The mackerel were now pushing up towards the surface and the occasional fish broke the surface as it sped up through the bait ball. For a change of tactics I cast the slug out from the bow of the boat, allowed it to sink for around 30 seconds, before ripping it in as fast as I could wind. Just metres out from the boat, in plain sight, a rampaging Spanish grabbed the lure and headed off in the opposing direction. Meanwhile, once again, Peter was hooked up at the back of the boat. My fish headed towards the stern of the boat as Peter’s fish was edging up towards the bow and there were a couple of iffy moment where our braided lines almost made contact. Some fancy footwork between Peter and I ensured our lines remained tangle free, allowing Peter to safely bring his bludger trevally into the boat soon to be followed by my 90cm Spanish. I decided to have one more final drop which resulted in my toughest battle for the morning. The large bludger trevally had me puffing as it toughed the fight out deep, using the current and its body size to its advantage, testing both me and my light gear. Carlo reached out and tailed the fish to bring it on board and I let out a sigh of relief from exhaustion. The hooks were quickly removed and the fish was speared back into the water still full of energy. With that, we headed out for some relaxing bottom bouncing to allow us to recuperate from our impressive short jigging session.
Moving into some slightly deeper water, we sent down some baits on paternoster rigs looking for reds. I was quickly rewarded with a pan size nannygai and Peter was soon hooked up to a better fish, although the fish was soon lost as the hook pulled. This shut down the fish, so another move was in order. This same scenario played out a number of times with Peter managing many solid hook-ups, only to drop the fish and shut the school down. So it was time for Caro to give me a lesson on soft plastics up in the shallows while Peter and I fished flesh baits on the bottom for coral trout.
We moved into the shallow edges of Bramble in 20-30m to begin drifting. Carlo rigged our hooks with bait and we began fishing the bottom. The fishing was quiet; it was mid-way through a tide turn and notably a period of the day when the fishing usually slows around the reef. This allowed Carlo time to rig up a 7” Jerkshad in Nuclear Chicken on a 1oz jig head and drop it straight to the bottom. The technique Carlo demonstrated was quite simple; as we drifted over the edges of the reef, Carlo lifted the rod tip up high and then dropped the rod tip back down, ensuring he kept in contact with the plastic during the process, as most bites usually occur on the drop. As expected, the skipper hooked up to coral trout within a few minutes, proving the technique works, particularly as we were unable to get a bite on flesh baits. Eager to give this a go, Carlo handed the rod over to me. The first thing I retrieved from the reef edge had Carlo calling for another small trout, although as it reached the side of the boat the red piece of soft coral didn’t resemble any trout I’ve ever landed before. With Carlo publicly announcing that he’s not going to call any more fish, he released the soft coral back to the depths as I sent the plastic back down to the bottom and managed to catch the bottom three consecutive times. I clearly require a little more practice for this type of fishing.
From there, Carlo moved us back into the deeper water where we managed to bring a steady stream of fish over the gunnels. Although after the hot morning bite we’d endured, I would have been satisfied if we had headed in early. I know my shoulders and arms were aching for several days as I slowly recovered from this insightful trip. If you are looking for a small group charter for either offshore or estuary, give Carlo a call 0403 386 722 or check out his website www.fishingcharterstownsville. com.au. Thanks again Carlo for the adventure. Till next time, stay safe and tight lines
By Josh Behrendorf
NQ Fish & Boat Magazine Townsville
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Fantastic Charter Operator! Took me out straight to the hot spot and I had my first ever Barra on the deck in no time at all, stoked what more can I say!!
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I dropped the slice down and began the retrieve which was interrupted almost instantly.
The rod buckled over and my little Stradic’s drag screamed for the first time as the fish took a line-burning run. Peter and Carlo both stopped to watch, heckling all the way, as I helplessly held onto the rod watching as the 30lb braid burned out through the guides. I began to think that I may be a little under-gunned for this fight..