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Tie `n` Fly Outfitters

Saltwater Fly Fishing Specialists
Tie 'n' Fly Outfitters are located at Buddina on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

Being a specialty fly fishing store means that you can expect the latest information on fly fishing innovations, a wide selection of tackle, materials and accessories as well as opportunity to access the newest products on the market.

Our comprehensive guiding service, tuition and adventure travel packages are designed to share some of the best fly fishing opportunities available in the country.

An hour drive north of Brisbane take the Sunshine Motorway exit on the left just past the Ettamoggah Pub on the Bruce Highway.

Follow the signs to Mooloolaba/Caloundra. At the T-intersection at the end of the motorway, turn right towards Caloundra. This is the Nicklin Way. Turn left into Point Cartwright Drive at the Kawana Shopping Centre. Follow Point Cartwright Drive and we are at the beach end on the left.

Gavin Platz is an internationally recognised certified casting instructor with the Federation of Fly Fishers and was the first saltwater fly fisherman in Australia to receive this distinction. He is an international guide and operates his service from his base on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Over the years, he has fished in locations we all recognise and others we have never heard of, and has guided for some of the most well respected fly fishing personalities including Billy and Jodi Pate, Jack Samson, Cam Sigler and local Australian identities such as Steve Starling.

His knowledge of salt water fly fishing is second to none. He is an exhibition fly tyer and is regularly invited to make presentations to fishing clubs, schools and corporate groups on a range of salt water fly fishing topics. He is on the G Loomis Pro-Staff team. Gavin also contributes articles to a number of national and state fishing publications.

Fly Fishing Travel PDF | Print |
You are a saltwater fly fisherman - right?

So when you go on a fishing trip, you want to fish with other saltwater fly fisherman...

How often have you heard the horror stories of guys who have booked onto a trip only to find that he is the only fly fisho - the rest of the group are into jigging, popping or some other form of convention tackle.

There is nothing wrong with that sort of fishing - only that you don't want to do it!

If you book onto one of our trips, you can be assured that they are put together with fly fisherman in mind.

We put together several trips each year. During 2010 we currently have:

Weipa - Cape York - May/June 2010

Kuala Rompin - Sailfish on Fly - August/September 2010

Christmas Island - the airport is still closed

Solomon Islands - August 2009 - trip report available

Coral Sea Reefs and Atolls

Talk to someone who understands...
Give us a call to discuss your travel requirements.

Christmas Island - July/August 2009
The Destination:
With crystal clear waters over endless white flats as far as the eye can see - Christmas Island is as close as you can get to utopia for the sight casting junkie...

Christmas Island (Kiritimati - an island in the Republic of Kiribati) is the largest coral atoll in the world with an area of about 250 sq miles, half of which is land and the remainder is the lagoon and extensive sand flats.

The flats are so vast that it is possible to fish all day and not see another group of anglers! There are also miles of narrow flats and shallow reef zones on the ocean sides of the island that can be fished when the tides are right.

This South Pacific atoll is located less than 200 miles from the equator which means the weather is almost exactly the same all year long, creating one of the most consistent bonefish destinations in the world. Temperatures range from 19 to 28 degrees and a fairly constant 10-15 knot breeze keeps the humidity bearable.

Bonefishing is a shallow-water pursuit done in depths ranging from 8 inches to 8 feet… and the stories you hear about Christmas Island are true, fishing is consistently good every week of the year with lots of bonefish averaging 3-6 pounds, many up to ten!

Every day is different, sometimes the fishing is easy, and other days require a little more effort, but that is part of the appeal and makes people come back time after time. Individual catches of over 20 fish per day are not uncommon.

The bonefish, also known as phantom or gray ghost, is pound for pound one of the strongest and fastest running saltwater fish. They can attain speeds of over 20 miles per hour – their initial runs are devastatingly fast!

