Aroona's first exploratory charter to the remote picturesque region of Princess Charlotte Bay was a roaring success, with well over 100 barramundi caught and released by three anglers over four days.
See testimonial and photos written by one of our guests, keen angler Robert Muir from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
Aroona, 70' Outer Reef in Australia, will be running more of these luxury fishing trips to Princess Charlotte Bay north of Cairns, and to the vast mangrove system inside Hinchinbrook Island to the south of Cairns. Trips are currently being planned for the build up to the wet season in November/December and again straight after the wet in April/May 2012.
For Charter information contact
What a fabulous trip to Princess Charlotte Bay! Along with experienced barramundi fishermen Richard Hovey and Dave Hunter, I spent six unforgettable days on Aroona fishing the southern rivers of this pristine and remote area.
Aroona is a brand new 70ft semi displacement Outer Reef motor yacht. She is a magnificently appointed roomy vessel that is extremely stable and sea kindly when under way. Aroona is genuinely luxurious. Each cabin is air conditioned, has its own ensuite and is very comfortably appointed. There are four lovely areas on Aroona for guests to enjoy. The spacious flybridge was a popular spot for lunch or having a drink of an evening watching the sun set over the mangroves. The saloon area is a great place to sit, relax and eat meals in air conditioned comfort, particularly if the sand flies were bad outside. The forward deck was a popular spot for a drink after a big day's fishing. Then there is the aft deck which is all in shade with a large dining table.
Aroona has an experienced, knowledgeable and very capable captain in Ross Miller but best of all he is a great bloke to be around. Andrew Prentice, Aroona's owner was our fishing guide for this trip; with many years of chasing barramundi around up north he didn't seem to have any trouble finding us fish. Ragini our fully qualified gourmet chef was a whizz in the galley. Her cooking is restaurant class and was exquisite! All crew were very friendly and we felt welcome immediately we came aboard.
Our trip started in Cooktown, although I was told that future trips will start from Lizard Island. We travelled overnight in what were fairly rough and windy conditions, which didn't seem to worry Aroona and I slept right through the night. The next morning we arrived at the mouth of the Bizant River where Ross eased Aroona through the shallow entrance into the deep water of the main river. Over the four days we explored and fished the Bizant, Normanby and Marrett rivers and marveled at the wildlife and the beauty of these isolated mangrove systems. We saw an amazing variety of spectacular northern birdlife: burdekin ducks, magpie geese, sea eagles, brahminy kites and various honeyeaters – among many others.
We experienced some amazing sports fishing with Andrew in his well set up 5M Quintrex Hornet which comfortably fished three anglers. We caught many solid barramundi and some very large threadfin salmon; other species included mangrove jack and fingermark. Our crab pots would invariably be overflowing with good-sized mud crabs!
We found a spot in the Bizant we dubbed “threadfin alley” which produced huge, leaping threadfin salmon one after the other. The barramundi fishing was tremendous. On our best day we captured or released between 40 to 50 barra. Some of these fish were over 900mm. At times the action was so fast that Andrew would have three barra patiently (or sometimes not so patiently) lined up to be released!
At the end of the day, after a hard day of fishing and exploring, we would freshen up and enjoy a well earned beer or wine on the upper deck watching the sunset. Then be served a beautiful meal by Ragini. We had some fabulous seafood meals! (The food on Aroona is to die for)
Aroona offers an interesting luxurious alternative to the typical hard core barramundi trip. Fish hard tossing lures all day – then absolute luxury, with excellent food and wine when you return! How good is that?
For the return trip to Cooktown we went through the beautiful Flinders Island group via the reef and moored overnight at Lizard Island. We spent an afternoon trolling along the reef with some spectacular pelagic action! Big hits and long, scorching runs from Spanish mackerel (biggest was 18kg) and tough as nails giant trevally. Apologies to Andrew for the broken rod!
At Lizard Island we had a mooring with a great view of the beautiful and famous island. That evening and then at night in Aroona’s underwater lights it was like being in the middle of fish bowl. The local tawny nurses (big but harmless) huge trevally and morwong came right up to the swim platform, constantly circling hoping for a free feed.
Next morning it was back to Cooktown and back to reality. Heartfelt thanks to Aroona and her wonderful crew for an absolutely memorable trip.
Looking forward to the next trip!
Robert Muir, Buderim Qld