Fishing Reports - Capricorn Islands Feb 2009

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Capricorn Islands Feb – 2009

By Glanville, Nomad Pro Guide: profile page >>

Reef/s:

Months:

Capricorn Islands

Feb 2009

Duration:

Trips:

3 weeks

Lagoon Explorer

After some maintenance over Christmas, our first destination for the year was the Capricorn Islands which I have been longing to visit since I have been a part of the Nomad team, being constantly reminded by the crew and the photo slides that keep teasing my thoughts with photos of the beasts that were tamed around the most unbelievable rock faces and small islets which in their own right are among the most amazing scenes to be casting poppers towards.

 

Week1

As the first week of charter approached and with it the weather, that, this time was not the best, the weather associated with the Cyclone that was hanging around the Northern Queensland coast, after sitting inside the mother ship watching as the rain came down in sheets and the wind howled a 35knots against the window, it seemed that it was inevitable that the first week of the trip would fade into a distant memory, the week where the guides get the chance to get the dust off the heavy artillery and get them into some serious battle and revenge on the beasts that we have seen come charging into smash lures over the previous year of charter on the water, the fish that stamp a firm memory in your mind leaving you with nothing but the hole in the water where your lure had now been extracted from your line to hang on their mantle piece in proud display to the GT world.

As the weather cleared enough that we were we were able to set out from Mackay marina in traumatising conditions leaving us with no other option but to drive the two centre consoles out the 37 miles to our nearest fishing destination, the Curlew group of islands, on arriving there a few hours earlier than the mother ship, “Odyssey”, it gave myself and Tim the chance to go on a little exploratory mission around the island in search of a comfortable and adequate anchorage to land the sea plane safely. As we approached the North Western Corner of the main Island where we were to search the anchorage, instantly the thoughts of the rough sea and the traumatising trip over in the smaller boats vanished, as I noticed the current hooking around the corner of this cliff face that plummeted into the ocean and the surge rushing up against the side and instantly the memories of Oman, ‘Musandam’, where I had guided the previous year sprung to mind, as I raced over towards where Tim was, expressing my excitement on the area, only to be further teased by his comment that followed, notifying me of the tidal change which ranged 4,5m, insuring that there is no shortage of current in the area, it was time to get the rods out and go hunt some of the creatures that made the waters around the Capricorn Islands there hunting grounds.

After not managing to find a suitable anchorage within the Curlew group of islands we made the further 30 mile journey to the Duke islands where I was informed by Tim that great fishing was had here and he personally managed to tame a monster specimen the previous year, 55kg. Due to the terrible weather that was pestering the area the guests were delayed a short while at Hamilton Island before getting airborne and arriving at the mother ship at around 2pm where we awaited their arrival in a peaceful, completely sheltered little bay, surrounded by calm water and a scene that was quite difficult to choose correct words to get the message across.

A quick briefing, a lunch break to charge the batteries and we were on the water in search of some fish to bend the rods on the first day of charter, after fishing the afternoon around some awesome spots we were only managed to raise a few fish in the, wet, windy conditions, getting bust off couple times by Gts and with the lighter 30lb gear with a few smaller fish and Gt caught by Neil of around 22kg to get the joints oiled up and ready for the following day of fishing.

The next day on the dead of the tide we decided to make a run to Otterborne Island as to not waist any of the valuable current which is a necessity when it comes to Gt fishing, it was an great decision and as I approached the island I was alerted by Tim on the radio, who arrived at the area a short while before me, that a fish came up to smash a popper on their first cast towards a rock island…

On arriving back at the mother ship and the discussion over a couple drinks we established that we had managed to raise a fair few fish and they seemed to come up to the lures with an advanced sense and not actually attacking the lures but turning away at the last second leaving a hole in the water the blood running a little faster. Besides the fish having a university degree, which we put down to the miserable weather conditions that had plagued the area for the past 2 weeks, Robert managed to get a fish that I called 28kg and some good fun was had with the lighter gear on coral trout, gold spot trevally, queenies, smaller Gts and some other species throughout the day.

