It all started on a cold, foggy, wet, windy night with the wind howling through the trees… Hahaha
na it all started with a txt message from fifis101 actually! The persistent bugger has been hounding me for another trip since last season! With a firm date set in the calendar Josh made the trip 4hrs north and met up Friday evening for a beer and to load the gear for an early start Saturday morning.
The initial plan was to head over to Fraser Island in the boat and travel 60kms up the top to fish for small marlin and tuna during the day and shark of an evening. This all went to s&%! As a 25knot northerly wind blew up and puttering out the mouth of the boat harbour we copped a big wave over the bow in the first 20 seconds. Not one with a death wish I spun the boat around and called off the trip.
The decision was made to swap the gear from the boat to the truck and hit one of our regular haunts that produced quite well over the last season. Being as keen as we were the gear was swapped in a flash and we had “plan B” in full swing!
We hit the beach mid-morning and after camp was established no time was wasted setting up the rods and paddling baits out. The wind was still up so the swell and waves made it pretty interesting but we were determined to make the best of a bad situation so we pressed on. 2 baits were set and beers cracked by 9:30am and we kicked back to relax after a full on morning.
Couple of uneventful hrs passed and we started doing a bit of beach combing when I looked up to notice the glow stick I had taped to my line was slowly making its way to the water. As I sprinted up the beach to attend my rod I noticed Josh’s new Santiago 130 starting to take off as well and yelled out. As soon as I picked up my rod the shark dropped the bait and didn’t return. The breakaway weight still seemed attached so I tightened the line back up and set the rod back in the holder in hopes it would return.
Meanwhile Josh had managed to set the hooks on a hefty fish and although it couldn’t pull drag on the 130 it still tried to have a few runs testing Josh’s balance in the harness.
It wasn’t long before he had the shark in the wash and I put the tail rope on a solid 8’8” male lemon. First shark of the trip and a new PB for Josh. We were off to a good start!
A few happy snaps were taken and he was back off in to the deep blue.
The rest of the morning passed without much action and Josh had decided to wait till late afternoon to set another bait in hopes the night would produce something bigger. About mid-afternoon whilst having a snooze on the beach I was woken by Josh yelling to me from camp. He had noticed my line had gone slack and as he went to have a closer look it tightened back up and started screaming off the duel 12/0. Like a flash of lightening I was at the rod, put her up to strike and did the good ol’ running man to drive the 24/0 circle home. I came tight on a good weight although it didn’t do too much at first. Once we were all harnessed up the shark began to take a bit of line and ark back and forth. This carried on for a while and watching the angle of the line we got a glimpse of a big white shark on the surface. It seemed to turn around on the spot and surface again this time breaking the surface with a big dorsal followed by a bigger tail… HAMMER!! IT’S A BLOODY HAMMER!!!
The excitement went through the roof with early calls of the best shark of the trip (little did we know what was to come) as hammers aren’t a regular capture here and land based even rarer! We moved position down to the shore dump and worked the shark in. With Josh grabbing the tail of the shark I quickly unharnessed and helped put the tail rope on.
Once it was secure we had our second shark on the sand and second PB! She went 10’1’ and after a quick few photos and a bit of directing in the rough surf she swam away strong.
A couple more celebratory beers were cracked and the baits prepared for the night tide.
We set two more baits out and started preparing a fire and some food for dinner. As always wen your starting to cook or prepare food something happens and just as Josh cracked me a glow stick for my line I noticed it was super slack! I reeled up slowly hoping whatever had grabbed it would come back and finish its meal but the current washed the bait in before the shark had found the bait again. On inspection it was obvious a very small shark had tried to eat a rather large bait and broke the mono to the weight. My chance of a shark was over for the night it was now up to josh. We had a feed and a beer around the fire and called it a night in hopes the low tide would produce some action. Just as Josh crawled in to his tent the 130 let out a slow growl taking about 5m of line and stopped. We waited for a second pick up but nothing happened. With the line quickly washing up on the beach Josh reeled it in to see that the go was. To our amazement a totally clean trace with two bare 20/0 circles came in! Something had managed to rip a 5kg tuna of in one bite without even scaping a hook!!
We called it a night and got some rest for our final assault on day 2.
I woke up a bit late that morning with josh already having a bit in the water before I even had time to make brekky!
The morning went by without a click and as mid-afternoon approached we were thinking the night tide might be our last chance.
Just when we were entertaining the thought my Tiagra 80W takes off on a steady run. I feed it a bit, push it to strike and plan to run off and set the hook but get stopped dead in my tracks 2 steps in. The shark takes a nice little run and the starts to bulldog its way in.
Getting the leader to the rod tip we still couldn’t see what was on the end of the line in the shore dump and we even called it for a big ray! Josh leaders it in closer to the wash and a fat little bull pops up! Measuring 6’10” a few shots were taken and the little fella put back to go about his business.
Only having two baits left we put one fresh one out each for the evening tide thinking that the night will produce the goods. Oh how we were wrong! About half an hour before sunset I look over to see the glow stick on the duel at the water’s edge and line very, very slowly rolling off the reel. I yell out to josh to grab the go pro as I’ve always wanted to film a hook set. I ran to the waters edge and let it swim with the bait a bit longer until it picked up speed and started smoking line off. I put 25kgs on strike and ran up the beach! Then down the beach!! Straight on to my bum as the hook set home and the unknown toothy started peeling line. Josh harnessed me up and as I leant in to it I knew this was a much better fish! With a steady pace of line coming off the reel and lightening from an incoming storm on the horizon we set up and got all the gear ready for the long battle.
Just before dark I saw the shark break the surface some 100 metres off the shore and my heart skipped a beat. WHOLLY S#&% JOSH THIS IS A BIIIGGGGGG TIGER! REAL BIG!! Which on a high tide with a storm coming over and only two people on hand, one of them on the rod, was a bit worrying to say the least.
The sun set, storm hit and we copped the full brunt of stinging rain, lightening and wind with no sight of the shark giving in. The rain eventually eased a little and about 50mins in to the fight we had a horse of a tiger cruising in the shore dump. After a few passes josh committed wading waste deep to throw a tail rope on the big girl in amongst the pounding waves. As soon as the rope was on all I could hear was josh yelling out in aww “wholly f%$&, WHOLLY F&%$, WHHOOOOLLLLYYYY F&%#!!!!!!
This was the fish of a lifetime measuring a respectable 12’5” with a taught tape from nose to tail!
After the long fight all I wanted to do was get her back so we didn’t bother with a girth or fork measurement and set to getting her back to the deep blue as fast as possible. We ended up having to swim out with her under the aid of josh’s headlamp only and after a bit of directing she was off!
Words could not describe the feelings and adrenalin pumping through our bodies after that experience but I’m sure it will be one of the most amazing experiences in my land based life.
I want to put a massive shout out to fifis101 for being the fearless, screw loose, landed based addicted sharko you are and this wouldn’t have been possible without you on this trip! I hope for the second trip you have ever done with me I have been able to share some memorable lifetime experiences with you.
Josh also managed a solid 7’10” whaler to close out the trip and another PB for him!! Putting us at a total of 5 sharks, 5 different species and 4 PB’s… I don’t think a first trip of the season could go much better!
So that’s our first two days on the sand in AUZ! Until next time… Peace! From the land down under