Sunday, September 24, 2006

Last Day at Dunk

Got up early and went to the jetty. By early I mean early -- 4:00 am. There was no wind and the water was clear for a change -- you could see about 6' into the water! Got to the jetty and the pike from last night were still in the lights. I hooked two in a fly using the 7 weight -- but the 7 weight completely overpowered them!!! I then lost the fly due to their teeth, so I switched to soft plastics.

The lights on the jetty went out (at 5:00 am I think), and the pike dispersed. I got a few tentative hits on the soft plastic -- but they were obviously pike that were scattered about the jetty. As the dawn light appeared over the island the fish reappeared under the jetty. A pile of pike, but with trevally underneath. Hooked a nice trevally, but it wrapped me around the pilons. Had some heart stopping moments as I tried to get the trevally interested in the jerk bait -- but I had no more success.

I tried close into the shore, where the tide was rising over the rock bank next to the shore. Using soft plastics (3" jerk baits), I got 2 x marbled cod, 2 x (small silver fish with a yellow tail and a black spot), and lost the barracuda that was sitting under the jetty looking for a victim. A family came down for their morning walk and they pointed out a flounder, and a lionfish. The lionfish stalked by jerk bait, but didnt bite!

Alex came to get me and it was time to go. I was late, and in the dog house -- but what is a fishing trip without a late return!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

2nd last day on Dunk

Getting desperate now. All that effort and no real fish to show for it!

I planned to get up early and go to the jetty. But we had snorkling booked on the reef. I assumed the snorkling was like the fishing trip -- it would start at 8:00 am. Hence, I didnt go fishing. But the snorkling started at 10:30 -- so I missed a great chance.

The snorkling was fantastic! The pic is Elizabeth with a 'sea pineapple' -- a type of sea cucumber

When we got back I was sunburnt, but it was my last evening! So I hobbled down to the jetty with my 7 weight and my soft plastics. The pilot was there again. I tried the fly rod, and got 3 pike in 3 casts. Then they figured out my fly was dangerous, and the fishing went quiet. I tried soft plastics, and eventually noticed some small fish fluttering right next to the pylon. I dropped the plastic as close to the pylon as I could, and was rewarded with a small batfish -- all of 5" long. The pilot took it for bait! Also caught a small silver fish with an upturned mouth -- very similar to a US shad, but only 5" long!

The pilot hooked a large fish on my batfish bait. It ran out to sea, eventually breaking the line. We think it was a ray -- it just kept going at a slow pace.

At 11:00 pm I gave up and went to get some sleep -- got to fish again in the morning!!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dunk Island Day 6

A missed chance.

The weather was clearing up. I wanted to rent a tinny and go out. Alex wanted to go too, so I waited till the afternoon, as he had horse riding in the morning. The riding was good apparently! Then we wanted to walk to the top of the mountain -- a good walk! But it took too long, and I got back at 2:00 pm. As the tinnies had to be returned at 4:00, it all seemed to hard. So I gave up on the boat idea.

I took the gear and walked past Muggy Muggy. By clambering over rocks, I got to a nice steep drop off with relativly clear water. Some people in a rental boat were obviously having no luck, and seeing me with all of my gear, followed me to where I was going. Little did they know -- it was the blind leading the blind!

After much trying of soft plastics, tassie devils, etc. etc. I hooked a coral trout. All of 8" -- and on a 4" soft plastic! But it was a beautiful fish.

The people in the boat moved and tried several spots within eyesight. I did not see them land a fish in 2 hours.

Got back for dinner, and then tried the jetty. Hooked a couple of pike on a minnow jerk bait. There was another guy there who had been on the fishing charter that morning, but had caught very little! Like me, a lot of effort for minimal rewards!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dunk Island Day 5

Got up early and went to the jetty. Water was clearish. Managed a barracuda on a soft plastic -- though it was a small barracuda. Also managed a small tuna type fish with a bright yellow tail and 3 horizontal lines. Suggestions are that it is a 'saury'. Didnt fight hard, but then again, the rod overpowered it!

Could have rented a tinny, but Elizabeth was riding. There was some issue with riding last time, so I wanted to hang around. Ended up throwing boomerangs with the kids. Got tired and went to bed -- no evening fishing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dunk Island Day 4

The fishing Charter.

Went with Alistair Pike on his charter. It started at 8:00 am with Alistair catching live bait with a throw net. I had never seen one of these before -- an interesting contraption. After 3 throws we had a live well full of hardyheads!

The trip out was an adventure. I always thought the water was calm behind the reef. Bulldust!!! There was a 1 m swell rising to 1.5 m. The boat pounded through the swell, having a hard time in several sections. Finally we got to 40 foot rock -- a rock with a channel between it and the main island. The channel was sheltered.

We baited up and started fishing. Two rods had unweighted live baits drifted out the back. Two rods had livebaits on paternosters. And two rods had squid on paternosters. I cant remeber who got the first fish -- but I was succesful early, with a 10" marbled cod. It was covered in spikes!

In the meantime, the front of the boat got a couple of black trevally. They were colourfull and, according to Alistair, had poisonous spines. They were released back over the side. The fishing was quiet, so we moved backk down the channel to where the current enterred the channel. We anchored about 20' away from the rocks, and wer in about 30' of water.

I got a 'madfish' -- obviosly a member of the tuna family. It was a nice fish -- 2 to 3 lb in the old scale. Alistair said 'bait' and attached a big hook to this fish. He attached a baloon and let the line out the back of the boat. The madfish swam all over the place, eventually settling in the front of the channel.

