Not only is country music legend, Troy Cassar-Daley, a man with a silken voice who plays a mean guitar, he’s also a mad-keen fisher and a bloody top bloke to boot! Troy arrived in Weipa with Ernie Dingo to film a segment on the Turtle Conservation Camp at Mapoon with a crew from The Great South East but was keen to get a line in the water when he had a spare moment.
Somehow, my name was mentioned as a possible outlet for Troy’s fishing fever and it was interesting when I shook his hand for the first time that I was almost as important a celebrity to the man as he was to me. It turned out that Troy is a regular reader of all types of fishing magazines, including QFM, and knows my writings well!
Over dinner that evening, Troy confessed that many of his musical gigs were now planned around suitable fishing dates. Rather than being a muso who loves fishing, Troy seems to be more a fisher who plays music for a living between trips!
When you find a bloke who is so keen, it’s easy to get enthused about trying to find him the best fishing possible. After a week of some of the windiest weather of the entire year, the chosen morning was nearly perfect and we were able to get out wide to a couple of my special spots.
Troy had his own baitcast and light game outfits but when trolling the chosen area with a Halco Crazy Deep only brought one half-hearted strike, I chose to drop some jigs to a likely show of fish just off the main rubble area. Troy used one of my new Daiwa offshore casting outfits featuring a Coastal 701HFS Tournament Inshore rod and Capricorn 4500 reel. It was already rigged with one of my special mackerel ‘proofed’ assist hooked 120g Lazer Big Eyes.
To ensure that we had the best chance of getting that all-important fodder for the camera, and to demonstrate the technique used, I dropped another Lazer alongside Troy’s offering and hooked up almost immediately. The 7kg grey mackerel came aboard in short order, had its picture taken and was released to swim another day.
With that bit of film in the can, the crew was now breathing easier, and when Troy hooked up to something that ripped braid through the runners at breakneck speed and headed for the horizon, they were even happier. The fight see-sawed back and forth for about 10 minutes, with Troy working the rod hard before a long silver shape materialised about 10m away just under the surface – a big Spaniard.
This is about the time when an angler can lose their cool very easily, so it was a credit to Troy that he brought his largest mackerel ever to the waiting Environet in a very cool and calm manner. The only jittery person onboard was yours truly, trying to scoop up a fish that was too large for even my jumbo net.
Eventually, I grabbed the tail and 17 kilograms of prime pelagic came aboard for an absolutely stoked Troy. The big mack was a personal best, easily eclipsing his only other encounter with the species, so he was one very happy chappy.
The 5/0 sized assist hook was planted firmly in the corner of those awesome jaws, demonstrating that even a relatively small hook hung off the top ring of a metal jig can be a match for a bottom mounted treble. In fact, since I’ve been using the single assist hooked jigs, the resulting strike to hook-up rate has been at least comparable to that with trebles, maybe even slightly better.
With the capture and release of the big mack safely on film, the mood in the boat lightened considerably. When Troy hooked up again next drift, light-hearted banter replaced the serious talk of the previous encounter.
This time, a big golden trevally showed itself after lots of hard work from the angler and plenty of dogged, tail-thumping resistance from mister thick lips! No trevally is easy, particularly one that weighs around 7kg, but that’s what we’d come here for and nobody, least of all Troy, was complaining.
Another hour of mayhem followed with more grey mackerel, brassy trevally, a small cobia and a beautiful 5kg fingermark coming aboard. Then, when it was just about time to pull the pin, the dark shapes of circling frigate birds signalled the possibility of finding a healthy longtail to wind up a great morning.
By the time we’d reached the spot, a quick look at the sounder revealed that some of the tuna were swimming directly under the boat. Troy’s jig was hit on the drop and the fish headed for the horizon.
With the camera rolling, Troy had worked the fish almost within range when the hook dropped out. Even though the clock was ticking, if we were quick, we still had enough time to try to land one for the tape.
Half a dozen drops later we were about to leave, when Troy hooked the second fish. He worked it as hard as possible and in only five minutes, a longtail materialised about 5m out.
The tuna dived once again, the red-lined drag on the Daiwa releasing line under protest. Suddenly, a large brown shark moved through the area that the tuna had just vacated.
Somehow, Troy coaxed the tuna back to the boat almost within range without interference so I turned around to pick up the net thinking that we were in with a chance. The next moment two big bull sharks hit the fish, right at the boat, spraying water everywhere!
Troy’s front, my back and the all-important camera lens were soaked but the footage was priceless! We didn’t land the tuna but had managed to record it getting eaten – top stuff.
With that, I cranked the big Suzuki into life and we headed for the ramp post haste. What a morning: Weipa at its best, and a top bloke to sample the action. Guiding just doesn’t get much better!
The Great South East program featuring Troy and Ernie’s trip is expected to go to air sometime in December 2005.Reads: 539