On the advice of another Big Lapper family who we’ve kept in touch with, and I guess with a sense of wonder from some early research about the Cape when we were back in Newcastle, we teamed up with Peta and Darren again and headed towards Cape Leveque.
The corrugated road into Cape Leveque.
We had been forewarned that the road in was awful, and we thought we would treat it as a litmus test for the GRR – Gibb River Road – if anything major broke, we were relatively close to Broome for urgent repairs. The first 90 km or so lived up to expectations, with unforgiving sand corrugations shaking us up all the way to a brief spell of bitumen as we passed Beagle Bay (apparently it is paved here as the TO’s, Traditional Owners, have better funding for roads than the local shire). We turned off the black stuff and were rewarded with another 30 km of pounded suspension before arriving at Middle Lagoon.
Campsite views – Middle Lagoon.
The camp overlooks a pretty beach with rocks exposed as the massive seven meter tide ebbs away. The next day, my fishing buddy Darren was keen to drop a line. So, with the boys playing monster trucks on the beach, and armed with coordinates of a bombie from a fellow camper that allegedly promised big fish (a rare thing apparently, as fishermen rarely relinquish fishing hot spots), we headed off in his tinnie.
A few joy rides before the serious fishing began.
James parked his monster truck in the sand and joined us briefly for the morning in-shore session. We caught plenty of little fish and I lost some tackle. After lunch, and with just the big boys in the tinnie, we headed off to the secret coordinates. It took awhile to find, but once the sounder picked it up, the screen lit up with big fish blips all over the place! Within minutes, I had a ripper bite that I fought for about 30 minutes before it severed a 100 kg trace – probably a shark. Darren soon nailed a monster Giant Trevally, which tipped in at 98 cm. After I proved that complete incompetence is the best way to lose a few poppers and lures, Darren nabbed an 88 cm Spanish Mackerel. I stuck the GoPro in the water to watch this unlucky fish be pulled in, and caught a glimpse of a very large shark just below the boat. This reinforced comments from locals that sharks were eating most of the catches as they were pulled in. Darren also nailed a 55 cm Trevally.
GT in hand – a whopper at 98 cm.
After the tedium of putting his tinnie back on rock crusher’s roof and the fish were cleaned and bagged Darren very graciously donated half to me (5 meals). I learnt a hell of a lot about ‘proper’ fishing and had a brilliant day. When the Lonerghans left the next day, we decided to move on a day early as well, giving us room to move as we neared Derby and the GRR. On inspection, the van held up well to the 260km of unrelenting punishment, giving us confidence that we could tackle the GRR – a road with a fearsome reputation for eating tyres, breaking suspension and emptying wallets of multiple thousands in recovery fees.