Fishing on my Wedding Day

I was getting married at 2pm, plenty of time for a land based flick in the morning. I also thought that it would read as an omen: a fish would be equal good marriage, no fish would be a bad sign. We hit a sandy and rocky beach, flicking some plastics for not much success. Soon we saw some bait busting up so tried to flick there. Soon enough I caught a tiny cod. Hey, that’s good right? A good omen.

As I wound him in suddenly a little calamari came out of no where and latched on. I tried to drag him up the beach but he let go. I cast the cod back to him and he went it again. I tried again for a fail, but he latched on again to the cod.

We were frantically trying to figure out how we could land it – it wasn’t hooked, and we didn’t have a net or anything. So my mate decided to try to drag a treble lure through it to see if it would hook. It did, but not well, and the calamari bolted.

One final cast of the cod and even again the calamari came back and latched on! The second time we were able to hook it with the lure, and presto, we had a lunchtime feed.

Me: Small Cod and a claim on a Calamari
Chops: A claim on a calamari

Story of the trip:
Who caught the calamari? A lot of debate has raged on this one. Did I get it interested and he caught it? Did I catch it and he landed it?


Bucks day!!

The wife and I are very different in some ways. Whereas she had 3(!) hens nights with various friends in various locations, I did not want one. Strippers? Might as well drink non-alcoholic beer. But she was insistent on me doing something… hey no worries what about a chartered fishing trip?

We set off in glorious weather, having been assured the tides were not ideal. First place we hit a few of the boys pulled up some thumper trevally. The guide was dissapointed and we moved on.

At this point I was thinking of forming a mutiny. Firstly I hadnt caught one yet. What if that was it? Secondly they cook okay if they arent refridgerated. Thirdly nummas/cerviche is awesome. Fourthly how sure he could be we could get others? But no, he wanted it for bait…. so me and Chops (a fellow Trevally lover) waited.

Second place we got, nothing.

Third place we went to, a few of the boys hooked Nannygai. Success!! And a few more… soon we were smashing them! But not poor old me….

Eventually I got onto a 42cm one. Can’t complain. I took a break as I was hogging the rods. I found out later the rod that I had was ordinary, but in 60m of water I couldn’t tell.

Soon my mate tired and I grabbed my rod again… got a slight nibble and I increased the pressure and hooked the fish. Suddenly my whole body was clenching trying to hang on… he pulled off some line, which was funny as the drag was so tight I broke it easily on a snag. I wound and winded. Over and over. We were fighting sharks, and I was doing such and ordinary job of getting him up quickly I didn’t think I had a chance. Wound and wind. Over and over. Soon my whole body ached. The skipper was shouting to me to stop being a princess and ignore that lactic acid. Easy to say… this might seem dramatic but
a) I like a good story
b) It was a really ordinary rod and reel
As I wound that bad boy up inch by inch I was hoping it was something decent otherwise I would look the fool. Part of me wondered if I had a small shark as it kept taking line, and that drag was DAMN tight.

When I got it to the surface…. far out… an impressive (68cm) Coral Trout!!! When I got it in the boat, I mean, wow, what a rush. I remembered why I love fishing, why I love the Whitsundays, and that bait fishing / bottom bashing isn’t all bad!

From then on I hit the beer (my first, stop judging me, fishing comes first on these things) and let everyone have a fish for a while. My cousin pulled up a mammoth Nannygai, otherwise everyone was pretty much hitting one after the other. The trick was getting them past the sharks. I spent a bit of time teaching the newbies what to do, one particular highlight was pulling a fish past two sharks who were charging it.

Soon a few people got tried so I hit the end of the day, managed another 2 keepers and a 50cm sweetlip, which was pretty damn cool.

What a trip!!!

Me: 68cm coral trout, 50cm sweetlip, 3 40-55cm nannygai
Everyone: Lots of nannygai! And some Trevally. One more sweetlip.

Story of the trip:
Clearly my coral trout. I was so stoked with it. The wind was dead, the ocean was blue, just a great trip all around.



Me with my Coral Trout!

The old man looking happy

Cousin Gareth with the biggest Nannygai of the day, think around 80 to 90

Land based on Hammo round 1

So I was getting married and for various reasons (mostly how much we love the Whitsundays) the wife and I decided on Hamilton Island. I had an epic welcome BBQ to cook on the Sunday but that was for the afternoon… the morning I decided I had to get some fishing. Me and some mates had a look around and found an interesting section of rocks with the incoming tide, it looked promising. Turned out it wasn’t that good, but hey, who can complain about that scenery.

Me: Tiny cod (lures)
Aaron: Nothing (lures)
Chops: Tiny cod (bait)
Julian: Bluebones x 2, tiny, (bait)

Story of the trip:
Getting there looked impossible it was so steep… seems some clever locals had decided to tie a rope around a tree which made it so much easier! I cannot tell you how much I love the Whitsundays.


One and half days on the Tiwi Islands

Recently friends took jobs in the school on Melville Island. We decided to use May-Day long weekend as an excuse to go and see them, unfortunately Claire and I couldn’t get Friday arvo off so we had to get the Saturday afternoon flight over.

We got our permits sorted and headed over, on Sunday me and my mate spent all day in Shark Bay. He only got his boat in Easter so hadn’t really got his spots sorted yet, with that in mind it was a reasonable day. He got a nice 70cm barra for dinner and I got a lot of fish, but they were all pretty small. It is pretty eerie fishing in a location where you don’t see a boat for the entire day, and there are zero other cars at the boat ramp!

Some highlights include:
– tom hooking a huge groper and it getting itself wrapped around a snag. It was at the surface so we gave it a shot at netting it but it scared and ran, managing to break off his braid
– a kingfisher deciding to hit my lure, lucky I was running a weedless rig and it didn’t hook it
– the mist off the water on an untouched morning was pretty nice

While we were off fishing Claire went to a nice waterfall for a swim.

The next morning we headed to a billabong. We only had two hours fishing as we needed to get the ferry back. When we got there – devastation! The boat ramp had eroded so we couldn’t launch. Ah well, might as well cast from the shore. A few casts and I had a couple of tarpon. Then I hooked a small barra! I yelled to my mate, excited that there were barra there, and he came running with the net… looked at me like I was stupid when he saw it was 30cm.

But anyway… soon we were hooking barra each couple of casts. I estimate that most were between 25 and 40cm. It was amazing fun. I landed two thumping saratoga’s, check out the story of the trip. The biggest I would estimate to be 45 to 50… I was thinking of measuring him but got a hook in the throat so I really wanted to return him to the water asap, and the tape measure was in the car.

It is how I imagine Coroborree would have been before it became Darwin’s favourite spot.

They loved a new lure, and it gave me a chance to try some lures I’m not that familiar with, like vibes and poppers.

46, 47cm barra, mangrove jack, golden snapper, catfish, cod

A few tarpon, 20 odd barra, two saratogas

Story of the trip:
Banks can be hard to cast from with overhanging trees. So I threw my popper out and accidentally cast over the tree, so before I could wind I had to get the braid out of the tree. Once I did I realized I couldn’t see my popper… had it sunk? Well, as I would up I discovered a saratoga had liked the look of a popper sitting there doing nothing, and had decided to hook itself!