As we put the boat in the water at the Tin Can Bay boat ramp I couldn’t help but be disappointed as the tree’s buckled over with a strong SE wind blowing. The weather prediction was for 10-15 knots of SE wind but observations were showing 20-25 knots at Double Island Point so I knew we were in for a rough day. We made our way to the bar where we were greeted with some ordinary conditions so we put the life jackets on and decided to take the fishermen’s gutter near Inskip point. I took the option of using this gutter for a couple different reasons. Firstly it was a SE swell and fishermen’s gutter is pretty good on high tide with that swell direction. Second reason was I wanted to stay close to the Inskip Point beach and make my way up past rainbow beach to double island point where it was protected from the SE winds and seas. We made our way safely out the bar and headed into the protected waters of DI Bay where we passed some time looking for live bait.
This trip I was determined to fish in close to DI for a day or so and show what the close in grounds can produce for my DVD. Late morning the wind had backed off a little so we headed out and fished only a few km off the Double Island Point headland and first drop resulted in a couple pearl perch and a Maori cod. What a great start and but after that we found that the sharks were so thick and ate every decent fish we pulled up.
There was no point feeding the sharks so I headed out 10km from DI and fished some rubble areas that generally holds bait at times. These areas can produce some nice fish at times but requires patience which means you need to anchor up and wait for the fish to find the baits. I anchored directly over some bait and deployed a mixture of dead baits and freshly caught yakkas we had jigged from the spot. The old man was on straight away and pulled a nice snapper around 8kg using a pilchard and a running 10 ball sinker. This snapper picked the bait up off the bottom which is a common occurrence off DI when fishing rubble country opposed to getting them up high in the water column on the larger reef structure.
A few more small fish come aboard but it wasn’t long before foxy also hooked a solid fish using a mullet fillet on a paternoster rig. This fish was putting up a good fight and eventually we caught a glimpse of colour down deep and a nice large mouth nannygai around 8kg hit the surface.
The fishing continued and I was busy trying to jig some live bait and eventually pulled up a good sized yakka which I promptly deployed. I was using 80lb braid but stepped back the leader from 80lb to 50lb while fishing in close to try increase the bites. The rig of choice was a paternoster and 3 hook ganged 7/0 7766 mustard hooks. I placed the ganged hooks through the top edge of the yakka and sent it to the bottom. After a few minutes I had a fish playing with the bait and I sunk the hooks in to what felt like a very solid fish. I would gain some line and loose some line and I started to raise questions in my head of what the hell this fish was. I knew this fish was big and as it was getting higher in the water column its fighting ability slowed right up. It was obvious that this fish was beginning to suffer from barotrauma and I thought to myself there is only a couple large fish that suffer from barotrauma in this area. One is a cod and the other is the large mouth nannygai. Surely it couldn’t be a nannygai I thought and we patiently looked down into the blue water waiting for some colour to appear. It was red in colour and what hit the surface was a monster large mouth nannygai. I threw my hand in its gills and proudly held up for the camera one of the biggest of this species I had seen. It later pulled the scales to 14.04kg and to say I was happy was understatement.
The fishing continued and 20 minutes later foxy hooks a nice fish that pulled hard and after a good short fight a beautiful gold band jobfish makes its way into the boat. These fish are very similar to a rosy jobfish but have gold bands running down it’s face/body and are more commonly caught in the mid to north QLD regions. These fish are a very welcome catch in the se qld waters and just another example of the species that can be caught off the DI region and also in so close.
With the afternoon getting on and the conditions still ordinary we headed into the calm waters at DI where we slipped into the lagoon for a decent sleep. The lagoon is still accessible at high tide but the channel into it is fairly shallow and I would say an hour or so before and after high tide would be difficult to get in or out.
We headed out the next morning and fished 15km from DI where we pulled a few nice reef fish including a nice legal red emperor which is all a bonus when fishing in close. I continued to work some ground 20-35km from DI and caught a mixed bag of fish including some back breaking Samson fish.
Close in caught Red Emperor.
I was happy with the results we had captured on film for the close in areas so I decided to head wide to see what we could find. The conditions were far from good out wide and the so called prediction of 5-10knots turning 10-15knots was way off again and we copped a good 15-20knots of se wind all day and into the night. The first drop on a good show resulted in the boys all hooking up and three different species hit the deck. Foxy caught a nice Snapper, the old man had a red and Andy pitched in with a parrot. The next couple drifts were quiet so I moved further north checking out different spots for mixed results. One spot had a few reds on it which was a bonus but other than that the fishing was slow and the 20 knots of wind against a strong southerly current made for tough fishing.
With the afternoon getting on I headed in a little closer to get out of the current so we could anchor for the night. Unfortunately the current was still strong in closer and this positioned the boat side on to the wind and seas when we put the anchor out. It turned in to a rough and long night but in the morning the conditions improved and we started fishing again. I had used a lot of my fuel by now so I couldn’t afford to do much searching and slowly made my way in whilst checking various marks I already had along the way. We pulled some nice fish off a couple spots but with conditions now glassing out it gave us the perfect opportunity to continue trialling something I had wanted to do for years.
We attached an underwater camera to some heavy line and lowered it down to the bottom on an electric reel. It was situated around 2 mtrs off the bottom with bait suspended below it to attract the fish. The footage is recorded to an sd card so we had to wait till we got home before viewing the footage. We took note of each spot we lowered the camera down on and upon viewing the footage at home I sat there speechless and grinning ear to ear with some great footage captured. Most spots had big barracuda swimming around which was interesting considering we rarely ever catch them off DI. Amberjack, morwong, parrot, cod, pearl perch, red emperor, mangrove jack and hussar are just some of the species captured on the camera. We even caught some footage of a cod in the background that I had hooked up to while a school of pearl perch swim around close by the camera. We will need to make some adjustments to stop the camera from moving around so much and also remove the bait as the fish biting it caused the camera to shake and move considerably. This has added a whole new dimension to our fishing and will be an important learning tool for all who view it. I’m looking forward to taking pics of the sounder and showing what it looks like on camera at the exact same time.
Below is a low resolution screen print from my computer of some footage taken. We have pulled some big reds from this spot and pulled a couple moments before this footage was taken. It’s a big school of Morwong and just out of screen on the right is a nice red emperor. Depth was around 55mtrs
We will experiment more in future trips and I’m looking forward to showing you all on my DVD’s, here on wickedfishing and Bushnbeach mag.
Filming is just about completed for the DI/widebay/fraser DVD and the coming months will be spent compiling and editing all the material captured.