Joining us from Florida for 6 days was Mike and Mike. We started this trip in Cairns and marked a bunch of fish on Linden Bank , but with most of the fleet there, I kept heading north up to Escape Reef, where we got off to the start of the trip with a small fish tagged and raised another one that didn’t eat. We had a couple of days where we didn’t see a fish, and others where we saw a bunch and tagged a few, so not too bad considering it had been a bit quiet for the fleet. The boys had a great time away from work, and we spent the mornings relaxing and snorkelling, spearing and baitfishing. Cant wait to find a big one for them next season!!
My good friend John from Florida came out with his best friend Bob, who have fished about everywhere over the years. The last time John was here with us in 2009, his friend Dave Conkle got a monster fish with us up on #10, which was just a huge fish. Baitfishing had been tough, and lots of time put in to keep the freezers topped off this season, and this week was no exception. Long mornings bait fishing, but we managed to stock up and fish the afternoons, and lots of coral trout for dinner. We tagged a few smaller fish over the week, and capped it off with a nice fish for Bob that was around 900 lbs after a short fight , a great end to a fun trip for the guys.
All the way from Italy for a week is Stefano and Jack, fishing on the reef for the first time, and just loving life!!! We stayed on the Bank for the trip, with most of the fleet here, and some real big fish being caught each day, and thats what the boys were here for!!! Stefano started off with a nice one about 600 lbs and then we watched a bunch of fish being caught around us for the next few days, very frustrating to be in the right place but not getting the bites. Carl and Steve as usual made the days go by fast for Stefano and Jack, and we were rewarded with a really nice fish for Jack. A really solid fish I called 950 lbs, really fat and healthy big fish that we tagged on the top of Linden Bank up in the shallows.
Coming into Opal Reef that night after a big day, I had a loss of power on the stbd motor, after a quick diagnosis in the anchorage, it was off to Cairns in the dark. Unfortunately the engine had had a piston failure and was in need of some care. We missed the last day with Stefano and Jack sadly, but they are coming back next season for another shot at a big one for Stefano this time!!!
I had planned on rebuilding both motors after the season, so luckily had all the parts we needed in a pallet ready to go. After 3 long days, with help from my mechanics in Cairns, we had 6 new pistons and heads on the motor, and seatrialed and ready to go for our next trip.
The Billfish Foundation had a big membership drive in the South Pacific this year, and the main prize was a 2 day trip on the Tradition. I have been a long time supporter and ambassador for TBF, and this was another way for me to support them. We tag pretty much every fish we catch with TBF tags and support them as much as possible.
Joining us for the trip is Elliot Stark from TBF, and Tim Simpson from Bluewater Magazine here in Australia. The winner of the trip was Angus and Chris from New Zealand, and who would believe, Chris and I went to high school together, talk about a small world!!!!
We started off with a bang, jumping off a small fish just after putting the baits in. Second fish ate the big bait with the circle hook, and after a bit of a fight we lost the fish close to the boat. We had a great night at Opal Reef rafted up with Dan on Moana and lots of good food between us. The second day was slow but we had a great trip and enjoyed a great snorkel on the outer edge before fishing and heading back to Cairns.