Thursday, 14 November 2013

Day 4 Cape York Far North Queensland

Thursday Island Ferry

Day 4 saw us heading all over the place looking for GT's on the poppers and stick baits with not much brewing so we found some nice fish punching bait through the surface and could not resist the chance to chuck some stuff at them.

Loaded up on the light jigging gear
We left Seisia wharf on board Cape Runner at about 0730 and headed North to some of the small isolated islands looking for tidal pressure points on shallow reef where the water dramatically drops away from the edge of the reef. The first reef we arrived at had some great looking reef with water about 1.5 meters deep over it and then a fast drop to about 20 meters. We got set with stick baits and poppers and started casting. Things were pretty quiet until we noticed some birds working the tip of the tidal pressure point that seemed to be working bait fish, we asked our guide to put us just beyond the bait so we could pass some lures through. Steve was on a stick bait, Kosta was on a popper and I was still jigging with a 60g Blue Blue Sea Ride.

In seconds Kosta was hooked up to a good sized Rainbow Runner with some bigger fish chasing not to far behind, I lifted my jig up so I could work the top 5 meters when a small GT nailed my jig. Kosta got his Rainbow Runner up the side of the boat only to have it throw the hook as he was about to grab a hold of it. My little GT made it to the boat just as a shark came through freaking out every thing that we were working on. So we decided to try and take on another headland where the tide was forcing the water to one side of the reef.
Yet another hook in a hand

Upon arrival again things were quite, I managed to hook up another small trevally on the small jigs. While I was talking into the camera about the jigs I made a grab for the jig. In 30 years I have never put a hook into myself, however for the second day in a row I managed to get the jig hook to go through my thumb, in trying to get the fish and the jig into a safer position to work on after watching the video I noticed that I had actually lifted the whole fish by the hook in my thumb . Yesterdays hook was not in a position where we could push the barb through and remove so the pliers and yank method was employed. This time the point of the hook was already through so I decided we would push the barb through, cut the barb off and then pull the hook back through. I first and foremost too the fish off the other hook and Kosta was able to cut the leader off for me, he then cut the Dacron attached to the jig assist hook so it was just the hook in my thumb, I then took my pliers out and pushed the barb through and then cut it off, once clear I pulled it back though. All dehooked I took the rod and started another drift trying to jig up a bigger model.

Steve's Queen Fish on the Ocean Potion 140mm
Things had gone very quiet and I wanted to re rig my jig with a better hook so a short move was made, on our way to another spot we came across some bait being smashed to the surface. Every one packed up the gear they were using and got the stick baits out again, within minutes we had queen fish smashing the stick baits, both Steve and Kosta were using Gladiator Ocean Potions in 140mm they worked a treat, every cast worked up at least 3 boof behind the lures with a hook up on almost every cast. I kept jigging. After Steve and Kosta had landed a few I was about to pack up the jigging gear when I dropped it back down again. Half way down I got a big whack from a queen fish and was on for a good fight. My jigging rod is rated to PE1.5 and I was using PE1 line - around 10 lb ish for those not sure of the conversion. After a good and very fair tussle the fish was in the boat. We destroyed the queens for a little while before making the move south.

Coronation Tout
Moving south was a big risk, the last 2 times we had fish south within 10 seconds of hooking up we were devastated by sharks. Now I have fished a lot of places that have lots of sharks but this place was crazy, it was almost as if the sharks were following the trolled lures waiting for a fish to grab the lure for an easy feed. I lost a lot of gear this week all to sharks meaning my next trip to Japan is going to be a very expensive one replacing all my lures. Plenty of bait around the guys decoded to do some more casting, I kept jigging. Every drop I was landing Bludger, Gold Spot and Tealeaf Trevaly. We were only working in 3 meters of water at this stag so I thought I was safe from sharks. I dropped a medium 80g inchiku jig to the bottom and lifted twice when bang, something serious grabbed the inchiku and it was not a shark, it was stripping line from me at alarming rates. I looked down at my spool to see that there was about 200 meters of line out meaning I only had
Jigged Queenfish
about 50 meters remaining. I asked the skipper to power up the boat and start the chase down. I managed to get a heap of line back and at one stage I saw something dark and long about 20 feet away, I called it for a big Spanish mack but there was talk of it being a Long Tail Tuna. The fight went for about 15 minutes and just when I thought I was getting somewhere the fish became very erratic and then line started to come off the reel as a long slow dead pull, yep I was the victim again of another shark, even in 3 meters of water these things were in numbers. We chased the lure down at speed to get as much line back as we could then cut the line and right the fish off as a joke. We pumped the smalled trevally up for a while and then we decided that we needed to get back to the villa to get sorted for the next day. The cape Runner was fired up and we bolted back to Seisia. A quick stop was made to the supermarket so I could get some ice cream and baked beans fro breakky

More Queens

Small Coronation Trout on a Blue Blue Sea Ride

Talking the Hooked Up TV camera man though how I was going to remove the hook from my hand

Kicking back on the porch

More Queens

Queen fish galore

Captain Kosta of Hooked Up Magazine

I guess the Crocodile warning signs were fake......NOT!!

