What’s needed for a fisherman’s picnic

Man Fishing
Winter fishing –  calm seas, clear, crisp sunny days

Food which is heavy to carry and gets in the way of fishing gear won’t be popular with fisherman.

Easy to eat food is essential for fisherman as they will be concentrating on reeling in, casting out and baiting hooks.

Provisioning planning

Think about food which is nutritional, can be easily eaten in one hand and which is substantial such as a beef or pork pie and salad. Fill a plastic container with potato salad and wrap up the pie separately. Add a bread roll or two. Extra food for fishermen might be a container of bite-sized things like small squares of hard cheese, cocktail sausages, cherry tomatoes, nuts, and dried fruit. Morsels to enjoy while waiting for the fish to bite.

More fisherman’s food ideas

Include crumbed lamb cutlets, cold sausages in a long roll with BBQ sauce, roast chicken legs or slices of a vegetable or meat loaf. In winter months it can be very cold especially, early dawn until the sun comes up, so a hot flask of soup is a good idea.

Remember to pop in a knife, fork , spoon, paper towels and a rubbish bag, as well as bottled water and a flask of tea or coffee. Pack the picnic inside a suitable sized Esky, so the food won’t be crushed. The Esky can also double as a fisherman’s foot rest or even as an extra piece of safety equipment.

June 2019 newspapers reported two men and a seven year old boy were rescued after their boat sank 14 nm off the coast of Caloundra, South East Queensland . They had been fishing in their 5.2 metre. All three were rescued after treading water in cold conditions for six hours and and clinging to their esky and were rushed to hospital suffering from hypothermia. The adults took turns holding the young boy out of the water in an attempt to keep him out of the cold water.  Police confirmed they were not wearing lifejackets at the time the vessel started taking on water.

Keeping energy levels up

Snacks are a necessity to keep energy levels up and if the fish are not biting, fisherman will need a little something sweet to console them!

Try out our Fisherman’s Chocolate Slab Cake recipe. Let us know how you rate it.ChocSlab


½ cup (50g) cocoa powder
½ cup (125ml) boiling water
160g unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1½ cups (330g) castor sugar
1½ cups (200g) self-raising flour
⅓ cup (50g) plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¾ cup (180ml) buttermilk

Chocolate icing (Optional)
100g dark cooking chocolate, chopped coarsely
25g butter
1 cup (160g) icing sugar, sifted
1½ tablespoons hot water


Pre-heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease 19cm x 30cm lamington pan; line with baking paper.Blend cocoa with water in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
Beat butter and sugar in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, stir in sifted flours and soda, and buttermilk; stir in cocoa mixture. Spread mixture into pan. Bake about 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 20 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
Make chocolate icing. (Optional) Spread cold cake with icing and throw in some whole strawberries to eat with the cake. Cut cake into squares.

Chocolate Icing
Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan, stirring, over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in sifted icing sugar and water until smooth.

Prep & cook time 55 minutes + cooling. Makes 20.

This cake can be made the day before the fishing trip. The iced cake can be frozen for several weeks. Thaw the cake in the fridge the night before. This cake is also good just with a dusting of sifted icing sugar applied once the cake is cooled.

Before heading out on the fishing trip

  • Check that your boat is seaworthy.
  • Check that you have all the required safety equipment aboard.
  • Report your trip. Let someone know where you are going, how many will be aboard and when you plan to return.
  • Make sure you and your crew know how to handle the boat.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Make sure you have sufficient fuel and water aboard for the duration of the trip.
  • Go easy on alcohol.
  • Keep in touch – use your marine radio to log in and log out with the local volunteer marine rescue.
  • Carry a registered EPIRB . An EPIRB is a legally required item of safety equipment when travelling 2 nm or more offshore. More information at https://beacons.amsa.gov.au/about/carriage.asp
  • Carry a personal beacon.
  • Wear a lifejacket.

Are we heading upstream or downstream?

Boaters are often uncertain about which side of a channel marker they should pass. This is because they are not sure whether they are travelling upstream or downstream

On the road drivers cannot deviate from the structured roadway system. How a vehicle is to be driven safely is determined using marked roadways, stop signs, traffic lights and speed limits. On the water you are confronted with an expansive waterway where there are no lines to guide your passage. In addition, you’re dealing with wind, tidal changes, heightened sea states and unfamiliar marks and beacons.

