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Tony Warnett

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Bugatti Reef Expedition
March 09, 2017, 08:57:11 PM
What a Trip.

I received a call for Doug Lindsay last year asking if I would be interested in a Popping Trip to Bugatti having wanted to fish this reef system since 2011 after reading numerous reports on this site the answer was easy Hell Yeah.

The trip varied in angling skill for GT, having a first time topwater angler Chris keen for this trip also..he had snagged plenty of smaller specimens on the Gold Coast but wanted one from the Reefs Edge on top water.

The Trip was arranged though Ashley Mathews owner operator of SeaFever Sportsfishing I have personally fished aboard Seafever since 2013 I have no affiliation with him, but Ash goes the extra distance to make sure the Angler gets hooked up.

Tackle what can I say here..the boat looked like an Echidna when we where all aboard with tackle such as:
Carpenter CV
Carpenter MH
Carpenter TBL
Yamaga blue sniper
Samurai PE12
Fisherman BG Jack
Ripple Fisher Final Spirit
Wilson Live Fiber
Daiwa Dogfight
Daiwa 6500H
Shimano 1400
Shimano 1800
Glide/Chug Norris/Cubera/Orion Monster/Orion Bigfoots/ASWB/Reefs Edge/Carpenter Gamma/FCL to name a few.
Varvias/JB Hollow/Tasline.
170 - 220 Pnd.

The Trip:

Departing around lunch time on Tuesday the twenty eighth of March from Shute Harbor aboard Real Easy a 40 Foot O'brien conditions where far from ideal, although that morning conditions where perfect by the afternoon it had done a complete three sixty the big O'brein handled the conditions with ease all the same.
Heading out past the Whitsundays what a place of luxury with Remote Islands having luxurious resorts and then through the passage things did not get any better once clear of the Islands we had a 6 Hr steam to Hook Reef.
Anchorage for the first night was at Square Reef which on arrival every one was pretty glad to have arrived.
Meals consumed more tackle brought out the vibe on board was up even in the conditions it was game on in the morning!
To awake on the Great Barrier Reef is to witness one of the Seven Natural Wonder of the World unbelevable just a pinch to one self to make sure this is real.
Mornings well what can I say GT had come to rest under the boat over night and where cruising around the right at the back of the boat with some real muscle amongst them.
A fish frame was used to coax some crazy responses not only from the GT but also Lemon Shark and a monster Hammer Head that came in and left like a Cyclone....crazy.
Chris and Doug loved there light tackle and would land Spangled Emperor Coral Trout and various other species on Soft Plastics and cast Hard Bodies all the while Ashley made a Breakfast of Champions great tucker aboard and plenty of it.
Once cleaned up Popping Gear was ''Made Ready" and that day we would Pop all the way to White Tip Reef heading South.
The New Moon had passed and we where in for some prime conditions with the Flood Tide before noon and the last of the Run Out just before Sunset water temperatures ranged from 28 - 30 Degrease C.
Conditions also where on the mend with a 15-20 Knot conditions.
As always the first cast is the anxious one adrenaline pumping....for me something always goes wrong due to the hands shaking it dawns on me I got the "Fever" first cast out and retrieved and that monkey of my back!
Ash was working the pressure spots/points along the reefs edge the amount of white bait was phenomenal.
Dave Leal was fishing with me at the front of the O'brein casting at the various drains littered along the edge he was using an ASWB 120 stick bait and I a Glide 180 Popper casting in unison we then started to notice large Bombies not far from the main reefs edge with nice looking channels..he cast I cast and a pack attack of GT came from no where Pete's on and so am I..what a way for an introduction awesome to see a pack attack first GT pushing the Second Third and Fourth.
It never changes the amount of stoke (Adrenaline) went through the whole boat...fish on board grinning from ear to ear pictures taken fish released.
We had numerous pack attacks through out the trip with two more doubles being had!
More GT where raised throughout out the day some just having a swipe and disappearing others staying connected and getting there picture taken at the stern of the boat then realesed...wondering what had just happened!
Anchorage was made at White Tip Reef and what a spot light tackle was broken out including the squid gear and it was on until the dark hours of the night all the while Ash would be cooking up a storm.
Lemon Sharks at this anchorage being a stand out they where not lacking in size thats for sure.
Morning came again now it was getting to race stage out of the bunks the GT would be waiting that morning young Chris getting into one on his PE 3 outfit what a fight with the rod converting to a spaghetti noodle at during stages of the battle!
That day we where heading to Reef 20-126 SE of Big Bugatti we where all amped as we where getting closer to the main Area of the Trip.
Discussion's where had on size and PB of fish and Tackle etc etc GT Fisherman crazy cray cray bunch but the Stoke was phenomenally high and we where still at anchor!
The highlife for me that day was watching Peter Braga have a Flowery Cod on the first attempt leaving a hole the size of a bath tub on the first strike and missing the Popper...then following it up but not alone with a GT now and a Red Bass in hot pursuit but yep the Flowery got the Popper and Peter was on and a good fight from the big fish.
Pete also landed the best GT for the trip that day taking out the cup for the trip!
Numerous GT where landed and as with Popping a considerable amount missed but it still gets the blood boiling when you see there backs out of the water or rampaging under belly attack to just turn at the last moment.
The average size of the GT being between 15 - 20 Kilo at an estimate no monsters had been raised except for Peter's capture estimated at around 30 Kg.
Anchorage made just North of the main Bugatti Reef System to say where high would be an understatement!
Every night on anchorage would be relatively the same with discussions of the days events and chatter with some coldies and good food consumed light tackle out and fish on!
Morning would also consist of the same with GT under the boat but today would be different we where destined to Pop Bugatti!!!
With every one amped and breakfast consumed anchor up and in we went this is where the story changes...we popped all day the flood tide pressure points into the late afternoon to get the run out at its best to no avail!
Water Temperature where at 29 Degrease C...I had one Mackerel for the day swim the slowest I had ever seen from this species swim up to my popper open its mouth cut through the leader and swim off as slow as slow with the popper coming back to the surface I love barbless hooks.
We fished hard all day excellent looking water the same quality as the day before and drew doughnuts!
Ash kept going and going like the energiser wanting to put us in the Hurt Locker but also to no avail!
No Fusileer's where seen all day not one even on the pressure points and contours.
White bait was everywhere but not even any by catch Bass Emperor nothing.
The Anchor was lowered and the mood aboard was grim what had just happened maybe some one can tell us?? I would be interested to know we came up with lots of theories not to say that any of them would be right also.
Again light tackle was broken out but this also faded fast as the fishing also was incredibly slow oh well a few beers should fix that and into the esky I went!
Morning came around way to quick with a full day of heavy popping the previous day and maybe a few too many beers taking its tole.
Even the GT numbers where down at the back of the boat with only a couple of fish present first thing!
Breakfast consumed anchor up and into another day at Bugatti this would end the same as the previous day with Doughnut's being even raised or observed fish conditions where perfect to say the least and the best attempts given by all angler's and the Skipper.
Anchorage made for that night discussion made we would leave Bugatti and head North back to White Tip Reef.
Morning came around anchor lifted and some last ditched attempts at some of the glorious pressure pockets and teaming white bait schools but still no Fusileer's!
The conditions where Mill Pond and hot as we came up on White Tip with the perfect vantage point from the bow we started to notice Fusileers and the same looking pressure pockets in the reef gear was readied.
We started working the edges and it was game on for young Chris Coupland with a nice GT nailing his popper this breaking his cherry so to speak the whole boat was amped for the young fella who went on to get another shortly after.
The GT fishing was excellent all morning with another double being taken and numerous other fish landed.
No monsters but Peter Braga was smashed into the handrail by a very sizeable GT which had as much go as a Nitro Funny Car.
All up we had an excellent trip and some fine conditions why was Bugatti shut down I dont know the Jigging was sensational but that is for another forum topic.

