about us

A social group of dedicated fly fishers who are passionate about fly fishing in the tropical north of Australia and equally as passionate about the close camaraderie this sport brings. This passion and dedication led to the creation of the NT Flyfishers Social Mob blog site; an interactive and creative outlet where everyone can share our wonderful fly fishing adventures and link into the “after fishing” social events we enjoy in this incredible part of the world.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Bynoe out front report

Courtesy of The Stig and Canadian Pete
Saturday started quite early.
Here I am coming back to ramp to pick up Peter after he parked the 4x4 and trailer. 

We wanted to head down Friday afternoon and stay in a cheap donga at Sand Palms for a couple of nights, but there was a wake going on and all were booked for those attending the wake. Added to this was the tight budget the wife has me on lately to afford to build the house she wants on our rural block, which meant if we booked a motel room instead of a donga it could only be one night!

Working backwards from when we wanted to launch just before dawn to when we had to leave Darwin, meant that the alarm goes off just after 4am. I put the last few things in my ute and head to Pete’s place. Get there and no Peter anywhere (slept through his alarm). So after I carry all my gear to his underground carpark where his boat is kept and pack it into where it needs to go, then I call him and wake him up.

We get boat hooked up to Pete’s 4x4 fairly quickly, top up the fuel, get some ice for the two days and an hour later we are at the ramp at Milne Inlet, just up the road from Sand Palm Pub.
The morning is fairly calm, forecast was for a stronger wind at the middle of the day. It was already 30 degrees, tide already low so instead of down the back we head out to the very front of Bynoe Harbour even though a little more breeze to cool things off but might make the ride a little rougher.

A few early morning storms off in the distance, but blue skies above us.

As soon as we get to “spot Y”, we see a few birds on one side of an exposed sand bar and head in for a better look. But a problem – electric messing about. We use the main motor to maneuver and eventual head around the other side of the sand bar. We have been here a few times previous trips on the way to other places, zero scales visits - hopefully today we find something. Beautiful place, should be more fish here more often then it does have them. Bright orange sand, blue emeralds water, usually clean water except in the harshest wind/tide conditions, good flats that hold enough water, right next to deep water. heaps of other animal life too - heaps of turtles 
this trip, on other trips dugongs, dolphins, and false killer whales 

Here we find a few birds working, a few splashes from mackerel and down the beach behind them the typical slashes of some small queenfish tight against the beach. We start to head over with tide current and wind assisting out shift rather than the main motor.

Tide is about halfway down, we are protected from the steadily increasing wind by height of the sandbar. Only just past the tip of the sand bar we see 40-50cm mackerel corralling baitfish into tight dark patches. The bait are trying so hard to evade the predators they beach themselves up on the sand – only to be picked off by the birds standing just above the water line. A few casts find the mackerel uninterested in our offerings. As you know at times it can be hard to entice a take on the fly with so much bait around. (See the main video for vision of the tight bait balls being hammered by small macks and queenies)

To start with we were focused on the visible feeding fish close to the beach, but occasionally we had heard and see the after effects of larger slashing behind us. The water was the most clearest we have seen in a long while with all the windy weather we have had recently. I thought the water was only a couple of feet deep but the sounder said 12.5feet. Yet you could see clearly the sand ripples on the bottom interspersed with rock/coral patches.
What we could also significantly see were fish stacked up like piles of wood for a fire - 20-30 plus large black backed deep silver sided slabs of large queenfish. The instant we put a fly anywhere near them it was attacked vigorously. with several companions of similar size accompanying each one hooked.

Peter was casting a large mackerel/billfish fly I tied a long time ago (20+ years ago in SE QLD). Basically an over-sized deceiver with heaps of bucktail in body tied ona 6/0 34007 and a synthetic fibre back of purple, blue and black. the key to this fly Peter thought was the red bucktail throat. This flies was tied on his 12w and he hooks up first. 

Totally the other side of the equation in setups - I am using my 7w with a size 1 hook anorexic clouser – torn to pieces by many fish on a previous trip that didn’t get retired and was still tied to the leader of my fast sink fly line. Several fish rose up and accompanied Peter’s hooked fish, I cast to these with trepidation as the leader was worn, had a couple of wind knots, the fly was small, the rod weight would mean a longish fight if I hooked up and stayed connected – but my most probable outcome was an instant bustoff. I cast anyway – its only a fly and a bit of mono leader I might lose. A large fish zips towards the fly from out of nowhere, its takes the small fly and zips off to the horizon - no need to set the hook such was its aggression. The flyline and half the backing is gone in a very fast timeframe.

While mine takes off and leaping in the distance, Peter loses his first fish after a few minutes, ties on another fly and hooks up almost instantly. The main video in this report shows the fish repeatedly attacking his large fly. I watch his half hookups more than watching my own fishing still stripping off line.

