Fly Fishing Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Post fly fishing articles, stories of successful trips, write about a favourite place, fly, your experiences, include your pictures and share with the forum
Post Reply
Piscisfly
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:54 am

Fly Fishing Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Post by Piscisfly » Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:51 pm

Part 2 – Day 1 Fishing

I hardly slept a wink. I would like to blame the heat, the humidity, the variable volume of the ticking clock in the living room, or Chew in the next bedroom, sounding like a cross between a pig, a chainsaw, and an 18 wheelers engine brake. But what was really keeping me awake was the excitement of the first day of fly fishing for Tuna, namely Mackerel and Longtail Tunas, and maybe even a Yellowfin, if we were really lucky. Adding to the excitement was the knowledge that I had managed to secure the services of Andrew Chorley, of Hervey Bay Fly and Sport Fishing, for 5 full days. Andrew is a world renowned guide, who not only prefers to guide fly anglers, but is an accomplished fly fisherman himself. By the end of this first day I was to realise how incredibly important it is to have someone driving the boat that ‘gets’ fly fishing.

I had been awake for 2 full hours when the alarm sounded at 0500. I was pleased that it hadn’t rained all night and wasn’t raining when I looked out of the window, maybe the forecasters got it wrong? We were to be picked up by Andrew at 0600 so threw down some breakfast, attended to the usual ablutions, and went over the contents of our daypacks, and checked the knots on our assembled 10wgts. It was about then the rain arrived, not just a little bit of drizzle, but torrential. I tried to find comfort in the fact there was little wind, but knowing from experience that the wind is always a lot stronger on the water. My mobile rang at 0545, I knew it was Andrew before I even answered it. A delay to the start of our 5 days fishing was not ideal, but travelling on an open boat, into torrential rain at 45km/h, for a full 90 minutes is never fun. I tried to remain positive, but the only thing that helped that was a slight lightening in the dark grey skies. Chew and I sat there staring out the window, willing the rain to stop, and convincing each other it was getting lighter, as if saying it would make it happen. At about 0700 the rain eased to a few drops as the sky lightened considerably. I gave Andrew a ring, he would pick us up at 0730.

I felt like a schoolboy going fishing with my Dad as we cleared the Urangan Marina Breakwater. Andrew gunned the engine and we quickly got up on plane, zooming past Round Island, then Woody Island, then Moon Point. The Moon Point flats of Fraser Island are famous for the Golden Trevally found on them over summer. We were heading to Platypus Bay, near the top of Fraser Island, which is a real hotspot for pelagic activity. It is approximately 50 miles from the Urangan Marina. Surprisingly (and somewhat worryingly) we didn’t see any surface activity at all for nearly 35 miles, but Andrew was confident as he was taking us to a spot where there had been a lot of recent surface activity from large numbers of Mack Tuna, with some Longtails thrown in as well.

Seeing the first school of Tuna slashing at fleeing baitfish raised my excitement levels again. Chew graciously said I could have first crack fishing from the front of the boat. I stripped about 60ft of line off, set the drag, and positioned myself against the alloy frame on the front casting deck. My heart was hammering inside my chest. Great…..I’m 43, been fly fishing since I was 12, and I’ve got buck fever! The school of Macks were feeding, typically, into the wind so Andrew slowly motored towards them from an upwind position, heading to the right hand side of the school. As we got closer a couple of Tuna cleared the surface in their enthusiastic way of feeding – Longtails! My first cast was not quite on the mark and I fired it out too soon, so I quickly retrieved it and fired out a better cast, almost perpendicular to the boat, right in the middle of the school of feeding Tuna. As I stripped the fly rapidly closer I saw a fish slash at it a few metres from the boat, Andrew yelled out “Longtail”! The fish had another go at the fly about 2 metres out but all I felt was a brief, sharp resistance as the hook almost, but not quite, found its mark. Wow, second cast on the first of 5 days and I had a hit from a Longtail! After 2 frustrating days on the water last year, that did my confidence wonders.

