Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership

Title: An American Angler in Australia
Author: Zane Grey
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0608241.txt
Language:  English
Date first posted: November 2006
Date most recently updated: November 2006

This eBook was produced by: Colin Choat

Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at

To contact Project Gutenberg of Australia go to


Title: An American Angler in Australia
Author: Zane Grey

ILLUSTRATIONS [Not included in this ebook]

16. Z. G. ON THE ROD


For a good many years I gradually yielded to an impression that
Australian waters, especially on the Indian Ocean side, would develop
some of the greatest big-game fishing in the world.

At first, all I had to excite such interest were newspaper articles
about man-eating sharks, and vague fish stories that drifted up from
"down under." But in recent years I have corresponded with scientists,
market fishermen, anglers, even missionaries, from all of whom I gathered
data that added to my convictions, and finally sent me down to the
under side of the world to see for myself, and prove, if possible, that
my instinct and imagination were true guides. But though my chief
concern was with Australia's thirteen thousand miles of rugged coast
line, a small bit of which I hoped to explore, I was hardly prepared
for this land of staggering contrasts, of unbelievable beasts, of the
loveliest and strangest birds, of great modern English cities, of
vast ranges that rivaled my beloved Arizona, and of endless forestland,
or bush, as they call it, never yet adequately described, no doubt
because of beauty and wildness beyond the power of any pen to delineate.

We arrived in Australia in time to welcome the New Year, 1936. I had seen
many of the celebrated harbors of the world and was not prepared to
surrender the supremacy of New York Harbor or that of San Francisco, not
to mention Havana, Rio de Janeiro, and others, to this magnificent
Australian refuge for ships with its shores of color and beauty. One of
my camera men, Gus, exclaimed, enthusiastically and regretfully: "Say,
this's got Frisco Harbor skinned to a frazzle." And I cannot do any
better than quote this American slang.

Sydney is a great city, a real city, and there's no need to say more.
During my short stay there I saw practically everything and was greatly
impressed by many things. But this is to be an account of my fishing
adventures in Australia, and it would take another volume to describe the
country itself.

From what information I could gather, the neighborhood of Montague Island
had yielded most of the swordfish that had been seen and caught by
Australians. So after enjoying the hospitality of Sydney for several
days, we gathered up bag and baggage and motored down the coast some two
hundred and seventy-five miles to the little town of Bermagui, where we
established our camp.

It seems, as the years go by, that every camp I pitch in places far
from home grows more beautiful and romantic. The setting of the one
at Bermagui bore this out in the extreme. From the village a gradual
ascent up a green wooded slope led to a jutting promontory that opened
out above the sea. The bluff was bold and precipitous. A ragged
rock-bound shoreline was never quiet. At all times I seemed aware of
the insatiate crawling sea. The waves broke with a thundering crash
and roar, and the swells roared to seething ruin upon the rocks.
Looking north across a wide blue bay, we could see a long white
beach. And behind it dense green forest, "bush," leading to a bold
mountain range, and the dim calling purple of interior Australia. This
shoreline swung far to the north, ending in a cape that extended out,
pointing to Montague Island, bare and bleak, with its lighthouse standing
erect, like a gray sentinel.

At this side of the promontory the great trees failed, leaving only a few
standing away from the storm winds of the Antarctic, with bleached
gnarled branches. Beyond lay a few logs and these led to a long green
slope down to the sea.

Camp of a dozen or so of tents we located in a grove of widely-separated
eucalyptus trees--gum trees they are called in Australia. They reminded me
of the pohutukawa trees of New Zealand. There were sunny glades and
plenty of shade, and foliage for the wind to sigh or mourn or roar
through, according to the mood of the wind. The fragrance of these trees
I had long known, because I have eucalyptus on my place in California,
some lovely, lofty, silver-barked trees, and others low and dense,
bearing the scarlet flowers. But here the fragrance was penetrating and
thick, like that of a fir forest in Oregon, only stronger. It pasted
your nostrils shut.

Birds new to me sang in these trees and they were unnamable to me for a
while, except the gulls, that come right into camp, up into the woods.
This was unprecedented and very intriguing. Sea birds, fish-eaters,
visiting me in camp! It was a good augury. Maybe they thought I would
bring lots of fish meat for them to eat.

And the kookaburra, the laughing jackass, what shall I say of this
laughing devil of a friendly ludicrous bird? They came early and late,
they sat and watched me, turning their heads, as if to express their
interest, if not resentment: "Now who is this fellow, anyhow? We'll
have to see about him."

They were quite large, rather bulky forward, with dull white breasts and
gray backs and markings, with big heads and wicked long bills. All about
them comic and friendly, except that terrible laugh! It awakened me at
dawn, and I heard it after I went to bed. I knew I would love them,
despite the fear that maybe they were "giving me the laugh," and pealing
out with "Haw! Haw! Haw!" in several raucous tones at my temerity and
audacity in coming nine thousand miles to catch some fish. That laugh
discouraged me a little. But as far as the fish were concerned I had
only to look out over that dark blue ocean, the Tasman Sea, notorious for
its currents and storms, its schools of whales and fish, to know that I
would find new and boundless sport.


The element of familiarity in all this newness and strangeness of
Australia was supplied by the presence of my boatman, Peter Williams, of
New Zealand, and my launch, the Avalon. She had been constructed from my
design by Collings in Auckland, and is comfortable, fast, and seaworthy.
With a long hard fishing trip planned, it is imperative that these
features be present.

Peter used to be a whaler and that is why he is so efficient with ropes
and moorings and boats. He is the brawniest and best man with a gaff who
has ever stood beside me. Since 1927, when I first visited New Zealand,
he has fished with me in many waters besides his own--California, Mexican
coast, Galapagos, Tahiti, South Sea Islands, and now we are in Australia.
It is needless to say that we look for an outstanding and wonderful

From talking with the native fishermen and market fishermen at Bermagui,
I learned considerable from which I could make deductions. There were a
number of conflicting opinions, as well as some general statements in
which all concurred. One was that I could hardly be expected to catch a
swordfish before February. And this was mid-January.

The old familiar wind and rough seas marked the first few days at
Bermagui. But we could not have gone out in any event, as it is a big
job to pitch a camp of a dozen tents, all on board floors, and to build a
serviceable kitchen and dining-room. The way we camp puts us in conflict
with the elements, if not wholly at their mercy. But that is what I love
about living in the open--rain, shine, wind, calm, gale, and torrential
downpour. We have already had them all.

On January 11th we started out for our first run, really a scouting trip.
For me it was difficult and poignant to take the initial step. That is
because I know what this start entails--the beginning of a protracted
period of hazardous, nerve-wracking, toilsome days. To get results you
have to run out every day that is possible, and as the old Scotchman
said, "If you want to catch fish you must keep your flea in the water."
If you substitute the word bait for "flea" you will have a slogan for
successful saltwater fishing.

We ran from our mooring out the mouth of a little river, against an
incoming tide, with a rugged low headland of rock on our right and a
curved sand spit on our left, into a wide bay. A long white beach
wandered away to the north, and dim in the distance was our objective,
Montague Island. Gulls were absent, at least on the water, and there was
no evidence of bait or fish. The day was overcast, with promise of

Peter called our camera-boat the Tin Horn. Its name was really Tin Hare,
but it pleased his sense of humor to call it Tin Horn. She was long and
well built, and appeared to be a most satisfactory vessel for taking
pictures. I would not have fished out of her under any circumstances,
because the cockpit was too far back, and therefore the fishing-chairs
too far from the stern. You would have to fight a fish from either side;
and when a swordfish ran under the boat, which is a likely occurrence, it
would be just too bad. Australian anglers, after the manner of New
Zealanders, run their boats while they are fast to a fish, usually in the
direction the fish is going, and less often away from him. My method is
to stop a fish after the first hard run, and fight him.

My camera crew, Bowen, Anderson, and Morhardt, experienced and clever
as they are in photography, were utter novices in big-game sea-angling.
The Warren Brothers, Ike and Bill, market fishermen and good fellows
hired as crew of the Tin Hare, had no understanding of our methods. I
felt a grim amusement when I realized what the Tin Hare was in for; and
also, a keen relish in prospect of fun and sport and disaster and hazard
on board the boat. Such things always promise the incidents that make for
good stories. Bowen had conscripted or shanghaied his pretty wife, Marge,
for script girl; and I certainly felt concern for her.

We put out the teasers and Peter handed me a rod: "All set, sir," he
said. "Might as well troll to and fro, going to that island. We'll pick
up a big fish some day."

Peter and I had the same reactions to fishing, except in extraordinary
cases. I sustained an old familiar tingling as I settled down into the
fishing-chair, rested the rod on the gunwale, took the line in my hand,
and set my eyes upon the bait. It was a mullet and small. Now mullet are
indeed tidbits for all kinds of big sea fish, but they do not troll well.

It is impossible to watch a bait all the time. Nevertheless, you must
almost do that if you expect to see a Marlin or a mako or a broadbill
flash up out of the depths. If you see him first you have the advantage.
I have often wondered how many fish I fail to see, as they go by. Many
and many a one, I know. It is a mistake to imagine that even half of the
fish you raise come for the bait, and it takes years of practice to
discern them, except those that come close or strike. Raising a fish
means drawing it up from the depths somewhere by the use of teasers.

I took a quick glance at bait and teasers and then at the long winding
white shoreline, the dark range of mountains, the sea all around, and
then my eyes returned. This is a continual process. A good angler should
see everything, which is impossible. But particularly he must not miss
fins on the surface, dim shapes of gray or green or purple in the swells,
birds and their actions, and splashes of fish near or far.

The water of this Australian sea is dark in color, darker, I think, than
that of New Zealand, though this seems unreasonable. Flash of the weaving
teasers would not show one-tenth so far as in the crystal waters of the
South Seas. Fish here could not possibly have the range of vision that
they have in tropic seas. We had to find out what teasers worked best and
how to manipulate them.

It took two hours to run out to Montague Island, but the time seemed
short. Islands always fascinate me. How many lonely lighthouses have I
seen! Somehow this one reminded me of Alacrans in the Caribbean Sea. That
one was so lonely, so seldom visited, that more than one lighthouse-keeper
had gone insane. Montague is a barren rock rising like a hump-backed
whale. Tufts of green-yellow grass seem its sole vegetation. But for
the most part bare rocks rounded by wind and sea led the gaze to the
tower standing on the summit, apprehensively facing the sea. There was
an attraction about Montague which I may define later.

For bait we caught small kingfish, or yellowtail, Cereola dorsalis, which
is the proper name, and a small mackeral which the boatman called bonito.
This species looked more like a skipjack; a bonito has fewer stripes. It
was a pretty, shiny fish.

We trolled bait of this kind around the island and then ran out a mile or
more. Gulls were few and far between. I sighted one shark fin cutting the
water. Outside we ran upon the Tin Hare performing some remarkable
evolutions. Emil (Morhardt) had hooked a hammerhead shark and was having
his troubles. The shark was heavy and Emil had forgotten to put on the
harness. This fact, coupled with the movements of the boat, made him a
rather helpless, ludicrous picture. But he was enraptured. In fact they
were all excited. They yelled at us, "Whoopee! We've got one on!"

I hung around them for a while, watching, and resisting my strong desire
to yell, "Stop the boat and fight the fish!"

Presently we raised a hammerhead. This species of shark is probably
nearly the same in all waters. But this one had a lighter and more curved
dorsal fin, and the way it cut the water, as the big fish came weaving
and dashing after us, was something worth photographing. A hammerhead has
poor eyesight. He trails his prey by scent, and his peculiar weaving
pursuit is wholly due to that. The most remarkable feature about the
hammerhead, Squalus zygaena, is the long hammer-like head, on the extreme
front of which runs a deep little groove leading to the nostrils at each
end, This has been developed to catch more scent in the water. His eyes
are also located at each end.

We enticed this fellow to follow the bait. When a second and larger one
appeared I had to draw the bait in to keep him from getting it. The
savagery of the sea is exemplified in the fierce, swift action of
sharks. I hate sharks, and have killed a thousand, and have an inkling
that I'll add another thousand to my list here.

We ran over to watch Emil, who in the meantime had conquered his
hammerhead. They hauled it on board. Soon after that we headed back
toward Bermagui. I noticed birds working in shore, and running over we
found shearwater ducks (mutton birds) and gannet working in a tide-rip
where patches of bait showed. A big commotion a mile away looked like a
swordfish splash, so we ran down. I often raise and catch swordfish that
I sight at a distance. We could not locate this one, however, though we
kept trolling around.

Presently the other boat flagged us, and we ran over to find that they
had seen an enormous black Marlin rolling around in a patch of bait. We
trolled there for an hour without results. Both the Warrens and my men
claimed this Marlin was huge, fully sixteen feet long. At least it was
the largest these market fishermen had seen.

There was nothing more that happened that day, except a silver pall of
rain shrouding the mountains. I called it a good day.

There is always the next day to lure with its possibilities. No two days
are alike. The following morning we were out bright and early, trolling
the baits we had left from the preceding trip. Hungry swordfish will take
anything, but you need a live bait for some of them. Fish that are not
hungry at all will rise to follow the teasers, sometimes for miles. These
are the aggravating ones. But I have so often teased and provoked one to
strike that I generally work with them till they go away.

A big long swell was running, the kind upon which you don't want the wind
to work further. It was clear and sunny, though in the southeast there
loomed a cloud I did not like. I had an idea the wind would come, but
straightway forgot it.

Four miles out I sighted a long sickle fin cutting through a swell. Did I
yell, "Marlin!"? I certainly did. An instant later Peter sighted another
farther out, and this tail fin belonged to a large fish. I could not tell
whether or not it indicated a black Marlin. It stood up three feet or
more, and that much would make a tail spread of over six feet. These
Marlin were riding the swells and they were moving fast. The tails would
come up out of the top of a swell and cut the water at more than a
ten-knot speed. Then they would vanish. It is always necessary to run the
boat in the right direction to head the fish off. The Avalon is fast--she
can do eighteen knots when opened up--but we could not catch up with the
big fellow.

We did, however, show a bait to the smaller Marlin. He saw it flash from
over a hundred feet distant. When he swirled with that unmistakable flip
of his tail I yelled: "He's coming, boys. Look out!"

And I'd hardly uttered the words when there he was shooting like a huge
purple bird for my bait. I let go my line even before he reached it, and
then as the reel whizzed I pressed my gloved hand down to prevent an
overrun. You handle every strike of a Marlin differently. In this case I
did what would be right in most cases. When he felt the hook he came out,
a long, lean fish of some three hundred pounds, and he threw that bait
thirty feet. From the feel of the action I judged the hook had caught on
his long jaw and did not penetrate. I have caught Marlin, though, with
only the point of the hook in the bone, not in to the barb. Peter gave
vent to some thoroughly American language, which he had learned from me
and which would not look so well in print.

"Only an incident of the day, Pete, old top," I said. "Put on another

"But it's the first day, sir," he expostulated. Peter and my other men
wanted me to make the first catch for 1936.

We ran on. I trolled that bait clean to Montague Island.

There were birds to the eastward, and I gave that stretch a going over.
Six of them were albatross. This was my very first time to fish right
with these falcons of the sea, and I watched them till they sailed away.

Next day there were three other boats already at Montague. One of these
passed us and kindly threw us a yellowtail bait, but it fell short into
the water. Off the north end of the island, after some time trolling, we
managed to catch a few bait. And we were scarcely two hundred feet from
the rocks when we put these smaller fish on and started to troll.

We had not passed the corner of the island when I saw a blue flash and a
ragged fin coming from the left. It was a Marlin and he took my bait with
a rush. At the same time I saw a sharp bill back of Gus's hook. I
shouted: "Look out! There's another!" This one got Gus's bait and he
pulled it off for the simple reason that Gus was so scared or excited
that he held on to the line with grim tenacity. I made a remark. Gus
said: "Was that your fish?"

