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9 Great Days on Pumpkin Island


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Hi all

I have been delayed in writing this report due to a family tragedy at the girlfriends. But I have a spare couple of days or so to do up a decent report.

Day 0

Loaded up the boat and car and quickly did some trailer maintenance and boat electronics wiring before our departure. Left home around 6am Wednesday morning to begin our long awaited adventure to Pumpkin Island. Had a quick durrie and breaky stop at the Mobil and were off to Yepoon. Arrived in Yepoon late afternoon to our hotel the "Capricorn Resort" (absolutely terrible place. anyway it was blowing 25 knots and cold and raining and did not look good for the trip over the next morning to pumpkin island.

Day 1

Quickly packed the boat and car and were off to the Yepoon marina to the "Pumpkin Express".post-3952-14459864818_thumb.jpg

Was quite a magnificent day despite the wind being a solid 25 knots and the skipper anticipated a 2-3 meter swell... well he was spot on.


the tinny spent a lot of its time doing 180’s and getting hang-time and filling up with water…but after 45 minutes we arrived battered and bruised to Pumpkin Island.


We were greeted by the managers Wayne and Laureth who were extremely helpful with the unloading and setting up of our cabin that was home for the next week and a bit.


After a few hours of unpacking and settling in we were eager to go for a fish despite the inclement weather and the cyclonic winds, our first fishing spot we tried was an island called “sloping island†adjacent to pumpkin that looked relatively protected from the wind. Packed the boat and chugged through the choppy rolling swell and made it to the spot with no complications.


Began fishing and were disappointed by the efforts with lots of small honeycomb cod and one keeper Stripey. Headed back shortly after and tied the boat up for the following day. With an hour or so of light left I watched the sun go down with a few durries and relaxed whilst my mate Tom went for a bit of a scout along the oyster encrusted rocks with a plastic (never used a plastic in his life) and came back half an hour later with a legal cod that he was extremely chuffed about. So I picked up my rod and followed him down to his spot where we flicked for a while on sunset when there was a slight disaster. Tom was swept off the rocks by a wave and was sliced up by the oysters.


After a visit to the doctor (mum) he was back on his feet and had an early night and had high expectations for the following day.

Day 2

Day 2 arrived and was greeted by an awesome view and a coffee. Winds were still 15-20 knots


The call was made to try the channel between Pumpkin Island and North Keppel. Slow trip with Tom saw us drifting oddly between the two islands across the channel. Drifted across with plastics and got only half hearted touches until we drifted from 12m to about 9m when Tom hooks up. Bit of a tussle saw a small grassy come aboard.


I followed shortly after with a Stripey that was kept for bait as Tom likes bait fishing ten times more than lure fishing. Restarted the drift and tom hooks up again, this time with a slightly undersized cod. The cod was returned and Tom made the call that he was feeling sick (seasickness) and needed to return to land. Dropped Tom to land and headed back to the channel where I fished for an hour or so before returning home to fillet the Cod and Stripey from the previous day and relax and wait to see if the wind was going to settle down. By the afternoon the wind was still 15-20 knots and Tom and I discussed dropping out some shark baits that night. We set up our rods in the sand away from the high tide mark and drove out the two frames that I had and dropped them on sunset out near the deep mooring (Roughly 150 meters from the shore) this was a foolish move as I had overlooked the numerous bommies and patches of coral between us and the bait. After about half an hour I realized my mistake and checked my line to see if I was snagged. I was snagged alright -.- Tom did the same and was too snagged. Mum got a quick snap as it looked convincing enough.


Anyway we took a quick trip out in the tinny to see if we could salvage our rigs and bait and drop them in closer. Mine busted off the instant I put pressure on it. One down one to go. We motored roughly in the direction of Toms bait when all of a sudden he was losing 50 lb line faster than I could drive. After about 20 seconds of screaming drag the fish busted him off on a bommie and that was the end of that for the night. Packed up our gear after that, tied up the boat and went to bed soon after dreaming of the fish that got away.

Day 3

Another early rise and another priceless view.


Wind had significantly dropped off to a steady 10 knots but the predicted 2m swell was a bit of a pain. Anyway packed up the boat again and headed out for a solo trip as Tom was not so keen on the boat due to the seasickness the previous day. Tried out some new area towards the mainland “Square Rocks†and attempted to fish the shallow reef that had a ridiculously sloppy chop rolling across it. Didn’t catch anything other than a few snags so headed back to sloping island on the protected western side.


Did a long drift north along the island and managed a legal cod and a Stripey. I packed up soon after as it was very uncomfortable and the fishing was slow but was happy to have two shark baits for that night. Pulled up the boat and was informed that Tom got 2 GT’s on a slug.


