I woke up early yesterday morning, somewhat unlike me during the weekend, at 7 to get picked up at 8 at the house. I made some breakfast and coffee, and Linda, my cooperating teacher, and her husband, Ernie, met me at the house to go to Marlo and Cape Conran. Marlo, on the way to our fishing destination, is home to one of their friends, Andrew, who just finished building a home on a large plot of land.
It took us an hour and a bit to get to their friend's home in Marlo; some of the best scenery I've ever seen along the way. We drove through Lake's Entrance and Orbost (a town I had never been to before) to get there. We past acres and acres of rain forest, in between Lake's Entrance and Orbost, full of ferns and dense vegetation. Some of the trees were so immense; they must have been a few hundred of years old. We also passed an area of forest, which had been part of a bush fire a couple years back. The newly growing leaves and limbs on the charred bodies of the trees is just evidence of the resilient flora in Australia.
We arrived at Andrew’s place at Marlo and dropped of Ernie. Linda and I took the drive further up the coast to Cape Conran, a marine park, and parked up the hill from one of Linda’s favorite surf fishing locations. We walked down the hill to the beach and were two of only four people on the beach for as far up and down the coast that I could see, at least a few kilometers each way.
We set up the two rods and hooked up the jigs, consisting of a plastic white lure on a large hook, a bait hook, and a large sinker at the bottom. We used squid and small blue fish soaked in tuna oil as bait. We baited the hooks and headed down to the edge of the mildly rough surf and cast our lines out.
It was really hard to tell when there was a bite because the crabs continually tried to steal the bait. A few times, we reeled them in. They usually let go right before the line was completely in. About half way into our time fishing, I got a bite. I pulled the rod back to hook the fish and it pulled right back. After a war between the seemingly large and strong fish, and myself I was finally able to see it as it breached the water trying to escape. I reeled the fish in and up the beach. I was told that it was an Australian Salmon, Arripis trutta. After further investigation, I found out that it wasn’t even a salmon; in fact it isn’t even in the same family. Arripis trutta, belongs to the Arripidae family rather than the Salmonidae family, where you would find your North American salmon grouped.
I was psyched! It was the first ocean fish that I had ever caught not to mention the largest too, measuring around 3kg and over half a meter in length! Linda bled the fish and dug a hole in the sand to keep it until we were finished for the day, which wasn’t much longer. Once our rods were packed up on the beach, we took the fish to the water’s edge to gut it and clean it. After the gutting, we wrapped it in a rag and put it into a plastic bag until we arrived at the car, where we wrapped it in the sports section of the local paper. What an exciting moment! I will never forget the adrenaline rush I got when reeling in this fish!
Unfortunately, it was the only fish we caught but we were content and headed to the beach just down the coast to have a swim to get the fish smell off of ourselves. We parked the car and hiked down to the beach where we found ourselves swimming from the land into the middle of a beginner surfing class. It looked like fun! The water reminded me of the west coast of the US because it was so cold. It felt great though and I was so happy to have my first swim off the coast of Australia at Cape Conran. It was truly a beautiful place!
After the swim and a quick change, we headed back to Andrew’s house for lunch. We stayed there for a bit to enjoy a nice conversation, the fresh lunch and a beer before heading back to Bairnsdale. On the way back we stopped at a local store to pick up some ice to put over the fish until we got home. Linda and Ernie didn’t want any of the fish, because it was pizza night at their house. So, I called up my hosts to give them the great news that I was bringing home dinner!
When I arrived home, we had to do some Googling to figure out how to cook the fish. We came to the conclusion that we would grill it covered in foil stuffed with herbs and rubbed with a mixture of ginger and other Asian flavors. The final product was remarkable and it tasted amazing! It was the perfect size fish to feed the four of us!
The rest of my night was spent at a teacher’s house where I enjoyed a few drinks and a couple games of cards. It was an eventful day and one that I will never forget!
Today, I woke up late. Yesterday was busy, so I figured it would be all right! I spoke with my parents and Mary Kate this morning. I’m so happy that Skype works so well and is so cheap to use to call home! It makes keeping in touch so much easier!
I’m spending the rest of my day finishing laundry, watching cricket, and footy which will come on later tonight. Australia is currently playing cricket in a one day, 50-over match against India. Australia is batting first and are off to a great start.
I will also need to focus on some lesson plans for this coming week. It’ll be another busy one but it’ll be before I know it that another week and weekend is over. Time does fly when you are having fun!