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Discussion in 'Tracks, Trips and reports' started by diesel, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. diesel

    diesel Well-Known Member

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    Nobody is using this corner of the forum, so I figured that with a trip coming up to the Top End in a couple of months, I will do a bit of a running commentary beginning with preparation.

    The pic below shows the route we will be taking in red and maybe a diversion when we get back to Qld in blue.

    Australia -  comprehensive map.jpg

    Most of my previous trips to the NT have been with a few mates, we had been going away for years together to some of the more remote fishing locations up north and because we had been doing it for so long, we had a good system of rationalisation. Being blokes, we did not have to carry some of the stuff that we would if our wives were along for the trip. This coming trip will just be my wife and myself, so the preparation will be a bit different.

    My vehicle is a '97 Toyota Landcruiser Troopy, tough, reliable, can carry a lot of gear, but as rough as guts when it comes to comfort. Hey, this is a fishing trip, if I want comfort, I will sit at home in my lounge chair.

    We will be towing an off-road 7x4 trailer and camping in a Black Wolf Turbo 240 tent for the duration which will be approximately 8 to 10 weeks and possibly longer if we divert to the east coast once back in Qld.

    I don't like carrying unnecessary gear, things that you might need, but not really sure about it. If it is not something that you will definitely use, leave it at home. Cooking gear is one of those areas that given a bit of thought, you can really rationalise. A bbq plate, a camp oven, a billy and a medium saucepan is all you need - there is absolutely no need to carry much more. A 2 burner gas stove is handy when access to firewood is a problem, so that covers the cooking side of things.

    We will need to carry enough tucker for a 3 to 4 week stretch at a remote camp, but being a fishing trip, we will be living on seafood most of the time. We are seasoned travellers and know what to take for extended stays away from supermarkets. Potable water or lack of it is the thing to really consider. There will still be a lot of fresh water in the rivers now that a good runoff is predicted and that will be okay for washing, but not drinking - too many pathogens that can cause serious gut problems. We will carry 100 litres of drinking water and the same in washing water.

    Next instalment will cover safety, recovery and fishing gear.

    Jeff
     
  2. Missniss

    Missniss Well-Known Member

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    I used to keep a pack aquatabs in the glovebox of my 4by, never used them, but had them in case I ever ran out of water.
    But am interested in this thread. Looks like it's gonna be an awesome trip for you guys :)
     
  3. creekboy

    creekboy Well-Known Member

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    Another epic journey to follow. Cheers, creekboy.
     
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  4. Wunderlust

    Wunderlust Active Member Admin

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    Great part of the world, shame your not going more into the Kimberley or the NT / WA border as there some good spots there.

    One thing I wish I had taken on our Aussie trip was a water bladder for the back seat footwell. One that can be folded away when not needed, but can be rolled out when topping up in towns..
     
  5. diesel

    diesel Well-Known Member

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    We were going to do a Kimberley trip last year, Tim, but unfortunately we couldn't get away. I've done 2 trips into Walsh Bay and I doubt if I have ever found a better fishing spot. The Wenlock River up the Cape comes close, has some great barra action, but you can't beat the Kimberley for just pure fishing fun.

    I've often thought about a water bladder, but have never actually spoken to anyone who has used one over rough country. The old school philosophy of 'don't put all your eggs in one basket' certainly applies to carrying water on remote area trips over rough country. We carry 10 x 20 litre jerry cans for water, if one ruptures we've only lost 20 litres. Had a friend lose 150 litres of water from the tank on his camper trailer due to a fitting vibrating loose and the pressure pump kicked in without him knowing until he stopped for a break - ouch!!! He had to back-track more than 180 kms to find a reliable water source and a replacement fitting. Just one of those things I suppose, but as you probably know, Murphy's Law has a bad habit of kicking in at times - 'what can go wrong, will go wrong'.

    Jeff :)
     
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  6. diesel

    diesel Well-Known Member

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    Page 2

    I was going to launch straight into the preparation required for safety & recovery, but I will sneak back to food and cooking.