We were very pleased as this meant we had two spare shark baits for that evening. Had a feed and a rest and did a bit of exploring until about half hour before sunset. Set up the rods again with a couple of chairs and I ran the baits out in closer, level with the shallow mooring in hopes that there would be enough water there in an hour or so. Sat around for about ¾ of an hour when my tyrnos 20 started screaming. This shark didn’t muck around and scoffed the lot and I set the hook. After about 10 minutes of dead weight it took off up the beach towards the rocks, tightened the drag significantly and turned its head towards us were we landed the first shark of the trip.


Wayne thinks it may be a Grey Nurse, but I will leave it up to you guys to give me a second opinion. The shark went roughly 1.3-1.4m and had a fair bit of weight. Took a few snaps and it was sent on its way. Packed up just after we released it as Tom had been busted off during the fight with my shark. Another early bed chuffed that we managed to land a shark with limited knowledge of the area.

Day 4

Woke up later than I had hoped to the sound of rain…bugger looked outside and was relieved to find that it was only a shower and passed quickly enough. Went for a flick with plastics from one end of the beach to the other. Second cast I hooked up to a vermin flathead


-.- I can’t get away from the bloody things. Anyway quickly released him and continued flicking. The step dad joined me and we made it to the rocky outcrop at the end of the beach were we both hooked up to a pair of whiptail that were kept for a feed and shark bait that night.



Took the boat out shortly after for an hour or so for one keeper cod and millions of other smaller ones.


I filleted the fish that we had and dropped out some baits just after sunset and set ourselves up next to the fire and waited. After a longish wait I got a run and missed the hook up. A few minutes later I got another run and let it run a bit further…set the hook and felt an enormous amount of power before it busted me off. I dropped out a second bait and within 10 minutes I had another run and same thing happened and busted again. I packed up and went back to the cabins to have a shower and an early night. Tom stayed down with his rod for another 20 minutes or so. I got out of the shower and walked outside and down the stairs and nearly kicked my toe on a significantly larger shark to the one I had got the previous night.



This shark weighed roughly the same as me and was approximately 1.6m in length. The shark was released and another early night was had.

Day 5

Had another late start but was welcomed with the best day we had had since we arrived. There was next to no wind and was too much of a good day to not head out and try some new water.


Had a look at the zoning maps that were supplied and made a decision that I would try “Conical Rocks†off the northern tip of North Keppel. Tom by this stage of the trip didn’t want anything to do with the boat as he was still worried about seasickness. Anyway packed up the boat and headed to Conical Rocks. After about a three quarter hour drive I made it to my destination and had a slug tied on already so decided to drop it in 18 meters of water and bring it up quickly and drop it back down. First drop and I miss a hook-up second drop and I hook onto an interesting fighter. Felt like a large wet sock that sort of sucked the line off my reel. After a few minutes I pulled up a large squid going 55-60cm on the mat and 26cm body length.


Anyway put it in the esky and tried to catch his mate that followed him up that was easily twice the size but it was not to be. Fished around for a few hours before I changed to a 1/6th ounce jig-head and a 1/0 hook. This is when I realized that I would catch more and better quality fish by going to light weights and smaller hooks. I had been fishing with ½ to 1 ounce jig-heads with mammoth sized hooks previously. Anyway every cast with a plastic or bait produced a fish from some blue wrasse looking thing to unstoppables that ran straight for the coral at a rate of knots. I went home with 2 fairly large Stripey and the squid that was caught earlier on in the day.



It was a disappointing outcome through the lack of fish brought home but I was confident that I had cracked the secret to catching the fish. Filleted the fish and cleaned the squid and used the fresh bait for the rods and kept one fish from the previous night as a spare and used anything else fishy as berley. Dropped the baits out an hour or two after sunset and dumped the fish skins and half chewed frames ect around the lines. I had about enough time to beach the boat and pull it up about a meter before my rod goes. Picked it up and let it run and set the hook and after 20 seconds of constant screaming of the tyrnos it busted me. I have never seen anything pull 10kgs of drag so easily. I re-rigged and set out the spare bait and sat around the fire for a couple more hours when Toms reel starts singing. He hooks up and this time stays connected and after a short dead-weight fight he drags up a Black Tip Reef Shark.


Took a few more photos and it was released. We stayed for a couple more hours with Tom using the squid head and me with a rather smelly frame for nothing. We packed up and headed home to clean up and relax before bed.

Day 6

I made myself get out of bed early as it was another beautiful day. Tom slept in and wasn’t keen to fish so headed out to the open water on the eastern side of the island to see if there were any fish in the deep water.


Fished the deep water for a few hours for not even a bite and headed to the southern side of sloping island where I tried my light jig-head and small hook theory with bait. I got a few baby Maori Cod and plenty of Honeycomb Cod until I found were some of the larger fish were sitting and picked up a legal Cod and another decent Stripey for dinner. I headed back to the Island to pick up the step-dad and go for an afternoon fish. We took advantage of the good weather and went across to Square Rocks to try again. Drifted around and looked for drop-offs and bommies on the sounder. Picked a line that we could drift along and throw plastics and Glen could soak bait. I picked up a few more small Cod and one keeper on the first drift.


