Very early this morning l arrived back home from a two week trip to my favorite place in Australia, The Great Barrier Reef. After some sleep, l caught up with what was going on back home, checked emails and faxes to sort out some work and got right into downloading my photos and editing video clips....though l shouldn't have told my clients when l was returning home, as the phone calls were a real distraction. You know how they say 'never put off till tomorrow what you can do today'?....well l'm a great believer in that till it comes to work.
I jumped on Moana III after arriving in Cairns after midnight a couple of weeks ago, and spent all day Wednesday stocking the boat with supplies for our trip up to Lizard Island for the 24th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic.Captain Dan's son Dough joined us again to help catch some well needed fresh bait. Tom was deckie again this season, and a newcomer to the team Jimmy eager to learn a bit about heavy tackle fishing.
It was a smooth run all the way to the island, and much bait was caught on 10 - 15 kg outfits, together with some fresh fish to make its way to the table for dinner.
Dough catches a personnel best Yellow Fin tuna on 15kg outfit which weighed 18kg
One of many spotted mackeral caught on small skirted lures later to be stiched as skipped or swim baits depending on size
Jimmy was keen to get on the next rod to go off so Dan steered Moana III close to the edge of one of the ribbon reefs to try and score him a Dog Tooth Tuna, and almost on cue the 10kg outfit went off screaming, with jimmy jumping on it like a jack rabbit he caught a 20kg doggie which put up a great fight
You can see why they call these things Dog Tooth Tuna.
Some of it found its way on the dinner table that night.
We arrived at the island the day before the briefing which gave us some time to do some more exploring on and around the island.
Moana III anchored in Watson's Bay - Lizard Island
The previous year we hiked up to Cook's Nook to enjoy the fabulous views around the island, and l made a mental note to visit the 'blue lagoon' the next time l had a chance. So while Dan took Dough to the airport, Tom, Jimmy and l took the track to the other side of the island for a swim and a snorkel
The beach at the lagoon with other islands close by
Snorkeling the edges of mangroves at the southern end of the lagoon
On the way back to the boat we stopped at the shack at the airport to find Dan greeting Andrei, our Angler for the tournament. Andrei is a very keen marlin fisherman from Russia, who has fished in some of the best marlin grounds around the world, and this was to be his fifth or sixth year fishing with Dan. Unfortunately for him though the weather was not as good for the rest of the week with it getting up to 30knts some days. we had one really rough night camped behind Hicks reef with wind gusts recorded to 60knts at nearby cape flattery. We pulled the anchor up the the next morning to find it was bent in the shape of a banana
Some big seas while fishing the tournament
Andrei's turn on a black marlin didn't come till the fifth day of the tournament, but his patience was rewarded with the biggest fish of the tournament, which came up and tried to eat our deckie Tom, and in the process take the tag pole off him. He was very lucky to just end up with a grazed elbow, as the marlin made contact with him with its coarse bill. Things could have been much much worse.
The marlin, which was estimated by Dan to be around 1100lb, was eventually tagged with a N.S.W scientific tag and released without harm to continues its breeding cycle, which was the whole reason for it being there in the first place
Since start fishing didn't start till 11:00 am we had time to catch more fresh baits for the day's fishing, as well as some snorkeling. One morning we rigged up some Halco laser pros with wire and put them out for a bait session
Lasor pros rigged up and ready to go
Shark mackerel for swim bait
I think we'll keep this spanish for dinner
Enough caught for the day after about an hour
Paint on lures don't last very long up there, this was only after it spent one hour in the water.
To get out of having a poor anchorage, a few times we opted to anchoring at Watson's Bay, which gave us the opportunity to spend time at the marlin bar to catch up with friends. One in particular was 'Dammo' who deckied on Joe Joe for many seasons, but had now bought his own game boat 'Saltaire', and was working with Nomad doing heavy tackle as well as sports fishing in the areas at the time. He tipped us off where we could get Andrei some Large G.T's up to 40kg.
I just happened to take up with me a new river2sea Dumbell Popper, and the very first fish to get caught on it was a 40kg plus G.T.
Now that's how you christen a new lure
Dan helps Andrei lift his G.T for the photo
Another unusual catch on the way out from the island was this Big Eye Tuna. In saying that we have caught many of these on previous trips out on the sea mounts but never on the inside of the reef
Big Eye Tuna.
I will apologize now for the long report, and hope to show you another longer video clip of the whole trip, but l think tomorrow l better start making some of my clients happy, and think about another trip somewhere