Bathurst Island run

RECENTLY I received a phone call to see if I was interested in an overnight run out to Bathurst Island. It’s a fair run from Darwin out the most Western end of Bathurst, but the boat we were doing this trip in was an absolute beauty. We were fishing from a custom built plate boat that measures just over 8m and has been fitted out with auto pilot, radar, twin sounders and a big Suzuki 300hp to push it along.

We left first thing Saturday morning and the ocean was nice and flat for the 120 km run. Didn’t take too long cruising at 25 knots. There’s plenty of reef in this area and we started sounding a few of the marks from the boys. However the tide was running too hard to fish them so we moved in closer to the island to get out of the hard flowing waters. We started picking up an assortment of reef fish, but the golden snapper we were hoping to catch were proving hard to find.


While fishing one spot we noticed a lot of bird activity out wide of us and decided to up anchor and run out to investigate. Uncountable numbers of broad bar mackerel, queenfish and the odd Spanish mackerel were smashing into the bait balls they had pushed to the surface. We started by running a few lures out the back of the boat which took little time before all rods were bent and reels were losing line .We then changed to spin rods with chrome slices and slugs with a short length of wire to stop the bite offs and had a ball spinning up macs and queenies ‘till we tired of that and left the mayhem to try for a few goldies.

While sounding another patch of reef some nice looking ground with fish on it started to show. We dropped anchor and started catching a mixture of reef fish again when Joe hooked something better and after a short battle he pulled the best goldie aboard. It was a nice one about 4kg. We were hoping for a few more around that size but it didn’t happen and it was time to up anchor and head into some smooth waters for the night .

We dined on fresh fillets of fish dusted with flour and a sprinkle of curry powder then cooked on the BBQ and washed it down with a few cold beers. A while later I set my stretcher up on the rear deck and went to sleep under a magnificent night sky.


We woke up as the sun was rising had a quick cuppa and fired the big Suzuki up and headed out for one last fish before heading home. We found a few more assorted reef fish then decided to run out to the area where we had found all the pelagic action the day before. They were there in immense numbers again so out came our spin gear for round two. The mackerel and queenfish were really fired up and you didn’t have to cast too far or move your lure much to get a response. We caught them on diving lures, surface lures and slices and slugs, but I think anything that touched the water would have been eaten. I reckon we lasted an hour before calling it quits and pointing the boat back towards Darwin.

The sea was again calm and in no time we were winching the boat back on its trailer and while washing it down while plans were made for a run to Melville Island in the very near future. Can’t wait!


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