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About Nicnat

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  1. Hi Bruce No Cobia or Spaniards although we lost a few big Rapalas to some fast toothy critters - 100lb leader came back cut clean so these may have been Spanish. However one of the guys managed to hook and land a shark that took a liking to a big trolled Rapala so who knows what you will land up in Weipa! A few more pics attached for you Rob
  2. Rodhogger (9yr old son) and I haven’t posted for quite some time as we’re doing very little local fishing instead saving up for 1 or 2 trips to Weipa each year. After last year’s big effort the Return Trip occurred in mid March. Avoiding TC Ului on the way north, this time we were joined by fellow Raider Zen, my FIL, and 3 other mates on our DIY houseboat experience. A houseboat, 3 tenders, 7 guys and 7 days of fishing – Here’s how it went down … Day 1 – Arrived on the afternoon flight and headed straight for Woolies to stock up on supplies. After checking in with the Houseboat guys we couldn’t resist an early evening explore around the main wharf at Evans Landing. Windy and messy conditions but Tarpon were chopping all around the western end of the wharf. Zen managed to hook one on a SP but no chance in being able to lift it up onto the wharf and broke off. Left them biting and headed off to bed with visions of scaly critters Day 2 – Jumped on the houseboat nice and early and we had also arranged a guide for the day. Half the crew jumped on the guide’s boat and headed south to Pera (30km away) and the rest of us headed off in the houseboat in the same direction. The guys with the guide found Tuna busting up everywhere between Boyds and Pera and had a blast on metals with losses of gear very high. The Northern Bluefin were averaging just under a metre and if they didn’t bust you off the sharks took their fair share as well. Towards lunchtime the houseboat finally made it to Boyds Bay and we swapped crews with the guide. The Tuna had finally slowed down a little so tactics were changed to bait fishing the reefs as well as trolling mega deep divers across them. This brought in a steady procession of Coral Trout, Emperors, Cod, Tuskfish, etc. Lure losses were once again very high with 50lb braid and 100lb traces no match for several of the big beasties encountered. Fights were often very short, sharp and brutal with drags screaming before the inevitable limp line. That afternoon/evening with everyone tired we were entertained by 3 big lemon sharks at the back of the houseboat as well as a resident grouper. We had a couple of baits out as well and Zen managed to hook something BIG which lead him around the boat several times before busting him off big time. Day 3 – Woke up to a beautiful calm morning with slight offshore breeze and headed off once again in search of the Tuna schools. The previous days choppier conditions seemed to have been preferred by the Tuna as we only saw a few splashes here and there, however lots of birds circling indicated they were still about. So the metals were put away and we began trolling large Halcos and Rapalas and were rewarded with a hit every 5-10 minutes. The average size of the fish also seemed to have increased and serious stopping power was required. A highlight was one very solid fish hitting the lure, then screaming off 100mtrs of line against 10kg of drag only to have a 3 mtr shark jump half out of the water to monster the poor Tuna. We spent a more leisurely afternoon exploring a couple of beaches and then fishing a reef in close. Rodhogger (RH) had a couple of brief but intense encounters with what we believe were GTs but once again the fish came out on top. A few other reef fish followed before we made our way back to the houseboat to feed our friendly lemon sharks again. Day 4 – We had plans to stay down the coast a bit longer but a text message during the night announced my SIL had gone into labour back in Sydney 3 weeks early and the FIL was very anxious. With no reception or other means of communication we decided to head back to town early and made the trip back to Weipa. After finally being able to make a few phone calls and sorting out that everything was OK back home we ended up anchoring the houseboat just downstream from the Mission Bridge in the early afternoon and took off to explore the bridge. This is when we started getting smashed up seriously. One of the tenders decided to tie up under the bridge on the slack water and chase the Jews that we have encountered there previously. 2 hours later it was Jews 10 – Us 0. The boys were fishing large 5 and 7 inch Jerk Shads and other assorted SPs and 30 & 50lb braid was no match for concrete pylons. You would just need to jig them underneath the bridge and wait for the fun. Day 5 – The day started off with a 4.30am emergency wake-up call by one of the crew as he was doubling over in major pain (later diagnosed as kidney stones). A quick call to the proprietor of the houseboats and a 5am boat trip up river to meet him at the local boat ramp and our crew member was off to hospital. Always fun trying to navigate an unfamiliar river in the dark with no markers, a dolphin torch and not much else. We were promised a call from the hospital later in the morning so headed off fishing again to pass some time. Once again our destination was the bridge as we could see big splashes nearby. With all the stuffing around we got there a little late as the splashes had disappeared by then but pulled out some poppers and were rewarded with some follows. RH finally managed to hook up to a decent Queenfish a couple of metres from the boat just as he was about to lift it out of the water. This