The decision to move onto an area which promised us a better anchorage and more variety of fishing was made and it was off to Island Head Creek which started off slow but as the weather improved over the following days the fish seemed to had found use of their knives and forks and we were back in the game, it seemed that they were feeding on the run out tide which left the mornings a little slow and the game on closer to the end of the day, I found a spot hugged up against an island where we managed to find an endless supply of queenfish feeding in the current on the edge of a rock bar and the 30lb rods it seemed there was no end to the extreme action with triple hook ups on queenies continuously, where for the first time ever I saw a queenfish nearly eat the tip of one of the anglers rods as he was swiping his soft plastic up and down the edge of the boat while we were watching the shoal of fish getting teased until a fish lost its sense of humour and pounced on his lure…was pretty entertaining event.

After raising a few Gts in the morning and getting bust off by a quality specimen we found a channel between islands where every drop with the soft plastic lures produced a fish, kind and kind were caught everything from cod, trout, queenies, smaller Gts , tusk fish only to be further blessed by finding a pack of Gts on the way home bringing a fish of around 28kg to the boat for yet another photographic opportunity, another leaving one of the guys lying on his back looking up at the sky as the Gt tied his line in a bow around one of the submerged bommies and a few other hook ups, was a great way to finish off a fine day fishing as we arrived back at the mother ship with big smiles on our face to meet the other guests.

The late afternoon was that productive we decided to make an early morning expedition to the same place in order to catch the same part of the tide and it worked like a treat, seeing a bunch of Gts before 8am but only able to land a good sized fish, a bit of soft plastic fishing was the order when the current slowed and off to the spot which produced an endless supply of an assorted species before a monster Queeny attached itself to Stephens 30lb rod and after an awesome tussle the fish was lifted onto the deck for a couple photos weighing in at 21lbs on the boga, a great thought to go away with.

We had a few days to do a bit of guide fishing with a guest angler, blessed with amazing weather we set out with the video camera on the boat to do a little filming and testing of the new Ripple Fisher casting rods which turned out to live up to expectations, they have a nice range of rods which cater for every Gt enthusiasts need, we started off immediately on the first drift with a fish up on the popper but after a short dual spat the hooks, after an awesome day out on the water with a few fat healthy Gts being modelled for the camera, we returned to the mother ship at High Peak Island where we sat around with a couple drinks and spoke of the day’s events and the day that followed before noting a huge shoal of squid in the lights at the back of the boat which ended up in a black mess as Dean, Tim, Brett and I attacked them for a dinner feed.

Fishing our way to the Percy Islands the following day and in some awesome, blue sky and windless conditions we managed to get a few fatter healthy Gts which were obviously making good use of the abundance of squid in the area.

My preference of the bunch of rods was the GT 78 XH it’s a PE 12 rod with a fast tip action and probably one of the best Gt popping rods I have ever used, using 150lb braid and a hammered down drag to test the bend on these rods I managed to stop a fish of about 30kg in less than 10m and after a short but almighty struggle managed to bring the fish to the boat for a small video clip and couple pictures, was extremely impressed at how well the rod handled to stupid amounts of pressure in the back bone. Another rod which was an absolute beauty was a lighter version, the Atlas, Yamaga, 78 PE 8 which for lighter Gt/casting action is awesome, it requires hardly any effort for casting and the 125g popper seems to disappear into the distance presented in the perfect position for the that beast fish which the rod had no problem with and handled the task with ease with the amount of back bone that it had to offer.

