By Glanville, Nomad Pro Guide: profile page >>
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Bugatti & Elusive Reef May 2010
3 weeksCoral Sea Lagoon Explorer
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This is probably one of the hardest trip reports I have ever written and will ever write, to try and describe some of the events of the last 3 weeks charter will be quite difficult and words will just seem inadequate, as I sit here behind this computer writing this with the memories of the 3 weeks of fishing still fresh in my mind.
We started off the charter on high notes on the first day armed with a fresh enthusiastic group of guys on the first week it was sure to be an enjoyable week. The guys in the group had their eyes opened to the world of GT fishing and light tackle surface casting, these guys are now fully addicted and are already planning to do their next trip.
We travelled a few miles North and fished our way back to the anchorage, the morning started off fairly slow and with a little casting practice the guys were now ready to tame the beasts, the area we were planning to fish was predominantly a run-in tide area and by 11am the tide was pushing and the game was on, we came to our first decent looking spot and the sight of the fusiliers was very warming, it wasn’t long before there was all sorts of screaming and excitement on the boat, the guys had no idea what to expect and as the first GT came charging out the water to demolish David’s popper the look of astonishment on his face assured that he was quite nervous for what was to come…the first GT for the trip was boated and a nice fat healthy fish of around 25kg left the guys itching to cast and catch their own, the day turned out to be a cracker, we boated 8 GTs and a variety of other fish including mackerel, smaller trevallies and a host of reef fish including Coral trout and sweetlips, all the guys had boated their first GTs ever and the excitement and enthusiasm was infectious.
The first week went really well and comforted by good conditions the guys went all out fishing and decisions between hunting GTs and light tackle fishing became quite difficult as just about every GT spot we stopped at there would no doubt be a shoal of bludgers and gold spot trevally that would erupt on a bait ball in the shallows or a shoal of Longtail tuna would start going crazy right near the boat and between all this we would have a GT come exploding out on one of the lures…the guys were like children who could not choose between a chocolate or a lolly, quite funny to watch from a fishing guide’s perspective as they turned around to watch the busting up fish on a bait ball and…. “BANG” as a GT climbed all over the lure and nearly lurched one of the guys out the boat, pretty funny I thought, and all attention had an immediate focus to the massive hole in the ocean where one of the poppers had just been abducted…
The mackerel were rife on the reef this charter and after an extended GT session on the only rough weather day we had that week, we decided to go for a more casual approach after the lunch session which consisted of a gourmet sandwich and a cup of soup to keep the bones warm. We set 3 lures out on the troll with the lighter gear in search of some Spanish mackerel and we found a “nest”, we had triple hook up after triple hook up on the Sebile Koolie Minnows and Mackerel Mania were the shout of the day we lost count but in the short little session we had trolling in the glass calm water protected by the edge of the reef, we boated no less than 25 Spanish and Shark Mackerel before the guys decided to cut it short and relax on the back deck of “Odyssey” with ice cold draft in hand.
