By Luke Galea
5-10 knot winds for 4 days straight are extremely hard to come by these days, especially with them coinciding over a weekend, so with these ideal conditions upon us, I decided to take my mate Sam and my little 3.90m Hornet Trophy for a little adventure around some of the Whitsunday islands.
Our intention was to take our lightest rods and small plastics and have an absolute ball on all manors of little reef fish among the coral bommies and turquoise blue water. Let me just say that it didn’t disappoint.
I predominately used my Samurai Reaction 203 (2-6lb) and teamed it up with 3 and 3/4inch Atomic Plazo Jerk Minnows in Motor Oil and Ghost Pearl colourations, 6lb braid and 10lb Unitika Silver Thread FC leader. Our little plastics were getting hammered be nearly everything in the bay. Juvenile Coral Trout, Parrot-fish, Cod, Stripeys and Sweetlip were the mainstayers – some of which were only too obliging at continually biting our little softys in half.
I have nothing but praise for the strength and quality of the Unitika Silver Thread FC leader. There were numerous occasions where the little reef fish (trout in particular) had found their way to the reef but despite the light leader, it did not wear through and bust. Not on any of the 4 occasions.
There were 2 standout fish of the day. One being a lovely 42cm coral trout that I caught on my Samurai Reaction 203 Estuary and 3 and 3/4inch Jerk Minnow. Now this fish gave me some serious curry but I was able to tame this trout on my light gear. Anyone who is familiar with coral trout would be familiar with their notoriety as a proven tackle destroyer and dirty fighter. They often find their way back to the reef and bust you off before you can blink and are renowned for destroying much heavier gear. This being said, my light Samurai handled this trout with ease. I must say, that I will remember this torid little fight for a long time. Obviously not a huge trout but on the light gear, it was definitely an epic capture.
We then opted to throw a few larger plastics around a deepwater rocky dropoff. I grabbed my slightly heaver Samurai Reaction 302 (6-12lb) and tied on a 5 inch Atomic Plazo Fat Grub in Ghost Pearl. The big curl tail seemed to do the trick instantly with my rod buckling to the waterline with what seemed like a very descent fish. This fish managed to get me in the reef on 2 occasions but the leader (14lb this time) held strong for me again. Very impressed. I am glad it held because the fish turned out to be a beautiful little Maori Wrasse, a species I had never caught before. I will remember this fish for a long time!
Sam seemed to be doing particularly well at catching smaller coral trout on the 4 inch Atomic Prong in ghost pearl. All 5 of his trout came on this lure and this colour.
It turned out to be an excellent day on the water, weather wise and angling wise. We ended up boating 11 different species and had an absolute ball chasing these hard fighting reefy dwellers, in rough country on bream gear! A challenge that really is not easy to do. I thank the quality Samurai rods, Unitika leaders and Atomic plastics for being fail-proof as always.