In addition to bonefish, there are several species of trevally, wahoo, tuna, sailfish, queenfish, barracuda and many reef species. The giant trevally can be as big as 100lb – however the trevally are more commonly in the 5 to 50lb range – still with a very impressive surface strike!

Knowledgeable local guides will advise you on your best fishing options each day, based on tides and prevailing conditions. Their fish spotting ability is awesome – even in less than perfect conditions with cloud cover or wind.

Ikari House is situated on a private beach front and has three fully air-conditioned rooms capable of accommodating up to six guests. Each twin share room has its own ensuite with hot water. A mini refrigerator is provided in each room and there is an outside area to sit and relax after a hard day of fishing.

The facilities are comfortable but basic, however the friendliness of the staff and their helpful nature more than make up for it. The meals are good home style cooking with plenty of variety – and plenty of it!

Your local guides will collect you for your days fishing right out in front of the lodge.
Coral Sea Atolls
Marion Reef September 2008 Report
I’ve just finished looking through all the pics and my scribbling notes.

We all arrived at Marion Reef with very high expectations, especially me. I’d fished here for 26 days in the same
month the year before and believed it would produce again this year. I suppose it is nature’s way of saying…
"Hang on boy, I’m boss and don’t forget it".

So here are some of my recollections of the trip.

We all jumped on the seaplane and once in the air we were greeted with some of the most amazing scenery
on the planet.

We flew out over the Great Barrier Reef past an area known as the spot where the Hard Line
meets the Y Line of the Great Barrier Reef.

Then over miles of ocean till we were greeted
with a crescent shaped reef in the distance
called Marion Reef.

The pilot circled the reef so we’d get a
great look at the place. It just oozed fish,
sand cays, jagged reef gutters, bombies
and everything imaginable that said “fish”.

The wind was blowing around 15 to 20 knots
the day we arrived and with a sloppy sea
condition made it really challenging for fly
fishing, especially since we had all gone
with the idea of chucking huge chooks at
big beasts.

This is what we were looking for...

I fished on my two favourite corners - the
southern one with Gerald and Steve where we
found fish showing on the drop off and had a
couple of bites...

It looked as fishy as I remembered it, but…
we had trouble staying connected.

These are some of the fish that were caught on
the reef flats adjacent to the corners.

Craig's Red Bass was caught near us while we
were fishing the northern one with Glenn, Jane
& Gary…

his is what was left of Glenn's finger stalls!

and the following day with Theo & Patrick.

While we were out peppering the fly around in every little crevasse on the reef, Joe, Ross &
Railea sampled other spots in the bigger boats using jigs and stickbaits.

Glenn hooked up on fly and he scored a new species...

Jane’s Thumb.

We fly fished off the sand cays on a couple of occasions - hoping for that big GT to come barging
across the flats looking to kill something - only to find a few small fish. Compared to home it
was fantastic, but compared to our expectations of Marion Reef, it was challenging.

The whole team stayed fully focused on the task of finding GT’s, Doggies and Wahoo.
But it was soon painfully obvious that they were shut down. This is where The Nomad Team
is different. Each night Tim and I would sit down and game plan the next day. We felt that
drastic action was needed to find fish, so it was decided to move the whole operation 100 sea
miles back to Bugatti Reef where they had had great fishing a week before. This is no easy
task, but one the crew was more than happy to do to put us onto fish. We left Marion Reef
around 3pm and arrived in the anchorage in Bugatti Reef at about 9am.

First day - we left the Odyssey and were all hyped up with the anticipation of crashing strikes from
big Giant Trevally. Right from the first minute it looked active with baitfish and a couple of tuna schools.
The weather was perfect - a great change from Marion Reef. The fish were here all right.

To find where the GT’s were laying in ambush all we needed to do was find the pressure points
and overfalls on each individual reef section.

Bugatti Reef is totally tidal driven, but Marion
Reef not only has tide that effects it but also the
Great East Australian Current. I think the Oceanic
Current was probably not just right for the delivery
of food to the reef.

