Wyndham and Barramundi fishing with Mick the Crocodile hunter

Wyndham township was surveyed in 1886 but it seems it was the meat works that opened in 1919 that kept the town going all these years. It closed in 1985 and it seems the town has been shrinking ever since. When the meat works was operating, offal was pumped down a blood drain and into a creek running into the gulf. The freshwater and blood attracted birds which in turn attracted crocodiles and it was not uncommon to see over 20 basking on the mudflats at low tide. M

There is not much of a town here now but we like this area. It has a similar feeling to Karumba. There is a lot of empty but beautiful raw nature up here and you feel like you are on the edge of civilisation. There is also a lot of dust and constant smoke from the bush burnoff which is done at this time. The biggest and maybe nicest building in town is the hospital, which I got to check out when we arrived. It is the only way to see a Dr in these parts. Allergy issues kept me inside and away from Smoke/dust for a few days in the Bungles and a few steroids were needed to get me back on the dusty road. M

steve and the bog croc wyndham
The Big Croc in Wyndham is a bit bigger than the one in Normanton. It took 5.5 km of steel rod  covered with 10 rolls of bird mesh and 6 cubic metres of concrete to make in 1987 by a group of students and volunteers!
guinea fowl
These cute guinea fowl were just running around on the side of the main road.

warriu dreamtime statues

aboriginal family at dusk
Warriu dreamtime statues are a proud reminder of the Aboriginal heritage of this area
wyndham and king river
A lookout over looking the town with the King River in the background.
five rivers lo
Overlooking the Cambridge Gulf at the Five Rivers Lookout where you can see the King, Ord, Pentacost, Durack and Forrest Rivers meet and the surrounding mudflats from the highest point of the Bastion Range at 330mt. A stunning spot!
wyndham port
Working Port area
five rivers lookout
Tidal flats
five rivers lookout 2
The Bastion Range
mud flats five rivers
Tidal flats. This must look really impressive in the wet season!
wyndham port at dusk
The new (2011) very flash (for out here) recreational fishing and boating jetty.

 

prison boab near wyndham
The poor old boab prison tree near the King River. It was used by the early police patrols as an overnight lockup.
prison tree
With the amount of names carved into this hollow tree and the door hole cut out of it, this poor tree should not still be standing. Probably thousands of years old, it was not looking so happy though.
inside prison tree
This is what it looked like inside with numerous small ventilation holes
watering prison tree
I felt so sorry for it I had to give it my water bottle!
rock paintings near wyndham
Rock paintings near Wyndham
rock paintings near wyndham 2
Newer on top of older paintings
python
Olive Python found in a cave near the rock paintings
white quilled rock pigeon 3
White quilled rock pidgeon
brolgas near king river
Brolgas Hunting

 

It’s practically un-Australian not to fish or at least know how, in this land “girt by sea”. Steve had never been fishing and I had about 2 or 3 fishing trips as a teen but was never taught how to do it. Steve and I had been talking about trying Barramundi fishing for years. We would have gone in Karumba at the beginning of the trip, but the season had closed down to let the fish spawn, which protects the fish and the industry up there. Now we are here near the lower Ord river, famous for it’s big Barra and Bigger Crocs and thought now is the time. We booked a trip with barramundiadventures.com.au and headed out to Hairy Dog’s fishing camp for a full day on the lower Ord river, where we were warmly met by Jane. Our fishing guide was Mick the ex mechanical engineer, crocodile Hunter, bull rider, diamond miner, lover of nature and travel and general all around mystery man. M

bar of the fishing camp
Hairy Dog’s Fishing Camp. AKA Greg and Jane Harman’s place on the Ord River
croc log
The beautiful scenery from the fishing camp
mick from hairy dogs fishing camp
Mick getting sorted. You should have seen the look on his face when we told him we had never fished before. “Never” he said? Like I said un-Australian!
steve excited about sitting still for 8 hours
Steve excited about sitting still for 8 hours
ord river scenery
Beautiful scenery along the river
gone fishing
I’m sooo ready to catch some dinner! Captain Mick at the helm!

What we didn’t know until we got out there is that the conditions were pretty bad. The river was only just high enough to move the boats up and down it and they were limited where they could go. Also with such a terrible wet season it was also poor conditions for catching Barra, making it much harder. Some boats we coming back without them! Still the river was beautiful and the scenery and birds made for a lovely day anyway. I was still hopeful. M

Mick catching bait in croc infested waters
You don’t just go down to the local corner shop for frozen pilchards for bait. Up here you get knee deep in crocodile infested waters and catch live bait with a net. I got ankle deep at most ready to run back to the boat. Mick was bare foot, so I figured he would get eaten first.
net casting
Mick casting the net with skill
bait cherubin, archer fish, stripy and mullet
Bait was cherabin, stripeys, archer fish and mullet. Mullet were the preferred meal of the Barra Mick told us.
crocodile
The upper Ord that we had done the canoe trip on last week had only freshwater crocodiles. They are the timid ones. Now on the lower Ord we were in “Salty” territory and there were dozens of very big ones just in the small stretch of river we went on. Mick told us the surrounding cattle stations can lose one to two cows per week when they come down to the river to drink. It’s a Croc free for all meal when there is a cow carcass floating. I guess that helps to grow these guys!
croc tail
I can see a handbag!
croc close up
Really!  You get into waters looking for bait with these guys in it!
maddy fishing
I’m baited up (thanks to Mick) with mullet and ready to catch but Steve got the first fish!
Steve's catch of silver cobbler that caught the 7 ft crocodile
The very exciting first catch of the day. Look carefully for the teeth holes on this catfish that Steve caught. It was very hard to pull in and Mick wasn’t sure what the huge thing on Steve’s line was at first. As Steve brought the fish to the surface, we saw that it had a 7 foot Freshwater crocodile hanging onto the fish. It was a tug of war but when it saw the boat it let go! Glad it was a freshie! A salty would not have given up so easy. All a bit too exciting to get a photo of though. Mick said it was pretty rare to catch a croc amazingly. Steve is now the croc hunter.
hanging fish
Then in the middle of making my sandwich, with Mick holding my pole this thing went for my bait. Mick quickly gave me the rod, so I could bring it in. What a thrill. Trying not to get spiked by this big heavy boy!
fish shot 2
Mick was a very naughty man!
fish shot
Dinner! I’m so excited!
filleting
Mick gets the fish ready for us  to pan fry! Thanks Mick, we had a great day!
pan fried barramundi
YUUUMMMMMM. Pan fried Barramundi!

2 thoughts on “Wyndham and Barramundi fishing with Mick the Crocodile hunter

    1. We have only eaten half of it as it was so big it filled the freezer. It is nice to get it out and cook our own caught fish! M

      Like

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