"No, it wasn't," I replied. "The idea is when you have a fish rush your
bait to let him have it."

"Where's your--fish?" gasped Gus.

"He doesn't want to stop going places, so I'll have to stop him."

I hooked the Marlin, and he leaped splendidly, fully six hundred feet
away and close to the camera boat. The surprised crew and picture men,
who didn't know what was happening, nearly fell overboard. But they soon
got busy. Bowen appeared to be frantic because the Warrens were reluctant
to run their boat at the fish. They were right, of course. A second boat
has no business near another one in which an angler has hooked a fish.
But Bowen's idea was to shoot motion pictures. He did not care if they
did risk cutting my line.

What with the jumping antics of the Marlin and the attempts of the Tin
Hare to get on top of it we had lots of fun for a little while. I made
rather short work of that Marlin, because I discovered I, too, wanted the
credit of the first one for 1936. We soon had him on board. Peter beamed
and congratulated me. He also waved the Marlin flag at the other boat.

Baiting up again, we ran out. Gus had photographed some of the leaps of
this fish, and he was happy, too. Presently I saw a Marlin slide out and
shake himself, perhaps half a mile out. I pointed. Peter said he had seen
the splash. He did not need to be told to hook the Avalon up and speed in
the direction I had pointed.

"Shut her off, Peter," I called, and stood up. "Work around here."

Presently I saw the purple form of a Marlin looming up, and my old
familiar cry pealed out, "There he is!" I have probably called that out
thousands of times.

This fish came directly to the bait. But he did not take it at once, as I
expected. He weaved to and fro. He rushed it, came up alongside it, struck
at it. "Son of a gun is leary," I said.

"He'll take it," replied Peter, and sure enough he did. But he let it go.
And though he came back, time and again, he would not strike. No doubt he
thought there was something wrong about that bait and he was not hungry
enough to be unwary. When Marlin are hungry they will strike; when they
are ravenous they will stick their heads out of the water back of the
boat to take a bait.

In the next three hours I raised several more Marlin off the point of the
island, but they had evidently fed and would not take. The other boat
raised one, and then Bowen was too slow in pulling his bait away from a
hammerhead. It got the bait and the hook. Evidently this made Bowen
angry, for he began to jerk and haul strenuously. His drag was too
strong. I feared the shark would pull him overboard. The rod wagged to
and fro, and then suddenly, when the shark pulled free of the hook, Bowen
went over backwards, clean out of the chair.

Soon after that I sunk my bait to a gray shadow, and soon was fast to
some kind of a shark. I worked hard on it, for practice more than
anything else, and soon had it up.

"Darned old rearimi!" ejaculated Peter. But Pat, the market fisherman on
our boat, said it was a gray pointer. Anyway, Peter gaffed it, and the
two of them held the shark for a splashing melee while the camera boat
stood by. I heard Bowen yell through his megaphone, "Roll 'em along!"
And in Hollywood parlance that meant to start the electric motors on the
motion-picture cameras.

After that fun we caught another bait. I noticed that the sea was rising
outside and I thought we had better start back to Bermagui. Still I
lingered to try for some more. Presently Gus hooked a good-sized bonito.

We were close to the rocks where the herd of sea lions held forth. Half a
dozen big bulls dived off and made for the fish. I jerked the rod out of
Gus's hand. But hard as I pumped and wound I could not get that bonito
away from them.

Then the camera crew went wild. It had not occurred to me till then just
what an unusual picture that action would make. But with seals fighting
over my bait, leaping out, darting to and fro, I soon realized the fact.
So instead of trying to get my bait in I left it out there and jerked it
this way and that to excite the seals further. This worked. The sea lions
made such a commotion that others piled off the rocks until the sea
appeared alive with graceful brown forms on the surface and under.

Then what I might have suspected actually happened. I hooked a big bull
sea lion in the chin, and he did not like that at all. In fact he made a
vociferous and violent protest. He stood half his massive body high out
of the water and tussled like a huge dog. He jerked his head from side to
side, while the bait dangled about for the other sea lions to snatch it.

Here I was hooked to a six-hundred-pound sea lion, on a bait tackle! I
did not want to kill the beast or leave the hook, leader, and part of the
line hanging from his jaw. We had to follow the beast to keep him from
running off more line. I was in a quandary. Peter was wrathful. "Haul the
plugger up here. I'll gaff him!"

"Haul him up? Ha! Ha! I see myself. He's as strong as an elephant." But
Bowen and his crew had a different point of view. Theirs was a picture
angle. And they made the best of it. Finally I told Peter to run close to
the sea lion and try to cut the leader. I held the brute as hard as I
could, with a feeling something was going to break. Peter managed,
however, to get hold of the wire, and then the hook pulled out, to the
chagrin of our camera men.

It occurred to me then that the incident had been unique and remarkable.
I have hooked many denizens of the deep, like dolphin, rays, devilfish,
sawfish, octopus, and now finally a big sea lion.

"Pete, what do you know about that?" I exclaimed. "Something new!"

"Right-o, sir. I've a hunch we might hook anything in these unfished

That was a thrilling thought and I heartily accepted it.


At midnight the wind in the tree tops awakened me. It had a low, menacing
sound. I got up and went out on the bluff, and I was more than rewarded.

Beneath me the great rollers crashed to ruin on the rocks, with incessant
changing roar. A half-moon, low down, cast a pale light upon the sea.
Overhead Orion appeared as always, sloping to the west. And the Southern
Cross, that magnificent and compelling constellation, blazed with white
fire, high in the heavens. Far out to sea there were gloom and mystery.

At once I grasped a difference between this scene and any other I had
come upon. I sensed a far country, a country surrounded by a vast ocean,
with something hanging over it that must have been the influence of the
Antarctic. Yet despite the brooding mood, the aloofness, almost a
forbidding dark brightness, like the light which comes sometimes before a
storm breaks at sunset, the scene was beautiful and unforgettable. And I
fell under its spell.

At five the next morning there was a sunrise remarkable in the extreme.
A dark mass of cloud overhung the east. Beneath it a broad band of clear
sky turned gradually gold, until the blazing disc of the sun tipped the
horizon line, and then there came a transfiguration of sea, sky, and
cloud. For a few moments there was a glorious light too dazzling for the
gaze of man. One thing a fisherman sees far more than his fellow men, and
that is the coming of the dawn and the breaking of the light, and the
bursting of the sun into its supremacy.

Here at Bermagui the early morning never fails to reward the appreciative
watcher. The birds at the first gray change from the darkness--the
kookaburras first, with their strange, incorrigible, humorous laughter,
wild, startling, concatenated; then the other birds, the gulls walking
with dignity right into camp, and the wrens and robins and magpies. I
miss the bell birds and the tuis of New Zealand, than which no other
birds of far countries have more intrigued me.

After several days of wind and rain and stormy sea there came a spell of
fine weather. It was as welcome as May flowers. It gave me a chance to
run out to sea, to fish hard every day, to get my bearings on this
foreign shore.

I caught six Marlin swordfish between 250 and 300 pounds in weight, and
raised or sighted about thirty. This during a period of a week and a
half, with only one windy day, was a very agreeable surprise, and augured
well for big results later. The crew of the Tin Horn accounted for three
fish, two hammerheads, and one mako. Sight of this latter shark
satisfactorily identified this species in Australian waters.

I lost two really fine fish, the larger of which was a mako of about 600
pounds. I had no idea that the strike came from a mako until I hooked
him. Then he ran and leaped. One flashing sight of a great
white-and-blue, huge-finned fish high in the air was enough to make Peter
and me yell wildly in unison. We rejoiced to see one of our old shark
friends, or enemies, at the end of my line. He fell back with a crash and
sent a great splash skyward. Then to further convince us of his kinship
with the makos he swam up to the boat, to see what it was all about. His
coal-black eye, staring and cruel, his pointed nose, his savage underhung
jaw, partly open to disclose great curved fangs, his round body, potent
with tremendous power, his utter lack of fear of man or boat--these
identified him as the mako-mako, first named by Polynesians in the South
Seas, and in New Zealand by the Maoris. The Australian name for this
species is bluepointer. I have no doubt but that this provincial name
will give way to the better and correct "mako."

I was holding him hard and Peter was speculating whether or not to
attempt to gaff him, when he cut my leader off as neatly as if he had
used steel shears.

The wire sang as it flipped back to us. A Marlin leader is really not
good to use on mako, though I have caught many on it. I prefer
specially-made leaders of heavy wire and big hooks for this powerful and
savage-biting shark.

The other fish I lost was a striped Marlin that would have weighed more
than four hundred pounds. But I never caught him to find out. While
trolling I always wear gloves. In hooking fish and fighting them I find
gloves indispensable. But they get hot at times and uncomfortable. This
day I removed them for a moment--and then, of course, it happened. A big
purple-banded Marlin shot up as swiftly as a meteor. He took the bait and
was off. I had to press both my ungloved hands down on the whizzing reel
of line to prevent an overrun and backlash. I burned my hands. But I
could not let go to set the drag. The fish leaped into the air, a
beautiful bronze-and-silver Marlin, barred with broad blue bands, one of
the largest of his kind; and with a swing of his savage head he flung
bait and hook back at us. That was a disappointment, of course, but as I
had a fish on the stern I managed to survive the loss.

Bait we found difficult to procure. The yellowtail and bonito around
Montague Island had a most unobliging habit of biting not more than about
once a week. The native boatmen on the Tin Horn promised to catch salmon
for us, but up to the date of this writing they did not do so. I found
myself longing for the huge schools of trevalli and kahawai that make
fishing in New Zealand such a joy. The fishing along this Australian coast
is too new and strange and, uncertain for me to make any predictions
as yet.

My first really big fish I raised opposite the lighthouse on Montague,
not very far out. He struck at the bait, missed it, and left a frothy
boil on the water. Then he came back at it, a dark shape, incredibly
swift, and actually took it without showing his spear. He was off as fast
as the big Marlin I lost. When I hooked him I came up solid on a heavy
fish. The sensation was most agreeable, although the jerk shifted me off
my chair and almost cracked my neck.

We signaled the camera-boat to speed up. My line was reeling off and
beginning to surface. Peter yelled that he was coming up. This moment of
expectation is always thrilling. He broke water, showing a short black
bill, a big head and deep body, shining like a black opal.

"Black Marlin!" I whooped, and Peter echoed me.

After a moment I warned Peter to steady up and keep away from him, and to
wave back the keen camera men, who would have run right on top of the
fish. Then I "put the wood on him," as the American angling saying goes.
We got within two hundred feet, and signaled the camera-boat to come
along behind and somewhat out to the right. In that position we ran
along with the black Marlin--because I could not stop him at that
stage--until I saw the line rising to the surface, indication that he was
about to jump.

I was all excitement, yet tense with caution and strong physical
exertion. He was hard to hold. His blunt bill appeared splitting the
surface, and then his head, his broad shoulders, his purple back, and all
of him wagged up and out, until he cleared the water by several feet. His
back was toward me, but it was easy to estimate his size and I let out a
second whoop. I heard the crew of the Tin Horn screaming like lunatics.
They had never seen a fish approaching the size and beauty of this one.

He plunged back with a thundering smash. Then, as I expected, he came out
again, faster, this time broadside, and indeed a wonderful picture for an
angler to gloat over.

"Oh, gosh!" I groaned. "If the camera boys only get that one in their
little black box!"

His third leap was still faster, and more of a spectacle, as he went low
and long, all of him up, with his wide tail waving. This time he dived
back and sounded. He went deep and stayed down.

I fought him an hour or more before I could hold him even a little.
Following that, he rose again to the surface, to repeat his trio of
leaps, and after that he woke up and tore the sea to shreds. He made his
most magnificent leap, which I could not see, in front of the boat. Gus
was up there on the boat, and when he came back to the cockpit he was
beside himself with triumph and ecstasy.

"Holy Mackali! what a fish! I had him in the finder every jump."

When the black Marlin soused back the last time I had a feeling we would
see no more of him until I brought him up to gaff. I was right, and this
time did not arrive for over and hour. We were extremely careful at this
most hazardous moment, and as luck would have it Peter soon had a rope
round the Marlin's tail. And I knew I had the record swordfish for

We steamed back to Bermagui and the men carried the black Marlin ashore.
Lying on the green grass, the fish looked grand. He was indeed a black
opal hue. When I named this species some ten years ago I should have used
the word opal and have called it black opal Marlin. That would have been
especially felicitous for Australia. He was a short fish, broad and deep
and round, and I estimated his weight as five hundred pounds. But I
missed it. The scales we procured at a Bermagui store were inadequate,
weighing only in periods of ten. Peter called out: "Four hundred eighty.
Let it go at that."

"Not on your life, Pete," I protested. "Don't you see the scale point
wavers beyond 480. He weighs something beyond 480." And I stuck to
that--some unknown pounds beyond 480.

There was a big crowd of spectators to see that weighing of Bermagui's
biggest swordfish so far, and it reminded me of the times at Avalon, when
thousands of people would flock out to see a broadbill I had brought in.

Next day the ocean around Montague Island was empty for me. My boat could
not raise a fish of any kind. But other boats had better luck. I saw one
flag flying and another boat manifestly fighting a fish.

About three o'clock we started the long run back to Bermagui. The sea had
whipped up a little, and it promised to get rough. The Tin Horn had a
lead of a couple of miles on us. We got about that distance from the
island and had caught up somewhat with my camera-boat when I saw that
some one had hooked a fish. We ran ahead full speed, and soon drew within
range to see what was going on.

Bowen had the rod and it was evident that whatever was on the rod had
Bowen. He was sturdy and strong, the same as Emil, but he had never
caught a swordfish, and to catch a big one off that boat, with the
Warrens running it, would be little short of a miracle. The fish came up
to surf-board along the waves, making the water fly in sheets. I had a
poor glimpse of it. But Peter said, "Black Marlin, and a good fish, too!"

The next hour and more was harder on me that on Ed Bowen, I was sure. But
I hung around, camera in hand, hoping the fish would broach. However, he
did not come up; he worked out to sea. Strenuously as Ed pumped and
wound, he got line in only when the boatman ran up on the fish. They ran
in circles. They halted when the fish was running and went on when he was
momentarily stopped. From the way Ed's rod wagged, I judged the fish to
be pretty heavy. Peter said not so big. He grew tired of circling their
boat endlessly and wanted to turn back for Bermagui. I stayed as long as
I could stand it. I wanted to tell Ed and those boatmen what to do. But
if I had told them, and then they lost the fish, they would have blamed
me--a terrible thing, as I knew to my cost. Finally I took up a megaphone
and called Ed, "Hey there--that fish is as tired as he'll ever get."

"Tired?--Good Lord!--I'm the tired one!" panted Ed. "What'll I do?"

"Stop the boat and fight him."

"Hell! He won't stop--neither will these boatmen."

"Try it once."

They made a valiant effort. Ed heaved and wound mightily. He yelled at
me, "Notify Australian Government--I'm pulling up--another island for

"Aw, you're not pulling anything. That fish doesn't know he's hooked."

"Go AWAY!" bawled Ed. "Wanna make me--lose him?"

Peter interposed with an encouraging shout: "You'll get him. Take it
slower. Just keep a good strain on him. You'll get him."

"That's telling me," Ed yelled back, gratefully.

We left them to their fate and ran back to Bermagui, arriving about five

Just before dark the Tin Horn steamed in, proudly flying a flag. They had
their fish. It was a good one, as Pete had said, and weighed four hundred
pounds. I congratulated Ed on a really remarkable feat. He beamed. "My
back's broke. Three hours! I never worked so hard in all my life."

