31 Dec My Initial Trip to Wedge
At a WAUC Spear fishing competition early in 1962 Ray Parkes made the comment “You should see the fish at Wedge Island”. With such a wrap up we decided to check this place out. Prickle Head (Ray Parkes) and Al Bacon had just begun Cray fishing out of a 16ft boat. Posts hauled by hand.
Having visited many remote locations this trip would make an indelible memory. No problems to Gin Gin then the reasonable trip over dirt roads to Mimegarra, turn left at Bennie’s Corner, ford the Moore river (being early summer river was only about 2 feet deep. Across sand tracks to Karakan Lakes on to Ledge Pt. from here it was north east across Edward’s property to 4 ways. This track as we are all aware hasn’t improved since those days. To make it more interesting the trip was made on Friday night.
On arrival we found only tents and lean-to sheds. There were about six cray fishermen working out of Wedge. The first night we rolled out our swags under the Landrover. Next morning I awakened with fine sand in every conceivable crevice of my body, there had been the normal summer easterly all night.
Into the water after a hasty brekkie swam out to the reef, through the break out to the Brown lump. ‘Prickle head’ was quite right there were fish everywhere, Jewies, Baldies “Black Arse” a veritable smorgasbord of piscatorial delight. The only fish taken were sufficient for a smack up dinner that night, a whole 18lb jewie cooked whole in the coals.
Next day I volunteered to assist Al and Tay, Pulling pots by hand is hard yakka. The first pot brought in was full of Cray with other crays handing off the outside apparently queuing for a meal. This by today’s standards was amazing. We left Sunday night with some choice fillets and half a bag of Kakkas. I am not sure what size regulations were at that time.
After a number of visits subsequently a number of permanent dwellings were either built or being built. This was for creature comforts and to get a run off of rainwater. The only water available was from shallow wells dug in the shell flats. These were 8-10ft long 2ft wide with a series of steps cut down to water level to make bailing water into milk churns easier. This was after work chore for all the fishermen. It was also an opportunity to have a bucket shower.
Having been accommodated by Aland Ray on many subsequent visits we decided it was time to build our own shack. In those days after a hard day swimming and diving it was time to let ones hair down. The fishermen were more likely to go to bed early as they were up at day break. They were not enthused by the sound of us enjoying ourselves late into the night.
Kevin McLennon & I built our shack well north of the fishermen shacks who were mainly built around Snake Gully. This was to ensure our carousing did not interfere with their beauty sleep.
This was the beginning of romance with Wedge that has not abated for over 50 years of my life.
Wedge Story by: Ross Robinson