One of the days that stood out to me was the second last of the first week and by 8.30am we had boated our first GT and lost 6 others to bad luck and slack line. The day continued pretty well and we were continuously seeing fish, by 11:30 we had 4 solid GTs to the boat amongst a bunch of other species that we caught in between. I don’t know what you guys were doing at 12:00 on that day but let me tell you something, I was losing my mind, we had one of the craziest fishing sessions ever, it was all happening GTs, big mackerel sky rocketing out the water after lures, then it happened…… we hooked a Spano on one of the lighter rods and it was continually getting airborn in its attempts to get away from the sharks and we were soon accompanied by a massive pack of big GTs this now left the poor 15kg mackerel helpless in its attempts to free itself and it came falling out the sky straight into the jaws of a ravaging pack of hungry sharks, there was white water every where, tails, fins, teeth, more tails, the white water then turned to this blood red froth and somehow between all the screaming one of the guys managed to position his popper between the frothing mess and “BANG” a GT of about 30kg was all over it, whilst tussling the GT the amount of sharks, mackerel and other GTs that were attracted by the feeding frenzy was unbelievable. We went straight back to the spot and 3 casts later David’s popper was crashed by a mammoth of a creature which was nothing short of enormous, it charged out of the water to get his lure and the whole back of the fish could be seen, the sight I have got embedded in my head is something that could be described as scary!!! The fish could either have been a Spanish mackerel of 45-50kg or it could have been a Dogtooth Tuna of about 70-80kg judging by the length and girth of the body, I was a little frustrated that I never got a proper look at its head as my eyes were fixated on the other popper to my right that was getting demolished by a GT at the same time!!! Just crazy stuff and by the time that was all over and everyone had calmed down to a mild panic I could barely speak from all the shouting, a day like this on a glassy calm ocean is what you come out fishing for!!!!!! I even had a chance to get in the mix of things that day myself and caught a GT on fly of 35kg off the back of the mothership which was pretty awesome.
It was only the next day that Damon also witnessed one of the mythical creatures which turned out to be a 45-50kg Spanish mackerel which chased one of the guys’ lures right to the boat as the fish swam under the boat and Damon, assisted by the extra elevation of standing in the tower of the Contender, managed to put a positive identification on the beast.
The fishing just seemed to get better and the weather even better, which nearly didn’t seem possible and the week that followed was something special and to try and describe the actions of that week I would need to write a book and you guys would need to take the day off work just to read it cause once you start it would not be possible to stop……
The first day we decided to move reefs as we don’t like to put too much pressure on a single area, we moved a few miles South to South West of where we were and by the time I got to where I was to start fishing I heard in the excited comments between Damon and Chris that they each already had 4 and 5 fish in no more than 10 minutes of fishing. Myself and Nick started off slow in our area and decided to move and try a similar sort of structure to where Damon and Chris were fishing, by the time I eventually got there it was 11:30 and Damon had 12 GTs for the morning, it was going off, we found a little spot and managed to extract 4 quick fish and it wasn’t til the next reef that we stopped at where we found game time, I came around the corner of the reef and could see 5 shoals of fusiliers that already knew that they were doomed, I assured Mark Berg to get his camera crew on their toes cause some crazy stuff was about to happen…….we fished the spot and my guys were battered and bruised we arrived at the next spot with 18 GTs under the belt and a recharged army after a short frantic lunch break….the rest of the day continued in the same fashion and every spot we stopped at was just insane carnage, GTs getting fully airborne in an attempt to beat each other to the lures, it was quite unreal to see how aggressive the fish were and taking lures at the edge of the boat seemed to be happening very frequently, the day ended in a mirror calm orange glow as the sun settled on the horizon as we squeezed in our last couple of casts to end the day, we returned to the boat with 33 GTs for the day between them were 5 fish over 30kg and a monster specimen of 45-50kg so many other fish were boated that day but I just lost count.
The rest of the week seemed to just carry on and we were truly living the dream, glassy calm ocean and fish just going nuts there was no end to the amount of fish we were seeing.
Just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any better it did and the last day was a day that will stay in my mind for the rest of my life…. We boated 49 GTs in the day and I can’t even remember how many other fish, the day started with fireworks and ended in flames, the action just didn’t stop all day and it just seemed that you could have closed your eyes cast in any direction and there would have been a ruckus behind your lure as packs of GTs competed with each other to grab the lure. We noticed a lot of Garfish around on the reef, a noticeable amount more than I have ever seen before and this converted us to using skipping poppers, the Goby was definitely the lure of choice from about day 3, so some of the takes we had with the high speed lures was truly spectacular, to try and describe the feeling as your lure is flying through the air after a cast and about to intercept a shoal of bait that is being traumatized by pack upon pack of GTs is not quite possible, then again the feeling when you start the retrieve and behind the lure the water starts exploding as if your lure were being bombed and the explosion and visual affect of the GT’s desperate attempts to catch the fleeing lure before it got to the boat just left you standing in amazement, you could see through the fish’s mouth and gills sometimes as he came up barking and trying to engulf the lures in one foul swoop.