The next few hours was manic chasing schools of feeding Tuna all round the upper part of Platypus Bay. Chew and I took turns up the front of the boat, not that you couldn’t fish fly from the back, but it was only sensible for Andrew to position the boat for one angler at a time. The alloy frame up the front was a godsend. With the stiff sou’wester kicking up a sizable and messy chop it would have been impossible to remain upright while casting, stripping, and playing fish.

Chew put down the fly rod and rigged up the spin rod - the chop, the wind, and fast moving Tuna was proving to be too difficult for someone that hasn’t been using the long wand much. Chew’s selection of a 39g Sebile Ghost Pearl Stick Shadd met with approval from Andrew. He got slammed by a Longtail on the first cast, hooking up but dropping it just as quickly. That was the first of 10 Tuna that Chew would hook that day on the spin rod. Unfortunately he didn’t boat any of them, initially losing them by ‘trout striking’, then progressing to hooking them well but his knots let him down. Once those problems were sorted it was the sharks that ruined his chances. Even though the large majority of the fish we were seeing were Mack Tuna, relatively small fish with a maximum weight of about 8kg, Chew was hooking mainly Longtail Tuna (maximum weight of about 25kg).

I stuck with my initial fly selection, the one the Longtail tried to eat, an Olive over Smoke Fleye Foil Candy tied on a 2/0 Gamakatsu SL12S. I wasn’t getting any hits with it, but did get a few follows, despite covering many schools of fish. Andrew suggested changing to something similar but smaller, explaining that Mack Tuna can key in on smaller bait and become quite fussy. I tied a #2 Olive over Smoke Jelly Belly Minnow to the 30lb fluorocarbon with a non slip loop knot. It didn’t take long before I had a hit, a good solid strip strike sunk the hook, and I was hooked up to my first ever Tuna on the fly, finally! All the reading I had done didn’t quite prepare me for what was to happen next. The stripped line flew out the guides as I ‘lifted and separated’ – putting both arms up in a loose ‘Y’ shape. I couldn’t believe how fast this thing was moving as the line came up hard against the reel and it started screaming like a banshee. Andrew said that I had hooked a Mack Tuna. Really?!? These are one of the smaller Tuna, and it was pulling line like it was never going to stop! I have about 400yds of 50lb gel spun backing on this reel and it looked like half of it was stretching across Platypus Bay, attached to a diminutive Tuna. To be fair, Andrew did suggest playing the fish on a relatively light drag, in order to tire them out. This hopefully meant that once near the boat, they could be whipped in fairly quickly to avoid the sharks. Once the fish stopped it’s blitz across the Coral Sea, the winding started, in combination with Andrew motoring slowly towards the fish. Winding in quickly 200yds of line, with my subordinate hand, proved to be very tiring, and my left hand quickly started to cramp up. I persevered and got the fish to within metres of the boat. Andrew took hold of the fly line in an attempt to quickly pull the fish in, but he wasn’t quick enough as the line suddenly went limp. The almost surgical cut to the end of the leader indicated that a shark had taken the opportunity to fill its stomach with my tired Tuna. Damnit!

I tied on the same style fly but had no more hits. Andrew suggested changing to something the same size but a brighter colour, saying that sometimes you need to give them something that stands out a bit. This fly was another #2 Jelly Belly Minnow but in Chartreuse over Pink. The change was exactly what was needed and I quickly hooked up to another Mack Tuna, this was more like it! Unfortunately this one met with the same fate as the previous.

I quickly tied on an identical fly and hooked yet another Mack Tuna. This followed the same pattern as the previous two, screaming reel, 200yds of backing to retrieve, but this time we managed to avoid the sharks and Andrew tailed my first ever Tuna on fly. To say I was ecstatic would have been a massive understatement. Holding the fish in my hands I was astounded at how sleek and beautiful it was. Bright silver sides with blue/green back, squiggly striations halfway down its back and a slim tail. Like all Tuna they are built for speed, with the pectoral fins rotating and lying flat in the recesses in its side, and the dorsal fin folding back into the recess in its back. I couldn’t stop smiling, after 30 years of dreaming of a Tuna on the fly rod, it had finally happened. At approximately 5kg it wasn’t a monster, but the fight it provided was way out of proportion to its dimensions. After the obligatory photos I speared the fish back into the water and watched with complete satisfaction as it swam off. I was absolutely rapt how well the Nautilus reel performed, the drag was silky smooth, even when cranked up a bit. And I was able to crank the drag up easily too. I had an insight to how hard it was to wind so much line with my subordinate hand, but wouldn’t really appreciate how hard until I hooked my first Longtail.

