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Elusive Reef June 2010
3 weeksCoral Sea Lagoon Explorer
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We started off this trip with big plans and still living off the memories of the previous charter in May/June where we had Gts that were nearly willing to climb into the boat to grab a hold of some of the guys lures, after a short rest we back out on the reef and blessed by great weather it was time to get back to business.
The following 2 weeks of charter were sure to be interesting…Brandon had come together and organized a social competition amongst the anglers on the first wee and second week charter and some of the prizes he and up for grabs were amazing – Ripple Fisher rods, Fisherman rods and a massive selection of lures, everything from Craft bait, Fisherman, Orions and all sorts of other GT fishing lures.
In saying that the competitions began and the boats set out fishing for the day with expectations of airborne angry Gts set high…and we were not to be disappointed the first day started off with a bang and all the boats came back with good numbers of Gts, our fishing started off a tad slow early on in the morning but by the time the tide had changed at around 10:30 things started to heat up a little and before we knew it things were going crazy, there were fish getting hooked up left right and centre, we got a couple fish to the boat really quick on the first spot and we moved over to the next bommie where we were pleasantly surprised by some very scared friends in the form of Fusilers…the guys wasted no time and before I could say anything 3 lures went flying and seconds later, triple hook up by this stage I was beginning to think that crazy might not be an adequate word to describe things…in 2 hours of GT mayhem we managed to successfully boat another 19 quality Gts including an awesome specimen of around 34kg that Sam subdued, that brought our tally to 21 solid Gts before the guys were begging for a break…, “batteries were flat”, so we called it lunch, it felt like we were in the middle of a war zone as bait shoals were getting destroyed all around us as we drifted in a dead calm ocean trying to take in what the last couple of hours had been, it was then apparent to the guys how wild the fishing had been, a very productive morning indeed. After lunch we went for a small tour and we were once again met by some of our good but extremely scared friends, the game was on again and for the rest of the day it never seemed to get switched off, the action didn’t really stop and by the end of the day when we returned back to Odyssey with a total score of 33 GT and 4 solid Mackerel. By this stage my guys looked a little worse for wear and a very well done to Malcolm who beat his personal best with 18 GTs for a single days fishing…and the best thing yet, its was only day 1, warm up day, with a good weather forecast for the next couple of days…GTs be scared we back in town….
Early on in the week the action continued to be really good and the guys were catching plenty of fish, we were fishing around some isolated reefs so we decided to move a little further South into some calmer grounds along the hard line for the bad weather that was forecasted to terrorize us and we got stuck into some smaller fish on the light tackle which nearly seemed to be a relief for some of the guys, there seemed to be massive shoals of smaller fish all over this area and where ever you were there would be splashes as shoals Bludgers, Tuna and Mackerel destroyed shoals of whitebait, this strengthened our beliefs that when there is lots of whitebait the Gts for some or other reason get lockjaw as the Gts fishing over those next couple of days had slowed somewhat and the spots that we did catch the Gts on had significantly less white bait.
