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Ronan's report

Sunday September 12th, 2010

Crocodiles are nasty sneaky creatures and they make fishing in the north of Australia both hazardous and interesting. I've had some close encounters with them over the years. I was stalked by one along a Northern Territory beach some years ago, fortunately they don't know about polarised glasses. I'd seen it lurking in about 2 meters of water about 10 meters off the shore as I walked the high back of a remote beach trying to spot fish. There were wild pig tracks all along the shore, they come down to eat turtle eggs, ghost crabs and anything else they can find and the crocs wait for them. I saw this large, dark suspicious looking shape in the slightly milky water and when I walked down the beach it started moving in closer, when I went back up the beach it retreated a little. I played a game with it for about 100 meters, up and down, but they are very patient creatures.

I was chased by one once. In the Wessel Islands on low tide I followed a trickle of water coming out of the mangroves at the back of the beach knowing that if I could find a tidal pool there would be barramundi in it - and there was. Right where the huge wide beach met the mangroves at the back of the bay was a pool that disappeared into the dark green of a mangrove forest. In the pool were half a dozen barramundi, head down, tail up waiting for the tide to turn to bring their food.

One cast was all it took and I was tight to a bouncing barra. But at that moment there was a crashing through the mangroves and a 3 meter croc launched itself across the top of the water tail walking at my barra. I ran dragging the barra behind me up onto the sand and flapping across the expanse with the croc in chase. I pretty quickly realised that it wanted the barra, it was like having a sailfish on the teaser and every time it lunged for the fish I dragged it away from the creature and it got a mouthful of sand. By now I was hooting and mates came running but the croc had given up and returned to the water. It had chased me around 40 meters so there were plenty of tracks for the guys to see. It would have made a hilarious movie.

They make wade fishing in the north an interesting but risky business all the time.


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