Part 2 – Offshore Kurrimine Beach North QLD Aug 2011

This article I will continue on with part 2 of our Kurrimine Beach NQ trip adventures and share some more memorable experiences.  I finished off last month’s article with a great overnight trip wide of Kurrimine beach that saw us catch just about every tropical reef species known to man. After heading in and cleaning up that afternoon we refuelled the boats ready for another fish the next day.

Unfortunately it was blowing a good 20 knots of SE so we decided that Alison reef which is less than 30km from Kurrimine beach would be a good option for some snorkelling/spearing and also throwing some poppers for GT’s.

We arrived at Alison Reef and started trolling some hard body lures around the outer edge of the reef over some big bombies. It didn’t take long before the rapala hard body was hit and nice GT hit the surface and released after a few quick photos. In the meantime Trent had casted a small TT blade on his light spin gear and was also smashed straight away. This fight carried on for some time and I was manoeuvring the boat around like a mad man to avoid the several big bombies busting the fish off. I think it was more ass than class but finally a nice GT hit the surface. After a few quick pics the fish was sent back to haunt some more bait fish and we continued on trolling.

I soon spotted a school of fusiliers gathered in front of a large bombie and after a quick troll nearby which resulted in no takers we decided to throw a popper into the school to see if we could entice a GT. This is where polarized sunglasses are a must and without them you could not see the fusilier school under the water surface. I have been using Flying Fisherman polarized glasses and to say I’m happy with them is an understatement and I found myself wearing them on a daily basis out of the water as well. Check out for all the latest products and sunglass models as you won’t be disappointed. 

We positioned the boat up wind of the fusilier school and I casted the popper right among the school. I barely pushed the bail arm over on the Diawa Saltist and to be honest I’m not even sure I got one crank on the popper before the water exploded and the 60lb Braid screamed off the reel. I worked the fish back to the boat as quick as possible trying to avoid the bombies situated throughout the area. The fight was short lived and a smallish GT hit the surface and safely into the net before being released.

I had another cast back into the same spot and worked the popper two or three times before it was once again smashed.  The hooks unfortunately pulled straight away so I had another cast and began working the popper.  Within seconds I had the top of a big blackish GT coming out of the water and muscle in behind the popper. It smacked the popper 3 times before getting a solid connection and peeled line at a lighting fast speed. We drove the boat forward trying to drag it away from the big bombie close by but with the fish taking so much line it looked touch and go. Just as it slowed up I noticed another bombie down deep below us and about 10 seconds later the GT had me in reef and busted me of instantly.  We returned to the same area only to find the fusilier school had disappeared and after many cast’s we couldn’t raise another fish.

After that we decided to go for a snorkel/spear fish up on the reef and the boys speared some more monster crays before heading back to Kurrimine late in the afternoon.

The weather the next day was reasonable so we headed out late morning with the plan of doing an overnighter. We once again launched the boats with the tractor and headed in a NE direction with the plan of fishing out past the outer reefs and close to the shelf area. After weaving our way around all the reefs we headed into some open sea and fished many nice rises and bombies but the fishing was slow with only the odd trout and other mixed reef species coming aboard.

We continued on further east towards the shelf and after hours of looking finally started finding some nice ground that was holding lots of bait. I was hopeful this area would hold some fish but once again the fishing was slow and we only picked up the odd reef fish until I hooked a steam train that had 80lb braid screaming off the reel. I didn’t think it was going to stop so I applied some more drag pressure and eventually I slowed the fish up and began to gain line. I started putting a lot of hurt on the fish and the Wilson “venom” jig stick was beautifully loaded and working a treat. I was beginning to wonder how much pressure my 80lb paternoster rig and 7/0 mustard tarpon 7766 ganged hooks would take but it held in there and I soon had colour under the boat. What popped the surface was an estimated 35-40kg GT and I was very surprised how fast I had pulled this fish to the surface and a testament to the tackle being used. If anyone tried telling me that Surecatch high tensile leader is no good then I would gladly argue the point with them all day long. If the fish hadn’t wore me out then holding it up for some quick pics certainly did and before long we watched this big brute swim away to fight another day. 

We fished the area for a while and Trent pulled a nice red emperor but the fish were very few and far between. By dark the wind was starting to blow a good 20knots from the ESE so I headed in behind one of the reefs to get some protection.  We had a quick fish in the 10 mtrs of water that we had anchored in and picked up some nice red throat, moses perch, strippys and one unlucky spanish mackerel. 

The wind had backed off a little in the morning so we headed back to similar areas as the day before and made our way south about 20km fishing every bump and school of fish we come across. It was slow going but we managed a good catch of red throat, red emperor, cod, gold band job fish and our bag limit of trout.  We headed back to Kurrimine somewhat frustrated with how slow the fishing was but our big efforts were being rewarded some nice fish so we really couldn’t complain too much.


With the wind blowing the next day we had a chance to have a rest and get prepared for the last two days of our trip which would be an overnighter. We headed out the next day with reasonable conditions and the wind blowing about 15knots of SE. I wanted to head for a new area about 140km from Kurrimine but first stopping off on a big pinnacle that produced 19 quality trout, cod and red throat.

Trent pulled up one red throat that had a set of old hooks hanging from its inner gills and funny enough it was a set of hooks he lost a week before on a reef over 1km away. We could identify them as his hook from the brand of hook and the fact it had swivels between them which were faulty and kept breaking. What are the chances of that!

I continued on to the location I planned to search and after a fair amount of sounding around found an area rising 15mtrs but covering a very large area. Not an ideal location for red emperor but there was plenty of fish life around so we decided to drift over it and see what was lurking below. The next hour produced a good mixed bag of reef fish including trout, red throat and an iron jaw job fish which funny enough have silver gills unlike other fish that have red gills. Foxy’s Brother Shane pulled an interesting fish up which is pretty rare and mostly found in north Australian waters and Indonesian waters. It’s called an orange finned emperor and not only does it fight hard but they are also very good eating. With the afternoon getting on I decided to anchor on this spot and see what the night could produce. Well as suspected this spot went off but for all the wrong reasons. The place was plagued with paddletail, which is a protected no take species as this fish is commonly known to have ciguatera poisoning. We persisted but they were driving us nuts and it only got worse as a heap of small sharks moved in causing havoc so I pulled the anchor and headed for an area we fished earlier in the day. We persisted for hours and had a drift over most spots we found which resulted in spangled emperor, red throat, long nose emperor and hussar.

I headed back on the inside of the outer reefs and fished some flat country which can be good for reds and nannygai. I found a small rock a couple mtrs high and decided to anchor on it for the remainder of the night. The fishing was very slow but we started picking up some nice red emperor and spangled emperor to keep us amused. The fish kept coming through in short bursts over the next couple hours and by 3am we were buggered and decided to get some sleep. We woke up to a spectacular sunrise in dead glass conditions and started sounding around for new ground. Half an hour later a 15-20knots SE come through so we started making our back to Kurrimine known that was the end of our trip. We managed to fish 9 out of a possible 11 days which was fantastic and used just over 1300 litres of fuel in boat and covered the same amount of Kilometres on the water.  Well worth the effort and can’t wait to return to this beautiful part of the world. Special thanks to Foxy for supplying a great fishing pad for two weeks and all the other boys for sharing such a memorable experience.