And then he burst into a marvelous narrative of what had happened on
board the Tin Horn. It differed vastly from the story the boatmen told.
Emil, who is a temperamental artist, had still a weirder story to tell.
But for me each and every word was significant with proof of the humor,
the sport, the thrill, the misery and ecstasy of big-game fishing.


Tackle and method in angling are things very important to fishermen.
And they cause more argument, controversies, and, alas! more ill-will
than anything in the big-game fishing, unless it is the competition and
rivalry that seem unfortunately inseparable from the sport.

There was a time when I used to tell anglers what I believed to be the
proper and best way to fish. I never do that any more, unless directly
asked by some sincere amateur. But all fishermen are interested in what
the others use, and here in Australia I find myself vastly intrigued and
confounded by the "gear" these fishermen have and the way they use it. To
give them just credit, I am bound to admit that they have done remarkably
well with wrong measures.

I have not seen any angler using the drifting method of fishing in
Australian waters. This is the one mostly used in New Zealand. It remains
to be seen how good or bad it will be here. Here they troll from early
till late, and in our American fishing parlance, they run the wheels off
the boat. I admit that and will say that these gentlemen have started

There is no limit to these fishing-waters. Swordfish are here, there, and
everywhere. In deep waters I do not believe they can be located daily at
any given point out at sea. Around the islands and near shore they can be
depended on to come in every few days. So far during my six weeks'
fishing here I find the Marlin ravenously hungry. This makes a vast
difference. Anybody can hook a hungry fish. Which explains the incredible
success some methods attain. It can be explained by realizing that a
hungry swordfish could be hooked with a flatiron or cricket bat. Catching
it, and repeating, of course, are a different matter.

Fishing at Bermagui, Narooma and Eden, on this South Coast, is only three
years old. The first method, and one still in use here, was to troll with
a heavy lead on the line. It was attached to the leader by a ring from
which a string stretched up to the boat. In the event of a strike the
lead could be jerked free from the leader.

Another method, and one still more advocated at this date, is to troll
the bait back a hundred and fifty feet or more, with a lighter lead. The
revolving bait is considered a desirable feature. In this style the
teasers also were dragged quite far back.

Modifications and variations of these methods are numerous.

To catch fish is not all of fishing, to be sure, and any device or method
is permissible so long as it pleases an angler and lends to his sport
that personal and peculiar fetish which is one of the joys of the game. I
doubt that there ever was a fisherman who did not conceive and invent
some gadget all his own, and some manner of using it that to him was the
best. That is one of the many reasons why fishing, to my way of thinking,
is the greatest of all sports.

The possibilities of Australian big-game fishing intrigue me and excite
me more and more, as I fish myself, and receive more and more word from
different and widely separated places on Australia's grand coast of
thirteen thousand miles.

I expected to find Australia and New Zealand somewhat alike, and the
fishing also. They are totally different. In any fishing trip, such as I
call worthy of the name, there are many considerations that make for the
ultimate success and memorable record. The beauty and color of the
surrounding country, the birds and snakes and animals, the trees and
hills, the long sandy beaches, and the desolate ragged shorelines, the
lonely islands--all these and many more appeal to me as much as the actual
roaming the sea, in rain and shine, in calm and storm, and the catching
of great game fish.

One of the pleasantest experiences I have ever had, and one the joy of
which will grow in memory, is to be awakened in the dusk of dawn by the
kookaburras. That is unique. The big mollyhawks of New Zealand, the
laughing gulls of California, that awaken you at dawn and are things
never forgotten, cannot compare with these strange and homely and
humorous jackasses of the Australian woods.

We ran our score of big fish caught up to twenty-one in seven weeks,
which list, considering that half this time was too bad weather to fish,
and that it included my black Marlin record of four hundred and eighty
pounds, two of the same around four hundred pounds, and a really rare
fish, the green Fox thresher, must be considered very good indeed.

It turned out, however, that my last day off Bermagui was really the most
thrilling and profitable to Australia, as well as to me.

This was an unusually beautiful day for any sea. The morning was sunny,
warm, and still. There seemed to be the balminess of spring in the air.
We got an early start, a little after sunrise, with the idea of running
far offshore--"out wide," the market fishermen call it--into the
equatorial stream.

I had been out in this current several times off Montague Island, but not
very far, and not to study it particularly. The camera crew came on the
Avalon with me, owing to their boat being in need of engine repairs.

Bait was easy to catch and quite abundant, which fact always lends an
auspicious start to a fish day. The boys yelled in competition as
they hauled in the yellowtail (king fish), bonito, and salmon.
Shearwater ducks were wheeling over the schools of bait, and the
gannets were making their magnificent dives from aloft. A gannet,
by the way, is the grandest of all sea-fowl divers.

Mr. Rogers had been among the Marlin the day before, fifteen miles
northeast of Montague, and Mr. Lynn had also been among them twenty miles
directly east of Bermagui. Our plan was to locate one or other of them,
and find the fish. As a matter of fact, we ran seventy miles that day and
could not even get sight of them. But we found the fish and they did not.
This lent additional substantiation to my theory that in a fast-moving
clean current, fish will never be found in the same place the next day.
It is useless to take marks on the mountains for the purpose of locating
a place out at sea where the fish were found today, because they go with
the current and the bait. In deep water, say two hundred and twenty-five
fathoms off Bermagui, the bottom has no influence whatever on the fish.
In shallow water the bottom has really great influence.

We ran thirty miles by noon. No fish sign of any kind--no birds or bait
or splashes or fins--just one vast heaving waste of lonely sea, like a
shimmering opal.

After lunch I told the outfit that I guessed it was up to me to find some
kind of fish, so I climbed forward and stood at the mast to scan the sea.
This was an old familiar, thrilling custom of mine, and had been learned
over many years roaming the sea for signs of tuna or broadbill swordfish.
In the former case you see splashes or dark patches on the glassy sea; in
the latter you see the great sickle fins of that old gladiator Xiphias
gladius, surely the most wonderful spectacle for a sea angler.

In this case, however, all I sighted was a hammerhead shark. His sharp
oval fin looked pretty large, and as his acquisition might tend to good
fortune, I decided to drop him a bait and incidentally show my camera
crew, who had been complaining of hard battles with sharks, how easy it
could be done.

Using a leader with a small hook, I had the boatman put on a small piece
of bait, and crossed the track of the hammerhead with it. When he struck
the scent in the water he went wild, and came rushing up the wake, his
big black fin weaving to and fro, until he struck. Hammerheads have
rather small mouths, but they are easily hooked by this method. In a
couple of minutes I had hold of this fellow.

After hooking him I was careful not to pull hard on him. That is the
secret of my method with sharks, of which I have caught a thousand. They
are all alike. They hate the pull of a line and will react violently,
according to what pressure is brought to bear. If they are not "horsed,"
as the saying goes, they can be led up to the boat to the gaff. This
means a lot of strenuous exercise for the boatmen, but only adds to
the fun. Shooting, as is employed here in Australia, and harpooning,
as done in New Zealand, disqualify a fish.

I had this hammerhead up to the boat in twelve minutes, and I never
heaved hard on him once. Emil, my still photographer, a big strong
fellow, had had a three-hour battle with one a little smaller, and he
simply marveled at the trick I had played on the shark, and him, too.

There was a merry splashing mle at the gaffing of this hammerhead, in
which all the outfit engaged. It was the largest hammerhead I had seen in
Australian waters, probably close to six hundred pounds. Off the Perlos
Islands I have seen eighteen-foot hammerheads, with heads a third that
wide. I understand the Great Barrier Reef has twenty-two-foot
hammerheads. Australia is verily the land, or water, for sharks; and I am
vastly curious to see what a big one will do to me. Mr. Bullen was four
and a half hours on his nine hundred and eighty pound tiger shark, and I
have heard of longer fights. No doubt I am due for a good licking, but
that will be fun.

We raised a Marlin presently, and I ran back to the cockpit to coax this
fellow to bite; and we had an exciting half-hour photographing and
catching him--a good sized striped spearfish of two hundred and ninety

Not long after this event I sighted white splashes far to the southeast.
I yelled to the boys, "Tuna splashes!"

We ran on, and in due time I saw dark patches on the smooth surface, and
then schools of leaping bait fish, and then the gleaming flash of a
leaping tuna in the air. He was big, too, easily one hundred and fifty
pounds. Emil, who had seen this superb fish at Catalina, yelled his
enthusiasm. There were scattered sharp splashes all over the sea. This
meant tuna were feeding.

While Peter hooked up the engine and we bore down on these dark patches,
I put on a tuna gig such as we use in the South Seas. Long before we
reached the agitated waters I had a fine strike. Tuna always hook
themselves. This one ran down and down, and had run four hundred yards of
line off the reel before he slowed up.

I stopped him right under the boat, and then had some strenuous work
pumping and winding him up. It required more than half an hour, that is,
counting his narrowing circles under the boat. The sun was directly
overhead, the sea perfectly calm, the water clear as crystal; and it was
a striking picture to see that dazzling tuna as he came nearer and nearer
to the boat.

I hoped that he would weigh a hundred pounds and cautioned Peter to make
sure at the gaff. When hauled aboard this fish presented a most beautiful
sight. He was a yellow-fin tuna, not to be confounded with the Australian
and Western Pacific tunny; and the opal and blue and gold colors,
blending in a dazzling effect, as bright as sunlight on jewels, were so
lovely that it seemed a shame to kill their possessor.

But this was a valuable catch, much more important than any size or
species of swordfish. I was simply delighted.

In my correspondence for three years with Australian anglers and market
fishermen I had been told of vast schools of large round blue fish that
had been sighted offshore in July and August. These fish had been
sighted, but not classified. I concluded they were tuna, and with this
lucky catch I had verified my opinion.

Yellow-fin tuna furnish California with one of its big commercial
assets--a fifty-million-dollar-a-year canned-tuna industry. There are
floating canneries on the sea and canneries on shore. San Pedro, a
thriving town, depends upon the tuna catch. For thirty years this
business has been increasing. Large boats have been built, with
refrigeration machinery and huge storage capacity, and these vessels ply
far in pursuit of the schools of tuna. In 1927, when I found yellow-fin
tuna at the Galapagos Islands, and showed motion pictures to verify it,
the Japanese and American fleets were hot after these fresh schools. Five
hundred tons of tuna, at a hundred dollars a ton, meant big profit.

Australian commercial interests have something to think about. It can be
depended upon--these yellow-fin tuna are more and more in demand. Japanese
ships now come clear to the Californian and Mexican coasts, and down off
South America. It will be a close run to Australian waters.

The extent and abundance of this annual migration of yellow-fin tuna off
the South Coast should be ascertained; and the result might well be a
tremendous business for Australians, and what is more, a valuable and
inexpensive food supply bound to take place of the more expensive meats.
In the United States the consumption of fish as food has increased forty
per cent in the last ten years.


Crossing the river on the ferry at Bateman Bay, from which the wonderful
Toll Gates can be seen out at sea, I conceived an idea that this place
had marvelous potentialities for fishing. As a matter of fact, the place
haunted me so that I went back, motored all around the bay, walked out
upon the many wooded capes that projected far out toward the sentinel
Toll Gates, patrolled the curved sandy beaches, and finally interviewed
the market fishermen. The result was that I broke camp at Bermagui and
chose a lovely site three miles out from Bateman Bay, where we pitched
camp anew. It turned out that the vision in my mind's eye had been right.
This camp was the most beautiful and satisfactory of all the hundreds of
camps I have had in different countries. How it will turn out from a
fishing standpoint remains to be seen. But I would like to gamble on my

I fished all the way up from Bermagui, and the distance must have been
all of fifty miles. I trolled a good-sized bonito for eight hours
without a rise. The north-east breeze had freshened the day, and at four
o'clock the sea was ridged white and blue. It was rough enough to make me
hold on to my chair with one hand and my rod in the other. I wanted to
take the first swordfish in to Bateman Bay.

There was a long cape to the north-west, standing far out into the ocean.
It appeared we would never reach it. But at last we did, and saw the
grand opening of Bateman Bay guarded by those noble Toll Gates, great
bare rocks, standing aloof and august, facing the sea, and shadowed with
the western sunset lights.

It was with most unusual excitement that I sighted the familiar and
thrilling purple flashes of a swordfish back of my bait. "There he is!"
And he had the bait, to swerve and speed away.

"Well, it's about time. Nine hours!" called Peter, as he threw out the
clutch. "Be sure you hook him."

I made sure of that, and for half an hour, in a rough sea, I had a hard
fight with a game fish. He almost got away. We were proud to run into the
little cove we had renamed Crescent Bay, where my camp had been pitched
while I fished the day through.

There was an enthusiastic crowd waiting, but nothing to the large and
vociferous one that greeted us when we trucked the swordfish up to town.
Most, in fact almost all, of the inhabitants had never seen a swordfish.
The reception the townspeople gave me was second only to what they gave
the fish. So my start at Bateman Bay was auspicious.

Then, following that lucky opening, we had bad weather. Days of storm! No
sooner would it clear up and give us hope of sunshine and warmth when it
blew again. From all directions!

We ran out almost every day, certainly the days that it was possible to
fish. We did not see a swordfish. I was not discouraged at this, because
I have learned that patience and endurance are imperative for a deep-sea
fisherman. Besides, we occasionally hooked a shark, and really I wanted a
big shark more keenly than a swordfish.

After ten days the weather cleared and grew warm. That very first
morning, drifting with a bait deep off Black Rock, I had a magnificent
strike which I was sure came from a black Marlin. He took the bait
easily, slowly made off, began to go faster and faster, and rise to the
surface, until Peter and I yelled for the inevitable jump. It did not
come. That fish got rid of the hook without leaping or showing his size;
and I was a bitterly disappointed angler.

I did not, however, have long to bemoan my bad fortune. The camera-boat
hooked up with a fish, and I couldn't miss that. There were always
excitement and fun galore when my camera crew got hold of a fish. So I
ran out to them. It would be quite beyond me to describe adequately what
I witnessed. I shall record it in Bowen's terms:

"Gus Bagnard, my second camera man, was most eager to catch a swordfish.
From his conversation I was sure that he thought it a simple matter,
merely a case of tossing a bait overboard and pulling in the fish.

"He had been on the camera boat the day that I conceived the idea that if
two teasers were good, more would be better. The idea may have been all
right, but the execution was terrible. The extra teasers were tied with
cord that had long since outlived its usefulness, and consequently kept

"A pleasant morning was had by all, in circling about, netting lost
teasers. It was because of this that Gus hooked his swordfish.

"A teaser dropped off on the windward side and the boatman, forgetting
all about the trailing lines, cut back so sharply that lines and teaser
cords were twisting and twirling about, making a grand tangle. They
missed the teaser on the first attempt at it, and again the boatman swung
sharply, again not helping matters in the least. This occurred several
times, and mind you the sea was quite rough. Suddenly I, who had been
most busy keeping my bait from fouling, sighted a swordfish some distance
in back. I yelled at Gus, whose bait was twisting around one of the
teasers, to clear his line. Gus was making frantic effort to do so when
the fish came up directly under his bait and swallowed it without

"For some inexplicable reason Gus's line pulled free from the teaser and
ran out with a mighty zip. In his excitement Gus forgot to keep enough
tension on his reel and line was pouring all over the place. I jumped to
his aid and between us we managed to pull out the loose overrun line, for
the fish had by now conveniently stopped. Things were well in hand--that
is except for the lost teaser which the boatman was still seeking. 'Stop
the boat!' I yelled. Whether my voice did not carry or whether the
boatman was going to get the teaser or bust, I never shall know, but at
any rate they kept on, slowly of course, while the fish merely sulked on
top of the water, shaking his head and paying little or no attention to
Gus, who was pulling for all he was worth to take the slack out of his

"'Give me the harness!' Gus yelled. Thereupon Andy, my camera man,
brought forth the harness and proceeded to help Gus put it on. Maybe it
was the swaying of the boat, a gust of wind, putting on the harness, or
all three things, but at any rate Gus's hat flew off his head and joined
the teaser, which was floating by off the starboard.

