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Thread: North Queensland Adventure October 2017

  1. #1

    North Queensland Adventure October 2017

    North Queensland Adventure October 2017

    Team - Timmy, Vish and Scott

    Planning started off about 10 months ago as a group of 8 or so to an island destination, but numbers dwindled as crunch time came closer.

    Timmy and I spoke about going to North Queensland on a fishing trip. I had been to the area previously, so I had a fair idea of what to expect for a land based session. However, with Timmyís new found knowledge of boating, we knew that off-shore sessions were a possibility as would new possibilities.

    As the details of the trip became clearer, the group was confirmed with Sifu Vish joining us.

    Planning the weeks before the trip was fun but time was agonizingly slow. However, after what seemed like an eternity the day had arrived.

    Ready with over 300 lures, hundreds of hooks, spools and spools of spare leader and line. We were set. We had over 80kg of checked in fishing luggage and about 2kg of clothes each.

    Due to luggage restraints, we only took 4 or 5 setups each. We had a bit of variation, but our setups were 1 ISO rod, 1 jigging rod, 1 or 2 spin sticks and a popping rod.

    Day One Ė A New Level

    We arrived at the airport around 8:30am on Saturday morning after a very early start (especially for Timmy). We hired our brand new RAV4 and drove the incredible distance to our destination with plenty of excitement and talk of how many fish we were going to catch. As we were too early to check-in to our 2.5 Star accommodation, we had breakfast at the town and planned our days ahead.

    We thought we would scout out a few land based spots that I had fished on my previous trip but most of the spots were inaccessible or had been destroyed by a cyclone earlier on in the year.

    We found a little area with what looked like an old docking yard. It was in the middle of a quiet bay with a fairly deep looking channel running parallel to the point. Water looked like it had some coral and sand with an extensive mangrove system surrounding it.

    Tides in this part of the world on either a new or full moon are big. High tides are around 5m and lows about the same as Sydney. This sometimes, gives a tide change of 5 Ė 6m.

    When we got to the spot, there were a few small groups of locals and tourists having a fish without much luck. But we thought that with the falling tide from the morning high will provide some action.

    We bought a few bags of Coles bread for burly and bait. Along with a few prawns we picked up as well.

    Timmy and I rigged up our iso rods. Timmy his Excalibur type 1, Daiwa Impult with 16lb hybrid line and 10lb leader. I rigged up a similar No.1 rod, Daiwa Impult with 12main floating and 10lb leader.

    I think Timmy used a B or 2b float and a small split. I used a B float without a split, as there wasnít much current.

    Vish opted to spin and egi just to cover all bases. Vish used his Shoregun and Stella 6000.

    We hadnít had a touch for about 30 mins, but a big school of garfish moved in on our burly trail. I caught 4 in quick succession for the next dayís bait.

    Timmy had a bit of interest and pulled up a small Sweetlip. A first on iso for us. We were happy with a new fish.

    Timmy then had a huge bite and had the LB on the Impult being used like never before. We didnít know what it was, but after a few minutes, it busted him on the sharp coral at our feet. We were devastated to not have seen what it was. We were calling for a trevally of some sort. But really had no idea.

    It went quiet again. Vish hadnít had a touch on the spin gear. Vish tried all over the ledge even hard up against the mangroves, but without a touch. We just didnít know what we were doing in a new environment. The hot Queensland sun was taking its toll. Interest and enthusiasm was at an all-time low. We had travelled all this way and we hadnít had the action we were expecting.

    Timmy then spotted something swimming in the burly trail. I knew what it was as soon as I saw it, my son had hooked the same fish on our last trip but got spooled on his light bream stick.

    I quickly changed my bait to a piece of bread but left the tip fluffy to reduce the sink rate. I cast in to the spot where it was last seen. About a minute later, the float went down very slowly similar to an estuary blackfish bite. I let the fish take the bait fully and hit it hard. The fish went absolutely ballistic and my rod was fully loaded and I didnít have much confidence that the light rig would hold. I usually fight with the drag done up pretty tight and use only the LB. I had to constantly release the LB and it took me all over the ledge. The fish was in control. I didnít go too hard on the fish due to the light leader and knowing what happened to Timmy fish on the close reef. I tried to tire the fish out wider in the hope it wouldnít come too close to the coral reef before it had tired out, by loosening the drag a little.

