Fishing Trips Reports - Marion/Elusive Reef August 2012
Travelling way out to Marion Reef on a calm ocean, is one of the truly special experiences in the fishing world. Arriving at the reef to see the borrom in 30-50m of water, and to see birds with busting fish below them, and expanses of beautiful coral reefs is a special experience. The fishing we experienced by visiting both Marion and Elusive Reefs in the one trip was pretty special.
Some great GT fishing at Elusive, and Bugatti Reefs, with awesome spanish mackerel fishing thrown in, and then the dogtooth, wahoo, yellowfin, sailfish mayhem of Marion Reef. Of course the shallows at Marion were pretty special as well, with monster coral trout and red bass and all the other usual reef suspects.
Truly a trip with somethething for everyone. Glanville Heydenrych has written a great report below about the first week of the trip, and we’ve chosen a few guides daily reports as well to highlight some of the typical days fishing at Marion. The below reports are an example of a pretty typical day at this area, and typical is bloody awesome fishing!!
Trip Report Elusive Marion wk 1 by Glanville Heydenrych
The last touches had been done on the boats and we were down to the checklist, fuel, food, tackle, yip we all tied down and ready to roll, a quick crew briefing on what the plan was for the week and we headed up to fetch the guests from the marina pub at around 5pm, back to the mothership for a quick meal and a safety briefing and we were out of there, all the guys were pretty keen to get out as soon as possible, so it was a case of swallow now chew later lets throw the ropes and be on our way!!!!
The morning arrival at the reef was a comforting sight as we snuck our way around to find a sneaky little bay sheltered enough to get the dories off the roof and we hastily headed out fishing on a glass out ocean only to stumble on a pod of whales playing around in shallow water not far from the mother ship, quite a refreshing sight and just a reminder that you are out on the big ocean and things are about to get interesting very soon in the fishing terms!!!
We had an extra day scheduled on for this charter as we were going to driving out to Marion reef which is this small isolated atoll in the middle of the untouched waters of the Coral Sea. Our plan was to basically fish our way as far South down along the barrier reef in a couple of days for a warm up before we headed out for some potential crazy action in the Coral Sea. We had never been out to Marion at this time of the year and to make things even more exciting is that it was the first time we had been out there in 3 years.
The fishing on the reef at Elusive was pretty exciting and as far as GTs go this is by far my favourite area to fish….this place is where the beasts live and as a guide I stop at every spot with the anticipation of seeing this mammoth creature coming up and sucking a popper off the like it’s the only morsel of food it had seen since birth…. From a day to day basis we were moving anchorage further south which was giving us the opportunity to fish virgin waters every day, the guys we had were a very relaxed and keen to get their rods bent with anything that had a pulse so straight off the bat we went in search of some GTs and found a few quality size fish including one specimen of around 35kg which we sight casted to in a meter of water just cruising over the sand, this thing turned around an just destroyed the popper before we even had a chance to clip the bail over which resulted in the fish not being hooked up but let me just explain the take was incredible and extremely exciting and worth every second of it, the following days the weather did a bit of a turn so we were restricted to the shelters of the lagoon, but this is where things get exciting as it is the home of the giants we mixed it up and were slaying the fish in the lagoon, the usual suspects, trout and red throat and a little trolling here and there where we managed to tame a few Gts on the light gear including a few mackerel which were taken home for the dinner plate.
The next day we had until around 12 to fish before we came home to get underway out to Marion reef and the excitement on the back deck that morning was inspiring we went out to tame the beast and started off with a fish of around 30kg in a blue hole right near the anchorage I was at this stage listening to the other guys catching fish all over the place, the game was on so we wasted no time at getting to our next blue hole where we had another fish over 30kg come out and destroy one of the poppers which ended in the reef we continued to rush through as many spots as we could and were seeing fish on a repetitive basis until it was nearing time to go but the guys didn’t know id saved the best to last, a place I mentally refer to as dinosaur point, I have seen more fish there over 50kg than any other spot ever!!!! We pulled up there I was on edge hand on the control ready to lurch at anything, the guys casted there lures non the wiser that they were about enter an unprotected battlefield ……as the lures hit the water it was like mines going off 1 on, 2 on and then the beast came up a fish of around 45kg also wanted his share of the pie and climbed all over Scotties popper and was tearing away with line straight into the deep and unfortunately something gave way, disappointing but never fear we will take 2 out of 3, both fish were solid specimens. We took a few happy snaps and straight back to the mine fields, after a few casts it seemed that things had calmed down to a mild panic when out of the back corner of the boat I spotted this fish deep down hounding Marks popper, before ever so calmly deciding, yip il take that and a fish over 50kg got its back out of the water engulfed a 130g popper which looked as though it was intended for bream fishing and headed straight home…..a cracker of a fish that just laughed at us!!!! We called it a day at that and scooted off to the mothership to prepare for the voyage to Marion and within 30mins we had loaded the dories, hung back the tows and were on our bicycles, next stop Marion reef…..
