Journal of Dan T. Cook - Fly Fishing the Globe
Traveling 75,000 miles around the world in search of fish and friendship.
October 23, 2006 - Pemberton, Western Australia
I left Sydney on October 12! Woohoo!!! Thankfully I finally hit the road after having some final work done on the Landcruiser. A special thanks to Gary and the whole crew at HiTech Auto Electrical who crammed 7 days of work into 2 days in order to get us going. I enjoyed a great stay in Sydney, but it was definitely time to begin my search for fish.
Before rolling into Melbourne, I stayed in Eden and at Wilson’s Promontory. The Promotory is a national park containing picturesque beaches and numerous friendly and beautiful birds. I wished we could spend a few days exploring the park, but my delayed departure from Sydney put me on a strict schedule. At 10 am on the 14th, I met up with Pat Levy from tackle and gear distributor, JM Gillies. Pat has been instrumental in connecting me with the top fly fishermen and women in Australia. After re-supplying I bid Pat and the Gillies gang “ta” and began the trek to West Australia (WA). Thanks Pat!
Drive to Esperance
I don’t know exactly how far the drive to Esperance is, but the Landcruiser suddenly appeared to have aged a bit when I pulled into town. I passed long stretches of farm land, grasslands and dirt. Lots of dirt. The strange thing about this dirt is that is seems to stick to anything and then stay there. The Nullarbor Plains is a wide swath of treeless red dirt. Then I ran into, literally, a cloud of locust. At first glance, it appeared to be an odd-colored cloud. Then came an initial couple of impacts followed by what sounded like hail hitting the windscreen. It only lasted about 30 seconds, but the resulting carnage was pretty disgusting. Blood and guts and carcasses all over the truck. It’ll take a wire brush to clean off the radiator. I’m now looking into purchasing a screen to cover the front of the truck.
I ran into a lovely family at the caravan park in Esperance. Brian, Bev, Kim and Grant are spending 12 months circumnavigating their country. Grant is a keen fisherman (“enthusiast” in American) and we went to the local break wall to huck some flies. I caught a couple small perch and a small Australia salmon (a version of perch). The pickens were slim, but it was nice to finally get around to the purpose of the trip after 4,000 kms of driving.
I met up with Chris Reygaert and Sean Mitchell on the morning on the 21st. Chris and Sean belong to the local fishing club and were kind enough to come down from Perth to show me the ropes. Trout fishing in Western Australia is NOT like anything I’ve encountered before. The streams hold mostly Rainbows and are quite a challenge to fish. Most casts are required to land in an area the size of a suitcase through an opening in the thorn brush not fit for a hummingbird. If you do manage to accomplish those tasks and actually hook a fish, you then have to play the fish to avoid the numerous submerged logs, sticks and tangles. I snagged a tree and 2 branches before I landed my first ‘bow. I will say that when I did land it, I was pretty *&@$*^@#$ satisfied!! Chris has taken this type of fishing to a scientific level. Rather than fish as many holes as possible to increase the probabilities, he prefers to methodically analyze a pool until a trout makes itself visible. Chris then spends another lifetime considering the wind, sun, shadows and casting angles before he makes a cast to the fish. I saw him on numerous occasions as still as a statue watching a pool. For this reason I nicknamed him “Herron” after the bird that seems to ignore time and sits still until a fish wanders into its range. I had a great time fishing with Chris and Sean and would like to thank them immensely for spending their weekend dragging me around southwest Australia. Mucho gracias boys!