CO­RAL SEA EX­PLOR­ING

QantasLink Sprit - - Fishing -

The Co­ral Sea is one of the last fron­tiers, re­plete with rarely vis­ited atolls. One of the eas­i­est ways to reach them is with Big Cat Re­al­ity (big­ca­tre­al­ity.com), a lovely steel-hulled cata­ma­ran. This live-aboard oper­a­tion, skip­pered by James McVeigh, spe­cialises in long-range trips to re­mote reefs. I vis­ited the Wreck Reefs with the team and was blown away by the fish­ing.

Lo­cated some 450 kilo­me­tres off the coast of Bund­aberg in Queens­land, the Wreck Reefs have re­mained largely un­touched since the cargo ship Cato and the HMS Por­poise, on which English ex­plorer Matthew Flin­ders was a pas­sen­ger, ran aground in 1803. The fish here have vir­tu­ally never seen a lure. Cast­ing on the reef edges, you’ll find co­ral trout, gi­ant trevally and some of the big­gest green job­fish in the coun­try.

NOW CATCH ONE!

Large pop­per and stick­bait lures bring the most ex­plo­sive top­wa­ter ac­tion; how­ever, the real chal­lenge can be keep­ing the fish at­tached and out of the reef. If you get tired of los­ing lures, move a few hun­dred me­tres away from the edge of the reef to a depth of 1000 me­tres, where mon­ster wa­hoo, yel­lowfin tuna and sail­fish dwell.

Trolling is the eas­i­est way to con­nect off­shore but if you spot a flock of birds (a sign that there’s a bait school be­neath the sur­face) then cast­ing lures will draw dra­matic sur­face strikes as the fish re­peat­edly at­tack your lure. When the fish­ing wears you out, head back into the shal­lows around the atolls and snorkel the clear wa­ters full of beau­ti­ful co­ral.

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