In the meantime the crew at the front of tghe boat using squid started getting regular hookups on squid. They were catching batfish. Soon we all switched to squid and started pulling up batfish. And at 3 kilos for mine they were some big batfish!!!!

All of a sudden the rod with the madfish went off. Another angler (Paul I think), had not had too much luck, so he was given the task of reeling in the fish. But it was big, and it took the madfish out to the deep blue. Alistair recons it was a shark.

Eventually Holly (an older teen in the front of the boat) was getting sea sick, so we up anchored and moved to a new position -- the wreck of an old bomber from WWII. Things were quiet on the bomber. There were 3 small (50cm) sharks caught. But I had no bites!

We moved to a reef just behind the small island in front of the Dunk Isdland resort for the last 20 minutes of the charter. No luck. I got another marbled cod. I cantt remember much else being caught, though there were a couple of other fish landed. But nothing remarkable!

I asked Alistair what his advice would be for someone staying at the resort. he suggested the Jetty at first light -- an appraisal that seemed to be correct! Alistairs web site is . In general, I thought Alistair had a well run operation -- it was the weather that was preventing much in the way of fish!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dunk island Day 3

Elizabeth was devasted that I didnt take her out yesterday morning, so I woke her up and we went down to the dock at 6:00 am. The garbage tender was there until 7:00. Elizabeth fished with a soft plastic -- eventually it came in with its tail removed. I tried a bendback minnow fly, and got two small fish that grunted. They looked like queenfish -- but they were so small they could have been any predator that was silver, 6" long, and travally shaped. No more success, and Elizabeth got bored, so we went back to the hotel.

The day was hot, but with high winds. The water was whipped into a mess. I was booked on a fishing charter, but it was cancelled.

Tried in the evening and no luck. There was another bait fisherman there on the jetty, and he had no luck either.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dunk Island Day 2

Got up early and went to the jetty. The bait from last night was still there, but no squid. The water was still murky -- it was chocolate milk close in, and milky (50cm visibility max) further out. A trevally took a large soft plastic -- a lot of fight for a 30 cm long fish! Another one hit and missed. But that was the action for 2 hours of effort. Tried fishing off the spit of sand nearby in the current seam -- got a flathead. Travelled 2000 km, and still all I could get was flathead! This one was different from Tassie fish -- it had a large yellow spot on its tail. I suppose its like hawaiian shirts -- when in the tropics wear something colourfull :)

Went out on a catamaran after breakfast. We had a brief lesson and then headed out towards a small island off shore. I wasn't going fast, but Alex was scared. We were tacking back when a boat near us flipped. The guy started doing his maneuvers to right the boat, and suddenly he stood up! Despite being 200 m off shore, we were only 1 meter deep! But the water was so murky you couldnt see bottom!!!!

Tried going snorkelling in the afternoon. Got the gear and walked to Muggy Muggy beach. There was a fair drop off from a sandy beach, with rocks near by. But the wind was blowing onto the beach, and the water visibility was down to 30 cm. Gave up after trying to swim out past the murk and getting no better visibility.

Back to the jetty after dinner with Alex, still trying with soft plastics. There was a tender in to load garbage from cyclone larry. There were big floodlights on -- you could see a ton of small fish in the shallows. I hooked two spangled sweetlips about 6" long on soft plastic grubs. But the action was, well, non-existant for me. There was another fisherman on the dock. Turned out he was the pilot for the airline that flew into the island. He had two rods and 3 handlines out. Suddenly one of his handlines went off. A big fish swam off -- after 15 mins it broke to 40lb line on the handline. The fish fought constanly, running up and down -- it was exciting to watch! After the excitement Alex was bored, so we went back to the hotel.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dunk Island Day 1

Got up early for the trip to Dunk island. We were eating breakfast when the bus driver appeared at the hotel -- we had a two hour bus trip down to the resort!!!! I wanted to get some more gear -- I was sure that I was low on fishing gear! But no time :(

We got to the jetty to go over to Dunk at 9:00 am. While we waited for the boat I explored the beach along with the kids. Found some interesting 'star' patterns in the sand where something had been digging!

When the boat arrived we loaded in, and headed over to the island. The trip was rough -- there was a 1m swell, and the boat was heading accross the swell, so there was a LOT of pitching! Susan and the kids grabbed seats -- and there was no room for me. So I had to stand in the sun for the trip across. I didnt have my hat, and when we got to the island I was sunburnt -- after only 20 minutes!

As the boat pulled in I looked under the jetty. There were thousands of baitfish in a big shimmering ball! This looked good! Hopes were high!

I spent the day walking to the farm with Elizabeth, eating lunch, and playing tennis and squash with both kids. It was, after all, a family holiday. There was a stiff breeze, and the temperature was not too high. In fact, it had been 19 the day before in Hobart, and it was only 22 or 23 in the tropics! But it was pleasant.

Went fishing on the jetty after the kids had gone to bed. It was dark, but the jetty was light. I tried soft plastics. Lost 3 to 'toothy critters'. Had a large fish (possibly a barra) grab one and go airborne. All I could see was the flared gills of this nice fish as it shook the lure free!!!! As an added bonus the bait under the jetty was being pursued by squid. I watched the squid stalking the bait for a long time. I couldnt get the squid to take my lure though -- they did try a couple of times, but no hook up!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dunk Island Day 0

Flew to Brisbane and waited in the lounge to join the family, who had spent the last week at Surfers for their school holidays. We all joined up and flew to Cairns, where we got in late (about 9:00 p.m.) Went to bed early, as we had to get up early for the trip to Dunk island! N0 fishing -- but I bought a new reel for my 11 weight to try out on the big tropical fish! Apparently there are toothy critters swimming off the beach in front of the resort!!!!!