Here They Come!
The day started with another pre breakfast session aboard Centurion, with a steady flow of quality fish coming over the side.
After breakfast it was into Raptor and off to the marks that had produced the outstanding fishing from the night before. The first drift was just pure pandemonium. Everyone hooked up immediately; groans could be heard from everywhere on deck as each angler did battle with his own monster of the deep.
Unfortunately, not all fish hooked were boated. Broken lines, straightened hooks and dropped fish left everyone shaking and talking utter gibberish. Greg set up for another drift, over the same mark, this time we would be ready for them.
As the boat drifted over the mark, Greg shouted, “Just going over them now”, immediately Scott shouted for all to hear, “Here They Come”, as his rod showed the first signs of an inquiry. Within seconds the rods were again bent over and groans again echoed across the sea, as we tried to wrestle these unknown beasts from the deep.
“Nanny”, was the call as the first fish came into view as a large mouth nannygai floated to the surface, followed by another out the back of the boat.
Scott was the last to boat his fish and what a fish! His first legal red, a ripper of a fish that went 75cm on the lie detector and it would not be his last for the day. Father and son team, Colin and Clayton, also continued to get into the reds and as the morning continued, Clayton would be become known as the Red King, especially after he started catching them two at a time. What ensued over the next couple of hours was the best red emperor session I have ever witnessed.
We had well and truly found the mother load. 3 and 4 way hookups on reds and trout were the order of the morning and the sight of everyone’s rods loaded up to the max will stay with me for a very long time. You could not wipe the smile from Kevin’s face, his grin said it all.
“You don’t get this in Canberra,” he smiled.
A change of crew at lunch time did not slow things down at all, because in this area, things never stay the same. As Greg continued to troll around the reef, a large flock of birds could be seen working over a school of fish on the surface away from the reef. An exploratory troll towards the area resulted in the tearing sound that only comes from a ratchet at full tilt. As the fish surfaced behind the boat it was plain for all to see that it was something very different, a yellowfin tuna.
This would later be served up by Lynn as as fresh sashimi, which was enjoyed by all. Over the next hour or two there were double hook ups, dropped fish and jubilation as more these magnificent fish came aboard. The fun and excitement did not let up as they boys were now doing battle with XL barracuda, with everyone doing the Boston two step to keep out of the way of its teeth once on board.
Another quick troll and the X Rap again got smashed, this time it was Lincoln Rees’s turn to pit his skills against a sizable fish, and it wasn’t long before a huge spanish mackerel was brought on board by Ian the decky.
The rest of the day was spent filling the esky with more quality red emperor and coral trout as well as a monster goldspot cod and another great haul of red throat emperor. With another red letter day behind them, the weary crew set course to marry up with Centurion.
Back at Centurion, we were again in the dories for the afternoon session and this time I partnered up with Kevin for a quick fish before making the move down to Eaton Reef. Once again we were put to shame by Brett and Conrad from Mackay, with a great catch of coral trout and blueys coming from their dory, with Conrad accounting for more than his fair share of trout in the box. Ahh, you’ve got to love a bit of competitive rivalry. Just as well I did not put anything valuable up as a wager.
Scott teamed up with the old timer Jerry, and in this proved to be a very productive session as Jerry, who was known as the quiet achiever, out fished just about everyone.
They found an area less than half a mile from Centurion which produced almost a bin full of fish in a couple of hours, with trout and red throat making up the bulk of the catch. As Scott handed up the bin, he said excitedly, “We left ‘em biting mate” and had to be all but manhandled from the tinny, to stop him from heading back to his honey hole.
After everyone rendezvoused back at the mother ship, stories of the days catch reverberated around the deck as comparisons were made and between the groups. As the stories flowed, the day’s catch was carefully filleted and packaged by Brock and Peter, the boat’s deckhands, and then whisked away to the freezers on board for snap freezing.
This sort of care and preparation makes all the difference to the flesh and is paramount if you want to retain the prized eating qualities of reef fish.
Once again we were soon inside the main dining room, enjoying another one of Lynn’s scrumptious meals, as Greg played videos from his YouTube highlight reel on the big screen plasma. The party then moved outside and with music of choice being played long and loud ensured that the party atmosphere continued long into the night, with a few rebels seeing in the early hours of the morning.