No Run, No Fun! and at Bugatti we had heaps of
tidal flow and therefore heaps of Fusiliers balled
up around the pressure points.

The GT’s were definitely here, but now we had
another problem. We couldn’t get them to eat
a fly.

Everybody tried a different patterns from
streamers to poppers to huge clousers.
Everyone had sore arms at the end of the day
from casting.

But still the GT’s would eat a stickbait but not
switch to the fly.

Keep an eye out for our "Marion/Bugatti Reef
Analysis" for my thoughts on why this may have
been the case.

Other fish were also feeding on the Fusilier

We had numerous aerial assaults by
Spaniards on our stickbait teasers.

But hey, lets not forget the best part of fishing … the places we get to cast our fly in the anticipation of hooking something...

Thank you to all the participants of this trip - I had a blast and look forward to our next great adventure!


Marion Reef
The following articles are newsletters that we compiled for the group of fly fisherman that are enjoying the awesome fishing on Marion Reef with Gavin right now.

This group is aboard "Odyssey" with Nomad Sportfishing Adventures - from 10th to 16th September 2008.

We will publish a full trip report when he gets back...

Marion Reef September 2008 # 3
Marion Reef location map

Only a week away now and we’ll be jumping in the seaplane to make the crossing out to join the mothership “Odyssey” on Marion Reef. It will be an amazing trip.

I was asked the other day whether the fish in the previous photos were fly caught. No, they were not. Most of those fish were caught using stickbaits.

Not many fly fishers have ever been here to cast a fly, actually only a handful of conventional anglers have really ever sportfished the area.

Stickbaiting is the hottest way to catch fish out here - from our point of view this is great as we don’t have to get down deep all the time to have a chance to score an eat from a trophy fish. Stickbaiting is a surface presentation.

We should be able to capitalize on the work the Nomad team have done, exploring and experimenting in this area.

Pictures tell a thousand words...

and sorry guys - my mind arrived here a month ago; I am just waiting for my body to catch up next Wednesday morning...

When the predators are on the chew you never know what will happen.

Look closely, both of these photos are of two fish hanging off the one stickbait.

Go back to the map and look at the lagoon and all the small contour circles marking the bommies that rise up out of between 20 to 60 mtrs to about 2 mtrs below the surface. Just like any place, these can be hot and cold and it’s a matter of going from one to the next till you find fish. These bommies can basically hold any fish from pelagics to reef fish.


Dogtooth Tuna

Nice Doggie on a jig now that’s the size we want on fly.

Check out the conditions in the background. Yes it was sloppy but the Dogs were on the chew. Also check out the teeth on that Dog. They’re just built to kill things.

Found a couple more pics from the rock in the South West corner. GT - are you worried yet about casting a fly around the shallows...

Giant Trevally

Dogtooth Tuna

This spot produced a number of respectable GT’s. Fly will be very interesting as these Japanese anglers were using 80lb braid on their popping rods and drags cranked up to 15kgs+.

This is why I reckon finger stalls are a must. Call me about an alternative - Patrick & I have a horse remedy that may help here...

Some interesting captures in the shallows.

Maori Wrasse

Maori Wrasse are protected and the anglers spent a lot of time swimming this fish for the release.

Not bad effort in 15’ of water.

Coral Trout - the goat who choaked...
It seems there is a mutant strain of Trout here, they’re all enormous.

The great part about these guys is the fact they will swim up behind a lure just like a big old brown trout, eye ball it for a while just to get your heart racing, then kill it.

That’s where the similarity to a brown trout stops…

These guys are like D9 Dozers and are a handful to stop on any tackle.

Red Bass

Lets not forget the Red Bass. Do you like Mangrove Jacks?

Well these guys will put a Mangrove Jack backwards.

When we fish the shallows for them, we lock the drag with a pair of pliers and even then it’s not enough.

Good fun!


A couple of Dogs caught on Jigs. Check out the teeth!

