Fishing Reports - Elusive & Marion Reef May 2009

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Lagoon Explorer Elusive & Marion Reef May 2009

By Nomad Crew: Browse crew >>



Elusive & Marion Reef

May 2009



3 weeks

Coral Sea Lagoon Explorer


We had the privilege of fishing Elusive Reef this time around with a week at Marion Reef thrown in for good measure and certainly a good time was had by all with a wide variety of fish caught due to the very different nature of the destinations.

Week one saw us at the amazing Elusive Reef complex where we had some fantastic GT action on the poppers and stick baits.

Thrown into the mix though were lots of Spaniards , Coral Trout, Red Throat Emperor, Spangled Emperor, Red Emperor and a host of other reef species that were caught while trolling and dropping soft plastics down on shoals and drop offs.

It is a fantastic reef system in which to fish because it is a maze that allows you to be able to fish in just about any weather because you can fish the lee of the reefs out of any rough seas. In fact you have the option of hopping from what we call the “blue holes” chasing fish as you go. These blue holes are literally just that, holes or lagoons situated on top of the reef out of the main channels and after driving or drifting over the shallow reef flats you enter these remote blue holes where GTs and other fish hang out. The first cast is very often most interesting as the fish race over and maul your lure trying to do their best to destroy the intruder in their territory but more about the blue holes later in the report.

I can tell you that the trip out to Marion was not the best we have had before with rather large swells, so when we arrived it was pleasantly calm and comfortable at the anchorage. All of the fishing guides were champing at the bit, prepped and ready for the sea plane to arrive with the first guests so that we could go fishing! The weather was apparently fairly average on the mainland at Hamilton Island but we had good weather and just wanted to get out there and start harassing the fish!


Week 1

Compiled and written by our operations co-ordinator, Tim Baker. We figured that seeing as Tim has been a part of Nomad Sportfishing for such a long time , it was long overdue that he write one of our monthly trip reports.

After a quick safety brief and a hurried lunch the guys were ready for action and piled into the

51 foot Riviera game boat with Ed at the helm. The guys did a bit of casting for GTs and raised a few but unfortunately did not land any (later that night it was referred to as casting practice and just letting the guys coming out on the second plane have an equal chance!!!)

Overall though the guys were receiving some training from Dean on the deck as they were new to the art of popper fishing for GTs.

Next up the lines went out for a troll and a good time was had by all over the next few days on that front with Spaniards, Shark Mackerel, Long Tail Tuna, Mack Tuna, Gold Spot Trevally, Green Job fish and the odd GT being accounted for.

The second plane arrived with the remainder of the guests and once again they were keen to get out there and have a go at the fishing.

Spreading the guys around between the smaller centre consoles and the 18 foot dories they set out into the maze of reefs to find the GTs.

With a few fish seen and a few that were dropped we headed back at the end of the day before it got too dark to see the reef to Odyssey for a well deserved rest and a very cold beer.

Much chatter and banter was the order of the day as everyone got to know each other and settle into what was going to be a wonderful weeks fishing.

The next day was eagerly greeted by 11 keen anglers and the boats spread out in search of fish.

There were those that were more interested in trolling so the game boat set out for the day with a plan to troll but throw a few poppers and stick baits if the water looked good enough to do that and Ed said there were places that looked just awesome due to the amount of bait shimmering on the surface.

It was not the easiest thing for the game boat to hold steady in the current as the guys were casting but Ed is adept at manoeuvring in the tight confines of the reef and managed to get his guys a few GTs over the next couple of days.

The strength and stamina of the GTs astounding those that had not caught them before.

The same was true of the guests in the smaller boats that encountered the GTs for the first time and it made for interesting stories that night of the fish hooked, those lost and those that were landed.

That night on returning to Odyssey with a full day of fishing behind everyone, the stories comparing the days catch was very lively while the cold beer kept the throats lubricated.

Over dinner the discussion was had about the move out to Marion Reef as the trip was a split location and most of the guys were keen to tangle with Dog tooth Tuna which are prevalent in the area.

A decision was made to head out the following afternoon, driving through the night and arriving early the next morning.

With more GTs on the poppers, including a small Black Marlin that had a go but did not hook up and a variety of fish caught on the troll for the following day the boats were back in mid afternoon and hitched up with the tow lines for the ocean crossing.