Peter muscles his fish towards the boat and I with flyrod in my right hand with a fish attached 150 meters to the south of us – try to net his fish for him. I miss twice with the big fish flipping out with each netting attempt with my left hand. So I get Peter to swim it past the boat and I grab it tail wrist and swing it into the boat to then focus on mine still a log way away from boat and with me worrying if I have enough backing. I ask Peter to chase it with the main motor but as he starts the boat the fish finally stops in headlong rush away from us and I start to gain some backing back on to the reel..

As my fish is still a long way from boat I tell peter to cast again at the plentiful other large queenfish under the boat and around it despite the motor running at idle. You will see in the video the fish attracted to his fly repeatedly.

Both of us were thoroughly enjoying ourselves with such visual fly fishing. The clear water amplified the visual effect. The countless baitfish shoals going past the boat kept the predators working the water and the underwater drop-offs.

This continues for an hour or so before the tide dropped too far off the flat beside the sand bar for the big fish to attack the bait balls. Smaller mackerel and queenfish though ready invaded the shallow flats and gorged themselves on the 2-3 inch baitfish. We chased them, caught a few, release them all as quite small when compared to the 80+cm version we had been catching.

I caught a small queenfish that really ran us in knots around the boat. During a double hook up and swapping rods over rods my queenie must have been bleeding into the water and several small black tipped reef sharks started arriving looking for an easy meal.

I cast to one small shark cruising around the boat 8 times and got ignored 8 times. I lead the cast to the shark giving time for fly to sink but it seemed uninterested in the small clouser I was using to target the queenies and mackerel. I caught and released another queenie and the small shark was still hanging around the boat.

The next cast was just right in distance from the shark to allow the fly to sink to just the right depth. In the crystal clear water I saw the shark zip forward and chew in the fly. This will be a short fight I said to myself as I wasn't using any sort of wire trace..

I strip strike a couple of times to set the hook deeply and the fight is on. Water roostertails from the flyline as it cuts through the water. Awesome! The shark circles the boat and tangles me up with Peter who is fighting another queenie. we swap rods over each other to avoid tangles. Crazy, hectic stuff!
After a couple of netting attempts by Peter while fight his own fish, he hands me the netted shark. I grab the shark behind its gills and remove the hook and Peter takes a few pictures of the unique fly catch. Then flip it back into the water, where it speeds away wiser for the experience.

The day started red hot in fishing and by midday it was stifling hot. Both of us were not drinking enough rather focusing on another cast to catch another big queenfish. Peter over heated a bit and I wasn't far behind. So we drove around at speed to get cooled off - investigating other parts of this reef. 

We drift and cast towards the reef edge as it drops off into deeper water. I hook another queenfish. This one jumped at least eight times and still fought hard despite its extra aerial efforts to de-hook itself..

Peter tails this fish for me and it is a triplet in length and size to the first two we boated. All 83cm exactly, and all with the same thickness through the shoulder area of their bodies. We catch a few more reef species – mostly small stripies, but the mackerel remain elusive even though constantly present throughout the day and feeding aggressively.

Totally exhausted by the heat and the swoffing action – we head to the ramp. Pull the boat out and book into the motel room. That pool was just the right temperature to soak away the heat of the day.
Dinner at the pub was excellent as always. 

Though one pub regular was a little pushy when Peter was at the bar at ‘’his’ spot when paying for his meal, but you get that occasionally at country pubs. Maybe they should shift the register or not allow patrons to sit right in front of it or take ‘ownership’ a section of the bar. But it might of been just how tired we were and a little touchy at small things?

Sleep came easy, and we were up and going at 6am, soon the room was emptied, 4x4 packed and boat on the water by 6:15. It is so nice being so close to the ramp rather than driving all the way from Darwin before launching boat. Sunrise was awesome!

We went straight out to the same sand bar as yesterday hoping for more of the same. Mostly mackerel. Today we managed a few of those mackerel – maybe due to a lot less bait around.
I lose a big strong fish (queenie??) after the hook pulls shortly after I strip strike. Peter loses two large queenfish one to a knot break, while the other snaps him off cleanly at it responds to the hook point driving home, but eventual stays connected to another. He is using a small clouser with a 4cm single strand of wire tied with a few knots he hadn’t used before and was quite nervous about his knots unraveling or breaking, so didn’t muscle the fish to the boat on the 10w he was using. He was quite relieved when I finally grabbed its thick tail wrist.

This day was a lot longer between fish and much more casting but still intriguing and visually exciting watching fish respond to flies and conditions.

Would we do it again – you bet! Next weekend maybe not. But we will definitely be back.

Where to next? we shall see.
Video report - up soon!
Have a new video editor I am trying to understand how to use, which may take a bit of time to figure out - but not too long! promise!

No comments:

Post a Comment