This was more fun than top shelf scotch in first class with a bevy of cheerleaders, but we still didn’t have any reds.
Greg furrowed his brow and ran his finger over the GPS and pointed to one particular mark. He reckoned it was the one, so off we headed! What followed was mayhem, pure and simple.
First off the mark was Horto and the Skipper.
They fought tooth and nail, side by side and both muttered equally loud curses when from the corner of the deck Keith exclaimed that he had another big chinaman. But, they got lucky, and rather than orange with a mould-like mottle pattern, they saw red with light coloured bands – emperor!
Two nice fish with Jason’s being the biggest in the high 60cm range. He had a grin from ear to ear of course, because as always on these offshore mate’s trips, we were running a calcutta for the biggest red. His fuel bill at that stage was looking much cheaper!
But it didn’t stand for long because from the other side of the deck Jamie was getting a Mack-town smack-down! His 7’ Live Fibre rod was bent so far into the water I thought he’d be following it.
He wasn’t making any line and didn’t look to be making any back for some time either. Slowly but surely, mind you, he began to wear the fish out. Metre by metre, he slowly turned it and finally a big red hit the surface with his Squid Vicious and PE Tackle hybrid lodged deep in its mouth!
Stand aside Jason! We had a new leader at around 72cm!
Meanwhile, I’d just been slaughtered, bashed, beaten and thoroughly annihilated by something big!
My retrofitted Sea Bug had been taken in a big way and all I could do was hold on as whatever this was took off. I was willing to take my time, but the ultra-powerful LJ Pinnacle wasn’t even slowing it down and before I could hope for it to fatigue, the hook came free.
However, as I shook my head and retrieved the lure to the surface, my eyes took in a truly jaw-dropping sight. The 8/0 Octopus Circle had straightened out like snake uncoiling after a nap. I’d never straightened one before in my life; they aren’t exactly light hooks!
Not to be deterred though, I went into the cabin, borrowed Horto’s split ring pliers and fitted another hook of the same type as well as a replacement skirt for the old chewed up one. Down it went again and almost as soon as I put the reel into gear I got wacked!
The rod loaded up and I gave the reel a few good cranks to set the hook, but the lure came free… only to be wacked again, but this time harder. Yet, it missed again, but on a whim I gave the reel a few fast pumps and the predator below responded in turn by coming after it and hitting it harder still!
By now I was convinced it was a big pelagic – either a trevally, mackerel or cobia – so I dropped the octo jig to the bottom and gave it a few really fast winds only for the jig to stop mid-wind and head downwards – fast! The LJ was bent to the backbone, my reel and I were screaming and this fish was big!
At first I rated my chances of coming out on top on a par with the Bangladesh Cricket Team, but like Jamie’s fish, mine eventually tired and I slowly made some line back. I took it easy and was so glad that I did, because not only was it the biggest red for the trip, it was hanging on by one very straightened hook!
The 8/0 had straightened out and the only thing keeping the fish on was the inward curve of the hook point. Oh, I was lucky!
After that, we were all pretty exhausted – and it hadn’t helped that Horto had dropped his massive Powerbait Grub into the mouth of another monster cod leaving him a jellified mess – so we went to play around near the reef edge and put a dint in our liquid supplies. The following day was much the same. We trolled up a few mackerel, bounced a few jigs over some trial marks on the trip back and pretty much relaxed.
We’d done everything we’d come out to do and we’d all gained a new confidence in techniques and tackle that we’d rarely used.
Join our 5 day Mothershipping charter trips aboard Centurion and Raptor II, for the fishing adventure of a lifetime, proudly brought to you by REEFARI.
Mothership fishing in air conditioned comfort about our 80ft motherboat, and gamefish about our 35ft Flybridge Cougarcat.
Experience the best of both worlds, with our Air-conditioned cabins onboard our Mothership, fully catered and comfortable surrounds, and the speed and maneuverability of our game boat the Raptor II for awesome fishing action. Also with two dories, feel free to explore the reefs, all options are covered.
We look forward to looking after you on your fishing adventure, and please don’t hesitate to contact Reefari if we can help further with your bookings!!
By Lee Brake
Article reprinted with the permission of NQ Fish & Boat Magazine