Crocker Island Report
Ashley, Grahame and decided we needed to fish Northern Australia. We ultimately settled on Croker Island because it was one of the only places that... would take a booking of three without joining you to an unknown other party and as Grahame had fish out of Weipa before he was keen to try a new destination. Ross and Gavin had fished at Croker earlier in the year and with the benefit of hindsight a call prior to booking may not have gone astray. Read the full report.
Ross thought that Island offered a lot of venues and options but the down side was a couple of hour boat travel each day and if the weather was windy (its always windy) the experience can be a bit ordinary. We were booked and preparations got underway in earnest.
Now I don’t wish to be unkind to another club member but I think its fair to say that Ash can get a little excited and possibly over think the preparation for a big trip. Suffice to say the meter high pile of fly line 6 rods including the 14# and 7 Abel reels barely left him room for underpants in the 20 kilo maximum limit for the light plane from Darwin to Croker. I borrowed Ron’s 10# and learned to tie Clousers, Pink Things, Black and Barred Things and Gold Bommers. I stole Crease flies from Ashley.
So in late September, three intrepid southerners set off for far northern Australia, the flight schedule meant we had 11/2 days in Darwin to look around before we left for the Island.
Now if you have never been to Darwin the best way I can describe it is that they don’t serve pots in the pub its schooners all the way!!! The light plane trip to Croker takes about 11/2 hours with a stop over on Goulburn Island. The scenery is spectacular from the plane but it’s not the sort of country you would want to land in.
Croker Island has an aboriginal community of 300 people, a pearl farm and the fishing lodge. The island is dry but the lodge has a special permit for guests and all drinks have to be pre ordered and barged out prior to your arrival. By the time you pay transport, wrapping (to hide the contents) and about six other duties and charges a VB becomes a luxury item.
The Lodge has a main dinning / kitchen building attached by a timber boardwalk to 4 double bungalows, each with two beds. As we were the only guests for the week we each had our own bungalow. The lodge is also infested with frogs, which are particularly keen on living in the WC cisterns ~ this can make for some very interesting evening toilet stops.
The lodge is owned by Rob Hunt who is possible the most opinionated and arrogant bloke I have ever met. He spent most of his time telling us how much better we would do with lures and bait and his world view made for some interesting after dinner conversation. A long way from civilisation was a good place for Rob; he doesn’t play nicely with others. Still he did know were to find fish!
We (Ashley) planned our trip to coincide with the best tides to take advantage of the multitude of Flats fishing available, unfortunately the wind blew dirtied the water and made the flats fishing difficult and the lack of run was not conducive to good offshore fishing. So It sounds like a horror trip well you would be wrong!!!!
We caught all the likely species from GT’s to Barra, queenies and Tarpon. We had chances at meter long Milk Fish, never seen so many fish at Templer Island 10klm off the coast. I was trying to catch them on an 8# (what an idiot) and if had managed to hook one probably would have lost the whole fly line! Ash had a 40lb GT knock two Milk fish out of the way to take his fly. I caught 12 different species in a one hour session at the same spot. Two afternoons in a row we stopped to fish a spot for the last hour of the day, on the way home, and landed over 50 fish in 45 minutes.
A 10+ lb GT rose to take my Crease fly off the surface in crystal clear still water and his mate took Ash’s fly 30 seconds later. Sharples was in the other boat and was a few minutes behind before he hooked up. Ash chased permit on the flats but couldn’t get a take. I will admit we didn’t catch any monsters but what a place to fish. Now, crocodiles, if the guide complains that your fly keeps hitting his boat and wants you to move further away on the flats ignore him, I did ~ you can still catch fish near the boat!