What a Trip, just got home today, started going through the video, and left it, but have done most of my pics...
Well the week started for me on Friday, getting over to the island and setting up the new bar stools, and getting things prepped with Jim. We sank a few beers then went for a quick cruise around the Islands checking signs of fish and the water clarity which was great!! Back in town for Friday night Potshot night, and we started at Jims place, and got on it with the several backpackers staying there and a few other blow ins. Ended up hitting the Potty at 10pm, meeting Kent Muir, the fencer from Manjimup who was up for the trip. After a few "quiet ones", i got to bed around 3am...
Woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed saturday morning and headed to Jims, we hooked up the boat and got around to Shanes where the crew slowly started arriving. We soon had 6 kayaks and a ton of gear on the boat, and headed across to the island in great conditions. The 6 Crew who's yaks and gear went across got to stay the night, with Jim and we settled into the camp and were soon sipping coldies on the deck. The rest of the crew joined us on Sunday, and unforunatley missed the extra days fishing gifted to the lads who got over early, signs were good, i got smashed by BIG GT's at the bottom of the Island first up, one would have been a 20kg++ fish easy, with the main issue being the razor sharp tail flukes shredding my 60lb leader as they surged away from me. All the lads had a great starter day, good signs for the coming week.
Being my 6th trip to the Island, my aim for this week was to target Big Fish, the ones that had plagued me in September, and i had upsized my big outfit to a Daiwa Demon Blood, with a Catalina 4500H and 40lb braid, 60lb leader. I was planning on casting some bigger poppers and stickbaits to these fish, as well as use it for trolling some bigger lures like Halco Laser Pro 190's. I had upsized my leaders across the board again this trip, with 30lb on the 15lb Baby Viper/Stradic 3000Ci4 outfit, and the Viper/Ci4 4000 20lb outfit with 40lb leader hoping for that extra abraision resistance on the gnarly terrain in the shallow waters of the island. I had thought i sorted my knots as well, going the Bimini/Bristol combo, but it wasnt to be the case with the Bristol proving to be troublesome by undoing itself with continuous casting over the week, i resorted to using a lighter to melt the tags to avoid this.
With all the crew safetly over at the island for Sunday night, the true quality of this years group became apparent. Obviously all committed anglers, we all instantly connected over a sunday beer and meal, with the Cook in Joel Tinnetti over as well, he got to work in the kitchen and the quality meals began to flow from his workshop. Scotty was also ondeck, after a day of dramas with battery issues on the loaner boat, and we all had a few beers sunday making a plan for monday, an early evening was had by some, and we all enjoyed the comfort of Jims splendid new huts that night.
The rest of the week pretty much followed this pattern, wake up, stumble to the main hut for breakfast and a standard rendition of the East Perth Theme song, followed by the Muppets "Rainbow Connection" at full volume to awaken both Jim, any Stragglers, and the two French WOOFA (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) girls Jim had coerced to be his slaves, harem, or as was later described as his "two dogs" following him around who were unfortunatley placed in the hut closest the camp. No disrespect, these were nice young lasses, who both spoke very little english, couldn't handle even a small portion of the alcohol the majority of us consumed every night, and played a mouth organ particuarly well.
Once breakfast was over, we hit the water, with the peak tides from 12-2pm by the end of the week, we had a large incoming run, and a brisk flow out to exploit as best we could manage. All the guys fished in different ways, some chose landbased, kayaking to remote creeks, some fly, both on and of the yak, some trolled, popped and threw plastics. The diversity of this group blew me away all week. All of us were happy just catching fish, and i'd doubt anyone went fishless any day of the week, or even landed a small number of species. Each day would end as we all trundled back to camp in small groups, with Paul Tuckwell usually being the last to arrive, stretching the outgoing tide down to the last possible inch of water to get back to base, then as the tide ran right out, the boys would fish landbased, either from the southern rockwall, point, or the huge reef platform at the front of the camp. Paul and i had a particuarly hot session out the front on the tuesday evening, landing plenty of Queenies and Trevally.