Tight Lines Tony.   



Doug Lindsay

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Re: Bugatti Reef Expedition
March 09, 2017, 09:03:31 PM
Great write up Tony! Awesome trip and thanks for showing us all how it's done, hard core style!
Catch you on the next one eh?!

Tony Warnett

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Re: Bugatti Reef Expedition
March 09, 2017, 09:45:45 PM
Any time it was good to fish with you mate and the rest of the crew too.

Excellent trip with lots of laugh's for good measure too!

Where to next I got the bug for some more GBR action.

Those fish for there size had some big tail scoots healthy little chaps need to catch Mumma.

Jason Haack

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Re: Bugatti Reef Expedition
March 09, 2017, 09:57:07 PM
Nice write up mate, good read.
Big G's will be out next time.

Tony Warnett

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Re: Bugatti Reef Expedition
March 09, 2017, 09:58:29 PM
The one that Pete got stuck into briefly was a good fish Jaso.

Left him waisted and yearning for more!

Ben Lee

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Re: Bugatti Reef Expedition
March 09, 2017, 11:42:06 PM
Great read TW

Tony Warnett

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Re: Bugatti Reef Expedition
March 10, 2017, 12:01:46 AM
Cheers Benno its all about the Stoke bloke!

Lets see what May has to offer!

Brandon Khoo

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Re: Bugatti Reef Expedition
March 10, 2017, 05:36:31 PM
Great report, Tony
Thanks for the report!
If it swims; I want to catch it!