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I love the Whitsundays

Big Game Fishing

Boathaven Resort - Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I used to really enjoy a day out game fishing around the Whitsunday Islands. I loved everything about it! Game fishing is an individual sport that requires the support of a team (if your serious). There could be four anglers on the boat and your all supporting each other but when that line pops off the outrigger and you hear that "zzzzz" of the line reeling out,  it's each man (or lady) for themselves.

That uncertainty of what's on the other end of the line is what I enjoy the most. Experienced fishermen can tell what it is by the feel from the rod, but every now & then everyone is surprised by the catch.Up here in the Whitsundays, it could be anything from Marlin, Spanish Mackerel, or even a yellow fin tuna. We are not as well known as Cairns for big game fishing but I can guarantee you will get plenty of action out the back of Hayman Island or out near the reef.  Heck, my husband even tagged a SMALL blue marlin just out of South Molle Island, only 15 minutes from the mainland. (okay when I say small I mean about 30 kg. We were teasing him the whole trip that he caught a newborn.) .

You might have noticed that when I started this blog I said I used to really enjoy it. Well the reason for this is that back then I was younger, no kids, and not trying to run a few businesses. I would really enjoy sitting back and trolling for hours waiting for the strike, not a care in the world and plenty of time to waste. Now if I don't catch anything within 1/2 hour I am over it. All I can think about is all the things I could be doing instead of just sitting here staring at the ocean. So the last 5 years I have not been real excited about going game fishing.  I do enjoy what we refer to as bottom bashing. Which is fishing for reef fish with a hand line. I like it because I have to think about it and it's soley up to me if it works or not (well me and the fish), and you can catch great fish for the table.  So my son and my husband will continue the tradition of being a good game fishing person, that was handed to me from my mum, and I will find other hobbies that spark my interest these days.

I do want to share with you a very funny fishing story that happened a few years ago. Damien & I were out on a mate's charter boat, Marlin Blue, and he had a few tourist on the boat as well. There were 6 of us all together including the skipper, Ken. Well one of the tourist was an englishman and he was a combination of arrogant and daft which is not a good mix, especially on a small boat with 6 strangers and lots of lethal weapons lying around. It was a slow day as far as fishing was going so Ken decided that he would stop out near The Cones and try and let the anglers catch a few little stripy on a small rod reel combo, to use for bait later on.  While Ken was reeling in a small bait fish, a large Spanish Mackerel came and took the bait fish and started giving Ken a good fight.  So Ken decide it would be a fun fight and he handed the small rod/reel combo to the Englishman as he was standing right behind Ken and had not stopped talking. So Ken thought letting him fight a spanish mackerel with a small rod/reel would wear him out a bit and shut him up.

Well let's just say it did not have the effect we wanted but oh my it was the funniest thing I have ever seen and I still chuckle whenever I think about it now. First of all he had reel turned the wrong way with his rod over the reel. When Ken asked if he would be more comfortable the other way around he snapped back and said to get out of his way. So we all backed up and let the expert go it alone.

After about 10 minutes of the Englishman reeling in the mackerel pretty easy, with the biggest grin on his face, he turned to one of the other tourist and said that he would be happy to offer lessons later on how to catch the big ones.  Then the mackerel turned on him and stripped his line to about 50% of what he had reeled in, in about 2 seconds. This guy was sweating and huffing and he almost went over the transom twice and slowly started to turn the fish and gain some line back.  The Englishman was pulling back so hard that I though the little rod would break before the line was going to.  He was actually doing good job of pulling and winding, pulling and winding and we could start to see off in the distance the mackerel having a little jump. Then all of a sudden the line got really easy to wind in, not easy like a line broke, but easy like the fish just gave up and was not putting up a fight. I looked at Ken, who was up on the fly bridge, with a confused look on my face and he mouthed the word Shark to me. In the mean time, the Englishman was reeling in the "fish" and proudly announcing to everyone how he had tamed the beast and that the mackerel met his match. Damien, Ken, and I were finding it hard not to burst out laughing because it would be really rude. The Englishman proudly wound up his "fish" to the boat and pulled up the line to show us his very large Mackerel HEAD minus one body.  The Englishman looked very startled and then proudly boast "I pulled so hard that I have pulled the head completely off the fish" at which everyone on board the boat bust out laughing, and proceeded to pat him on the back and told him to tell all his friends how he fought the fish so hard that he actually ripped the head off.
About 6 months later Ken received an e-mail from this guy. He asked Ken if he could look into something for him. The Englishman reckons his friend that is an avid fishermen doesn't believe he pulled the head off the fish and most likely a shark ate the body of the mackerel while he was reeling it in. Ken advised the man that his friend was just jealous and to continue to tell his amazing story to anyone who would listen.
For those that don't get the story - yes it was a shark and no the guy did not pull the head off a fish.
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