A good month for me! Getting away on a fantastic trip to the Great Barrier Reef on a Nomad Charter trip. Details below and video here.
School holidays are pumping up here, but the first week was washed out by bad weather. Those that did get out did well on big fish. The demersal ban is looming, starting on the 15th October, so if you want to get into some good demersals, do it before then!
Cory with the biggest demersal he has ever caught, nice baldchin groper! Caught south of town out from Natural Bridge
Cory’s dad, Graham, got this first drop in the morning.
Nomad Sportfishing Charter
I had a very lucky break this month, picking up a cancellation on a 7 day Jewel Reef to Bligh Reef, Nomad Sportfishing Charter. I had 6 days’ notice and with no commitments took the opportunity. (You only have one life). Booked a flight to Cairns, Qld. via Alice Springs with wife, Sue.
We flew over this big rock and landed in Alice Springs for a couple of hours.
Then on to Cairns and overnighted in the Shangri-La Hotel that was very comfortable. Cairns was very nice, alive, vibrant and friendly!
Next day was a short flight to Lizard Island and transfer onto the Mothership Odyssey. We then motored all night north and out to the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef.
Fishing out of three tenders with max 3 persons on board was the norm for the next 6 days
Casting big stickbaits and poppers to coral bommies like this was awesome. The water was so clear, you could see the fish come up out of the reef and smash your lure.
The variety and size of the fish was equally amazing. Bluefin trevally, coral trout were very common and green jobfish smashed stick baits at speed.
Maori sea perch was a new one for me, flowery cod on poppers and long-nose emperor
Giant trevally and red seabass were everywhere. I took this trigger fish standing on a small cay from less than a metre of water.
Sue got the biggest coral trout of the trip, a 12kg fish from deeper water.
She got her fair share of the fish, coral trout, big-eye trevally and blue-fin trevally
XXX size flowery cod and another pesky GT. We did have a couple of shots at dogtooth tuna but no-one on this trip was able to stop them! Just too powerful on 120lb braid and 200lb leader and locked up drag! I had the metal ring of my jig broken off on one occasion.
Back in the evening for a cold beer and nibblies on the top deck watching the sun go down rounded the day off nicely. We ended the trip at Portland Road and bussed to Lockhart River airport back to Cairns.
I took my own lures, but you can buy them on the tenders as you need them, they have it all.
I did not lose as many lures as expected, but it was full moon and the fishing was quiet according to the guides!
Generally the lures I had were not really suitable so I did buy their lures which worked very well.
The gear supplied were top of the range Daiwa rods and reels, though some of the reels were very scratchy and well-worn with sticky drags.
If I did the trip again I would take my own gear, but only if you already have it.
One 5000-6000 Stella or equivalent with 30-40lb braid and casting rod to match, 80lb leader.
One 1000 -2000 Stella or equivalent with 80-120lb braid with GT popper casting rod, 180-200lb leader.
One heavy jig rod with 80-120lb braid to try to stop a dogtooth tuna!
A bunch of 160mm -180mm stick baits both sinking and floating, dumbbell GT poppers.
The Halco Skimstick worked well, as well as the biggest Halco Rooster popper.
Variety of jigs and 3-6oz soft plastic leads and 8-10” plastics to suit.
Upgrade all hooks and split rings!
A 3 course meal each night cooked by their chef along with free beer and soft drinks, snacks etc hot showers and comfortable bunks made it very comfortable.
I have just finished a video of the trip, view it here.
Dave Allen is a regular and has written a report on his July trip.
Gnaraloo July 2017
Another year done and dusted at Gnaraloo and I must say, this year the weather was consistently the worst we have seen in the past 11 years. With only three of us travelling this year, we decided to hire the 6.1 metre boat from Laurie. Plenty of deck space and extremely fuel efficient which always helps. Our preparation was solid with everything ready to go for another spectacular year at Gnaraloo. The forecast looked dreadful with strong SE winds predicted for the whole week. Seven days of a very persistent SE, S or SSE wind and a swell of over three metres was always going to make things interesting. Our journey up was not without incident and for those of you who frequent Gnaraloo regularly will know that there is always a problem or two to sort out. This year we managed to lose our kayak off the top of the car on the way up. We like to utilise the mooring system Laurie provides and think it is far easier than launching and retrieving the boat every day. Not to mention the seven km track from the homestead to the bay every day. It was pretty rough this year. We were lucky enough to pick up a replacement from a mate in Carnarvon only to have that one mysteriously go missing from the mooring on our second day there. Nice, swimming or bumming a lift it was. We stayed reasonably close to land for a few days fishing a few spots we have that produce some nice Spangled Emperor, Rankin and Snapper.
Because of the weather, our strategy had to change as there was no way we were going to get out to our deeper spots. What we did do was stick to our spot for the day instead of moving too much to others. We persisted with the quick drift and at one stage this was cranking at 3kn per hour. Our persistence paid off and we were able to boat many of our favourite species. We targeted certain species each day and were rewarded with some nice fish to bring home to the families. Bait was the go to method this year and out did plastics and jigs. We do love our jigging and did manage some nice tuna, GT’s, Amberjacks, Rankin and other Trevally species on them. There were plenty of Red Emperor around which was good to see, however, many of the bigger ones were taken by the ever-increasing shark population up there. The sharks seemed to leave the smaller (under 5kg) fish alone and anything bigger that was red seemed to get taken about half way up. It was really good to see our spots loaded with quality fish including a good return to the Robinson Sea Bream stocks this year.
Cobia seemed to be in good numbers again and we caught a lot of Cobia on bottom rigs. We trolled our spots out wider in the 45’s producing the ever-reliable Yellowfin Tuna which were in excellent numbers this year. The usual bust offs, unknown hook ups and multiple spooled reels which we just had to laugh at as there was nothing we could do about it on the lighter gear. We like to target the Spanish Mackerel by drift baiting. There were good numbers of spanish mackerel around and they were all big. The largest would have been 30 kg and the thickness of the steaks was as big as we have seen before. One of the things we notice up at Gnaraloo is that the fish are so healthy, plump and have a good amount of fat on them. Always interesting at the filleting station which has been semi refurbished.
Notable catches and species included in our 20 kilos of fillets were: Red Emperor, Pink Snapper, Rankin Cod, Robinson Sea Bream, Spanish Mackerel, Yellowfin Tuna, Baldchin Groper, Tomato Cod, Perch and Cobia. Notable acceptations this year included: Coral Trout, Coronation Trout and Pearl Perch. Booked for 2018 and looking forward to once again to be challenged by this amazing place in the Gascoyne. A big thanks to Laurie for preparing the boat once again making this year our 11th year hiring from him. Gnaraloo offers so many fishing options to explore and every year seems to throw up new challenges and species to chase.
Highlights for 2017 included:
Excellent numbers of undersize Reds
Good numbers of big Cobia
Good numbers of Yellowfin Tuna on the troll
Seeing and fishing on a school of Spanish Mackerel as they were feeding.
Some cracking underwater footage.
Looking forward to seeing a few boats up there next year.
Dave Allen, Dave Stanely and Andrew Veering.
Kalbarri Offshore & Angling Club Local Comp.
16th September 2017
Fairly quiet comp and the fish shut down early in the day.
River cod for Kaz and a baldchin groper for Trevor
Bite of the Month
Sue gets this month’s Bite of the Month with a 12kg coral trout. Caught on a soft plastic in deeper water in the Coral Sea this month.
I award Bite of the Month to someone who catches the best fish of the month
from one of my boats.