More jigged queenfish

This is the little GT that put the hook in my thumb. Keep an eye out for Hooked up TV for the full clip

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Day 3 Cape York Far North Queensland


We had played in the blue water on the first day of fishing so now it was time to pump some lures into the deep think snags and mangroves lining the Jackey Jackey Creek system.
Jays Boat

The day started off great with our guide Jay Arnold from Cape York Peninsula Fishing picked us up from our accommodation and we loaded up the boat to head for the Jackey Jackey Creek system, I first looked at the area on google earth so I could have a quick look at the where we were fishing before we left. Let me tell you google aint got nothing when it comes to this area. This system is massive. Boat launched and its all systems go. Like a clumsy donkey when I was getting into the boat I slipped arse up and smashed leg up on the tie down near the front of the boat. A small amount of claret flowed as we settled into the boat with our gear.

on our way
Once settled in Jay explained that we would be driving past some amazing mangrove's,snags and structure but to relax as he knew where we were heading. We motored about an hour at speed though the winding tight mangrove forest to the first spot and yes Jay was spot on, I was salivating at some of the water and snags we were driving past and I just wanted to stop and cast, I sat tight and we arrived at our first location on the bank of the main river system. It amazed me that in this whole system Jay was able to pin point one tidal drain miles from any where to where we could see fish free swimming around the drain. It was clear how many hours this man has spent in this area - lots.

Hooked Up
First outfits in hand we slowly snuck into casting distance of the drain and started chucking lures around. Within minutes we had our first hook up. I was casting a Gan Craft Rest 128mm to the fish and just slowly twitching it our of the mangroves through the drain. The first fish hooked up was a Barramundi and a not too shabby one at that. The fish was only attached for a short time before it spat the lure and took off. We pumped a few more lures into the same drain and picked up some small travaly before moving on to the next spot. Again we headed to a very small drain that Jay knew would hold fish. We pumped a few casts in to the spot hoping to pull out a few fish but the water was very slow and no flow means no go. This is where our guide came into his own and worked out  where we needed to be to get the fish to start playing.

We moved to a headland that was close to  the entrance to the system that was full of isolated rocks and reef, after a few casts a Cod snuck out smashed my lure and took off into the rocks, suffice to say the lure and cod were never to be seen again. Time to re rig my line, I pulled a Gan Craft Jointed Claw 148 out and started to tie on the lure. Being near a headland there was a small amount of chop around, I should have sat down on the seat provided to re rig but again like an idiot I decided to do it standing up. I had only the night before upgraded the hooks to the stronger decoy hooks because of the amount of
Do not try this at home
pressure you need to put on the fish around mangroves. As I was finishing the knot off the tiniest bit of chop stuffed my balance and I fell forward I put a hand out to stop myself from falling only to punch the nice new treble into my finger. I had a crack at taking the hook out myself but the were a pretty heavy guage hook and this thing was going no where. A quick consult with Dr. Jay and it was decided to get the pliers out and just tear the hook out. he positioned the lure so the other hooks would not get hung up on me and after a few laughs and groans a very quick and sharp rip the hook was out. Too busy wasting time with hooks we were loosing too much fishing time time to get back into it.

We made another move to some smaller water where we could target some fish that would be holding up as the tide was falling we arrive at our spot and I had to re tie the lure that was moments earlier sitting some what more intimately in my finger - this time I sat down. As I was tying the breeze had picked up some line around my reel so I attached the lure to my reel so it was not swinging around sticking into people and started to sort out the line. Idiot alert -  As I stood up to fix my line issue I disengaged the free spool with a drag of about 4kg then tripped over my own bag causing me to pull down on the line. We all know what happens when we pull graphite back on itself. Pop goes the rod tip. We were miles from any civilization but I reckon the folks in Cairns could here the profanity. Not a happy camper. Feeling pretty stupid and grumpy I sat down and again started rigging up the other rod I had with me that I was busted off on earlier.
 Saltwater Crocodile

The tide was starting to turn so Jay suggested we have a quick trip to the very shallow drain area about 10 minutes away. When we arrived I picked up the rod thinking it can only get better from here. I climbed up onto the front deck and cast into the suggested area, the lure hit the water and after 2 cracks a Tarpon came shooting out and absolutely smashed my lure. Literally had 2 turns of the handle it pulled line and it shot out of the water shook its head and aid good bye. Although pissed that it did not stay attached I realized that 15 minutes had gone by and I had not broken anything, stuck a lure into myself and not fallen over, things were looking up. I had a few more casts but the water was getting very low so we made the retreat and towards a rock bar that Jay knew of that often held Mangrove Jacks.
Mangrove Jack

As we cruised towards the skinny creeks I sat back in marvel of the sheer size and amazing habitat that we have in Australia, this place was pristine. We made our way to the rock bar and I tied on a Gan Craft Jointed Claw Type F, a limited edition with rattles. I cast into the heavy snaggy ground and after a slow roll of the lure BANG, a Mangrove Jack came screaming out of a hidey hole and smashed the lure. It took a heap of line and made a good account of himself on the light gear I was using, after a fair tussle Jay was standing next to me with a net and at last we had a nice Jack in the boat. Apparently they are good eating so this one was not going back. I measured in at 46cm, we took a few happy snap and got back to casting.

