Alex's Fishing Report
Sometimes your fishing expectations are exceeded big time.
That was certainly the case for me last Tuesday morning on a brief but well-executed mission to catch some quality reef fish practically under the Darwin skyline.
I’d organised a trip with old mate Steve Compain aboard the 14 metre Wai Adi, one of a fleet of fishing tour boats in the Arafura Bluewater Charters stable.
The primary purpose of the early-morning, three-hour, hit-and-run trip was to facilitate a live broadcast with the Mix 104.9 breakfast team: Alice Burton and Greg Vincent, AKA Greg and Ali.
Accompanying them to make sure the broadcast went as planned was the station’s boss, Michael Harvey.
Due to the strong phone service required for the live broadcast, the boat was limited in how far it could travel.
Regardless, Steve, Wai Adi skipper Ben McGuffie and decky Lex Woods were all quietly confident that we’d find some reef fish action.
I wasn’t so sure although, in hindsight, I’ve never not experienced great fishing action on an Arafura Bluewater charter.
We went through the Cullen Bay Marina at 6.00am, and Greg and Ali began broadcasting to the background cacophony of Wai Adi’s thumping big diesel engine.
This definitely was a day of surprises because I understand the sophisticated microphones used selectively picked out the voices and the engine noise was just a background hum.
First stop was just out of the harbour on a small, secret wreck known to the Arafura Bluewater Charter mob as “Spot X”.
You know, there must be 100s of Spot Xs across the Top End; I have a few myself.
The main target species at this wreck was black jew, but they weren’t accommodating.
Instead, tea leaf trevally in various sizes jumped on the baits in quick succession.
Greg was first cab off the rank with a trevally so small that all aboard refused to acknowledge it as his first-ever fish; it was named a “Gregfish”.
Hardly seconds later, it quickly became apparent that “Mike” was intent on contributing to the live broadcast by catching as many fish as possible in the limited time available: he began banging big and small tea leafs as if there was no tomorrow.
Here was a fisherman all right.
Then Ali got into the action and was nearly pulled overboard by a shark; saved at the last moment by decky Lex who grabbed the line and broke it off.
We all continued to catch trevally, including a whopper for Greg which led Ali to pronounce that he’d convincingly lost his fishing virginity.
This and much more was by way of live broadcast to a big Darwin drive audience.
They did pretty well swapping microphones for bent rods and vice versa; it was impressive.
Meanwhile Mike was equally impressive poling fish practically one after the other; it’s hard work being the boss.
Suddenly Ben announced “lines in” so we could move to some broken reef right at the entrance to Darwin Harbour.
The target species this time was golden snapper – which we caught several of – but small black jew were also on the chew.
Everyone caught fish, and those tuned in whilst driving to work knew all about it.
Even GM Mike got a few mentions on air as he repeatedly pumped in jewies and goldies.
As if all this action wasn’t enough, a scene from Jaws suddenly manifested when a rampaging hammerhead shark began devouring the catch before it came aboard.
Twice it was hooked… and on a live broadcast, which had to be a first.
The day finished with fillets all round and a lot of high fives for a truly successful morning, both in terms of fishing and on-air action.
Once again, Arafura Bluewater Charters came through with flying colours.
1. Greg and Ali with a brace of jewies from the live broadcast aboard Arafura Bluewater Charters.
2. The tea leaf trevally that helped Greg officially lose his fishing virginity.
3.Mix 104.9’s Greg and Ali were nearly minus Ali as she clung on desperately to this rampaging shark.
4. A hungry hammerhead shark caused havoc late in the session.