 

Week 2

Week 2 of the trip started off with a bang and as the first plane of guests arrived at around 11 30 it was the standard safety briefing an appetising lunch and wasting no time to get out on the water to go hunt some fish to get a good bend in some rods…this was sure to happen… after a short discussion on the guys fishing experience it was made apparent to me that 2 of the 3 guests I had on my boat were complete novices to Gt angling, so I decided use the slack in the tide productively and try to prepare them somewhat by going through some helpful hints on making the technique in casting and retrieving the heavy poppers a little easier, as the guys had it finetuned we head out to do some soft plastic fishing which instantly resulted in a couple of smaller Gts and a few other different species to get rid of the cobwebs, as the current increased it came time to hunt some Gts but on the way to a spot I had been itching to cast a few poppers at, we managed to get caught up in a Longtail tuna road block, after chasing the frothing tuna over the ocean catching 5 or 6 good size Longtails, I decided to make use of the current before it ran out and try a place that I had been busting to give a try, on arriving at the spot noticing a small shoal of Fusiliers, “Gt chocolates” flicking about nervously on the edge of the current, the game was sure to be on, I instantly became enthused and readied the guys as I positioned them on the spot, the first cast by Chris resulted in 2 fish attacking, but bumping each other out of one another’s way until they came to the boat like spoilt children begging for more, the following casts landed on the money as I watched the lures with undivided attention as the first pop was made, second pop resulted in the water turning to some cyclonic wash of water as a massive Gt engulfed the lure, “Tight stick!!”, I shouted, “double hook up, make that triple!!!!”, were the excited words that followed as there was an excitement of shouts and three buckled rods as the Gts were picking their preferred bommies to attempt to tie ribbons around, but this time they failed, 2 of the 3 fish were brought succefully to the boat, 34kg and 36kg, smashing the virginity of 2 new Gt anglers and what a way to start off.

One more drift was made before we ran back to the mother ship to get rid of the day time heat with an ice cold beer and the excitement of the stories of the afternoon still fresh in the minds of the guests who expressed their stories of the afternoon events. Lenny’s words after fishing only 4 hours on arriving on the first afternoon all the way from New York were, ”If I had to fly back home now it would be worth every bit of it that Gt was unbelievable, they don’t look that big in the pictures!!!”, expressed with an American accent of excitement.

The next day turned out to once again be successful for some of the boats and Brett, this time lead his crew of guest anglers into some awesome fishing boating 4 fish around the 30kg mark and a couple smaller species of fish with the lighter gear and once again get stuck in the tuna block which happened on route to the next Gt spot.

A move back to the squid Capital of the Capricorn Islands, High Peak, was the plan and we fished the scattered islands along the way, the weather seemed to be treating us too well as the report for bad weather was due the following day, we made use of the great weather conditions and on Tim’s boat they had a good day with a bunch of fish of all species and a telly of 5 Gts Chris managed to tame the beast of the trip, a fish that would have pushed the scales to around 50kg with a Fork Length of 139cm and a girth of 106cm it truly was a monster. A lot of fish were seen but again the fish were coming up with a mild case of lock jaw and after some hard fishing David boated a quality fish of around 25kg. The next day was off to go and explore an area that I was lead to believe none of the guys had been to so I thought I would be the guinea pig…awesome location it turned out to be and it resulted in getting bust off 3 times by fish over 30kg and the amazing picture of a Gt eating a lure right near the boat was a takes that remind you of why you cast these big lures around the ocean all day…a blur of black fish and white water and a big open bucket mouth swallowing a lure as if it were a mere guppie in your fish tank.

Bad weather and the retreat to Duke islands in search of that nice flat anchorage for the seaplane to land safely, it was that rough that we were unable to tow the boats and the guides had to…Harden up a little and make the trip over to Duke islands, lucky it was with the weather so we managed to get there only wet through 2 layers…

Fishing around the Dukes was not as it has been in the past I was told by Tim but this didn’t stop us hunting everything with scales and we managed on an afternoon of slow fishing to pull out the light gear and have a great time on a shoal of Nannygai tacking a good specimen home to get fried up for some pre dinner snacks.

On the last morning we still had some mad keen anglers on the boat and after a long week of fishing they had 2 goals to accomplish, Lenny an American guest was in dying need to catch a Queenfish to put on his Species list and Folke from Norway needing his last Gt, I lead the Queenfish boat and Tim took Folke to go hunt his last fish for the trip, Lenny succeeded in hooking to great queenfish that both jumped the hooks loose and Folke got his last Gt for the trip.

Looking forward to fishing with you guys again, keep well and tight sticks…

Glanville and the Nomad Team


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