Sunday Times Column
Certain songs evoke fond memories
- Published: Saturday, 11 January 2020 20:07
One of the things I love about music is the way certain songs evoke fond memories from the past.
Fishing trips can be the same and this was the case on a recent visit to the Mackerel Islands, when I revisited a spot called Sandy Cay for the first time in many years.
My first trip to the Mackerel Islands was probably close to 30 years ago and was when life on Thevenard Island was pretty basic and a far cry from the level of comfort and facilities offered now, with a simple cabin to sleep in and a dinghy provided for fishing the local waters.
For a week just about all we did was troll around little Sandy Cay which is nothing more than a small lump of sand that pokes just of the water about a kilometre off the west end of Thevenard, catching golden trevally and queenfish, offering my first real taste of northern sportfishing.
Throw forward almost three decades and for the first time since, and despite many more trips to Thevenard Island, I finally found myself exploring around Sandy Cay again and it brought the memories of that first trip flooding back.
It seems unfathomable that I hadn’t returned to Sandy Cay in all my visits to Thevenard over the years, but it had just never been the best option.
However, on this year’s trip we found ourselves fishing for spanish mackerel not far from Sandy Cay and on a whim I thought it was worth winding back the clock by a quick look on the way back in to the mooring.
It was the bottom of the tide when we popped in and there was little sign of life other than a small trevally, but as we motored around it I couldn’t help but recall that first trip to Thevenard and the fun we had.
Come the last day of the trip and the weather window was only short, so we hatched a plan to try Sandy Cay at the top of the tide and then head out to a nearby mackerel spot called The Supermarket, before heading back in with the wind behind us.
Well, we never made it to the second spot as Sandy Cay fired from the moment we get there, with schools of big queenfish seen gliding through the waves towards us.
Glenn Edwards, James Clement and I enjoyed a memorable couple of hours casting stickbaits and leadhead jigs over the broken ground on the west side of Sandy Cay, hooking some monster queenfish and big golden trevally.
There were some incredible surface hits and triple hookups were the norm, and we even stuck loaded up rods in the holders while we took photos and netted fish for each other.
It was frenetic action in 2-3 metres of clear water and we could see the fired-up trevs and queenies chasing down our lures.
When those two species stopped playing as the tide started to drop, we extended the fun with plenty of 3-4kg giant trevally.
As forecast, the sou-wester started to pick up quickly after a couple of hours and we were a happy trio as we enjoyed the protection of the lee of Thevenard on the quick 10-minute trip back to the anchorage in front of our cabin.
It was great to see Sandy Cay still has the magic and it won’t be three decades before I’m back there again!
Caption: Glenn Edwards with a big Sandy Cay golden trevally on a home-made leadhead jig.