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Bugatti Reef April 2010
3 weeksCoral Sea Lagoon Explorer
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This trip started off with a bang and as we readied the boats in Mackay with glassy conditions that were predicted to prevail for the following week, the trip out to the reef was as pleasant as they can get and the excitement was rife, on arrival at Bugatti Reef which we hadn’t visited in nearly a year now. I was itching to get out there to test some of my favourite spots from the previous year.
The first week of charter we had a group of journalists and Micah Adams and his film crew who run a show on Foxtel, Adventure Angler. After a good breakfast we got the boat prepared and got out on the water in search of some fish, we didn’t have to travel very far in the glass calm conditions before we stumbled into what seemed to be Longtail tuna heaven, the horizon seemed to be littered with tuna and in the mirror like ocean it appeared as if the longtails were raining out the sky.
I had David, Graham and Brett on my boat and they were keen to get some Gts as that was their purpose at Bugatti, it took my memory a little while to kick in, blow the cob webs off and recognize the area again. Once I knew where I was it was game time, the first spot was one of my favourite and with a strike of luck we managed to time the current perfect, this particular little corner of the reef goes crazy but only at the end of the run in tide, a small look around and there they were, a bunch of tightly packed fusiliers all trying to get as much of their bodies out of the water , the guys were into it and we had a mad little session there managing to extract 5 quality Gts all around 20-25kg from this little corner, before we got beaten by the tide, but that wasn’t a problem, my brain at this stage was working overtime with excitement as I had the next spot lined up which gave the guys a small but much needed rest as we completed the 2mile journey onto the other side of the reef to meet the fresh run in tide. I battled to find the area as the reflection off the glassy calm ocean was making life a little difficult especially with the high tide which made the deeper shoals a little bit of a challenge to see, “cast here somewhere guys, we are near the area”, I positioned the boat a little further above the area in hope not to spook the fish and by the third cast it was all on, as an angry pack absolutely destroyed Grahams lure, the rest of the day continued in the same sort of fashion and considering we only got out on the water at 10 30am and were back at the mothership by 4 30pm we had a blinder of a day landing 13 Gts and a variety of other fish in between.
The following 2 days continued in much the same sort of fashion and we had a most enjoyable time, whilst most of the other boats were out on the water catching all kinds of fish on the lighter gear and testing the range of Sebile lures catching plenty of fish all day. My bunch of angers were mainly in search of Gts and let me warn you we had no shortage and in the first 3 days my 3 anglers had boated 32 Gts and at times they found the urge to cast a couple of smaller lures at the tuna, mackerel and trevally, which seemed to be like taking candy from kids and every cast between the frothing carnage of whitebait mess resulted in a guaranteed bent rod. The amount of smaller fish, gold spot trevally, bludger trevally, shark mackerel, Spanish mackerel and all the reef fish we were seeing was just phenomenal and for the light tackle enthusiast drifting around on top of the reef in only 2 m of water or casting between frothing bait balls, catching fish between 2 and 10kg on every cast till your heart’s content is like a dream come true.
What we did notice on this trip and at every new anchorage we went to was the amount of white bait that was around it is just amazing and blows your mind every time you see it. As far as the eye could see the ocean seems to just turn silver as shoal upon shoal of white bait were getting showered, sometimes you would see the whole current edge of reef just lit up in these showering silver flashes as foot ball fields of white bait were fleeing predators, this made life great for us as it meant a quick cast with some small lure anywhere near the bait and it was game time as the smaller trevallies, mackerel and tuna were trying to get into the mix.
The weather unfortunately did not continue in this manner and the glassy conditions abruptly came to an end and from half way through the first week the wind started blowing and did not seem to hold up, this made conditions a little difficult in the GT front and seemed to cause them to get a little lock jaw we were still seeing plenty of fish but for some unknown reason they just didn’t seem to be climbing onto the lures in the traditional styles which we as anglers are attracted to and would just seem to come up with no intension to eat the lure but rather just to come and have a look, being inquisitive. The only other time I have seen this behaviour was whilst working in Oman, at a particular time of the year over there, they experienced a red tide and the oxygen levels in the water are reduced, you would notice it in the fishes behaviour as the Gts would not get fired up and would not even have the energy to have a go at or try and eat the lures and seemed to just ghost behind the lure for a brief moment before returning to the depths. In saying this we were still lucky enough to get some fish that would attack the lures and even on the real quite days we were seeing 20 fish or so but only managing to get 3’s and 4’s to the boat.
