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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Finally Some Nannygai!

Edit: Pictures added.

Beautiful break in the weather at just the right time. Arrived back from holiday at Mission Beach late Saturday. With the forecast of a drop in wind Sunday night I was keen for a Spanish Mackerel. A Spaniard is Wards last fish for his top 10, so I knew he would be keen to head out with me.

We met at the ramp at 4.30 Monday morning. The plan was to head to the shoals, and shoal hop our way out as far as we needed to find the fish. Our first stop was at about the 16nm mark. A patch I found a couple of years ago. It has produced the goods in the past, but nothing special in quite a while. A sound around didn't reveal much, so we didn't even drop a line!

Next we made a short run to a nearby wreck. Fish were showing, so we dropped anchor. After about an hour of running a burley trail we had nothing in the eski! I was fishing a floating pilchard and squid on the bottom, and Ward fished fly as always. The decision was then made to go wider.

I headed for Shark Shoal. I had never been there before, but had been told it holds good numbers of Spanish Mackerel. That was good enough reason for me to spend the extra fuel and go wide. But we hadn't gone more than about 5miles when I spotted a spike of bait on the sounder. A quick mark with the gps and we spun around. A quick drift and a drop of a metal slice resulted in an instant hookup from a Mack. But it threw the hooks pretty quick. Next few drops of the Bumpa-bar achieved nothing. Time to try the bottom. So I baited up with squid and dropped down. Instantly I hooked up on a good fish. Big head shakes and a fish that didn't want to come off the bottom. I had my hopes up! Shortly a nice fish appeared beside the boat. A Nannygai! YES. The fish was netted and brought aboard. Clearly in excess of 5kg, a few pics and a handshake and she was put on ice. Successive drifts resulted in a few good bites, but no hookup. That is until the 'freight train' jumped on! Unfortunately I will never know what this fish was, but I was hooked solid for 10mins. I could feel head shakes, but couldn't lift the head off the bottom. And when it ran, well I could do nothing! Against 50lb braid and a locked drag it was pulling the boat slowly around! But eventually leader gave way. A good thing too, I was hurting. By this stage another boat in the area had come over. The were clearly trying to 'ping' my spot. Bloody rude buggers! Not wanting to loose my new spot the same day I found it, we decided to keep going to Shark Shoal.

On arrival the sounded clearly showed there was plenty of structure here, and I could see the Macks on the sounder. But there wasn't the huge bait schools I was expecting, and the Macks were pretty spread out. We tried drifting a few times, me with metal off the bottom and Ward with his fly. But we were in successful. Ward did manage one blistering run. A good fish that he was hooked up to for a few mins. But it bit through, well shredded actually, a new trace he was trying. But other than that things really were not working. So we decided to try trolling. At least we could better cover the area. I trolled my favorite red and white Rapala and Ward his fly. First pass and instant hookup. Big screaming run. But what appears to be shot drag on my Calcutta 700 resulted in a bust off when the drag stuck. The drag feels terrible now. So it was put away and my other 700 brought out. Ward had a hit at the same time, but was instantly bitten off. Second pass and another hookup. This time the fish was landed. A nice 4-5kg Mack. Ward's line came back minus another fly, but we are unsure when the hit occurred. It may have been while the line sank as he netted my fish.

Another pass and another hookup. But this time I could feel bumps on my line as I was fighting the fish. Then nothing! Sharks? Time for a new lure. Couple more passed and a couple of bumps, but no hookup. Then we spotted them! A HUGE shape under the water near the lures. So this was why it was called Shark Shoal! I had been warned about the difficulty of landing fish here due to the sharks, but I was expecting masses of bronzies or the like. Not 3 or 4 massive tiger sharks bigger than my boat! It was obvious they knew boats meant food, and they simply followed us waiting for a hookup! Ward managed a fish that soon turned into a shark. Funniest thing ever. Ward on a 12-wt fly rod attached to a tiger shark. I still don't thing the thing knew it was hooked!! When it became obvious we were not going to get a fish on board we decided to head back to my new Nannygai spot.

We were almost there when Ward spotted a sea snake on the surface. I had been told that this can be a great way to find new spots, as there must be something on the bottom the snake lives at. A quick sound around soon showed a patch on the bottom. First bait down and a nice little Nannygai of about 55cm came up. Ward then hooked up on what was clearly a good Nanny! But he took it easy, not wanting to pull hooks or bust leaders. He was on the fish a good while, several good runs along the bottom. But sure enough, the fish found structure. It must have hurt to loose that fish. Further drifts resulted in a nice cod and some other small snappers. But no more Nannygai. Our friend in the red tinnie again joined us from his near by spot. I'm not sure I should have pictures of my boat on here anymore? Or if I should even write reports? But I guess there are always rude people. With the first baits down generally getting the goods, we decided to try the original mark again.

Sure enough, first bait down and another 5kg fish joined his mate in the eski. And sure enough, the little red boat follows! Another bait and it was another freight trait. And that was it for me! My arms were shot!! Ward missed another couple of hits here, and was bitten off again. I think our mates might have succeeded in getting our mark as the sounded around and suddenly shot back to their original spot. If you did get it guys, please look after it!

That was it for us, a gear day by our recent standards! And I am still hurting from those trains.

I am currently in Victoria typing this report on my phone, so I apologize for errors in spelling and formatting. I also have pics to add when I get access to a computer.