I HOPE everyone has been keeping well and getting about on the water. Restrictions have eased in Queensland and allowed us to travel through the state. The first place we headed was the Bunker Group at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.
We took my old man’s Sailfish 2800 cat for its maiden reef voyage and all I can say is wow! We left Turkey Beach at midday and took sanctuary out of a 20-knot northwesterly wind until the next morning. The wind swung to the south overnight and remained about 20 knots, so we were limited to shallow water fishing until it dropped out, but it was easy to see the fishing was red hot from the first, second and third drops, with some quality trout hitting the deck. Bunker Group Fishing
Soon after some bacon and eggs on the gas cooker we headed north of Heron Island in 8-12m of water and the good fishing continued, boating more trout, large redthroat and red emperor to 52cm. I had a feeling the reds could well and truly be on the chew if we were getting them just under legal size in 8m of water!
At lunchtime the wind showed the first signs of backing off, so we followed its lead and ventured further north to ground I had found on a previous trip. The first drop had me buckled over the side on what seemed like a good-sized red, but instead I pulled in a stonker spangled emperor, which was released straight away. Bunker Group Fishing
On the next drift over the mark my dad hooked up to a solid fish, and my partner Sarah hooked an absolute horse that hit her very hard. My fingers were crossed as this could be her first red emperor and if so, it was going to be a cracker. I could see colour and it looked red, with its identity revealed moments later.
To see Sarah’s first red emperor come in the form of a 13kg beast was a pretty special moment because these fish are the pinnacle of reef fishing and anything over 10kg is a truly memorable fish for any angler. This set the scene for the most epic fishing session I have experienced, with massive trout, red emperor, redthroat, goldband snapper, pearl perch and many more hitting the deck one after the other. Bunker Group Fishing
It shut down on dark, as the Bunker Group often does while all the fish take safe haven in caves and reef crevices and don’t usually come back out until first light the next morning. After a big sleep on a glassy ocean we woke to epic weather and fishing, with the first drop seeing my younger brother Matt nailing a very solid red emperor.
The 400-litre Esky was looking quite full and with plenty of red in the box, I figured we’d soon pull the pin. Dad hooked up once again and with head shakes coming through the rod it looked like we might have nabbed another. I was over the moon when I saw that red twirl heading for the surface. Bunker Group Fishing
With high fives all round we started the mission back to Turkey Beach in cracking conditions. I had the twin 200hp Yamahas humming along at 37 knots most of the way home. We managed a trip total average fuel economy of about 0.9km per litre, which is fantastic for a boat of its size.
This concluded by far the best trip I had ever done. No trailer problems to and from home was a bonus. Our YouTube channel Outer Line Adventures has a 30-minute video of this trip and many more epic fishing adventures. If you would like to check it out and enjoy what you see, then please subscribe. Bunker Group Fishing
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‘Til next time, I hope everyone is having an epic adventure somewhere on the water!