The long-anticipated break in the south-easterly trade winds finally landed early in October. We joined the masses and hit the water to try and put some fish in our very empty freezers. Darryl, Matt and I made our way north to a few of Darryl’s favourite haunts. We stopped over on a few wonky holes on the way out, though they were all but devoid of life, barely worth dropping a bait. As we investigated other marks on rubbly bottom, we found plenty of life, but had very limited success pulling reasonable fish. Nevertheless, we persisted in the area and jumped from spot to spot, drift fishing each lively spot before moving on to the next.
Eventually, we found a spot that produced, boating a couple of mid-sized nannygai around the 2kg mark and a nice coral trout on the first drift. Subsequent drifts produced similar results, and we boated more nannygai and coral trout. As other spots hadn’t been producing earlier, we decided it was probably worth anchoring up and giving it a proper crack. This was definitely worthwhile, and we started to pull some nice fish over the side! Thanks to a local shortage of bait at the time, we were running low and pretty keen to put some fresh bait on the board. A 4kg bludger trevally did the job nicely. The bulk of the fish hitting the deck were small-medium size nannygai to about 3kg and coral trout to 60cm. In total we pulled 16 trout and a dozen nannygai off the spot, as well as a pair of nice red emperor, one just legal and one about 5kg.
With the esky filling, Darryl made the call to leave the still active spot and head to a nearby mark in pursuit of some bigger specimens. We picked up life straight away on this spot and prepared for a quick drift. First drop Darryl and I both hooked up, with Darryl getting roasted into the structure by a monster of the deep. I got lucky and pulled my fish up, a nice largemouth nannygai of around 9kg. After his previous dusting, Darryl played the skipper/net boy and put us on another drift, with Matt and I both hooking up again quickly. We managed to get both fish past a large bull shark we had seen cruising around the spot, landing a red emperor and a nannygai, both around 8kg. At this point it was around lunchtime and we decided we probably had enough fish in the esky.
For a bit of fun, we headed to some nearby reef flats to burn a few stickbaits around. With water draining off the flats with the dropping tide, the edges were fairly active, and straight away we started to see a bit of action. Coral trout, red bass, GT and other usual suspects were thick and aggressive on the hard reef edge we started working. We managed to bag a couple for trout for the esky reasonably early on in the flats session and ventured further on top of the flats for a prospect. This produced a typical mixed bag, from small emperor species to bluefin trevally. The flats marauding giant trevally were also commonplace, and we landed a couple average sized models. We saw a few packs of these fish harassing other reef inhabitants in shallow water. In these cases you are basically guaranteed a hook-up as soon as your lure hits the water. We ended the session with a couple more snack sized coral trout and even a small maori wrasse which was safely released. A few beers were cracked as we made our way back to the ramp at 2pm.