Excluding the West Australian Dhufish, Samson Fish would have to be one of my favourite fish to target purely because of their fighting ability. Years of fishing the south west corner of WA I’ve got many great memories of targeting these fish although one day back in 2010 stands out when my brother Charlie landed a Samson fish that is still one of the biggest I’ve seen to this day.
Geographe bay is full of these fish during the winter months when they follow around the large schools of skippy. A favourite lump of ours in around 7 metres of water is home to all kinds of different fish and has provided everything from Mako Sharks to 60cm King George Whiting. On this day we had already caught enough Skippy for dinner so drifted the area in search of Pink Snapper with double paternoster rigs. The first half hour of drifting was highly un-productive with only a few monster cuttlefish paying a visit. Suddenly Charlie hooked something massive, setting the hooks into a hard fighting piece of coral… As he tried to free the line the baits were eaten by two enourmous Samson fish. The line was quickly dissapearing off his old penn GTI and we had to chase the fish down. Being in shallow water the fishes only option was to take long runs out on the surface and carried on this for ages. Guesses ranged from Bronze Whaler to a monster stingray as my 9 year old self had no idea how to guess a fish by its fight. Finally the fish began to tire and came within sight after over an hour, soon realising it wasn’t one but two of the biggest Sambos we had ever seen. The fish both came to the surface and the larger of the two fish dropped off the bottom hook, leaving just the one to be brought in. My uncle, and his three young deckhands were amazed to see such a big sambo brought over the side. The fish measured 155cm and was as fat as sambos can get, a few quick snaps and we revived the giant by towing it behind the boat allowing it to re-gain its strength until finally it was able to swim off strong.
I’ve had plenty of encounters since with large sambos although this day was certainly one to remember, it was one of those days that made us addicted to fishing.