April 2015 Daily Guides Reports – Escape Reef

8/4 Nick – After yesterday’s wrasse-ling fish in the shallows we decided to head back up there to see if we could find some of the same action we had experienced the day before. It didn’t take long and we could see the birds working on the flats and fish feeding underneath them. First cast and there actually three different species trying to eat my lure at the same time, I had a queenie, GT and a yellow lip emperor. Well the emperor charged in and took control first up! Next cast Nigel had a nice Gt hooked up while I was tussling with a queenie….this sort of action continued on for the rest of the day! Around lunch we had started to work some slightly deeper sections around the 4 -6 meter mark and out of the shadows a 35 kilo GT came roaring out of the depths and smashed my stick shad, we chased him around for 10 mins and eventually got beaten on 30lb gear! We re-grouped and came up with a few tactics on what we should do if we got so lucky to hook another big fish like that – but we already knew what our chances were. BANG – anther BIG GT smashed the 115mm stickbait and we immediately backed the drag off as to not stress the fish out and he veered into some deeper water around 12 meters or so. With some skilled boat driving on Nigels behalf and working the drag to the fishes behaviour we were gaining some serious ground on this fish. After 30 mins he somehow managed to ping us off on a flat piece of plate coral and we were back to the drawing board with our 30lb gear. Both these GT’s were well over 30 kilos each and it was great to see some decent size fish again – but perhaps not on the light gear! The rest of the day was full of surprises as we kept adding to the species count with a goliath Trigger being landed, trout and another lost wrasse……back up on the flats tomorrow!! 7/4 Nick – Well well, Jason and I definitely earned our days pay today! After saying goodbye to our first group and briefing and loading the new guys Jason and I set off with the AFN film crew to throw some lures on the flats. As we approached the start of the drift Nigel and I noticed two big wrasse just in front of the boat. We managed to get one of them to turn on our lure and watched him mow the 115mm stick bait right at the boat. The chase was on – careering through the shallow flats he was looking desperately for somewhere to hide and then – he did! Straight into a small crack in the side of bommie. We weren’t going to let this stop us from landing him so Jason and I donned a mask and jumped in after him. Jason managed to dive down and after a few attempts get him out of the crevasse.  On the way to the boat he kicked violently and managed to swim free……o well back at it. So we continued to cast around boating a few more trout and various other reef species until Nigel was screaming wrasse wrasse wrasse –AGAIN! Off we went chasing him through the reef over the flats and sure as hell – he found a hole again. So out came the anchor again and off we went – to pull him out from this hole. This time we were more prepared and the chances of this happening twice in one day are pretty slim! We managed to get the fish out of the hole and back to the boat for some pictures and it was great to get Nigel onto his first Maori wrasse! What an epic afternoon!!! 3/4 – 7/4 Andrew – With the guests arriving at lunch on the first day they were hanging to wet a line so after a quick induction we were off fishing. It wasn’t long before the first fish was onboard a nice 10kg Spanish closely followed by a GT. The fishing went quiet for a bit until we found a nice edge holding some bait and we pulled 3 more GTs off it with plenty of inquiries. Waking to a glass out we were all pumped to get out fishing, with bait on most pressure edges the fishing wasn’t as good as expected but we kept at it and managed to get a few to the boat In the morning. Around lunch we decided to have a light tackle session which produced some nice fish including red bass coraltrout, emperors, shark maceral, trevally and cod which ended up keeping us busy for the whole arvo. Great conditions again today but the fishing wasn’t too hot. We fished some gt grounds and got a few smaller ones to the boat before lunch when we decided to have a swim. After lunch we hit the flats and had a good session on some large redbass and Bluefin trevs. After that we had a dig at the gts again and got 2 nice fish and a few more smaller fish. Another glassout today it was a bit of groundhog day with the fishing not red hot we kept persistent and managed to land a few nice gts, with a really good light tackle session around lunch landing some solid redbass and getting smoked by some monsters we weresick of losing gear and decided to head wide and chase some yellow fin. Nick – This has been the start of our new  3 and 4 day formats which focus on the reefs to the east of the Daintree range. After receiving the guys onboard who had arrived on the transfer boat from Port Douglas it was formalities out of the way and then off we went I search of some fish. To say everyone was keen to get their arms stretched was an understatement! Day one started off with a steady flow with each boat seeing consistent numbers of fish throughout the day and almost every angler managing to land at least one GT each. I had to check the forecast again to make sure that what we saw a couple of days ago wasn’t an illusion. It isn’t often that you get a whole week where the weather is under 5 knots with opportunities to see the reef in absolute bliss. As the days ticked over we were diversifying our fishing styles from micro jigging for trout and emperor, to driving around in the deep looking for yellowfin. Most of the fish landed this week seemed to be slightly smaller than average with the average size around 12-15 kilos . There was no shortage of numbers with around 80 GTs boated this trip along with the myriad of other species and all in under 5 knots.  

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