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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 August 2011

Better than average Spanish Mackerel

Last weekend presented us with another opportunity to beat the weather and get out for a fish. Predictions of 10-15's had my heart racing in preparation. With things on the agenda for Saturday, I bravely waited until Sunday morning to have my go. As it turned out the wait was well worth it. I pulled Tania and the kids out of bed at 3am, and was very pleased to be out of the house before 4! I don't think the fish needed us to be that early, but unfortunately its necessary for an effortless launch and to secure a car park. We were soon shooting across the bay in what can only be described as mill pond conditions! But despite the dead calm water I refrained from opening the big block 150 Suzuki up! I was determined to do a few k's today at the more optimal running revs to determine fuel consumption figures. So it was 4200rpm and 25knots all day for me. 

Even at 25knots the run to Maggie Shoals was only 45mins. Here I did a quick sound around some old favourite Nannygai grounds while the kids and Tania slept in the cabin. But the sounder was bare! I couldn't locate a single fish over the dozen or so marks I have previously caught good fish on. Not even the structure that use to be there? So it was out a little further for us, to my favourite Mackerel grounds. We pulled up and within seconds the sounder came to life. I love this mark, but it now seems that within a couple of years everyone in town has gained the location! But it's a big area and easily fished by several boats, so long as they all work together. Dad was the first to join me, and by sunrise there was probably 8 or 10 other boats. 

Despite the shows on the sounder the fishing was very quiet. A couple of good runs that resulted in a bust off, and a fish or two lost to the sharks. Dad was managing a few small Trevalley, but the red fish didn't seem to be there. Once the sun came up the Mackerel started to bite. But the sharks were thick and the Trevally hungry. We managed plenty of hookups, but only two Spanish were boated. Other boats were now trolling the area for the Makerel, but appeared to be having similar problems. I saw some troll up trevalley and tuna, but only a few Macks. 

I got a little sick of the sharks and trevalley and decided to head out to Shark Shoal. Strange I know, but if I was going to be dealing with sharks anyway, I figured it might as well be worth the chance of a better fish. And we did manage to land a fish fairly quickly, despite a shark hot on his tail! The Mackerel even launched clear of the water to get away, but was still covered in cuts when he came on board. We tried the bottom for something different, but it was overall very quiet. 

Ok, time to head even wider and look for some fresh ground. I motored a few km past the shoal and found a bit of a contour line. A quick sound around soon located several patches of good looking schools of fish off the bottom. 'You little ripper' I thought as the boat was positioned and baits went down. Tania hooked up almost immediately on a Lacunas imitation made by Surecatch. Several good strong runs and plenty of head shakes down the line had me thinking Red Emperor. It was a tough fight and I was convinced all the way! But when the fish came into sight it was obviously not Red. A nice Golden Trevally. Disappointed we sounded around and found more schools and dropped  more baits. But every time it turned out to be Golden's. 

A bit of wind was now capping the surface, so we decided to head back in closer rather than further out. Another sound around the Maggie shoals and nothing could be found. So I headed North a little to some marks I haven't visited in a while. There were fish there, but all small rubbish and trigger fish. So for a last ditched effort to secure a feed it was back to my Mackerel mark for another go at the Spanish. 

As we approached the mark I could see there were still 6 or 7 boats trolling the area. I'm not sure how successful the trolling had been for them, but I pulled up over a patch of fish and dropped the Bumpa-bar. Two turns of the handle and all hell bloke loose! The 30lb braid raced off the Stella at break-neck speed. Definitely the best run of the day. Fortunately the sharks must have had full bellies and soon the fish was gaffed and on board. For the next half hour or so it was just a matter of locating the school on the sounder, dropping the slice and holding on! In no time we had an eski full of fish and had to stop. This high speed 'Bumpa-barring' really is the way to target these fish! Especially if the school can be located easily. 

A quick run back and we had to try get the boat out at 2pm on the 0.4m low. All day I knew I wanted to avoid this time. But due to the fishing we couldn't make it earlier, and we didn't want to be any later. School the next day for two very tired little boys. So as a word of advice, if you pull out on a dead low tide on the CG ramp, use the ramp closest to the ocean. We had no worries at all getting my boat out. Kids were fed and in bed by 6pm, and Tania and I followed about 7.30! What a day!

By the way, we did about 140km and used 80lts of fuel from the Suzuki. The same trip with the 2-stroke yam would have been more like 140lts (plus almost 3lts of oil).