Groote Eylandt Fishing Personality
Bomber is a high profile angler who has been living and fishing on Groote Eylandt for 15 years, but also fishes around Australia and around the world. Well known as a sailfish exponent and accomplished barra angler, Bomber turns his hand at whatever species are available at the time. And on Groote Eylandt, that’s a lot of species!
Bomber’s Groote Eylandt Sailfish Fishing Tips
- There are subtle differences between fishing for sailfish in different parts of Australia. One of the things that Bomber has found is that smaller, lighter, sharper hooks when compared to the East and West coast seem to help get the hookup around the gulf.
- The popular grounds for sailfish at Groote are known as “The Suburb” and “The Kink”. They’re places where bait balls gather over fairly large areas and attract the attention of sailfish.
- Water temperatures aren’t critical in the gulf, sailfish are more associated with bait than any subtle changes in temperature.
- Follow the contour lines and look for places where the bottom slopes up over a few kilometres and is at right angles to the current. These areas tend to aggregate bait and attract sailfish. There aren’t any sea mounts or other structures, it could be as subtle as a change from 24 to 20m in depth. The areas south of Groote Eylandt seem to be the most productive.
- Clear days with the sun overhead and a gentle 5 knot breeze are perfect and tend to happen more through September and October, making spring the perfect time to target sails.
- Things can get hectic very quickly when there are pods of sailfish smashing bait schools, so Bomber usually limits his trolling to two rods on outriggers and a 10m daisy chain. The Daisy chain is comprised of a bird, a string of plastic squids and a big pusher, squid of plastic fish (hookless) to attract the sails and stimulate a bite.
- Bomber fishes his lures quite close to the boat, placing the daisy chain on the port side, the starboard outrigger lure about 3m further back than the end of the daisy chain and the port outrigger lure another 3m further back again. The daisy chain is run off a mini rigger so the teasers are in clean water. Keeping the lures in clean water allows Bomber to see the fish approaching the lures and teaser.
- If there are sailfish on a bait ball there will almost always be birds working the bait also. Sails don’t tend to push bait around but ball it up tight, unless there are dolphins feeding and pushing the bait.
- This area is quite remote and there’s not a lot of boats to share info about where the fish are, so birds are your best friend.
- Electronics are super important. Bomber uses autopilot to free up hands when things get crazy, GPS to mark the bait balls and fish, radar to find birds and sidescan sonar to locate deeper bait balls.
- When a sailfish is hooked angle the boat at 45 degrees to the direction the fish makes it’s initial run and you’re clearing the deck of teasers, other lines etc. Sailfish tend to get theatrical and airborne initially, so keep the pressure on and the rod low until they stay below water, then hold the rod higher to discourage them from going deep. If they get down deep, get the boat in front of them and plane them back to the surface.
- When a sailfish is played out and next to the boat, keep the boat in gear, handle the bill with a gloved hand and preferably release them without lifting them from the water.
Bombers Sailfish Fishing Tackle
- A 7’ Shimano Terez rod with a 1000 size Saragosa spin reel, 30-50lb braid and 80lb fluorocarbon leader is perfect for the average sailfish, will handle the odd large billfish species that turns up and the occasional juvenile that smack a lure.
Bomber’s Top Sailfish Lures
- 8” soft pushers such as a Richter Lures Grassy are a great option, rigged on Owner 7/0 inline circle hooks. There’s always a purple and black and a pink and white version dragging behind Bombers boat.
- Trolling the lures in clean water from outriggers at around 6 knots seems to work. Work in a zig zag fashion through areas where sails are present. If it’s glassy, try speeding up to 6.5 knots or so, if it’s rough, slow things down.
Northbank Boats and Mercury Marine keep Bomber on the fish with a quality boat powered by the 250hp Verado.
Humminbird Minn Kota take care of Bombers electronics needs, covering his side-scan sonar and trolling motor.
Bomber uses Shimano tackle and mentioned multiple times the importance of reliable, quality gear.
JM Gillies distribute rugged gear suitable for top end fishing, including the Bomber and Classic lures and Fins Braid mentioned in this interview.
Club Marine are an important part of any boating anglers life.
Yeti Coolers are essential gear for the life in the top end, especially for the extended forays Bomber often undertakes.