It was very interesting on the second week, as we had Rudy and David who run a charter operation in New Caledonia catching Gts and they seemed to experience a similar sort of pattern, they claimed that they too would have periods of time when there was a flood of white bait and the Gts would become a little more scarce than they usually are.
The amount of Gts that we had hooked up to the lighter gear was unreal and although we did manage to land a few we got well and truly cleaned up on the 30lb gear by a most, this could be suggesting that the Gts in the bad weather lose their appetite and would rather prefer a “snack” rather than a “meal”.
Another interesting incident which happened which was on the last week whilst we had the Japanese anglers on the boat, I managed to find this ledge that was about 3 miles long which the current pushes along and into a bay, I have had great success there in the past on the run out tide so ventured over there as the tide changed. It was game on for you and old and in 4 days between us we caught 40+ fish at this spot, the reason the fish were all congregating there was due to the massive shoals of Garfish that had been pushed up tight against the reef edge and drifting up and down there casting between the garfish with skipping poppers proved really successful.
The very last day of charter the weather seemed to die for us,(typical on the last day) and we made the move to a new anchorage for the last night in hope we could find some fresh, stupid fish… what a great decision that turned out to be and it was as if all of a sudden the fish were starving and every point, every spot you stopped at that looked even half acceptable the fish went nuts with pack upon pack of Gts coming up and destroying anything in their path. I had a relaxed bunch of guys on my boat for the day and they were prompting me most of the day to get a cast in, I pounced at the opportunity and who wouldn’t when you seeing shoals of bait getting bust up all over the joint and you just know that first or second pop and its bending, I felt like a teenager at a strip club for the time and it was great to catch a couple fish myself, a funny scenario happened during the day, Break, one of the Japanese anglers had just landed a good fish so we decided to celebrate the occasion with a lunch break so I kill the engine and we drifted around sitting on the deck entertained by a strong conversation, we had been drifting for nearly an hour which felt like only couple minutes between the laughter, when Break decide to start the afternoon period of with a new lure, the boat was drifting in the middle of the ‘bush’ and he casted to have a look at the lures action and at the side of the boat a Gt came up and engulfed his lure, “its works”, that’s lunch.
We boated 47 Gts between the boats for the day and some of the excitable stories around the back deck that afternoon were pretty entertaining as it seemed everyone had a cracker of a day as the Gts had finally found the key for their lock jaw. An awesome days fishing was then topped off with a great BBQ which was prepared by Brett on the top deck under the stars, a memorable event which will no doubt be embedded in the memory for some time.
We managed to extensively test our range of Sebile lures on these 4 weeks of charters and it is without a doubt that we are catching way more fish now than in the past, especially on the lighter casting lures, a couple of the lures which stood out for us this charter were the 114 Sinking Stick Shad, this lure is like dynamite and I can assure you that on any fishing trip I go on I will have a couple of these on standby whether its fresh or saltwater these things are machines, we found them particularly successful for Longtail tuna . Fishing around the Gt spots was a bonus too and the amount of mackerel and smaller trevally we seemed to be catching was unreal, we even noticed that whilst the GT fishing was a little slow a cast with one of these sunk between a shoal of fusiliers was going to result in tears and a replacement lure as the Gt adds yet another to his collection, another which was really good successful was the bongs minnow and the slow side to side action of this lures worked really well between shoals of bait as the lure would remain in the strike zone for long periods as all the action of the lure required was a short jab of the rod. Another that stood out was the extra heavy sinking flat shads 77 and 96 were demon little lures and deeper shoals that were fished were resulting in lots of trout mackerel and smaller trevallies they seemed so palatable to the fish that they were getting eaten on the sink a lot of the time.
See you out there.
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