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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 29 June 2009

Bagged out on Spanish Mackerel!

My Dad arrived up from Batemans Bay late last week, so I was quite excited to see a forecast for good weather this weekend. Seabreeze had the wind dropping Saturday afternoon and Sunday. So our plan was to hit the water after lunch Saturday, and head for the shoal for the night.

We left home about 3pm Saturday afternoon, and it was still pretty windy. So I wasn't too sure we would be going far! But by the time we got bait, ice, fuel etc it was 4pm by the time we got to the ramp, and it was backing off by that stage. We first ran to the North Cardinal to try and collect some live bait, and even though there was a moderate NE chop on the water, we got there in quick time averaging about 22/23knots.

We had our tank full of bait within about an hour and decided to try reach the first shoal with enough light to chase a Mackerel. That proved to be a wrong move, as the closer shoals didn't have much on them. So with the light quickly fading we raced to the shoal I was wanting to fish. With the sun down and last light in the sky we both dropped down some live bait. Mine went off before reaching the bottom, but was quickly bitten off. Dad's was hit multiple times, but seemed to miss the hook each time. But one last hit and the hooks set. A couple of quick runs had me thinking mackerel. But with a single hook on the live bait, I didn't think we would ever see the fish. As luck would have it, the hook was in the tip of the top jaw and soon we had our first Spanish Mackerel in the eski, and a first of that species for Dad!

With almost zero light left I crossed my fingers and dropped a metal slice. It took off quickly on the drop, and I was now hooked up to something big. Didn't seem like a Mackerel, and I was almost thinking a Nannygai might have taken it. But after a lengthy fight a big Golden Trevalley came into view. I tailed the fish, got a quick pic, and let her go.

Things went pretty quiet from here. The sun was gone and we drifted live baits, dead squid and pilchards for hours. We pulled up the odd Nannygai, and lost a couple of big fish, but really, the action was very slow. About midnight we called it quits and went to bed.

Next morning we rose about 5am. The boat had swung overnight with the change in tide, so I had to re-position. But first drop of the anchor had us right back where the fish had been. Baits went down and fish were on the chew. As first light appeared we landed several fish including a couple of undersize Cobia (another first for dad) and some Nannygai. I landed the biggest Nannygai of the night, 4.5kg cleaned. But as the sun came up all we could manage was every assortment of Trevalley!

With the sun starting to appear it was time to float some pilchards. Dad continued to fish the bottom in search of the Nannygai, but I put on one of these gang hooks and flicked the pillie out. The rod was in the holder no more than about 2mins when the first fish hit. And it was a good fish too. But unfortunately part was into the fight his teeth found the trace and that was the end of that. New gang and I was quickly out again. Another hit came withing minutes, but a bight off straight away. This is the price you pay for no using wire floating pillies, but the number of hits you get is worth the lost fish! New hook and out again. This technique nailed my 4 Spanish Mackerel, biggest over 8kg, in the following 30 to 40mins! That gave us a total of 5 mackerel between us. The limit is 3 each, so I thought I had better stop and give dad a chance to land another fish!

But this stage Ward had arrived in his boat. Him and Liam were drifting, and doing quite well on metal and fly. So I decided to up anchor and give dad a go with high speed metal. Besides, the pilchards we had purchased the day before were some of the worst I have ever seen. They were soft and mushy and difficult to cast on the gang hook! Initially all dad could manage on metal was Trevalley after Treavally. And when he did finally hood a good Spanish Mackerel, it got Sharked! AND so did the next one!!! Luck was not on his side. But there were a lot of fish on the chew, and he soon hooked one that make it boat side. And it was another good fish, around the 7 or 8kg size.

So that was it for us, we had our limit by 9am and decided to head home. Despite a stiff SW breeze that we were heading directly into, we managed to maintain 20knots for the run back to the island. And from there the wind dropped completely. I opened her up and held 30+ knots all the way back to the ramp!

Looks like it was a busy morning too, boats parked all the way to the aquarium!