CORAL SEA EXPLORING
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.