Today we headed out in the morning – on Billy’s trusty boat from the Port Douglas Marina. All was looking great and we were in a fine mood ready to explore the open ocean – until we heard a loud clunk and then steam started rising from the large Volvo Engine. The boat quickly came to a standstill in the water and we all retreated to the back to examine things. A large metal pipe had shot out of the main engine and as a result, fuel wasn’t able to get to where it was needed and instead had pooled on the bottom of the boat.
Then with wonderful timing the clouds started pissing buckets but the resourceful man that he is – ignored the rain and after we were treated to some entertaining language and a few flying miscellaneous engine parts, he soon had the engine running smoothly and we were on our way out to the reef.
The coastal reef starts about 12-15 nautical miles from shore. On the way we passed close to Lord Howe Island – which now has the unfortunate shadow of being the location where famed wildlife naturalist Steve Irwin met his demise at the barb of stingray.
I’ve done line fishing in a number of places around the world but what we usually bring to the surface is rather small. Not so today – shark after shark kept biting our bait – a number of times the bites were so significant the hook was cut right off and one hook was bent so badly it was no longer useable. Such is the incredible power of these large fish when they strike. At one point we saw a large shark chasing a large mackerel on the line – the mackerel even jumped out of the water in its attempt to escape.
A number of other times we had large fish close to the surface before they wrestled free. We certainly wouldn’t have won any fishing contests with these sub standard results, but we were having lots of fun!
With fishing out here you could be in one spot and have zero strikes – then move the boat less than 5 minutes away and all of the sudden everyone’s lines are bending the poles.
All the larger fish gave 5-10 minute fights – we caught several good-sized mackerel and shark as well as plenty of smaller fish which soon became “bait”. Pull up then lower and reel as fast as you can. Yes, if you do enough of this over the course of the day your arms will get sore.
Even the smaller fish have nasty teeth – especially the sharks and mackerel we caught. We stayed well clear of those – but Bill’s dog became a bit to curious with one of the very small fish flopping on the floor of the boat and was bitten on the nose!
I’m usually the one getting seasick almost immediately on these ocean going trips – which is always very irritating. Once I went out in a friend’s boat about 70km off shore; it was among the sickest I’ve ever felt. I couldn’t even stand and was throwing up every few minutes. You just want to die and when you get back to shore you kiss the ground. Not so today – even with some early morning choppy seas I never felt queezy. I’ve learned over the years that enjoying a decent sized early morning breakfast can really help guard against seasickness – as when I’ve gone out on a nearly empty stomach I always quickly get seasick.
Bill specializes in one day trips with a focus on Big Game fish such as Wahoo, Marlin, Mackerel and Dolphin Fish. Day trips can also be organized for reef, deep sea and even night time fishing. He has more info about his trips here: www.outrageousfishingcharters.com.au
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