The Hey Hey Hey Tour with East Coast Angling
Cooktown with East Coast Angling and The Secret Fishing Society
The Hey Hey Hey Tour May 2018. Written by Paul Finlay
Day 1. Cairns to Cooktown and meeting the boys from TSFS
Anticipation is always high at the start of a trip and it was no different this time as we were waiting for our flight to Cooktown. There were 3 fishos from TSFS and I was flying solo and had no idea who I was going to be spending the next week with. I spotted Robbie, Jonesy and Gibbo and guessed that they were part of the group and as we crossed the tar to get to the plane we were quick to introduce ourselves. We were soon at our digs for the week – an apartment above The Lure Shop in Cooktown – and started getting organised for the week ahead. Nick from ECA soon joined us and rods, reels and lures were sorted and FG’s tied (thanks Nick). And just a few beers were consumed.
Day 2. Time to hit the water
Our first day dawned and we were all pumped to hit the water and start chasing GT’s. We punched out through some pretty choppy water and headed to a couple of reefs to try some jigging. Gibbo was our resident DJ and had the tunes pumping through the amazing sound system on the ECA boat. Hey, Hey, Hey soon became the anthem of the trip and received a lot of air time. The wind was blowing pretty hard and made jigging and working soft plastics next to impossible so we decided to head across to the inshore reefs and try for some GT’s. This was definitely the right decision as Robbies first cast with a popper got smashed and Gibbo and I both got hits. The poppers were on! Robbie was on fire and snagged some great fish – a couple of nice GT’s and Spaniards. Gibbo also was getting plenty of action on his stick bait and landed a beautifully coloured GT. A couple of nice red bass also made an appearance and gave a great account of themselves. The action died down for a couple of hours until the tide turned then it was great action for the last hour or two of the day, with some solid GT’s and Spaniards coming on board. There were schools of bait fish getting smashed and we all had a ball.
Day 3. The Flying Gibbo
We immediately headed to the same patch of reef to try for the GT’s again – it was a pretty quiet start to the day (except for Gibbo’s tunes), so Nick suggested we move a couple of miles to another reef system. It was a wise move and each bommie we visited had a couple of fish and we all managed to bag a few. A couple of nice double hook ups which always make for a bit of chaos around the boat, but Nick was on top of everything. Driving the boat, looking for bait, telling us where to cast, tying FG’s, landing the fish – he did it all! We were also treated to the amazing sight of Gibbo losing his rod overboard when a fish hit his popper hard, then without any hesitation diving straight in and retrieving
his beautiful carpenter rod, which still had the fish attached. Robbie kept the fish on until Gibbo was
back on board where he managed to land a nice GT. Brilliant stuff.
Day 4. Ribbon Reefs Rainbow
With the day looking best in terms of wind and weather we decided to make to long run out to Ribbon
Reefs. We were greeted by an amazing rainbow on the drive and knew we were in for a good day.
Nick suggested drifting the flats which was a popular move. There was heaps of action with GT pack
attacks, long nose emperors, trout and wrasse. Jonesy scored a beautiful big lose nose which gave him
a solid work out. As usual Gibbo was raising lots of fish but getting some grief from the shallow reef.
Flicking a small stick bait out over a sandy patch Pauly got smashed by a big GT which pulled a lot of
string. Nick as usual guided the boat perfectly and after a 10 minute chase we had our first big GT of
the trip. The wind picked up and made fishing tricky so we decided to work our way back home via the
inner reefs where we found some hot action in some pretty wild weather. GT’s and Spaniards were
smashing the bait and we casting our lures not stop. On the last cast of the day Robbie got smashed by
a solid GT. Bouncing around the boat, falling over, getting back up and still hanging on he finally
boated our second big GT of the day. You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.
Day 5. Time to relax
The day (and night) before had been huge and with the wind blowing 25-30 knots we decided to head inland to a local waterfall for a swim. After a bumpy ride in we found a beautiful swimming hole and were soon splashing around in the cool water and washing away last night’s beer. We then went for a hike down the Little Annan River looking for some sooties and the like, but had no joy. But it was still a great walk and the scenery was amazing. After working up a thirst we decided to head to the famous Lion’s Den pub and down a few brews. Gibbo was in the action again and managed to make friends with the local camel – go figure. We had also managed to score some painted crays earlier in the day from one of the local fishos and Nick and Robbie cooked us up a feast for dinner that night.
Day 6. The Windy Coast
Our last day dawned and we were determined to go GT fishing even though it was pretty windy and we were going to have a really bumpy ride out to the reefs. But it was worth the effort as there were heaps of GT’s swiping at our lures. Unfortunately not many were staying connected and coming to the boat. Jonesy and Gibbo had a great double hook up and Jonesy landed a beaut GT on his light gear. We cast all day and all managed to get one or two fish but it was hard work. If everything had stayed connected it would have been an epic day, but the fish just seemed to have a swipe and not really commit to the lure. And all too soon it was time to head home and get ready for the early flight back to Cairns. We all had a great trip and Nick and East Coast Angling had all the angles covered. Can’t wait to do it all again with the boys from TSFS and ECA.
Report Courtesy of the Legend Paul Finlay