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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

GT from shore...kid me not!

I have been fishing the tropics for about 20 years now and one of the finest memory I have is the day I landed my first GT from shore. This happened some 3 years ago, faaaaar away from home, in Australia. Thanks to the courtesy of Damon Olsen, the owner of Nomad Sport Fishing (, I had the chance to join my friend Bertrand "Frencho" Picarda and a group of "crazy" Japanese to a trip to Kenn reef, in the Coral Sea 300 miles away from the nearest Ozzie beach.

After British Airways had lost both my luggage and rod case, here I am, with my plastic bag full of stuff I had to buy to survive my week offshore, a borrowed popping rod from Bertrand and a borrowed jigging rod from Neil, at Neil's tackle in Brisbane. I had my reels, that was pretty cool, they where in my backpack, and I had my Nikon, in my hand luggage as well.
Late in the afternoon we boarded the Odyssey, the 75ft aluminum mother vessel together with the Japanese friend and off we went for a 36 hours cruise to the lost reef.

During the week of fishing I have seen two of the biggest GT I ever saw, landed by Bertrand and Hippo, one of the Japs. The reef where alive and teeming with life, the GTs huge and the surrounding waters full of Tunas, Wahoo and Sharks. Whenever you saw a feeding frenzy with birds diving all over the place, you would run with the skiff there and have plenty of sashimi in a blink of an eye. Imagine a large reef, so far away from shore where commercial fishing is not only prohibited, but also enforced. During our stay we had few times the airplanes of the Ozzie Navy patrolling the area to see who we where and what where we doing. Magic!

Well, to make a long story short, in the 4 days we spent at Kenn reef I had the time to make friends with Mogi-san, one of the gurus of Japanese jigging, Kenji Konishi, the creator of the Carpenter brand of rods and lures, and learn a trick or two about GT fishing. But it has been the very last day, just before departure, that I saw the light. The skiff dropped us on a strip of sand surrounded by reefs, once shallow but now at high tide plenty of water for the predators to swim in it. We started casting hoping to see a sign of life and I had a Green Jobfish following the stick bait on the second or third cast. A beautifully painted Coral trout followed and after a short struggle I managed to land it. It was then time for a GT to attack my Big Foot stick bait, not a big guy but who damn cares, it was my first GT ever landed from shore and was worth its weight in gold. One of the Japs soon followed and then Kenji landed his as well, you can see in the vertical image. Is hard to try to explain how exciting is to catch one of the strongest and largest predator (thus none of ours were spectacular, fish up to 30kg have been landed from shore) with your feet solidly attached to mother earth. No vessel pulling, no skipper motoring, no drift dragging. Just you, yourself and the critter. Each and everyone doing his best to survive.

I fish too much from boats nowadays but is well sculptured in my mind the memory of each and every fish I have caught from shore. This is where you can see the difference between a man and a kid, I kid you not!

Thanks again Damon and every one in the trip. I had to borrow stuff from many of you and will always be grateful. Hope to see you again soon.

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