Posted in fishing report, travel on October 23rd, 2012 by Scott

Time for another heavy tackle report from the reef. I arrived in Cairns yesterday and we met the boat in Cooktown this morning. It’s so nice to be out of what seemed like a never ending nap in an airplane seat. I’m fishing again with Stephan from Germany on his continued quest for a monster. And we are lucky enough to have the charter boat Tradition with the same crew as last season – Capt Tim and mates Carl and Steve. This time we really did get the band back together.

Day 1 – Short plane ride via Hinterland Air to Cooktown early am. We drop our gear on the boat and go get a bite to eat while the crew finishes loading a few things. Cooktown is getting very modern with a coffee shop/bakery next to the marina. The Tradition crew are turning right around after a five day trip with their last group. The weather is ugly with plenty of clouds and 15-20 knots of wind. Rumors of improving conditions help make it seem nice. Today is day four of the Lizard Island tournament and there has been some bites for the 26 boat fleet. The exciting news is the report of several big fish caught or seen each of the last few days. We are bait fishing this morning and will be fishing close today while the wind is up…

We put the heavy stuff out around 2:00 in building wind and sea conditions. Solid 25 knots and big waves. Evasive action needed every few sets to keep the cockpit from disappearing. We get a on bite on the left swimming scaley and end up catching a medium sized fish. Can’t even bring a camera out in these condition with spray going over the bridge while backing. Anchor up behind Ribbon 3 tonight.

Steamers anyone?



Day 2 – Better light this morning with the same strong breeze. After a swim to spear some dinner, we bait fish to the North all morning and put out the heavy stuff at 11:30 and troll up the reef. The sea has settled some and this tack is slightly down sea. No bites for us today.

Having a midmorning spear.  Looks like Coral Trout for dinner tonight.


Day 3 –  Calm conditions this morning.  We throw poppers in the morning along some incredible reef edges.  Just some random small stuff biting.  Working our way still further North today.  Should end up anchoring around the top of Jewel reef tonight.  Everything looks great, but the marlin fishing is no good for us.  The local fleet reports releasing three Granders down the reef today.

Another popper eating GT comes aboard for a photo.  This little one properly tail roped.


Fishing right up to the end of the day.


Day 4 –  Flat calm sea today.  I’ve never wanted to see a jumping billfish so bad as I do today in these conditions.  It wasn’t meant to be however as we didn’t even see one today.  We did however catch one of the biggest Spanish Mackerals that Tim has seen, at about 70 lbs.  Hmmm, I wonder what the boys will end up doing with this one…

Before – A giant Spanish Mackeral showing her colors.



After – Nowhere else in the world would you even consider pulling this as bait!


Day 5 – A morning chat with the crew of the famous charter boat Nomad this morning.  They specialize in all things AU reef fishing in this area.  Good tips on certain parts of the reef for catching bait and throwing poppers.  The water and the reef colors are truly amazing up here.  The variety is off the charts.  We catch plenty of scads for swim baits.  Also our fill of scaly mackerel and several big spanish.  Throw in a few Bonita and a baby Black Marlin on a bait rod for good measure.  Did I mention the small Dolphin too.  Along the outer edge we encountered small Yellowfin Tuna.   These get eaten immediately by the White Tip Sharks if you don’t wind like a madman to get them to the boat.  We sacraficed one, and caught two others whole.  Then we see a cloud of shiny fish feeding along the outer edge of the reef.  Turns out to be thousands of 20lb Milkfish.  Never one to pass up one an interesting skipping bait, Tim looks for volunteers.  Mate Carl suits up and grabs his gun.  If there ever was a time for a surgical strike.  The plan is to spend as few minutes as possible swimming in this part of the reef – just on the deep water outer edge with bleeding fish at you side.  Two quick swims results in two baits.  The sharks were really moving in when Carl climbed back aboard.


We were targeting the extreme size Black Marlin.  I guess we forgot to be specific as to which end of the extreme scale.


Just enough left overs for a bit of sashimi tonight.  Please wind faster.



I’ve never before seen a Milkfish.  Has traits of a Bonefish and a Mullet, but is much larger.  And makes a great looking skip bait.


Day 6 –  The plan is to head back South from here.  We get an early start to take advantage of the morning high tide.  The popper fishing should be good in some of the passes.  Sure enough, Tim puts us on some world class GT fishing.  Then we run down to the Cod hole for a swim and some lunch on the hook.  Back offshore to finish the day with the big baits out.

Throwing poppers along the reef can result in some big bites.  This 80lb Giant Trevally “GT” made a huge splash.  This was one of several monster GT’s for this morning.


This smaller GT fell for a stick bait.