It is important for Skippers to know the upstream and downstream rule so that they can identify which side of a particular channel marker to pass safely and not run aground.

Green to Green when travelling upstream. Green to Red when seas ahead.


  • A vessel travelling downstream on the river is navigating from inland towards the sea.
  • A vessel travelling upstream on a river is navigating from sea towards the inland or mountains.
  • Always maintain a good lookout, keeping to the starboard side of the channel.
  • Do not cut corners on a river bend. This is due to current flow which causes sand and silt to be deposited on the uppercurve of the river causing shallow water. The lowercurve of a bend has the deepest water.
  • Be cautious when approaching a blind right-hand bend. Another vessel maybe navigating on the wrong side. Sound one long blast to let other vessels know of your presence.
  • Port and starboard channel markers indicate where to safely navigate within the channel.
  • A port marker is coloured red and the starboard marker is coloured green.
  • When travelling upstream keep a green starboard channel marker on your starboard-side.
  • When travelling downstream keep  the green starboard channel marker on your port-side  and, a red port channel marker on your starboard side.


Driving your vessel on a river you see a channel marker. However, you are unsure which direction you are travelling upstream (in from sea) or downstream (out to sea).

Determine whether you’re travelling upstream or downstream.

  • Ask a fellow boater or locals  which direction is towards the sea?
  • Identify the buoyage direction for the area on your chart.
Look for this symbol on a chart or boating map.
  • Establish high and low tide times from a tide table of the area. This information will help you to identify which direction is up or downstream by determining the direction the current is flowing. Example: If a high tide is earlier and the tidal height is falling, then the current is travelling (downstream) out to sea. If a high is later and the tidal height is rising, then the current is then travelling (upstream) in from sea.
  • Know the characteristics of the lateral channel marks.

You will learn about this boating rule when attending a one day boat licence course. The upstream – downstream rule is simply explained and demonstrated to on the water – where it counts the most!

Starboard channel mark

Port and Starboard Channel Markers

Port and Starboard channel markers are internationally recognised  sea marks (buoys) used in maritime pilotage to indicate the edge of a channel.

Each mark indicates the edge of the safe water in a  channel.

Port Channel Marks

Port Channel Mark
Referred to as lateral marks, Port marks are red and have a can shaped topmark.

Colour: Red Buoy
Shape:  Cylindrical (can), pillar or spar Top Mark:  Single red can.
Numbering: Even numbers

LIGHT Colour: Red Rhythm:  If lit it can display: Q.R – continuous quick flashing red light. FL.R .3s- red single flash.(flashes for 1 sec, darkness 2 secs = 3 secs rhythm sequence) L.FL.R – red long flash FL.(2).R – red group flash.

Starboard channel mark
Starboard marks are green and have a cone shaped topmark.

Colour: Green Buoy
Shape:  Conical, pillar or spar. Top Mark:
Single green cone pointing upwards.
Numbering: Odd numbers

LIGHT Colour: Green Rhythm:  If lit can display:Q.G – continuous quick flashing green light.
FL.G.3s green single flash. (flashes for 1 sec, darkness 2 secs = 3 secs rhythm sequence)
L.FL.G green long flash (flash 2 secs or longer)
FL.(2).G green group flash

IALA Buoyage System

The marks are positioned on Australian waterways according to a conventional direction of buoyage which is stipulated in the International IALA Buoyage System A.

IALA Buoyage System A
IALA Buoyage System A

What it means

When operating on a river, the direction of buoyage will be towards the river’s source, while in contrast when operating on a harbour, the direction of buoyage is into the harbour from the sea. Buoyage direction is labelled on area charts and boating maps. Hence, it is important to understand the direction of buoyage as it determines the side which you should pass the channel mark to stay in deep water within the channel.

Consequently, when you understand the direction of buoyage, the lateral marks and correct side to pass them all make sense.

So, if you are heading in the direction of buoyage, into a harbour, coming in from sea, travelling in an upstream direction towards land, the starboard marks will be on your starboard (right) side. If you are heading against the direction of buoyage, in a downstream direction, going out towards sea the port lateral marks will be on your starboard (right) side.

Lastly, remember:
A vessel heading upstream into a harbour, from from sea, wanting to keep in the main channel must: Keep port marks to its port (left) side and pass starboard marks to its starboard (right) side. A vessel heading downstream, towards sea wanting to keep in the main channel must: Pass port marks to its starboard (right) side port and keep starboard marks to its port (left) side.