    I absolutely love camp oven cooking, whether it be roasts, stews, puddings or bread. When we travelled with the caravan, we always cooked outdoors, couldn’t stand the stale smells of numerous meals cooked in the van, so we were like a zillion other travellers out there who purchased and used a Weber Baby Q – good for easy cooking, but don’t come anywhere near a camp oven for producing what I would call a great meal or the perfect loaf of bread.

    To overcome the problem of fire restrictions in a lot of areas, I purchased a Camp Oven Mate (pic below), one of those inventions that rate up there with braided fishing line, soft plastics and bottled beer. It packs flat and uses very little gas to produce as good a cooked meal that I could get using coals. So, needless to say, the Camp Oven Mate goes with us.


    Camp-oven-mate-1.jpg Camp-oven-mate-2.jpg

    Now for safety & recovery. Going away with my mates, we didn't carry much more than a packet of bandaids and some panadol to cover health and injury issues and a shovel for recovery, maybe a tirfor winch at times to snig us out of a bog. With the wife on board and travelling as a single vehicle trip for most of the time, I've had to upgrade the basic requirements. A while back I purchased a KTI Personal Location Beacon mainly for when I ventured off kayaking for a few days - once activated it will pinpoint my location to within 3 metres. I hope never to have to use it, but it gives peace of mind knowing that in the event of something drastic occurring, help can be summoned with the press of a button. We have both kept up to date with first aid training and we carry a comprehensive first aid kit with heaps of bandaids :D.

    I still rely on a shovel to get me out of most situations, but have added a set of Maxtrax to the kit. Knocking around the bush most of my life taught me that the best way to get out of trouble was just try not to get into it to start with. A lot of people don't like the noise, but I never travel very far without my chainsaw - not only for firewood, but for those odd times when I needed a log or two for recovery purposes. I never go far without my axe also.

    I mend all my own punctures and carry all the gear needed, bead breaker, tyre levers, plugs and patches, tubes etc. Having interchangeable wheels between the Troopy and the trailer is a big plus also.

    That just about covers safety & recovery. I am still working on the fishing gear list and will detail that later.

    The good thing about writing this, it has helped me to remember some things that I may have forgotten.

    Jeff :cool:
     
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  7. Old fisho

    Old fisho Well-Known Member

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    Wish I was going too.
     
  8. Missniss

    Missniss Well-Known Member

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    No room for anyone else by the sounds of it lol But yeah, I agree with ya, wish I was too :)
     
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  9. creekboy

    creekboy Well-Known Member

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    Like Sandy said, me too (or is it also). Cheers, creekboy.
     
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  10. kev209

    kev209 Well-Known Member

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    Where are you going to fit Lyall I have to sit on top of the troopy with the gear
     
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  11. creekboy

    creekboy Well-Known Member

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    Maybe roller skates and a bit of rope? Cheers, Lyall.
     
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  12. Missniss

    Missniss Well-Known Member

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    I gladly nominate myself as a bug catcher on the front lol
     
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  13. Old fisho

    Old fisho Well-Known Member

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    And I don't care how.
     
  14. Old fisho

    Old fisho Well-Known Member

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    I think it's a hell of a good way to do a fishing report. The results are so often related to the pre planning and effort, all part of the whole, about which we don't usually say much. Thanks Jeff.
     
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  15. diesel

    diesel Well-Known Member

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    I imagine most of you would have been laying awake in a cold sweat for the past couple of nights wondering just what fishing gear a man should take for an assault on the north. Control yourselves and suffer no more,I shall enlighten you.

    From past experience of numerous trips into the remote locations of the Cape and the Top End, it is not so much a matter of deciding what gear to take, but more a case of what not to take. Living where I do in central Qld, I generally have 2 choices when I set off on an extended fishing trip, go north or south. It has been that way for years and I have a kit for handling the big toothy hard hitters of the tropics and a kit comprising lighter gear for the species I target when I head south.

