In our household there is a slight spin off to the standard Christmas advent calendar. Previously what we have experienced is each day of the calendar a Christmas themed chocolate, however this year through my wife’s creativeness we have a string of 25 numbered paper bags, each with their own little surprise. Some days there will be a little gift like a hair clip for my daughter or a giant marble for my son. Other days there will be a note saying something like ice-cream day, baking day or craft day. The Sunday just passed was labelled adventure day¹.
So what did this adventure day mean? Well not even I knew. Hustled towards the car by my wife with the instructions of “You may bring a fishing rod”, I grabbed my Gen Black Swamp Donkey, 4000 Sol II and my fishing bag with an assortment of gear thinking that this would give me a pretty versatile approach. About an hour and a bit later, the kids and I awoke at Hook-a-Barra, just north of Port Douglas at the beginning of the Daintree to realise that adventure day meant a spot of fishing with a fair chance of hooking a barra or two.
Between some pretty heavy downpours of rain we had a blast, casting lures into a pond full of barra. At first I was pretty sceptical thinking, these fish will see lures all day long almost every day of the year, but the friendly staff informed us that no-one had gone home without catching a fish all day. To sweeten the deal, they also told us with more rain to come and arriving later in the afternoon, we probably had a good chance of the fish coming “on the chew” and we weren’t disappointed with 4 fish between us and a number of fish that spat the hooks.
The setup of this site is fantastic. The layout of the premises allows for a tonne of people to all enjoy an afternoons fishing and the opportunity to land a prime North Queensland sportfish without getting in each other’s hair. With an allocated hour for each group there is plenty of rotation of punters for the staff to adequately manage and coach those who need assistance.
What makes this even more enticing and appealing to locals and tourists alike is that you don’t actually need anything but a willingness to have a go. All rods, reels and lures are supplied, they will even supply a floatation vest for the kids if you are worried about them falling in. All you need to do is try and hook a fish of which there are an abundance, you constantly see them swimming at your feet.
At the end of your session, don’t be disheartened if you haven’t managed to snag a fish with a lure, the team there will do almost everything they can apart from catching it for you to get you on the end of a rod when one of these fish hits the end of your line. A last resort of a feeding pellet on a hook and a bit of burley proved fool-proof to the couple of punters we saw who used that technique.
At the end of your session, you also have the option to buy the fish you caught for a reasonable price per kg. The team will even bleed the fish, put it in an esky and on ice for your trip home.
For us, this experience was a blast as the kids were able to have a go at casting, retrieving and winding in a respectable barra and we didn’t need to worry for one second about any crocs lurking subsurface by the edge of the water.