The day that stood out the most for me this week was the last full day of fishing, I had Malcolm, Brendon and George who were all really keen on catching some GTs with the hope of a big one!!! The weather wasn’t all that great to start the day and I got the guys to kit up in their full wet weathers because we were on a small tour in the dory which possibly involved a little moisture. We left for our journey with spirits high and by the time we got to our destination I think the guys were ready to go back home for a cup of coffee and a movie, not until they casted their lures… first cast and Brendon had a quality fish erupt on his lure, George quickly followed with a skipping popper and the game was on, we were bending…so much for the cup of coffee…the morning continued really well and we had 3 fish to the boat quick sticks, we made a short move and second cast Brendon was yet again bending, the beast ate the lure only meters from the boat and I called it a fish over 30kgs straight away, immediately on the controls I pulled the fish away from the reef with the boat and with a little huffing and puffing Brendon tamed an awesome fish of 40kg, (124cm/FL and 94cm/G) that put us all in a really good mood and we were straight back to it after a couple of good pics. It wasn’t 5 mins later and Malcolm was hooked up to a freight train…I think the fish is still running away with Malcolm’s stickbait, it was a real mammoth and I can’t remember when last we got smoked so badly by a giant GT, Malcolm had his drag cranked up full and he glanced at his spool and then across to me before I barked at him, “STOP THAT THING!!!”, we were at this stage, literally, running out of line and my attempts to drag the fish away from the reef had to be put on hold, sadly it didn’t last long before the GT made it home… Malcolm turned around looked at me and with a laugh said, “That was Awesome!!!” and with a massive smile on his face proceeded to repair the damage, I on the other hand was devastated and could not stop thinking of how big that thing must have been, and calling it 50kg+ nearly seems insignificant. We prodded along and about half an hour later it was George’s turn, we were fishing in this very shallow bay on the outside edge and I made a statement to the guys, “This is where Damo got a fish over 40kg last year!!”, as if to say pay attention we need to catch 1 of these beasts, and with the memory of the previous mammoth still fresh in my mind George let go his 220g Orion Bigfoot, shortly into his retrieve it got smashed and the prop wash the fish left on the surface of the water was something scary, PE12, Custom Ripple Fisher 78XH and the drag cranked up something stupid this fish peeled line as if George’s tackle were a child’s toy made from some low budget plastic, I tried my best to pull the fish away from the reef but the fish was simply too strong and made it over the reef to the other side, my only option was to change plan and try get to the other side before this animal bust us off, with a lot of shouting and some interesting driving we managed to get there, boat full of water and all but at this stage that didn’t matter the feeling inside that we might get this beast was clearly evident, the fish by the way was now peeling line off as though it had just been hooked and poor George was parallel to the deck holding on for dear life, but it was a GT, a giant GT and these fish don’t get that big by being stupid…needless to say we got beaten in the reef again yet again. We lived the rest of the day on thoughts of those 2 monsters and everything else we caught just seemed like a toy…30kg GT…ah don’t worry just release it in the water, no need for photos… we had a great day in the challenging conditions and managed to boat 9 Gts and a couple of solid Red Bass.
Armed with a fresh group of anglers for the following week of fishing we set out to do business once again, the weather was forecasted to improve throughout the week and we decided to try and get back to the isolated reefs just to the South East, an area that we had fished last year with great success and further to that a virgin area where the Gts should be on their toes waiting for some poppers to be thrown their way. We fished around the hard line for a couple of days and managed to get some good quality Gts in and around the blue holes on the reef, Crusty landed an awesome fish of around 36kg in a blue hole on the first afternoon and that same afternoon Rob had an absolute monster of a creature come up and have a look at his popper, this thing would have been around 50-60kg the thing was just huge…. What we did notice on this week whilst fishing the hard line part of the reef was the abundance of Red bass, the water we were fishing in was the cleanest I have ever seen on the barrier reef, something you would expect around the coral sea atolls, and during the week couple of the guys were lucky enough to boat some unusual specimens, Brandon got stuck into a yellowfin tuna that was hooked up in a shoal of fusiliers and Martin hooked into a solid dolphin fish which was caught between a shoal of garfish, truly an unusual capture and I think these events along with the good numbers of red bass suggested that the current along the reef was a little different to the normal. Our plan was to get out to the isolated reefs as soon as the weather died and on getting out there we were pleasantly surprised by good numbers of hungry Gts Damon had a mind blowing session in one of the blue holes seeing 5 or 6 50kg+ Gts in only half an hour they managed to get stuck into 3 of them but the