Down Under: Kangaroos and Sharks

Written By: Michael Ponce
Date: February 27, 2019

When I found out that I was heading to Australia to chase big cobia and marlin from a yak I could hardly contain myself. I knew that we were coming with a pre-defined agenda and that our aggressive schedule might not allow for sightseeing kangaroos and koalas... Thank goodness we camped at Trial Bay Gaol campground near South West Rocks because the kangaroos were thick there. Within 2 minutes of being inside the park we quickly realized that there were kangaroos everywhere, fortunately for us they were smaller 'slightly more friendly' than the red kangaroos found further north. Within a few hours of being there... the novelty wore off until I woke up the next morning and realized that there are kangaroos everywhere. It was fun to say the least.

Unfortunately, our fishing story wasn't much of an exciting one as we struggled to find the conditions we needed for the marlin and cobia bite to turn on. We all got a taste of the MANY sharks that call Australia home. Each of us hooked up multiple times to a variety of sharks ranging from reef sharks to large hammerheads. Though the fishing was slow, the local hospitality was off the charts. Throughout the week we met a small army of kayak anglers that drove hundreds or kilometers to hang out with us.

The beer scene was surprisingly good. As a proud American who loves his craft brew... especially a hopped up west coast style IPA, finding good beer was a minor concern of mine before I left. The Aussie's quickly informed me that they like their craft brew as well. My go-to was the Fat Yak by Matilda Bay Brewing. I am normally not a fan of light beers, but this one was pretty good at 4.7 ABV.

I want to mention a few people that we had the pleasure of meeting on this trip starting with Jason Milne and Tommy Strydom. You two mates have some of the best energy I have ever seen. Thank you for going out of your way to show a few American boys what Australia is all about. Daniel Lawton and Brett Spears of South West Rocks stuck around the entire trip to make sure that we had a proper flogging and that we did. Australia kicked our butts, but not before Daniel showed me what a good flattie looks like. Thanks again mate.

Scott Bryant greeted us with pizzas when we got a bit sidetracked with some silly shenanigans and then opened up his personal fishing arsenal to us as if it were a charity event. What a pleasure it was to meet you. Warren Norup... you dropped so much knowledge on us that I felt like I was at school. We learned countless lessons with you while you were tying our stingers or telling big fish stories.

Lastly there are two people that I would especially like to thank:

Don Cummings of Coffs Harbor - You literally opened up your beautiful hillside home to 6 stinky dudes that were on a hunt for a good time. Your professionally prepared lamb roast was my best culinary experience of the trip and an unexpected treat. I will remember you for decades as the man who took us in. Thank you for your generosity.

Marty Gittens - You stand a cut above anyone that I have every entrusted with travel planning and logistics. Your level of readiness was remarkable and appreciated by all of us. Thank you for making this trip possible and for having so much damn fun at the same time. I heart you!

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