"'I've got it!' yelled one of the boatmen, coming up with a dip net full
of teaser. Just then the fish grew tired of this horseplay and made a
wild rush out to sea. The boatman started after him, when Gus screamed,
'Hey, don't forget my hat!'

"I was laughing so hard by this time that I almost fell off the boat. The
boatman, drawn between two evils, chose the lesser one and went after the
hat. Gus was trying to keep a tight line on the fish while at the same
time he was twisted around like an ostrich, in attempting to keep track
of his hat.

"It might have been all right if the fish had continued to go one way and
the boat the other, but just about the time they were nearing the hat,
the fish looped back and came swimming towards the boat. The movement of
the boat kept the line taut, but the fish in making the circle had
evidently slacked enough of the line to free himself from the hook.

"'Here it is!' yelled the boatman as he dipped up the droopy hat. 'All
right,' stated Gus, with relief. 'Now I'll show you how to catch this
fish.' He reeled in hard and fast. Poor Gus, how he must have felt when
he saw a baitless hook come dancing over the water. Anyway, he got his
hat, the boatman got his teaser, and the rest of us got a laugh."

Following that event of the camera crew I trolled around and on out for
an hour, when we discovered the other boat in trouble again. This time it
proved to be Bowen who had gotten himself fast to a heavy fish. As soon
as we had ascertained that, we trolled on, circling his boat at a goodly
distance. As Brown did not make any apparent headway with this fish, we
ran over again, to find him in sore straits.

That boat was not a comfortable one from which to fight a fish which had
sounded deep. The chairs were wrong. There was a high railing on the
stern which made it hazardous when a fish worked round astern. A sudden
rush would snap the rod. If the fish sheered under the boat--well, then it
was goodnight. Bowen was hunched on the side, his rod on the gunwale, the
tip wagging, and the line stretched like a banjo string. Gus held him by
the belt to keep him from being pulled overboard. In truth, he was in a
grievous state, one I had suffered a thousand times. And it gave me a
feeling of glee. I called through my megaphone:

"Ed, you've been on that fish two hours."

"Yaas!" bawled Bowen. "That's no news to me. What's it to you?"

"Your face is fearfully red and wet. Your shirt is coming off. And your
efforts are appreciably ineffectual."

"Are you telling me?" yelled Ed, frantically. "Go 'way!"

"But you are doing a lot of things wrong," I protested.

"Oh, I am! Ha! Ha! For instance what?"

"If you want to hold a fish in that position or stop him, take hold of
the line with both hands. If you can't do either, let him have line--let
him run off so you can straighten up--rest your arms--give him a chance to
come to the surface, so you can have a different leverage."

"Aw!--look at that! He's taking line, millions of yards!--How 'n hell will
I ever reel him back?"

"Ed, listen," I called. "You don't reel a fish up. You pump him with the
rod to get slack line--then you reel that...But I'm afraid this fish
is too much for you. He's licked you."

"He has--not!" panted Ed, wildly. "I've got him licked, only he won't come
up...Besides, it's no fish, I tell you. It's a whale or something."

"Ed, you betray every evidence of late hours, and cigarettes, the bottle,
and in fact a misspent life..."

"Go 'way!" shouted Bowen. "You'll make me so weak I'll lose him."

Bowen always claimed my advice would make him lose his fish. Wherefore I
discreetly ran off, and trolled for two hours. Upon my return they had
his fish tied up to the boat--a shark, of black hue and ferocious aspect,
and of heavy frame. I did not know what kind it was.

"Hey there!" pealed out Ed, happily. "I got him! I got him! I licked the
son-of-a-gun. Thanks for telling me what to do. Never would have licked
him. Gee! but wasn't it a fight. I'm crippled. I'm dying!!! I think I'm
dead...What kind of a shark is it?"

"Blowed if I know," I replied, "But he's a handsome brute, big as all
outdoors, and a real catch. Congratulations."

This shark was indeed an important catch for us. It was a whaler and
weighed over six hundred pounds.

On the following day, about sixteen miles offshore, out in a warm current
that registered seventy-three degrees, I saw an enormous ghost-like shark
that made my heart leap to my throat. He was twenty feet long and very
deep, and he certainly was not afraid of the boat or its occupants. I let
my bait out to him. It appeared to me that he not only ignored the
offering, but was contemptuous of such a small bait. His eye was big,
black, and gleaming with all the cold cruelty of nature. I knew that he
saw me and would have taken me had I fallen out of that boat. For an hour
after he faded away I was in a trance. I recovered after a time, but I
will never cease to long to hook and whip and kill such a grand and
terrible shark. Opinions on my boat differed. He was a tiger, or a huge
whaler. But for me he was one of those monsters of the South Seas--the
white death shark.

On the third clear morning, with a warm sun and a light north-east breeze,
I felt sure that we would have luck. Peter said fish ought to be in. We
found bait plentiful and hungry. While fishing around Black Rock I saw a
Marlin jump. We got teasers and bait overboard in a hurry, and I trolled
there for an hour, without raising him.

Meanwhile Bowen and his crew had run outside four or five miles. When I
finally ran up to them they had a swordfish tied up to the boat. It had
been caught by Mr. Stewart, a guest of Bowen's that day, and was his
first one after many attempts. He appeared to be mute in his delight, but
Bowen was gay and volatile enough.

"Say," he shouted, "you should have seen this Marlin commit suicide. Why,
nothing could lose him! The reel overran a dozen times and never tangled.
Get a load of that, will you? He ran under the boat. The leader caught in
the propeller and the fish came up on the other side. All our backs were
turned. He tried to get aboard. When we gaffed him the hook fell out. Can
you beat that for luck?"

No, I could not, and after congratulating Mr. Stewart I trolled on,
marveling at the queer angles of this game. Late in the afternoon we
turned to go in. The golden lights were shining over the ranges, the
purple Toll Gates loomed grandly against the background. The day appeared
to be about over.

"There's a fin!" yelled Bill, suddenly. He was up on deck. "Far ahead and
going fast."

"Chase it," I ordered. "Hook her up, Pete."

We ran down current like the wind, everybody searching the big swells and
white seas. We ran nearly half a mile before Bill sighted the fin again.
Still ahead! We ran on, lost it again. Then Emil saw it on our left and
we sped in that direction. We ran past the other boat. They yelled to us
and pointed back to the right and we had to turn again. Peter saw him
again and that encouraged us. He opened up the engine full ahead and we
roared over the swells, leaving a white wake behind us.

"There he is!" shouted Peter, pointing. "Going like one thing!"

"Don't run him down, Peter," I said, as I caught my first glimpse of the
big gleaming tail fin. "It's a black Marlin."

Peter slowed down. But we had to go at least at a ten-knot speed in order
to come up with the fish. His tail went under, came up again, flashed
opal and gold, vanished, to show once more.

Suddenly I saw that tail give a peculiar twitch--an action I had seen
many times. I flashed my gaze back to my bait.

"He saw it! Look out!"

I venture to say that that fish traveled as fast as my sight. Because
instantly there he was back of my bait. He snatched it and sheered off to
the races. He ran four hundred yards on that strike, and when I hooked
him he took off at least two hundred more. That was a long way off. The
line was so tight I had to release the drag. We ran after him and it was
quite awhile before I recovered a foot of line. He broke water twice, but
did not leap.

Eventually we gained on him. In perhaps a quarter of an hour I recovered
most of the line. Then he sounded. From that period I fought him an hour
and ten minutes to fetch him to the surface.

He proved to be a short, broad, beautifully built black Marlin, deep
purple in color, and remarkable for the shortest spear I ever saw on one
of these fish. It was less than a foot in length and a perfect weapon.
This black Marlin weighed around four hundred pounds, and was I glad to
take him in to Bateman Bay?


One of my strong reasons for coming to Bateman Bay, if not the strongest,
was the fact that this big shallow body of water was infested with
sharks. Salmon, bonito, yellowtail, taylor, mullet, which are the very
best bait for any and all salt-water fish, inhabit this bay; and I am
sure have a great deal to do with the presence of sharks.

After seeing a small specimen of wobbegong, or carpet shark, I was very
keen to catch one. This fellow is about the most curious sea creature to
be found. He resembles a long strip of Brussels carpet. He lies fairly
flat on the bottom, almost like a flounder or halibut. He looks like
seaweed and is a remarkable example of nature's protective coloration.
But in his case it must be more a matter of hiding from the small fish he
preys upon than to be difficult to see for his larger enemies. From the
wobbegong's upper lip protrude a number of little colored bits of skin
which could easily be taken for seaweed or something else good to eat.
Anyway, this cunning shark lies low, watching, and when small fish come
close to nibble at these deceitful lures the wobbegong snaps them up.
This species of shark grows fairly large, and I'd give something unheard
of to catch a big one. The most remarkable feature of the wobbegong is
his teeth. They are like a nest of curved thorns. When the wobbegong gets
his teeth in anything they cannot come free. They just bite out the piece
they have hold of.

Sometimes when it was windy outside we ran in to fish around the islands
or along the shoal west shore of the bay. Straight across from camp there
was a high bluff covered with heavy growth of timber. From this a flat
rocky reef ran out into the bay. Our man, Bill Lawler, the market
fisherman I had engaged, took us often to this particular spot to fish
for sharks. Some of the shark tales he told were incredible. But I
learned to credit all of them.

Why a school of gray nurse sharks should hang around that shoal reef was
a mystery to me. It cleared up, however, and seemed as natural as any
other thing pertaining to the sea. We went there several times and
chummed, (burley, they call this way of attracting sharks by cutting up
bait or fish), without getting a single bite. Bill said the cool rainy
weather accounted for the lack of sharks, and I could well believe him.

One warm still afternoon we hit it just right; and that afternoon must be
recorded in my memory and in my fishing notes as one never to forget.
Fishing for sharks is one thing: fishing for man-eating sharks, one of
the most ferocious species, is entirely another.

I had seen the two gray nurse sharks in the Aquarium at the Sydney Zoo. I
had watched them for hours. They really had beauty, if line and contour
lending speed and savagery, can have such a thing. To my surprise the
gray nurse had a longer, sharper nose than even the mako. I made a bet
with myself that he could move fast in the water. I found out, too. I was
surprised, also, to see that the gray nurse had no gray color in the
water. He was a dark greenish tan.

We anchored the Avalon over the ridge, about five hundred yards out from
shore, and began to chum. We had a couple of boxes full of fish that from
its odor should have attracted sharks all the way from Sydney. Our other
boat, the camera outfit, chose a spot half a mile below us, not a very
good place, Bill said.

I put a bait over on my big tackle, and settled myself comfortably to
wait. It was very pleasant, and grew more beautiful as the afternoon
waned. Two hours passed, during which we chummed all the while, without
having a strike. An oily slick drifted away from our boat for a mile. I
had about decided there were no gray nurse sharks in the bay, when I had
a bite. It was a gentle, slow pull, not at all what I expected from a
notorious shark.

"It's a gray nurse," avowed Bill.

"Yeah?" I replied, doubtfully. "Okay! We'll hand it to him."

Whereupon I laid back with my heavy tackle for all I was worth. I hooked
a fish, all right, and made ready for a run. But this one did not run. He
came toward the boat. The men hauled up anchor and started the engine. We
drifted while I most curiously applied myself to the task of whipping
this shark, if it were one. He was heavy and strong, and quick as a
flash. But he did not try to go places. He kept around and under the

In due course I hauled him up, and what was my surprise when I saw a long
symmetrical silver-gray shark shape. He looked about eight feet long and
fairly thick. Presently I had a good look at his head and then his eyes.
I have had fish see me from the water, but this fellow's gaze was
different. Pure cold, murderous cruelty shone in that black eye. It made
me shiver. I did not fool any longer with him.

Peter gaffed the gray nurse and held him while Bill slipped a rope over
his tail. For his size, about three hundred pounds, he surely made a
commotion in the water. After a bit Peter untied my leader from my line
and let it hang. The shark hung head down, rolling and jerking.

"Pete, if these gray nurse sharks don't run away after being hooked, this
tackle is too heavy," I said.

"Right-o. I was figuring that. The Cox nine and thirty thread line ought
to do."

"Well," added Bill, grimly, "I can tell you they don't run away."

We went back to our anchorage and I went on fishing with the lighter rig
while the men chummed. Suddenly Bill said he saw one in the water. I
thought I, too, caught a gray shadow flash. But in a moment after that I
had another of those queer slow gentle strikes.

"Gosh!" I exclaimed. "I'll bet this bird doesn't work so slow when he's
after a man."

"Quick as lightning!" replied Bill.

The shark swam under the boat. I hooked him, and he acted precisely as
had the first. But with the lighter tackle I could handle him better. He
turned out to be heavy and strong, making it necessary for me to put on
my harness. Then we had it out, hard and fast. Nevertheless I was able to
do little with him. Had he chosen to run off we would have had to up
anchor and go after him. But he chose to circle the boat and swim under
it, giving me plenty of trouble. When I discovered the gray nurse
wouldn't run I put on some drag and pitched into him. Several times I had
a glimpse of something long and gray, like a ghost of a fish. In half an
hour I had him coming. I did not see him clearly, however, until Peter
had heaved on the leader. Then! what a thrill and a start! This one
appeared a monster, eleven feet longs thick as a barrel, huge fins all
over him, veritably a terrible engine of destruction. He would have
weighed eight hundred pounds. Peter held the leader while Bill gaffed
him. Then there was hell. The shark threw the gaff and bit through the
leader in what appeared a single action.

"Oh, Peter!" I protested, in grievous disappointment. "He wasn't ready.
Why didn't you let him go?"

Peter looked mad. Bill said not to mind, that there were more. This
reassured me, and I asked for another leader. They were all twenty feet
or more long, too long, but we had to use them.

"Look down there!" called Bill as I threw out my bait.

I did not look, because my bait had hardly sunk to the bottom, which was
only three fathoms, when I had another of those slow electrifying tugs.
When I hooked this gray nurse he nearly jerked the rod away from me and
the rod-socket. By this time I was getting angry. I went after this one
hammer and tongs. His action induced me to think he was trying to get to
the boat and kill me. He never swam a dozen yards from where I sat. I put
the wood on him, as we call hauling hard with the rod, and eventually
whipped him and brought him up to the gaff. He nearly drowned me. And the
boys were ringing wet and mad as wet hens. When Peter tied this one
alongside the other they began to fight.

We rigged up another leader and I went at it again. This time Bill saw
one before I threw my bait in. "Look down," he directed, and pointed.

By peering over into the green water I saw long wavering shapes. Sharks!
Gray nurse sharks, some of them nearly twelve feet long, swimming around
over the chum we had distributed.

"My word! What a sight!" I ejaculated.

"Be careful the next one doesn't jerk you overboard," warned Bill.

"What'd they do?"

"Tear you to pieces!"

I well believed that, and I proceeded to fasten the snap below the reel
so the rod could not be pulled away from the chair. In less than ten
seconds after my bait disappeared I had a strike, and in another second I
was fast again. It required about a quarter of an hour to lick the next
one, around three hundred pounds in weight. We got him, tied him
alongside his comrade; and his arrival started another fight.

The next two severed my leader, one at the gaff and the other was cut
clean about the middle of the fight. That required other new leaders.
This last was put on by Bill and my bait thrown overboard, when we heard
a hard thumping behind us. Peter, the scalawag, had dropped a hook down
on a heavy cord, and he was fast to a shack. He got the end of the leader
up. The shark was a whopper and he roared around on the surface and
banged against the boat.

