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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Fishing John Brewer Reef

A couple of weeks ago Dion started to make plans for a Spear Fishing trip to the reef. He had 3 boats and 10 or so people organised. As the day got closer the weather was looking ok, so I asked if I could jump in on his boat. The main aim of the trip was for a few of the guys in the club who Spear Fish to show the rest of us how its done. But I don't really have an interest, so for me it was just an opportunity to see what its like to run to the reef, and maybe have a bit of a fish while the others snorkel.

We left the ramp about 4am and started the long 2hr journey. Weather was pretty good, just a light Northerly of 10knots or so. Just enough to bump up the water a little. But we maintained a comfortable 20knots in the 6m Hooker.

The other two boats were a bit quicker than us, and by the time we arrived they had already trolled up a couple of Spanish Mackerel. So we were quick to put some lines out. It was too early to start spear fishing, as the sun was still low in the sky. The Mackerel were clearly there, we got a couple of bumps on the lures, but nothing managed to connect.

We then anchored up for the first spear fishing session. I stated in the boat and tossed a popper around for a bit. I managed one rise from a Trout, but I ran out of retrieve room before he had a go. It was pretty quiet at this particular location. Even the guys in the water couldn't see too much. So we moved on.

Our boat went for a troll along the back of the reef while the other two boats remained. We had gone a couple of K's when we spotted a good bit of water. Fusilers were in a tight ball off one of the reef edges, and something was showering them up. We trolled past a couple of times, but nothing even had a go. So we anchored withing casting range. First cast of a popper and something crashed it in pursuit. Second cast and again something had a crack at the popper but failed to hook up. Then repeat casts yielded nothing. By this stage the only 'real' spear-fisher in out boat was over the side. He returned to the boat quickly with a nice Coral Trout, and claiming there was a big school 10kg Mangrove Jack down there. He said that they were rising to the popper, but not taking it. This was good info for me, as from the top of the water it looked as thought there was nothing happening. So his encouragement kept me going for a bit. But my arms got tired and nothing was hooking up, so I took a break.

Our spear-fisher (Chris) soon returned to the boat again proclaiming to have speared a 10kg Mangrove Jack. But the spear pulled out. He looked more than a little upset by this. But off he went in search of the next! About 10mins later we spotted a HUGE paddle shaped tail on the surface of the water, with a reef shark in quick pursuit. We think that must have been his fish.

It was getting hot by this time, and us fisherman were pretty tired. I don't think we even had a line in the water. Dion and Jordan put their heads down for a 15min kip. Chris was sill out in search of the elusive Mangrove Jack!

When Cris returned to the boat Dion asked him what was still around. "Are there any Mackerel around" I think he said. Chris pomply replied "Yeah, just under the boat. They have been moving around the whole time". "Where abouts?" Dion asked. 'Just under the boat"....Ok. So down when a couple of Bumpa-Bars and sure enough, I was quickly hooked up to a good Mackerel. I was sure it was a Spanish. Couple of big runs. But the new rod and reel had the fish at the boat in no time. Turned out to be a rather hefty Shark Mackerel. My biggest for sure.

We tried the Bumpa-Bars for a bit more without raising a scale. We decided it was getting quite late in the day and we wanted to hit some shoal on the return journey. So we trolled our way back to the other boats. Almost there and Dion had a screaming run from a BIG Spanish Mackerel. But we didn't land it. I will let Dion tell the story as to why!!

We collected the other boats and headed for some marks on the way home. As we left the reef the wind picked up. Clearly it was going to be a bumpy trip home. We did try some shoals. But just a quick drift on each. Managed a couple of under size Nannygai. But we really had to get back.

We must have had a least 15-20knots on our tail all the way home. Was not a pleasant return trip at all. But by 5pm we were back at the ramp and glad to be on dry land. Now I have been out, I'm keen to do it in my boat.