Fishing Reports - July Short Trips Ribbon & Escape Reefs 2015


July 2015 Photo Gallery


July 2015 Guide Report Trip Summary



So the past month we have fished the Howick Islands and Jewell Reef out off Lizard Island, fishing has been overall pretty good with a mix of great days consisting of 8 to 10 GTs, a couple of big ones amongst them and a large variety of other species such as wrasse, trout, mackerel, yellowfin tuna just to name a few. Fishing Howick was pretty awesome to say the least, being only a mile off mid reef where most of my GT fishing was done. There were plenty of sand cays around so most lunchtimes were spent walking the sand flats for queenfish and GTs which I thought was a nice change from fishing out of the boats.

The outside edge was a bit of a run but awesome when the weather allowed us to get out there and chase the yellowfin. Most days we went we would find the birds and the fin. Unfortunately the Sharks have been quite punishing along most of the edge making it difficult to land any good sized pelagics.

Jewell Reef was consistent as always with flats fishing always saving the day, fishing the blues holes up north of Jewell was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Can’t say I’ve seen that many species concentrated into one small place before, so as you can imagine the fishing was very good. Actually trying to get a lure away from the red bass so the wrasse and GTs could get it was probably the hardest thing while we fished in there.

The weather was not the best the past month. As the south easterly trade winds are here, 15-20 knoters were pretty standard for most days which made travelling a bit difficult. So for me Howick was ideal as most of the travelling and fishing was all sheltered behind reefs where it was dead calm.

Overall the 3 and 4 day trips we did to Howick and Jewell were full on with plenty of great guests and good fishing we did have the odd slow day but that’s just fishing. Most of those days were forgotten with all the amazing cool and exciting places seen and fished.




For the few nights prior to my first trip with Nomad I struggled to get to sleep studying Navionics maps and green zone maps all around the Jewell and Howick Island group! I had never been so excited and nervous about a fishing trip but before I knew it I was onboard Odyssey and we were steaming up the coast to Lizard Island. After a good sleep I awoke at 7 to look out the window and see Lizard Island looking a bit bare from a lack of trees but recovering well after Cyclone Nathan. The weather wasn’t looking great for the next week with a constant 20-25 knot South Easter predicted but I was keen and ready. Come midday the planes flew onto Lizard Island and we picked up everyone had a quick briefing and it was time to go!

First up it was a 16nm trip north to Jewell Reef straight to a set of bommies in search of a few GTs for the arvo! Within a few casts we were on to a GT of about 10kgs but it didn’t stop there a huge black spot cod came through and grabbed the popper and dragged the poor GT around for a bit until we could pull it boatside where I pulled both fish in. After that we pulled a few more GTs but in the rough conditions we gave up and headed back towards the boat to drop a few plastics! We had an insane couple hours in which I converted a few people to plastics fishermen and we caught plenty of trout, jobfish, cod and even a wrasse along with some epic bust offs!

Next morning I couldn’t wait to go back and fish plastics again with a repeat of the previous arvo it was constant bending on a heap of different reefies along with the few unstoppables. From there we headed up on the flats to be greeted with GTs and redbass in plagues! A lot of the time we had a few redbass just following the boat! After a few lost lures we learnt that short or strategic casts not over bommies were going to mean a lot less lost lures.


From there the wind picked up making it a little bit harder for us. I knew when I woke up and I could hear the wind whistling outside the window it was going to be a rough day of fishing. But long drifts over the flats came up with the goods and we still managed a heap of fish for the morning with my highlight a 10kg trout before we moved to a channel north of Jewell that was a bit more protected where the plastics copped a hiding and left us catching a lot less fish than we hooked and my tackle bag a lot lighter! So trolling for a mackerel was up next and it didn’t take long at all before long we had one onboard then a nice big trout on the troll.

Last morning for the boys and they wanted to head back to the flats and it didn’t take long before we found a bit of action and we managed a couple of solid GTs on the light gear and some crazy driving crashing them through the bommies. Then it was back to the boat for the trip back to Lizard Island to change over and pick up the fresh group of people to head back out to Howick Island. I got reception briefly at Lizard and managed to get a weather forecast and with a couple of days towards the end of the trip looking like better weather I was excited! We did the run north to Howick and had a bit of an explore in the arvo with only a couple of fish landed for the short session. After dinner we had a meeting and all picked our reefs for the next day and discussed our game plan for the next few days ahead of us.


