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Spring 2016

The One Rod Challenge

A recent challenge between Channel 7’s Hook, Line and Sinker’s duo Nick Duigan and Andrew Hart provided the perfect opportunity to put an Isuzu D-MAX from DARWIN NT ISUZU UTE, through its paces on some of the most remote roads in the country. Andrew Hart explains...

When fishing far northern Australia you are always faced with a bit of a quandary. There are so many hard fighting fish and so many different techniques to catch them that you need to travel with a veritable tackle shop to cover all the bases! With this problem in mind and in fear of once again blowing the Hook, Line and Sinker budget on excess airline luggage, we decided for our latest trip to the top end, we were only allowed to take one rod each. One rod to rule them all.

 

The destination in question was a camp ground in east Arnhem Land, a leisurely six hour drive from Darwin, Legend has it that these waters are about as close as it gets to unfished and with a bit of preplanning and the required permits, campsites right on the foreshore can be organised where you can watch fish busting up from daylight to dusk. We left Darwin early, enjoying yet another crisp clear Territory morning, the D-Max loaded up and lopping down the Stuart Highway. A left hand turn put us on the Arnhem highway and the speed limit kicked up to 130km/h. For the next two hours we ate up the km’s.

After a quick lunch stop (there’s not much at Jabiru!), we headed into the tourist hotspot of Kakadu. Then when the tourist road stops at the East Alligator River, we kept going. Powering across the river and careful not to run over any crocs, once we were on the other side there was no turning back!

We had a permit to drive to a place called Wiligi Outsta- tion (you can find it on Facebook if you search). It was a drive of another 100 kms, but took us the rest of the day on the red dust track. There were another three major river crossings and the D-MAX loved it all! It was smooth sailing over corrugations and around the many wash outs.

Once we arrived at the camp, we met the Traditional Owners who made us feel at home. The next day we went to go fishing only to find that our one rods, which were both in a tube, hadn’t been packed particularly well and had fallen out somewhere between Wiligi and Kakadu! Our episode was looking in a bit of trouble.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, we went fishing anyway with the other boys who came on our trip, who happened to be from Wilson Tackle so they had heaps of spare rods!

We launched the boat off the beach, and within half an hour were getting our arms stretched by big Queenfish, Trevally and other big things that proved unstoppable. At the end of the first day we knew we had to find our one rod for the remaining few days, because this was the perfect place to test them!

Luckily, over a feast of coral trout and mud crab word reached us that the local policeman had found a black rod tube some 60 kms down the road! We were back in business and by the next morning had our one rods rigged and ready to go! The fishing over the next several days was mind blowing! We caught everything you think of on our rods, from barramundi in the creeks, to Giant Trevally on poppers. We caught coral trout on the bottom and mackerel on the troll. And we proved that all we needed was one state of the art fishing rod each, some 30 pound braid line and a suitable spinning reel and we could catch anything!

As with all Hook, Line and Sinker there is of course a twist in this tale. My rod, which I still use all the time, is a proper fishing rod, with a spinning reel. Nick’s however, which he calls the Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon, is the world’s first double reeled fishing rod. With a spinning rod and a bait caster, he was running two lures at once and spending plenty of time in a tangle! It made for a great episode and was well worth going to effort of driving into a very remote part of Australia!

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