Freak waves hit fishermen at Skennars Head

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Photographer Nigel Raynard was standing on the headland at Boulder Beach early Easter Sunday when he saw two fishermen swept off the rocks at The Peg.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Photographer Nigel Raynard was standing on the headland at Boulder Beach early Easter Sunday when he saw two fishermen swept off the rocks at The Peg. Nigel Raynard

WHAT was supposed to be a calm shot of two silhouettes fishing against an orange sunrise at Boulder Beach at Skennars Head on Sunday turned into a dramatic sequence when both men were swept off The Peg by a large swell.

Photographer Nigel Raynard was standing on the headland early Easter Sunday when the event unfolded.

"I was just at Boulder Beach taking some photos on the way to work and I saw those young guys fishing at The Peg," he said.

"The first wave took the first guy off and he fell backwards into the water.

"Luckily he didn't hit his head."

Fortunately, there was a group of surfers nearby who spotted the young fishermen in trouble.

"One of the surfers got the guy on his board and took him all the way to the beach," Mr Raynard said.

"Immediately after, the other guy got washed off by the next wave in the set.

"He fell off into the southern side of The Peg, which isn't as easy to get to.

"He was out of site and no one could see him."

Bystanders on the headland yelled out to surfers and pointed in the direction of the second fisherman.

Another big wave hit, launching the second fisherman into the channel on the southern side.

The man was washed to the end of the channel and managed to scramble up the rocks before collapsing on the ground.

Mr Raynard said it was a miracle neither fisherman was seriously injured.

"It's amazing they didn't hit their heads," he said.

Far North Coast Fishing Club Association president Ren Standley said The Peg was a notoriously dangerous spot for rock fishermen.

"You never fish in the swell," he said. "There's been quite a few go off there over the years."

Brian Wilson from Ballina Angling Club said it was a popular spot for fishermen as one of the few land based areas to catch bigger species of fish like tuna, however fisherman needed to be cautious.

"Even in small swells, you get one wave and there's no protection," he said.

Topics:  fishermen fishing

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