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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Monday 22 December 2008

Fishing Port Dougles

Ok, I think I finally have a couple of minutes to put together something about our Holiday to Port Douglas. We left on Friday 12th of December at 8am with boat in tow. We were initially undecided about taking the boat, but with a great week of weather forecast for the far North, we couldn't leave her behind. On our arrival in Port Douglas at about 5pm we instantly went looking for somewhere to buy bait.

We soon discovered that Fishing isn't really a big thing in Port Douglas. There isn't even a tackle shop! But there is a 24hr service station that stocks a good range of bait. Although its a tad on the expensive side. We didn't have freezer space to store bait overnight, so I questioned the attendant as to his stocks. With a 5knot, 0.4m seas forecast for Saturday I had concerns that he would run out. But he assured me there was plenty.

The next morning we planned to hit the ramp at sunrise (5.30am) as I didn't want to run out of an unfamiliar port in the dark. I was a little concerned about parking at the ramp as it was a weekend and such a good forecast. A quick call into the servo saw is with bait for the day. On arrival at the ramp I soon found that my concerns about parking were unfounded. There were no more than 2 other trailers parked at the ramp! Yeah, like I said, fishing doesn't seem to be a big thing up there! We pointed our nose toward Bat reef and headed off over glass conditions.

I decided to run us in the channel between Bat and Tongue reefs and search for some rubble in the deep water that may hold some Reds. And in under 40minutes we were there. The area was abound in tuna schools. Bait and birds were everywhere. We played around for a while with these fish, keeping an eye on the sounder for anything interesting.

After having enough fun with Tuna, we trolled some Mackerel lures around the edge of the reef. Not being a reef fisherman, I wasn't too sure what to look for. So we wasted a couple of hours just looking around. But persistence paid off, and I round a lump in 30m of water. The top of which came up to 18m. There were massive schools of bait hanging off the peak, with good arches sitting around it. A couple of passes with the lures resulted in several hits and a couple of landed Spanish Mackerel.

Next I positioned the boat over the school for some high speed metal. This worked a treat. We has Spaniards under the boat chasing slices and were getting smashed almost every drop. Amongst the Macks were some big Gold Spot Trevalley. This kept us entertained until the bite slowed at the change of tide. We then had a look around the reef, swim, snorkel etc before heading home. It was a long hot day with practically no wind the entire time.

Next trip out was Monday morning. We had planned to go at a similar time, but some morning storms held us back. But once the front had passed it glassed out again. Still raining we headed out about 9am. Initially we were just going to check out some spots close in, but sea flattened and we continued to the reef. Back at our bommie we found the fish biting again. But we found in hard to find the Macks. We landed quite a few Trevalley, and one big Broad Barred Mackerel. This was a shorter day as the kids were still exhausted from the previous fish. So we headed home about lunch time. AGAIN, in a total milk-pond.

Our final run out was on Thursday. We really wanted to get some fillets to bring home so the plan we to head out early. But another round of storms kept us in bed. Things eased up and morning progressed and we headed out again at about 9am. There was not a breath of wind on the water, although it was a little sloppy from the storm. If we had gotten out earlier I would have liked to try some of the outer reefs. But a late start meant back to the peak.

First drift of the mark and fish were going off! They were hitting the metal every drop. Bait was showering around the place and there were even a few small sharks around. Looked like being a great morning. On that first drift we landed a couple of big Trevalley and an undersized Spanish Mackerel. And say numerous other fish chase to the surface. But when the boat was re-positioned the bit had gone. Not sure what happened, but we simply couldn't find the fish. The bait was showing on the sounder, but no predators.

We looked around for some other spots to fish, but didn't have much luck. Another look at the reef and headed for home.

For anyone interested, the reef is only about 16nm from the ramp. The weather was, apart from the storms, simply stunning from one day to the next. The ramp is a good 3 lane cement ramp. Although its quite steep. I found the ramp was ok in 0.7m of water and up. The bottom is quite slippery. There is a public jetty a short walk downstream.

Couple of Video clips from the trip too.....