Uh Ohhh...
Poor bugger looks stunned after his fish became food for bigger things.

There I go again raving about the fishing and the thoughts that we are going to get blown away by some of the most awesome game fish on the planet.

Have you got an appetite yet?

I look forward to catching up with you all for a beer as the sunsets over Hammo.


Marion Reef September 2008 # 2
Marion Reef Map

Marion Reef - North
It's really getting close now - and I can't focus on work... so I thought I would send out a few more tasty morsels just to tantalise you a little more...

So, last report about Marion we went to the south passage which is my favourite little spot. This time we shall head up to the north.

There are two main passages to the north, the one I fished the most was the first one. The part I liked about the first passage was right on the end where you see that green section where there is a ledge that runs right around the corner and it drops from a couple of feet down to about 40 feet deep.

The current gouges this part of the reef out and we all know what a bit of current and a bit of structure is likely to bring into this particular type of area.

This edge is straight down and this Maori Wrasse was caught dropping straight down the face of it on jig gear.

Maori Wrasse
Along this edge we have caught Giant Trevally and less than a kilometre from here to the north, into the middle of this passage, we have had some of our hottest dogtooth tuna and wahoo bites.

We have had sessions here where we have sighted marlin and sailfish, particularly on the outside edge where it drops into the abyss. This passage and the next one work best when the current is pouring out to the north east so strong that it causes pressure waves to form.

Coming around to the eastern face through this first passage and casting back into the coral we have caught stacks of red bass, coral trout and GT's. It seems like most fish that you hook here will tend to want to bury you into the coral. Strong tippets, leaders and good finger stalls will be necessary to hold fish here.

A word on finger stalls... they stop your fingers from being cut when you are constantly stripping the fly line, but out here they are used to hold onto the fly line so the fish won't get back into the coral. If you don't have any, give us a cooee as we have some in the shop.Coral Trout

I have not fished the most northern part, but my surfing mate Scotty used to always head here when I was always going to the south pass. We seemed to stick to areas where we had great success, so here is a photo from Scotty's album (just one of many!).

It doesn't matter where you go on this reef, it just seems like the coral trout are on steroids! If you have a look at the water in the background, you will see that is nice and deep with very little structure... I DON'T THINK SO... how do you think you will handle it if this eats your fly...

I have been asked by everybody, "what size outfit should I take?"

Look at this fish and tell me if you think it would make any difference whether you were using a 9wt or a 12wt rod?Red Bass

So, thank goodness there are some small fish where we are going. But don't let their size fool you. These red bass, even though not much bigger than a nice size snapper, will probably pull that coral trout shown above inside out in the first ten yards.

Look at the water in the background.

It will be great fun trying to drag little red bass like this from among those coral bommies.

To fish these couple of areas near the first northern pass I think would be best done with an outfit between a 10wt and 12wt, something that you can cast constantly without too much strain. You will need a floating fly line if the weather is good, but definitely an intermediate and a fast sinking wet tip to suit your rod.

The best way I can suggest fishing the vast areas of shallow bommies is that it is kind of like the ideal clouser country. You want to cast the fly at as many bits of structure as you can. You never know whether it is going to be a 2kg red bass, a 10kg coral trout or a 50kg giant trevally that will come out and eat your fly.

As you can appreciate, there is probably only a handful of fly fisherman who have ever put in a hard core effort on any of these atolls. So to say what you will need and what you will catch is really hard. I think that what is important is to go to this area with an open mind and a smile on your dial. You never know what will happen from one day to the next.

I had a conversation with Theo last night about whether we need to take extra backing in case we get spooled by that illustrious trophy fish.

Dogtooth Tuna
I don't know if the fish beside counts as a trophy fish on fly :-) ... but I think if we have a dogtooth of this size eat the fly we will lose more than our backing!

But hey, it is all about playing with the toys...

So lets take everything we have got,

get the eat...

then we will worry about it.

Right now, I don't know about you, but it can't come quick enough.


