Upcoming & Past Weekends

Somerville House Father & Daughter Fishing Weekend April 2012 Review

There has been plenty happening at Maroon Dam.  Camp Lake Fire has been a hive of activity, with families, church groups and school groups taking full advantage of the picturesque environment.  There’s been a variety of activities happening, not just on the dam with fishing and skiing, but also with the neighbouring mountains, with plenty of keen bush walkers basing themselves at Camp Lake Fire, before setting off on day-trip hiking expeditions.  And Samford Valley Steiner School has just concluded a nine night stay at Camp Lake Fire, during which the students surveyed Mount Barney.  During the ten days, the students completed all the ground work, and their culminating activity was a three day hike from Mount Barney back to Camp Lake Fire.  Quite an adventure for high school students, and one I’m happy to leave to them…but I can see the appeal, maybe one day!  Congratulations to all the students and their Principal Peter Glasby who was the driving force behind the adventure, with stage one taking place this time last year.  As you could imagine, there’s quite a bit of planning required for such an activity.  

Maroon Dam and its surrounds are looking very healthy.  The dam’s full supply capacity is 44, 319 ML and it is currently at 99.6%.  It’s great to see so many people utilising the dam and enjoying the favourable conditions.

Sports Tuition hosted Somerville House on a Father & Daughter Fishing & Adventure Weekend at Camp Lake Fire on 27-29 April.  Somerville House has been involved in Sports Tuition’s fishing programs for the past ten years now.  It’s always a pleasure to host the school.  On this occasion all the girls were aged from Prep – Year 7.  Over the years I’ve found the Somerville girls to be extremely well behaved and I’ve noticed that they really enjoy getting out there and giving everything a go, and if they get dirt under their fingernails; it’s not an issue; and this group was no exception.  The weather on this weekend was the worst we’ve ever had for the Somerville girls over all the time we’ve been hosting them.  The group arrived Friday afternoon and it was raining, as it had done the whole day, but on the positive side of things, the red claw catch hasn’t slowed yet, and with plenty caught, the group cranked up the wood-fired pizza oven and created their pizzas from scratch.  The red claw was a popular topping.  Saturday was the first chance the group had to hit the water in search of Australian bass.  The rain hadn’t eased; in fact, it had got heavier, so demonstrating true grit, the group split into two, with one group heading out in the Quintrex boats to entice a few fish, and the other group tackled the adventure challenges of the milk crate climb as well as taking the opportunity to complete a father & daughter canoe paddle up the far upper reaches of the dam, which is absolutely picture perfect.  The greatest thing about the canoeing activity though, is not the scenery, but the conversation.  If you have a child, think about it…how often do you have the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with them for about ninety, uninterrupted minutes? 

For couples with young children, it’s always a difficult decision to select a school that’s right for your child.  There are wide ranging factors that are taken into consideration.  Academic results are only one part of a holistic education that parents are after for their child.  Family values, music programs, sport, the list goes on; and maybe fishing values should be on that list too! Anyway, it was very pleasing to see the results of the NAPLAN results for Years 3, 5 & 7 published in the Courier Mail on Saturday, 5 May. The schools guide ranked the top 50 schools that have performed the best over the years 2008-2011. Interestingly, Somerville House ranked number one.  You get a feeling the girls work hard and don’t look for easy options.  It certainly would have been easy to say, “Hey, let’s just wait and see if this rain clears, because jeez it’s heavy!”  Well, they probably would have used better English than that! There was none of that though; it was raingear on, and into it!

The girls and dads were justifiably rewarded too, which was pleasing.  I think the rain would have played more of a factor if no fish were caught.  However, a good number of bass were caught, along with a few eel tailed catfish and plenty of spangled perch.  Live shrimp was used as bait and the group fished around the timber region of Camp Lake Fire and they also found some holes on the edges.  The rig used around the timber was a paternoster rig, which has the sinker on the bottom and a loop knot (Paternoster) about 50cm from the bottom.  The theory is that there will be a little bit of weed on the bottom with the live shrimp flapping about on the hook, just above this weed bed.  The technique used on the edges was to find a hole, clear of weed, and use a blood knot to tie the hook on the end of the line.  A shrimp is then cast unweighted.  The shrimp eventually swims down to where the fish are holding, and once the line starts peeling off the reel, it’s a matter of clicking over the bail-arm and lifting the rod to set the hook and wind it in before the fish takes you through the weed or the nearest submerged tree to try and snag you.  If you haven’t used this method before, give it a go, it’s a lot of fun.

Sunday came for the Somerville fathers and daughters, and the weather cleared, it was a reward the group certainly deserved.  The sunny weather prompted a change of plan with the abandoning of the adventure activities and the focus became solely on the fishing.  The whole group was able to be on the water fishing at once in a combination of boats and the Rosco Bass Catcher canoes which are powered by 40lb Minn Kota electrics.  It meant the whole group could maximise the ideal conditions on the water, relax and just fish without being soaking wet.  It was a great way to finish off what was a very social weekend.

The following weekend was the Labour Day long weekend, and it was like Easter all over again.  There were plenty of families out enjoying the facilities at Camp Lake Fire.  The barbeques and wood-fired pizza oven were put to good use by the campers, which were primarily focused on fishing Maroon Dam.  The water skiing has now dropped off due to the decline in water temperature, although there were still a few skiers and jet skiers braving the conditions.  Speaking with a number of campers, they were happy with their red claw haul and some nice fish were caught, including a massive yellowbelly.  So, as we head into winter, all species are biting well, and it’s the time of year the best fishing will start to take place between 10am-3pm, so campers don’t have to wake each other up getting up at the crack of dawn.  And that’s probably a good enough reason to sit around the campfire at night just that little bit longer.