Day 7 - 12th April 1999
As they say, All good things must come to an End. As our trip had reached its final morning for fishing, we had a chance to reflect on our experiences the last 6 days with Mark and Jenny around the breakfast table. We were to surely miss the consummate cook that we had for the past week, namely Jenny, and the warm if not friendly atmosphere that was apparent from within Mark and Jenny's home on North Island.
Both Mark and Jenny are firm believers in making as much out of life as they can. They have chosen their idealistic life style on North Island, to fulfill a dream where they can mix the rigours of business and remote daily living with the joys of serenity and complacency, and doing so with meticulous regime. I personally believe that they have achieved a major step towards their dream, as their aspirations in developing a resort and airstrip on North Island will eventuate, with the culmination of dedication, hard work and bureaucratic diplomacy with the NT Government.
I would have to say that both Mark and Jenny definitely played the perfect host, with Mark looking out for our interests and expectations in fishing, and Jenny making sure we had the energy to do so, by continuously laying out a spread of food that would have to be the envy of a five star hotel. I did not realise that fish could be cooked in so many different ways, till I came to North Island.
A special note of recognition must go to some of Mark and Jenny's siblings - those being their sons - Benjamin, Jacob, Isaac and Daniel. These guys, aged 14, 12, 7 and 4 respectively, could leave a normal family man to shame when it comes to doing general maintenance chores around the house. On one occasion, I saw Benjamin and Jacob, using a cordless drill with a tec screw head, systematically stripping the roofing iron off their house to do normal yearly maintenance on the internal ceiling and roof wiring. Even when the storm hit on Day 4, they were out, in the water, making sure that the Savages were secured to their moorings.
fishSA does not usually promote or advertise any business organisations or ventures affiliated with fishing. However in this instance, I definitely make the exception. fishSA is a firm believer in recognising and promoting good quality service when it sees it.
Paradice Fishing Tours, owned and run by Mark & Jenny Hanlon, provide good, quality service in boat charters and accommodation, and offers experiences one is not likely to forget ! Both Mark and Jenny are very conscientious in addressing any needs or requirements you may have, both are very easy going, extremely approachable and very amicable with regards to your stay.
Mark's knowledge of the waters in and around the Sir Edward Pellew Group and the Gulf waters is second to none, ensuring some degree of consistency of fish catches to those who use his services. There are no guarantees in a good haul of fish. However, his knowledge of the locale and skill in boating and fishing definitely tips the scales in your favour in producing a good days excitement and a reasonable haul of fish. He takes it as a personal challenge in trying to make your expectations in fishing, a reality.
Should you be interested in Mark and Jenny's services, they can be reached at
Paradice Fishing Tours
P.O. Box 402
Borroloola, NT, 0854
|Voice Phone:||0889 759 705|
|Mobile Phone:||0145 199 084|
|Fax:||0145 299 084|
The morning routine consisted of stowing our rods and packing our luggage. The Savage's fuel cells needed to be topped up, and prepared for the morning's troll through the islands back to King Ash Bay. Benjamin and Jacob were to take a Savage with all our luggage as well as the household refuse, to King Ash Bay. Coho, Chinook and I were to troll with Mark driving, around the mouth of McArthur River for Barramundi and Threadfin Salmon.
As we finally took off from North Island, we could see Jenny standing outside her home, waving enthusiastically. Naturally we all waved back to her, and even though we were all looking forward to seeing our spouses back in Adelaide, there was a feeling of regret as we were departing, that we would definitely miss the lifestyle, surroundings, the company and fishing that came with North Island.
The going was slow through the open waters between the islands, as the seas were a little choppy, and the Savages heavily laden. On numerous occasions we stopped and drift fished, hoping for a hookup. As we approached the river mouth, the mangroves became more evident, and casting as close to these mangroves was the norm.
Trolling McArthur River produced some positive results, where Coho caught several Threadfin Salmon, and I caught a Finger Mark Bream - or Golden Snapper. As we were trolling within the arterial creeks branching off the main river, we noticed that the level of humidity increased within the mangrove lined creeks.
We arrived at King Ash Bay at around 2.00pm. We loaded the truck with our luggage, and before we knew it, we were back at Borroloola. Our return trip back to Adelaide was to be simply the reverse of the incoming trip some 7 days ago. We all settled in at the HR Development Resort, had lunch, and being the consummate new age 90's guys that we are, did several loads of washing. We spent the afternoon at the Borroloola pub, met up with Ant again, and gave him several fish. I don't think that Ant forgave Chinook for drinking him under the table, as he continuously referred to Chinook as the Devil, and jokingly barred him from the pub.
We hit the sack pretty early that night, as it was to be a 5.00am start to get to McArthur River Mine for our 8.00am flight back to Darwin.
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