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26th June 2004

Another beautiful clear winters day on the Gold Coast, as our anglers board the boat you can sense the excitement, they know they’ve scored a perfect day with light westerlies and 0.5m swell (it doesn’t get any better.)

The last eskies are lifted aboard and some of the guys are already keen on cracking a cold one. We throw the ropes and we’re away, we head out of the seaway headed for our live bait reef to collect some slimy mackerel and yellowtail for live bait, everyone’s commenting on how flat the ocean is, it looks like a lake. With the bait tank full we’re away again headed for the 50-fathom reef ESE of Southport 35 km’s from the seaway about a 50-minute run at 22 knots. I hear the esky lid slam again as the guys crack another coldy.

We arrive at the 50-fathom line and conditions look perfect with only a slight current running to the South. Deckhand Brendan gives the guys a demonstration on how to fish overhead reels in the deep water. (85-metres.) Some of the guys have fished before and some are first-timers with no idea on what is about to happen.

The engines shut down and the lines are on the way to the bottom, the guys are keen to be the first to hook a fish as they’ve organised prizes for the first and biggest fish aboard. One of our fist-timers is taken by surprise as his rod loads up, this is a big fish and it’s taking line, meanwhile two other rods are loaded up, both seem similar to the first, our first timer is finally winning some line back with the guidance of decky Brendan and he’s looking good to land the fish, the water is crystal clear and we can see colour down 20 metres or so, Brendan gets the gaff and the fish is Aboard. It’s a yellowtail kingfish around 7kg. Not a huge fish but a tough fighter in these deep waters. The other fish where also kingfish, weighing between 7 and 10 kg’s.

The next 2 hours is consistent with mostly kingfish and amberjack, around 7-10kg’s.

With plenty of kingfish and amberjack in the icebox we moved spots to try for some pearlies and snapper.

We arrive at the next reef and the colour fish finder shows lots of fish life schooling up just off the bottom, a couple of the guy’s saw this and were first to get their baits on just waiting for me to give them the go ahead to drop, by now the first-timers are starting to fish like professionals and the next 4 hours see some top quality snapper, pearlies, Trag Jew, morwong, pigfish and Rosie job fish.

The day rolls on still with perfect weather and virtually no wind. It’s 2-30pm and I let the guys know its our last drift, we have a few live baits left so we thought we’d have a go for a big kingfish or amberjack.

I thought I would give it a go myself an drop a line, straight away I hook up, it feel’s like a kingfish and I started to gain some line and then passed the rod over to one of the guys so I could go and see what David had hooked up onto at the front of the boat. It was a tough fighter but didn’t fight like a kingie or amberjack, by this time all the rod’s had been wound in ready to head home, all the guys gathered around David who had organized the trip, they were all talking guesses on what this fish was, some said a kingy, others were saying a big pearly but as the colour began to show we could see pink and silver, the guys all cheered as we pulled it aboard, a nice ‘Old man nobby snapper’ around 8 kg’s, a perfect way to finish the day. (shown below)

On the way home we were lucky enough to encounter a pod of humpback whales putting on a show for the guy’s who looked like a bunch of Japanese tourists with all there digital cameras. We arrive back at the jetty at 3.30pm with some more photos being taken and the presentation of their prizes for first and biggest fish.

Just another great day out with the season looking good for the rest of the year, there should be plenty more to come.

Happy Fishing

Matt Johnson

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