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Drop Bear

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It had taken me 2 days to convince Mrs Drop Bear that an early start wasn't just to annoy her. On Monday and Tuesday we watched the wind come in at about 10am, saw the chop pick up and the boats disappear from the Broadbeach apartment. On Tuesday we saw schools of Toooona fish busting up everywhere on the glassy seas and after a great night at the Social I was very keen to get amongst it. 


It's very tricky to get the boat into the underground car park here. Low clearance and tight corners and the fear of things getting pinched out of the boat, but after dragging it up and down the coast for the social and spending hours sitting at infuriating gold coast red lights, we took the time and made it fit. All the gear locked up in the car.

After all my prattling on about an eski @tugger rang me up and sold me his mackerel box. A cracker well over 1m long inside, it has low profile and is skinny and fits perfectly in the boat. I was keen to see some nice long spottys or even a Spanish in there. :frantics:


At 3am we made coffee and got started. Ice from the 7/11 and made it to the north side Currumbin Boat ramp. As we dragged all the gear from the car I spoke to a bloke (as you do in the pitch dark) who said they had been getting a few Spanish. towing live baits. Yesterday an 18kg was caught and a bigger one dropped boatside. This is one of my biggest fears. Dropping good fish beside the boat leaves a sick feeling in my stomach and I get very nervous when it is my turn to gaff. I'm sure @aussie123 would remember when I missed his cobia and put the tip of the gaff through the little bead above the hooks at 1770. It was a bowel spilling moment. :no: Holding the gaff attached to the line above a monster fish...

But talk of big fish got the fire in the belly and while still pitch black we pushed off and glided at 4 knots through ghostly glassy waters, under the bridge to the mouth. Another boat passed us and I was thrilled to have someone to follow out. I have done South Passage bar in the Quampie but not this one having only crossed it as a decky with @tugger. We had scoped the bar the day before and knew it doglegged hard left/north at the rock wall but I wasn't sure how long you needed to go until it was deep enough to get out. There was the slightest touch of dawn now. We could make out the small waves but it was still way too dark to see water depth. After about 100m, the guy in front turned right and punched through the small swell and we followed. No problem at all. I love how responsive Quampie is with her 70hp 4stroke Suzuki. My 5m Tornado SF series Stessco is spacious and comfortable. She is good in a sea and I cant fault it. These 2 pics are not from this trip.




I didn't really know where to go. Tugger forgot to text me the GPS marks (or perhaps didn't want to find me on his spot next time he went out haha :lol:) but had given me some visual marks on the last trip and I lined up the southern one and headed away from it and bingo the reef popped up on the sounder just as we were in sight of Tallebudgera creek. I marked some bait fish and we used the electric to spot lock us in place. Bait was slow to get but we persisted. I floated out 2 pillies and we ended up with 3 good size yakkas and 2 really small things that looked a bit like a slimy mackerel that were only about 70mm long. The bait tank works pretty well. Its not perfect yet but kept them alive happy and well. They kicked around and were feisty, making it tricky to catch in the aquarium net. 

We were using chunks of pillies on the bait jig and caught some scorpion cod, mouri cod and a stack of sweetlip while trying for live baits. All the fish were small and were released. One of the fairly large sweetlip had barotrauma so I popped him in the live bait tank for about 15 mins. He came good and screamed to the bottom when released. 

The boats and kayaks came in thick and fast but the fish were scarce. I did not see one bent rod the whole time. After a few hours and a drop of rain, we trolled out to the rubble grounds. Easy to find with so many boats. I had a paravane and spoon on a handline and a lively lure diving minnow in pilly pattern on the TLD. We trolled like this at about 8 knots for at least an hour and I marked bait schools and bottom features for next time. There were a stack of mutton birds around. They were feasting on the little bait fish that we had caught 2 of. Small tuna pushing them to the surface. I couldn't see what they were but they had no size about them. One of the mutton birds (Wedge-tailed Sheerwater, Puffinus pacificus) flew into my line and was less than appreciative when I had to untangle it. It flew away unharmed. Cheeky bugger bit me but left no mark. :) It was cool to see one up close.


We traveled north to Broadbeach. No sign of the Tooona fish there today. There were a few pro boats out and about. They were all trawling at about 4 knots. I assumed they were towing livies. So with nothing doing on lures or pillies or livies under floats we switched up. I didn't have the right hooks and I hadn't put in the dacron nor the needle so I made do and pinned the large yakkas through the nose on a 6/0 Gamakatsu circle hook hoping the slight twist in the lure would not be a problem. Being a circle hook it seemed to hold on well. 

We slow trolled for a while. it was getting on to about 9.30am so we trolled back south towards Palm Beach Reef. At about half way there and having not seen any bait or reef for a long time we pulled in the lines and put the livies in the tank and belted along in the small swell back to the reef. About 200m north of the reef we resumed the trawl. Bec had been driving a lot of the time but we swapped and she held the spinning rod. I had put a lot of line out on this one and kept the other in the rod holder with not much line out to try and stop them tangling. She held it so the tip was low to give the yakka the best chance of keeping under the water. At 4 knots it worked really well and the hooks worked great. 

