|article: on the road with river to reef by charlie micallef
Dated: 24 July, 2011
|Rob, Robby, Theo and the BIG GT (Pic C Micallef)|
On the road with River to Reef
Words By.. Theo Rozakis
Images By.. Charlie Micallef
GT Heaven ( Giant Trevally) at Lucinda
Yet another town in beautiful Far North Queensland … LUCINDA. This time we met up with old friend and fishing guide Rob Laspina. Our target species was a fish which had eluded me on my last trip with River to Ree f…. Giant Trevally – GT’s.
We travelled about 40 nautical miles to the outer reaches of the numerous islands off Lucinda, looking for rock structures near deep channel drop-offs where the GT’s lurk. The hour long trip from port only fuelled my impatience to take on these awesome fighting world-renowned sport fish.
We positioned the Surtees within a safe distance of our first rock face and Rob had the honours of casting the first popper within inches of the wash. Retrieving the popper in a fast thrusting motion on the surface imitates a fish in distress and the GT’s can’t resist.
His very first cast indicated the fish were there as the action behind the popper was fast and furious.
The second cast proved that there was no denying the GT’s were about and they were hungry! They wanted that popper and the first GT of the day smashed the surface and nailed it like lightning! Rob immediately knew that although it was a GT it was only small but we had the first one of the day landed weighing in at around 3kg. These fish can grow to 60-plus kg so this fish was only a baby in GT terms.
|Robby and her GT (Pic C Micallef)|
Then I got to have a go casting the popper while Rob positioned the boat and my first cast let everyone on board know who was the amateur and who was the pro. A bit of instruction and advice from our guide and it wasn’t long before I too could get the popper where it needed to be … the wash!
It took me around 3 or 4 goes and smash! I was finally hooked up to my first ever GT. Although I’d never caught one before and I knew it wasn’t a big fish, I was overwhelmed with excitement none the less. I landed my first GT of around 4kg and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face if I tried.
Although the fish on this spot were red hot, Rob suggested a move to another location where the tide was coming up to near GT perfect. Again Rob took the honours of the first cast while I drove and positioned the boat. The importance of one person fishing and one person driving is vital to GT fishing as once you hook up, the driver needs to power forward while the person fishing hangs on for dear life. This is imperative as the GT’s immediate instinct is to take their prized food (the popper) from the surface and straight back down to the reef. If you don’t drag the fish into deeper water, the GT will wrap you round the reef and bust you off within seconds.
This fish that Rob hooked was a real GT! The locals in this part of the world don’t rate anything under 20kg and this fish had all the traits of being worthy. It certainly proved it was as the first real GT of the day was landed and now I was itching to have another go.
My first cast again proved I needed to be better in both casting distance and technique. The distance from the wash must be at least 70 to 80mtrs. This is for two reason; the first is obviously safety, as no fish is worth risking your life for – and the second is so you don’t spook the fish. Although our Honda 4 stroke engine is quiet, any unnatural commotion could unnerve the fish and your hopes of enticing it to the surface with your lure will be futile.
My third cast and retrieving action looked to be the goods and immediately a massive splash occurred right behind my popper. Rob in no uncertain terms let me know that there was definitely a GT following it and to keep up the consistency of my retrieval speed and rhythm. At that point if your speed and rhythm changes the fish could lose interest and you’ve blown your chances of a hook up.
|Theo and Robby Cooking the Catch (Pic C Micallef)|
My heart was racing when suddenly … smash! It felt like I was hit by a steam train! I yelled “I’M ON!” and by watching Rob I knew I did now have to hang on for dear life to get this fish away from the reef. It was peeling the line off the reel and I knew I had to slow him down and fast. I cupped the reel to add more drag but immediately burnt my hand.
The boat finally stopped moving as we motored out to deeper water and I knew by the weight and sheer power that this was a decent fish.
I fought for over 20 minutes and to be perfectly honest at times I felt like giving up. My back felt like it was going to cave in and my arms were burning more than any gym workout I care to remember. Rob and my co host Robby were giving me heaps of encouragement and started helping out with a little bit of a shoulder massage. At this point in time I knew that although being hooked up to a fish of lifetime was awesome, getting a shoulder massage from my beautiful co host was priceless!
I finally saw colour and Rob stepped in to add some much needed help. My first glance at the fish just below the surface made me wonder if my tiredness was making me see things as its sheer size blew me away. Rob’s first response was “Mate! It’s a horse!” When that fish came in over the side of the boat I literally could not believe my eyes.
|The Qld River to Reef will go to air in September 2011 (Pic C Micallef)|
Rob estimated it was pushing 30-35kg (over 70pounds in the old scale) and believe me it looked like it! I couldn’t contain my excitement and screamed with joy. My first real GT and it was a cracker!
A few photos later we lowered the fish into the water and watched him safely swim away with the memory that will be forever etched into my mind – or at least until the next time I visit this area of GT heaven!
|Any enquires please don’t hesitate to email me at Savage_seas@hotmail.com.