Queenie hit it’s afterburners and performed 10-15 jumps with no more than 10 mtrs of line out. The reason for this quickly became apparent when a 2 mtr shark crashed the poor Queenie right next to the boat and took off with half the fish. RH and I were both shaking after that encounter That afternoon we took a couple of different options with half the crew heading up one of the local rivers chasing barra and the other staying on the houseboat waiting on news from the hospital. The guys in the river spent a heap of time casting at every likely snag for just 1 decent Threadfin Salmon, which was a first for us in Weipa. On the houseboat we decided to use the Queenies from our morning encounter for shark bait and put a couple out on wire traces. We only waited for 5 minutes before the drag took off and RH picked up the rod. We let him run for a little to get the big bait down and then RH set the hook. To set the scene, RH had a couple of epic battles last year when he was only 8 yrs old and the sharks is what he enjoys most up at Weipa, so he was ready for more with his little TLD15 spooled with 600mtr of 50lb braid. As soon as he struck, drag just kept peeling off the reel and I knew he was onto a good one. To cut the story short, after 30 minutes of pumping, winding, giving line, heaving, grunting, sweating and struggling hard I was asked to take over. Another 20 minutes and 3 more rod swaps and we had jointly gotten the big bitie within 10 metres of the boat but he wouldn’t budge any more. We were both knackered by this stage and I just wanted it over with so went for broke and got the 100lb trace on the reel before locking down and lifting the bugger to the boat. We got him to the surface once to see a 2-2.5 mtr whaler with a wicked smile before he decided to submerge again and when we decided to cut him off. We sat down after this for an hour recovering. A short time later our missing crewman rang from hospital advising the kidney stone had been passed and he needed a ride back on board. Now that’s the spirit! That afternoon we also encountered a very large leather handbag drifting down the main river. We has seen several smaller models sunning themselves on the mud bank but this one was close to the size of the tenders (5mtr) and stuck it’s head up as we motored past before disappearing from sight Day 6 – After the brief Queenie encounter the morning prior we decided to hit the bridge again nice and early this time. We tied up underneath again and RH had a big follow on his first cast. The Queenies were back! For the next 2-3 hours RH and I managed to hook around 20 fish, had 3 times that many follow and smash the lures without hooking up, land a total of only 3 fish and lost many many many poppers. The only way these fish would hit the lures would be if you threw the popper upstream of the bridge and then worked it back towards it. As soon as it hit the shadow line of the bridge they would smash the popper. The problem was that they were hitting them so hard the poppers would often fly off and if you hooked them, there were concrete pylons within 5 mtrs of either side of the fish. We ended up rigging a quick release rope so we could motor off as soon as we hooked one but as they were all big fish around 1 mtr in length we got smashes more often than not. At one stage we both had double hook ups with RH’s fish taking him through the pylons and jumping repeatedly 2 pylons further up. This was one of the most intense fishing experiences I have ever had and left us shaking after ever hookup. The afternoon was once again spent chasing sharks and between landing a couple of smaller 1-1.5mtr models we again got smashed up big time by some large toothy critters. 3 of the guys also headed off chasing Barra with live bait and managed a good specimen whilst also tangling with a large seasnake that scoffed a live mullet and then managed to disgorge the hook and drop into the boat. The subsequent commotion trying to avoid the angry little bugger also ended up with a tackle box being upended and adding to the mayhem with the snake finally taking out it’s anger by biting the fuel line repeatedly before being flicked back into the water. The boys were already being made rather nervous by a 1.5mtr croc that had been sitting on the bank a mere 50 mtrs away for the past hour That night RH invented the Snake Invader game – The flood light on the back of the houseboat attracted numerous creatures especially seasnakes. They would come up, check out the boat and disappear again. RH would use the salt water pump at the rear of the boat the spray the snakes when they appeared. Rather than frighten the snakes, getting splashed with a spray of water seemed to get them more excited and stay up longer with more and more appearing. The aim of the game being to shoot as many of the snakes when they appeared before they disappeared again. The things you do to keep amused … Day 7 – Our last day started off overcast and windy. The weather had been kind to us so far but this was about to change. We once again hit the bridge early to temp some more Queenies. They were there alright but rather reluctant this day to grab the poppers. Many more follows but fewer hook ups. We did however have 2 highlights – the first was when RH got smashed up again by a BIG Queenie that once again went for the pylons in the process losing his favourite Halco Rooster popper. A call from RH 5 minutes and we watched as our popper reappeared and we retrieved it right next to the boat. The second was when a Queenie followed my popper right to the boat and peeled off as I lifted it out of the water. A split second later as the Queenie was still eyeing off my popper a HUGE grouper comes up from the depths and smashes the Queenie right next to the boat with water everywhere. A truly unique experience. That afternoon our fishing plans went out the window as the winds picked up and a big storm came through although it did have the benefit of giving us all a good wash. By that stage we were all rather tired anyway and sat down to our last dinner in peace with the prospect of heading off the next morning to take back the houseboat and catch our flights home. All in all it was another huge week with many more bust offs than fish in the boats but we all had a ball trying. I'm sure I missed many highlights and Zen may have some extra photos to add. I can tell you though that RH is still grinning from ear to ear and next year is already booked! Nicnat & Rodhogger
