Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Red to Red and Straight Ahead

North West Island Red Session - by East of the Capricorn

Firstly, a bit about the skipper - Stu, Stu targets Reds! Meaning Red Emperor and having lived in Gladstone Queensland now for the past 35 years, Stu has his spots! So needless to say his freezer is always stocked with Emperor fillets for the evening cook ups.

The boat used is a Haines Hunter 580 Breeze, powered by a Johnson 140 hp four stroke. This boat handles chop like it’s not even there, just cutting her way through. The 140 Johnson 4 stroke is an extremely fuel efficient engine burning less than a litre a nautical mile and pushes the Haines along at a top speed of 36 knots. Bait was the standard 3 x 2.5 kg blocks of pilchards and 2 x 2 kg blocks of squid. Having taken a block of pillies and a block of squid out of the esky at north entrance, it was ready to put to good use when we arrived at Stu’s spot.

Dawn broke to a great morning, a light 10 to 12 knot southerly breeze. Launching the boat at 5:30 am at the main Gladstone boat ramp near the yacht club was quick and easy.
There was a little chop on the water at north entrance, so not perfect, but still very manageable as the Haines ploughed through at 21 knots. We had a bit over two hours of travelling time before we arrived at where we would begin to fish, a spot off North West Island!

There is something about arriving at a fishing location where a tropical island is visible, and the early morning flight of the sea birds can be seen as they head out to catch their breakfast and food for their young. The wind was abating, and was now down to about 8 knots, so everything was looking better and better.

As the GPS alarm announced our arrival at Stu’s secret spot, all eyes were on the sounder. Then right on queue the depth started to drop and fern was visible on the edge of the drop off. Matt flew up to the bow ready for Stu’s call to drop anchor, and set the anchor in a depth of about 53 metres (Thank god Stu had a bouy to lift the anchor, as I am sure Matt would of had a heart attack lifting it from that depth!).

As Matt came around the cab from the bow he saw Stu locked on to a good fish as the bugger was quick to throw a bait on, and get it to the bottom! After some blistering runs and Stu’s arms looking like they had been lengthened by at least 6 inches, we had colour! A damn shark, of about 6 or 7 foot came up from the depths! As Stu started re-rigging, my bait sailed down the depths to the bottom.

We were all hoping that we had not just arrived in Sharksville for breakfast or feeding time, when bang, Matt was on! Holy sh*t, this thing was shaking its head and fighting hard with some blistering runs back to the bottom! Yep this was a nice fish, or was it just another shark? Matt was now being a little casual fighting this fish as he assumed it was just another shark!
Then as colour appeared Stu dived for the leader and dropped on board a nice 11 kg Red for Matt! Then the grin appeared on Matts face and it was priceless, he was one very happy fisho! (As we all would be if we’d just landed a 11 kg Red Emperor!) Matt baited up again and sent his rig sailing back to the bottom for another round. As Matt now had a chance to look around he said to Stu,” check out the weather”. The wind had dropped and was now zero! How much better could this day get? Red on the deck and no wind, perfect!

As Stu’s rig hit the bottom, he had a bit of an enquiry, just the softest touch. Stu let him have a bit of line, then struck back, to hooked up solidly on what felt like Godzilla! His 40 kg outfit with a Shimano TLD 25 was now bet double, the drag peeling line out. This was one very good fish! As the fish’s initial run finished, Stu settled back for the fight and worked the fish towards the surface. After seeing the rod tip bobbing up and down with the head shaking, Matt suggested that this was just another shark, but Stu doesn’t give in til he has colour. Then from the depths, a quick flash of red, this was indeed a very good emperor. After another 20 minutes of up and down Stu finally had his best red ever on the surface. A well placed gaff shot by Matt had him safely on board. 15 ½ kg of Red muscle fish!! Man this fish is a monster and Stu’s new PB!

Over the next 4 hours, 3 more big reds were caught, another 5 won the battle and were lost. What a day! As all good things must come to an end, we picked the anchor up and turned the 580 Breeze for home, tired but extremely content! Another great day fishing “East of the Capricorn”.


  1. Would give my left nut for one of those!

    Great fish fellas, well done!

  2. now that is fishing. well done guys.

  3. Nice fish Lozzer, next time I'm up in Gladstone guess where we are heading. Cam

  4. Nice fish Lozzer, when are you taking me!!

  5. Well done fellas, almost as nice as my big red old man snapper ;)
    Cheers Robbie