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The report and quotes below are as written by Doug Lindsay, and Doug has kindly given us permission to use his report on the website.
“But seeing a company ( Nomad ) deliver their product in a truly professional, seemless fashion was inspirational. I work, mostly business to business in the high-end furniture market. The top of the market. It saddens me to see what I see everyday in my line of work. Not within my business, but those of my clients. Service and attention to detail are nearly dead. When you find a company like Nomad, it is refreshing to say the least”
3 Day Game Boat Trip Ex Mackay 18-20th September 2009
Short and Sweet.
By Doug Lindsay
“ Cast to the right ,thank you gentleman.” Came the call from the tower. Somehow, through the blinding glare of a glassed out sea, our skipper, Ed, had found the edge of the reef, and the Fusiliers were rolling on the surface. Gts love Fusies, and casting oversized poppers to a patch of them where they are being herded up against the reef is an exciting prospect. It’s game time! Lures splashed down in their midst and anglers began their retrieves.
There are few thrills in fishing like the take from a GT on a popper. On this trip, the GTs had been aggressive, angry even. It was Stewart who got monstered first. His Nomad Cubera 125 had barely made 4 or 5 showering bloops before a solid fish smashed him and he was on! I was on the front deck with him, and on Eds instruction, put my popper slightly to the right of where Stewarts fish had been waiting. Before I could take a wind on the handle of my big Saltiga, Brownwyns ( Stewarts better half ) lure disappeared in a foaming boil. Double hookup. Nice.
Around this time, with both GTs doing their best to get home with an expensive trinket, Ed fired a cast from the tower ( that’s right, 9 metres up from sea level ). Of course, he immediately hooked up a third fish. Do you remember Sunday the 20th of September? You might recall a strange, muffled noise that sounded like a small group of people yelling, screaming, laughing? Yeah sorry about that. I am sure you could probably hear us from 90nm off Mackay! Ok, so we have a triple hookup on lovely, solid GTs. In fact, Bronwyns fish was around 35kg. Ed’s in the tower, with an added handicap of using one of the lighter rods on board. However, being the true professional “Stunt Angler” he was exploiting the 50lb braid to its full potential. I still hadn’t hooked up, despite a few casts in the danger zone. Ed called out to me “ Dougie, off the port bow. A nice patch of Fusies!” Sweet. When the popper slapped down, Fusies went everywhere. Good sign. I kicked my Cubera into life and instantly it got slammed by an angry GT that looked 30kg+. The hookup lasted seconds but the screams coming from the tower indicated there was more fish coming.
The advice from the crew was ringing in my ears. “ When a fish fails to hookup, just keep that popper moving, he will come back”. Oh yes, he came back. In fact the lure had a very harrowing journey back to the boat getting monstered a further three times for no result. Spectacular stuff! Unfortunately our skipper felt the lack of hookup related to my angling skills and deemed me to be a “muppet”. That hurt. But I’m over it now…
The end result of this mayhem was all three fish successfully brought to the boat and carefully released. Including Eds from the Tower on the light gear! Madness! This was just one portion of one hot session, from our 3 day trip. We had several other sessions that were just as good, but without Eds stunt fishing.
Hi, my name is Doug Lindsay. I am a keen fisho, but the upper end of the sportfishing tree is pretty new to me. I did a Lagoon Explorer trip with Nomad in April 2008 to Bugatti Reef and it just blew me away. I hadn’t even used braid up until that trip. Wow, that trip really changed my life. That sounds pathetic, but to be 100 miles offshore, amongst the stunning beauty of the reef, doing battle with some of the most aggressive fish that swim was really amazing.
It changed my business life as well. Not only was I more determined than ever to achieve my financial goals to be able to afford more trips like this, but seeing a company ( Nomad ) deliver their product in a truly professional, seemless fashion was inspirational. I work, mostly business to business in the high-end furniture market. The top of the market. It saddens me to see what I see everyday in my line of work. Not within my business, but those of my clients. Service and attention to detail is nearly dead. When you find a company like Nomad, it is refreshing to say the least. From communicating with the lovely Melissa and Claire in the office, to the boats and equipment, to the highly skilled crew, the locations, the gourmet food, it’s all fantastic. But anyway, this is starting to sound like advertorial here, let’s get back to the trip at hand.
As awesome as the Lagoon Explorer trip to Bugatti was ( did I mention it was GREAT?) it can be very hard for me to arrange a full week out of the business. The new 3 and 4 day trips looked ideal. Sometimes run over weekends ( like mine ) it means only a day or two off work, but still hot fishing in relatively unspoilt locations. Surely the perfect compromise?
Its funny how getting up at 3am to go fishing is easy. You leap out of bed, full of anticipation of the events to follow. By 4 am Friday I had met my fellow guests and we were underway from the Mackay Marina. I must add here that I don’t have many friends that share my love of fishing. The beauty of these trips, is you can book as an individual or a group. On both my Nomad excursions, I have been privelidged to enjoy the company of some fascinating anglers. Indeed, from the Bugatti trip, I have retained two real friends that I will be close to for life. Bronwyn and Stewart had ventured up from Canberra for their first taste of Nomad. This was to be a romantic getaway of sorts for them. They had left their two young ones ( 1 and 4yo ) in the capable hands of Grandma for a long weekend on the GBR.
The remaining two guests were Captain and Madam Tan from Malaysia. I was intrigued by the title Capt. During the course of the weekend, it came out my fellow angler had earned the honour of Captain in the Malaysian Army. His stories of life as a commando sent a chill down your spine. When was the last time you fished with a real commando? I worked out early on in the piece, that Bronwyn and Stewart were going to be great fun, and the Captain would keep me company on the back deck, still fishing when everyone else had gone to bed.