    My kit for up north is usually just 2 baitcaster rods - a 5'9" Shimano Starlo Classix 6-10kg with a Chronarch 200E7 loaded with 30lb Fins and a 5'6" Ugly Stik 8-10kg with an Ambassadeur 6600C4 rigged with 50lb Fins. They have both served me well for a few years, trouble free and will handle most fish that I target, the only exception being GT's and big macks - both being hard to tame without the right gear. Because i may be diverting across to the Cairns region on the way back to have a crack at some jungle perch, I will be taking some of my lighter gear as well. They will be 3 spin outfits, a 7' Ugly Stik 5-8kg with a Stradic 4000 FK rigged with 15lb Fins, a 6'6" Shimano TK3G 2-5kg with a Stradic 2500FJ loaded with 10lb Fins and just for the hell of it and to prove to my mate in Darwin that it is possible to land big fish on light gear, I am taking my little 5'4" Samaki Zing 2-5kg with a Symmetre 1000 rigged with 6lb Fins. It will probably self destruct with the first barra hooked, but hey, what a ride it will be.

    As for lures, most of my fishing will be with proven hard bodies, Bombers, Reidy's, Classics and Killalures, but I'm keen to have another crack at barra with some big soft plastics as well as soft vibes and blades. This could very well be my last trip up that way, so I am going to chuck everything I can to see if I can score a pb barra, my biggest being 101 cms from the Wenlock River, Cape York in 2013. Apart from the Darwin area, we will be quite some distance from tackle stores most of the time, so a good stock of lures is paramount. I estimate that I will be fishing for around 35 to 40 days and allowing for lost lures at the rate of perhaps 3 every couple of days, I will need to carry at least 50 hb's. Soft plastics get smashed on just about every hookup in the north, so I will take a reasonable supply, mostly larger minnows, but also some smaller grubs for a bit of fun with the little Zing.

    I wont be doing much bait fishing in the NT, but the cast net will go with us to have a crack at some prawns in the lower Gulf and the east coast if we get across to Cairns. The rest of my fishing gear will be the basics that don't need any description.

    There are heaps of other bits and pieces of gear that need to be considered for the type of trip that we are doing and will be added to the list over the next couple of months. Stay tuned and for those who expressed their interest of jumping on board our magical mystery tour, I wish you were all joining us also. As I noted earlier, this could very well be my last big fishing trip up north, the bride and myself are seriously contemplating a move to South Oz in the not so distant future, most likely the Yorke Peninsula in the Ardrossan area, where I can just walk out the gate, wander down to the jetty and grab a feed of blue swimmers, calamari, King George Whiting and Tommy Ruff whenever I feel like it. As much as I like the action up in the north, I do miss the easy fishing down south. We'll see..............:rolleyes:

    Jeff :cool:
     
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  16. Old fisho

    Old fisho Well-Known Member

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    Hey Jeff.

    I'm no guru barra king, but if I handled them to 750 on my #8 fly rod, with a 10lb tippet. I'm sure someone with your experience, knowledge, and skill, could do even better without that little stick folding up under the load. Noel.
     
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  17. diesel

    diesel Well-Known Member

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    Haha, thanks for the praise, Noel, but it will definitely be a challenge. I think the only chance of hooking, holding & landing a reasonable sized barra on light gear will be to try with an unweighted soft plastic and hope that the aerobatics are not too severe. The little Symmetre 1000 has only got 3 kg of drag max and a few good tail walks followed by a deep run will stretch it to the limit.

    I've tried for jacks on light gear, but never been able to hold them on line less than 10lb. They like to get back into cover pretty fast and the only way to wheel them is to screw the drag up almost to the point of a complete lock up. As much as I like the explosive runs from fish such as jacks and sooty grunter, I like to work a reel rather than just skull drag a fish out of cover. No fun in that style of fishing.

    That's a good effort to handle a 75 cm fish on fly gear. I'm not very conversant with the weight specifications of fly rods, but a 75 cm barra would go around 10 to 12 lb - I'm impressed.

    Jeff :cool:
     
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  18. Old fisho

    Old fisho Well-Known Member

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    Thanks too. It didn't go anywhere near as hard or long as the 95cm, (approx 22 1/2lb) jewie on 4lb just before Christmas.
     
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  19. Old fisho

    Old fisho Well-Known Member

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    That was on 1-3kg Phleuger stick that performs really well, and the braid was Berkley Fire line in the dark (smoke) colour, which is all I use, with a 2m, 6lb mono leader attached.
     
  20. diesel

    diesel Well-Known Member

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    That makes my trolling outfit with 50 lb braid and 80 lb leader seem a bit of an overkill, Noel.

    Jeff :rolleyes:
     
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