"Help! Help!" yelled Peter.

Bill ran to his assistance just as I had another strike. In a twinkling I
was hooked to my heaviest gray nurse. He gave me a very hard battle. I
needed my heavy outfit on him. But I was getting him well under control
when Peter's shark swam under the boat and fouled my leader with his.
In the mle that ensued Peter's shark broke away. I worked on mine
awhile longer before I trusted him to Pete and Bill, whose blood was up
and who had a lust to kill these man-eaters. No doubt mine was up, too,
because I would have caught those devils until I was used up. This gray
nurse was my largest to land. He weighed around five hundred pounds. When
they tied him, head down, tail up, next to the other three, there was
another convulsion. The boat cantled over and I had to hold on. Four gray
nurse sharks in a row! And all possessed of devils! They did not appear
to be sick or weak. They just fought.

"Peter, for Pete's sake let up on that hand-line stuff," I begged.

"Like hob I will," repeated my boatman.

"But you'll only foul my line."

"No matter. We'll ketch 'em."

And he had hold of another in less than ten seconds, even while Bill was
baiting my hook. This time I watched. And I grasped that Peter would not
give the sharks an inch of line. He sweat and swore and held on like grim
death. The hook pulled out. Then I stood up to peer over the gunwale.
Sharks thick as fence pickets!

But I could not see clearly. A few were small and many were about ten
feet long, and several were very large. I wanted one of the biggest. My
next was a smaller one, however, and I soon dragged him up. Peter had one
on, too, and could not help us. Bill held the leader and the shark while
I gaffed it. What a strange all-satisfying sensation, as the steel went
in! But of course I was wholly primitive at the moment. The shark gave a
wag and the gaff handle hit me on the head. I went down, not for the
count, but to bounce up furious.

"Put a rope over his tail," yelled Bill.

"Don't do that," ordered Peter, aghast.

"Mind your own business," I replied. "Looks like you had your hands full."

Grasping up a tail rope, I widened the noose to bend over the gunwale and
try to lasso that sweeping tail. I got the noose over, but before I could
draw it tight he flipped it off. He bit at my hands and swept them aside
as if they were paper. I was, drenched to the skin. Then he hit me a
resounding smack on the cheek and temple.. Hurt? I was never so hurt in
my life. Nor mad! I bent lower, grim and desperate.

"Look out!" yelled Bill. And before I could move he let go gaff and
leader, and dragged me up. I had a glimpse of a gray flash, a cruel
pointed nose. One of the devils had made a pass at me.

"My God!...Bill, did that shark...?" I gasped.

"He did. Grab the rod and pull your shark back...Afraid I've lost
the gaff."

While I was pumping and winding my shark back Peter broke the heavy cord
on the one he had hooked. That made him madder than ever. Bill ran
forward to recover the gaff, which came out of the shark and floated up.

"I'll get one or bust," sang out Peter.

"This is a swell way to get rid of leaders," I replied. "But go to it.
This will never happen again."

In less than a minute I was fast to another, and Pete's yell assured me
he was, too.

Then things happened so quickly, and I was so confused with blood lust to
kill sharks, and the excitement of the sport, that for a space I could
not tell what was going on. There was tremendous exertion and much hoarse
shouting, and especially a terrific splashing maelstrom when both my
shark and the one Peter had hooked got tangled up with the four wicked
ones we had tied to the boat.

That was a mess. It must be understood that the four live sharks were
tied on the opposite side of the boat from which I was hanging on to the
one I had hooked. My rod was bent double, mostly under the water. I had
hold of my line with both gloved hands.

The men saved my shark, a good ten-footer, and lost Peter's, which he
said was a whale. This time Peter cut his hand on the leader, and
therefore let up on his hand-line stuff. He had lost four. This helped
matters somewhat, for the next and sixth one I hooked was not so hard to
land. When he had been tied up on my side of the boat, the men tried to
call me off. I indeed was spent and panting.

"Not on your life!" I yelled. "Not while they'll bite and I can lick 'em."

"They're thinning out," said Bill, gazing deep into the water. "But
there's a big one, if you can get hold of him..."

Marvelous to relate, I did, and he felt as if he was the granddad of that
school of gray nurse sharks. He kept away from the boat for a while. He
even came up, so that I could see all his wonderful silver-gray shape,
his many fins, his gleaming eye and terrible shining teeth. This one was
close to twelve feet long. He circled the stern, weaved to and fro, went
under us time and again; in fact, he tried everything but to swim away.
That was the strange thing. I could not understand it, unless he wanted
to stay there to kill the thing which had him.

The sun was setting gold and blazing behind us on the wooded bluff. There
were glorious lights and shadows on the Toll Gates. The water had a sheen
of red, beautiful, though very significant of that afternoon's fight with

I was sure of this big one. Which conceit was foolish. I worked hard on
him. I stopped him, or thought I had, time and again. All of a sudden,
when he was almost under me, he made a quick lunge. I heard snaps. I felt
released from a mighty pull. My tip, line, and harness strap all broke at
once, and I fell back in the cockpit.

Next morning we hung my six gray nurse sharks on our tripod on the beach.
I never felt such satisfaction and justification as that spectacle
afforded me.

They were sleek, shiny gray, lean and wolfish, yet somehow had a
fascinating beauty. The largest two weighed nearly five hundred pounds

Their noses and small eyes and curved teeth fascinated me most. There
were six rows of these long curved teeth. Under the first row was the
second, ready to bend a new tooth up when one was lost. It horrified me
to think how often on Australian beaches this engine of destruction had
buried such teeth in human flesh. Never again for one of these six, I
thought, grimly! I'd rather catch and kill such bad sharks than land the
gamest sporting fish that swims.

Lastly the many broad fins on these sharks nonplused me. There was a
reason for them, but I could not figure it out at such short notice.

I regarded this catch as one of the greatest, and certainly the most
worthy, that I ever made. And it was not until afterwards that I realized
the hazard of the game, and that I had really not appreciated being in a
den of blood-thirsty man-eaters. But instead of making me cautious I grew
only the bolder, fierce to hook and fight the largest one I could find.


Any book on the outdoors, at least any one of mine, should have as much
as possible to say about trees, birds, and shells.

Our camp here is situated on a crescent-shaped bay, an offshoot of
Bateman Bay, and it is singularly satisfying. All day and all night the
surf is omnipresent, sometimes softly lapping the sand, at others
crawling in with its white ripples, to break and seethe up the beach,
rolling pebbles and shells with a tinkling music, and now and again
rolling in with grand boom and roar, to crash on the strand and drag the
gravel back with a mournful scream. A sad emotion-provoking sound on any

Every tide leaves lines and patches and mounds of shells. Gathering
shells is one of the great privileges of a fisherman, and I have
accumulated over five hundred here, of many varieties. Shells have a
singular appealing beauty. The search for new and different ones, for a
perfect one of a certain kind, or a treasure just rolled up out of the
unknown, grows in its fascination and adds many full moments to life,
and pictures that will never fade from memory.

Birds here at Crescent Bay are rather few and far between. Even the sea
birds are scarce. Gulls, terns, herons and cormorants frequent the
shores, mostly early in the mornings. In the dark of dawn a trio of
rascally kookaburras visit camp and set up a most raucous laughing,
reverberating din in the giant trees, and then, having notified me that
the break of day is at hand, they depart. They are not friendly here as
were those at Bermagui. There are always ravens to be heard at odd
moments of the day. These at Bateman Bay have the most dismal, grievous
note I ever heard birds utter. They would be perfectly felicitous in
Dante's Inferno. It is a hoarse, low, almost wild caw, penetrating,
disturbing. You find yourself questioning your right to be happy--that
calamity is abroad.

The magpies have a wonderful liquid, melodious note, somewhat similar to
the beautiful one of the tui in New Zealand. The thrush sings rarely
along this shore, and his call makes you stop to listen. There are other
songsters that add to the joy of this camp site, but as I cannot identify
them by their music alone they must go nameless.

Traveling to and fro along this south coast, I have made acquaintance
with a number of trees, not many varieties, but countless ones of
striking beauty. And it was my good fortune at this camp to pitch my tents
under some of the grandest trees that ever ministered to me in my many
needs of the changing hours of day and night.

They stand upon a sloping bench up from the beach some distance, and they
dominate the scene. They are called spotted red gum trees. I could have
thought of a better name than that, but it does not detract from their
stately loveliness. There are about a dozen in number, four of which are
giants of the bushland, ten feet thick at the base and towering two
hundred feet aloft. They spread magnificently, huge branches sweeping out
gnarled and crooked, but always noble with some quality of power and life
and age. The lacy foliage gives the effect of a green canopy, with the
sun's rays streaking down golden-green, as if through cathedral windows.
But the color of these spotted monarchs intrigues me most. The dark spots
and patches of bark stand out from a pale olive background that varies
its hue according to the weather. In the rain the trunks take on a steely
gray with black designs standing out in relief. At sunset, if there is
gold and red in the west, these eucalyptus trees are indescribably
beautiful. And on moonlight nights they are incredibly lovely. I have
stared aloft for long, reveling in what it is they have so prodigally. I
have watched the Southern Cross through a rift in the leaves. I have
watched and loved them in the still noonday hour, when not a leaf stirred,
and have listened to them and trembled at their mighty threshing roar in
the gale.

Trees must mean a great deal to man. He came down out of them, descending
from his arboreal life, to walk erect on his feet, in that dim dawn of
his evolution. And ever since, during that five hundred thousand years,
he has been dependent upon them. And beyond material things, if man ever
develops that far, he will need them to keep alive the spiritual, the
beautiful, the something that nature stands for, the meaning which
forever must be inscrutable.

Australians are blessed with their boundless bush. No doubt the bigness
and warmth which are characteristic of the native Australian have come in
some degree from the splendid trees under which he has lived.

It may seem rather a far cry from the beauty and ministry of trees to the
ghastly menace of a man-eating shark, and a grueling fight with one, but
that is where we must go.

South of Bateman Bay, and ten miles off Cape Burly, we ran into a trio of
trawlers working a wide area of waters that must have netted them tons of
fish. Many as have been the trawlers I have seen, I never before fished
among them. This was a curious and unique experience, valuable to any

These trawlers criss-crossed this twenty-mile square of ocean, and about
every two hours they halted to haul up their nets. These had wooden doors,
and an opening thirty or forty feet wide, which traveled along the
bottom, scooping up all kinds of fish. We saw only the rubbish they threw
overboard, consisting of small rays, fiddlers, sharks, porcupine fish,
and a red-colored big-eyed fish that appeared to have burst upon the
surface. We also saw barracuda, leatherjacks, and other fish.

They floated in confusion along the surface, in the track of the trawler,
most of them alive, swimming upside down. Gulls, shearwater ducks (mutton
birds), and the great wide-winged albatross reaped a harvest that the
sharks had not time to get. The sharks, however, were busy enough. I saw
dozens of whalers, a few hammerheads, several large pale sharks that kept
deep down, and a number of Marlin in the wake of these ships.

It was exceedingly interesting to watch them, aside from the possibility
of raising a swordfish. The screaming of the sea fowl, the colored fish
lying scattered all over the wakes, the big dark fins and tails of sharks
milling about, an occasional swirl and splash on the water, and lastly
the passing to and fro of the trawlers afforded a moving and thrilling
spectacle for an angler.

I took that all in as I trolled to and fro, following the ships.
Swordfish fins were occasionally sighted, and we raised a number. They
had fed, however, and would not take a bait, and their interest appeared
to be solely in the teasers.

Two days of this working with the trawlers did not earn us a single
Marlin. We caught several, though only after we had run far out of the
zone of the trawlers. I tried a third day, however, finding it hard to
resist those big sickle tails that we caught sight of rarely. I was, of
course, on the lookout for a big black Marlin.

Still I kept a weather eye open for a big shark, and was not particular
what breed he was. Among the trawlers it was not unusual to see a dozen
whaler sharks all in a bunch, sticking their ugly dark noses out, gulping
down fish into their wide mouths.

That third day, coming upon two big ones close together, I said to Emil,
"Let's have a go at these." And we were soon fast to a heavy fish. A
whaler will usually take a long fast run. Mine did this, while Emil's,
evidently a huge fish, merely went down. Our boatman, Peter, was at a
loss what to do. In the melee, however, Emil's shark got off, and I was
left to battle a stubborn, heavy brute.

We caught up with him, and then he was off again. After this second run,
however, he sounded deep and invited me to see what I could do about it.
After an hour or so of getting him up and having him go down again I
began to suspect that I had hold of a big fellow. Therefore I called upon
patience and reserve strength to make a sure thing of catching him.

The fight was interesting because it was exactly what Mr. Bullen, the
Sydney shark expert, said was the way the great tiger worked. I was
acquiring practice and experience, at considerable loss of sweat, labor,
and enthusiasm. This son-of-a-gun stayed in one place, it appeared.
I had to pump and wind, pump and wind, monotonously and continuously.
I would get him up to the double line and then down he would go again.
I had that work to do over and over. His evident size, however, kept me
nailed to my post; and after over two hours of hard work I had him coming.

My first sight of this whaler was a flash of gold, and as he came closer
up he changed color from that to dark green, and finally black. He was a
sullen-eyed surly brute that made striking the gaff into him a keen,
savage sort of pleasure. When Peter sent the steel home I yelled, "Mr.
Whaler, you'll never kill another human being!"

That idea had seemed to obsess me all along, and it grew stronger. This
whaler was big and heavy and mean. On the gaff he raised hell, wet us
thoroughly, and made everybody mad. He was too big to haul up on the
stern, so we had to tow him fifteen miles to camp--a long, slow trip.

I gambled with the boys on his weight, which I wagered was nine hundred
pounds, but, as usual, I lost, for he weighed only eight hundred and
ninety. He was twelve feet long; and those two facts constitute a mighty
big fish.

A Mr. Wallace and companion fisherman, staying at Bateman Bay, came in one
day with a six-hundred-and-ninety-pound shark, which they had fought for
forty minutes, and then shot. They could not identify it, and asked me to
do so, which I was glad to be able to do. Sharks can always be identified
by their teeth, provided you know shark teeth.

Fortunately, in this case it was easy, as the large triangular upper
teeth, serrated, and the smaller less-triangular lower teeth, belonged to
that rare species of the Seven Seas--the white pointer or less commonly
known as the white death.

This fellow grows to forty feet and more in length, and teeth have been
found in the ooze from the bottom of the sea so large that they must have
belonged to sharks eighty feet long--a fearful and marvelous monster to
conjure up in imagination.

I had seen at least two of these rare and great sharks, one at Rangaroa,
in the Paumotos, and the other off Montague Island. Naturally I was
hoping to catch one.

So far as I can ascertain, only three of this species has been caught in
Australia, one eighteen feet long, shot and harpooned at Bermagui;
another larger, which was vouched for by Dr. Stead, the scientist. My
boatman, Peter Williams, harpooned one at the whaling-station near
Russell, New Zealand. It was twenty-three feet long and would have
weighed far over a ton. I saw the jaws of this one, and they were indeed
formidable. A good-sized man could sit down inside of them.

My hopes of striking a white-death shark on the South Coast had almost
waned when, three days before we shifted camp at Bateman Bay I sighted
what I thought was one at Black Rock. He had the same shape and the same
dorsal fin with which I had familiarized myself. Only he appeared darker
in color.

Peter was not keen about closer acquaintance, but that certainly did not
hold for me. I cautioned him to keep wide as we dragged a freshly cut
salmon across in front of the shark. If the fish saw it he gave no sign.
Again we ran in front of the brute and closer this time. In fact we went
pretty close. I saw his peculiarly blunt nose, coming to a point, and the
protruding upper lip which allowed the big white arrowhead-shaped teeth
to show. That was a sight to chill the blood. He was lazily riding the
waves, his bold, staring black eyes on the boat. Surely he saw us. But he
ignored the bait.

