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GOVE ADVENTURE PT. 1

Ben Deneen

When the opportunity for a slight career change arose, the ultimatum was made. "We'll put you on, but you have to fly in and out of Gove." After years of reading magazine articles about this isolated town in the far north-eastern corner of the Northern Territory, my reply went something like this: "That won't be a problem!"

In the days leading up to flying out, my attention probably should have been on what tools to pack, instead they were spent searching through all my messed up boxes of reels, leader and lures trying to find some appropriate gear that would catch me fish up there... not to mention what would fit into my suitcase!

I ended up with a 6-8kg 3-piece spin stick, built by the old man a couple of years back, a Shimano Stradic CI4 4000 loaded with 10kg XDS Fireline, a spool of my favourite 15kg ANDE fluorocarbon leader and a lure box with a couple of everything in it!

After the long trip north, the humidity of the NT buildup just about knocked me over as I stepped off the plane. Not great for working, but great for fishing! After arranging all the necessary land permits, to keep me out of trouble, I was set. My fishing was limited to an hour or so after work and all day Sunday, so I set about scanning the local area on Google Earth for likely looking spots to start. Beaches, headlands and rocky points are everywhere you look on the Gove Peninsula, so naturally that's where I started.

I drummed up a couple of fishing buddies in the form of my workmate, Pete and cousin, Josh, and we began fishing the closest rocky points we could find, mainly the eastern side of East Woody Island and points around the back of the alumina refinery that we called home during the day. Being a bit of a topwater junky, I naturally began hurling poppers towards the horizon with limited luck. A few small GTs, queenies, mackerel and barracuda showed their natural aggression crunching poppers and slugs before we decided to try our luck a bit deeper.

Fishing ZMan 5" StreakZ in Bubble Gum and Space Guppy colours, along with ZMan 3" MinnowZ in Opening Night, rigged on 3/8oz 5/0 TT Lures jigheads, we figured we should have brought 80lb instead! A few small coral trout, cod, stripeys (Spanish flag) and a few shredded leaders was all we had to show as we headed home with tales of the ones that got away!  

Soon a heads up from a resident co-worker had us exploring a different area of the peninsula with the focus more on beaches and sandy flats, and less on rocky points. Although we were doubtful, these changes surprisingly brought some larger fish our way and lead to the discovery of our new favourite spot that we creatively named 'Queenie Beach!' Over the following weeks the beach produced well for us with plenty of small GTs and a few queenies that really stretched the back out, with the biggest reaching 1.27m on the lie detector! We usually started with poppers, for the excitement factor, before moving to soft plastics, mainly ZMan 5" StreakZ, to tempt the fish that were less energetic and slightly more shy. This proved a great technique and on a couple of occasions turned an average session into a great session. Species that queued up to nail these plastics included a variety of trevallies, queenies, giant herring, tarpon, barracuda and long tom to name a few.

Sunday gave us a bit more freedom, so with a few spots earmarked on Google Earth, the only 4x4 available and a crew of hungover workmates, we were regularly heading bush with no reason to be back early! The location we eventually managed to find was just what we had hoped for, a long narrow rocky point jutting out into the mouth of a large tidal inlet. The theory looking at the satellite image was that the point would interrupt the current on a run out tide and create a large eddy that would hold the type fish we were after.

The first session was one of the best, landing four trevally between 5 and 20kg, and hooking one that ended the session by eating a popper at my feet and swimming off towards Queensland with all my Fireline in tow... leaving me with just a few wraps of backing on an otherwise empty spool! Further exploration around this area uncovered a nice big reefy looking flat with no more than six feet of water over it at low tide.

Future sessions over this flat produced some of the best sight fishing I have ever encountered. Big cod, mangrove jack and a couple of coral trout I estimate would have been up around the 80cm mark that loved the look of the bright coloured ZMan 5" StreakZ, but once again we had very little to show for numerous hook ups. These fish are incredibly fast and strong, and know every little razor sharp hidey hole on the flat, something that certainly didn't work in our favour! The only fish we managed to land were a few of the usual suspects that cruised through the area, mainly queenies, trevally and smallish coral trout and cod.

In the first few months flying in and out of Gove, I have only just begun to lift the lid on the fishing options in this magic part of the world. Fishing is a very popular pastime for anybody who is lucky enough to live in the area and the brag boards of a few workmates indicate that I have plenty to look forward to. I must say a quick thanks to Gary Howard (Australian Rod Manufacturers) and the staff at Tackleworld Nhulunbuy, for pointing me in the right direction initially and TT Lures Pro Angler Ryan Dixon for helping me get set up with jigheads and plastics! Fingers crossed I'll be lucky enough to land a few more good ones before our contract finishes and I'm forced to come home for good!

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017