Marion Reef September 2008 # 1
Marion Reef Map

Marion Reef - South
Well Guys it’s getting close now and I’m really starting to get hyped up. Theo has sent me some of your details and I’m keen to send you a little information about what I’ve learned at Marion Reef, while guiding as part of the Nomad team. If you think other members of the group would like to receive this info, please email me and I will add them to the list.

I know you’ve all had a look at the map of the reef and boy it’s a very interesting place indeed. The map beside is facing north /south. You’ll notice all the little circles in the middle of the reef, these are coral bommies that rise up of the bottom of the lagoon, some of these bommies are only the size of a building at the top and come up out of 60mtrs to about 2mtrs of the surface. These can be hot or cold and when hot are great fun. We’ve even caught Sailfish of a couple of these when I was out there. Remember this is inside the lagoon.

They have Doggies, GT’s and a myriad of other things, Cod, trout, Red bass. I think I put over 50 of these bommies in my GPS when I was out there guiding and there were still more. Everyone thought it was because I wanted to have secret fishing spots, but in reality they are so close to the surface I was worried about running into one when the light was low in the late afternoon. Between you and me they came in real handy sometimes as on the way home we always had a few things to try if the sun was still up........Coral Trout

Looking at the map beside us, one of my favourite places there has to be the south pass. If you follow the hard reef right down to the south you’ll come to the most southerly pass in the reef. This eastern corner when it has a lot of current on it has some of the biggest trout you’ll ever see. I was a commercial line angler chasing trout in the Swains in the mid-1980’s, I love them and the trout in the picture beside us seems the norm here on Marion Reef. They rise out of the reef to eat artificials that are just below the surface - you can see them eat it, they look just like a brown trout about to eat a dry fly. Except that these natives will treat you with total disrespect....... you just gotta hang on and smile!

Once through the pass it drops off into the abyss. You can see anything here. I still remember the first time I went through this pass, it was my first day and really I thought the dame sounder was on the blink, no that wasn’t the problem, there just wasn’t any bottom to register. Felt like an idiot when I realised........ I really love this .....

There are a lot of GT’s & Red Bass to be found popping the outside weather face of the reef heading north from the pass. In the pass itself, there are dogtooth to be found in water as shallow as 15 metres. I think, from as fly point of view, there’s more fish to be had using a fast sinking lines as the bottom drops of really quickly in the Southern Pass and I think we have to be ready for anything to attack the fly. I feel we can either creep out here with a 10kg tippet or get out there with a grin, a 30kg tippet and a “Bring It On, 10 kg tippets are for Pussies “ attitude.

Dogtooth Tuna
Now follow the reef around from the far south and up the western side and you’ll come to the next green patch. This small section of reef has a rock on its west corner that is above the water and drops off straight down to 100 mtrs. This area is great for Dogtooth & GT’s. It’s a great area to dredge flies down deep. Behind this reef is a reef flat full of bommies and caves that I’m expecting fly loses to be high especially on Red Bass & Trout. While I remember...... Bring Finger Stalls...... if you don’t have any email me I have some left in the shop.

Well that’s a little about the southern end (only a small bit - there’s so much country here).

Tactics we’ll use are going to be dictated by what happens each day. But we’ll employ general teasing techniques and also a technique we used at Wreck Reef and that is to actually hook up a fish and this brings the whole pack with the hooked fish looking to kill & maim. This has worked really well with Wahoo as it gets the whole pack worked up as the hooked fish creates havoc and multiple hook-ups can be achieved especially if other anglers are ready with the fly.

