Oct 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm #75417
Last week I spent some time in far north Queensland with Harfin reel founder Ashleigh Dunsmore and leading Australian fly fishing guide Dave Bradley from Australian Flyfishing Outfitters.
Hinchinbrook Island shelters some extensive mangrove systems and sand flats in far north Queensland, situated between the towns of Cairns and Townsville. With 1200m high mountains, the island offers protection from most wind directions and we always seemed to find sheltered areas with fish feeding on most days, either on the flats or in mangrove creeks.
We had some good permit tides and while the trip wasn’t all about permit, we saw dozens and managed several eats for none landed… Needless to say we are going back!
Highlights of this leg of the trip include being poled around for five days in Daves Maverick 18′ flats skiff – what a ride! This is the first time I have experienced fishing from a true flats skiff and the difference it made to the success of the trip was just incredible.
We caught golden trevally on yabby flies, GT’s, small tarpon, barra on tarpon toads and pink things had lots of fun chasing permit when the tide was right… Other species include mangrove jacks, fingermark, estuary cod, Papuan trevally, cobia, (sting rays – oops), archer fish, grunter and barracuda.
After five days of Hinchinbrook we were hosted for a further three days of flats fishing at Magnetic Island, just offshore from Townsville, by fellow fly fisher Bill Mitchell from the Australian saltwater flyfishing forum and treated to fishing with fellow members Troy, Kris, Geoff and Warren. The flats fishing there was insane! We landed further golden trevally, had more shots at permit and hooked up to three tusk fish (that handed us a serious beating in around 4 seconds!). Tusk fish are possibly more addictive than permit…
Anyway, here’s a few photo’s…
BeechyOct 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm #75422
Here’s some more pictures
BeechyOct 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm #75427
BeechyOct 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm #75432
And some more
BeechyOct 9, 2013 at 2:12 am #75472
Looks like you all had a great trip Beechy!Oct 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm #75555
I am not sure how the hell I failed to open this thread until just now. Great stuff, man!! Really enjoyed it. What kind of permit are we talking about here? Is there an Indo-Pacific permit like there is an Indo-Pacific bonefish, or do they have a worldwide distribution?
A while back when I interviewed Morsie, he had noted that Australia really didn’t have the flats boat culture of the Keys or the Bahamas. But it looks like you’re on one there – is that unusual?
What is an “Aussie Special?” I know Scott makes a bunch of specialty rods for its overseas accounts (most intriguingly, a G2-dressed two-hander 8 weight for the Japanese which you can only get by re-importing).
ZachOct 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm #75556
Hey Zach, we have a growing ‘flats boat’ culture where there are flats… Like Hervey bay and Hinchinbrook Island in Queensland. Great boats to fish from! Australian Flyfishing Outfitters has two or three flats boats (Maverick & Hewes), and some local keen fisho’s have their own (Hewes, Dolphins, Mavericks) so they are becoming more common.
I’m the last person to ask about specific fish species, but I know we have two kinds of permit… Anak and Blocchi. Apparently one is considered easier to catch than the other, but to me they are all elusive (until next time…)
The Aussie Special is one of Scott’s S4S series – a 8′ #6 weight. Its a lovely rod, I really like it. Ask Jim about it, he’s using one…
BeechyOct 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm #75557
Chris how do the flats boats actually get out to Australia? Do they have to ship them over by container ship?Oct 17, 2013 at 9:20 pm #75561
Usually shipped as deck cargo, or in a container.
That question was so open to a wise crack, it took all my mojo to resist!
BeechyOct 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm #75564
Chris how do the flats boats actually get out to Australia? Do they have to ship them over by container ship?
Flat packed ??
Great stuff Chris.
I think Hinchinbrook is the most beautiful part of the east coast and the fishing is awesome as a bonus.
The flats boats are very interesting – but how do they go in the chop ?
A picture is thousand words that takes less than a second while a thousand words is a picture that takes a month.Oct 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm #75566
I was really suprised at how well Dave’s (Maverick 18′) and Troys’s (Dolphin 16′) boats handled chop. Smooth ride and dry… And fast. I wouldn’t get one for fishing Port Phillip Bay, but if I lived up there…
BeechyOct 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm #75604
Isn’t photo “IMG_1211-Large.jpg” a barramundi? Photo “Hinchy-Trip-iphone-020-Large.jpg” looks like one too…Oct 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm #75605
Sure are Mike! Barra fill in the time between peak permit/goldie tides. All sight fished out of the mangroves… Awesome fun! (particularly on a #6 Aussie Special!)
BeechyOct 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm #75607
Great stuff Chris – looks like an awesome trip.Oct 30, 2013 at 8:51 am #75613
Hey Chris –
Mostly I was wondering whether someone had set up a local production facility. It still kind of blows my mind that anglers there would rather buy skiffs and have them shipped from the U.S. than develop a local alternative. Fiberglass is pretty universal and the plans are known. There are guys on microskiff.com — one of them I have interviewed, named Paul Sonnen — who have built their own fiberglass skiffs in their garages based on plans taken from the internet.
I’m just saying, having met a lot of boat builders, it’s a pretty transferable technology that does not take a lot of up-front knowledge or really that much investment, as large scale businesses go, to get into.
ZachOct 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm #75615
At the end of the day there have been some try hard attempts that just don’t provide the level of refinement of the US boats. Which is why some guys that fly fish a lot and have experienced a well designed boat are importing theirs.
BeechyOct 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm #75616
That’s interesting, Chris. And too bad.
ZachOct 31, 2013 at 2:27 pm #75626
Yes, but the market for that sort of thing is small here. There are a greater number of boats suitable for convential tackle, some are pretty good for fly fishing. Most are deeper hulled to handle different conditions. Some of the guides have very good setups, very very few fish shallow flats like Dave Bradley does at Hinchinbrook.
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