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1770- Nice feed of coral trout at Sykes and Fitzroy Reefs


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This report is from a trip at 1770 a couple of weeks ago at start of school hols (not fin fish closure!!)

A mate recently bought a Fisher boat and was keen to check out the Bunker Group which I had been telling him about for sometime. We planned to go from Mon 23rd-Wed 25th Sept but it looked as though we had just missed the good weather with the forecast predicting winds would increase to 20knts NW. But itching to wet a line...I decided to cut the wedding anniversary weekend in Byron Bay short and go anyway. Not sure how much longer I will stay married if I pull that one again.

We reached the bar at around 5.00pm on Monday and had a quick search for livies. With no livies about, poor fishing predictions (Almanac), loads of Coral spawn and increasing NW winds things certainly weren't looking favourable. As the sun set we headed straight out past Boult to some marks I had picked up some good nice fish on before (including reds). We were excited to see great shows on the furuno but as expected the fish weren't playing the game and after many, many hours and working our way North towards Fitzroy...we had little to show. The enthusiasm had worn off and the boys hit the sack but I decided to motor up to Sykes and anchor up for the night. Found some small shows in 25mtr of water on Eastern side of Sykes and anchored up. Woke the boys and we pulled a few red throats, moses perch and hussar before we hit the sack for a couple hrs sleep.

Woke up early and headed wide of sykes whilst the weather was still reasonable. We sounded around for a couple of hrs but couldn't find much. Decided to head back in towards Sykes and ran over a couple of bumps and we went back to investigate. We ran across some great shows in 55mtrs and set-up for a drift. I pulled a nice trout and Morris pulled a red throat. On the second drift Tiu and I both hooked up solid using whole mullet fillets. I pulled the hooks on what felt like a nice red and Tiu got his to the boat... before losing it. To say we were gutted was an understatement. After that the bite shut down. We decided to head in closer to Sykes again and have a quick dive. I freaked the boys out by telling them about a Shark Attack at Sykes in 2000. I chucked on the shark shield and speared 3 trout before jumping back on board. Whilst Tiu fuelled up I sounded around marking fish in around 15-20mtr of water. We went back and anchored on the first spot and we pulled 7 fat little trout plus a few hussar and moses perch. We Headed a bit deeper and all we could catch were big bronze whalers.

As the afternoon was getting on and the wind was blowing a stiff 20knts we decided to head back to Fitzroy seeking some protection in close to One Tree. Knowing we wouldn't be able to head wide and still keen to fish we sounded around on the lee side of Fitzroy and tried anchoring up in about 17mtr or water but the reef anchor wouldn't hold and after several attempts we gave up trying to anchor on the shows and cooked a big feed, set the anchor drag alarm and hit the sack. I was woken to wind whistling over the rod holders and it was blowing a good 25knt NW.

I woke the boys at 4.30am and we re-anchored for what would be our last fish before high tailing it home. Again we had issues anchoring and I jumped back into the sack as I was buggered. As I did this...Tiu started picking up hussar, good sized moses perch and a couple of nice red throats which soon had me and Morris back up dropping down mullet strips on running sinker rigs. As the sun rose we prepared to head back in...but Morris landed a Nice trout which had us all dropping lines back down. The next 40mins was mayhem landing red throats, quality moses and 5 nice trout. With the esky full we headed for round hill. Leaving the reefs we were greeted by big swells but it was side on and although it required some concentration from Tiu his Fisher chewed it up and he was able to maintain a reasonable speed of around 22knts. A fun trip with a couple of loose lads and we even managed a few fish despite the challenges.

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