An uneventful trip found us the next morning in the incredibly clean waters of Marion Reef lagoon and after a hearty breakfast the boats headed off in search of some big doggies.

Unfortunately there were some bad luck stories of fish hooked over the remainder of the week that were unstoppable on locked up Stella drags with 100lb braid!!

Smaller fish around the 30kg mark were landed while trolling and jigging with soft plastics making the guests very happy indeed.

Overall a wide variety of fish were caught and a really good time was had by the guys dropping soft plastics down onto shoals and down the face of walls for Coral Trout, Green Job fish, Blue Fin Trevally, Red Bass, Doggies, Long Nose Emperor, Spangled Emperor, Gold Spot Trevally and a few Maori Wrasse.


Week 2

Saw a lot of the same action with even better weather coming through.

At one stage our very capable guide Glanville was getting very excitable because he just could not land any of the really big Doggies that were smashing the jigs despite the locked up drags and the guys leaning so far back they looked almost like they were lying down on the job!!!

The Doggies were just heading for the reef and there was nothing that could be done to stop them from getting there and busting off.

The guys had sore bodies at the end of the day but some very memorable stories of the one that got away.

Ed trolled and ranged out further than the smaller boats and got some really good fish, including a nice sailfish for the week making the guys very happy.

The benefit of having the bigger game boat out there in slightly rougher seas is that you can range further afield and still catch quality fish of your choice without being restricted in where you have to go due to weather restrictions.

Some of the guests did some scuba diving to add to the mix and were suitably blown away by the amazingly rich diversity of sea life and rated it as some of the best diving they had done before.

On the second last day we headed back to Elusive Reef with another all night crossing so as to get the ocean crossing done and out the way due to rough weather being forecast.

Fortunately it held off mostly and we had a reasonable trip back to the Reef.

On the last day the highlight would have to be of Tim and his father Sandy trying to outdo each other with biggest GT caught and just before heading back in Tim landed a really nice fish around 33kg, beating his PB record for the trip as well as Sandys biggest.

However while running back to Odyssey to drop the guys off to fly out a few likely looking spots were seen and after a few tries that resulted in nothing, it was decided to call it a day but just after getting underway our guide Tim saw a likely spot that had a little bit of bait shimmering on the surface and had to stop for a very last cast.

As the popper hit the water a 35kg GT smashed it and was successfully landed by non other than Sandy – winning him the biggest fish for the trip for father and son duo!


Week 3

The last week was just spectacular with the weather turning it on for the guests.

Nearly all the guys were hard core GT fisherman and popped away tirelessly for the week with some really good fish landed to the 40kg mark and some bigger fish lost.

There were some guests that were keen to just enjoy the experience and catch whatever fish was there to be caught.

So we obliged with a few sessions out wide of the reef dropping soft plastics and having an absolutely fantastic couple of days with the reef species.

Ed managed to land 13 Red Emperor in a 3 hour session along with truly huge Long Nose Emperor, Job Fish, Red Bass, Coral Trout and heaps of Red Throat Emperor.

While Tim fished the same area with similar results.

Our regular guest Michael was not to be out done though and while fishing with Dean found numerous blue holes that held scores of GTs in them.

There were packs coming up and they were so desperate to eat the popper that they were fighting over it and all they ended up doing was continually knocking the popper out of the way with their foreheads right to the side of the boat till one hooked up and stayed connected resulting in a 35kg fish landed.

Michael had a another memorable fight where a 50+kg GT was hooked in what is now known as Cobbs Hole (Michaels surname) and then proceeded to swim out onto the shallow reef top and Dean had to chase the fish for 10 minutes but unfortunately the GT then decided he had had enough of the situation and put the after burners on and cut Michael off in the reef.

That’s GT fishing for you, just when you think you have the fish practically in the boat it decides differently and it all ends in tears.

All too soon though the week and entire block of trips came to an end with no one really wanting to go home because the weather was still picture perfect and the fish were still on the chew.

All in all it was a fantastic trip with some really big fish hooked and landed as well as new friendships forged.

I hope to see everyone on the water sometime in the near future.


Tim and the Nomad Team


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