  3. Hi Grant Thanks for your advice about taking lots of metal slugs & slices. We went through a heap of them and yes I agree totally that the fishing options are endless. I feel we barely got to know the system and there were a heap of other places we wanted to try and just didn't get around to them. Now that we have a better idea what we are doing we are already discussing the next trip!!! Put us down for that Fishraider social up there!! Rob
  4. Hi All Rodhogger and myself have just returned from a 7 day DIY trip on a houseboat up in Weipa. We booked this trip almost a year ago and have spent the last couple of months frantically preparing the many bits & pieces required with anticipation reaching fever pitch a few weeks back. There was a total of 6 of us on the boat with RH and myself joined by another mate and his son, my father-in-law and a work mate. We didn't get off to a good start with half the party having their flight delayed out of Sydney and therefore missing the Weipa connection in Cairns. So rather than boarding the houseboat early the next day, we didn't get going until late in the afternoon. However, this proved to be the low point of the trip and as the week progressed just got better and better. Rather than cover every day I thought I'd hit the highlights as there is just so much to cover. So here goes the highlights of the best fishing week RH ever had ... 1. After the late start we anchored in the lee off a beach in a couple of meters of water and with darkness setting had a quick dinner and then put out some baits for sharks. Prior to the trip RH really really REALLY wanted to catch a big bitey and as soon as it got dark they came. It started off with a few 1 & 2 foot models until one of the bigger baits went off and RH set the hook into one that had one too many Red Bulls and went screaming off. A 5 minute fight followed with more and more line being lost and eventually we got busted off with close to 300mtrs of line missing. This was followed a little laterby a 2mtr shovelnose that we got to the boat. However, later in the week we stepped up the gear we were using and RH managed a couple of 1.5mtr models on 50lb that we pulled into the boat, one whaler or bull shark that went close to 2mtr that looked too angry to get into the boat and he hooked a couple of BIG ones that we didn't even get close to stopping!!! Have you ever watched 300mtrs of 50lb braid dissappear at a rapid rate with 15kg of drag set??? (the video is hilarious) 2. We spent one of the first days chasing salmon in the rivers as they taste great and go very hard and managed to catch a couple which we were thrilled about. After this we ended up anchoring near the mouth of one of the main rivers which has a rail bridge going across and the houseboat operator told us to throw some poppers around at night as the salmon chase bait there under the lights. Well when we got there to have a look there were fish going off everywhere. Huge splashes and boils everywhere and with 6 of us fishing for around 1.5hrs we managed to hook and release 70 plus fish (we lost count). Every cast either resulted in a hookup, big hit or bust off. We lost close to 20 or more poppers and other assorted lures and had some destroyed by the ferocity of some of the hits. We ended up fishing with crushed barbs and no leader as we got busted to often. It was absolutely insane and when we stopped around midnight (sore and covered in muck) they were still going ballistic! 3. Chasing jewfish under the same bridge on the slack of the tides (another local tip) we used plastics and twitched these under the pylons. Having caught a few jewfish down our way, I'm used to a good first run and then generally the fight gets a lot easier, even on larger fish. Not these northern jews - we went through a couple of packets of Gulps and Slam baits and every fish hooked went HARD. Generally straight for one of the pylons and other structure. RH did most of the fishing here and he got dusted big every time on solid 30lb gear that didn't make an impression on these fish. We actually netted a smaller model later in the week that was floating on the surface and almost dead as it had just busted off someone else with a big 10/0 hook and 60lb trace still in it's mouth. Bad ass fish! 4. Whilst we actually only went chasing Barra up the creeks a couple of time we ended up catching around half a dozen up to around 50cm. These are the tiddlers up there and need to be 60cm to be kept and the locals catch the bigger ones on live baits generally. We had a go throwing Gold Bombers and similar and was great fun doing stuff we had only seen on DVDs. Great heart starter twitching these lures out through a drain and watching a silver flash smash the lure as soon as it clears the muddy water. 