It was the Newcastle lads turn to head out on Raptor and this time it would be for an all day session, with the plan again being to troll the reef edges in search of Spanish mackeral and other toothy species and then hit the deeper marks for quality bottom fish.
The morning got off to a great start, with Linc catching a very respectable Spanish, taking one of the deep driving minnows in short. Greg likes to run a 4 lure spread from behind Raptor with usually a combination of shallow and deep diving minnows. At times he will change things up a bit by putting a bibless lure in nice and close and this has proven to be a dynamite combination when chasing big pelagics.
This was followed by arguably the best session of the trip, with multiple 3 and 4 way hooks the norm, with a quality goldspot cod falling to Dave Caben. Some of the biggest spangled emperors for the trip were caught during this time, with most fish well and truly over 60 centimeters.
Linc added to the chaos by boating a very impressive red which went very close to 80 centimeters. Linc would become known as Two Heads after he continually brought two fish at a time to the surface, much to the ire of everyone else on board.
The rest of the session was what fishing dreams are made of with more red emperor, large mouth nannygai and another monster goldspot cod falling to the crew from Newcastle. All on board shared in the true excitement that only fishing these isolated outer reefs can.
What Were The Lads Doing On The Centurion Charter Boat
The day on the Centurion fishing boat was not wasted. Matt’s plan was to drift his 80 foot vessel over some of his favorite marks around this area. Again and again he did this with the precision that only comes from spending many, many years of at this type of fishing. Each time he set for the drift, he was on the money, and by end of the morning all on board had caught their share of coral trout, red throat and blueys.
During the session I suggested to Clayton to place the small livey he had caught on the top hook of his paternoster rig. This had immediate results and had his TLD screaming within seconds, and after a short battle a ripper coral trout surfaced and was quickly boated. As lunch arrived it reminded me of when you were younger and mum had called you in for dinner.
No one wanted to put down their rod and go in for a feed, the fishing was just too good. Eventually Lynn won and we all enjoyed lunch, even if it was slightly rushed, as to get back to the fishing.
After lunch it was time to move again and Matty suggested it was time get some lures out the back, while we made our way further into the reef to seek better protection. At about this time, right on cue, a small fish, which had been released, was still floundering on the surface when it was set upon by something silver and very big. This caused the back deck of Centurion to go into over drive.
There were rods being made ready, haywire twists being tied at the like there was no tomorrow and the usual debate as to which lures to use. After what seemed forever we were set to go and the lure were let out. I had set my favorite Tyrnos up with a Rapala X Rap 30 in the blue bonito color. We had hardly traveled a boat length when my rod buckled over and the ratchet screamed for mercy as the 50lb Tuff Line cut through the water at a fast rate of knots, the hallmark of a quality Spano.
As I picked up the rod and set the hooks, I yelled at Kevin to come down and do the honors, as he was unlikely to see this sort of action in Canberra. Kevin immediately donned a gimbal belt and made his way down onto the back platform.
As he slowly turned the fish, words of encouragement echoed from above, as we all shared in his enjoyment of the moment. The fish was boated and cleaned up for the obituary thousand photos, and why not? This was a fish of a life time for Kevin. I have to be honest, in all the years I have fished the area, I have never grown tired of sharing in the enjoyment of others in catching quality fish.
As we continued to troll the edge of the reef, it was the turn of Scotty’s Shimano, to scream under the weight of a fish. This to was a decent fish, maybe even bigger than Kevin’s, but as the Spanish neared the boat, the hooks pulled and the fish was gone.
Scott was gutted, but as I inspected his brand new Halco Laser Pro, it was evident by the lack of teeth marks that it had not come into contact with the fish’s mouth, hence the possible reason why the hooks pulled.
Once we had moved down to our night location, the bottom fishing recommenced, with several huge red throat making it over the side, as well as some more cracker coral trout.
You have to hand it to Matt, every time we moved to a new location the fish fired up. Unfortunately it was not long before the sharks turned up and started taking their share of the bounty.
Kevin was locked into a massive battle with one of these large sharks and it started to resemble a heavy weight title fight, with neither giving an inch, and just as he was looking for the stool and the sponge, the leader mercifully gave way.
Luckily he had a good corner man and he administered a cold XXXX bitter, to halt the onset of dehydration.
As Raptor II came along side, gear and fish and people were safely offloaded before the Cat was hooked back up to the towing bridle and let out for the night tow to Penrith Island. It was all hands on deck as there was much to do in preparation for the trip home, and as I sat back and enjoyed a cold beer, I could not help but be impressed by the efficacy and professionalism in which the lads got stuck in got the job done.
Once underway, we start to reflect on the trip and some of the highlights. This was a great opportunity to swap phone numbers and e mail address with each other and to reminisce as we shared photos and stories over a few quite ones.