Weather was tipped to be good so I snuck out of work to get things ready for a reef trip from Lucinda.
I packed the boat up whilst the husband packed the car (good teamwork) and we headed off up to my weekend happy place. By weekend happy place I mean our fishing caravan at Lucinda Wanderers Holiday Village. A place of rest, relaxation and best of all a fishing launch pad!
About an hour twenty up the highway, Mike turns to me and asks if i had put the food in the car. “Food?” I asked, “I thought you were doing that”. Well we had a chuckle (honestly!), as we had left all the chilled food back at home in the fridge! So after a quick pit stop into Woolies at Ingham we eventually made it to my happy place.
We headed out early Saturday morning, weather was pretty great, only a small breeze and small swell. Half way across the paddock heading out to the reef I had a niggling sensation in my little happy brain. I turned to Mike and asked if he had put the bungs in. He replied “no that is usually your job to check”. It was too (my job!). Ooops, so we pulled up and I leaned over to pop them in. Oh that was better at least we wouldn’t sink and my brain went back to feeling happy without any odd niggling sensations.
Talking of bungs, I am usually quite religious about checking them before I get up on the boat to launch it. This comes from learning the hard way up in the NT where there is a crocodile for every 2 meters of waterway.
In a billabong called Corroboree up in the NT I learnt my lesson about how important it is to check the bungs before launching the boat. Corroboree is well-known for having loads of huge crocodiles and we had put the boat in for a day of chasing Barramundi. Not long after launching we heard a funny noise and noticed water was coming out of the side of the boat. We realised it was the bilge pump and then it dawned on us, we didn’t put the bungs in! So being the true gentleman that my husband is, he volunteered to croc watch while I leaned over the side of the boat and popped the bungs in. Luckily I was pretty quick and got them in without getting my arm chewed off by a crocodile that my gentleman of a husband didn’t see because it was lurking under the water. Hence lesson learned!
Now my husband and I have a robust discussion about when the bungs should go in. He tells me all the time we should put the bungs in before we leave home. I am more of the opinion that we should put them in at the boat ramp. This opinion has been formed from my time in Darwin when I was driving home from the boat ramp one day and we had the most almighty downpour. Now in Darwin when it rains, it buckets it down. The bungs were still in the boat and I had to pull over (I could not see where I was driving the rain was that hard). All I could see in my mirrors was the boat filling with water and sloshing over the sides. I had to jump out and take the bungs out so the boat could drain before I could set off again. Needless to say I got very wet! But I must concede that in the this instance he might be right (don’t tell him I said so ladies!), the bungs probably should be in before we go anywhere, less chance of forgetting!
Back to the story at hand ……… we headed out to the Great Barrier Reef, targeting some spots around Bramble Reef. The first spot we pulled up at we dropped down some squid bait and bang! Onto a fish straight away, (well done skipper for getting us on the spot). After pulling up a few undersized Coral Trouts and miscellaneous reef fish I caught my first Red Emporer. Ok it was only a juvenile but it was a beauty.
A few more reef fish and then a beauty of a Pink-Eared Emporer (another first for me). This one went 39cm and I was very proud of it, but released it healthy to fight another day.
We did notice a lot of big sharks around and Mike brought in a head of a rather large reef fish, yes just the head, the rest was dinner for one of the many sharks around. We moved around a bit to see if we could find any larger fish but they all seemed to be on holiday!
We are very lucky up here, with the beautiful ocean, colourful reef and abundance of fish and marine life. We saw several turtles, large schools of tuna and leaping fish throughout the day. For me, the enjoyment comes from being out on the water, with my favourite skipper (husband), catching lot’s of beautiful fish and releasing them to fight another day. I like catching big fish, but the little ones give me the same enjoyment, especially when they are as beautiful as the Coral Trouts or Emporers. It not all about the size ladies!!!
We did notice a few Remora (you know, the sucker fish) swimming around and hiding under the boat, but we never thought anything of it until I hooked up and had a bit of a fight on my hands. I thought it was a shark at first until I got it up enough to see, it was a Remora. As I was bringing it in it decided to attach itself to the underside of the boat. Boy oh boy do these stick, like really stick. After several attempts to pull it off, prise it off and coax it off the underside of our boat, I resigned myself to the fact that it was not going anywhere, it was definitely stuck!
So Mike decided that we should drive off and see if he pops off himself. So off we went, slowly at first but still he was not budging. After a couple of minutes up on the plane he decided he would let go and I had to reel him in again, this time making sure he didn’t get close to the boat again!
We decided we would start heading back in and have a fish at a few spots on the way. We saw plenty of tuna and bait busting up but could not get near them to throw a slice, they move so fast! We stopped at a spot a friend of ours put us on and had a look around. There really was nothing to note coming up on the sounder but we thought we would drop a line in any way and see if something was swimming by.
Monsters From The Deep
Mike hooked up a beautiful Cobia and had a fun time trying to get the guy in the boat. I then hooked up on something large that started taking line, I tried and tried to get it in the boat but it snapped off and I lost it.
Feeling a bit knackered and deflated I dropped my line down again and then hooked up on a Gold Spot Trevally, this was not huge but did put up a great fight.
Last cast of the day saw me hook up something huge. It started taking line like nobody’s business and I could only gain back a quarter of what it was taking. As I saw my line being stripped off the reel Mike put the boat in reverse to make it easier for me to wind in. This thing was heavy and a dead weight. It was not really giving me head shakes it would just take off then sink to the bottom. Trying to gain line back was nearly impossible and it felt like I was trying to lift the sea floor! Twenty minutes of reeling and fighting and I was getting real tired. Mike was helping by backing the boat up and I was gaining line back from this monster. Problem was I was tiring quicker than the fish!!!! Then the inevitable happened. DINK, the line snapped at the hook and the monster (what ever it was) swam off to live and fight another day.
After that we decided to call it a day, and what a wonderful day it was. I was going back to our fishing caravan, sore and weary but a happy girl, having a wonderful day out on the water with my husband!