BLADE RUNNER

Using a big shiny bird to catch big shiny fish…

Psychologist Abraham Maslow is famous for his ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, which explains the order of human motivation.

Maslow was the first to theorise that the entire human condition is defined by peak experiences.

These peaks are euphoric moments when an individual loses all sense of time and space, anxiety and doubts fall away, and action is spontaneous and effortless.

The best example is when trained athletes work their magic in explosions of controlled brilliance.

What’s interesting is that is seems to matter less what exactly the activity is, but more the sense of meaning that envelopes it.

You can have a peak experience performing any difficult task you’ve trained for that requires your full attention. Pulling off a difficult hill climb or water crossing, catching a big fish or surfing a hollow wave.

Whatever terminology we use, all of us who live life properly thrive off these peak experiences.

If you live for travelling Australia’s most remote backwaters, and you love catching big fish, then going heli-fishing is guaranteed to blow your socks off.

WHAT’S THE DEAL

So, just to clear things up, you’re not actually fishing out of a chopper hovering over the water…

A handful of experienced aviation companies run tours through remote regions of the country where highly trained helicopter pilots double as fishing guides.

The goal is to access the fish-rich waters of otherwise inaccessible billabongs and creeks. The sort of spots that have no road or land access and are totally unfished, except for the occasional lucky heli-fishing crew that dip in to taste the madness.

The level of sportfishing that’s on offer at these pristine spots has to be experienced to be believed.

While filming season seven of 4WD Touring Australia late last year in the Kimberley, we were treated to an afternoon of barra fishing that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

Despite the frenzy of making sure every moment of action was captured on film from multiple angles, we still managed to land over two dozen thumping big barramundi from the skinny waters of a remote creek in a little over an hour.

Frenetic action to say the least. While there are no guarantees in fishing, landing a heap of quality barramundi on a Kimberley heli-fishing mission is about as close to a sure thing as you can get.

HELISPIRIT TOURS

HeliSpirit are the best-known helicopter touring company operating in Australia’s northwest and they offer a range of heli-fishing tours departing from their base of operations by Kununurra airport.

Half day tours depart the airport bright and early at 6am and offer punters the opportunity to fish two different locations with 90 minutes total flight time.

The package costs $995 per person and includes the services of HeliSpirit’s experienced guides, use of all quality fishing gear plus breakfast burger and local Matsos beer.

The full day tour kicks off at the same time but offers clients an eight hour action packed day, with the option to fish up to three different locations with 120 minutes of flight time.

Guiding services, use of quality fishing tackle, breakfast and lunch with Matsos beer and local wine are all included in the $1,550 per person price tag.

For full on heli-fishing fanatics, there’s always the top tier Kimberley heli-fishing adventure package which includes four nights accommodation at the Freshwater East Kimberley apartments with breakfast daily, a full day of heli-fishing to three locations, a full day of boat fishing on the lower Ord River plus a final half day of heli-fishing to two locations, at a total cost of $4,350 per person.

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Apart from the mind blowing fishing aspect, part of the appeal of a heli-fishing expedition is the excitement of bundling into the chopper, getting briefed by the pilot and getting to witness the grandeur of the Kimberley landscape from above.

Watching the floodplains alive with flocks of jabiru and brolga, the smouldering brushfires, rocky outcrops and parched dustbowls unfurl helps to put the real scale of the place into perspective.

The ancient saltwater crocs that stalk the edges of the creeks barely inches below the surface are invisible from water level, but their cover is blown when viewed from the skies.

It’s certainly nice to be able to scout out your prospective fishing spot from the air for salty mega predators before touching down.

WHERE CAN I DO IT

The east Kimberley is the ultimate place to sample heli-fishing. The sheer quantity of big barramundi that are seemingly on tap at the land-locked waterways out here all but guarantee an unbelievable fishing experience.

Immersing yourself into the landscape and wildlife from such an unfamiliar perspective feels like you’ve jumped through the screen into an Attenborough documentary and it’s totally worth the ticket price alone.

Head to the HeliSpirit site for all the details on their full range of heli-fishing charters, guides tours and luxury safaris.

WEB: www.helispirit.com.au

EMAIL: bookings@helispirit.com.au

PHONE: 1800 1800 85