Day 7 – Not much to it today.  A nice swim at Secret Garden and some bait catching down the inside.  Then we fished our way down to finish the day working in front of number 3.  No sightings, no bites.  Very quiet for all the boats … except for this one bite on the Release.  I know that being close doesn’t count when fishing, but when captain Tim puts me right in front of the action, it counted for me and the camera today.  Nobody dared to put a weight on this one, but it made the grade for the locals to call it a “real nice one”, “a giant”, and “a monster”.  Ended up pulling the hook near the boat.


Day 8 – Today’s action started out with the vibrant colors of a Bluefin Trevally.  These critters always make for a pretty photo.  Then the afternoon spent offshore resulted in only one bite.  This was from a small fish that ate the swimming scad bait.  A few quick jumps and a clean tag and release.





Day 9 – An early start today.  The action sounds better back down the reef so we are headed there today.  Bait fish down the inside all morning and then put out some lures and continue south.  Arrive at Linden Bank around 2:00 and switch over to baits.  We end up with 3 bites when the whistle blows.  One pulls off a few yards and goes away.  Another gets all wrapped up in the leader on the bite and quickly jumps off.  And the third one stays on for a tag and release.  A late afternoon sky full of Aussie dust makes for a most incredible sunset.  Everything was dipped in gold.

The most ideal swimming bait in all the land – the Queenie.  We called him Sir Queenie.



Working late in the office.



Local gameboat.



Black Gold


Day 10 – Nothing for us today.  We had one bite on the swimming Scad that looked great.  Pulled drag and came off.  About a 500lb fish that got wrapped up in the wire leader and spooked.  Crazy red sunset again today.


Day 11 – A morning spear on some inside patch reefs comes up with a large Coral Trout.  Thrown in the boat just in time as the Bronze Whaler sharks were onto it fast.  We spend out day above Linden Bank and get no bites.  Only at 5:00 pm did we see any action as the Kekoa hooks a 400lb fish and we make a few photo passes.





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Posted in fishing report, tournament, travel on July 30th, 2012 by Scott

Here we are on the North Drop, in the waters off the British Virgin Islands.  This 90″ clip is the final moments of a catch and release.  It’s performed by a team who have caught plenty of fish, and do it as well as anyone on the drop.

If you are unable to view this video by clicking on the photo below, try this link to Vimeo.

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DOWN UNDER – update 1

Posted in fishing report, travel on October 12th, 2011 by Scott

The weather remained spectacular today. But not the ideal conditions for the marlin bite. Light North winds and strong full moon current historically make for slow fishing on the edge. So we have to wait it out. The forecast is for things to get back to it’s normal fishy self in a few days time. Meanwhile, we try to stay entertained. This morning we anchored down and went for a swim on the reef. The reef is alive! Lots of critters and someone living in every hole in the coral. Even got to swim down and touch a Giant Clam once the Whitetip sharks moved on.

While Tim was paddling back to the boat with our lunch in tow, a small Bull Shark thought he would help himself. Some fast thinking saved the day and our lunch. That shark was onto something, turns out Coral Trout are delicious.
Stephan takes advantage of every moment to get in some fishing. Here is a big stick bait, loaded up for a big cast.
His diligence pays off with a perfect bait sized Scaley Mackeral.
Our fearless leader Tim in his office. We pounded the waters in front of Ribbon #7 today, no sightings, no bites.

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Posted in fishing report, travel on October 11th, 2011 by Scott

After spending some time recently in the cold waters of the North Atlantic, I thought I would warm things up a bit, like maybe the Coral Sea. This months adventure has me at 15º South Latitude, on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). I was invited to document the Black Marlin quest of angler Stephan Kreupl of Bluewater Fishing. Our ride for this trip would be the charter boat Tradition run by veteran Aussie captain Tim Richardson. After a series of crazy long flights and layovers to get here, we finally meet the boat and head offshore. The deckies on the Tradition are Steve Hall and Carl Copeland. Both multi year GBR veterans.

300Km North of Cairns is the city of Cooktown, and pictured above is the Fisherman’s Wharf. This is the end of road in NE Australia and the jump off spot for most of the gameboat operations fishing the GBR. Folklore has Cooktown populated by as many Crocodiles as locals. I didn’t see any during my brief time on the ground, but I plan on looking some up on my return pass thru town.

On our way out to deep water we spent some time in the inner reef catching fresh bait. Large swimming plugs are the norm for this. Steve flips a nice one over the covering board. This one is headed for the rigging table.

When the Scads and Scaleys aren’t biting, a welcomed bycatch is this Giant Trevally.

Add some poppers and spin rods to the bait catching chore and it becomes light tackle game fishing!


