Western Breaksea spit, Lady Elliot Is & Lady Musgrave Is trip from 1770 Nov 2009

As many know trying to organize holidays around the weather gods is a near impossible mission but sometimes you can be lucky enough to jag good conditions to make a trip possible. Unfortunately the weather prediction looked pretty ordinary for DI trip so a last minute call was made to head for 1770. With the old man retired and his mate Andy on holidays also it was easy to have the crew sorted quickly and before long we were traveling north to 1770. We arrived on sundown and quickly organized the boat trying to reach the bar entrance with some sort of light left in the sky. Unfortunately all light had disappeared so out come the spot light and with the bar flat as a tack we headed out with a clear run and I aimed the boat in an Easterly direction for an area about 45km out in the corner of the green zone areas. This was an area I had never been before but thought of checking out to see what was on offer.

About 20km out in choppy conditions I leant forward and down in my seat to look at a small show on the Furuno 585 sounder and at the same time hit a wave. This spread my nose across my face on the steering wheel filling my hands with blood. This was the start to why I maybe should have stayed home. After some cleaning up I continued on and arrived in the area of interest sounding around for a couple of hours but to my disappointment I didn’t find anything of interest what so ever.

I went to punch in some marks closest to where I was and then released the last trip I did up there with the new boat we had temporarily put the old gps out of old boat in and used that the whole trip so I had no 1770 marks in the new gps at all. At this point I looked at the marks I had from the Break Sea Trip we did not long back off the shoals NW of Fraser Island. Conditions were favorable and I don’t mind traveling big distances so I headed for this area, which was about 120km from 1770.

I arrived just after midnight where I threw the anchor out to get some sleep before hitting the spots early morning. I hit all the areas that produced fish last trip but as suspected these small rubble spots don’t always hold the fish on the exact spots so I sounded around looking for new ground. It wasn’t long before I found a nice show with all of us hooking up quickly soon as we got to the bottom. An average estuary Cod hit the surface as well as a couple Maori cod before I went back for another drift. The old man hooks a solid fish, which was giving him a bit of curry and eventually a beautiful big Blue Maori Cod of around 14kg hits the surface.

The next drift was Andy’s turn and he was monstered straightaway but unfortunately what hit the surface was a big old estuary cod which I spent some time trying to release him by deflating his swim bladder boat side but while doing so gave my hands some good cuts that gave me issues the rest of the trip. Things you do for fish!

I moved from that spot and concentrated in the same area looking for small rubble patches holding bait and this accounted for a mixture of small reef fish. I was drifting off the back of these spots for a couple hundred meters trying to pick up the better quality fish roaming the flats and this finally paid off when Andy hooked a solid fish and after a strong fight a 13.5kg Red hit the deck. The old man hooked a good fish the following drift but this time it wasn’t a Red but a big Spangled Emperor, which was a disappointment.


I moved out of the area and headed NNW along the shelf up towards and out from Lady Elliot Island. I found some scattered reef area with lots of weed and coral growth covering a massive area and proceeded to drift fish pulling various reefies and I managed a nice Blue Cod also that was added to the esky.

From there I moved further NNW up along the shelf but unfortunately the next 20km up towards Lady Musgrave Island is Green Zoned and much to my delight I didn’t see anything of interest the whole way through the Green Zone. By now I was ESE of Lady Musgrave Island and in about 8km from the shelf when I came across some ground. This was a nice reef area about 8mtrs high and fairly large in width that had good shows of bait on it. The next couple hours produced some nice fish with the odd nice red coming over the side but we lost a lot of fish with bite offs pretty common and I would suspect mackerel where the culprits. We also had a few unstoppables run straight back into the reef as well.

The current picked up quickly making fishing difficult so we headed for Musgrave for a feed and some protected waters for the night. The next morning I headed to Stuart Shoal that is located about 5km ENE of Lady Musgrave and comes up from around 50mtrs of water to about 17mtrs in some spots. I put some hard body lures on and ran colours of blue for the mackerel and also Gold for Wahoo if there was any around.

I soon found the SE corner had massive amounts of bait gathered and one bait school had many large predatory fish surrounding them. Straightaway the deep diving gold Halco hard body lure was hit and the line was screaming off the reel. This fish was a very solid and continued to rip the 55lb line off the Tyrnos 30 reel like no tomorrow before I stared to gain some back. At one stage he ran towards the boat and I started winding like mad before he ran the other direction and pull the hooks soon as the line become tight again. I guess that’s fishing so I reset the lures and headed back over the same bait school and once again the same lure was hit and screamed away. This fish was nowhere the size of the one before and after a short fight a 7kg Wahoo was gaffed into the boat.

After that bonito and Mack tuna were the only fish hitting the lures, which was fine as we were after fresh bait and I soon headed for the grounds where we caught some reds and reefies the afternoon before. The bait schools had disappeared from the areas we fished the day before but we managed to pull the odd reefie before locating some nice structure close by and some nice Coronation Trout were pulled along with other reef fish including a nice Tomato cod.


By now the conditions were glass and the current had died right down but so had the fish. I headed off the shelf for a look and found a nice show in 170mtrs and was surprised that the 600w transducer on the furuno 585 was reading pretty well but I reckon at 200mtrs it would run out of power. The fishing was slow and I tried various depths finding a good show in 110mtrs that produced a comet grouper, pearlie and a nice Rosy Job fish.

It was hard going so I headed back towards musgrave and spent a good half a day looking around for ground all over the place. I ended up 20km north of Musgrave and then spent the arvo looking NW, W and SW of Musgrave on the flat rubble country but didn’t find anything of importance with only Hussar, Maori cod and Parrot being caught.

Late afternoon the NE started to blow so we headed for shelter on the SW corner of Musgrave on the outside of the reef for the night. The weather report over the Radio was saying the 20 knots of NE with a strong S-SW change coming through mid to late morning the next day so I wanted to be back at 1770 before that came through as I was getting low on fuel.

Well the change came through very early and at 3.30am it blew its head off from the SW so I tried to make a run for it but 10km in it was to rough so I headed back into the Lagoon on Lady Musgrave Island. Wind reports from an 80 foot boat near us was 34knots and there was a 1mtr of chop inside the lagoon which was an un usual site and what made it even more un usual was a Tsunami warning over the radio for the outer Queensland reefs. Don’t hear that everyday you go fishing and less then half hour later the warning was cancelled.

We stayed there all day and watched the seas around the island grow hour by hour but the winds where due to drop off a bit that afternoon so at 3pm I decided to try head back. The seas where messy with large rollers everywhere and with the winds blowing from the South we had it side on to us which made for a lot easier going although I had to keep an eye on the rolling swells and a few times had to back off and quickly face the bow into the rolling swell watching it roll up over the hard top.

It certainly was an eventful trip and good to get out and spend some more time on the water. I put a massive effort in this trip and traveled more ground then I have ever before doing a total of 441km for the trip.

Greg Lamprecht