Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

"There Are Giants out There in the Canyons."

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

"There Are Giants out There in the Canyons."

Article excerpt

Byline: Rick O'Ferrall

SO SINGS Billy Joel in one of his more memorable songs called The Downeaster Alexa. That's certainly true of the undersea canyons off the Solitary Coast where the edge of the continental shelf has large valleys and canyons cut into it by ancient rivers and tectonic activity. There's even an old waterfall you can clearly see on the sounder dropping off the edge of the shelf just north of Coffs and into an ancient river valley - all 300 metres underwater now. And it's in the ocean above those ancient structures where our own giants can be found.

While I'm talking about two entirely different groups of anglers on opposite sides of the world and literally oceans apart, there have been times when the words of Billy Joel's song spring to mind early in the morning on game fishing competition days as I look around in the pre dawn light to see the fleet of local big game boats all heading out towards the horizon to do battle with those giants in the canyons.

There's no doubt that it can be a bit painful hauling yourself out of bed on a Saturday morning in the dark to go down and stumble around the marina, but when you get there, it's usually breathlessly still, crystal clear, and full of promise and camaraderie - once the coffee kicks in and the crew shows up.

By the time you actually drive out of the harbour and get your first glimpse of the ocean with the glow of the approaching sun lighting up the eastern sky, the stresses of the week and the pain of the early get-up slip away. The sight of a beautiful bright horizon and the dark sea soon gets everyone on the boat swept up in the possibilities of being the crew that has the luck to be in the right place at the right time, on the right day and in the right weather to be exactly where a marlin is looking for some action.

Mind you, at the risk of prematurely spoiling the picture I've been painting, with game fishing, that sunrise seascape might actually be as good as it gets at times, because if you aren't in the right place at the right time, or the marlin simply aren't there, then you're looking at a day spent chasing ghosts rather than monsters. …

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