fish were too clever and found a loop hole in the system. The last day again for me was a memorable one, with the weather forecasted to turn a little foul we decided to seek some refuge on the hard line, we fished our way over there and we were lucky enough to stumble upon a gold mine, there was this deep submerged shoal about 200m from the edge of the reef and it was by default that we found it, Martin missed a fish and amongst all the joking around I told him to cast one in the deep to let the other guys catch a fish and as his popper hit the water, bang, it was destroyed and a solid 30kg fish was boated, I quickly changed plan and started fishing in the deeper water off the edge and the game was on, it wasn’t long before we had 5 solid fish to the boat, all caught off this tiny little shoal that was barely visible by the eye, the tide had changed and the prize for biggest fish of the week was still up for grabs and to beat it with a fish just over 35kg was very do able, so we opted for some fishing in the shallows, my preferred area to catch big fish, we stopped in a spot which looked really sexy and second cast were hooked into another fish, small specimen just over 20kg which Martin called for a mackerel…nice mackerel… we returned for another drift and it all happed just as planned this horse of a Gt climbed all over Kens Craft bait GT3 getting its back fully out of the water as it engulfed the lure, I was chasing this fish around like a maniac nearly on the plane at some stages, we couldn’t lose him, we eventually got him to the boat after a mammoth struggle and with a little assistance managed to lift a fish of 43kg into the boat the excitement on the boat at this stage was actually quite unbelievable as Ken nor Martin had never seen an animal of this stature, after couple great pics we sent her home and got straight back into it hoping there was another, we had just began the drift again in this shallow bay which was littered with submerged bommies, it wasn’t long a Ken once again had a bend in his rod and another awesome fish of around 30kg was brought to the boat, exhausted Ken gave the others a chance and Martin was the next up for a bit of the pie, beaten by excitement ken managed to get another cast in and it all happened again, another mammoth of a fish got its back out of the water to pursue the popper and as it got demolished and the rod took and awkward shape, the look on Kens face was price less, a brief struggle and the hooks pulled much to Kens delight I think. We decided a celebratory trip to a nearby sand quay for a peaceful lunch was in order. After milling around on the sand cay having a feed it was time to get back to business, by this stage the wind had picked up a little so we decided to head to an area with a little more shelter, on arriving at our next spot to see four shoals of fusies tight up against the edge the guys were itching to get there lures in and it wasn’t long before John added his share to the tally boating a quality fish, what happened next was quite a pleasant surprise, we had drifted a little way from the reef whilst tussling Johns fish and a shoal of bait popped up a cast away from the boat, Martin got his stickbait in with no result until it got near the boat and it got destroyed this time by a dogtooth tuna unluckily the hooks never managed to drive home and as Martin retrieved his lure the rest of the pack of tuna swam up to the boat to follow his lure in, there was about 5 or 6 doggies just milling around under the boat…where’s the jigging gear when you need it…
The last week of charter we were accompanied by a much more casual group of guests who just wanted to get the rods bent in any way and form, Alex on the first day managed to find some impressive fish along the reefs edge, he saw everything from dogtooth to mackerel, GTs, reef fish, tuna and all sorts of other specimens for a tally of 14 species for the day. The weather was a bit on the nasty side but we managed a quality Gt of about 38kg in the first half hour in a nice looking blue hole. After another hour of casting with just a few half hearted smacks my guys wanted to do a bit of trolling, which resulted in some of the best trolling action I have seen along this area of the barrier reef, big coral trout and we found a nice little patch of doggies. We landed one of about 6kg which was unreal, the first doggy I have ever seen here, the very next pass we caught another of about 10kg a very nice surprise to see them in some numbers here. Deciding to do a little Gt fishing before lunch we missed a bus of a fish that was an easy 50kg+ that had a huge smack at the lure but just missed. The afternoon session was more missed Gts with none from about 6 hits and then some more trolling catching a few jobfish and the usual suspects of multiple sharkies. We also had a nice session in the afternoon on the light stuff catching some big sharkies and macktuna in the shallows. The rest of the week continued in a similar way and besides the first couple of day of bad weather the guys were getting stuck into all sorts of fish on the lighter gear as well as a few Gts here and there, this is a really great thing along the Bugatti/Elusive area in that regardless what the weather is like there is always a chance to get in and catch a couple of fish as the area is so well protected and with so many options in the shallows it’s a great place to catch fish.
To all that fished on this last charter it was great to fish with you and hope to see you out there again sometime soon.
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