They are never easy to subdue
A recent kayak fishing trip to Wilderness Island showed just how quickly fortunes can change in fishing.
As Mick Malthouse would say, some days you’re a bug and some days you’re a windshield!
On the third day of our trip I was definitely the bug as I had one of those days where nothing went right while fishing just south of the camp, which has gone to a new level of comfort this year.
Under a blazing midday sun, I pedalled a borrowed Wilderness Systems Radar 135 from Paddlesports Myaree a fair way over about four hours near the top of the tide and it was an extremely frustrating day for yours truly.
I lost a good golden trevally right at the kayak straight away and then had a series of fleeting encounters with big queenfish.
I hooked several but none stayed on for more than a few seconds, and had many more shy away from my lure as we spotted them cruising the flats.
Near the end of the session I had a pretty big giant trevally hit my lure but fail to hook up, leaving me a bit tired and emotional.
A few beers with the rest of the group and a gorgeous Wilderness sunset eased the pain and I was ready to go again the next morning, but this time three of us took the Western Angler Westerberg rather than our kayaks, and hopes were high with the tides building.
When I hooked up and got bitten off immediately I was getting that sinking feeling again, but from there on it turned out to be one of the best days of flats fishing I’ve ever experienced.
A short time later I was thrilled to boat a metre-plus giant herring, always one of my main targets around Wilderness and an addictive challenge, and we then found a huge school of big queenfish on the flats.
The aggressive queenies were great fun and the session was capped by a school of big goldens coming through as well.
Previous disappointments were quickly forgotten, but the best was yet to come.
Returning to where we started the day, this time on an outgoing tide, the three of us all cast out soft plastic vibes and hooked up immediately to three big giant herring.
A couple got off, but we cast out and immediately hooked up again, so between us we’d had five casts and been connected to five metre-plus GHs.
They are never easy to subdue and we hooked eight over the next 90 minutes, getting four to the boat with local tackle shop owner Steve Riley thrilled by his biggest ever giant herring.
I was using a lightish outfit with a Shimano Dialuna rod matched to a Stradic 4000 (9kg braid) and a Zerek Fish Trap as the lure, and had my hands full with one fish that made some spectacular jumps and just wouldn’t come to the boat.
It took me about 20 minutes to get it to the boat and it was surely a personal best for me at around 1.15m.
Steve capped the day by also catching a Spanish mackerel, while Matt McCarthy picked up a really solid golden.
My three main targets on a trip to Wilderness would be a big GH, queenie and golden, and I caught them all in a few hours.
It was a superb day of non-stop action within a long cast of our base at Wilderness Island and the highlight of another great kayak adventure.
The following day I returned to the same spot in the kayak and hooked three more giant herring on a Fish Trap, catching two, to finish the trip on a real high.
It was another great week at Wilderness, with other regular catches by the group including spangled emperor, coral trout and cod.
The camp itself has never been better with the upgrades to each cabin including power and en suites with freshwater showers, and I can’t wait to get back there in 2022.
Caption: Exmouth’s Steve Riley with his PB giant herring near Wilderness Island.