5. Early in the week we anchored off this beautiful beach just south from the main river system and shipping channel. There is this great little creek that empties out and creates a nice set of sand bars and when the tide is rushing out through the main channel there were a heap of splashes made by fish chasing bait. We found out these splashes were Queenfish and tuna and they seem to be there virtually every day. The first couple of days as soon as the tide started to run out we would start throwing metal lures as these schools and have an absolute blast watching big Queenies engulfing the lures. On light spin outfits these things went hard (everything up there seems to hit hard & go hard ...) and RH managed a couple of 80-90cm fish that really stretched him. These things jump like crazy and with crushed barbs we only every landed 1 in 3, however with that many around who really cares. 6. Everywhere you go around Weipa you obviously see all the warning signs relating to crocs and being such a hot and sweaty place it's a real shame you can't go swimming. Arriving with our typical southern attitude we thought this was all a bit of BS and were even told that to see a croc would be a real bonus. Surprise, suprise then when we sight 4 crocs within the first 2 days all within a few miles of town. It made lure extraction from mangroves, anchoring and other such tasks that much more interesting. The place is generally alive with all sorts of animals and apart from fish jumping everywhere saw turtles, eagles, sea snakes, dolphins, rays and heaps of sharks. The place is absolutely buzzing with aquatic life. 7. By the last few days we were actually getting almost sick of fish, both eating and catching and had a few "quiet sessions" on the boat just watching fish busting up around us and taking in the scenery. If you don't mind it on the warm side of hot, it's a magic place. We even started to look forward to the afternoon storms coming through to have showers. I hope I haven't bored you with the above and have tried to keep things to highlights only as I could go on and on. RH was on fire all week and is already bugging me to go back. If you have ever thought of going, just do it!
  5. Hi All Just back from a quick 3 days down the coast at Lake Tabourie. We head down there at least a couple of times a year and had 4 other families there with us. We were doing it in luxury in one of the Beachfront cabins this year with just a short 100m stroll down to the beach Beachfront View The scene of my best SP sessions, the flathead did not want to cooperate at all with not one landed on a rod, although saw a few snorkling. So ended up spending a couple of sessions on the rocks on the northern side of the island with Rodhogger and friends joining me. The bay just inside the rocky point was full of whitebait and garfish so certainly looked fishy. Over three sessions we managed more than 20 salmon as well as several trevally, tailor, a couple of rat kingfish and even a frigate mackeral. All fish landed on lures or slow spun pilchards. Rather than normally having just the 2 of us in a boat, Rodhogger had to put up with more than half a dozen people crammed onto a small flattish rocky area so casting was fun. One memorable fish landed was a nice fat Salmon that RH hooked on 6lb spin gear and which over the next 5 minutes managed to tangle up all other lines in the water. I ended up holding the back of his pants whilst he was leaning out trying to manouver the fish out of the kelp several times with his mates hooting (just don't tell his mother). We experimented a bit during the day and had a fun session trolling from a canoe. Only managed a small Salmon however riding the surf back into shore more than made up for it. And to top off the day after the hard 100m walk back to the cabin we had a relaxing spa to come back to ... life sure can be tough
  6. What do you do on a miserable Saturday afternoon?? Go fishing of course! Woke up this morning with Rodhogger keen to catch poddy mullet and chase the big Flathead we've been doing well with in the Bay. However the mullet didn't want to cooperate like they usually do. Ended up doing the Sat chores before we hitched the boat up around lunchtime (very leisurely start). Hit the water around 1.30pm with some frozen mullet and SPs, however an hour later had only managed a just legal snapper and we were wet & cold. Fell back on our usual Plan B - Squid! These guys have come through for us almost always in the past few months so motored over to our spot. It was actually a little protected from the wind and the water looked nice and clear so hopes were high. Third cast and RH is on and we proceeded to get around 20 in the next hour until we were getting too uncomfortable - centre consoles aren't made for wet days. At least the ink seems to stick less when everything is wet. Managed 2 big buggers with one of them pullling off line repeatedly against the drag and RH hooting for the net. Was kicking myself for having left the Kingie gear at home as no other boats were out and it calmed down beautifully. PS. Have fixed the escaping squid problem from last time by glueing in a small piece of gutterguard which worked a treat. However we have now discovered a new species of escape artists - the jumping squid! When opening the lid on the live bait tank 2 of the little guys hit their afterburners and jumped out a tank. Sailed almost a meter over the side of the boat and back into the water ... Calamari for dinner
  7. Yep, the little bugger has started knocking off some of my PBs and doesn't he let everyone know about it. The last 12 months - 42cm Bream, 44cm Whiting, 84cm Salmon, 2 x 70cm Flatheads in the last 2 weeks and he's hooked up a couple of Kings over 80cm (thank God he hasn't landed them yet ...) We're off to Weipa for a week's fishing in April so imagine how bad he will be after that!!!