The guys started getting the heavy troll gear out and rigging lures the size of new born babies to chuck behind the boat, which got the guests asking questions that left them re thinking this idea of calm relaxed fishing in the beauty of the Coral Sea, we arrived there in the morning to grey skies but this never damped our enthusiasm the guides were frothing to get out on the water to go target a few of the species. We headed off to the closest bit of deep water on the SW corner and set some lures out in hope for whatever came along, maybe a dogtooth, maybe some yellowfin, wahoo ect. like I mentioned earlier we had never been here at this time of the year and we have experienced that going to the Corals Sea at different times of the year vastly changes the species of fish you encounter and as I was explaining this to the guests saying that we would be lucky to see numbers of quality size dogtooth both rods which had minnows on screamed away, I looked up and we weren’t even out of the lagoon first thoughts barracuda…..but to my surprise we had 2 baby hounds around the 15kg mark straight off the bat, the action continued and every boat in the area had bent rods and people shouting with excitement, what an awesome surprise, after catching a few hounds I looked at my chart and realised that just around the corner had been really succesfull in prior trips so we decided to leave to group and headed around only to be stopped dead in our tracks by a pack of sails and giant sails at that, fish around 50kg on every lure which had giant hooks on intended for Doggies we hooked a few but couldn’t get the gaff size hooks to stick in their hard faces we continued on and were continuously being rewarded with doggie after doggie until I stood back and thought for a second, hang on there isn’t many sharks…..Marion in the past was famous for sharks and you payed your taxes to them on numerous occasions coming up with only heads if you were lucky but this never seemed to be the case there was sharks but we seemed to be landing most of the fish, in between the carnage Pete got stuck into one of the sails which we had been seeing throughout the day and Johnny in a dory was attached to a Marlin which after 20min coughed up a baby dogtooth that the hook had extracted from its stomach. We encountered some absolute screamers which just cleaned us up in the reef in minutes, no seconds….doggies are incredible fish and I cant understand how they can pull so much drag off a reel so fast, it is the only fish that leaves you laughing at how embarrassing they make your tackle look, we fishing Tiagra 30W with 150lb braid cranked up to around 28-30kg on sunset and they peel that off like its on free spool, the question to ask is how big are some of these fish and what sort of tackle do you need to stop them???? The guys were broken after the first day and all woke up with bruised bodies and bruised egos after everyone had their fair share of getting a smoking from some creature or another. No time for aches and pains the game was on and we all gave it another crack, today we mixed it up a little some boats were in the shallows and some went out wide, we spent a fair portion of our time in the morning chasing Marlin which we were unsuccessful at but we did hook a few cracker size wahoo which claimed the hooks off the back of our skirts. We went into the shallows and trolled around and managed to get a few decent doggies and another sail which spat the hook on it second jump , we caught up with Pete moments later who was still fairly excited after catching another cracker of a saily, they again were tormented by a pack sails but got the hook to stick in at least one. We did some jigging to finish our afternoon and hooked some good fish and managed to land a few doggies up to around 30kg and some cracker Jobfish which were getting a feed between the pack of dogs.
Believe it or not the fishing got better and better and the last day was the pick, we set out again to try and catch a few wahoo and potentially get stuck into a marlin or sail, we didn’t travel long before we had the first sail up but it lost interest after a few swipes at the lure, about 30mins later we were stuck into another one which pulled the hooks half way to the boat, we were continuously catching fish throughout the day a mixture of dogtooth and wahoo with a few sails thrown in the mix which we could not catch no matter how hard we tried, I rigged up a teaser and a circle hook trace with a belly strip but couldn’t get the sail to eat the bait all it wanted was the teaser, all the time this was happening about 5mile down the ledge Johnny had found the Dogtooth spot and had been cleaning up, nonstop pandemonium from the word go, they eventually ended up catching them by casting stickbaits behind the boat after hooking up on the troll and managed to boat a few fish over 50kg and as doggy fishing goes had been cleaned up on numerous occasions he mentioned that he thought they would have caught around 30 doggies for the day a 3rd of which were over 30kg…not bad going!!!
Excited to go to Marion this year was an understatement, the reefs in the Coral Sea are something special, beautiful and to try describe the crystal clear water over the white sandy cays is just impossible and not even photos give you the idea of how amazing the experience actually is, that’s not to even mention the untouched fishing which is without a doubt some of the best in the world, there isn’t too many places on the earth that you can wake up and actually have to think long and hard….should we go fish for a Marlin, or should we go chase the big dogs, nah what about the Wahoo and Yellowfin tuna, ah but wait the Giant GTs cruising the flats accompanied by numerous species including the majestic Mauri Wrasse and there is something to be said about the Coral Trout in this place they are massive and again what about taking a lazy day walking on the sand cays catching Bluefin Trevally and going for a snorkel, all extremely viable options when you call Marion Reef home for a week. Although I did have my doubts this year as we hadn’t been there at that time of the year but those were blown away after the arrival at the anchorage and instantly the though comes to mind….how can there not be fish in this place!!!! This year there was something to be said for the fishing but nothing was to be said for the way the fish behaved, going crazy was a good term to start, the fishing was incredible to say the least and somehow the sharks didn’t trouble us too bad, without a doubt some of the best fishing experiences I have ever uncounted in the Coral Sea and feel blessed to be a part of it, it just makes you hope that we will be allowed to partake in fishing here in the future, trust me this is a place you want to visit and having the government close this beautiful part of Australia due to some political uprising is a disgusting shame to say the least!!! Everybody should have the right to have the opportunity to experience the beauties of the Coral Sea, I am one for sure who would love to go back there, needless to say I have got some unfinished business with the resident dogs there!!!!