I learnt a technique at the World Kahawai Championships in NZ, it’s a method of fly fishing as a team on the back deck of a Game Boat. I’m really keen to try this and will have some things sorted so we can use this technique especially when we’re dredging flies deep.
Giant Trevally

As far as what outfits to bring, I’d suggest to bring an outfit your comfortable casting with for fly fishing the flats. There are a lot of small fish as well as “Hang On & Get Bricked” specimens where it really doesn’t matter what crowbar your holding, you’ll still lose. The GT beside us was hooked on 80lb spin tackle on a locked Stella in 5 feet of water. You can see the stick bait still hanging in its mouth which gives you an idea of the size bait that these fish want. What gear you bring is up to you. I don’t think it matters so much as you have fly lines to cover all depths i.e. floating, intermediate and fast sink... and some disposable stuff...

I really enjoyed using my 10/11 G-Loomis GLX Mega and 12wt tarpon intermediate line on the reef flats and used the 15wt and 17/18wt with Leviathan 600g’s for dredging and teasing work. Floating lines definitely have a place but really I found only when the wind was down as the flies I wanted to cast were really big, heavy and wind resistant. I found the intermediates and Leviathon lines much easier to control in windy conditions and being it’s the Coral Sea you can expect a little trade wind.

The photo beside is a lovely bit of structure that has produced the odd big fish. I was always taught find structure, you find fish. Well do you want to cast a couple flies around this bit....... looks good hey?

Well, just wanted to touch base and give you a little look at where we’ll be fishing. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it I’ll help as much as you can. I really love guiding out there and being part of the Nomad team, it’s an amazing place and we all want to share its beauty and its bounty with you.


Kuala Rompin in 2010
Sailfish on Fly - arguably, the most exciting way to catch a Sailfish!

Kuala Rompin has an annual migration of Sailfish that has to be seen to be believed. There are only a handful of places in the world where the Sailfish congregate in such great numbers. Still relatively unknown, this is the ultimate destination to fulfil your dream of landing a Sailfish.The strike rate is comparable to and if not better than other hotspots around the world but it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

The blue/green waters are generally calm, making ideal conditions for fly casting. I visited in October 2009 and found them in schools, sipping anchovies off the surface like a Brown Trout sipping dries.

We have secured the services of a very experienced local skipper, who will troll to tease up the fish to casting range. All teasing equipment is supplied and all stitch baits will be prepared for you. We guarantee you a full days trolling/teasing should you book a fly fishing charter with us.

A common by-catch would include Spanish Mackeral and Cobia. There is also a mix of Trevallys, Tuskfish, Barracuda, Queenfish and the odd juvenile Black Marlin. Although not in large sizes, the Mahi Mahis are around from May till August and can be prolific at times.

The dates:

29 August 2010 - 4 September 2010

5 September 2010 - 11 September 2010

The package:

AUD$3,995 per person

Prices are based on groups of three anglers.
The price is based on an exchange rate of 1 AUD=1.25 SGD and are subject to a surcharge should the exchange rate change.

Included in the package is:

transfers to and from Singapore hotel/airport to your accommodation in Kuala Rompin;
5 days fully guided fly fishing with experienced boat captain;

all meals while in Kuala Rompin - breakfast daily; packed lunch on board the vessel including snacks and softdrinks; dinner in the local restaurants each night;

6 nights shared accommodation in Kuala Rompin in a newly built private unit with air-conditioning, ensuite bathrooms, water heater, cable TV, tea & coffee making facilities.

The above prices are ex-Singapore.

Not included in the package:

Depending on flight times, you may need to overnight in Singapore on the day prior to your trip and the last day of your trip;

Hotel accommodation in Singapore;
Alcohol and items of a personal nature.

Please note that fishing adventures involve some risk. While all care is taken we will not be responsible for any injury or loss due to actions which are beyond our control. It is a requirement that all participants purchase comprehensive travel insurance upon booking into this trip.

Solomon Islands – Fly Fishing Trip Report
I lead this adventurous group of anglers here to try and find a new fly fishery – not another Christmas Island – but a fly fishery none the less. After doing a quick trip here in February I thought it would be easy. Boy just when you think you know it all the reality of life… and nature… kicks you in the butt. Big time.

