As a fishing tragic I often get the urge to chase particular species! This is made more frustrating at times by working at Bransfords Tackle Shop where customers spill the beans on their latest captures and often just where they've hit the jackpot.
So when Damian Colette and son Jake off 'Saltaire' start to brag about 10 kilo plus 'reds' in 50 metres not far off Port it was just too much, and I organised a trip with them the following Monday with fellow staff members Troy Ashworth and Bruno Vucas.
We needed footage for a new DVD we're producing called 'The best from Cairns', and the weather on Seabreeze reckoned it was going to be glamour.
And it was, and as we hit the coast road it was all of 5 knots and blue skies. Life's good sometimes!
We were met on board by the boys who had loaded up already and just as eager as we were to get amongst them. For those who might be guessing where we headed it took us 75 minutes cruising at 22 knots, and that's as much as Damo will let me say.
Our first drop was right on one of his marks and there were some 'Big Mothers' showing on his Simrad sounder. We rigged up with twisted leaders and double droppers, then tied on 10/0 Gamakatsu suicide hooks.
Our bait was small chunks of squid and pilchard threaded on alternately.
As we were near a new moon the current was racing so 12 oz snapper leads were tied on to Daiwa Saltiga spin outfits and Troy's pride and joy Shimano Torsa overhead on a Wilson Live Fibre Venom rod. It was 'game on' and the Go Pro cameras were rolling!
It seemed quiet until I had an almighty snatch and grab that almost ripped the rod from my hand. Ziiiiippppppppp... Gone!
Then within a few seconds round two saw a solid hook up on something very angry. A head shaking, dogged fight followed with some hairy runs that stretched my arms.
It circled a little then let me pump it up within sight under extreme protest - it was a greyish black with white stripes on the side..yes, Cobia! And a beauty too as Jake gaffed a 15 kilo specimen.
I wish I could have seen his mate which I reckon was a good 5 kilos heavier!
Troy had a couple of small hits and Bruno was having a quiet time. The fish were there but being cagey! I felt a small nibble, followed by a mighty take and it was really on. This fish fought like a big fingermark and I had an idea what it was.
Never giving up until the last few metres it bobbed up red, and a big one too! If you haven't caught a 10 kilo plus Large Mouth you are in for a shock - they just don't let up. Long runs, head shaking and violent pulls.
The video footage later showed what a good scrap it was and I hoisted one of my best reds in a long time for a few pics.
Troy followed soon after with his 'PB' and then Bruno. We were all so wrapped as we scored our XOS reds on the first drop, but the bite slowed as the tide slowed up and we were on the move again looking for another honey hole.
Four drops later we had another couple of big fish on only to lose them near the boat. Then the smaller 42-50cm. large mouth decided to chew and we were hooking them two at a time. Great fun and much needed to take home for a feed.
Several other species caught included coral trout, redthroat emperor, spanglies and moses perch.
Close to stumps we saw a decent sizes sailfish circling the boat and Damo cast a livebait to it and it took the offering speeding off at breakneck pace! But we didn't set the hook.
How good was that though? A great way to end a top day's fishing!
If you want to catch reds, and particularly target those giant Large Mouth, a day out on Saltaire is highly recommended. Our skipper Damo, and his son Jake are a good team and will give you every chance to catch that fish of a lifetime. Check out www.saltairecharters.com.au to book.