It didn’t take long for me to notice that everything is bigger over here. And the rigged bait is no exception. I can’t wait to see the animal that thinks of this as a snack…
And then we had a bite.
Our first billfish of the trip, and our only bite of the day.

Carl and Steve make short work of the tag and release of this fish. They called her around 500lbs. This angle and lens combo make this fish look very small.

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Posted in movie on September 1st, 2011 by Scott

Here’s to being in the right spot at the right time. Thank you Capt. Mike.

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Posted in movie on August 31st, 2011 by Scott

I finally had another opportunity to ride along with my friends on the Mojito, and I even brought some luck this time. The mini movie below shows a glimpse of the North Drop action that Pico, Tito, and Aileen showed me. Thanks for the ride!


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Posted in fishing report, published, travel on August 27th, 2011 by Scott

Some fish just are just destined for great things. All I have to do is find them in the viewfinder and let her eat. Take this White Marlin for example. I shot this fish while riding along with Capt. Butch on the boat Prime Time in the calm waters of the Mona Passage. We were based out of Cap Cana Resort in the Dominican Republic. His angler was only after one thing, White Marlin on the fly. Conditions were very pretty, just not many target species showed up in the spread. We raised a handful of Whites that week and got a few to bite. Even less stayed on the hook. Seemed dismal at the time. However, looking back this one fish made it all worthwhile. Teased well, ate the fly like a champ, and then stayed on top and jumped all over the ocean. I got a bunch of shots of this fish in the air, and a few of them looked like they would have a future. Now several years later, the demand meets the supply.

This July/August 2011 Sport Fishing Magazine cover was shot early in the battle while the fish was still a rigger length away – F8 1/1000th iso 160 in bright sun.

 (© Scott Kerrigan/

Then about three minutes later in the battle, when the distance closed, the jumps were still going on. This August/September 2011 Marlin Magazine cover was shot just under the rigger – f8 1/1200th iso 200.

 (Scott Kerrigan)

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Posted in fishing report on August 23rd, 2011 by Scott

I finally got to shoot a local species now that I’m back full time in SoFlo. Lucky to have friends like Fly to invite me drift a live bait in Jupiter Inlet. We didn’t get nearly the action we were hoping for…but still managed to have fun and hope to do it again very soon before the season changes things around. The morning started out rough after a long spell to catch bait we burn up a circulation pump. Yup, on this skiff, the only circulation pump.

No worries, a quick trip to the marine store and we are back in business a few Sardines lighter. Fly did find the lip of a cuda with his circle hook skills –

And then we found what we were looking for. Not in any great numbers or size, but a nice one just the same.

Thanks for the ride Fly.

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Posted in fishing report, tournament on July 7th, 2011 by Scott

The July Moon is rising and I’m headed down island. I’ve been hired to shoot the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s 48th annual July Open Billfish Tournament. This should be a blast. The July Open is always a great event with plenty of Blue Marlin bites for all the boats. The July moon in St. Thomas can produce some spectacular fishing and if it’s anything like last year, some very big fish. If you can’t make it down there in person, I’ll be posting updates here for all to see.

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Posted in fishing report, travel on June 16th, 2011 by Scott

June Moon Report from the North Drop:

The summer Blue Marlin season is up and running on the North Drop. This June moon will be relatively quiet, with only 10 boats fishing this weekend.  Pardon the time delay in posting these results, American Yacht Harbor can’t seem to get their marina internet working this month which prevented me from doing daily updates.  All of these photos and a few hundred more will be added to my photo web site shortly.


Tuesday June 7 – This many days ahead of the moon most teams have not started fishing yet. Just the Black Gold, Hoosier Daddy, and the Prime Time.  Light winds and plenty of clouds and rain. Keith on the Black Gold released one fish. Capt Butch was the one to watch today with 2 releases from 5 bites. That report of 5 bites really stirred things up back at the dock.


Wednesday June 8 – Travel day for me as I arrived late this evening after my short hop from SoFlo. Today the Revenge caught 3 of 4 bites and the Black Gold was 1 of 4.


Thursday June 9 – Riding along with the Revenge today. It’s great to be back fishing with Sam and Mike. We caught 2 of 3 marlin bites and 1 white marlin. Also managed to catch a small Yellowfin Tuna on a lure and a nice Wahoo on a mono Ballyhoo. Conditions are crazy calm with little or no wind and mostly sunshine. The Black Gold was 5 for 5 today, and saw two other fish in the spread. The Chach didn’t see one.



