Friday, July 27, 2012

Australian Salmon Fishing

Winter in Southern Australia is Salmon Season.
These are not the Pacific Salmon you buy smoked in the best stores, these are Australian Salmon, a poor excuse for a table fish. Up until recently they were used as Crayfish bait and cat food, but since quality table fish are becoming harder to get the Salmon has been pushed forward as suitable for the dinner table. (It's not)
I cant stand them and we have tried them every which way to improve their flavor but to no avail, they're horrible. The only exception is Fish Cakes…if you leave out the fish. (Bread crumb patties)

                                          New Zealand Fur Seals around Elephant rocks

The terrible South winds that whip off Antarctica don’t stop until they reach me standing on the cliffs at Elliston or Talia or Locks Well. The waves can sometimes be more than 50 metres high and when they crash into the cliffs it feels like horizontal salt rain. Conditions have to be terrible for Salmon and the weekends are usually pretty miserable affairs.. but you do catch a lot of fish.
This season I've made the 300km trek (each way) three times already and hope to make one more before the colds, flu and bitter cold drive me back to sit in the warm glow of the heater to sit out the rest of Winter. 

 This is pretty much standard scenery from Port Lincoln in South Australia right through to Perth in Western Australia. Most is totally inaccessible but here and there you can get near enough to cast a line.
 50 metre waves hit this cliff about half way up and the result is a virtual river of water pouring over the top making it absolutely impossible to fish in those conditions. Looking out to sea you can see nothing, nothing at all.

The winds are relentless and rarely below 25knots, so windy in fact that you cant pitch a tent or if you do they blow away when you get out of them. A couple of years ago a mate of mine got out of his 3 man dome tent during the night to bang the pegs back in and the second his foot left the edge of the tent it took off tumbling across the field. Next morning I found him asleep in the car and he had to walk a mile to the tent tangled in trees at the far side of a huge field, along the way he had to recover his possessions where they fell. He got most of it back but the tent was trashed…first time he'd used it.
 This shot was taken from a low cliff at Talia, this was literally right in front of the cliffs.

I used to sleep on the ground alongside the car for protection but I'm getting too soft for that now, a couple of years ago I bought a Toyota Ute and I now sleep in the back with a nice mattress and covered in a heavy tarp, not very comfortable but way better that the other options.
You have to battle Sharks to get your fish in and for good measure Australian Sea Lions and New Zealand Fur Seals all join in to snatch as many of your fish as they can. A Sea Lion can be the size of a medium  car and you don’t get between them and anything they want, they lay peacefully on the beach near you until they see your rod bend and then they start moving toward you. If you unhook the fish and throw it to them they go back to their previous position but if you keep the fish to yourself they attack your line as you bring in the next fish meaning you lose a lot of gear. (and don’t get anymore fish)

 This catch of small to medium Salmon was taken by a friend of mine in just one day.

If the fish are healthy and not bleeding I release them straight back into the water but if they're bleeding badly I keep them until I find a sucker to give them to.
This year I've caught around 100 fish and taken about five, all of which I've given away at the cleaning tables.
Two years ago I entered a Salmon Competition and took a fish nearing 8 1/2 pounds, thinking it stood a chance of winning I didn't bleed or gut it until I got back to the comp hours later. I was way off the winning weight so I was cleaning it when a boy came to admire the fish, I sent him back to his parents caravan with my fish...he was so pleased.. I'll bet his parents weren't when they all tucked into it that evening. (First thing you MUST do with Salmon is bleed and gut them within minutes)

My photos all show the area at it's best because when the wind is up there really is nothing to see, white foam and rain… and the salt ruins my cameras.


Friday, July 20, 2012

The Slow Lane

Way back in 2010 I spent some time Geocaching in the wheat farming district of South Australia near Cleve. There, on a fence that separates the Airport Runway from the towns Cemetery (possibly a scary sight as your plane comes in to land) I found this interesting grouping of feral snails.

They gather like this during rainy times, the ones at the bottom of the pile cemented there by the ones over the top. After the wet weather the top snails leave to eat and breed while the ones underneath no doubt die a horrible death during  the very hot Summer.

Gardner's have been known to scrape the shells off into buckets to mix into potting soil as a Liming and water holding agent.

*Groups of introduced snails aestivating at the top of fence posts at Cleve, South Australia. (As can be seen in the detail image, the groups are mostly composed of the white garden snail Theba pisana, with some smaller individuals of the pointed snail, Cochlicella acuta.) *this bit nicked from


Friday, July 13, 2012

Hoon Chaser

Out here in the country if your car gets stolen it usually turns up burned out in the bush after being used as a mad mans toy for a few hours.  Burned out to prevent fingerprints being lifted.
In the larger cities though, your stolen car is likely to be used in the age old game of 'catch me if you can'. If the police do actually catch up to them they abandon the car and run away.
I'll put my money on fit young men against fat cops carrying half a ton of Bat Belt any day.

The answer to this (as thought up by some dumb ass sitting at a desk) was to make cop cars faster. They tried highly modified twin turbo 4WD Subaru WRX's and now they've gone Supercharged V8 Commodore.

The problems here is firstly the fact that the cops need to be able to drive hot cars…which they cant.
Secondly the public keeps getting in the way, and we've had some horrible accidents resulting in total innocents being killed.

Any ideas?


Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Changing Minds Of Men


A few days ago I completely snubbed the daughter of a close friend. She was filling her car at the fuel pump right next to me, I fueled up, went and paid for my fuel and left without even acknowledging her. As I pulled into the street I finally recognized who she was…too late!
This got me wondering why I hadn't realized who she was and what I saw was a sad realization indeed.

In my teen years and into my twenties I'd have been looking at her boobs and probably noticed that she had a face I knew… eventually! 

In my thirties I'd have been looking at her legs and might have allowed my eyes to follow along ever upward until I recognized her… possibly!

In my forties I'd have been admiring her ass and it probably would have taken a while to get to her face... but eventually I'd have got there.

But now I'm in my fifties I was doing what fifty year olds do…
Yes, I admit it,  I was checking out her car. (a new black and chrome Ford Explorer)

This is the best way for a lady to fuel her car, no nasty diesel splashes on your nice clean clothes.. 


Sunday, July 1, 2012


Something a bit different today, some of my own photos from rural South Australia.

This abandoned farmhouse near Arno Bay on the Western side of Spencer Gulf was built by the great grandparents of a friend of mine, the same family still owns the land albeit in a much more recent house.

This shearing shed is still in use. They recently replaced the near 100 year old engine with a new Japanese generator and electric motor. The dark staining on everything is Lanolin from the fleece and everything smelled that distinctive smell. ( that and Sheep Shit)

How long does it take a very slow growing Australian eucalypt tree to grow up and over a fence post?
This is near Wallaroo on the Eastern side of Spencer Gulf
(near where my ancestors settled after coming here from Wales nearly two centuries ago)

Moonta Mines in Moonta on the Eastern side of Spencer Gulf. This immense building held just one steam engine and pump cylinder to pump dry the copper mines of two centuries ago. This shot was just on Sunrise in Autumn.

..and this 10 foot shaft was the exhaust for that engine, it's glazed bricks showing the immense heat it endured throughout it's non stop life. 
To get this shot I had to crawl in through a tiny cleaners access hole and lay on my back in several inches of Bat Shit right on Sunrise. I'd have stayed to get some shots of the tiny bats and wait for the Fox that lived there judging by the feces, but I felt things crawling under me as I lay there and wasn't absolutely sure there weren't any of them in my clothing, a quick exit and strip to flick out my clothes ensued.

Cheers from Australia!