my left arm was aching and I was about to end the duel ! when the ray, suddenly agitated took off across the bay and snapped the line. Even though I had lost the monster the incredulous looks I received from the other fishermen said it all.
It was nearing dusk when 8 hours in a car followed by six on a cramped rocky esplenade became worth wile. I berleyed the water up with a potent mixture of oil, bread crumbs and crushed cockles, and hurled the biggest pilchard left in the block, unweighted into the dropping swell. Twice I was hit and twice I rebaited and recasted.
The next pilchard hit the water and simultaneously took off straight out into the darkening abyss. Line peeled off my reel with a high pitched scream, indicating this was a whole new level of stress for my reel. The tip of my silstar bent to an excruciatingly acute angle under the strain.
Fifteen minutes later, I was holding up the trophy - my first ever Yellow Tailed Kingfish, an impressively powerful looking specimen that later tipped the scales at 51 pounds. Turning the key in the ignition of my sports sedan, I knew that the monumental drive home was a small price to pay, to get amongst the real biggies.