Two years ago my brother, father and I entered for the first time in the Sunshine Coast River to Reef tournament.
In this tournament, like most other tournaments, you do have to pay to enter. Juniors only pay $10 and seniors pay $50. The tournament is run at the same time as a boat show, which is great because when you came to weigh in your fish you got to have a look around at all the different types of boats. It’s a great event with lots of prizes and raffles drawn with lots of things to win.
The tournament runs for four days: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in September, so you definitely get lots of time to get out and find the winning fish.
The Thursday and Friday we weren’t able to get out due to having school and Dad having to work.
We ventured out early Saturday morning to the front of Bribie Island in hope of catching whatever we could find with nothing in particular being targeted. I went with a mate in his boat while my brother and dad went in the other boat. We headed up Caloundra way in search of any mackerel, but only managed some school mackerel.
After getting our few mackerel we decided to drop a soft plastic down in search of any snapper or sweetlip, which only resulted in little stuff. Then we thought it was time to go and search for some cobia.
We got to our first spot and got the downrigger in position and it wasn’t long before we had our first fish on. It resulted in a 8kg cobe that we thought would be a good one to weigh in. After that result we though it would be good to call dad and Jaret over to see if they could get one as well.
In the mean time Scotty and I kept dropping down livies on the downrigger and kept hooking up on nice cobes around the same size as the first one.
Dad and Jaret managed around the same catch but with dad hooking up solid but loosing it as quick as he hooked it. Things went quiet so we called it a day so we would make it in time for the weigh in. We weighed the solid fish in and got our names up on the board.
The next morning Scotty managed to drag me out of bed really early in hope to catch some more nice cobes before the presentations. We got to the spot where we caught the cobes the day before, got our livies and started fishing. Scotty grabbed a livie and rigged it up and dropped it down. While Scotty was doing that I’d seen a dead livie so I had an idea. I went and grabbed my rod from up the front, grabbed the dead livie and rigged it up on a set of gangs. I dropped it straight to the bottom and then I was instantly on.
This was big, bigger than any fish that we caught the day before. So Scotty got the downrigger up and started to assist me. The fish was running hard and I had the reel on full over strike but the fish was still going. We knew we had to do something otherwise it would bust us off on the structure, so Scotty put his fingers on the fast spinning spool to slow it down, which slowly and luckily worked.
We managed to bring it to a dead stop.
Once that happened I knew that the fight had just begun. We had drifted off of the structure so I was able to back the drag off and fight the fish. Every time I’d get the fish close it would go back down, in this same cycle for ages. Nearly two hours later we finally had a close look at it.
It was a cobe and it was BIG! We were guessing well over 20kg. After a while we finally had it close enough to gaff. Luckily the first shot with the gaff was successful but one gaff wasn’t enough and we had to use two gaffs to get it in. When we finally got it on the deck we both released a huge sigh. We got the hooks out had a few photos and got it straight in the icebox.
After all had settled we went back to see if Scotty could get its mate, but it only resulted in more smaller cobes. Dad and Jaret only managed a few of the smaller cobes as well. We weighed the fish in the comp and it went 33kg. This is the biggest fish I have ever caught and it was the biggest weighed in at the comp. Hopefully next time I will get another big one when the comp is on.
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