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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Thursday 1 January 2009

Magnetic Island Shoals

Went for a fish yesterday morning with Dion. The forecast the night before was excellent, and we had high hopes for some quality Reds from the shoals. I picked Dion up at his place about 4am and headed off. Things looked fantastic. There was no wind at all in the trees, it was dead calm. We left the ramp by 5am and headed out in glassy conditions. There was a slight Northerly swell on the water, but we were still doing a good 22knots. By the time we reached the back of the island we began to hit a light Northerly breeze. Maybe 5knots as best. So things were looking good.

The plan was to fish my new shoal marks for some Nannygai first up, then with a few fish in the eski we were to look for new ground. Dion, being good mates with Bumpa-Bar Tim, is pretty gun on metal. I was pretty keen to see now he works these amazing slices for bottom fish. Dion is using a Shimano Stella 10000 on a Deep Jig rod and 50lb braid for working these Bumpa-Bars. Its a good setup. One day I will get Dion to write and article on using Bumpa-Bars.

The first drift I landed a big Slate Bream. Disappointing after thinking you have big Nanny on all the way up! Then second drift I was on again. Another Slatey! Eeek. My arms were already hurting and we were looking at each other wondering where to quality fish were. There were good marking on the sounder, surely they were not all these Mother-in-law fish.

I took a break for a couple of drifts, had to let the arms rest a minute. Dion worked the metal on the bottom and came up with a nice little Doggie Mackerel. Ok, time to fish again. Next bait down and I was hooked up to another big bottom fish. There were some tense moments as the fish came up, what was it? Soon we had the fish in view, 'Its the right colour' I said. I led the fish to the net and we had our first Nannygai in the eski. A nice 4-5kg specimen.

By this stage a rather nasty looking storm had started to move down from the North. It was still only blowing a light breeze, so we continued to fish. We worked another couple of patches and boated 2 more Nannygai and released another couple under size.

We moved about a bit, trying not to give away our location to our mates in the red tinnie. Yep, same boat that hung around us one other time. And another boat did a big arc around us trying to pinpoint our location. But the best part about drifting is its difficult for other boats to mark you. When they come close you just keep drifting and move off the spot. But it makes it difficult for youself to fish properly. I must write an article on fishing etiquette one day! Reminds my of a time I was fishing two boat with a mate of mine. We were fishing a small unknown spot together. Being good mates we were anchored pretty close together. Close enough to talk comfortably across the water. And another boat came over and anchored RIGHT BETWEEN us! Crazy hey!

On one of our drifts Dion pulled up a nice little Red Emperor. Undersize, it was the first I had seen on this particular spot. My next bait down and I had hooked up a good fish. Pulling hard I struggled to get it off the bottom. "Big Red?" I thought. But half way up, almost in sight I guess, it took off on a big run. My stomach sank and my thoughts turned to Shark! The big fish took off in a hurry, and I was soon getting low on line. I would normally break off about now, but I had half a thought of a good Cobia. Dion followed the fish with the boat, and I was soon gaining line. But suddenly things went a little slack. Weight was still on the line, but no fight. I wound in to find the head end of a rather large Gold Spot Cod attached to the end of my line. Oh well, at least it wasn't the head of a Red Emperor! I have had that happen before. In fact my only legal Red was lost to a shark in exactly the same way. Funny thing was, the hooks were deep in the Cods mouth. So the shark was never actually hooked, just holding the fish!

By now the storm had moved in closer and wind had picked up. We tried to continue fishing, but the drift was WAY too fast. We stuck it our for a while, hoping that the rain would hit and wind drop off. But neither eventuated. We bearly got a drop of rain, and wind just kept building. It would have been 20knots when we decided to head back in.

It was a sloppy ride, but we managed to maintain 20knots all the way back to the Island. Luckly I put the clears up the night before, we copped a few waves of the front and would have ended up pretty wet.

Back at the North Cardinal things were a lot better. Wind was still in the 10-15 range, but the seas were a lot kinder. We drifted there and worked Bumpa-Bars for a bit. Hoping for a few Mackerel. Dion hooked up and landed a nice Doggie first cast! But a couple of drifts later I hooked up a screamer. First run had us thinking a nice Spanish Mackerel, but after several more runs and long fight we began changing our tune. A Spanish Mackerel just does not have the stamina this fish did. Dion worked the boat as we tried to keep clear of the Pilon. Again drifting proved a valuable technique, as we quickly move away from the snag. Had we been anchored, the fish would have bricked my for sure. A few more minutes of working my new TwinPower 6000 hard and the fish was boat side. A quality GT in the 8kg range. These fish sure are beefy, and this was my PB. A few pics and the fish was released to fight another day.

We worked a few of the other markers on the way back, but didn't manage much more than a couple of hits. Back at the ramp about 11.30am, it had been a great day. Not the one we had planned, but a good day none the less.