Over my morning coffee I did my final checks on the charts but I couldn’t help but notice it was only a light breeze! So off we went on a short run north to a long reef with a sand cay on the northern point. First up we had a pop and the GTs came out to play with a fair few fish for the morning but we couldn’t help the urge to head over to the sand cay calling us! Upon arrival we found the biggest schools of queenfish I have ever seen in my life! With plenty of fish landed over a meter it was an amazing sight watching them swim around on the sand in only a couple meters of water!!!! Not to mention the red bass and GTs mixed in amongst them. We did miss a couple bites from mammoth GTs that were up on the sand chasing around the queenies but no hookups, that didn’t matter though you still couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces as we drove back to the mothership watching the sun set over Cape Melville! As we arrived back to the boat and had a beer everyone seemed to have had a good day with plenty of fish being caught by all boats.


I couldn’t wait to get back to the same reef as I had something special planned for this day – I  had on board young Josh and his dad Steve and all 12 year old Josh wanted to do was catch GTs! I couldn’t wait to watch him getting dragged around on 100lb and I was not disappointed one bit. The day started a bit slow but before long I had spotted a few balls of fusiliers along a pressure point and I knew Josh was about to have an experience he wouldn’t forget. First cast for young Josh took about half a second to hook up to a big black angry GT,  sadly Josh got busted off and he was devastated but I assured him not to worry and to grab his Dad’s rod. Next patch of bait and he was on again but this time his GT was well behaved and stayed in the deep water and after a long battle the little bloke had a 20kg GT boat side and there were some huge smiles on the boat and some crazy photos to back up his stories to tell his school mates. We got a few more smaller models for everyone on the boat then some squalls moved in so we moved back to the queenies and they didn’t disappoint once again. But there was only so much we could handle and we headed back to the boat early to get out of the rain.

Next day we were greeted by a howling south easterly so we headed to the reef flats to find a few GTs and reefies with pretty consistent action throughout the morning. But we wanted some GT action so we headed to another reef system to find a few the GTs on a nice edge. After that it was back to the boat to load the boats and have a good night’s sleep before heading back to Lizard Island the next day and that was the end of that!


A few days off and it was time to hop on a plane and head back to Lizard Island it was an awesome experience the reefs look so different from the air! But that didn’t last long we headed straight onto the boats and ran north to Howick and had a good arvo session with 6 GTs even a few on a homemade popper which left the homemade paint job with some pretty impressive scars.

Next day GTs were the name of the game for the whole day with pretty constant action. We just fished between two islands and the only slow part of the day was around the slack tide but it gave us time to relax and explore a sand cay right next to Odyssey. By the end of the day we’d had a couple of special moments with a some huge chinamen and a double hookup and GTs!

With a forecast looking a bit better we made our way to Jewell reef with only a few fish landed for the day, but the trips running along the reefs spotting turtles on the sand as well as other creatures made up for it.

Off to the flats for the high tide and it started off with packs of just about everything you could think of! The variety we caught in the morning made for an awesome few hours. As the tide dropped we headed off to a couple of blue holes to be greeted with GTs to 20kg and trout to 12kg – we had a few times where I was trying to chase two fish hooked up! We were even lucky enough to land a few wrasse on the light gear. To finish off the day we had a nice relaxing plastics fishing session where we caught some awesome fish but the best was a cod around 25kg that was eating other smaller cod we hooked!

The last morning left us on the flats and we had a bit of variety landing all sorts of reefies but the morning didn’t last long and we had to head back to Odyssey and that was the end of the trip




It has been a big month for the Nomad crew fishing around the Jewell Reef and Howick Island group just north of Lizard Island. This is an awesome area to explore with so many options. For example in one day we went from casting lures in a small creek located on one of the islands for jacks, tarpon & barra to a pristine sand cay to have lunch while sight casting GTs and queenfish to then we ran 7 miles out to fish for yellowfin, GTs and doggies on the outside edge. I don’t know many places in the world where you could potentially catch all these species in one day let alone one week!!

The fishing overall for the month was quite steady with some epic days but also some tough days mainly due to the south east trade wind that hammered us for majority of the month.

A big stand out for the month for me was fishing with the AFN team in a remote blue hole with coral trout, red bass, job fish, blue trevally, maori wrasse and GTs all fighting for surface lures in water so clear you could see them coming from 50 meters away – this went on the whole time we were able to fish this hole (nearly 2 hours!) before we had to sneak out to avoid getting stuck.

Another stand out for me was fishing with a 12 year old on his first proper fishing trip and to watch him cast big poppers and stick baits all day was awesome, he absolutely nailed some fish including a few GTs over 20kgs which is almost half his weight. It was pretty special to see him and his dad bond over some awesome fishing!

