Top times at the Tip – Part 2

Regular readers will recall my recent blog highlighting the start of a week-long trip to Albany Island, which lies just east of the very tip of Cape York. Together with the guys from Rapala, as well as Singaporean Rapala staffer Fred Goh and John Bretza, the US based director of product development for Okuma, I was staying at a lodge run by CY Fishing Charters and fishing the reefs, cays and shoals of the eastern Torres Straits.

I’ve been lucky enough to have fished Cape York in several occasions over the years but always down the western side, which consists mainly of long sandy beaches interspersed with rivers. On the east side, the offshore waters are dotted with spectacular coral reefs and islands, providing for some amazing fishing action.

We were blessed with calm conditions all week, which allowed us to explore a wide variety of reef systems. I’ll provide all the details in an article I’m planning for the February, 2011, issue of Fisho. Suffice it to say, however, we caught some cracker coral trout, Spaniards, reef species, qeenies and tuna (both macks and longtails). The highlights of the trip included some amazing bust-ups on monster black jew (Rapala’s Aku Valta landed a 10 kilo specimen, the ones that Chris Beldon and I hooked were simply unstoppable, even on 80lb braid and heavy rods) and some superlative GT popping.

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Rapala’s Chris Beldon (left) and Aku Valta come to grips with some Cape GTs.


 My biggest was a 50 pounder, hooked on a 7″ white Slam I dropped down on spec just after Fred pulled in a solid golden trevally. We saw the big fish shadowing the hooked goldie as we drifted over the shallow reef and initially called it for a Spaniard. The first screaming run, which pulled significant amounts of 50lb braid off the screwed down drag on the Salina II I was using, felt pretty mackerel-ish but soon the big head shakes and dour fighting style typical of a solid GT were being transmitted up the rod.

That was a pretty good fish but guide Hamish and John Bretza pulled much bigger GTs the day before while popping a prominent reef edge with Williamson Jet Poppers. Both those fish went 60lbs.

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Big GTs and coral trout were abundant at the Tip.

Numerous 10-40lb GTs were caught during the trip, on poppers, jigs and trolled Rapalas.

I had a bit of a blinder on the trout, pulling several 4-5kg models out from a single section of reef on white Slams. Chef Greg did a fine job with these tasty reef dwellers back at the lodge, turning the white fillets into a variety of amazing meals.

Apart from the fishing, a real highlight of the trip for me was the snorkelling along the coral reef edges. The reef here is as good as I’ve seen – and I’ve dived extensively on the Outer Barrier Reef and in places like Fiji. While it was cool to look at all the colourful coral formations and goggle at all the fish – I spotted Nemos, blue tangs, trout, big parrots, spangled emperor, mackerel and even a school of solid jacks milling around an isolated bommie – spearing delectable painted crays was a major thrill.

We ate fresh cray just about each night. How good is that!

I rate the CY Fishing Charters operation highly. The lodge on Albany Island is excellent – very comfortable with great accommodation and excellent food – and the fishing options are diverse and plentiful. If you want barra, the vast Jackie Jackie system on the mainland is only 30 minutes by boat and the Escape River just a little further. The first reef systems are only about 8kms away from the lodge.

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Big mack attack!

 Stay tuned for a full wrap up on this outstanding tropical sportfishing destination in the February issue of Fishing World, available at newsagents nationally from early January 2011. Meantime, check out for info on the lodge and the fishing opportunities. As an extra bonus, the Free DVD with the massive December Summer-Long issue of Fisho features an episode on fishing with Hamish and the guys at Albany Island with plenty of action and lots of big fish. Reserve your copy of the December issue of Fisho with your local newsagent now (it’s due out early November) or call 1800 807 760 to subscribe.

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Casting over another fish-rich reef and (right) Queenie trifecta!

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