In what seemed like no time at all, NSC weekend rolled around again and the scramble began to pull everything together in time. After a tough Christmas fire season for the whole country knock-on effects were still being felt in terms of delivery services and it was looking like it would go down to the wire to have everything arrive on time. The last batch of NSC shirts arrived at midday on Friday allowing us to finish the welcome packs and pack the car to be on the road to Portland for briefing Friday evening. Last year’s sweltering heat was a thing of the past and conditions were looking reasonable for the weekend, we just had to hope the fish played ball. With 40 guys registered for the comp (8 for the first time) and a team making the trip over from South Australia we were set for a big weekend. With work commitments the way they are these days, I was looking forward to catching up with a bunch of blokes I don’t see on the water as often as I used to.
Day 1 – (Fishing 6.30am – 2pm)
The morning launch saw mint conditions with light offshore winds and swell wasn’t an issue. The safety crews hit the water and the girls hit the beach armed with clipboards to check off all the safety gear. The launch saw the field spread out quickly with a variety of tactics being tried with some opting to risk it out wider facing the threat of a long run home into the strengthening wind. We had three late launches (Shane making the trip back from interstate and a local Portland team that entered on the day) but by the time an hour had passed we had all vessels out on the water.
It was evident early that there were pinkies around with a number of anglers getting some early, the best of which went to Rob with a 48cm model.
There were whiting about too, and with Spider telling me stories of monster Portland whiting after NSC17, I had added them to the species list but had yet to see one of these unicorns entered in. That changed on Day 1 with Ben entering a solid 40cm model while Mal went one better with a 45cm model. Worth noting here that comp fish are measured in fork length so the ‘ting the boys entered were closer to 50cm overall than 40 and solid catches for the species.
Peatop managed to find the slimies for livebait, but unfortunately only bronzies took a liking to them with two good sized sharks back to back towing him out behind the anchorage before the end of the session. After battling two sharks to the surface, an offer of a nudge a little closer to shore from the Coast Guard was gratefully accepted.
We had a few salmon hit the measuring table too the best of which was Mav’s 44cm model, but at the end of session one the talk moved to kings…
Ben was the first to throw his hat in the ring for the best catch comp with a rat king on the board, previous comp winner Lennon then added to his tally going slightly better with a 67cm (fork length) version but bragging rights for the day went to Tas with not one but both fish landed from a double hookup, the second on very light gear. As the session drew to a close Tas had a healthy lead in the individual comp but less than 20 points separated the teams. Tales of bust offs by kings abounded over pizza for lunch and right on cue there was a bust up out off the bluff allowing Ian to test his casting distance land based to no avail.
Day 2 (Fishing 6.30am – 11am)
Launch on day two saw calm conditions the wind had dropped during the night but was due to steadily increase throughout the morning. Day 2 saw the smaller fishing zone in operation but based on the previous few days fishing, you didn’t have to travel far to find the kings.
The launch on Day 2 also saw the beginning of the Day 2 Dash with a pair of Mako polarised sunnies up for grabs for the first person to nab a legal whiting. The dash was won by Cheater with one of his trusty prawns nabbing the required King George.
There were still some smaller snapper around on day two that were happy to be hooked as well as a few more salmon, coming in giving most teams points on the board. The wind was making things a little bumpy out wide. As the 11am cut off drew nearer the field began the slog back to the beach. This year’s tale of woe came from the Donkey Hunter team with Ian having a relaxing pedal back, pulling in on the beach beside a parked Stealth just before eleven only to find out that his beach didn’t have an admin tent or even a caravan park and wasn’t the same as our beach. He then had to round the point and make the slog back to Henty into the wind.
The big question that remained however was whether or not anyone would come to the weigh in with kings. That question was answered soon after when Aussie Dave hit the beach with not one, but two of his own. Gear was packed up and the group moved to the BBQ area to see if Dave had done enough to topple Tas at the top of the leader board…
Early Bird Draw:
Winner: Tristan Davies (Henty Accommodation Voucher)
Day 2 Dash:
Target Species: Whiting
Winner: Stephen Kent (Mako Polarised Sunnies, Drystore Drybag, Lowrance Buff)
Masters (Entrants born in 1970 or earlier):
Winner: Tas Russos 205.5pts (Soft Plastic and jig head prize pack)
|1||Shane & Tas||138|
|2||The Mud Brothers||92.75|
A massive thank you once again to all of the entrants that made the trip down the coast to support our comp, it was a great weekend away with a top bunch of blokes. To the offshore first timers, well done on surviving the wind, I hope you gained some useful experience and built up your confidence to keep giving it a crack. Thanks again to all of our event sponsors, please keep them in mind when making your purchases.