Offshore Barwon Banks, Hards & Double Island Point 2007

The wind had backed off to 10-15 knots so we made a call late friday afternoon to go for a run in foxy’s 7m Dominator Cat. We left Mooloolaba in the middle of the night with Foxy’s Dad Milton and Swano on board with the idea of an exploratory run from the northern Barwon banks area and hopefully run as far north as Double Island Point to some marks I hadn’t fished for a while. It’s a massive run to cover this distance but Foxy’s cat is ideal for this with a large fuel capacity and comfit in sloppy seas. We arrived at the first spot just before sun up when I jokingly said “foxy I will get you a red first drop” I got to the bottom and was hit by a good fish straight away and to my surprise up came a nice school sized Red Emperor.

Talk about a fluke and I’m sure the boys couldn’t believe it either but fishing is full of flukes and that’s one I’m happy to take. After pulling some small Pearlies and finding there was next to no current we headed wider into some deeper water of 90m plus. We started drifting over a nice show and all pulled pan-sized squire for the next few drifts before Swano pulled a nice 88cm Snapper on his brand new virgin PENN torque300 overhead reel using a floating Pilchard as bait.

We pulled a few more Squire and another legal Red before starting our journey north fishing isolated rocks along the way. Each spot produced fish but we were working pretty hard for them and no spot was producing consistent fish. We ended up wide of Double Island Point just after lunch time and fished a nice little show which produced some good Pearl Perch, Hussar, Amberjack and a legal Red.

We headed in about 5km to some country in 60m of water and drifted some flat reef areas where we all picked up Hussar, Tomato Cod, Moses Perch and Parrot one after another. Although we were catching plenty of good sized table fish we soon decided to make our way back down towards the Hards once again fishing different isolated reefs along the way. Some reefs were holding lots of bait, which was a perfect opportunity to drop a knife blade jig among them to see what predator would be lurking among them. It was hard work but after a bit of patience I got slammed about 40mtrs up just when I was about to drop the jig back down. The fish hit very hard and in a split second I ended up with my gimble belt sliding up my body and stopping under my arm pit as the fish screamed away at a lighting speed. I had some pretty serious drag set on the Shimano Tyrnos30 and considering how far up I hooked this fish I thought I would have a good chance of stopping him from bricking me into the reef. After some blistering runs I finally stopped him and I thought I had him buggered but that thought was soon shattered when he once again peeled line off all the way to the bottom where he rubbed me off on the reef.

We continued to catch a good mix of reef fish and Swano got busted up a few times while using plastics from some unstoppables. By now I had changed from a floating rig to a paternoster rig which was working well on the parrot and pearlies when all of sudden something nails my fish that I was pulling up not far off the bottom. I thought I would be taken straight back into the reef again but after a fair amount of time I had this fish coming but gee he had me working hard for it and I was feeling pretty buggered but determined to raise this fish. During this time Swano had dropped a big fish and quickly rebaited to which he was nailed again on the next drop but this time he was soon buried back into the reef and busted off. I patiently played my fish and the 25kg (50lb) “Platypus low stretch” was doing the job nicely on the silky smooth Tyrnos 30 and we soon had colour under boat before gaffing a horse of an Amberjack of 37kg (81pounds). I was totally stuffed and I think trying to hold the bugger up for photos wore me out more then the fight but I was happy to land one of these brutes considering most just bust you off on the reefs.

After that we anchored up on a good show and waited for the snapper to chew but only small squire were caught and also a Black Marlin which nailed Foxy’s floating pillie and then decided to try jump into the boat before pulling the hooks and swimming away. We ended up with a good catch of fish but really worked hard for the results and covered some pretty large distances. A good time was had by all and foxys old man sure keeps everyone amused and in good spirits.

Greg Lamprecht