"Throw something at the blighter," yelled Peter. "Nope. Go closer next
time," I replied.

On this third attempt, before we got even with the shark, he made a swift
and savage run. There was a splash, a crack, and he sheered away swift as
a Marlin. The instant I recovered from this surprising procedure I jammed
on the drag and struck. If that shark did anything, he struck back at me.
Then, when I had him hooked he performed the old amazing, thrilling
trick of the mako--he came for us. I had to wind fast to reel in the line.

There he was! Only the length of my leader! And that was thirty feet.

"What'll we do now?" I shouted, aghast.

"Hang on to the double line," replied Peter, and dived into the cabin for
the gaff.

The swivel of the leader was against my rod tip. I had no trouble in
holding the shark. He turned at right angles with us and was swimming
along with the boat, a few feet under. Presently he came up so that his
pale dorsal fin stood up out of the water. He was not white by any means,
but he was light colored, and stream-lined in shape, and sinister of
aspect. He looked large, too, fully as large as my biggest whaler.

"Pete, what are you going to do?" I called, as he came out with gaff and

"Let's have a go at him."

"It's too soon. If you failed to get the gaff in good he'd drown us and
get away."

On the other hand, if we hurt him and he ran off, it was almost a
certainty that he would take long to drag in again. I debated the
question. If it had not been a white shark I would not have hesitated.
But during that moment of vacillation the shark made up his mind and he
ran off two hundred yards as fast as any Marlin ever went. Then he
stopped, but did not sound. He just fought the leader; and as I put all
my weight and strength into the task we had it nip and tuck. I could
always fight a fish far away from me better than one near at hand. For my
pains, however, I got very little line in.

"Shall I run up on him?" asked Peter.

"No. I'll pull him back or break him off," I replied as, baffled and
resentful, I worked with renewed vigor. I did not keep track of the time,
but it was far from being short. I had enough of this white shark to
guess at what a twenty-footer would be like. And in due course, when I
pulled the leader up within reach, I was wet and panting, and mad at my
ineffectual attempt.

He went under the boat, so we had to keep moving. Peter hauled on the
leader in a way to alarm me. And he was swearing, always with Peter a
sign of impatience and effort. Emil stood with the big gaff, ready to
hand it to the boatman, while I loosened my harness hooks, and the drag
on the reel.

"Drop the leader overboard," I cautioned, as always.

I saw the shark come out from under the boat. He had rolled over on the
leader. The bright steel flashed. Crash! Then all was lost in a maelstrom
of flying white spray and green water.

"Let him run on the rope," I shouted.

"I can hold him...Emil, get a tail rope," replied Peter.

It required some time to put a noose over that threshing tail, during
which I stood there, ready to carry on my part should the shark break
away. Once roped, however, he gave up with little more ado.

We tried to haul him up on the stern, but he was too heavy. We,
therefore, towed him the three miles in to camp. Night had fallen when we
arrived, so that we could neither weigh nor photograph him. The boys
pulled him up on the bank, however, and left him there. After supper I
went to look at him, finding him dead and growing dark in color. He
appeared to be a soft-fleshed shark that would shrink much overnight.

Next morning we stayed in camp a few hours to photograph this specimen.
He was not so large, though nearly so, as my big whaler. And allowing for
the percentage of shrinkage he weighed eight hundred and forty pounds.
And he was nine feet six inches long. He had turned a grayish black in
color. His pectorals were large. His round lower end, and the flange
where it joined the tail, resembled that of both a mako and a broadbill
swordfish, but more like the latter fish. Close study of this shark
identified it as immature. He really was a youngster of that species. But
for me he was a notable catch, a different and splendid shark, and I was
proud of having gotten him and adding that terrible white-fanged jaw to
my collection. I made a reluctant and secret observation, too, and it was
that I was going to be scared of a giant shark of his class.


Fascinating places to fish have been a specialty of mine; and I have
record of many where no other fisherman ever wet a line. This always
seemed to be a fetish of mine. New and lonely waters! My preference has
been the rocky points of islands where two currents meet.

Fishing off Sydney Heads, Australia, is as far removed from this as could
well be imagined.

Great scarred yellow cliffs, like the colored walls of an Arizona canyon,
guard the entrance to Sydney Harbor, which, if not really the largest
harbor in the world, is certainly the most wonderful. These bold walls,
standing high and sheer, perhaps a mile apart, look down upon the most
colorful and variable shipping of the Seven Seas. I passed through this
portal on the S.S. Mariposa, gazing up at the lofty walls, at the
towering lighthouses and the slender wireless stands black against the
sky, never dreaming that the day would come when I saw them above me
while fighting one of the greatest giant fish I ever caught.

At the end of three months fishing on the South Coast of Australia,
during which my party and I caught sixty-seven big fish, mostly
swordfish, weighing twenty-one thousand pounds, we found ourselves
at Watson's Bay, just around the corner of the South Head, within sight
of all Sydney, and in fact located in the city suburbs, for the purpose
of pursuing further our extraordinary good luck. I hoped, of course, to
catch the first swordfish off Sydney Heads, and incidentally beat the
shark record.

I was introduced to this Sydney fishing by Mr. Bullen, who held the
record, and who had pioneered the rod-and-reel sport practically alone,
and had been put upon his own resources and invention to master the
hazardous and hard game of fishing for the man-eating tiger shark.

In angling, my admiration and respect go to the man who spends much time
and money and endurance in the pursuit of one particular fish. Experiment
and persistence are necessary to the making of a great angler. If Mr.
Bullen has not arrived, he surely is far on the way. For three years he
fished for tiger sharks from boats which in some cases were smaller than
the fish he fought. His mistakes in method and his development of tackle
were but steps up the stairway to success. I want to record here, in view
of the small craft he fished out of and the huge size and malignant
nature of tiger sharks, that, after a desperate battle to bring one of
these man-eaters up to the surface, he was justified in shooting it.

This shooting of sharks, by the way, was the method practiced in
Australia, as harpooning them was and still is prevalent in New Zealand.
In America we have sixty years' development back of big-game fishing; and
all the sporting clubs disqualify a harpooned or shot fish. The
justification of this rule is that opportunity presents very many times
to kill a big fish or shark before it has actually waked up. This is not
fair to the angler who fights one for a long time.

In Australia, however, the situation is vastly different. There are
thousands of terrible sharks. In the book I am writing, Tales of
Man-eating Sharks, I have data for three hundred tragedies and
disasters. I expect this book will be a revelation to those distinguished
scientists of the United States who do not believe a shark will attack a
human being. Certainly it would be better to fish for sharks and shoot
them on sight than not fish at all. For, every shark killed may save one
or more lives. While I have been in Australia there have been several
tragedies, particularly horrible. A boy bathing at Manly Beach was taken
and carried away for moments in plain sight. Somewhere in South Australia
another boy was swimming near a dock. Suddenly a huge blue pointer shark
seized him and leaped clear of the water with him, before making off.
Such incidents should make a shark-killer out of any angler.

Before I reached Sydney I had caught a number of man-eaters, notably some
whalers, an unknown white shark, and some of those sleek, treacherous
devils, the gray nurse, believed by many to be Australia's most deadly
shark. I had had enough experience to awaken in me all the primitive
savagery to kill which lay hidden in me, and I fear it was a very great
deal. The justification, however, inhibits any possible thought of mercy.
Nevertheless, despite all the above, I think gaffing sharks is the most
thrilling method, and the one that gives the man-eater, terrible as he
is, a chance for his life. If you shoot a shark or throw a Norway whale
harpoon through him, the battle is ended. On the other hand, if by toil
and endurance, by pain and skill, you drag a great shark up to the boat,
so that your boatman can reach the wire leader and pull him close to try
and gaff him, the battle by no means is ended. You may have to repeat
this performance time and again; and sometimes your fish gets away, after
all. Because of that climax I contend that all anglers should graduate
to the use of the gaff. Perhaps really the very keenest, fiercest thrill
is to let your boatman haul in on the leader and you gaff the monster.
Thoreau wrote that the most satisfying thing was to strangle and kill a
wild beast with your naked hands!

It was only a short run by boat round the South Head to the line of cliff
along which we trolled for bait. The water was deep and blue. Slow swells
heaved against the rocks and burst into white spray and flowed back into
the sea like waterfalls. A remarkable feature was the huge flat ledges or
aprons that jutted out at the base of the walls, over which the swells
poured in roaring torrent, to spend their force on the stone face and
slide back in glistening maelstrom. Dr. Stead assures me this apron is an
indication of very recent elevation of the coast. The Gap was pointed out
to me where a ship struck years ago on a black stormy night, to go down
with all of the hundreds on board, except one man who was lifted to a
rock and, crawling up, clung there to be rescued. Suicide Leap was
another interesting point where scores of people had gone to their doom,
for reasons no one can ever fathom. The wooden ladders fastened
precariously on the cliff, down to the ledges where fishing was good,
these that had been the death of so many fishermen, held a singular
gloomy fascination for me.

Trolling for bait was so good that I did not have so much time for
sight-seeing. Bonito and kingfish bit voraciously and we soon had plenty
of bait. We ran out to sea dragging teasers and bonito in the wake of the
Avalon, and I settled down to that peculiar happiness of watching the sea
for signs of fish. Hours just fade away unnoticeably at such pastime. In
the afternoon we ran in to the reefs and drifted for sharks.

I derived a great deal of pleasure from watching the ships that passed
through the harbor gate and those which came out to spread in all
directions, according to their destinations, all over the world, and soon
grow hull down on the horizon and vanish. Airplanes zoomed overhead.
Small craft dotted the green waters outside and white sails skimmed the
inner harbor. Through the wide gate I could see shores and slopes covered
with red-roofed houses, and beyond them the skyscrapers of the city,
and dominating all this scene the grand Sydney bridge, with its fretwork
span high above the horizon.

It was a grand background for a fishing setting. At once I conceived an
idea of photographing a leaping swordfish with Sydney Heads and the
gateway to the harbor, and that marvelous bridge all lined against the
sky behind that leaping fish. That day was futile, however, much to Mr.
Bullen's disappointment. The next day was rough. A hard wind ripped out
of the northeast; the sea was ridged blue and white; the boat tipped and
rolled and dived until I was weary of hanging on to my seat and the rod.
We trolled all over the ocean for hours, until afternoon, then came in to
drift off the Heads. Still, somehow, despite all this misery there was
that thing which holds a fisherman to his task. When I climbed up on the
dock I had the blind staggers and the floor came up to meet me. The usual
crowd was there to see me, but I could not sign any autographs that

The third morning dawned warm and still, with a calm ocean and blue sky.
Starting early, we trolled for bait along the bluffs as far south as
Point Bondi. I had engaged the services of Billy Love, market fisherman
and shark-catcher of Watson's Bay, to go with us as guide to the shark
reefs. We caught no end of bait, and soon were trolling off Bondi. We ran
ten miles out, and then turned north and ran on until opposite Manly
Beach, where we headed in again to run past that famous bathing-beach
where so many bathers had been attacked by sharks, and on down to Love's
shark-grounds directly opposite the harbor entrance between the Heads,
and scarcely more than a mile outside the Heads.

We put down an anchor, or "killick," as our guide called it, in about two
hundred feet of water. A gentle swell was moving the surface of the sea.
The sun felt hot and good. Putting cut bait overboard, we had scarcely
settled down to fishing when we had a strike from a small shark. It
turned out to be a whaler of about three hundred pounds.

Love was jubilant over its capture.

"Shark meat best for sharks," he avowed, enthusiastically. "Now we'll
catch a tiger sure!"

That sharks were cannibals was no news to me, but in this instance the
fact was more interesting. Emil put a bonito bait over and Love attached
a little red balloon to the line a fathom or two above the leader. This
was Mr. Bullen's method, except that he tied the float about one hundred
and fifty feet above the bait, and if a strong current was running he
used lead.

For my bait Love tied on a well-cut piece of shark, about two pounds in
weight, and added what he called a fillet to hang from the point of the
hook. I was an expert in baits and I remarked that this one looked almost
good enough to eat.

Then he let my bait down twenty-five fathoms without float or sinker.
This occurred at noon, after which we had lunch, and presently I settled
down comfortably to fish and absorb my surroundings.

The sun was hot, the gentle motion of the boat lulling, the breeze
scarcely perceptible, the sea beautiful and compelling, and there was no
moment that I could not see craft of all kinds, from great liners to
small fishing-boats. I sat in my fishing-chair, feet on the gunwale, the
line in my hand, and the passage of time was unnoticeable. In fact, time
seemed to stand still.

The hours passed, until about mid-afternoon, and conversation lagged.
Emil went to sleep, so that I had to watch his float. Peter smoked
innumerable cigarettes, and then he went to sleep. Love's hopes of a
strike began perceptibly to fail. He kept repeating about every hour that
the sharks must be having an off day. But I was quite happy and

I watched three albatross hanging around a market boat some distance
away. Finally this boat ran in, and the huge white-and-black birds
floated over our way. I told Love to throw some pieces of bait in. He did
so, one of which was a whole bonito with its sides sliced off.
The albatross flew towards us, landed on their feet a dozen rods away, and
then ran across the water to us. One was shy and distrustful. The others
were tame. It happened, however, that the suspicious albatross got the
whole bonito, which he proceeded to gulp down, and it stuck in his

He drifted away, making a great to-do over the trouble his gluttony had
brought him. He beat the water with his wings and ducked his head under
to shake it violently.

Meanwhile the other two came close, to within thirty feet, and they
emitted strange low, not unmusical, cries as they picked up the morsels
of fish Love pitched them. They were huge birds, pure white except across
the back and along the wide-spreading wings. Their black eyes had an
Oriental look, a slanting back and upwards, which might have been caused
by a little tuft of black feathers. To say I was in a seventh heaven was
putting it mildly. I awoke Emil, who, being a temperamental artist and
photographer, went into ecstasies with his camera. "I can't believe my
eyes!" he kept exclaiming. And really the lovely sight was hard to
believe, for Americans who knew albatross only through legend and poetry.

Finally the larger and wilder one that had choked over his fish evidently
got it down or up and came swooping down on the others. They then engaged
in a fight for the pieces our boatman threw them. They ate a whole
bucketful of cut bonito before they had their fill, and one of them was
so gorged that he could not rise from the surface. He drifted away,
preening himself, while the others spread wide wings and flew out to sea.

Four o'clock found us still waiting for a bite. Emil had given up; Peter
averred there were no sharks. Love kept making excuses for the day, and
like a true fisherman kept saying, "We'll get one tomorrow." But I was
not in a hurry. The afternoon was too wonderful to give up. A westering
sun shone gold amid dark clouds over the Heads. The shipping had
increased, if anything, and all that had been intriguing to me seemed
magnified. Bowen, trolling in Bullen's boat, hove in sight out on the

My companions obviously gave up for that day. They were tired of the long
wait. It amused me. I remarked to Peter: "Well, old top, do you remember
the eighty-three days we fished without getting a bite?"

"I'll never forget that," said Pete.

"And on the eighty-fourth day I caught my giant Tahitian striped marlin?"

"Right, sir," admitted Peter.

Love appeared impressed by the fact, or else what he thought was fiction,
but he said, nevertheless: "Nothing doing today. We might as well go in."

"Ump-umm," I replied, in cowboy parlance. "We'll hang a while longer."

I did not mention that I had one of my rare and singular feelings of
something about to happen. My companions settled down resignedly to what
seemed futile carrying-on.

