I like nothing more then taking a couple weeks off work every year to enjoy a hardcore fishing holiday. Each year we tend to try a different location and this has led to some great experiences in areas around Lucinda NQ, Stanage bay, 1770 and Fraser Island. This year we opted for another location and this one had been on our to do list for several years. The destination this year would be Kurrimine Beach, which is located north of Mission beach and about an hour and half south of Cairns. My usual deckie foxy had purchased a block of land up there a few years back and has since put a decent sized shed up and decked it out into a very comfortable holiday house. Match this with a tractor to launch the boats with during mid to low tides and you have a perfect set up for a fishing holiday in this area. We had two boats and 10 blokes going up for this trip and after 23 hours of towing the boats from Brisbane we reached Kurrimine Beach hassle free.
We were all excited and pumped but the 3 weeks of consistent 30 knot SE winds prior to our arrival had us very worried. Luck was on our side when the forecast for the day after our arrival was only 10-15 knots. We were up early and put the boats in on the high tide before making our way south along the beach where the deeper water was. The importance of local knowledge in making your way out from Kurrimine beach is a must as you have King reef not far off the beach that runs a considerable distance north and south from the beach. Even the surrounding areas have little bombies scattered everywhere so a lot of caution has to be taken particularly towards a low tide. Foxy had spent many years holidaying at Kurrimine and over the years got to know the locals well and gained lots of valuable knowledge so this was a big bonus for all us.
About 30km out we started weaving our way through the reefs and then some more about 50km out. We planned on fishing some isolated areas well out from the outer reefs towards the shelf. We sounded around some areas that foxy had found good fish on at Christmas time but most spots only had small shows of fish on them. I found one spot that clearly had some larger fish surrounding a large bait school so we had a drop. The boys got smashed before hitting the bottom and rods were well and truly buckled over. They turned out to be big bludger trevally, which was disappointing but would be good baits for the days fishing. I persisted on this spot and wasn’t long before the trevally moved on and we could get our baits to the bottom. I was hit soon after and a nice fight was had with a good sized blue maori cod and foxy followed with a nice school sized red. I was starting to think the fishing was heating up but what followed was many hours of boredom as we hit bombie after bombie. One very large pinnacle produced the odd trout and a spanish mackerel on my bottom bashing rig but things were extremely slow. I sounded around for hours and hours and fished some of the most impressive looking country you would ever hope to see but the fish were simply not around. I found a school of bait that produced a few nice reds but the bait wasn’t on any structure and moved away quickly with the reds following them. More hours of searching and boredom passed but we pulled the odd the trout, red throat, cod and gold band jobfish off one spot and I thought on dark it may fire but it didn’t happen. The boys in the other boat were struggling as well in the same area and we pulled the pin and headed back to the beach about 9pm that night.
The next day was blowing a good 15-20knots so we headed to the closest reef for some spear fishing. We weaved our way through the bombies on top of Alison reef and spent the day snorkelling and spearing in beautiful clear water, which was a fantastic experience. Macca and Ed in the other boat had speared a trout and a nice jack that got half eaten by shark before Ed wrestled it from its mouth. We decided to chase the crays and it didn’t take long before foxy had speared some monster painted crays. Spearing crays for most of us was a new experience and diving down around the base of large bombies and into caves and large cracks was daunting to say the least. After driving around and diving lots of different bombies we anchored up for lunch and had a good snorkel around the surrounding areas. Having massive schools of barracuda and trevally surrounding you within arms reach was awesome and we headed back to the ramp with smiles on our faces and 8 big crays in eskies. I would hate to rub it in but damn the crays on the bbq with garlic butter tasted good that night.
The next day we had a late start as we wanted to do an overnighter in an area that was a considerable distance away. We fuelled the boats up and I put 450ltrs into the Riptide ready for some serious hunting around. We launched the boats with the tractor and headed out to find the water to be like a dead flat mirror and perfect for our travel out wide.
We stopped off about 60km out on some flat gravel grounds with a small show fish on it. Soon as my squid hit the bottom I was hit by a very solid fish and the boys also followed with some nice fish as well. My fish was a big gold band jobfish and foxy followed with one as well while my oldman pulled up a gold spot cod. Several drifts later resulted in nothing so we moved on and fished some reef about 10km away. There was more structure on this spot and this resulted in a steady stream of trout, red throat and a large and small mouth nannygai.
We headed east out past the last set of reefs and start searching in an area about 120km from Kurrimine. The fishing was slow and with the afternoon getting on and we were looking for a suitable reef to anchor on for the night. We anchored on a nice rock in 70mtrs of water and as night fell it didn’t take long for fish to start chewing. The wind started blowing a good 15-20 knots but the next 3 hours resulted in fish being pulled one after another and we had a good flow of quality reds, large mouth nannygai, jacks, long nose emperor, red throat, iron jaw and gold band jobfish, spangled emperor, cod, red bass, barracuda, trevally, chinaman and a dog tooth tuna. The variety of species was a welcome experience and we lost a fair amount of good fish and tackle to the reef but we really couldn’t complain. The reds were patchy but we got a bit of run on them at the end of the session before we swung off the mark. We went and anchored on another rock about 11pm and pulled a few more spangled emperor, red throat and a red before it slowed up so we got some shuteye.
The lads were close by in the other boat and had struggled to get among the fish but this wasn’t helped by two of the crew falling sea sick soon as the wind got up. Trent stayed up most of the night by himself and managed to pull some nice reds and other mix reef to show them how it was done. The wind was still blowing a good 20knots in the morning so we decided to head for home as our eskies were full and Reg the owner of the other boat was still very sea sick. The 120km trip back in was a long one but the Riptide ate up the rough seas and a few hours later we were back at the ramp.
The weather continued to be good for us in our second week as well and more memorable experiences were had including a monster GT that I caught while chasing reds.
For all the details read part 2 of our wicked NQ adventure. https://wickedfishing.com.au/2011/10/26/part-2-offshore-kurrimine-beach-north-qld-aug-2011/
The tree’s in the area still look bare even 8 months after cat 5 cyclone Yasi passed through hear.
Ready to head out. Dunk Island in the background