Tight lines guys and look forward to seeing you guys out on Charter.
Monday 27th August -- Marion Reef
Clint: It was a real mixed bag of fish out here on the Coral Sea today. We got wahoo, cudas, all types of tuna, doggies and reefies. The place seemed to be really alive. First drop back of the lures this morning we got monstered by a huge doggie. The thing ate the lure before the bail arm could be closed it sure did get messy and after a short fight the big fish was lost. Maybe the most notable capture with all the fish we caught today was a wahoo of 30kg. After the blistering runs Anthony’s reel touched his body and he sure did get a fright from the burring spool. All this great fishing was before lunch. The boys were happy to take it easy in the arvo. My type of day.
John:- After running up to the north we were all eager to get into some trolling and it didn’t disappoint, straight off the bat today we had a solid 25kg wahoo in for a happy snap, the day just seemed to cruise away after that with fish coming at regular intervals doggies to 25kg with the average size being around 15kg, another wahoo made an appearance in the afternoon before an unstoppable decided it wanted our skirt more than we did and buried us 65m away on the bottom. The highlight of the day was seeing a free jumping black marlin in front of the boat and immediately deploying another skirt which it jumped all over straight away, the blessed thing must have tried eating the skirt 30 times without getting the hooks in which was frustrating beyond belief but awesome to watch at the same time, another glamour day at Marion with our last one coming tomorrow stand by for a big day !!
Peter: Awesome weather today it wouldn’t have gotten over 10knots. We started off on the troll for a Wahoo and came across a couple of patches but unfortunately couldn’t boat any. It didn’t feel as fishy as usual up the top end so I decided to leave to chase some sails on an inside shoal. As we were approaching there was activity everywhere. All the signs were good and we rose 9 sails, one pack of 3 and the rest individuals in 2 hours. We set the hooks in 3 but with some unfortunate tackle failures we lost them only to watch them jumping off into the sunset with our skirts in their mouths. After that we dropped the jigs for a bit only to get blown away so we left that idea. The last hour was spent trying to catch some doggies and we got 1 of 60-65kgs and one of 45-50kgs. Some of the other species caught throughout the day were yellow fin, Mack tuna, jobbies, rainbow runner and Barracuda. Great day to be out there!!
Elusive Reef 1st Sept
Peter: What a way to wake up this morning with a full red moon going down on the horizon and mirror calm conditions. The guys wanted to chase GTs today and all I can say is it was going ballistic. First cast thrown this morning saw a GT and 2 sky rocketing Spanish. It never seemed to stop even on the slack the lagoon and back eddies in the channel were seeing fish. There was a stage in the lagoon where for 2 hours every second cast was seeing a GT and my voice box is being punished for it. We ended up with 7 GTs all between 10-24kgs but that figure doesn’t reflect the amount of action throughout the day. We had everything from dustings to gold spots being eaten from GTs at the side of the boat. A heap of other fish were caught 3 Spanish, a heap of sharkeys, trout, Barracuda and gold spot travelley. It was an awesome way to wrap up the guys’ trip!!!
Back out on the water today weather started off fairly pleasant and we ventured out to pursue some GTs to get the guys’ arms all warmed up, we spotted a few fish straight off the bat but the fish seemed to be coming up to the lures with a little lock jaw but the guys persisted throughout the day and we managed to get some good sized GTs before we stopped for a lunch break. After lunch the guys were more keen on something a little more relaxing given that the weather had turned and made life a little more interesting we trolled up a few Spaniards and managed to get attached to a mammoth of a GT that sucked down a Koolie minnow and after a near half an hour the line busted, unfortunate but that’s why you come back. We finished up in the shallows and topped off the day with two redthroats on one stickshad, not a bad day at all considering the conditions.
We set out today on a mission to catch a variety of fish. The first decision was to troll a spot that was known to hold Doggies. It was game time with double hook ups and we somehow managed to lose all the fish besides two, one of which was between 15-20kgs caught on the light gear. We then went into the shallows to try and get Popper Jimbo onto a fish and he managed to pull out a really good size trout on his home made popper!! The remainder of the day was spent on the heavy gear popping for GTs and all the boys managed to catch a nice size fish the biggest went 35kgs and was Michael’s first GT not a bad way to start the innings!!
Great way to start the week first fish 36kg, two casts later dropped fish, two casts later see ya later popper, the beasts were in play today, nice pressure edge and three more fish between 24 and 30kg the boys’ arms where hurting after just an hour’s fishing. The afternoon session was followed with one of the craziest red throat sessions I have ever seen we must have boated at least 30 red throat this arvo and one lonely trout awesome way to start a trip let’s hope things continue
Edited by Nomad Sportfishing - 09/Nov/2012 at 11:46pm