Locals claim they have the highest percentage of boat ownership per person of anywhere in the world up here. Not surprising. Karratha is at the door stop of a marine life Mecca.
Fish varieties to suit everyone. Having said that, it’s not that simple. It’s not as though you can just duck out in the tinny, dip your hand in the seawater and pull out any fish, let alone a fish at all!
This is where, what I call the Fishing Hierarchy (FiHi) Index comes into it. I’d rate myself a FiHi Index of 2. The reason I rate myself that high is at least I figure I have some idea which end of the rod to point at the water. But to be relied on to bring home a feed of fish without assistance would be highly questionable.
By contrast son Travis would have a FiHi Index of 5. I would have rated him higher if it wasn’t for the fact a father who recognised my young grandson with me in the local Mall asked if his old man had caught any fish yet. Quite obviously needs to work on his reputation to lift his FiHi Index ranking. Watch this space though.
Then there’s Deano with a FiHi Index I would rate a prestigious 7. This is the fishing master level. Highly skilled and knowledgeable yet patient and tolerant while assisting those with a lower ranking from everything from rigging lines, baiting and selecting locations that provide higher yields.
Moving higher up the index is the guru level. While supportive with those of a lesser index, they can typically possess tendencies to become aggressively competitive should a lower index persons catch become greater.
I’d have to admit, I was apprehensive about our latest fishing trip. Spearfishing. If I wasn’t asked to go I know I wouldn’t have pursued it. But since I was asked I wasn’t going to say no. My biggest concern were those Snappy Tom’s. While reports suggest an abundant shark population, I hadn’t heard of any casualties so I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Once I was in the water, particularly after snagging my first fish, any such fears had subsided.
Not at least until FiHi Index 7 Dive Master, Deano surfaced. Now Deano is an absolute champ who ensured our freezer fish stocks got a real boost. Thanks Deano. But even he was subtly shaken after he speared his final catch, finding himself being circled by several sizeable sharks.
‘Not a problem’ says Ginge, FiHi Index 9 Fishing Master Guru who later explained that evening. “Just hit ‘em over the the head with your spear gun. That’ll get rid of them. Just a warning though” he says. “Don’t shoot them with your spear gun otherwise you’ll end up with a casualty… and it won’t be the shark”, he said!
But the real highlight of the day was the hospitality we encountered on one of the islands of the archipelago. We’d reached our bag limit. All that was missing was a hot plate to cook up one of our very palatable looking Coral Trouts for lunch. However thanks to the generosity of shack owner Jamie, we were treated to a very enjoyable and delicious lunch time cook up. Many thanks Jamie.
While my contribution to the total days catch was in the minority, it was a great experience I hadn’t even considered for my bucket list.