This time of year there is good numbers of snapper around in close and this is usually the target species for us but when you have extremely light winds and flat seas it’s hard to pass up a chance of heading wider and chasing the beautiful Red Emperor. With the boat loaded with plenty of fuel and bait we headed N-NE of DI and stopped off around the 50km area on a nice show of fish and we dropped the lines. I hooked up and the rod buckled on a solid fish but what I pulled up wasn’t what I expected and that was two big Catfish much to my disappointment but the water was a dirty green colour and we have often caught them in close when the water is dirty but never wide like that.
We continued working north and looking at areas that previously held fish and good bottom but with very little action. If anyone fished the wider areas up there you would soon get frustrated with the ground you may find and all the shows of fish on the sounder that never seem to bite. Its quiet common in these areas as a lot of these grounds hold good numbers of bait and smaller fish which makes you think you have struck gold but really have a hard time losing a bait on. It’s just a matter of finding a tight packed school of fish, which are usually the better quality and hopefully the large red kind.
We fished many spots trying to find the school of fish we were looking for and pulled the odd Hussar and an hour or so later found a nice tight packed school of fish on the sounder which showed a brilliant Red on the colour sounder. Using paternoster rigs and whole dead yakkas as bait we both hooked solid fish only to be sharked pretty quick and making you think this could be a tough day. We were using overheads with 50Ib (24kg) mono line and this sort of gear won’t even come close to matching the sharks and no matter how quick you try bring that red up they will stop you in their tracks and soon make an easy target for hungry sharks.
After another drop and loosing a few more fish it was clear that this school was moving in a southerly direction and we decided to continue drifting over the school instead of anchoring on it and having the school move away quickly. I positioned the boat over the back edge of the school this time and we dropped the lines. Soon the weight came on and we were into some nice fish and this time we didn’t get sharked and a couple of nice reds were boated. They weren’t big fish but nice school sized reds around the 8kg mark so there were no complaints and we soon dropped our lines back down and raised a few more off the school which soon moved away so we were back to more sounding around.
We headed North another 20km then back SW another 15km and found some new country that looks promising for future trips and after a couple of hours we couldn’t find what we were looking for and anchored up on a nice patch of reef in 60 meters of water just before dark. Things started off a little slow then I raised a small snapper, which was a first we had caught on the wide grounds but after that the action heated up and we both had that great feeling of a nice big heavy weight loading up the rod and the Reds were on the chew. Its hard to describe the fishing we experienced but over the next 3 to 4 hours as we pulled nice Reds one after another and released well over 20 to 30 reds between 6-10 kilo. By 9pm we were totally buggered and needed a sleep, (which I would never thought I would here myself say) as the reds were still thick but the plan was to get up early and hopefully catch a big red that would make up our bag limit of ten.
We hit the sack and during the night the wind started picking up from the NW and by 3am it was getting very uncomfortable so it was time to head back closer to DI before it got worse. I quickly dropped my line before leaving to see if the reds were still there and soon as my bait reached the bottom I was connected to another red of around 6kg and this was the same story for the drop after but I released the fish and headed back towards DI which took two and half hours before stopping around the 20km area NE of DI.
We worked our way in closer quickly fishing many spots and pulled a couple snapper and pearlies before anchoring on a great show of fish. I was looking at the gps and watching as we were coming to rest over the desired spot and before I knew it the Old Man had dropped his line and was connected to a solid fish. As usual you give the support that’s needed and tell him it’s a shark or some unwanted speedster like an Amberjack. After many long hard quick runs it was certainly looking like a big Amberjack and as a looked down into the depths I started seeing colour and I thought gee that doesn’t look long and skinny but fat, wide and the colour of a jaffa. Well that fat, wide, red fish came to the surface and turned out to be a monster Red and a sight never to be forgotten as it lay there on the floor of the boat and both of us going now that’s a Red. It was the biggest we had caught and weighed 18.1kg, which set a new benchmark that may take some time for us to top but I can’t wait to keep trying.
After that we pulled the anchor and headed closer in stopping of at one last area were we had pulled a lot of Large Mouth Nannygai recently. We quickly pulled a few nice Nannygai, squire, pearlies and last drop I connect to another solid fish. After a few runs it soon made its way to the surface a couple hundred meters behind us and was slowly coming to the boat. It was a nice Cobia and for its size really didn’t put much of a fight up so it must have waited till the gaff was set in as it went crazy and I thought I was about to loose Dad out the boat but the gaff tore through the fish and soon after the cobes was gaffed and pulled aboard.
We headed in and once again there was a slight swell running in the bay at DI creating a nice beach dump which was going to be interesting to retrieve the boat but with the help of 5 other guys on the beach made it a lot easier and their help was rewarded with some fish.