ALBAA Stewardship

I'm being watched

One day when i was new to this area, I had been catching dart from the beach and really wanted to try getting something different from the headland, I tried climbing round alone. Not knowing the way it got dodgy quickly and I turned back. I ran into an elderly bloke who asked if I'd gotten a result, I said I didnt know the way was just turning back.

He hesitated, then peered up from his big straw hat. "follow me" he said in a gruff voice.

I did. He told me to do some pretty strange stuff, like skipping pippys on the surface through a chanel. And looked at me with utter distain as I bitched the best fish of the day that smashed one almost dragging me in. Tightened the drag on a snag, forgot to back it off again.

He showed me where to hide from the rain as a micro storm blew up the coast. He showed me where the crabs were and a much better way to present them on a hook. He showed me where to land jew there though it would be years until I needed to know that. He told me the names of each rock and ledge from south to north. He told me to put a tennis ball on the butt of my rod.

Neither of us drank enough water and it was a muggy summer day. He sat quite still most of the time, and moved very slowly and purposefully when he needed to. He threw half a pilchard on a largish hook maybe a 5/0 and a big ball sinker, with an alvey on a 7144, into a small gap between reef all day and pulled out small snapper and thumper bream patiently and consistantly.

Out of nowhere after a long period of quiet and what was turning into a very long day, staring straight out to sea he said "You gotta watch that bloke... He'll steal your fish."

We were completely and utterly alone,

"I knew his father, he was the same" he said.

The old man

This was a little disconcerting until eventually I looked up behind us to see if anyone was coming and saw this guy.

I did my best to recall my childhoods Sunday night documentary understanding of these birds, and remembered that they have a patch, they dont share and they live a very long time. Eventually I had to ask how long he had been fishing this rock?

"My father wouldnt bring me until I was 10" he answered.

He was about to turn 75 and in bloody good shape his age only really showed on his swolen farmers hands.

We cut strips of dart and fed them to the bird eventually coaxing him to catch a couple .

I have never seen the man in the big straw hat again, but the bird has been watching me ever since, I saw him this morning and had my camera, though he seems to dissapear for a while every now and then. I think it's more than being wet he's getting a little old now. I have watched him ride the updraft then dive at breakneck speed to pick a crab up off a ledge. The speed, agility and braking power are just astounding. Let alone the ability to see a 3 inch crab on a rock from that hight. I will never forget that day.


Author: Daniel McNulty

ALBAA Projects

Ledge Care
Media Releases

ALBAA members are currently undertaking several projects covering a varried range of topics.

The aim of these projects is to correlateing the collective wealth of knowledge ALBAA members posses in our specific area of angling and presenting this knowledge in a manner that all land-based anglers can benefit.

Land-Based Angling

Shaking the Monkey Again

Shaking the Monkey Again


2 from 2 and a Jew for You

Jaws Fin

The Story of Jaw's Fin

Friends of ALBAA

Sportfish Extreme Australian National Sportfishing Association ANSA Angel Ring Project Beachmaster Fishing World