Fishing Reports - Marion Reef May 2008

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Ultimate Adventure Marion Reef May 2008

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Marion Reef

May 2008



3 weeks

Coral Sea Ultimate Adventure


The fishing at Marion was as we would expect from the Coral Sea – high quality. However having said this, the weather and fish did throw a few spanners in the works on this set of trips. We caught plenty of good quality GTs, up to 50kgs, and some serious coral trout over 20kgs, but the dogtooth tuna were being very fussy this time around. We could see them swimming below us, and big ones, but they would not eat. A Scuba dive in one location revealed schools of 20-30 dogtooth in the 50kg+ range swimming around the ledges quite happily, but do you think they would eat anything? Of course not. There was something strange going on with the weather and we believe this had an impact on the fishing.

Either way, the guests on each week caught some sensational fish, and had a great time all round. The Monster GT’s that we saw last year at Marion were still there, although not in the same numbers in the shallows, they were all hanging deep as this was where the bait was hanging.

The weather on this trip was not bad overall, but the few windy periods we had confirmed our decision to conduct our May trips in 2009 as Ultimate Adventure trips with the larger sportfishers, and also to allow ourselves the opportunity to move between Marion and Bugatti Reef next year, just to open up a few more options if conditions change. We are very excited about the Marion/Bugatti Trips for May 2009, and if you would like some more information on these trips, please just call our office or email us.


May 2008 Report

The first week started off well, with calm seas and light winds. The GT fishing was good initially around the full moon, and tapered off during the week. There were a couple of 30kg+ GTs landed, but this was to be the week of the monster coral trout. We lost count of how many monster coral trout were landed this week, but the number around 20kgs was astonishing. The doggies had a bit of a chew towards the end of this first week, but they were only feeding half heartedly. There were some monumental bustoffs as usual, but no big dogs landed. The sailfish were around in good numbers and quite a few guests managed to catch their first ever sailfish during this week.

Probably the story of the week was the massive dogtooth that would not eat. Ken Hoppen is a renowned underwater photographer, and he came out this week to check out the Marion Reef underwater scene, and was amazed at the variety of fish life, and also at the size of the dogtooth and even spanish mackerel that he saw. The underwater pics in the slideshow show some of the massive doggies that were simply cruising around but not interested in eating anything, even fresh baits!!! As the saying goes, that is why they call it fishing and not catching!

The second week progressed much the same as the first, with a lot of big coral trout, a few nice GT’s and even a 50kg+ GT to John from Townsville. He landed this fish in the middle of the day, just casting a stickbait around the shallows while the guys were having lunch. Far and away his biggest GT, and the best GT of the trip as it would turn out. The fish was taken on a Nomad Stickbait and 100lb tuf line XP.

Josh also managed a serious GT around 38kgs during this week, and put in a massive effort to stop the fish reefing him on the rather large bommie he was casting towards. Again this one was caught on a Nomad Stickbait and 100lb tuf line XP.

The second week produced some solid dogtooth tuna to around 20kgs, and plenty of first time dogtooth encounters. There were also some solid sailfish showing up around the edges of the reef, with a number of 60kg sailfish landed and released, mostly to first time anglers. In fact Josh managed a 38kg GT, a sailfish and a 20kg Coral Trout all in the same week, so he was rather happy to say the least.

The third and fourth weeks produced similar results, with the dogtooth tuna not really firing, but there were some excellent sessions in places on the doggies. There were a couple of days when most boats were releasing 10-15 dogtooth per boat in the 15-20kg range, and mixed in with this was some serious quality coral trout and other mixed reef fish on the soft plastics. The GTs also kept us busy at times with soma frantic action in the shallows on certain days, producing multiple hookups, and even a triple hookup on 20kg GTs. The weather was not as kind in the 3rd and 4th weeks, which did make life a little difficult for the smaller 18ft vessels, but fortunately the larger 25ft vessel was available to access some of the more distant spots, and keep everyone in the action.

There were more changes of anchorage in the 3rd week than hot meals, or so it seemed, we even had a weather forecast stating that we could expect “clockwise winds” no direction or strength with the prediction, just those words. Makes it a little difficult to find an anchorage, but we did manage to stay in a comfortable anchorage each night.

In fact the night fishing was also a bit of a highlight in the 3rd and 4th weeks with quite a few guys putting in the effort and being rewarded with some great fun on red bass and spangled emperor, and on the lighter 30-50lb braid spin rods, these were incredible fun to try and stop out the back of the boat after dinner. Some of the red bass caught at night would have pushed 8kgs, which is a serious quality fish in anyone’s books.


Tackle Talk

We’re going to start discussing tackle each month in terms of what we saw, what worked and what did not. We had a few issues with guests reels not being spooled tightly by certain tackle stores, as well as the usual light line issues.

One of the highlights was the use of the tachybura jig from Japan. This is pictured in the above slideshow with a red bass, and a green plastic skirt hanging from it. These things were deadly on coral trout and all sorts of reef species. Definitely one to add to the arsenal.

We had a number of Smith Freemantle rods break on this block of trips, and even had a carpenter light spin rod broken by Brandon Khoo while fighting a green jobfish of all things!! Had to mention that one, sorry Barndon! Some strange things happen to rods when they are fighting fish.

We gave the new ripple fisher rods a thorough testing and all came through with flying colours. There are some particularly impressive jig and GT rods that we are about to release as a result of this testing.

For anyone interested in the Marion/Bugatti Ultimate Adventures in May 2009, get in quick as places are filling for this unique trip. Personally, I Can’t wait to get back there next year with the bigger boats and get stuck into some serious action.


Damon Olsen and the Nomad Crew.


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