The trip out to the reef gave the other guests a chance for some sleep whilst I caught up with Capt. Ed and his deck hand Alex. Ed had been my guide on the Lagoon Explorer trip the year before and you would not find a more experienced or competent captain/fishing guide, for his age. Having been a part of the Nomad crew since the early days of the operation, has exposed Ed to more sportfishing situations than all but a few of the worlds elite captains. The fact that he is a pretty cool guy, also helps.
Despite the swift breeze as we left the Marina, the big 51 Riviera sliced along at 20kts with ease. Upon arrival at the reef, a couple of deep diving minnows were despatched whilst Alex whipped up some breakfast for the anglers emerging from their cabins. Within minutes and with Just Right and fruit still on the spoon, the first fish of the trip put the Tiagra 30 to work. Captain Tan skilfully brought a lovely Spanish Mackeral, around 15kg to the boat, giving us some insight into his level of experience. A quick photo and back to frighten some more baitfish for you, Mr Spaniard. Wow, the Mackeral must be going off, to get one in the first few minutes? Well actually, that was the only decent example we caught all trip! With breakfast squared away and everyone champing at the bit for more action, Ed trolled around, sussing out likely GT lairs. Thus began what I won’t describe blow by blow, but some of the most exciting fishing even a hard core GT nut, could ever hope for.
The fish would be packed together, always in the company of a nervous school of Fusiliers. On some occasions, it would take a number of casts to excite the GTs, but when they would attack, they used group force to take on the poppers. I couldn’t tell you how many times, 2,3,4,5, GTs would shoot across the bow wave of the big poppers, either hooking up or just missing, before coming back for more. We had several sessions were it seemed the GTs were smashing the lures, just to teach them a lesson, such were the fury of their strikes. Of course, on the occasions where the hooks hit their marks, we got to feel the wrath of these healthy fish.
On one particular hookup, Bronwyn was fishing from the cockpit, when her popper was monstered by a good one. The story I was able to extract from Ed in between tears of laughter, was she got dragged from the middle of the cockpit to be slammed into the ( luckily) padded coaming on the side of the boat. Angry GT vs lady angler with strong gear can make for some interesting moments.
The first day saw me encounter my biggest ever GT. Notice the word “encounter” not land. It was our second session of poppering, around early afternoon. I was still coming to grips with the outfit I had recently put together. Whilst the Daiwa Saltiga 6000GT was definitely made for the job, I hadn’t been too sure if the Monster Mesh rod would be up to the 125g poppers and stopping big GTs on 80lb braid. So far it had been fine on the first couple of fish.
We were drifting along yet another fantastic looking reef edge. The Fusilier shelves were well stocked. I threw my popper ( a survivor from the last trip) as far towards the lighter coloured edge as I could. Almost half way back to the boat, Ed starting screaming from the tower “ Behind yours Doug, it’s HUGE!” At that point a massive wave appeared behind the doomed lure. BOOMWHHIISHH. If you say that word quickly, that’s what a 45kg GT sounds like when it gets partially airbourne before nabbing your popper and heading for home. UUURRNNGGFF is the word I used when the braid came tight and line started tearing off the reel under 12kg of pressure. I used my gloves to grab the spool and gave it everything I had, but he was in no mood to fight fair. Mr (G)T wasn’t going to mess around with this sucker. He HAD nuts! Despite my best attempts at putting the brakes on, line kept disappearing of the spool, directly towards the reef edge. I made the executive decision to go for the drag knob and gave it a good twist.
For those of you not familiar with the Carbontex drag washer upgrade on the Saltigas, a good twist from 12kgs of drag, dramatically increases the force required to take line from the spool. I know this now… The 80lb Tuffline popped and I landed on my butt, unable to comprehend what just happened.
If this doesn’t sound like a great trip already, there were many other highlights. Apart from the trip out from Mackay, the weather just got better and better. Our last day, Sunday, there was no wind whatsoever and the sea glassed out completely. It is a very special experience to be some 70nm offshore on an oily calm sea. Both of the anchorages that Ed chose were beautifully protected from what wind we did have. The super comfortable cabins had excellent airflow and I enjoyed both nights sleep without interruption. Whilst the big Riviera doesn’t seem to attract the myriad of life that the 80 foot mothership “Odyssey” does, there was still plenty of light tackle fun on both nights. Red Throat Emporer and Spangled Emporer were the main targets, but a few other reefies came to the boat as well. Captain Tan also convinced several large Squid to take jigs. He just had a few problems keeping hold of them though…
On our second day, a school size Yellowfin fell to a trolled minnow and Ed gave us a demonstration of preparing the Tuna for eating purposes. I found this fascinating. There are few greater pleasures, than truly fresh Yellowfin Sashimi ( you know what I mean, honey J) Entre that night was a dish I and the other guests will not forget in a hurry. Dam, I could go some now!
Now I know true diehard sportfishos might not approve, but we also had a pretty cool session on some lumpy Barracuda. A healthy specimen about 15-20kgs jumped on a deep diver and when he came to the boat, the whole tribe was with him. It wasn’t long before the noodle rods and soft plastics were out. There were U shaped graphite sticks everywhere whilst the school hung around. Ok, so catching Barracuda might not make it to the front cover of Bluewater magazine and Nomad aren’t going to introduce “Ultimate Barracuda Adventures” but hey, we all had a ball catching good size fish on light gear. Really good fun. Isn’t that what fishing is about?
I hope I have made it clear that was a great trip. I was slightly dubious that I might be disappointed with “just” a 3 day trip having done the full blown Lagoon Explorer at Bugatti. Whilst, if I was in a position to head to Bugatti for 6 days, I would do that trip again in a heartbeat, The 3 day trip provided incredible action and fitted around my work commitments. The Nomad guys have come up with a winner here. I will be back for some more, just have to go back to work for a while!
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