Most of the boats had gone home with only 3 left. As we neared the reef 2 of these left. Bec said lets go get a coffee and I agreed. The fishing was shut down...

We got ready to bring in the rods and looked to see how far to get back to Currumbin creek.

We took one last look at beautiful Burley Headland...

Then all hell broke loose!

Bec has never caught a large fish. 

All of a sudden the 40lb braid was pealing off the screaming Sarangosa 8000 under heavy drag. I encouraged her to play the fish but she was in real risk of dropping the rod. I quickly  pulled in the TLD so as to not get tangled up and held the rod half way up to take some weight on the rod for her. Please don't be a shark...

She was freaking out a bit. But I encouraged her to hang on. The first epic long run finished and she struggled to wind in some line and told me I had to take the rod. 

I'm sort of like Bat Man in that way... Selflessly and heroically saving the damsel in distress... :angel: No? :whistle:

I got a bit of line back before it absolutely screamed off again. This thing was huge. It was faster and ran longer than anything I can remember. The spool was getting low and there was soon only a few wraps from the backing as it headed for the horizon. Bec grabbed the tiller and was driving towards the departing fish when this second massive run slowed and thankfully stopped. It lolled about and I easily got a lot of line back. About half way back to the boat it took off again with a third thumping run although a bit shorter and slower. I felt the tail hit the line a few times that gave me a sick feeling. It mucked around a bit and came up close to the surface. Perhaps it was a black marlin? Perhaps it would jump!?

Please don't be a shark...

Then it came in again with steady pump and winds. I knew it would tear off again when it saw the boat and it didn't disappoint. A screaming run diving to the bottom. It was powerful but shorter than the first 2. 

Please don't be a shark...

It came in and was deep under the boat. I faint grey and very long shape... Please don't be a shark

It rolled on its side and I got a perfect flash of silver with distinctive bars... Now I was excited/nervous/happy/terrified. It was not a shark. 

Bec got the gaff but was worried. The fish had had enough. It came to the surface and did a few circles. I put the rod in my left hand and gaff in my right and pinned it just behind the gills and lifted it in. 


So so so happy to have this stunning fish on the floor.


It was flogged. The wire trace was literally wrapped around its huge teeth. There is no way in hell it would have stayed on if it was using Mono. 

Way too excited. 

So a few picks and a rough measure saw it go about 1.3m.




I was too scared to go anywhere near the massive teeth that would have given Chat Morgan a run for his money, so snipped the wire off and put it in the new eski... except it was too long.


FFFFFFFFFFFFF yes!!! That is a problem I would be happy to get used to.

Ok so with a bit of a bend of its tail we got the lid shut and packed it in ice. We released the healthy yakka from the other line, and headed back to the bar.

The sea was fine. I followed the track back and saw that the boat we had followed out had found the gutter nicely. It was an uneventful crossing with not too many boarders to dodge and a delightful 6 knot cruse up the creek past a myriad of kayaks and stand up paddle boards. 

One of the kids asked how we went and asked to see. So we stopped for a second and it was a great excuse to hold up the fish again. It drew a crowd. I'm such a poser. yay. :queen:

There is a nice cleaning table at the ramp so I knocked the fillets off there. Much to the delight of the Dump Ducks and Pelicans but frame and head in the bin. 

We have so much meat now. The fish must have gone close to 20kg? Hard to say but Bec couldn't lift it. She was convinced it weighed about 2 metric Jackflashs (our old dog) so called it 20kg. :lol:

Thanks to all the help I have been getting from AFO members. You know who you are.  :worship::flowers::heart::fishing2: All the little tips and tricks from what boat to buy, how to fish, how to set up a live bait tank, how to catch live bait, where to go, how to cross bars... it goes on and on. I have learnt so much this past year or so and wouldn't have caught this fish without all of your help. 

Sorry it is such a long report. I hope you can see how much this fish means to me.

Its funny what a difference one fish can make. :queen:





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34 minutes ago, tugger said:

Top fish Robbie they are still my favorite to catch with those blistering runs just awesome for your 1st spanish in the new boat did you bleed it just wondering from your photos as it does improve its eating qaulity.

Yep bleed it in the eski just after photo. Gonna have some for lunch :)

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2 hours ago, aussie123 said:

Gotta love it when a plan comes together.

Well done mate, that is a cracker for your first Spanish.

I will show you how to make a bridle and rig your livies for towing next time we see each other.

yes please. might be  few weeks until I can go again unless I get out Sunday. 

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Sensational read and fish Rob, congrats mate. Your love of your boat and the pride you have in managing to catch a fish of that calibre really shines through buddy, which is great to see!!!  Now, onto more serious issues - you know big Spanish like that MAY have cigatuera? Being the great bloke I am, I'm willing to test it for you and confirm it is fine to eat .......... :whistle:

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