Salmon turned up to play at the monthly weekend fishing competition when the biggest turn out of the year was greeted by a heavy swell but not too many heavy hearts.
The swell kept most of the six boats and 13 anglers inside the line of Stragglers Reef though Patrick Keenan-Smith and his crew ventured to Rottnest in a challenging run to Phillip Rock.
With Sue Keenan-Smith and Ray Wilson on board, the crew were heading out towards the five-fathom bank but the heaving swell triggered a change in plans.
Many public boats were already jockeying for the best position around Rowboat Rock just east of Mewstone as the competition boats meandered out.
Rod Mews and David Kazim both landed good-sized salmon while Coralie and Bob Litster also enjoyed battles with the feisty fighters.
The prized catch of the day, though, belonged to Sue Keenan-Smith.
Early in the day, the water east of Phillip Rock wasn’t clear, so Paddy, Ray and Sue settled for a patch of broken ground, only 150m from the rock.
The action wasn’t frantic, but with a few bombies close to the stern, and plenty of berley (chook pellets), the trio attracted a variety of fish.
Herring plundered the mulie and squid offered as bait, but some 0.5kg skippy were available if the rig hit the bottom before the herring hit it.
Ray caught and released a small baldchin groper, and a 57cm sambo before Sue announced that she seemed to be caught in the weed or on the reef.
But her mood soon changed when she realised that there was something substantial on her line as she worked her rod to get the first glimpse of the fish.
The result was a lovely spangled emperor or nor-west snapper, a beautiful fish with a distinctive splash of red in its throat.
The weigh-in provided a photo finish as, first, Goran Sucur weighed in a good mixed bag to finish on 61.78 points while Paddy’s haul, which included the only king george of the day, reaped 57.68 points. But then along came Ray, whose catch included a breaksea cod, squid, skippy, herring and sand whiting, to win the day with 64.44 points.
The mystery fish was claimed by young Marcus Sucur with a half kilo skippy while Bob Litster won the lucky boat prize. All winners get $90 towards their house support scheme.
Eleven species were taken on the day – breaksea cod, flounder (Geoff Rosevear), herring, king george whiting, salmon, sand whiting, skipjack, snook, spangled emperor, squid and tarwhine.
While the number of anglers for the most recent competition was encouraging, Angling Captain David Kazim urged more club fishers – men, women and children – to get involved. He stressed that prospective competitors don’t need to be expert anglers because the competition is species-based, with all the usual suspects scoring points, and fish that people would catch on a regular outing.
There is a mid-week competition scheduled for Wednesday, May 31 while the next weekend competition is listed for June 10.
For further information on the logistics of the competitions, call field day coordinator Bob Litster on 0417 189 776.