A Red Hot First Time….
Fishing has varied from slow to red hot this month, with crews at times having to work hard to find fish and at others, getting amongst the ‘red’ hot action from the first drop.
On a recent trip, regular Reefari guest Lee Brake, editor of well known publication NQ Fish and Boat Monthly, was aboard for a three day trip to the reef and surrounding deep water patches.
Now, Lee has been aboard many times in the past and foolishly let slip on one occasion that he has never caught a legal red emperor, thus earning himself the nickname ‘red virgin’.
Well, we have never let him live it down and this trip was no different. Unfortunately for us, after two hours of travel where we ribbed him with every jibe we could come up with, the arsey bugger hooked up and landed a ten kilo red on the very first drop of the trip!
The look on his face when he saw what was arising from the depths was priceless and to say he was stoked would be like saying Queensland’s had a ‘bit of rain’. You can check the moment out for yourself if you have access to our Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/Reefari
After that, the trip went from strength to strength, with more reds (including another to Lee), some solid nannygai, a few whoop-worthy monster coral trout, some cobia and some hard fighting trevally.
The crew also experimented with some on the new Berkley Elevator Jigheads (a moving jig with split ring between the head and hook) these worked too well and each time one was dropped it never returned thanks to three solid fish (probably horse cobia) lost after extensive battles.
Another highlight was a seriously arm-straining session on big yellow lipper, or spangled emperor. These fish were upwards of 70cm and had the back deck of Raptor II breaking out in moans and grunts. While opinion is divided about just how high the eating quality of these fish rates, I believe they are up there with most reef fish and consider them a welcome addition to any haul.
More recently, we’ve noticed what is probably a transition period due to the heat and the fishing has been tough in the deep, but very productive around the reef. Mako returned from a charter just the day before I write this and found some good trout and redthroat on the edges of Steven’s Reef. There were also some very tasty and sought after parrot fish/ tusk fish landed.
As mentioned, the cobia are about and can be taken on jigs, lightly weighted baits and trolled lures. Graham Brake recently took a 50lb fish jigging around Keswick Island that put up a serious fight and was landed and photographed with mentionable skill, especially seeing as he was fishing solo.
We have also taken several great eating specimens on trolled skirted lures. Also known as pushers, these lures throw up a bubble-trail as they are dragged at speed through the water. Lately on charters they have accounted for quite a few feisty tuna, the odd mackerel, and cobia, as mentioned.
Inshore, the fishing has been hit and miss with most of the larger river systems still needing some time to flush out after the recent big rains.
On the plus side though, the prawns have been numerous and of good size with very impressive catches in both the Sarina and Seaforth areas. Crabs too have been on the march at the fronts of the creeks.
Fishing wise, the grunter are pushing in with the tides and are in good numbers, with the odd mangrove jack and fingermark amongst them.
Ok, that’s about it from me for this month. February is so far looking good and if we can get some fine weather I think we will start to see the trout well and truly come on the bite! Here’s hoping,