ONCE again I turn my focus to actual events on the water around Hervey Bay. It was the middle of winter and it was a regular day to begin with.
So I wasn’t too worried when a Hervey Bay regular pulled up next to me on the day in question. On our first drift I noticed that the school I was sounding was obviously large enough to be seen by the other boat too. The occupants of the adjacent boat frantically dropped their lures and began fishing them with intent.
Their rods bent almost instantly and my passengers and I smiled at each other, expecting similar results would occur soon. Our happiness was short-lived and soon replaced with frustration, because drift after drift and school after school our lures were refused.
One angler on the other boat was repeatedly hooking up, and then later both fishos were hooking up time after time. I had a fairly good idea of what the boys were using because I knew them well. My problem was I was out of that particular jig.
After a short conversation with the guys I made adjustments to my presentation to get as close as I could to what they were using. But still no love!
We had only managed a tiny queenfish and scarlet perch. Exasperated but not defeated, I knew there could be a good chance the fish were absolutely fixated on eating just one thing. This is rare, but it does happen. I went back to the boys and asked them for a spare lure.
Sure enough, they were quick to put one in my hands. I motored away and put us over a small school of large fish and the reaction was instantaneous. My client’s jig rod buckled over and I yelled instructions to keep firm, even pressure on the line to ensure the hooks were lodged in solidly.
The Explorer jig rod and Daiwa Catalina 4000 combo did the rest. After about 30 minutes, the young American father saw what he thought was a shark, but I knew better because I caught a glimpse of it too.
We finally netted the big cobia, and after a few happy snaps the tough old pelagic fish slid back into the cool winter water to fight another day. Now I could have let my ‘guide’s ego’ get in the way and stormed off when I was getting schooled by the other boat, but I had a job to do, and that was to catch fish for my guests.
And I was not going to let my pride beat me. I was fortunate enough to be on friendly terms with the occupants of the other boat, and they knew that had it been them in my shoes I would have helped. Keep in mind that we were not fishing in each other’s pockets all the time.
Often we were at least 200m apart. If I can ask another angler for help, so can you. Just be mindful of how you approach another boat while you are watching them whack fish.
It’s probably best to approach when they are on the move and under power. If you don’t know the anglers, ask if you can watch, and ask for information. It’s their right to refuse to offer information, just remember that.
After you have what you need, leave them be and find your own fish. Another thing to keep in mind is the other boat was just another part of the jigsaw. I could see the key was jigs.
Had the other boat not been there, I may never have cottoned on and I most definitely would have been frustrated. Anyhow, armed with this new information I was certain I had the answer for the entire weekend ahead. Ahh, no…
The next day came and we got a few bites but the activity was certainly not as thick. I had the Tide Apparel boys on board and they managed a tuna, queenies, and a couple of solid trevally on jigs. It was a good day but underwhelming compared to what I saw the previous day.
Day two started with a few decent snapper but then the dreaded lull came. However, we persisted and it paid off for the lads on the second day. Almost from nowhere, fish started moving in and they were active. And unlike previous days, they ate anything! We kept finding fish, dropping lures and hooking up. Mayhem is a word I use often, but this time it was absolutely the most appropriate word to describe this session and its participants.
Remember that fishing is always in flux and fish are dynamic creatures, and we always need to respect that. What is critical one day can be meaningless the next.