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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 4 March 2013

Lucinda Jetty Fingermark

With local Barramundi populations giving me the proverbial finger for the last few weeks, I needed a change of scenery. So I contacted my old mate Christian from Halifax and organised to drive up for a session in the Channel. Christian's boat has been out of action for quite a while now, and with a young family he doesn't get to go fishing too often. I have been promising to get my boat up there for ages, so this seemed like a good opportunity.

The alarm was set for 3.30am with the plan to meet Christian at his place about 5.30. The drive up was a little boring being in the car on my own, but a re-fuel at Yabulu and a stop for ice at Ingham broke the drive, while some pumping tunes and a lightening storm in the distance kept things interesting.

We launched the boat right on daybreak, and with glass out conditions we decided to chase some Fingermark at the end of the Jetty first. I was quite surprised to see only a handful of boats already at the ramp, and we were the first to fish the end of the sugar loader. As soon as we passed the outer sand bank and got into deeper water the bait started to show on the sounder. The bait was literally everywhere! I hit the 'Spot-lock' on the Minn Kota over the densest section of bait and we deployed our lures. I put down a Quickcatch soft vibe and Christian sent down a 7in Gulp plastic in Nuclear Chicken.

A small Cod was the first to take the Quickcatch, but it was quickly followed by a lovely 43cm Coral Trout. A couple of other bumps came, but the predators didn't appear to be in the bait school. So we moved around a bit and used the Humminbird Side Image to try and pick up the bigger fish among the bait school. We found a patch on the inside of the Jetty and began woking that area. I changed over to a Threadybuster and was quickly smacked by what I 'think' was a Mackerel.

After loosing an expensive lure that hardly made it from the packet, I decided to change over to a Gulp 'squid-viscous'. Working the Gulp closer to the pylons I was soon demolished by what I can only assume was a nice Fingermark. The next good take was for Christian on his 7in jerk bait. But unfortunately the hooks pulled as he tried to tussle the fish away form the cover. The next fish was also lost when I pulled the hooks only seconds into the fight.

Things went very quite from here and we moved around a fair bit trying to locate the predators in the huge expanse of bait. Eventually we found some bigger fish marking on the Side Image of the Humminbird 998. I sent down one of Ben's G.I.M.P lures, and it didn't take long for a big fish to hit and screen off. But the angle of the line soon gave away fishes identity, as a big Queenfish broke free of the surface. The fish danced on the surface a few times before running deep toward the front of the boat. This took the fish past Christians line. What happened next we are not sure about, but the hooks pulled from my lure and at the same time Christian hooked up my fish. We think his Gulp may have hooked over my line and then slid down to the fishes mouth. In doing so it has dislodged my lure and hooked his up at the same time! Whatever the case, he soon had my Queenfish attached and jumping out the front of the boat. With an audience of workers watching on the jetty, we soon had the fish in the net. A quick photo and a very apologetic Christian sent the fish back to where he came.

The next fish took Christians 'Nuclear Chicken' Gulp. A solid fish that slugged it out deep. We had been unlucky so far with the Fingermark, but I was pretty convinced this one was going to make it in the boat! Again, with our audience watching, Christian worked hard to ensure the fish didn't make it back to cover. And soon the silhouette of beautiful big Finger came into view. A very nervous net shot from me and fish was soon lifted aboard. At 75cm it was Christian's PB Fingermark.

We continued to work the same area as more fish were showing on the Humminbird. Soon my Squid-viscous was smashed and another big fish headed for cover. The 20lb Power Pro did the job and I was able to hold the fish back from the Pylons. Now it was Christians turn to ensure the fish made it safely into the net! He did a great job and my fish joined his chilling in the esky. At 74cm it was another good fish.

The iPilot Minn Kota proved to be a real saviour in this type of fishing. We could move around the bait with ease and silence to locate the predatory fish on the sounder. The motor never spooked the bait and it was a simple matter of hitting the 'spot-lock' button when were were over a patch we wanted to fish. No anchoring necessary! We never had to worry about drifting into the jetty and we could even return to our locked position after chasing a fish. An invaluable bit of kip!

From here we bailed and headed up the Channel in search of a Barra on the run out tide. But the slack tides did nothing for the drain fishing, and we didn't see a Barra all day. We did, however, managed an assortment of 'by-catch' during the afternoon session.

We pulled out about 5.30pm and I didn't get home until just after 7.30. But I again got to watch a lightning show most of the way home. It was a long and tiering day, and a little disappointing with regards to Barramundi. But 2 nice Fingermark to bring home isn't bad going!