Now one of the drunken nights around the camp, and i struggle to remember exactly which one, we had the most bizzare experience. south of the camp, high in the sky, there was a brigh red light, only for a few seconds, but bright enough to light the camp up in a red glow like daylight!!! We all debated what we thought it was, either a super bright flare, or some kind of meteor, or even an alien invasion, a thesis supported by the mass numbers of coronas consumed... Then the radio banter began, Jims camp VHF started going off with Exmout Sea Rescue asking for any eyewitness reports of a flare near the marina! Jim piped up that we had seen it south of the camp, but they didnt seem to get where we were... Reports flooded in that it was now south of Long Island, well north of the Camp, and some bloke was going to take a look in his boat. Soon an Airforce Orion that was coming into land at learmonth got onboard and said they had also seen it, possible south of Long Island, but thought it may be a meteor. But the funniest was still to come, after some thought, Exmouth Sea Rescue stated, "No problem guys, seems it was far away, possible south of long island, we'll launch a dinghy in the morning to investigate!!" We were in stitches with this comment, and the joke played out for the remainder of the week.
So to the fishing, it was fantastic!! Plenty of small queenies everywhere to about 750mm, Trevally of every type in numbers, with some bigger GT's around to give you a suprise from time to time. Bream, Flathead, Javelin Fish, Jacks, Whiting, Giant Herring, Dart, Sand Bass, and probably others ive missed were all caught in numbers. some of the boys kicked some goals on Fly, catching all kinds of fish of the yak and shore, every day seemed to add a new species to the list. Biggest fish of the week went to Kent Muir, who was with me throwing stickbaits at a small bombie when he got crunched by what i suspected was a big Golden, but after a relentless battle, turned out to be the biggest GT ive seen caught at the island at around 15kg+, at 6'5" and solid, he made it look small.... Kents GT, he's a big boy, and so's the fish!!Yellowfin Bream hit a 5" Madeye Flick Stick!
As i mentioned, i wanted big fish, so i threw a lot of poppers, and trolled a lot of kilometers, racking up 130km ish for the week. First victims of the poppers inevitably were queenies, i landed tons of smaller fish over the week, one over a meter, and several in the 70-90cm range. I also landed hundreds of small GT's, around 1-2kg, with a couple a bit bigger, but by the end of thee week i didn't want to see another!!
Trolling was going to be my main aim tho, with several trips covering the ground i had a good idea of where i wanted to troll, and when. I stuck to the trusty Crystal Minnows, but also tried some Laser Pro 190's, which i thought were large, but after losing all three to BIG fish, i will be taking some more next year, with heavier, and heavier leaders!!! Cod plagued me all week, hard fiighting, hit like sledgehammer, instantly run for home brutes of fish that did me more times than i'd like to remember, frankly, if they plagued me, i was happy to ne plagued. Some hit trolled lures, some poppers, but a few whoppers were landed and all made you work hard for the pleasure!!
But eventually i found the fish i was after, Golden Trevally. These are by far my favourite fish here now, with there blistering runs, and dogged fight. Once out of the water they would have to be one of the prettiest fish up here as well, with beautiful golden colouring, and big blubbery lips Mick Jagger would be proud of. The first hit me on the troll midweek, smashing a Crystal Minnow, and running hard and fast down the rock wall. The DemonBlood combo was up to the job tho, and helped me extract this brute from his reefy home, not the biggest ive caught here at around 10kg. The second i got on a Madeye Flick Stick 5" placcy, at the eleventh hour on the last day, after 3 hours of trolling for one GT and a Cod, i decided to check out some groud i'd seen last trip and was holding fish. First drop resulted in a honking Spanish Flag that took exception to the capture slicing my thumb on his gill rakers prior to being released. Second drop, i had a thumping hit and a torrid battle on the 20lb Viper began. This fish ran me ragged, after a long first run, i worked him back in about 4 minutes, then slugged it out under the yak for another 3 minutes before succumbing, and ending up in the yak. A superb fish, and about 12kb the biggest for me this trip. I was stoked!!
This year would have to be the best trip ive been on. Great fishing, great fellas, and some funny stories. Ive said enough, i'll leave it up to the rest of the fellas to tell there tales.