QME is now a proud distributor of MarkFish!
With the release of the Furuno NXT Solid-State Doppler Radar comes a significant software upgrade for NavNet TZtouch2. This latest software is packed with new features, including DRS4D-NXT integration, ActiveCaptain Points of Interest, SiriusXM audio controls, cloud storage features, and several other enhancements. Check out the video below for an overview.
Oh no, not again! Don’t tell me it’s yet another bloke who thinks he knows how to catch a red emperor. The mighty red emperor has been done to death. It has been written about in just about every magazine available and will continue to be written about long after you and I are gone.
Thousands of articles have been written. Out of those thousands of articles how many should you have read? Thats an easy question with a simple answer: All of them. In the future there’s probably going to be a thousand more and how many of those articles should you read? All of them. Why i hear you ask? Because the bloody things are so addictive and sneaky you should be exhausting every available research tool to benefit and build your own red emperor data base.
Why does such an animal turn grown men into blubbering messes once they hit the deck? They have the ability to stop anglers in their tracks, lose all sense of time and rational thinking. I don’t think such a fitting title has been given to a species that graces the Great Barrier Reef. Red: that deep crimson is highly eye catching just by itself. Emperor: the sovereign or supreme ruler of an empire.
I have lost countless hours daydreaming about reds. Everything about them is spectacular in my opinion. I have poured my heart and soul into figuring out how to get the upper hand and just when you think you’ve got it figured out they will send you back to the drawing board quicker then Chris Gayle wishing he could retract his public advances on a stunning news presenter.
We hit the water at a sparrow fart and the 60km trip from the harbour took no time at all with the old man and I chatting about what the days adventure could bring. We were starting off around the 60km distance from the harbour as the fishing had been tough and bite windows very sporadic on the closer ground. We proved this hitting a few closer marks on the way out for zip.
We were confident we might get a bit of a bite going for the golden hour (as our old editor Lee Brake referred to as the sun coming up). As soon as the sunlight touched the horizon things started to move. The pickers become more active and some better bites were starting to register through the rod tips.
The ground we were fishing was fairly prickly with some good bait present. Not ideally what I like fishing for red emperor but at this stage we were keen for action. Any action.
The drift was re set and baits deployed. We were right on top of the mark when I came up tight on a reasonable fish. A quick pump and wind and we had a nice large mouth nannygai to open the account around the 4-5kg mark. The old man was up next as he was locked in a tug o war type battle.
He got the upper hand and quickly winched in a quality coral trout. We stuck with this spot for another half hour adding a few cod and sweetlip to the tally. Things were off to a great start with a healthy feed already secured so the pressure was off. The particular bit of ground we were fishing was approximately 60km south east of the harbour.
Not many people know this but this is actually the start of the ancient Fitzroy River bed. It starts around this area and works its way out to the north of North West Island. The river bed is home to acres and acres of fan corals, fern and wire weed. Ive spent a fair bit of time out in this area and it’s a hard place to fish.
The difficulty is not finding the fern grounds the difficulty is locating the quality fish in that fern ground. Sometimes the only way to find them is to do big long drifts which can waste valuable time. During those drifts you may actually find them and not even know it if they aren't on the chew. If your willing to put in the time i don’t doubt the results would follow.
We put the cruise craft on the plane and set off looking for greener pastures. We ran over some search marks I had put together and besides the hussar driving us mad in the fern it was time to move on.
Our next destination was some spots out around the bunker group. Johnson’s Patch and Douglas Shoals are regularly visited by locals. It’s not overly difficult to get a good feed of quality reefies out there.
Fishing on top of the reef with fresh flesh or live bait could see you tangling with a coral trout. If you stick to the out sides of the reefs and look around the pressure points and drop offs then a rampaging red throat emperor wouldn’t be to far away. Pound for pound I reckon that a RTE would have to be one of the hardest pulling reefies for it’s size. Also top notch on the dinner plate.
We pushed out a little wider in the calm conditions to some reliable ground. Now it was time to put the game face on because this particular ground is home to some hefty red emperor.
Setting up gear for red emperor is now some what of a ritual. Everything needs to be perfect other wise they will locate any flaws in your setup. If knots don’t look right don’t take the chance, cut them off and re tie them. Baits need to be well presented and the fresher the better. Another good tip is to make them as stream line as possible. Baits that spin will have a negative impact once they hit the bottom.
