It was Friday afternoon at about lunchtime and I was contemplating what I might get up to over the weekend. I was just about to check out the weather when my phone rang. On answering I was greeted by Greg Lamprecht and we had a bit of a chat about what was biting. I was thinking this is a bit weird, when Greg says “ The weather is looking good and we’re heading up off Break Sea Spit, you wanna come”? Well, “hell yeah” was my reply! So the mad rush began, getting food and gear ready.
It soon become apparent that the gear I normally use here on the Gold Coast is well under gunned for the beasts up north, so I managed to lend a Shimano Stella loaded with 80lb braid off my mate Garry, which I put on my Austackle Takeda 15-24kg Jig Rod. I had a Penn 245LD loaded with 65lb braid, which I put on an Austackle Rhinostik 15-24kg Heavy Duty Overhead rod.
Soon enough it was 2am so I was up getting ready and out the door by 3am for a 4am rendezvous with Greg’s’ oldman Terry. Soon enough we were on our way, after stopping off to pick up Dave (Foxy) Fox, then a quick pit stop at a servo to meet up with one of Greg’s mates, Macca and his crew, which saw us slipping the boats in the water just before 9am.
The forecast was for the wind to die off Saturday afternoon and for great conditions Sunday and Monday. As we crossed Hervey Bay I was very impressed with Greg’s Riptide. It handled the semi lumpy conditions perfectly and it was very easy to see that this boat was perfect for the trips and conditions that Greg is renowned for fishing. A few stops at showering baitfish for Foxy to get a long tail on a spinner which was bought in the boat to be later used as bait. Did I mention bait? I have never seen so much bait taken on a trip. Mullet, pillies, rainbow runners and of course the tuna we caught, complimented by the many hussar we were to catch over the next 3 days.
The 80 odd kilometre run to the Sandy Cape was over by what felt an instant as we flew past the white sands of Fraser Island. Just seeing the island got me excited about the trip I have planned in November on the island. We sat just inside the white water of the Break Sea Spit, looking for deeper water and soon enough found an easy passage for our exit. Crossing a bar like this is something I have never done and is a real eye opener as to how different the conditions are north of the Gold Coast. As we made our way past the last of the slop we were greeted by a stiff 10-15kt wind and the deepest of blue water that I have seen in a very long time.
It is here that I really started to take notice of what makes Greg a very successful fisherman. Looking at the sounder constantly and marking bombies as we crossed them was to become the norm for the trip. As most of us have so often read in Greg’s reports, this is how he gets his fish.
We checked out a few bombies before deciding on our first drop. A single cod come over the side, “only a small one” was the call. I can tell you if that fish was small, I couldn’t wait for medium or big. We had several drifts and each time at least 1 fish was landed. It was on the 4th or 5th drift, when I had a bit of a different bite. I gave the fish a bit of line, and then sunk the hooks in hard. My Rhinostik rod buckled over and line come off the reel as the fish head for cover. “Red” was the call from Greg’s dad, Terry. It couldn’t be, I thought. I’d read enough of Greg’s reports to know that to get this fish to the boat in one piece was only half the battle. Soon enough after plenty of pumps and winds I could see a pink glimmer down deep, which turned to a deep red as the fish got close to the surface. Greg slipped the net under the fish and swung it aboard. My first red was now flapping round on the deck. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face as I shook hands with all on board. The boys were laughing saying that the pain only really starts once the fish is landed, I was soon to find out what they meant, as I held the fish up for what must have been at least 20 photos. Again, I’ve seen enough of the Greg’s pictures to know that they always look great, now I know why, as shot after shot was fired off.
This set the pace for the trip as we visited bombie after bombie catching fish after fish. I was truly in fish heaven. As the afternoon wore on the wind started to drop off and by evening it had just about stopped. As the wind dropped the fishing picked up, with Blue Cod, maori cod and tomato cod coming over the side, was well as a few more reds and plenty of hussar. The sharks were a bit of an issue, but most fish made it to the surface.
Having a big day, we threw the anchor down at about 9:30pm and while having some tea continued to fish. Whack! I was on and a better fish. Again my Rhinostik and Penn combo worked hard for the fish. With the light of the boat shining over the water a nice red come to the surface, bigger than my first one at about 8kg, Greg chimed in with a nice green jobfish, sweetlip and a long-nose emperor.
I went to sleep a happy man by about 10:30pm. I was woken up at 5:30am on Sunday to the sound of a screaming reel as Foxy was the first one up and had thrown his line down. This being my first overnighter on a boat for at least 15 years was an unusual but welcome sound. Fish of all colours and species were coming over the side while I ate breakfast on a mill pond of an ocean overlooking Fraser Island, could it get any better than this?
As we again moved from bombie to bombie we again picked up plenty of fish. I decided to switch over to the Stella and Takeda rod as my thumb was cut to bits from the sharp gill plates of the hussar. I caught my first blue cod with Greg and Terry getting a double hookup on reds and Foxy getting a few as well. The highlight of Sunday’s fishing was a fantastic coral trout landed by Foxy, it was an unexpected capture for sure.
As we drifted over one pinnacle I could feel a bite and the fish taking the bait, so I gave it a bit of line. This happened for about 60 seconds before I struck hard and then held on. The fish wasn’t budging an inch as I had the rod loaded up with the tip in the water. I managed to get a few good pumps on it and I was thinking I was winning the battle, when the fish then decided to run. 80lb braid peeled of the reel as if it was 2lb. I cranked the drag up even further, the reel was screaming, the rod was screaming as it was buckled over and I was screaming as the rod butt attempted to push its way right through my already bruised groin. I felt a few bumps on the line, then nothing. The 100lb leader had worn through and I was truly gutted.
As the day wore on the wind dropped right out to the point that it was stinking hot on the water. By the afternoon the eskies were looking very healthy with Greg’s huge under floor compartment filled to the top. We spent a few hours exploring and marking bombies on Sunday afternoon, ready for a night fish in the great conditions. As the sun disappeared we started to fish these new found locations. Unfortunately many of them which were covered in fish were now bare. We did pick up a few fish, but nothing like the night before. Again we anchored up at around 9:30pm for some tea. Foxy hooked up solid and landed the best red for the trip at 11kg.The fishing went quiet with the sharks moving in, so we hit the sack.
Monday morning and again Foxy was the first one up and had landed a fish before I even got out of bed. The fishing was a fair bit slower with us only landing about 3 fish before our 9am departure home. The spit was well behaved with us crossing a lot closer to the island than our exit.
It was a fantastic trip, I learnt a lot over those 3 days and I’d just like to publicly thank Greg, Terry and Foxy for allowing me to join them for an experience that I will never forget.
Phones always on Greg should you need a deckie in future.