Groote Eylandt, located in the Gulf of Carpentaria, 650 kilometres east of Darwin in the Northern Territory is the ultimate angler’s paradise.
Jonathan Eddy, the Head Fishing Guide at Groote Eylandt Lodge explains how he came to snag one of the best jobs in the world, where to go fishing around the Eylandt and what you can expect to catch while you’re there.
How did you get into fishing?
Growing up in Tocumwal, NSW, I spent many hours exploring The Murray River. My father was a very keen cod fisherman so, from an early age, I’d pester him to take me with him. Later, I travelled around Australia and the world for many years, and finally moved to the Territory 12 years ago. I have done a lot of fishing since then.
What are some of the most exciting fishing moments you have experienced?
There have been a few over the years. Usually it’s the first time you catch a new species, but a 126cm barramundi is my personal best, and a 111cm barramundi I was lucky enough to guide a client onto was also fun. My first Black Marlin as a guide was special too.
When I was guiding a few years’ back, a client tripped and let go of the rod while playing a large Threadfin Salmon. A few minutes passed as we cast to retrieve the rod. We managed to hook it, bring it in, then proceeded to finish catching the salmon that was well in excess of a metre and weighed over 9 kilos. I will never forget that.
What is special about Groote Eylandt?
Groote Eylandt is special due to the diversity of fish species. Since starting here, I have seen clients capture many new fish, some of which I couldn’t identify until I checked my reference books. From the smallest Chinaman fish, to nice sized Black Marlin, as well as many extremely good eating reef fish, Groote Eylandt has got it all.
How do you like to prepare the fish you’ve caught?
The Chefs do a fantastic job here on the Eylandt. I like to keep it very simple when cooking any seafood. With fish, season well and fry in a pre-heated pan with olive oil. Finish with butter and a squeeze of lemon. The trick is not to overcook it.
What’s your next big fishing challenge?
I’ve become very keen on fly fishing lately. The next challenge on the bucket list is to catch sailfish on fly. The saltwater fly workshop I did a while back put me onto some excellent billfish flies. I can’t wait for the season to start.
What do you do when you’re not fishing?
My downtime on Groote is spent playing golf and hanging out with my kids. There are many places on Groote Eylandt to explore but a 4×4 is essential for keeping your trips safe.
Where are the best fishing spots on Groote?
The Northern Archipelago region of the Eylandt has a truly majestic appeal – fishing in this area can result in some awesome catches and losses. There are fish here so powerful that I have seen countless people busted off on unstoppable fish. Your guess is as good as mine as to what type of fish they were. One thing is for sure – they were big.
What would you do if you weren’t a fishing guide?
Hard to say as it has become such a big part of me now. I know one thing for sure – the Philippines is becoming more attractive as I get closer to the retirement age. One day!
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