July Daily Guides Reports:




Jason:  Another good day fishing Mid Reef on the run out this morning, GT’s were fishing well but struggling to keep the hooks in most of them and the weather made the day much easier to fish with only 15 knots most the day. Lunch was pretty special as we met up with the other guests at Long Reef where we beached the boats on a sand cay at low tide that stretched at least 200 metres with a shallow sandy bottom right the way around. Although the fishing was not overly exciting there the view for lunch was amazing. The afternoon picked up excitement as we headed out to the edge in search of some yellowfin tuna. As we arrived the birds were working and after only 10 minutes on the troll and we had a double hookup of yellowfin.  One was sharked very soon after and Rob managed to land one, barely missing the sharks at the boat. All up we landed 5 GTs from many hook ups and only 1 yellowfin around 10-15kg, losing 4 more to the sharks before heading back to Odyssey.


Andrew: Considerably better weather made for easier fishing today as I focused my attention on a patch of reef made up of isolated bombies. On literally the first cast Jerry was bending, landing a nice 10kg GT! After a quick move Jerry wasted no time getting another fish first cast! This area fished quite well for GTs and Spanish and took us to lunch which we enjoyed on a nice sand cay surrounded by crystal clear water. After lunch we headed wide for the run in tide to chase pelagics. Fishing was steady with a handful of mackerel and an absolute Jurassic coral trout weighing 25lbs!! Not a bad day in anyone’s books!




Andrew- Finally some good weather!!! It was slack tide at the start of the day which made for slow fishing for the first hour or so but once that current started to run there were patches of bait on most pressure edges with fish holding on most of the bait schools as well! By lunch time the boys were over GTs so we headed for the channel entrances to drop some plastics. This proved very productive with loads of species including Maori wrasse, emperors, blue fin trevally, honeycomb cod, job fish, and a special mention to Rob with a solid 20kg GT on 30lb. To finish off the day we hit the flats also having a great session with heaps of species. The boys even convinced me to have a cast and I managed to a solid 12 kg GT (fluke) they don’t know that but.




Andrew- slow morning flicking the light gear until the tide started running out at around 10 O’clock when we switched to GTs and it started getting steamy with some nice fish landed and a couple lost. We fished right until the end of the tide and then threw some smaller stickbaits on the edge of the dry reef where we got a mixed bag of reefies. This was followed by a plastics session with which was the same with a few exceptions of a nice mackerel and a monster which we chased around for 10 mins until we got busted off under the boat .


Jason – A very slow day for team Bohar, only boating 4 GTs in the morning, with two fish around the 20kg mark. The rest of the day was frustrating with several bites but no hook ups. We managed one nice Spanish and a big chinaman on the poppers. The biggest highlight for me today was seeing a 700lb tiger shark come up to the boat chasing a popper in 3 metres of water.


Declan – Today started off fairly well with a few GTs and a big chinaman landed early only a short run from Odyssey. From there we headed West towards another smaller island to find a few more GTs and we missed a couple of big red creatures in the shallows. We then headed for the calm side of the island for a bit of light tackle fishing to catch a few small trevally and other mixed reefies. After exploring another sand cay it was back to the GT fishing for the arvo which produced a fair few fish with another big chinaman! To top it off we ended the day with a double hook up on GTs.




Andrew – Another really slow start today not landing a fish until 10 O’clock but once it turned on we had an epic session on the GTs with multiple fish over 20kgs and one going 30kg. This session took us to lunch where we enjoyed our view of a prestige sand cay. We travelled some distance before we began to fish some bombies which produced 3 smaller GTs, then off to the flats we went to rest our arms which didn’t work out cause Dave hooked a nice 18kg fish on the light gear that we had to chase around for a few minutes but we eventually landed it. Maybe a plastics session to rest instead? Nope more big fish it was with a double hookup – one Spanish and one GT. I guess it’s a good problem to have catching too many big fish!!!




Andrew- It was an unreal day on the water today filming with the AFN crew! Some crazy sights  including 2 fish on the one lure, a grouper trying to eat a GT, trout smashing surface lures, and aerial mackerel, but you will just have to wait and watch the show!!


Declan – We had an amazing day today with lots of fish landed and plenty of different species! The day started off on the flats with a few GTs to 10kg and some nice trout and long nose emperor. From there we worked a few blue holes which produced some amazing sights with packs of GTs red bass, wrasse and trout all coming to play. The two standouts were a 20kg GT and a 10kg trout! From then it was off to fish a few of the channels with plastics for a heap of fish all ranging from small trout to a 25kg cod all on the light gear!




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