A day of firsts at the Palm Group
Words by Dan, pics by Dan and Richard W
A great day was had by all at the Palm Island group. Ward and Rick met Rod and I in Ingham at 6am for a early morning Tuna search around the Palm Island group. We launched the boats at Taylors beach and set off into the rising sun. Small groups of birds were working close into the island on small schools of large Longtail Tuna. I was still yet to catch a Longtail having busted two off on previous trips and was keen to get amongst them. Tuna will be Tuna and we were unable to get close enough for a descent shot so with a rain scud quickly approaching we decided to cut out losses and drive straight through the rain to minimize our discomfort. This paid off with us venturing a little further offshore and into hungry Mack Tuna! First school we approached we ended up having Tuna busting up all around the boat and a double hook-up was to follow. Two nice Mack tuna were raced to the boat with me just pipping Rod by a couple of seconds. With the rain cloud gone and the sun up we decided to attack the flats we visited a few weeks earlier.
We led Richard and Ward to a proven part of the flat for their first Palm Island flats session and Rod and I decided to check out an uncharted section (uncharted by us anyway). The following hour produced constant action, the fish were not huge, but there was everything under the sun available to be caught. We had shots at some nice Permit, managed two small Golden Trevally and four GT's up to 50cm. We were stalked down by a 1m+ GT that I had two shots at but couldn't get one in the right spot for the eat. We also were lucky to see a massive Groper that was cruising the shallows for crabs. The low tide went very quiet and we started wading to spread out in search for the fish. Rod found a school of feeding Permit and after 12 or so shots came up tight! A nice little Permit was landed and high fives all round!
The afternoon was getting on and it didn't matter that the fish went quiet as the backdrop and pristine nature of the flat was enough to keep us happy. We met up again with Richard and Ward and got the low down on their day which included a nice Giant Herring by Richard and a small Golden from Ward. They also managed a few GT's and some reef fish off the fringing reefs. We said goodby to Richard and Ward as they left in pursuit for a Tuna on their way home.
This sounded like a good Idea and Rod and I soon followed. On the way home we were greeted with birds and Tuna busting up everywhere! We tried to pick the bust ups with the Longtails in them and targeted them. This worked and I was quickly on to a nice Longtail. I had a memorable fight with my first Longtail and marveled at its power over the Macks we caught earlier. fifteen minutes later we boated the fish, measuring 101cm a top effort. We couldn't help ourselves and found it hard to keep the boat heading for home and managed one more Mack Tuna each. We headed back into a beautiful sunset and got back at the ramp with just enough light and pulled the boat out to finish a great day.