The fishing we experienced over the past two weeks up at Jewell reef was nothing short of amazing, everything from the shallow flats fishing to the heavy tackle Black Marlin to the GTs and everything else in between. The special things about this area at this time of the year are the variety of fish available and the quantities, that’s not to mention that it is the best place in the world to catch 1000lb Black Marlin and the spawning aggregations of fish that only gather around a 5 mile area here at this time of the year….don’t know what it is about this time of the year at Jewell but it really is a phenomenon.
We had the guests arrive at Lizard Island and after a chat amongst everyone it was decided that we start off the trip a little further south to try for a few marlin, it was day one and 3pm when the call came from Saltaire over the radio that they had hooked up and a short while later a 600lb marlin was coaxed to the boat. In the mean time the guys on the other boats were getting stuck into the fish, Johnny was at that stage in a blur and the fishing on the flats was going off, the guys were getting smoked left right and centre and they managed to get a bucket full of fish including a few GTs on the light gear in only a meter of water … for the people who haven’t experienced that let me just tell you for free, it’s pretty special! We were at that stage on the outside edge casting lures into the surf and every second cast we had fish coming up, everything from Bluefin Trevally, GTs, Coral Trout, Redbass, Maori Wrasse and Mackerel, the fishing just didn’t seem right and in fact it’s probably unfair to call it fishing, for the better part of it you are catching. Day one went down very well and the talk around the dinner table that night full of excitement and through discussions it seemed we had a few more guests game to try and catch a Marlin so after a little GT fishing and trolling around for Mackerel in the morning Saltaire and the Contender, armed with a crew that was game for anything with a spike on its face, set out to the deep with 80lb stand up gear in a centre console and a full heavy tackle 130lb setup off Saltaire. Fishing in the best waters in the world to target 1000lb Black Marlin my group on the Contender confidently deployed a few rigged baits in search of something hopefully not too big… an hour of trolling went by when the rigger went, as I turned around and saw the size of the fish that was lying on the top of the swell gagging on the bait I nearly fell out the boat, we had a solid 850lb fish on but unfortunately the hooks pulled out, the adrenalin had barely settled when we noticed another black shape behind the skip bait which got smashed off the surface, this fish played the game nicely for us and within a half an hour we had a 450lb Black Marlin on the leader at the side of the boat, it really is quite an awesome experience catching that size fish out of a 25ft centre console.
The beauty of fishing around the Jewell area is that you have the option to choose what species you want to catch and after a couple of Marlin under the belt in the first couple of days the guys decided to go chase a little variety, GTs was where it was at and the back edges of the surf zone proved to be the most successful. After a little playing on the inside of the reef on the last of the run out tide we headed to the outside surf edge and started off the session with 3 casts and 3 fish hooked up, 2 bluefin and a nice GT, second cast at the edge and the game was on again and another triple hookup was the result, we caught a few fish in the surf before we stumbled into the mobile bommies or should I just say GT carnage….this is just amazing we had 4 boats fishing the bommies of GTs and we probably stumbled upon them at around 11am and by 2:30pm we had well and truly broken the guys, they could not cast anymore and when we tried to tally up a total the figure was somewhere near 100 fish between 4 boats in only a few hours of fishing and the funny thing is we left the fish frothing on the surface. The GTs out of these shoals range from the 18-50kg mark and they are extremely strong fish too. To try and explain what exactly a mobile bommie is quite difficult but it’s a shoal of GTs that looks exactly the same as a bommie poking out of a dark blue ocean that spreads out to around 20m by 20m and is made up of nothing else but literally thousands of angry GTs that will eat anything that hits the water near them, so much so that you actually have to fish with only one hook on a lure to avoid catching 2 fish at once -- the tackle and lure just get destroyed and one at a time seems to be more than adequate for most! We were lucky enough to be blessed with a few of these shoals during the trip and it is just great to see the expression on the guys’ faces when they see it first hand for themselves, disbelief.
There were of course the slower days but with the variety available you can always find fish somewhere, if its slow on the flats you have world class GT fishing, if the GTs have slowed, you have mackerel fishing, if the Spanish slow you’ve got some world class marlin fishing, and if that’s slow then there is just about always some mad action happening off the back of the mothership in the evenings… On every other day we fished on the flats and were well entertained by the variety of fish that are available to catch on small surface lures.
We were treated very well this year at Jewell as far as weather goes and had good conditions most of the time but that’s the funny thing about this spot, it’s one of the only places I have fished where when the wind blows the fish bite and the harder it blows the more they bite which is quite useful.
Tight lines guys and look forward to seeing you out there soon.