Fifteen minutes later something took hold of my line with a slow
irresistible pull. My heart leaped. I could not accept what my eyes
beheld. My line slowly payed off the reel. I put my gloved hand over the
moving spool in the old habit of being ready to prevent an overrun. Still
I did not believe it. But there--the line slipped off slowly, steadily,
potently. Strike! There was no doubt of that. And I, who had experienced
ten thousand strikes, shook all over with the possibilities of this one.
Suddenly, sensing the actuality, I called out, "There he goes!"

Peter dubiously looked at my reel--saw the line gliding off.

"Right-o, sir!"

Love's tanned image became radiant. Emil woke up and began to stutter.

"It's a fine strike," yelled Love, leaping up. "Starts like a tiger!"

He ran forward to heave up the anchor. Peter directed Emil to follow and
help him. Then I heard the crack of the electric starter and the sound of
the engine.

"Let him have it!" advised Peter, hopefully. "It was a long wait,

"Swell strike, Pete," I replied. "Never had one just like it. He has
taken two hundred yards already. It feels under my fingers just as if you
had your hand on my coat sleeve and were drawing me slowly toward you."

"Take care. He may put it in high. And that anchor line is long."

When Love and Emil shouted from forward, and then came running aft, the
fish, whatever it was, had out between four and five hundred yards of
line. I shoved forward the drag on the big Kovalovsky reel and struck
with all my might. Then I reeled in swift and hard. Not until the fifth
repetition of this violent action did I come up on the weight of that
fish. So sudden and tremendous was the response that I was lifted clear
out of my chair. Emil, hands at my belt, dragged me back.

"He's hooked. Some fish! Get my harness," I rang out.

In another moment, with my shoulders sharing that pull on me, I felt
exultant, deeply thrilled, and as strong as Samson. I quite forgot to
look at my watch, which seemed an indication of my feelings. My quarry
kept on taking line even before I released the drag.

"Run up on him, Pete. Let's get close to him; I don't like being near
these anchored boats."

There were two fishing-boats around, the nearer a little too close for
comfort. Peter hooked up the engine and I bent to the task of recovering
four hundred yards of line. I found the big Kovalovsky perfect for this
necessary job. I was hot and sweating, however, when again I came up hard
on the heavy weight, now less than several hundred feet away and rather
close to the surface. I watched the bend of my rod tip.

"What kind of fish?" I asked.

"It's sure no black Marlin," answered Peter, reluctantly.

"I couldn't tell from the rod," added Love. "But it's a heavy fish. I
hope a tiger."

Emil sang out something hopeful. I said: "Well, boys, it's a shark of
some kind," and went to work. With a medium drag I fought that shark for
a while, watching the tip, and feeling the line, to get what we call
"a line" on him. But it was true that I had never felt a fish just like
this one. One instant he seemed as heavy as a rock, and the next light,
moving, different. Again I lost the feel of him entirely, and knowing the
habit of sharks to slip up on the line to bite it, I reeled like mad. So
presently I was divided between the sense that he was little, after all,
and the sense that he was huge. Naturally I gravitated to the conviction
that I had hooked a new species of fish to me, and a tremendously heavy
one. My plan of battle therefore was quickly decided by that. I shoved up
the drag on the great Kovalovsky reel to five pounds, six, seven pounds.
This much had heretofore been a drag I had never used. But this fish
pulled each out just as easily as if there had been none. I could not
hold him or get in any line without following him. So cautiously I
pushed up the drag to nine pounds, an unprecedented power for me to use.
It made no difference at all to the fish, wherefore I went back to five
pounds. For a while I ran after him, wound in the line, then had the boat
stopped and let him pull out the line again.

"I forgot to take the time. Did any of you?"

"About half an hour," replied Emil.

"Just forty minutes," said Peter, consulting his clock in the cabin.
"And you're working too fast--too hard. Ease up."

I echoed that forty minutes and could hardly believe it. But time flies
in the early stages of a fight with a big fish. I took Peter's advice and
reduced my action. And at this stage of the game I reverted to the
conduct and talk of my companions, and to the thrilling facts of the
setting. Peter held the wheel and watched my line, grim and concerned.
Love bounced around my chair, eager, talkative, excited. Emil sang songs
and quoted poetry while he waited with his camera. Occasionally he
snapped a picture of me.

The sea was aflame with sunset gold. A grand golden flare flooded through
the gate between the Heads. Black against this wonderful sky the Sydney
Bridge curved aloft over the city, majestic, marvelous in its beauty. To
its left the sinking sun blazed upon the skyscraper buildings. The black
cliffs, gold rimmed, stood up boldly far above me. But more marvelous
than any of these, in fact exceedingly rare and lovely to me, were the
ships putting to sea out of that illuminated gateway. There were six of
these in plain sight.

"Getting out before Good Friday," said Peter. "That one on the right is
the Monowai, and the other on the left is the Maunganui. They're going to
come to either side of us, and pretty close."

"Well!" I exclaimed. "What do you think of that? I've been on the Monowai
and have had half a dozen trips in the Maunganui."

These ships bore down on us, getting up speed. The officers on the bridge
of the Maunganui watched us through their glasses, and both waved their
caps. They must have recognized the Avalon, and therefore knew it was I
who was fast to a great fish right outside the entrance of Sydney Harbor.
The deck appeared crowded with curious passengers, who waved, and
cheered. That ship steamed hissing and roaring by us, not a hundred yards
away, and certainly closer to my fish than we were. The Monowai passed on
the other side, almost even with her sister ship. Naturally, being human,
I put on a show for these ships, by working hard and spectacularly on my

Close behind these loomed a ship twice as large. She appeared huge in
comparison. From her black bulk gleamed myriads of lights, and vast
clouds of smoke belched from her stacks. Peter named her, the Rangitati,
or some name like that, and said she was bound for England via the Panama
Canal. Then the other ships came on and passed us, and soon were
silhouetted dark against the purple sky.

All this while, which seemed very short and was perhaps half an hour, I
worked on my fish, and I was assured that he knew it. Time had passed,
for the lighthouse on the cliff suddenly sent out its revolving piercing
rays. Night was not far away, yet I seemed to see everything almost as
clearly as by day.

For quite a space I had been able to get the double line over the reel,
but I could not hold it. However, I always tried to. I had two pairs of
gloves and thumb stalls on each hand; and with these I could safely put a
tremendous strain on the line without undue risk, which would have been
the case had I trusted the rod.

By now the sport and thrill had been superseded by pangs of toil and a
grim reality of battle. It had long ceased to be fun. I was getting
whipped and I knew it. I had worked too swiftly. The fish was slowing and
it was a question of who would give up first. Finally, without increasing
the strain, I found I could stop and hold my fish on the double line.
This was occasion for renewed zest. When I told my crew they yelled
wildly. Peter had long since got out the big detachable gaff, with its
long rope.

I held on to that double line with burning, painful hands. And I pulled it
in foot by foot, letting go to wind in the slack.

"The leader--I see it!" whispered Love.

"Whoopee!" yelled Emil.

"A little more, sir," added Peter, tensely, leaning over the gunwale, his
gloved hands outstretched.

In another moment I had the big swivel of the leader in reach.

"Hang on--Pete!" I panted, as I stood up to release the drag and unhook my
harness. "Drop the leader--overboard...Emil, stand by...Love, gaff this
fish when I--tell you!"

"He's coming, sir," rasped out Peter, hauling in, his body taut.
"There!...My Gawd!"

Emil screeched at the top of his lungs. The water opened to show the back
of an enormous shark. Pearl gray in color, with dark tiger stripes, a
huge rounded head and wide flat back, this fish looked incredibly
beautiful. I had expected a hideous beast.

"Now!" I yelled.

Love lunged with the gaff. I stepped back, suddenly deluged with flying
water and blindly aware of a roar and a banging on the boat. I could not
see anything for moments. The men were shouting hoarsely in unison. I
distinguished Peter's voice. "Rope--tail!"

"Let him run!" I shouted.

Between the up-splashing sheets of water I saw the three men holding that
shark. It was a spectacle. Peter stood up, but bent, with his brawny
shoulders sagging. Love and Emil were trying to rope that flying tail.
For I had no idea how long, but probably a brief time, this strenuous
action prevailed before my eyes. It beat any battle I recalled with a
fish at the gaff. The huge tiger rolled over, all white underneath, and
he opened a mouth that would have taken a barrel. I saw the rows of white
fangs and heard such a snap of jaws that had never before struck my ears.
I shuddered at their significance. No wonder men shot and harpooned such
vicious brutes!

"It's over--his tail," cried Love, hoarsely, and straightened up with the
rope. Emil lent a hand. And then the three men held that ferocious tiger
shark until he ceased his struggles. They put another rope over his tail
and made fast to the ring-bolt.

When Peter turned to me his broad breast heaved--his breath whistled--the
corded muscles stood out on his arms--he could not speak.

"Pete!--Good work. I guess that's about, the hardest tussle we've ever had
at the gaff."

We towed our prize into the harbor and around to the dock at Watson's
Bay, where a large crowd awaited us. They cheered us lustily. They
dragged the vast bulk of my shark up on the sand. It required twenty-odd
men to move him. He looked marble color in the twilight. But the tiger
stripes showed up distinctly. He knocked men right and left with his
lashing tail, and he snapped with those terrible jaws. The crowd,
however, gave that business end of him a wide berth. I had one good long
look at this tiger shark while the men were erecting the tripod; and I
accorded him more appalling beauty and horrible significance than all the
great fish I had ever caught.

"Well, Mr. Man-eater, you will never kill any boy or girl!" I flung at

That was the deep and powerful emotion I felt--the justification of my
act--the worthiness of it, and the pride in what it took. There, I am
sure, will be the explanation of my passion and primal exultance.
Dr. Stead, scientist and official of the Sydney Museum, and Mr. Bullen of
the Rod Fishers' Society, weighed and measured my record tiger shark.
Length, thirteen feet ten inches. Weight, one thousand and thirty-six


As luck would have it, my manager, Ed Bowen, had the honor of catching
the first striped Marlin swordfish ever brought in to Sydney. The feat
pleased me almost as much as if I had done it myself.

We had seen several swordfish tails cutting the swells off Sydney Heads,
from three to ten miles out, and we were satisfied that we could catch
some Marlin if only we had some good weather. But out of three weeks at
Watson's Bay we had only a few days when we could fish. And it so
happened that the day I caught a five-hundred-and-forty-pound whaler shark
and an eight-hundred-and-five-pound tiger was the one on which Bowen
snagged the coveted prize of the first Marlin for Sydney.

He deserved credit for it, too. The sea was rough out wide, as the
Australians call offshore, and he followed my pet method of running the
wheels off the boat. Fishing out of Bullen's boat, with the genial Erroll
as companion, Bowen ran along the cliffs, catching bait as far down as
Bondi, then struck out to sea. Twelve miles or so out they hit into that
warm blue south-bound current I have mentioned so often, and trolled to
and fro, up and down, from ten until three without a rise.

About three, however, Bowen saw a blue streak shooting in toward bait and
teasers. He yelled lustily. Bullen then saw the fish and swiftly reeled
in his bait. It was an even break for the anglers, both baits abreast,
with fame for the lucky one. Bullen's action would be incredible under
ordinary circumstances, but considering that he had started the big-game
fishing at Sydney, and had been three years trying and learning under
many handicaps, this sporting deed, this generous sacrifice, was one of
singular and extraordinary self-effacement and sportsmanship. I have done
this trick a few times in my life, mostly for my brother R.C., but I
doubt that I could have done it in this peculiar case.

The Marlin was ravenous, and gobbling Bowen's bait he was off to the
races. Bowen said he had never been so keen, so tense to hook a fish, and
that he had the thrill of his life when he came up on the weight of the
Marlin. This Marlin was one of the wild ones and ran and jumped all over
the ocean. In due course Ed whipped this fish and Bullen gaffed it. With
the beautiful purple-striped specimen on board they headed for Sydney
Harbor, and ran in to Watson's Bay just before sunset. The fish was
weighed in before a record crowd, and registered one hundred and
seventy-two pounds. The size, however, had nothing to do with the
importance of the event. Telephones began to buzz and in an hour all the
reporters in Sydney were on the job. The feat was heralded as it
deserved. Before eight o'clock every vestige of that Marlin, except the
backbone, was gone, for souvenirs and morsels of meat to cook.

Even before the capture of this game species of sporting fish, I had
already envisioned Watson's Bay, Sydney, as one of the great
fishing resorts of the world. I can see a fine hotel and cottages go up
in that delightful bay, and many high-powered fast launches with capable
boatmen to take care of the anglers from overseas.

Australians, with few exceptions, will go slowly for this new sport. They
have not been born to it. Nothing has been known of the swordfish, and
the great sharks were considered as vermin, hardly worth the use of a
hand line. But the overseas anglers will change all this. Their
experience, their reputation, their fishing-gear, and their incredible
passion for the game will intrigue the hundreds of rich sportsmen in
Australia, and excite in them a spirit of rivalry. "Here," they will say,
"what's all this about? All this expense and persistence. What are we

The big sharks will interest the overseas fishermen. Every last one of
them will want to capture a huge tiger shark. Personally, I don't see
anything lacking in this tiger to make him a prize. He is a strong,
heavy, mean fighter. He is full of surprises. He is huge and frightful,
beautiful and savage in the water, and terrible out of it. If, in any
particular case, there is something lacking in this tiger shark, it is
more than made up for by the nature of the beast, by the fact that he
is a killer and will eat you. In my mind that is a feature formidable
and magnificent.

For myself the catching of some tiger sharks was an outstanding
achievement, and that of my record tiger something never to be forgotten.
The sensations this fish roused in me during the strike and battle, and
especially my first sight of him, and then when he was hauled up on the
sand, stand out in my memory as marvelous and indescribable.

I have written elsewhere about the wonderful setting Sydney Heads and the
harbor and Sydney provide for the appreciative angler. Big sharks, big
black Marlin, and his smaller cousin, the striped Marlin, will make a
growing appeal to all anglers in the world who love the big rod-and-reel
game, and who will take the time and spend the money to obtain it. The
fact is it is not a game that can be had cheaply, although Sydney, like
Avalon, California, will afford angling within the means of most
sportsmen. The thing is to have them realize its greatness. Time alone
can prove that. Here's to the Sydney of the future generations of

Only one thing I fear that might interfere in some degree with my
prediction. And that is the weather. All I saw off Sydney Heads, except
for a few days, was wind. It can blow there. This, however, would only
bother the overseas anglers. Australians like Bullen will fish when the
weather is good. It is always irksome for anglers to come a long way and
fall upon evil days, gales and rough seas. Only the persistent and
passionate angler can prevail in spite of these. I do not see, however,
that any really great fishing anywhere can be had without hard work,
incredible patience and endurance.

During an early hour of Bowen's red-letter day with the first Marlin for
Sydney Heads, I hooked a mean shark that felt like the bottom of the

It did not convince me it was a tiger, for which reason I was loath to
let the boatmen pull up anchor. I fought this fish tooth and nail, and
never gave it a foot of line that I could hold. All the same it kept
taking yard after yard until there was a long line out. Over five hundred
yards! Which is too many when there are other anchored boats around. One
great feature of the Kovalovsky reel was that with five hundred yards of
line out you still had a full spool left. With a long line, however, you
need gradually to loosen your drag. Finally we had to up anchor and go
after this mean devil.

I decided that he was a whaler shark. He worked in a manner I had learned
to associate with this species. He resembled a submarine going places.
But we soon caught up with him and I got most of my line back. Then I had
it out with him and stopped him in a little short of an hour.
Nevertheless, hauling him up to the boat was a different proposition.
Peter does not often indulge in remarks at my expense, but he mildly
observed that I always liked to have a fish on for a good few hours. That
English crack--"a good few hours"--nettled me, although I had to laugh.
Wherefore, instead of enjoying myself I settled down to grim business. I
might as well have done this in the first place.