  8. Hi Squidink - SPs & nippers
  9. Hi All With the nice weather and crowds around on weekends at the recognised Kingie spots, Rod Hogger (8yr old son) and I have been working the quieter Flattie grounds in the Bay of late. RH managed his PB Flathead (70cm) a couple of weeks back and so we kicked off west of Towra and worked our way towards the heads as the tide fell. We managed several bream, whiting and flathead along the way and had a nice dinner taken care of but nothing "outstanding". So we headed back to the spot he got the last big one and within 15 minutes he landed an almost identical fish a smidge under 70cm (see below). Once again a solid effort on 6lb line and smiles all round. As the wind was starting to kick in, I was happy to head home but RH was doing the old "just one more cast" routine. So we set up another drift and the rod buckles over again over a particular patch that I have now programmed into the GPS and locked away in a safe!!! A lot of weight with occasional head shakes and I'm hoping for another big Flattie. On the 6lb gear RH is slowly trying to lift the beastie out of the depths and see colour after 3-4 minutes. A huge ugly wide head and close to a meter in length and I call it for a good shovel nose. WRONG!!!!! It's a whopper Flathead significantly bigger than the last one and slugging it out 2 metres down just out of reach of the net. I'm freaking and jumping up and down, yelling at RH about being careful with the drag pressure whilst he is composed and telling me rightly to "Shut up Dad". A couple more runs later and still we can't get her close enough when with one big shake of her head the line parts and we watch her gracefully slide back down. A moments silence came across us both before RH looks at me and says "We'll be back ..."
  10. Hi John Good to see you haven't lost your touch mate after your northern adventures. Didn't break any rods this time?? Rob
  11. Hi Simda Sounds like it was a cuttlefish - good Kingie bait Nicnat
  12. Leatherjacket/A.dawg - they were caught in the Bay just inside the heads on small 1.8 jigs as we fish in shallow water (around 3 mtrs) and the larger sizes sink too fast. And yes it's always a struggle to decide which to use as bait and which to eat ...
  13. Hi John Was actually thinking of you when RH got that big squid - about how he wants to turn it into calamari and you'd want to turn it into a big Hoodlum. We actually down-rigged your favourite spot for about 30 minutes before the wind started but no takers. Rob
  14. After yesterday's great session on the squid and a wonderful dinner of crumbed calamari, Rodhogger was keen to give them another flogging today and I was also partial to stocking up on bait. So come around 7am we were once again the only boat out and enjoying a beautiful morning. The inkers were not quite as plentiful as yesterday, however the average size was up and we still managed another dozen in around an hour with several others dropped. Back at the ramp by 9am just as the wind was kicking up and once again the poor centre console looked the part with ink everywhere. Now where is RH when you need him to clean up ...
  15. Hi Jewgaffer Thanks for the tip. Just in the process of trying to find some gutter guard or similar and glueing it on top of the overflow. I only recently increased the size of the overflow as I found that underway the old overflow couldn't cope with the incoming volume of water. I have however discovered now that the burley bucket makes a great secondary live bait tank and will fit 4-5 smaller squid quite comfortably Rob