Tusca teaching us to make a Solomon Islands paper plane out of a pandanus leaf. You could actually use one as a weapon and you have to see how far they can throw these things to believe it.

We left Brisbane and arrived at Honiara International Airport with plenty of time to catch our connecting domestic flight. Only one hitch – my bag was picked up by someone else and now I had no gear. My Charlton reels were inside… and I was shattered! Chris came to the rescue as he was met by a friend who worked in Immigration and he was able to track it down and get it back to Lola Island. A big thanks to Greg.

Paying the owner of Skull Island so we can visit.

What an amazing place; a people with a deep culture in a place that is blessed with some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet, both above and below the surface of the water.

Zipolo Habu Reort

We arrived at Lola Island late afternoon, it all looked fishy with a couple of schools of trevally hitting bait at the jetty. We quickly unpacked and hit the now infamous Zipolo Bar where there were some cool tunes from A.J. (our barman for the next two weeks) to plan the next days fishing. That night we dined on fresh mud crab and fish and heard stories about all the fish the last group had caught, a great start to the trip.

View from the fishing bar.

We hit the FADs the next morning. We headed out to the FAD that had all the action the previous week, only to find the perseine fishing boats had just hit it in the early hours of the morning. A bit of bad luck, but hey, they own them and we had another three to check out.

The guides looked great in Tie 'n' Fly shirts

At the next FAD we found wahoo, dolphinfish and small tuna. Unfortunately, we found they had no reaction to our flies but if you towed a lure past them it was eaten immediately.

Hayden catch this wahoo on a lure

We went to the next FAD and found small yellowfin tuna feeding with stacks of skippies (similar to our frigate mackerel).

Hena with yellowfin tuna


This is what we hoped to find schooling. We did see a school late one afternoon just before a very heavy rain storm hit. They were feeding around the skippies and I suspect they were eating them. A very hard situation for fly as you would need a 12” fly.

Chris caught this 29kg yellowfin tuna

That first week we were blessed with calm, hot conditions. So hot in fact the flats were like bath water. We really struggled to find any sight fishing at all in the shallows. We started thinking that there was so much fishing pressure on the area that the area was fishless. Boy, how wrong we were!


We were anchored on a ledge off to the side of one small island that Harold had assured us was loaded with big red bass. Just to make sure we took some burley and started a cube trail that was sure to bring on some predators… Wrong again… Nothing came up the burley trail.

Hayden with small bluefin trevally. He caught 5 or 6 new species on fly... not bad for a guy who has just started fly fishing!

Hayden is a keen diver so he donned his mask and went for a swim. Wouldn’t you know it – it was loaded with red bass just as Harold told us. What were we missing in the equation?

Flying fish caught on a fly at the FADs

Each day was about the same. If the weather was good we hit the FADs in the morning and in the afternoon we hit the mangroves looking for mangrove jacks.

Hena with a nice mangrove jack

Brian with another nice mangrove jack

We found that the jacks seemed to be eating the small archer fish in and around the snags, so we had many a tying session to replenish supplies.

There are heaps of archer fish and they will eat big flies

Fresh Spanish mackerel was served nearly every night. There seemed to be a lot of Spaniards around but not schooling, cast a fly along an edge and see nothing, troll a lure and you’d hook two. Very frustrating, that’s why they call it fishing – not catching!!

Gutting table at Zipolo Habu Resort

Fish processing

Brian with a small barracuda from the mangroves

One evening, just after dark, a school of trevally and sharks herded a school of Indian mackerel up into the shallows. I ran with Harold, Tuska & Piper out into the water and they taught me how to catch fish with your bare hands. The Indian mackerel were so thick that all you had to do was scoop them up on to the sand. Very easy until something big hits your leg at full pace and it’s you up on dry sand, much to Tusca’s amusment. He got me back out scooping fish by assuring me that the sharks were his ancestors and we were safe. I can tell you – when it was all over I was as hyped as the Indian mackerel that were attacked. It was good fun and a very good fishing lesson was learnt as well. Always be prepared to attack when the opportunity arises. Tusca, Harold & Piper feed all the locals on the island just by being ready and acting immediately. They even shared their catch with us. I really liked this about them. They cooked the Indian mackerel whole on a barbeque plate, very tasty!

