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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 7 July 2011

Mixed Bag form Maggie Shoals

With 2 weeks school holidays I have been working hard in the garden and around the house while it blew 25knots just hoping to get a break before school started again. And yesterday was just the break I was after. Seabreeze had been showing all week a gap in the weather for Wednesday, but knowing how easily things change on seebreeze and the day gets closer, I wasn't convinced. But then Tuesday turned out be pretty good, and Wednesday was looking like a pearler!

With this being the only day in the 2 week holiday period to get the boat out I was going to make the most of it! I arrived at the ramp at 5am with Tania and the kids. Dad was already there ready to load his gear into the boat and join us for the day.

Our first stop was to be Maggie Shoals (well...a mark I have in that general vicinity anyway). The breeze was very light and on our tails. I was easily able to sit the boat on 4,500rpm and 26knots all the way while Tania and the kids slept in the cabin. The new Suzuki hummed along beautifully, and it was one of the quickest trips to the shoals I have ever had.

We pulled up on location with just a few fish showing on the sounder. Not quite the show I would have liked. But sure enough, first bait down and Dad hooks a good fish. Several strong runs along the bottom has us anticipating something Red! And we were soon proven right as a nice Nannygai was led into the net.

I hook-up next, a good fish on a Gulp plastic. This is my first fish on a new Shimano Stella 10000sw I'm trying out. And it was a good one to start with too! Pushing the 50lb Power Pro to the limits, I eventually caught site of my fish...a shark. Keen to get my jig head back I put everything into trying to land this beast, but eventually he bit me off and swam away. Oh well, its bad luck to keep the first fish on a new outfit anyway! I was now stuffed before the day had even started!

By now the sun is starting to come up and everyone is getting bit-offs. And sure enough, my next plastic is engulfed by a speedster! A good test of the Stella drag...the blistering run of a Spanish Mackerel. Somehow the single hook was pinned in a position that prevented a bite off and the fish was lead to the waiting gaff.

I was really keen to get into a good Nannygai on this outfit! But everyone was suffering from bite offs. So on went and 45g Bumpa Bar. This proved to be a deadly technique, and soon Tania pulled out the TwinPower 6000 and attached a metal slice herself. The Mackerel were thick and clearly hungry, we even witnessed one jump a good 6-10 feet in the air before a perfect 10 point dive back into the water. Even a spectator Dolphin swam just past the boat taking in all the action. It didn't take too long and we soon had our 9 fish in the eski...Time to give the kids a go!!

My children are only 4 and 6 years old. But they love their fishing. A 50lb Stella is a bit much to hold, and even the drag pressure of the 30lb TwinPower is a bit tough. So I have a Sustain 4000 with 20lb sitting on a Loomis rod. Down it came and I attached a Bumpa Bar. The kids can't wind fast enough to encourage a Spanish Mackerel, so I did the hookup and then passed the rod on. Lachlan was first, and he did very well. I held the rod off the gunwale and assisted a little with the lift, but the rest he did himself. It took a little longer than usual on the 20lb gear, and there was the constant fear of sharks. But he soon had a nice fish beside the boat.

Sebastian was next. At only 4 years of age he needed a lot more help. He just couldn't turn the handle easily against the pressure. But he did his best and had a blast. He soon had his fish in the boat and smile that stayed on his face for the rest of the day.

With plenty of Mackerel in the boat and the Nannygai not playing the game we decided to clean up and look for red fish somewhere else. While cleaning the fish we attracted a large school if big whaler sharks. The kids were kept entertained when we tied a section of 'guts' to the end of a length of rope! Once finished we pointed the nose toward shark shoal. And as soon as we did I spotted a pair of Humpback Whales jumping clear of the water in the distance. Tania loves her Whale watching, so we had to head over for a closer look. We watched for probably a half hour or so and then headed for Shark Shoal.

When we arrived there were no boats on the mark and very little showing on the sounder. Not like this spot at all! But we dropped the baits and I put down a Gulp. I was the first to get a decent fish on, but it was soon lost to the sharks. Probably a good Nannygai! Dad was next, and although he managed to beat the sharks, it turned out to be a Golden Trevalley anyway. Probably the reason the sharks left it alone!

It was now the middle of the day and very quiet. I'm keen to discover some new Red country out this way, so we put out a pair of lures and started a quick troll toward bomber wreck, always with one eye on the sounder. But after 45mins of a 2hr trip we got board and pulled the pin on that idea. We sped to bomber to discover 4 or 5 other boats fishing the mark. Not much looked like it was happening on any of the boats, but we gave it a couple of drifts. I managed a good Queenfish and Tania a smaller GT. Then Dad hooked into something solid! A long hard fight and some powerful runs had us guessing as to its identity. But soon a big fat cod emerged from the depths. We tried desperately to pierce the swim bladder and send it home, but it just wouldn't release. After 15mins of so of trying to get it to go we decided it was a keeper. At about 80cm it wan't a monster, but we would rather have released it.

Last stop of the day was a shoal mark on the way home. It was getting late in the afternoon and we were desperate for another Nannygai to add to one that came first drop of the day!! It didn't take too long at this new spot and Tania was into a good fish. I was fishing my plastics on the Stella, and trolling lures were still attached to my overheads. So dad had passed his Spheros to Tania as it was rigged ready for a pillie. This was a good fish and had her working hard! Being the good husband that I am I pulled in my plastic to get out of the way. But a nice big Cobia with mouth wide open had other ideas! It followed the plastic up and turned away at the boat. I couldn't resist! A quick flick of the plastic back out and the splash had the Cobia's attention! I didn't even need to wind, he was onto it immediately. I set the hooks and it was off!!! Tania is now yelling at me "now we will loose both fish". And with the two fish going in all sorts of directions she was almost right! Fortunately some very firm pressure on my fish had it boat-side and in the net in double quick time...even if a touch green! (We were so busy with Tania's fish that we forgot the photo)!

Next minute Tania is yelling '' as line is diminishing from the spool. I start the motor to chase the fish and look over my shoulder to see the braid all gone and the mono backing vanishing into the water! We followed the fish around for about 20mins before she finally worked it within range. A GT, and a big one! We did a jaw gaff and pulled it through the transom door. Tania was stuffed and had no hope of holding the fish for a photograph. We positioned her on the eski and Dad helped lay the fish on her lap. After the pic we did a solid 5min swim beside the boat. When the gaff was removed the fish gave several strong beats of the tail and disappeared into the depths. A good release! So here was I with a Stella to test out and Tania lands the biggest fish of the day on a trusty Spheros! 

That was it, Tania was stuffed, the kids were tired, I was hurting and sun wasn't far from setting. Time for home. We had had a fantastic day on the water, and the run home was in glass out conditions. 5000rpm and 30knots all the way back. A round trip of almost 140km used 85lts in the 4-stroke Suzuki. Not too shabby for the big block 150!