Although the plan was 12months of advance work, taking the gamble to miss the last half of what was already a pretty good Cairns heavy tackle season for us and travel 650NM south to Fraser Island had me wondering if we were making the right decision.
But one thing that was on our side from the outset was the weather -- an unseasonal run of glamour conditions made that 100 hour journey easy going -- that was one load off my mind.
On our first trip (this recap video) we planned to venture to the outer reefs on the southern most part of the GBR ==>> Samarez, Fredrick and Wreck Reefs to be precise.
On day 1 leaving Fraser Island we caught and released a juvie black 10 minutes after we put the teasers in the water. By the end of that day and some 100 odd miles north we had caught a nice blue and 7 big yellowfin including a quadruple header.
The next 10 days was spent exploring and marlin fishing our way around and in between these remote reefs. The marlin fishing was steady and we caught either blues or stripes or both most day. Nothing too big but all good fun and we were always kept busy with good numbers of yellowfin!
The anchorages were spectacular, the water was gin clear. Fredrick was by far the best anchorage. We could get right in close to a long sand cay on the SE end of the reef and I am sure would be comfortable even in strong SE winds. Wreck Reef had only one decent anchorage and that was behind Porpoise Cay, once again in nice and tight amongst the bombies.
Wreck Rreef looked amazing and we couldn’t believe the marlin weren’t thicker there — but 2017 was a weird year so it might have been a glitch. There was so much deep bait, bird life and huge schools of big yellowfin, the biggest I have ever seen in Australian waters. We caught 2 small blues on the way into Wreck the day we arrived there and thought that was promising. The next day we went straight back to that area, going 2 from 3 on blues and catching a 150+ lb yellowfin in the first two hours, but despite persevering there for the rest of the day and most of the next we didn’t get anymore bites so we decided to make the long trek back to Fraser and fish the last couple days there.
On the second day fishing the edge we hooked the one we had been looking for, a nice black well over 1000lb, but as luck would have it after a 10 minute fight with some very spectacular jumps the hooks pulled and she was gone. We were very happy with our 14 marlin (from 19) for that trip but it was nothing compared to what was coming for the next couple weeks.
More to come! #coralseaadventure #cairns #fraser #marlinseason #giantblackmarlin #blackmarlin #bluemarlin #stripedmarlin #australianmarlin #garminmarine #garminau #pelagic #kekoa56 #gbr ... See MoreSee Less
*1kg Aus Record* The first day was pretty lumpy so we elected to stay in close and try for a black on 1kg. The first fish jumped all over the place but wasn’t hooked (line through the mouth). Soon after we were hooked up to a second fish. It did all the right things and we were able to get it in the boat after a 17 minute fight. The records need to be weighed on land so we were lucky enough to find a group of fisho campers just inside the spit to help us.
It was pretty hilarious how it all unfolded. Ben drew the short straw and jumped in and swam over to ask if they could help. We borrowed their kayak to transport myself, Gary, the fish, the scales (and Ben again) separately back to shore. The shore break and pumping current made the kayak in an adventure and I saw them all hold their breaths when I got a ride on a wave approaching with speed - but its not my first rodeo lol #nailedit 🙂
The fish weighed in at 14.5kg on 1kg line which is a pending Australian 1kg black marlin record and should be the first as well. It weighed pretty spot on what we estimated according to the measurements which I wrote down and gave to Gary so don’t have on hand oops!
1kg black marlin stats were 2-1-1.
On our way back out to KEKOA, the guys came up with an ingenious plan to get the kayak back from the boat - the HT harness fight retrieval. Hilarious watching the guys ‘fight’ the kayak again and again for each trip.
Thanking them so much for all their help though we left them with some #pelagicgear and after taking some marlin fillets for ourselves, the remaining fish (which they planned to cut up and use as bait!)
Gary had a great chat with a couple of guys as we were getting it all together. No doubt they weren’t really expecting a game boat to pull up with such a weird request. It was a great camp spot, but oh the FLIES!!!
The final pic is the sunset shot as we were still motoring in to our anchorage further along the island (and out of the current). Big Fraser days!
*Fishing the edge - blues and stripes* The rest of the week we fished the edge. Traditionally we would say heavy tackle but we weren’t even close to heavy tackle! We did put the 1kg away and were pitching 2kg, 4kg (predominantly these two) and 8kg depending on size of the fish we raised - Luke’s call what to pitch.
Here are some (I didn’t do all!) of the daily recaps. It was hectic! The number of fish raised on the teasers and seen each day was truly world class fishing!
- Saw 7, raised 6 (5 blues, 2 blacks). Tease up black, no switch. Tease up blue, no switch. Tease up blue, switch, fight, break line on 2kg. Tease up blue, switch, fight, break line on 2kg again. Tease up blue, no switch. Raise marlin but fades away. See tailer, chase tailer. Tailer not remotely interested in us. Raise and switch blue on 2kg but it mucks up the bite and spits it back. Raise it again but no switch.
- Raised 7. 1st bigger blue, switched it and took bait with a high speed going away bite then dropped it. Teased it up for another bite this time squeezed it off. 2nd blue climbed all over teaser, still switched it but it dropped the bait, then bit miss bit miss bit miss bit miss just high speed fake passes. 3rd doughy tease didn’t switch. 4th teased & switched a blue, got the pile on bite and had the fish greyhounding away, break line in total freespool on 4kg! 5th no switch just looking at both teasers. 6th no switch. zoom in. zoom out. 7th raised on teaser gone in a flash.
- Line parted ways on 5 blues and caught a just sub-70k striped marlin on 4kg (Christmas smoker!). Fought this fish twice, the first time on 2kg which is the one we wanted it on but couldn’t get retied in time to pitch again when it came back up.
-Raised 12. Raised blue, stripe, 3 x blues, broke line on blue, pitched 8kg to a blue but spat the hook, blue, blue bit then dropped bait, blue raise no switch, blue pulled bait off, tiny black.
- Raised 6. Blue bigger fish no switch, blue did donuts on the bait but no switch, ditto, blue flash gone flash gone switched and then came leaping at us, blue no switch, striped marlin, the right one, fought for 10 mins but bait came loose.
- Raised 6. Switch 1 on 4kg, chase fish breaks line and jumps off over horizon, tease no switch x 2, blues on both teasers no switch. Tease no switch.
- Raised 5. Blue almost got the double, blue no switch, blue no switch, blue mucked up bite spat bait, blue hook up…fight for 12.5hrs.
We ran two teaser lures pretty much consistently the chartreuse Poi Dog and black Aloha Smashbait.
Huge thanks to Gary of course as well as Divan and Ben #ateam - you guys are #amazing ! Much fun!