I’ve always been somewhat envious of fishing charter operators, not so much for the customer and business interactions, but more so for the fact that these people have been able to make a living by going fishing and putting people onto fish. On the flip side, fishing can be tough, as we all know, and these professionals are still required /expected to find their clients some good fish, and this is where they fall back onto their knowledge and experience on the water to create successful trips. This one single ‘knowledge’ element is a reason I will always strike up a conversation with anyone who spends so much time on the water and, more to the point, I’ll always happily jump on board as an extra if a position arrives. When Carlo from Fishing Charter s Townsville gave me a last minute phone call to make up numbers on a reef trip on board his 5.3 Polycraft, the decision was easy. Early the next morning we began heading out past the Lucinda jetty to fish around Bramble Reef. Fishing Charters Townsville offers small group fishing charters of up to three clients per trip either fishing inshore or offshore, weather dependant. Today Carlo had two seasoned fisherman on board, Pete from SEQ and myself, ensuring his job as the skipper and deckie was going to be a little easier. The plan for the day was to do a little deep water jigging early, followed by a little bottom bouncing for reds and then move to the shallow reef edges chasing coral trout on soft plastics, a technique I’ve never had too much success with. Deep water jigging is a technique I’ve only dabbled with on a handful of trips. One standout trip was fishing offshore Moreton Island with John Palermo chasing kingfish and amberjacks in 60-80m of water. I was not sure whether or not Carlo would adopt the same types of techniques here in NQ and it had me eager to learn. As the throttle was pulled back into neutral, the sounder revealed mass bait balls with some hefty predators moving through and around. Carlo sorted out the drift direction and rigged a couple of Ugly Stiks up with 90 gram slugs attached to 80lb leader.
Peter and I were given a brief description of the technique of jig, wind, jig and wind in a repetitive smooth rhythm.With rods in hand, Peter and I flicked over the bail arms on the Saragosas and began dropping the metal slices down 45m to the bottom. We both touched down about the same time and we began our rapid jig-wind retrieve, finding the rhythm wasn’t as easy as Carlo made out. However, mid-way through the water column my metal slice was intercepted by a fish and began pulling drag from the reel. To say I was impressed that we were onto fish on our first drop was somewhat of an understatement! Hopefully this was a sign of things to come as the day progressed.