For the outdoor, four-wheel-drive and fishing enthusiast, it doesn’t get much better than setting off-grid to an isolated part of the country with a boat in tow.
For me, putting in the miles in both the car and boat to escape the crowds and exploring a new area with a group of equally keen friends is what I look forward to most.
Recently, we embarked on an epic week-long off-grid fishing adventure that required a few more considerations than your average weekend trip away.
A lot of time was spent planning, preparing and packing for this trip and the anticipation leading up to the departure date was certainly high, with another crew of friends from Mackay and Thursday Island meeting us on the road.
In the weeks prior to heading off, I’d extensively researched the area we were planning to fish by using a range of apps – Bathy Maps, Navionics, Google Earth – reading magazine articles, watching YouTube clips and talking to people who had fished and explored the area.
While all this adds to the excitement and assists with coming up with a ‘game plan’, it is important to remember that not everything goes to plan and to be flexible.
And while most fishos are happy to help you out with a bit of general advice, few people are going to give you ‘Spot X’.
And rightly so, because it has taken them a lot of time and money to work out an area and get results.
Putting in the homework and time to find your own spots is the challenge and certainly far more rewarding.
Obviously, the more time you can spend in an area the better, as it may take a couple of days to work out what will and won’t work in the current conditions – tides, moon phases, wind, water temperature and such.
Quite a bit of patience is required, along with a crew who is happy to be there exploring a new area – and not complaining about the lack of fish on the first day.
The weather often dictates where you can go, and I often plan for both offshore and estuary fishing, as we book these trips months in advance and pray the weather gods will be kind.
On this particular off-grid adventure, we were fortunate to score the weather we had been hoping for, to get wide and explore the offshore islands and reef systems.
The 7m hardtop isn’t the most ideal vessel for navigating narrow estuaries riddled with rock bars.
Glassy conditions for four of the seven days meant there wouldn’t be much relaxing for the crew because we aimed to maximise our time exploring the offshore reefs and islands.
As we were towing my 7m Fisher Maxi-Cab long distances, and over corrugated and pothole-riddled roads, it was important the boat and trailer were up to the task.
Having recently replaced the brakes and trailer bearings, we inspected the rest of the trailer closely.
I threw in spare springs and shackle bolts, two spare trailer tyres, jack and jack stands, and an assortment of tools that would hopefully get us out of trouble.