The day just got better from there, we managed to run up a tally of all sorts from Mangrove Jacks, Esturary Cod, Queensland Grouper, Barramundi, a few different Trevaly species, Bream and Moses Perch.

I can not speak highly enough about the services of Jay Arnold - he put us on the fish and was an absolute champ all day - even throughout my stupidity.

If any one is keen to get up here and give this stuff a crack I strongly suggest that you contact Jay Arnold of Cape York Peninsula Fishing.
If you cant get him on the phone please understand that there is no phone reception where he is fishing so make sure you leave a message.
Steve's Barra

Yours truly with a jumping Barra

Jay Arnold

Jointed Claw Mangrove Jack

Taken the pressure down with a Jack

Heavy Old Queensland Grouper

Jointed Claw Grouper


Steves Trevaly

Bream on a Jig - Blue Blue Sea Ride 30g

Moses Perch on a jig - Blue Blue Sea Ride

Some one say termites
Bower Bird Nest.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Day 2 Cape York Far North Queensland.


Day 2 was to be our first fishing day so we joined John of Cape York Adventures for a crack at some Spanish Mackerel down at the mouth of the Jardine River system about 35 minutes south of Seisia.
Sesia Wreck - former people smuggling vessel

All loaded and ready to go
We started a troll about 10 minutes prior to arrival at the Jardine. We ran deep diving lures including a prototype that Gladiator are working on (will let you know when they are out - they were dynamite). It was not long into the first troll when we got smashed by a big Mak. This was a big fish that did a lot of direction change, Kosta Linardos the publisher of Hooked Up Magazine was the first on the stick and put some hurt on the fish as soon as he picked it up. The fish made a mad rush for the bottom of the boat and took the leader out on the prop. Re rigged and back out we started moving again.

Safety breif
We soon found out why the Fish were ducking for the cover of the boat as as soon as the next reel started screaming Kosta picked it up and again the fish bolted to the back of the boat. As it took off under the boat we also notice a massive Bronze Whaler Shark shoot under the boat after it. It would seem that the Spanish Mackerel were just trying to hide from the sharks and the was no shortage of sharks.

While Kosta was hooked up I decided that we were going to have to skull drag these fish up to the boat and try and beat the sharks, I took out the PE 8 Jig Stick and the Dog Fight and set the drag at 12kg to reef them in before the wildlife enjoyed a feed before the boys on the boat could. I dropped a 60g Blue Blue Sea Ride down and started working it back. First drop ended up a hookup so with all the speed I could put in we locked the fish and turned it back toward the boat. Literally within seconds it was smashed by another shark, problem here was that I was still attached to it with 12 kg of Drag. The Sea Ride Jig must have been caught nice in the corner of the sharks mouth because it was not getting bitten off. The tug of war began. Now I dont mind telling you that it was a hard slog with a fish bigger than me on 12kg. I held tight and hoped for the best, after a big struggle we got the shark up so we could all have a look at it and then pooped him off go go on his merry way. I think I blew a pooper valve. A lot of people talk about reels with 30kg of drag let me tell you I and 6 foot tall and weigh 120kg the is no way in this world that I could fight a fish on 30k of drag. It might be handy to turn a fish but to fight a fish at 30kg you are a much better man than I.
Kosta Hooked Up to a fish

The shark plague was killing us, we moved off to an inshore reef for a spot of micro jigging, using Inchiku jigs and the Blue Blue's we had a ball on the new light weight Psyborg rods. Even with locked drags on 4000 sized reels to beat the sharks they ran perfectly all day and made light work of the landing of just about every Trevally species in Cape York.

The day was getting on so a quick stop for lunch inside the Jardine river mouth. After a bite to eat we all thought we would have a quick flick of some lures around the mouth. I opted for a Gan Craft S-Caper in the hope of smacking soem fish on the surface. After a few cast's the queenfish came on in a big way and every cast was being smacked around like no tomorrow. I have no idea how many Queenfish we belted but we brained them for what seemed like ages. We put them all back and headed back out on the troll in the search of soem more Spanish Mackerel with out the sharks. Sadly no fish picked up a lure so we made our way back to the wharf. After a shower and a tidy up some cracking local folks Trent and Trish turned up with some awesome live fresh caught mud crabs. Those who know me know that I dont eat fish but will always try some thing if I have never tried it before. These things looked brilliant so I gave it a crack. Sadly I did not like it but every one else smashed them.
big low tides on a sandy ramp - snatching the boat out

Long day done a bit of re rigging and of to bed again. Will be more pics and video to come just have to download them and with the very limited connection I have here it would still be uploading as I was in the plane on my way home - more to come.

Fresh Muddy's

Mud Crab Claw

Shark stealing Trevally

Every one enjoying the crabs

Not much left

Kosta Hooked Up Again