Brad and Rob, there was a bottle of Merlot for the largest fish, so there was plenty of banter on whose was the best.

Rainbow Beach red emperor trip

A fantastic red for Brad.
John Hooker’s first legal red emperor of the trip coming in at 8kg.

CLUB member John Hooker has finally moved to Rainbow Beach to enjoy his retirement and has asked Commodore Rob out on a number of trips that have all been ill-fated to say the least. Motor issues and the weather were the main players in the non-events, but this time with a great weather window and everything serviced on the catamaran, they along with ‘No. 2’ deckie Brad, were all good to go. Rainbow beach emperor

In an effort to get Brad onto his first red emperor, John had decided to do the big miles, so they were up at 4am and had a quick breakfast before setting off. Once loaded, they drove to the Bullocky Rest ramp where John assured them sandflies weren’t a problem, so no chemicals were applied.Rainbow beach emperor

On arriving, they went about getting the big Noosa Cat ready and noticed one or two sandflies. These were soon joined by numerous friends, leaving Rob doing a type of German beer dance while Brad ran for the Bushman repellent. Once in the water they headed to the bar then out through Fishermans Gutter.

First stop was about 50km out, with the drop bringing up a few tuskfish and a nice pearl perch. After what seemed to be 60 minutes, John said they were 5km off the mark… though they arrived an hour later – not sure he actually had a watch. The sounder lit up with a good show on a little bump, so they kept looking at other close marks and set up a drift.Rainbow beach emperor

The current was good, which was a surprise because it was after a dark moon. Brad was the first to get a red emperor, albeit a junior model. This was followed by a slightly larger one, while John and Rob got in on the act landing a few nice tuskies. Brad was into it again and set the hooks on a good fish, but as it hit the deck, he realised that once again his red was slightly short on one end.

Next John got a subtle bite that put a bend in his rod, producing the first legal red of the trip at 8kg. Rob then got hit and, not knowing whether the sharks were around, went hard on a good red, only to have the hooks pull just below the boat. On the next drift, Brad was on big time and after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, John slid the net under another 8kg fish to join the other in the Esky.Rainbow beach emperor

There was a bottle of Merlot for the largest fish, so there was plenty of banter on whose was the best and with Rob not on the scoreboard, he was copping it. He got another hit and was again onto a good fish, but this time took it a bit easier producing a 6kg specimen for the box, slightly down on the size of the others but welcome all the same. John was back on again, this time a 7kg red hit the deck.

Rob was happy the skipper was doubling up but couldn’t help thinking that this rarely happened on his boat. The fish went a bit quiet, so they tried out wider and found a steady bite, landing more decent parrotfish and gold spot wrasse, with one of John’s pushing 5kg, which was fairly impressive. Needing fuel and ice, and with a two-hour plus run back to the ramp, they left the fish biting and headed west, vowing to return the next day.Rainbow beach emperor

Monday’s alarm went off, so after a quick brekky and a bath in Bushman’s they were straight out to the mark from the previous day. Rob’s first drop with the same rig couldn’t find the bottom. The current that was missing the day before had turned up in spades. Using 16 and 24oz sinkers only got to the bottom for a couple of seconds and if they didn’t get a bite straight up, they had to let as much line out as they dared hoping for a fish.

Rob was getting good tuskies by letting out more than 300m once they got a bite, just to let them swallow it. Fishing was tough, almost near impossible, so they elected to move 12km south. On arrival, the current was the same and unfishable, so they headed into the 40km mark and finally got out of the run.Rainbow beach emperor

There were no reds around but it was fishable and the fishers were able to get their bag of tuskies and add a few more gold spot wrasse. By mid-afternoon, all a bit worn out, they decided to call it early and head home.

The red mission was a success after two previous failed attempts. It was also good to finally get to John’s new red spot, which looks promising for future takes. Brad and Rob sent a big thanks to John Hooker for a great couple of days, and the lack of sharks was a godsend.Rainbow beach emperor

Next meetings

Meetings times have changed and now occur on the first Wednesday of every month at ‘The Club Manly’ (bowls club), 26 Faine St Manly, from 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

Upcoming meetings are Wednesday April 7 and Wednesday May 5.

Until next month, safe boating.

About Mick Clutterbuck

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