On a heavy fish deep down, the method of procedure is a short strong lift
of the rod and a quick wind of the reel. You don't get in many inches
each time. For a little while this is okay, but it grows to be
monotonous, then tiresome, and at length painful. Of course, I had the
whaler coming and he did not recover a single foot of line I gained.
While I was doing this he swam inshore and obligingly returned to the
neighborhood of the spot where he had made the fatal mistake of taking my
bait. There, at the end of two hours and something, I heaved that whaler
up to the waiting boatmen. They treated him pretty rough, I was bound to
admit, and they added insult to injury by cutting a strip of meat out of
him for my next bait.

This whaler was one of the bronze-backed kind, about which Dr. Stead had
talked at length. It was rather rare, and a harder fighter than the black
or ordinary whaler. I could corroborate that, as it had given me as hard
a fight as the eight-hundred-and-ninety-pound whaler I had caught at
Bateman Bay.

Presently we were anchored again and I was fishing with a long line out
and a float which buoyed my bait somewhat near the surface. Peter was
boiling the billy and Love was puttering around, setting the lunch table.
As I seldom ate any lunch while fishing, this procedure meant little to
me, except to amuse me. I hoped to hook a fish before they sat down to
tea, as I had done so many times with Peter in New Zealand. Usually we
drifted while the lunch process was under way. I hooked and caught the
first broadbill swordfish ever landed in New Zealand at this hour. It
required several hours, to be exact, and for one monumental occasion
Peter Williams forgot all about the boiling billy.

Off Sydney Heads this day my evil wishes were frustrated by fate,
however, and the boys had eaten and drunk, and cleaned up their table,
before I did get a strike. All of a sudden, while I was watching my
bobbing cork, my daydreams were dispelled by a big gray fin cutting the
water out there above my bait. But suddenly, when my cork shot under, I
realized that fin belonged to a tiger shark which already had my bait. He
had come up to take a look at the cork, and perhaps to bite my line. Mako
often do that to floating tackle. This gray tiger, a good big one,
flashed at my cork as he dragged it under. Before he could cut the line,
however, I struck the hook into him hard and deep. He sheered away,
plowed along the surface, then disappeared and went down deep. While he
took line, Love frantically hauled up the anchor and Peter got the boat
in motion.

In a few moments we were all set for battle and getting away from the
other boats. I had hung, as we call it, another big fish. That for which
every big-game fisherman fishes had come to pass.

During the succeeding hour and more I gave this tiger what we American
fishermen slangily call the works. I whipped him thoroughly, but
something happened that hindered me from completing the job. There came a
queer jerky giving of my tight line, accompanied by peculiar motions of
the rod tip. Usually this thing is caused by the gradual tearing of the
hook from its firm hold. Many a fish I had lost after a few of these

In this case, however, nothing happened. I did not lose my fish. But the
jerky slackings in my line continued, until suddenly I realized that they
were caused by the shark rolling up in my leader. He would roll up a few
feet, then the leader would slip or loosen, with the consequent
vibrations. This was almost as bad as the tearing out of the hook. For
almost any kind of a shark will roll up in the leader until he comes to
the line, and then he will bite through that.

I told Peter my suspicions and he said he had arrived at the same
conclusion. "Lam into him now or you'll be losing him," he added.

A violent and persistent lamming, as Peter called it, brought that
tiger shark to the surface. He came up belly first, white and wide and
long, and the middle and upper part of his body was so tightly wound up
in my wire leader that it cut into him. There was no coil around his
gills and the last one circled his head just below his jaw. But he could
open his mouth. Believe me he gaped those wide fanged jaws and shut them
with the sound of a steel trap. In fact he was a trapped tiger and as mad
as a hornet. He threshed his long tail and curdled the water white. But
he did not appear to be able to turn over or swim. He just surged and

My swivel was scarcely two feet from those jaws. So he had thirty-three
feet of wire leader wrapped around him.

"Hold hard, sir!" shouted Peter, as he leaned down with big gloved hand
extended. "Just in time. A few more minutes and he'd bitten off...Billy,
stand by with the gaff...Wow!!!"

When Love stuck the gaff into that shark it leaped out, half of its
glistening wet body in the air, and frightfully close to the boat. The
gaff did not hold. But Peter did. There was a tremendous tussle and
splash. The tiger was hog-tied in my leader, but nevertheless he gave the
men a bad few minutes before he was securely gaffed and roped. Even after
we started to tow him ashore he kept snapping at the wire noose which had
proved his undoing.

Resting from my exertions and watching this shark while I seriously
recounted the actions of gaffing and tying up to the boat, I pondered
over the hazard and the difficulty of this necessary sporting procedure.

I did not blame Bullen and these other shark fishermen for shooting
sharks at close quarters out of a small boat, in some cases smaller than
the shark. An attempt to gaff them would be foolhardy. I will go on
record by saying it is better to catch a tiger shark or any great shark
on a hand line, and shoot or harpoon him when he comes up to the boat,
than not to catch him at all. For it is a fine thing to kill these

All the same, that is not the great, wonderful, sporting way to catch
your big shark. The more risks you run, the harder and longer your fight
with him, the stronger and finer rod and reel and line you can afford,
the more creditable your achievement. There are many reasons to prove my
contention, some of which I have mentioned heretofore, and one I will
here repeat.

Many sharks, particularly the mako and tiger, often swim up to the boat
before they are in the least whipped. In case of the mako, perhaps also
the tiger, too, he comes up to see what is wrong and to do you harm. If
you shoot him or harpoon him, then you destroy in one fell stroke aft the
commendable and manly reason for fishing for him at all, except the one
of killing him.

I have never known an angler who, having once had the thrill of bringing
his great fish to gaff and seeing it gaffed, ever went back to the more
primitive method outlined above. Bullen himself gaffed Bowen's
eight-hundred-and-eighty-nine-pound tiger shark, and his boatman later
gaffed a five-hundred-pound white shark. He assures me he will never
shoot another. This is the nucleus of the idea I would like to inculcate
in all Australian anglers. The sport is greater than they have realized.
I venture to hope that the great man-eating sharks will some day have the
honor accorded to lions and elephants.


By May 1st we had finished our south coast fishing and packed to sail on
the 5th for Hayman Island of the Great Barrier Reef.

Four months, at least half of which was unfishable on account of high
winds and rough seas! I hesitate to state what number of fish we might
have caught had we had a normal season of warm weather. But it always
blows great guns when I go fishing, and otherwise handicaps me with

Altogether we caught sixty-seven big fish, weighing over twenty-one
thousand pounds, nearly ten tons. This seems incredible, but it is true,
and really is nothing compared with what we might have done under
favorable conditions. Two-thirds of this number fell to my rod. Bowen and
his camera men, and mine, caught the rest.

My catches of a green thresher Fox shark, the first ever known to be
caught, and the ninety-one-pound yellow-fin tuna, also the first ever
taken in Australian waters, were surely the high lights of my good
fortune. To repeat, however, no one can guess what I might have taken
had the weather given us a break. Perhaps one of those giant white-death
sharks! Or surely a broadbill swordfish, that old gladiator and king of
the Seven Seas.

No doubt a few words about tackle or gear in this summary will not be

I used three big tackles, favoring the Coxe, Hardy-Zane Grey
and Kovalovsky reels, carrying a thousand and more yards of
thirty-nine-thread Swastika lines. I really did not need fifteen hundred
yards of line as I had on the big Kovalovsky, but as I was always
expecting an unheard-of and monster fish, I wanted to be ready for any
kind of a run.

My outfit on the camera boat had half a dozen tackles with reels not so
large as mine, carrying thirty-six and thirty-nine-thread lines.
Needless to say, they ruined all these tackles, but the fun I had
watching them fight fish was worth the sacrifice. I could hardly ask them
to follow me around, running all over the ocean for four months without

For Marlin we used fifteen-foot leaders or traces, on which were mounted
13 Pflueger swordfish hooks. These traces were made out of
nineteen-thread airplane cable wire and were not suitable for big sharks.
We lost many leaders on hammerheads and other sharks. I had an
eleven-foot mako bite one of these leaders through and escape, after
leaping prodigiously.

We used hickory rods and some dualwoods made of black palm and hickory.
These were the best obtainable in the United States. I will not recommend
them here because toward the end of my stay in Australia I found that
Australian big-game rods are superior to ours. Bullen's Atlanta rod made
by Southam is the most wonderful rod I have used. It is built of split
cane in six pieces. Beyond doubt it is the most beautifully made and
finished, the strongest and springiest, the most enduring rod I have ever
bent upon a big fish.

The saffron-heart rod runs it a close second. As a matter of fact I am
not perfectly sure which is the better. But I have not given the
saffron-heart rod the same test that I gave the other.

Also it is no longer needful for Australian anglers to use American or
English reels. The two new hand-made big-game-fishing reels, built for
Fagan and Bullen, are just about as good as any reels I own. Upon my
return to Australia I shall try out one of these.

But I have found fault with Australian traces and hooks, and especially
Australian lines. These must be improved to compete with the hand-made
Swastika lines.

It seems hardly necessary to say much about methods of fishing for
swordfish. Most anglers have already learned that trolling with a
revolving bait far back of the boat, and weighted at that, is just
wasting time. Of course a starved Marlin would bite on anything; and it
means little that a few fish have been caught by such methods.

Teasers trolled far back is another mistake. They should be close to the
stern of the boat, around thirty feet, so that you can see the Marlin
come, and pull them away from him.

There is no set time after the strike to hook your fish. That is
something which has to do with the feel of the strike. In any event you
cannot hook all of the Marlin that strike, nor catch all you hook! The
great thing to learn is to find them--to run the wheels off your boat
until you do find them, and that takes patience, endurance, and eyesight.
I attribute my success more to the last than to anything else.

I had intended to include in this book all my data on man-eating sharks,
and a chronicle of my three-and-a-half months among the islands of the
Great Barrier Reef. But including photographs, this would make too large
a volume. Besides, I aim to go back to the Barrier. It is a most
fascinating and remarkable place--fifteen thousand square miles of waters
and reefs, which have not been fished and which have incredible
possibilities. I was able to identify, if not classify, three new kinds
of spearfish that have never yet been taken on a rod. One is what was
called a baby swordfish, from three to four feet long, which is really a
matured fish. In shape it resembles a black Marlin.

A huge fifteen-foot swordfish with a short bill and broad stripes has
been seen by market fishermen. And a species of sailfish, different from
those I was the first to catch in the Gulf Stream, on the Pacific Coast,
and in the South Seas, has been taken by market fishermen. This sailfish
has a dorsal fin that is highest at the forward end and slopes back to
the tail. These three fish alone will make the fame of the Barrier.

The queen fish, a beautiful silvery dolphin-like leaper, is one of the
greatest fish I have caught, equal to the gallo, or rooster fish, of the
Mexican coast. The mackerel that occurs in large schools is a fine
light-tackle fish for anglers who do not care for the strenuous work.
There is also a sea pike, a big barracuda-like fish that grows to twelve
feet and more and which would be wonderful game. Undoubtedly there are
more and larger fish to discover around these reefs.

The future of Australian fishing is no longer problematical.

Marlin have been sighted off Sydney Heads every month in the year. Three
days before I sailed on the Mariposa, August 16th, a market fisherman
saw five Marlin riding the swells not far offshore. In winter! A few days
before that one of my men, flying down from Newcastle, saw a school of
huge tiger sharks, none, he claimed, under eighteen feet, attacking a
baby whale and fighting its mother. The airmen circled lower and flew
round and round, not only to observe the fight, but to make sure of what
was happening; and they saw the tiger sharks tear the baby whale to

Another market fisherman quite recently saw a white shark much longer
than his boat, which was twenty-two feet.

Then, as I have written about before, and wish to repeat, there are a
number of cases where market fishermen were towing sharks too large to
pull on board, and have had these huge white devils take them in one
bite. A ten- or twelve-foot shark snapped off in one bite!

A thirty-nine foot white shark was stranded at Montague Island after
swallowing a small shark that had been caught on a set line. A
nineteen-foot white shark was shot and harpooned off the pier at

Dr. David Stead, of Sydney, a scientist of international reputation,
corroborates my claim that there are white sharks up to eighty feet and
more. If there are not, where do the white-shark teeth, five inches
across the base, come from? These have been dredged from the ocean bed.

This matter of Australian sharks is astounding. The waters around
Australia are alive with many species of sharks. Why not some unknown
species, huge and terrible? Who can tell what forms of life swim and
battle in the ocean depths?

I predict that if I myself do not catch one of these incredible monsters,
some one else will. I believe there are eighty-foot sharks. Rare, surely,
but they occur! I believed in the sea serpent before the English
scientist, Lieut.-Commander R. T. Gould, collected his authentic data and
made the myth a fact.

It takes imagination to be a fisherman--to envision things and captures to
be. Every fisherman, even if he is a skeptic and ridicules me and any
supporters about these great fish, betrays himself when he goes fishing,
for he goes because he imagines there are trout or salmon or Marlin, and
surely a big one, waiting to strike for him. If I had not had a vivid and
fertile imagination I would not have been the first to catch sailfish and
swordfish in different and unfished waters of the world.

Off Freemantle large tunny have been caught by marketmen and hundreds too
large to hold have broken away.

Then the West Coast of Australia! Here will be found the grandest fish.
For years I have known that the Indian Ocean contains the most marvelous
unfished waters, and the greatest of fish in numbers and size. I have
been on the track of the monster Indian Ocean sailfish for years. But
never until I met the Danish scientist, Schmidt, world authority on eels,
who had seen these sailfish, did I really believe the data I had

"Sailfish?" he repeated after me. "Oh yes indeed. I have seen them like a
fleet of sailing schooners."

"And--how big?" I choked, now realizing I was on the eve of my most
wonderful discovery.

"Thirty to forty feet, I should say. Their sails were easily ten feet
high and fifteen feet long."

Shark's Bay, three hundred miles north of Perth, is known to contain
schools of huge sharks.

Schools of sharks do not inhabit waters that are not full of fish. All
the way up the West Coast to Darwin, these great fish I believe in and
have been writing about have been seen.

I could fill pages with data I have collected. Some of it, most of it, is

So I make my claim for Australian waters and reiterate it and will stand
by it. So great is my faith that already I have enlisted the help of the
Australian Government and my influential friends there, motion-picture
and radio people, all of which, added to private resources and unlimited
tackle, will be used to prove that Australia has fish and fishing which
will dwarf all the rest known in the world today.

As for the dream and the color and the glory of such a romance, such an
adventure, these are for the time being overshadowed by the immensity of
the plan, and its scope, and its appalling difficulties. But these will
pass and then there will come the joy of anticipation--of trolling sunny
strange waters, of purple coral reefs and strips of white sand, and the
shore haunts of the aboriginal--the myriads of shells, of weird birds and
grand trees--and always the striving for the unattainable, whether it be a
great fish or the ultimate beauty.

I have been ridiculed and criticized for claiming that Australia's
thirteen thousand miles of coast would yield the greatest game fish of
any waters yet discovered in the world, and all the year round.

Years ago when I predicted seven-hundred-, eight-hundred-, and
thousand-pound Marlin for New Zealand, I was laughed at, even in New
Zealand itself. But I and my fishing partners caught black Marlin of
these weights, and established the marvelous fishing that New Zealand has
enjoyed for a protracted and waning period.

After five years of correspondence with Australian scientists,
missionaries, market fishermen, and sportsmen, and seven months of
practical and strenuous observation and fishing, I stake my reputation
that Australia will yield the most incredible and magnificent big-game
fish of known and unknown species that the fishing world has ever

Added to what I just wrote about Great Barrier fish, let me append one
more fact.

I have located broadbill swordfish, the genuine Ziphias gladius, in the
shallow waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria, spawning on the white sand, as
thick as fence pickets!


This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia