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Reefari Hardline Experience Day 4

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day5 | Day 6 |

Jock Strikes Back

The battle plan for Monday involved heading south along the Hardline in search of more fish and less sharks. The veterans had kindly relinquished their spot on Raptor II in favour of a relaxing day, so our motley crew embarked with Greg for some trolling and exploration.

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Greg kept to the edges and maintained a comfortable trolling speed so it was time to deploy some fast trolling bibbed minnows. Interestingly, it was the deep running (7m) Halco Laser Pro (psycho pink coloured) that took every fish. Sharky Mackerel were the abundant species and we soon had our share so Greg put the hammer down and we headed for new country.

Redthroat Reef Fish

It was a Redthroat day with every spot holding patches of the hard fighting bottom dwellers. What we really wanted however, was a Red Emperor but they were conspicuous by their absence until suddenly Horto doubled over with effort as a powerful fish smashed his bait. The next second I too was hammered by a gut-busting titan and even with 80lb braid and maxed out drag I was struggling to make headway.

Greg caught sight of Horto’s fish and exclaimed “RED”. My heart started beating wildly in my chest and the adrenalin took hold. Blood was pounding in my ears and my arms burnt with lactic acid. I noticed neither, as I pumped and cranked like a man possessed. I was consumed by determination and the voices of the crew faded into obscurity as I saw my own flash of red.

Well, actually it was more of an orange - a mottled, mossy, Chinaman Fish kind of orange. Horto was holding up his own Chinaman and as I lifted mine I realised they were a pair of giants. Throw backs certainly, but quality captures as well.

Chinamen Fish

We rendezvoused with Trigla at the anchorage of May’s Bay that afternoon. After cleaning up and relaxing we suddenly heard a commotion from the back deck. I headed out back and found one of Trigla’s deck hands, Jock, locked in battle with a big Redthroat.

There were already two fish in the bin by the time I arrived and as I watched, Jock re-dropped his handline, assumed a position of intense concentration, began swearing, cajoling and daring the fish to take the bait and then suddenly struck. Everything was moving but his bowels, line flew in great swaths as he attacked with giant windmill-like motions.

Jock was a larrikin of the old school variety and was always around to lend a hand or tell a yarn but as the fish turned on, he was transformed into a snarling, swearing fish catching machine.

The word spread like wildfire and as Jock put his seventh fish in the bin he was joined by half a dozen of the keener fishos. By now though, the sharks were whipped into a veritable frenzy and pulling a keepable fish past their dentures required a maniacal pump and wind.

We’d hook the fish and then lay into them, pumping with every muscle in our bodies and still most times the sharks would intercept our prizes. The sudden impacts left us groaning in frustrated exhaustion as hard fought metres of line were stripped into the oblivion. We kept at it until we were lathered in sweat and our underarms were a mass of bruises and only then did we surrender to our cabins.

Reefari Hardline Day Five- Fast And Furious Barrier Reef Fishing Action

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