Even with large flesh baits i’ll still trim them up to make them float or swim correctly in the current. Presentation is everything i believe because just remember you are trying to tell them a lie so the more believable that lie is the more chance you have of them making a mistake.
We had a large selection of frozen and fresh baits on offer. Things like the ever reliable Keppel Island squid heads, yakkas, slimy mackerel, mac tuna, fresh strip bait and mullet. If we couldn’t catch a red with that smorgasbord then we would proudly admit defeat.
We loaded our selections onto our ganged hooks and sent them down the bottom for our first drift. Well the first was what I call a prospect and it didn’t exactly go as planned. “Right least that ones out of the way let’s try that again” i said to the old man. The second drift was spot on and it was now time to see if anyone was home.
Our baits hit the bottom, we clicked the reels in gear and all eyes were glued to the sounder. The small rocky rise was now hitting the middle of the screen and the pickers were telling us that we were now in the zone. Our offerings were holding up well against the hoards of hussar and the old man came up tight on a solid fish. Calls of red were whispered early into the fight. Have you ever realised the first three words that get spoken when colour shows? 99% of the time someone will yell “It’s a red!!” Just have a listen next time and i’m sure it will be spot on. It’s just like a reflex, you won’t even know your saying it.
These were our exact words as I stood next to Dad with the waiting landing net. High fives were in order with the first red for the new boat had now been secured. The monkey was now off the cruisies back. Just as I made a dash for the camera I heard the old man erupt in laughter. “Whats going on mate” I asked. “You’re not going to guess what I caught it on” Dad said. It was attached to dads single 7/0 on the top. Here I am giving you advice on bait presentation and being pedantic and the old man nails a nice red on a dirty old frozen Yorkie.
Yorkies are a nickname given to this little bait fish by locals. They are in fact part of the anchovy family and have an orange back. We have had great success on them in the creek but haven’t really used them much offshore as they are a really soft bait that gets picked off quite easily. I guess it goes to show that it’s great to have a selection of baits down there to see what they are most likely to bite on.
We grabbed some photo’s and spun around for some more prospecting. This time I was putting down the old faithful setup. A large squid head rigged on a PE Tackle red zebra ganged setup. I wasn’t disappointed with the head barely touching down before being inhaled. Good head shakes down deep had a fairly confident call straight up. I was relieved to boat my first red for the trip.
We continued to search this area finding some more great looking country. More red emperor action was on offer along with sweetlip, maori cod and coral cod adding to the tally. I was also chuffed to land my first cap coast pearl perch. I have caught a few down around 1770 but not up this way. It wasn’t large by any means but a pearly none the less.
The run had now picked up and it was getting close to closing time. We were nearing the end of the bait supply when I finally hooked up solid. This one was giving me a bit more stick and I was hoping it wasn’t just foul hooked.
Seeing those big reds cutting there way to the surface is a feeling all on it’s own. No matter how many you may hook in your life each one is as spectacular as the next. To finish off the trip with a 10kg plus model just put the icing on the cake.
Being good at catching a specific species takes time and a keen interest. I personally could stand there all day chasing them. Anyone can drop a bait down and catch a red but to continually get results then attention to detail will benefit the fisher greatly. Just like previously mentioned I've read countless magazine articles about catching reds, watched heaps of dvd’s, been lucky enough to fish beside guru’s but most of all it’s the ability to observe, be persistent, patient and learn that will see your quest on the road to red success achieved.
I have been very fortunate to cross paths with so many great people through my years of running the Offshore Fishing Seq page both on a personal & professional level.
I have picked up so many tips and techniques in regards to putting a feed together during our trips offshore, it has been an overwhelming Master Class to say the least.
Taking the piss out of close mates to me is true term of endearment and makes an enjoyable Offshore trip, the closer the mate the level seams to increase to what some outsiders may seem as abuse. This remains with me long after the last drop of the Journey itself and the sore Ribs from Laughing for 3 days.
Believe it or not I'm not going to name drop my tutors as most are dentists ;)
What I will share with you is some of the tips I have picked up from them along the way.
Kiss - Keep it simple stupid, how true is this principle ?
Why overthink the situation ?
Trout and Red Throat,
Pillies ganged on 7766 6o's or 8o Big Gun's Full stop are Killers, swivels or eye to eye is a personal choice, I use both of these on 60lb Fluorocarbon Leader with a running Ball Sinker sized only by running current (Lighter the better)
7766 7o or 8o's or Pe-Tackle Reefmaster 4o's depending on Strip Bait size.