Friday June 10 – Back on the Revenge for a second day. The wind speed has doubled today, now it’s blowing 8 knots. A few more boats out today and plenty of bites to go around. We only released one of our 3 bites. The other two fish fell off the pitch mackerel circle hooks after several minutes. But before that happened, I managed to get a shot of one of these fish chasing a teaser – photo below. Ray on the Therapy saw the most fish, 6, but only held on to one of those. Black Gold picked away and caught 2 of their 4 bites, and added a Sailfish. Hoosier Buddy had 3 bites and caught 1. And the Chach is out of their slump with 5 bites, releasing 2. One of those releases is the frisky little jumper pictured below with Damon in the chair and Dominick steering.  I took the liberty creating a photo montage that shows all eight frames of this sequence in one shot.




Saturday June 11. Aboard the Therapy today with Capt. Ray.  Our anglers are Billy, his son Hunter, and Shelbie.  The goal today is to catch Shelby her first marlin.  Our first encounter doesn’t take long with a bite coming before 8:00 am.  A down and tight lure bite and Shelby makes short work of a 100lb fish – photo below.  While clearing the spread a second fish made a few passes at a teaser before fading off.  A few hours later Hunter also catches a down and tight lure bite.  One more fish darts around the spread in the afternoon before they quit fishing.  Ending up 2 of 3 and seeing a fourth.  The Mojito released two today, one was a real quick 10 minute fish they called 500lbs.  Most boats had several encounters.  The stats below are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Revenge was 0 for 1, Marlin Prince 1 of 2, Therapy 2 of 3, Batichica 2 of 5, Capital Punishment 1 of 2, Black Gold 3 of 3, Mojito 2 of 4, Lady Magic 2 of 2, Chach 2 of 4, Hoosier Buddy 1 of 2, Prime Time PR 1 of 3, and About Time caught 2.




Sunday June 12. Riding out again with the Therapy.  Another early morning bite puts Shelbie in the chair.  Unfortunately this is short lived as the fish falls off after the initial run.  Mid afternoon a fish shows up behind a bridge teaser but doesn’t play along.  And our last bite eats a short rigger teaser and does just what it is supposed to do.  All the way to the boat, circle back, and pounce on the pitch.  Hunter catches the Therapy’s only fish of the day.  The rest of the fleet all see some decent action throughout the day.  The following stats are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Revenge 2 of 3, Mojito 0 of 1 + 1 white, Batichica 2 of 2, Black Gold 0 of 2, About Time 1 of 4, Hoosier Buddy 3 of 4, Chach 3 of 4, missed both a white and a sail also, and Prime Time PR 3 of 4 and caught a white.




Monday June 13. Back on the Revenge today.  Rasta Dean returns to work from a medical break and brings some good luck.  Around 5:00 down in the corner we wrap it up with a double header.  First one to come tight gets to use the chair…nice work Sam.  All of today’s fish are small with only two of them jumping near the boat.  The following stats are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Chach 7 of 10, and a white, Prime Time PR 4 of 5, Abigail 4 of 5, Hoosier Buddy 2, Marlin Prince 0 of 2, Black Gold 1 of 2, Mojito 2 of 5, and the Black Pearl caught 1.



Tues June 14. Day before the full and hopes are high for my last day aboard the Revenge.  Continued light winds still over the area with talk of a tropical wave making some changes in a few days.  We start off with a morning teaser bite that doesn’t switch over and see Sam’s pitch bait.  Next is a long rigger lure bite that pulls off after a long run.  Jon then gets a pitch bite to stick and a second fish lurks around while the boat is being cleared but swims off.  Late afternoon has a long rigger ballyhoo get cut off by a wahoo and while winding in that head a blue marlin zooms up and follows it in.  Good tease but it doesn’t transfer over to Sam’s pitch bait.  The following stats are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Black Gold 0 of 0, Mojito 2 of 3, Chach 1/2 day 1 of 1, Hoosier Buddy 3 of 5, Marlin Prince 1 of 3, About Time 3 of 3, Black Pearl 0 of 1.



Wednesday June 15. Fishing aboard the 60′ Spencer boat “Mojito” today.  Trade winds are starting to fill back in a bit with the arrival of a tropical wave.  The action starts early with a teaser bite.  However, this small fish doesn’t paddle in and never shows on the pitch mackerel.  Our second bite is a down and tight lure bite.  Another small fish but it’s feels great to get a release by 8:15 am.  Next bite is a small teaser fish that eats well and Pico comes tight.  One brief hop on the leader and we get back to trolling.  Next is a small teaser fish that eats the pitch and makes for a quick release.  Just as the spread goes back out, we raise another fish and come tight on the pitch mackerel.  Several other boats are getting bites at the same time.  This fish pulls much harder and ends up being a 250lb fish that jumps on the leader for Aileen.  End up with 5.  The following stats are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Revenge 3 of 3, Hoosire Buddy 1 of 1, and 0 of 2 whites, Therapy 2 of 3, and Marlin Prince 0 of 1.

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