Harold, Piper & Joe

It was great fun and I’m stoked I took part.

Lisa caught this squid off the jetty

As a way of saying “thank you” for allowing us to fish in their waters we all took with us a stack of pencils, rubbers, pencil sharpeners and day pads for the schools that our guides kids attended. Karen helped me deliver all the school supplies and meet the teachers.

From the school looking up into the hills

The school was wiped out by the tsunami and is situated under canvas at the top of the hill. They lost everything and are hoping the rebuilding process will be completed soon. Until then there classroom will consist of a dirt floor and canvas roof.

Fly tying station on the beach

We learnt a lot about the fishing in the two weeks we spent in the islands. That time period produces a lot of fish but that is mainly reported by lure anglers, so really it’s far from fished out. We found this as well, as it didn’t take long to get a hook up trolling a lure. The guys fly fished hard and long and produced a number of personal new fly caught species. To also help supplement fish for the guides and for our meals at the lodge the guys caught some good fish even though they were not caught on a fly. A trophy none the less.

Chris caught this dolphinfish


I do believe there is an amazing fly fishery here. It’s kind of like any great spot – it’s only great for a short time and certainly not all the time. You’ve just got to find when… and that’s half the fun..
Weipa - Cape York
Weipa - Live aboard trip in 2010 PDF | Print |
Saturday 29th May to Friday 4th June 2010

The western side of Cape York is a special destination for fly anglers.

The predominantly easterly trade winds; which are arduously on-shore in the east; are amiably off-shore on the western Cape and can provide ideal fly fishing conditions.

Miles of flats fishing over pristine golden sand beaches and crystal clear waters
makes sight-casting very exciting!

The Fishing
There are many fun (and challenging!) species to target on fly:

Of course the mighty Barramundi…
the elusive Permit...

and many other favourites:

Queenfish, Blue Salmon, Threadfin Salmon, Giant Herring, Fingermark, Golden Trevally, Giant Trevally, Longtail Tuna, Tarpon, Mangrove Jack, Cobia, Grunter, Bream, Saratoga, Spanish Mackerel, Grey Mackerel, Coral Trout, Sooty Grunter…

Previous trips have caught over 30 different species in one week!

What will your species count be?

All fishing is generally done within easy reach of the mothership and lunch is usually taken back on board.

This leaves all day to fish the relatively untouched areas of this fantastic location.

On dusk, retire to the mothership and enjoy some great food, drinks and company on the top deck, which acts as social base for the trip.

The Boat
The Mantaray has all the comforts of home: it is fully air-conditioned, spacious lounge bar in main cabin with TV/Video/DVD player to watch the antics of the fishing in comfort. A full size galley and covered upper deck dining and entertainment area with bar fridge and bar-b-que complete the social areas.

The Guides

The western side of Cape York is a long time favourite fishing spot of Gavin’s.

The diversity of the fishing habitats and the species to catch are something special.

He will hand pick his crew of fly fishing guides for this fly fishing only trip.

The Trip
Saturday 29th May to Friday 4th June 2010
Included in the cost of $4,500 per person is:

6 nights, 7 days fully catered, fully guided, live aboard fly fishing safari.
All meals, snacks, tea & coffee are included. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased in Weipa prior to boarding the vessel.
Fully guided fly fishing each day - one guide for two anglers.

Travel to and from Weipa and accommodation in Weipa is not included in the package and is the responsibility of each participant.

Please note - bookings are being taken on a first in-first served basis. Deposits must be received to confirm your place.

Tie `n` Fly Outfitters
Shop 1a, 8 Point Cartwright Drive
Buddina Queensland 4575
07 5444 0611

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