Zodiac - Tathra Beach 2000

In January 2000 we set off for what was our last trip to Tathra for shark fishing off the beach, we took with us a fully customised 13.5 foot Zodiac set up for surf launching. The boat performed immensely as we battled through on some days some big surf, we Rolled the boat over in the surf as we returned into shore after bait deployments on two separate occasions. After rolling the boat we got the motor started within a short period of time and had the whole exercise operational again, ready for the next onslaught. Tathra IS JUST TOO HARD to fish from the beach. We battled large surf, huge currents and undertows and 25 knot winds, but we did manage however  to deploy all the baits. If you fish in the comfort of a bay such as Moreton Bay, Gulf of Mexico etc, then try to get hold of an inflatable, they are without doubt the safest and most fun way to deliver your bait to the waiting sharks. Here is a list of photos showing our exploits into bait deployment using an inflatable Zodiac.


Taking zodiac to water 1.jpg (32161 bytes)Taking zodiac to water 2.jpg (40890 bytes)Taking zodiac to water 3.jpg (35535 bytes) Here we are taking the boat to the water

Launching zodiac with  bait deploymnet pole.jpg (28397 bytes) Notice how well the boat is set up with stainless steel prop guard, bait deployment pole and bait hanging off it, The boat was fitted with high volume Venturi water evacuation valves, which emptied the boat in a matter of seconds when it was nearly full of water due to being swamped by big waves. Glad I put them in.

Launching zodiac with  bait deploymnet pole 2.jpg (23482 bytes)Launching zodiac with  bait deploymnet pole 3.jpg (39947 bytes)Launching through a moderate surf

zodiac through surf.jpg (16125 bytes) Me and Steve launching the boat airborne 2 metres into the air as we fronted some rollers. Some of the waves we hit head on, the boat was virtually up at 65 - 70 degrees, I must tell you I left my arse behind with some of those, they scared the shit out of me. One wave was so big I though it was going to tip up us end over, it was only because of Grant my front end man who threw himself as far as he could up the nose of the boat and pushed his weight into it that we made it through - real adrenalin stuff. How hard can this shark fishing be.!!! Its quite a memory to remember Grant 2 metres above me as I looked up at him whilst trying to manouvre the boat.

zodiac through surf line side view.jpg (45015 bytes) This is the kind of surf we had to battle with at times, spurred on by a 25 knot North easterly wind.

zodiac through surf line side view safely.jpg (47606 bytes)

Just about through. Notice the bait deployment pole and the bait still hanging there safely even after transversing through all that surf.  Some of these waves can really hit you as they start to curl. These 25 knot NE in your face winds are a real mongrel.

Zodiac on otherside of surfline.jpg (42770 bytes) Well we made it through Safely all we have to do is come back in one piece. !!!

Tipped up zodiac in the surf.jpg (28722 bytes) Well one mistake and wrong timing can have a big curler picking you up sideways and rolling you. It only happened twice on this trip, but it scares the hell out of you just before you tip and the boat goes flying over your head. We made a decision to wear safety helmets and life jackets at all times in the boat. A decision that may have saved our lives. Even with a jacket on I got pushed down and dumped into the water over a metre. Big waves are three times the problem coming in, as you are running the gauntlet with a big waves up your rear just trying to push you side ways and tip you. As you head out into the surf you are less likely to be tipped. One tip I can give you is don't be a hero, wait for the sets to die down then GUN IT as hard as you can picking your waves, but once committed don't hesitate as the waves have no mercy. !!! Also try to launch on an outgoing tide from 1 hour post high tide to the bottom of the tide, the waves are much smaller.

perfect launching conditions.jpg (28801 bytes) Perfect launching conditions, its hard to believe that in a couple of hours the surf can become so angry. However even that little wave picking up could catch the unsuspected driver out, mind you when you get the confidence up they are great to jump. !!!

Coming in safely 1.jpg (24412 bytes) As we come in after picking our sets VERY CAREFULLY notice how that wave in the background is picking up. We saw a break in the surf and followed that front wave in, making sure not to over take it which would prove a dangerous mistake. Once that have broken they lose a lot if strength, its just as the waves  are breaking that they can do so much damage, this is why surfers surf that part of the wave.

Coming in safely 2.jpg (28905 bytes) Now see how that little wave has picked up, its now quite a dumper, almost a metre high in the far right of the picture, a real hard one to hit nose up, Thank god for my fast 25 hp  motor to keep a head of it.

Coming in safely 3.jpg (30907 bytes) well we are in safely and almost on tera sorta firma !! 


 Here are some other pictures downloaded of us from video, now that's some serious angle 

ready for landing any second  now !!

     shore leave !!

  Here we are leaving shore on another bait run. 



   Here is a serious shot of us airborne at about 70 degrees as we hit a big wave. Well we certainly put on a show for the tourists standing on the beach. They must have thought we were mad, but we know that we were just Keen.!!!!!!

I would like to thank the crew for all the Hard effort that they put into this. They are Garry, Grant, Tina, Charlie, Bob, Steve and Dominic. We all worked like dogs to get the trip a happening event, and everyone played an important role, so Once Again guys THANKS..............................



We had a great time with the boat and tackled some good waves, if you are thinking of doing this with an aluminum dinghy then DON'T. Its just too risky. the Zodiac officered excellent buoyancy and safety features which are the minimum to tackle this surf launching. A good reliable minimum 25 hp  motor is also required, with the boat at least up to surf rescue standards.

Reliable and sturdy - my Zodiac.jpg (35507 bytes)

My Reliable Zodiac boat - Absolutly  Fantastic  Notice the sign writing on the side "Shark Bait Deployment Unit" It really looks the part, kinda gets the tourists really curious.