    It seems like an eternity, but more like 15-20 mins. My arm was starting to tire on the long rod and I didnít have much hope of landing the fish. I must have walked over 100mm around the ledge. By this time, the fish finally surfaced, it looked massive. I decided it was time to bring it in close for Timmy to tailgrab. It was the right call. Timmy had to grab the leader and pick up the fish with his hands as we didnít want to gaff the fish and kill it. It was tense to say the least.

    High fives and shouts of excitement had the attention of all around the ledge. We didnít know what fish it was at the time. We later discovered that it was a Giant Batfish.

    It must have weighed a fair bit as Timmy struggled to lift the fish. To say it was my best fish on ISO was an understatement. The skin felt leathery like a Surgeon fish but the shape was far more rounded like a disk. It was around 70cm long but was also around 70cm tall. We took some quick photos and had it swim away to grow some more.

    Our trip had started!! We were back!!

    A short while later, Timmy had a slow down on a prawn piece. He also struck hard with a locked up drag.

    The Impult was used to its full potential, with Timmy having to release the LB over and over again. The hybrid line was singing nicely as the fish darted and darted all over the place.

    He handled the fish differently this time knowing itís fighting characteristics a bit better from his first bust-off. The stronger Excalibur with the combination of the hybrid line had the fish in a bit quicker than mine, but still took over 10 mins. It also took him around the ledge back and forth. It was my turn to try and tailgrab the fish with my hands without getting eaten by a croc. Luckily, I was able to grab the fish on the first go without stuffing it up. It definitely wasnít the same fish as it had a bit of an old injury on the tail. But size seemed about the same as my fish. High fives all round again. With photos for memories. We decided to release the fish again, due to its size and beauty. Both fish took a bit of encouragement to get going again, but they swam off strongly.

    WOWÖtwo fish of a lifetime on the first day!! We had reached a new level on ISO.

    Now it was Vishís turn. He quickly set up his ISO rod but while he was doing that, another Batfish took my bread bait. Having already landed a fish, I decided to loosen the drag and have some fun. But lost it as I had loosened the drag too much. Not a worry, as I had my fun. However, as Vish got ready, the Batfish had moved on. Sorry Vish.

    It was now time to check-in to our accommodation and have dinner. Dinner was a great meal of Pork Ribs, Steak and Lobster tail. And of course a cold one or two each.

    What a start to our adventure.

    Hold on for Day Two Ė Adventure into the great unknown

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Bravo bravo! Tantalising writeup Scott!

  3. #3
    Congratulations guys, possibly the first ever Batfish caught on ISO. Thats an A grade effort and precision to land such a big fish on light ISO gear, definitely a fish of a lifetime.

    I can see that aside from the fishing you guys enjoyed the other entertainment Airlie Beach has to offer haha

    Can't wait to read day 2 report.

    ISO Fishing Lifestyle Team

    ISO Fishing TV:

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by meiji View Post
    Bravo bravo! Tantalising writeup Scott!
    thanks Ryan. It was a great start to the trip.

  5. #5
    We tried to keep it PG. No photos allowed from inside.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Team.IFL.Jay View Post
    Congratulations guys, possibly the first ever Batfish caught on ISO. Thats an A grade effort and precision to land such a big fish on light ISO gear, definitely a fish of a lifetime.

    I can see that aside from the fishing you guys enjoyed the other entertainment Airlie Beach has to offer haha

    Can't wait to read day 2 report.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Ah North Queensland... Spent 10 years up there. Interesting place, and I can certainly see why you needed the time to find your footing while fishing over there. Very different environment and challenges.

    Spent many days walking the sand flats up there with a backpack and a light spinning rod, or my favourite, the flyrod in hand. Nothing quite like hooking a metre of golden trevally in knee deep water. The sound of a fly-line ripping sideways through the water as the thing wakes up.... Ah, those were the days!

    Look forward to hearing about your Day 2!

  8. #8
    wow bat fish amazing envy the trip!

  9. #9
    Thoroughly enjoyed the write up Scott. Wish I could have made the trip, but here I am commenting from the other side of the equator in Japan. Wow that is an amazing catch on ISO and much like what Jay has said, perhaps the first ever catch on ISO. The bat fish looks like a cross between a permit and a sunfish very interesting in shape and I can imagine the leathery feel of the skin. It would have been a big learning curve fishing in some crazy conditions with massive tides and a new area.

    Sent from my SM-N920I using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Great to hear someone else knows something about the area. We should have asked you for tips prior to going.

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