Helifishing: High On Adventure

OUR thirst for adventure and to access fishing waters where the fish are uneducated to the ways of artificial lures, flies or a baited hook is just a dream to many, but to others, it’s an everyday reality.

For those old enough, the name Brazzaka invokes thoughts of helicopter adventures in the tropical north of Queensland. Dennis “Brazzaka” Wallace is famous for his adventurous nature and the use of helicopters to access those places that are rarely, if ever, visited by the adventurous angler. Flying up and down the east and west coasts of Cape York landing next to untouched waterholes, little fished creeks and rivers and being the first one in a long time to cast a lure fly or bait into these honey holes gets the excitement level high. While Brazzaka may no longer do his heli-fishing adventures his name is still mentioned quite regularly on the Cape when talking with anglers. Heli-fishing is becoming increasingly popular with many new operators opening up around Australia. Heli-fishing around the Top End is becoming well catered for and that is probably due the fact of shows such as Matt Wright’s Outback Wrangler. Matt is a keen angler and adventurer and has opened up many adventurous options for anglers to access those hard to get to places. Live aboard boats, air boats and my favourite, helicopters with large blow-up boats slung underneath to fish those big wet season billabongs, rivers, creeks and gutters that just can’t be reached any other way. Matt is not the only operation offering such adventures. Others such as Heli Fish in Darwin are flourishing as anglers take advantage to get to places; they just would not get to but for the use of helicopters.

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The Kimberley is another remote location in Australia that a helicopter can be used to explore some of the most amazing landscapes and pristine waterways we have in Australia. Many have discovered the delights of booking on a cruise ship such as The True North and cruising the Islands and inlets along the Kimberley Coast. The True North also has its own helicopter on board and clients will do multiple flights over the duration of a cruise. Imagine landing where the fresh water rivers meet the salt, many of these locations made famous in the ‘70s and ‘80s by the adventurer, Malcolm Douglas. The Charnley or Isdell Rivers where Malcolm would make it look ridiculous easy to catch barra cast after cast or to the top of the Berkley River where he also would make anglers drool as he experienced incredible fishing for big barra. Malcolm Douglas used helicopters for some of his Kimberley adventures but the thought of using the small blow up boats as fishing platforms as he often did on those trips gave me the impression of a floating donut with a tasty morsel in the centre. Booking a helicopter for a day between four anglers would not be out of the reach of many people. Many of my friends in the building and mining industries could basically swap a day to two days work for a days fishing using a helicopter. The reviews on the websites of many of these operators are five star and comments such as “brilliant”, “trip of a lifetime”, “excellent” etc are used frequently.

Helicopters were once widely used in the Blue Mountains in NSW to transport trout anglers to the streams above Warragamba Dam. Huge spawn runs up into the Coxs River and its tributaries from Warragamba Dam and trout anglers would with just a short flight land at Konagaroo Flat where there were a few huts for accommodation and anglers would have hundreds of spawning trout to try and tempt over the course of a day or two.

Get together with a few mates and look at a spot of heli-fishing, you might be pleasantly surprised at how afforadable a once in a life time fishing trip is that you will end up doing it multiple times!

Go get your fishing high in a helicopter but a warning, it can become addictive!

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