This is the pain the guides had to endure the whole week of fishing seeing GT upon GT crashing surface lures…and the enthusiasm that each one of us came home with was just quite unreal. The week ended in great excitement as we absolutely smashed any previous records, between the 4 boats we landed 520 GTs in 5 days of fishing and the most a single boat got for the day was 49, thrown in the mix were 2 solid fish of around 45-50kg and the 60kg beast that the guys fishing with Chris managed to subdue.
I have taken a piece of what Chris had to say about the fishing so you can get a different perspective… the fishing over the last 5 days has been absolutely incredible, mind blowing, amazing. I’m just lost for words. It seems like every day just kept getting better and better. It will be an experience that will stay in my mind for the rest of my life. The guys have done an absolutely great job catching all these fish. I congratulate all of the fellas on this charter for the effort they put in it has been great. Now, where to start? Today was as I was saying the best day so far. The amount of fish we saw and lost, man I just lost count. The GTs have been biting their heads off all day and the days just seem to be melting into one another… Well we had 15 to the boat by 11am and the numbers just kept rolling in, one after the other. We finished for the day with 32 GTs which was crazy. We were also fortunate enough to boat one of the monsters that we have been continuously seeing. It was by far the biggest GT I have ever seen and the measurements and calculations came to 140cm Fork length by 110cm Girth. Which calculated to about 59kg, but I’m saying 60kg this thing took 3 of the guys to lift in, including myself. It was just surreal. I just didn’t think these sort of fish existed. It was mind blowing… seeing what was a fish lying on the deck which seemed to be more like an animal. A very, very big congrats to Sandy and Tim Angus for catching this absolute horse of a fish. They did extremely well. This fish was hanging off a patch of fusies well off the reef. The fish was taking on a skipping Long Goby rigged with two belly SJ 41 9/0 hooks and a 9/0 Jobu trailing off the back. And the lure of the week I would have to say was the standard Goby rigged exactly the same way. These lures rigged and worked the right way are a sure way to smash those GTs and the hook up rate on these lures has been great due to the fast constant retrieve.
The fishing on this week was truly amazing and in my years of guiding I have never witnessed anything remotely like it, what I’m trying to say is that this is one of those lifetime experiences and seeing this again is going to be special.
Like I have already said I can probably write a book on the events and excitement of that week and I am really looking forward to experience something like that in the future. I hope in these few words that I have been able to convey some thoughts of how this week of fishing was truly and epic to experience and I was privileged to have been part of it.
The guys in the 3rd week had a very different point of view as far as the fishing went and they opted for a laid back approach where coming back to the boat for a couple of beers at lunch was a must, in saying this we were still catching 10 GTs before lunch on some days, the guys were really keen on catching a mixed bag of species and we successfully hunted everything from GTs, Mackerel, smaller Trevally, Red Emperor, Coral Trout, Cod, Sweetlips, Spangled Emperor and all sorts of other kinds of reef fish, we found a sneaky little spot in around 41m that was a gold mine, every drop with any sort of light jigging lure would be successful in taming a coral trout, red emperor or some sort of reef going specimen. We found it quite a challenge on some days to get away from the plagues of GTs and the one particular day was quite interesting, we tamed a couple of GTs first up and decided to go for the light tackle option where the guys flicked a few lures in the shallows, only to be demolished by GTs. I opted for the soft plastic approach in deeper water thinking we will be safe there and……Smoked yet again…so I got clever, well at least I thought so, I tied a Shimano Lucanus Jig on and sounded around off the edge of the reef in about 25m and that too ended in tears.
Overall an unbelievable 3 weeks of charter and some of the best fishing I have been lucky enough to witness.
Looking forward to fishing with all you guys again.
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