Looking from the veiwing platform I could make out tiny dots on the shore line , there are people down there but how do you get down ? looks like at least a 500 ft descent through inpenetrable undergrowth , but there there must be a way ; & indeed there is , about 1/2 km from the scenic veiwpoint there are actually wooden steps leading right the way down the side of the gorge and eventually to the shoreline of the thunderous Whirlpool . I was initially a little worried about the dear lady Wife but, as she is always reminding me,she is not ready for retirement yet ; so off we treck, not with mountain climbing equipment but with fishing tackle for carp. It takes probably 15 minutes to descend to the shoreline but even if you were not fishing the treck would be worth it . Once on the shoreline two or three things become eminently apparent ; 1) how do you deal with a 10-15 knot current & 2) where do you find the fish there 3) how the heck do you get in a bankstick through rocks which range from the size of a plum up to the size of your car! bloody huge some of them.
I scoured the shoreline for a likely looking slack area ; and spotted a smaller whirlpool , spinning off at a tangent from the main stream of current, also there was a nice little tree shading the 26 degree almost unbearable midday heat . I grabbed a handfull of the little yellow grains and threw them in 20 ft or so : whoosh they were gone from sight before they had sunk 3ft below the surface . A lot of good they are, I thought, I doubt if they would ever reach the bottom , then I remembered the groundbait tub . What if I moulded a big ball of stiff groundbait around the hookbait & chucked the ball out by hand, gotta be worth a go . There was also a nice big rock with indentations to support the butt rings of my two rod set up ( hope the fisheries officer's are not reading this ) a couple of smooth flat rocks to pin down the butt section ( too much drag for my bobbins/strike indicators), no problem with the baitrunner, but the Mitchell would have to be fished on backwind (Churn for you Brits). O.k I thought , ready to rock, as I looked up there was a dark shape tipped up not 15 ft from the waters edge ,right where I had been testing out the groundbait for consistency, I talked exitedly to my wife ,hardly able to control my exitement . I bowled out the ball of groundbait with half an orange boilie in one & 4 grains of hair rigged corn on the other . I was just helping my youngest son to tie on a hair rig ,when zzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ the baitrunner was away on the boilie , which was the first surprize ,for although I always take some with me I hardly ever catch a thing with -em. A twist of the handle :click then ZZZZZZZZZZZZ, this time from the screaming drag , I was counting the drag 1,2 3 4 5 up to15 seconds, at I reckon 10ft /second thats at least 50 yds I thought, then the speed increased ! the fish was now in the main whirlpool & now I was getting worried, I looked down at the spool which was about half empty & decided the brakes have to go on ,,I clamped the spool , the line lifted so far out I could not actually make out where it entered the water , but I think it had to be 100 yds if it was an inch . It then bored deep & I watched the angle of the line get steeper & steeper . As this happened I started to think about giant rocks below the surface , I did not want to lose this fish . I increased pressure to (my) limit & slowly I gained line , the rod (2.25 lb Sportex) was bent double ,& I mean double . The fish was searching the water for sanctuary but I was lucky & there seemed to be someone else on my side . Yard by yard I gained on the fish & then another problem emerged , the rocks were slippery, loose & uneven if I was not carefull I would be joining the carp in the whirlpool & that would be a certain win for the fish ,the carp was meanwhile kiting left & right about 30yds out using its broad side against the current , it did not look scared , I increased pressure once more ,but the rod just bent more ,I changed grip on the rod & heaved with both hands ; like this I could move the fish slowly but surely toward me. Eventually it looked like the odds were going in my favour & after 20 minutes the carp (still fighting) was getting closer to the net. I waited for the carp's nose to lift & I rolled him over , off balance , I gained line fast & before he realised what the net was, it was too late, & I had him in it! but he turned & felt the net (first time ever)& there was an eruption , I began to slide down the slippery shoreline ,when I felt an arm grab around my waist, with my wife acting as anchor , I was able to swing the carp up the shoreline out of the water. ) I did not want the fish crashed against the rocks, I heaved & then I thought well what now, there ain't a soft spot in sight ( my unhooking matt is long gone) , we quickly made a carpet of weeds amongst the smallest rounded stones available . Laying amongst this' crib' of weeds the carp was safe from the rocks& this is how I landed & unhooked them all , with no damage sustained to to fish . I travelled as light as possible for this treck & am rather ashamed to say I had no scales or camera with me but at just under 32" long I reckoned it at around the 20 lb mark ( they are lean fish) built like torpedos. I was glad to get it in the net , I can tell you !
I fished with my son's for 6.5 hrs & between us we had 15 fish, at 10-20 mins per fight, there was not much time for recovery between runs & at the end of the session I was actually glad to wind in & recover; ready for the 20 minute mountain climbing ascent to the top of the gorge. I vowed to be back ! & I will , this time with camera