Larger Strip baits like Tuna or full Mullet Fillets, one of my Grand Wizard masters put me onto using large 10 o J hooks snelled on a three way swivel, hook up rate is fantastic on a slow bite.
Personally I now fish only with overhead unless using Soft Plastics or throwing stick Baits or poppers, allowing the Fish to take line on a slow bite for me is easier when I only need to flick a lever rather than close a bail arm over line being peeled off at Mach 10.
I have long been a fan of the Wilson Live Fibre Venom Series ( No I'm not sponsored) The crew at Tackle World Lawnton hold a great range and good stock to compare what suits your needs.
After a recent trip with a Jedi Master I have changed my Trout and Red throat stick to a
PE 2-5 6'6" Venom it has a longer butt for holding up under my arm when float lining and a Tip soft enough to feel a lightly weighted Pillie being Mouthed by a Red Freight Train 60m below.
Our last trip to 1770 was last week and our Trout bag came very Easy compared to other trips which I do put down to the action and feel of this new weapon.
As for chasing Reds where do i start, 5'6"- 6', 7' it goes on and on, confidence to me is the biggest factor, one mate shit canned my choice of Red stick to the point I doubted using it again. Following trip smashed probably close to a PB Red, same crow bar different boat, I have taken his advice onboard and will be heading back down to Tackle World Lawnton this week for a softer model same action just a lighter model (report to come ;)
Fresh is best Full Stop.
Trout will eat pillies 5 min later they won't, then they will eat the squid then only strip baits?
What I have found more important than choice of bait for trout is presentation, as a ambush predator trout will come out of their hole at Warp speed to smack a bait and brick you on the way back, in the time it takes you to pick up your beer. So stopping a bait before it hits the bottom and setting the drag will at least give you time to neck half a beer before tying a new leader, A wise old sea dog once showed me how to mark my line with a Nikko pen were I wanted it to stop. Every time we set the drift I would let line out to the mark flick over the drag, zzzzzzz we bagged in 3 hrs and had a beer at the bar in 4 hrs.
Red throat will eat just about anything you put in front of them atm, finding them isn't that hard look for a rough broken bottom that will snag very easy and you have a RTE patch (1770 Bunkergroup) Stopping them before they brick you is the next challenge !
The elusive Unicorn,
I have had a 12 year old catch a 8 1/2kg model onboard Dicktracey while eating a Banana, another time my Mrs thought she was snagged and wound up a 13keg. Every time I think I have them sorted my whole theory is blown apart. Hero or Zero seems to be a common result in hunting this nomadic species, Big baits do seem to prove them self time after time.
Reds don't get to be big by being the first fish to nail a bait every drop, a wise old Wizard Master once said Fish don't have hands how the Fuk can they pull the bait off your hook without tension on the line, Good point oh wise one ;)
So without a doubt big baits do allow the pickers to fire up the brutes which does work most days, dropping a bait in front of a Red is the hard part.
I ran into a mate in Fitzroy lagoon for him to tell me they nailed 6 Reds on marks I gave him while I scored a Red Donut for a 400L Litre fuel burn looking for new ground, same mate picked up a 12keg on the pick fishing on the anchor in 5m of water chasing RTE out of the wind in the dark.
Without a doubt the Tug is the Drug we all chase, more fuel bigger boats great Journeys.
Drift vs Anchor
How long is piece of string ? Last 3 trips we have bagged out all on the drift, backing in or the use of a parachute is a must on big tides, keeping the line on the bottom is the only way I can put a feed together, I don't chase mid water species so my bait needs to be on the ocean floor.
I do like anchoring up for a tide change or setting up for the afternoon bite, I once took some mates out and we anchored the night before for the morning bite, started feeding small pillies over the side 15min before fishing the sun rise, to this day it was still one of the hottest bites I can remember.
I won't start a debate, I sell Furuno & Install Marine Electronics, my screen shots and trip reports should speak for the quality of Furuno. Our last trip to 1770 cost over $1000 in Fuel and bait, I'm not spending that with a substandard sonar that won't read at speed. Demand the Best.
I hope this can help someone out in the same way this info helped me put a feed together, if your crew are polite and don't take the piss out of you dump them and put an honest crew together only sneaky fukers won't hang shit on you for anything they can Fishing offshore.
Feel free to add what works for you.