Restarted the drift and when we hit 13m I had a good hit on a Gladiator Prawn and after a fair tussle dragged up the first Coral Trout of the trip.


I was so stoked and had about an hour before dark so started the drift again and hit 13m again and glen hooks up and got smoked and managed to pull it up out of the coral before it spat the hook about 5m to go. Managed a legal Parrot as well and headed back with ten minutes of light to spare to fillet. After filleting we started the same routine of rigging the baits and setting up and sitting around the fire for the night. I got the first run and busted off before I could set the hook. I reset my bait and got the second run which also busted before I could set the hook. I didn’t re-rig and just waited with Tom until his went off and he landed another Grey Nurse after a long tiring fight.


A few of the other guests took a few photos while we attempted to remove the hook.


The hook ended up being cut off and it was sent on its way. Went to bed not long after.

Day 7

Tom stopped having a sook over being seasick and was keen to head out in the boat to Square Rocks were I got the coral trout the previous day. We had beautiful weather and was predicted to stay for the next few days. We arrived there with ease and started fishing. Tom was having a ball catching pike after pike on a destroyed plastic while I was flicking into shallow water with a Berkley 2â€shrimp hoping something a bit bigger would have a go at it. We did this for a while and I picked up another large Whiptail and another legal Honeycomb Cod. We had fished for a few hours and Tom was not feeling the best so I had to have the last cast and I hooked up and my 2500 stradic screamed, managed to keep the fish away from the coral and after a few nervous moments I boated a 50cm Coral Trout on bream gear.



I was extremely pleased and couldn’t wipe the smile from my face for hours after we returned to the Island. Filleted the fish from that day and set out the shark baits again a fair bit later as the tide was low at sunset. This time Tom was first to get a run at around 11pm and hooked up to another Grey Nurse that went mental when he got it to shallower water. This was another long shark again around 1.6m but was nowhere near as heavy as the first one he got.


We stayed around till 1.30am and called it a night and headed back for bed and our last day at Pumpkin Island.

Day 8

Our last full day on Pumpkin Island so I dragged myself out of bed as early as possible to make the most of the day. We had a vacuum sealer with us so we kept the fish from the previous day and whatever we got on the last day and vacuum sealed it to bring home with us. Took Glen out in the morning and we had a ball just north of Square Rocks near a small exposed rocks that marked a small reef. We drifted over the reef and casted plastics ahead of us and drifted towards the lure. This seemed to stop us snagging up 90% of the time. We caught many undersized fish mainly Cod but also landed a fair few decent Stripey, 4 legal Cod and a legal Grassy Sweetlip to take back. Glen was keen to get back to the Island to go for a swim, so I dropped him back and headed out for an afternoon session by myself and did another drift of Sloping Island for 1 Stripey. Headed back to Square Rocks and drifted around for a while in shallow water flicking 5†Berkley Gulp Jerk Shads in Nuclear Chicken that I found in my tub of plastics. Casted towards the rock and noticed I had a loop of line loose on the spool so I pulled out the excess line and a red colored object in the water caught my eye and realized it was my lure. I watched a Spanish Mack scoff the lure in front of my eyes and then take off towards the mainland and breaking me off in a matter of seconds. I was amazed but knew I wasn’t prepared for anything that size and accepted that I would continue fishing for reefies. The wind picked up a bit and fishing was uncomfortable out at Square Rocks so headed back close to Pumpkin Island and drifted across the top of the long reef just out from the beach.


I had the best half hour of fishing I have had all week landing 2 more legal Coral Trout 6 or 7 Stripey and a couple more legal Cod. Headed back on dark to begin filleting and vacuum packing the fillets for our departure the following day.


Tom was still keen for another shark so I quickly ran out a couple of frames while I was filleting. My rod didn’t get touched but Tom landed another Nurse before we packed up and began de-rigging and packing bags to be loaded onto the boat the next morning.


Day 9

We woke up to the sound of the kettle and noticed it was still dark when we began packing up in the morning. We swept and washed up dirty dishes and pans e.c.t and dumped all of the gear onto the deck for Wayne to load onto the quad. The Pumpkin Express turned up a bit earlier than expected as it was an hour before low tide and Wayne had hoped he could use the barge to drop the gear out to them.


The barge was sitting on the bottom so we packed up the tinny and i did a few trips back and forth with people and gear and finally said farewell to Wayne and Laureth and we were on our way back to the mainland and an 8 hour drive back to Brisbane. Trip across was a bit lumpy but nothing too major.


Arrived in Yepoon marina about 11 and arrived in Brisbane around 8pm ready for a break.

We had a fantastic time on Pumpkin Island and the managers Wayne and Laureth were lovely people who were willing to help wherever possible. I am sure I will be returning in the near future.

Thank you for reading everyone, I had a lot of fun writing this report and hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.



p.s I will correct any photo double ups and problems when it posts












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