We fished for another half hour or so with no further action. To be honest I couldn’t have cared less, I had ticked the box and I was happy. It was late in the day and we still had a 90 minute ride back to the marina. We left as another school of Tuna hammered yet another school of hapless baitfish on the surface.

The ride home was a little unpleasant, torrential rain and a sou’wester with renewed vigour greeted us as we got closer to home.
Part 3 – Day 2 Fishing to follow.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.



User avatar
Steve
Site Admin
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 pm
Location: Methven NZ
Contact:

Re: Fly Fishing Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Post by Steve » Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:02 pm

Nice fish! and thanks for sharing Warren, never really heard too much about the salt fly fishing in Aussie, seems everyone heads Aitutaki for their fixes instead. Had to google Hervey Bay to see were it was, just a bit up from the sunshine coast, was over there last year visiting some friends and doing the parks with the kids, next time....

You tie those flies yourself?



Piscisfly
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:54 am

Re: Fly Fishing Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Post by Piscisfly » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:41 pm

Thanks Steve.

I am really enjoy writing about my recent trip, it helps pass the time 'till the next trip! I'll be posting Part 3 this week hopefully, with a few more photos. There is a huge amount of saltwater fly fishing available in Australia, including Giant Trevally, Marlin, Permit and even Bonefish, as well as a multitude of others. They even have Tarpon (Indo-Pacific), unfortunately not the huge Atlantic Tarpon of the Florida Keys.

Yes, all the flies I use I tie myself, that's where the majority of the materials I have bought off you recently have ended up!


W


Steve wrote:Nice fish! and thanks for sharing Warren, never really heard too much about the salt fly fishing in Aussie, seems everyone heads Aitutaki for their fixes instead. Had to google Hervey Bay to see were it was, just a bit up from the sunshine coast, was over there last year visiting some friends and doing the parks with the kids, next time....

You tie those flies yourself?



User avatar
fraser hocks
Posts: 602
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 3:25 pm
Location: Queenstown

Re: Fly Fishing Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Post by fraser hocks » Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:01 pm

Some amazing saltwater fly fishing in Australia. Sure is a hell of a lot better than there trout fishing.

Fishing the shallows of he Exmouh gulf is an experience every serious fly fisher should try at least once! Amazing stuff.

I'm heading to Cairns / Port Douglas as well as Perh in September. Fingers crossed I get into some tropical salt targets then! Talking of which I need a bit more saltwater kit. IL call you tomorrow Steve. ;)


Bucking trends in fly fishing since 1970!

Piscisfly
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:54 am

Re: Fly Fishing Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Post by Piscisfly » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:48 am

Funnily enough, Exmouth is one of my must do's, for the reasons you mention Fraser. Also the chance of a Sailfish/Black Marlin/Striped Marlin on fly.

I am heading back to Hervey Bay with my family in September, and have 'permission' to spend 3 days fishing! Might be a bit early for the juvenile Black Marlin, but hopefully there will be Tuna/Mackerel/Goldies around.

The chance of a juvenile Black Marlin on fly is a real drawcard for me, hence why I have got Steve to order me a bigger Nautilus fly reel! :)



User avatar
Steve
Site Admin
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 pm
Location: Methven NZ
Contact:

Re: Fly Fishing Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Post by Steve » Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:38 pm

Nautilus shipment arrived Warren!!



Piscisfly
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:54 am

Re: Fly Fishing Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Post by Piscisfly » Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:16 pm

WOOHOO!!!!!!!

Steve wrote:Nautilus shipment arrived Warren!!



Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest