1770 – Wreck Rock – More Dart & Slatey Bream – 10 April 2015


The wind had been blowing all day on Thursday, from the south-east. So on Friday morning the swell was up. Low tide would be just after dawn at about 6.30 am. The fish had been around at Wreck Rock and after a run in with something big the day before, I had to go back. I arrived about 5.45 am, just after first light but before sunrise.

The wind was cool but the water was warm. It was washing over the rocks where I wanted to fish so I had to stop on high rock, some way back from the end of the rocky outcrop runs out from the north end of the small bay.

I started with heavier, 20lb fluorocarbon leader and bigger GULP 5” Jerkshads in various colours. These did not stir any interest and as the surf and swell picked up I re-rigged with lighter 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I decided to choose a smaller Gulp 3” Minnow in the Sardine colour and stuck with the 1/6th ounce, size 2 hook jighead. This instantly attracted a few bites and after a few casts, I started catching dart.

Perhaps it was the rough seas but the dart seemed more aggressive than they had been in previous days and they were bigger too. I swapped through a few soft plastics, and they seemed to like the GULP Swimmow and the GULP 2” Shrimp, both in the Peppered Prawn colour.

The swell was picking up so I was now casting into the calmer water behind the rocks. I was using the GULP 2” Shrimp, letting it sink slowly in the wash and suddenly something swallowed it. Once again the slow but powerful run told me it was not a dart. It was another painted sweetlip / slatey bream. I released it, as this was my last session for the week and we would be heading for Brisbane later in the day.

By 7.45 am the swell had pushed me off the rocks so I gave up. It had been another great week in this beautiful part of the world. Cleary the fish species come and go with the seasons here, just like anywhere else. This week it was dart and slatey bream. I am hoping to come back up in the cooler months to see if the jewfish and tailor are around.

1770 – Wreck Rock – Dart & Slatey Bream – 9 April 2015

By Thursday, the rain had passed over but the wind had picked up considerably. I was up early and decided to try fishing at Wreck Rock. The tide would only be low enough to reach the rocks I wanted to fish from, for about 90 minutes.  The incoming tide would then force me back.

I arrived in the pre-dawn light and walked out to the beach. The sky was gradually turning orange and the wind had dropped right off. It was very light and cool, from the south-west.I walked out on to the rocks on the north edge and picked my way out as far as I could go. The wind had dropped but the swell was up and although the water was warm the cold breeze was nasty.

I knew there would be dart around and predictably, my first cast with a 3” GULP Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic was just what they wanted. I pulled the first small dart out of the water just after 6.00am.I was sticking with a light 12lb fluorocarbon leader but went with the slightly heavier 1/6th ounce, size 1 hook jighead to counteract the swell.

The dart kept coming but I was hoping for something more significant so I put on the GULP Mantis Shrimp that had caught the slatey bream on Monday. I fished this around for 20 minutes with only a few small hits from the dart. I swapped back to a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour. This instantly caught the dart again.

I decided to change up to a bigger profile again and tied on a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. I cast this one a fair way out towards some a nearby bommie. On its way back to me it was swiped at by a couple of Long Toms, but I did not hook them.

I hit the same area with a few more casts and suddenly there was a quick tug and the reel started screaming. The rod bent over and the fish took plenty of line in a blistering initial run. As soon as it paused I checked the drag tension and realised it was actually quite tight. I tried to get some line back but the fish immediately set off again and snapped the leader. Trevally or maybe a Mackerel, either way a 12lb leader was not going to stop it. I re-rigged with the heaviest leader I had in the bag – 20lb fluorocarbon and cast back out. I peppered the area with casts but whatever it was had moved on.


The wind was now picking up again and the incoming tide was forcing me back along the rocks. I swapped to a GULP Green Camo 4” Minnow and carried on fishing. The dart kept hitting this one and then something slower and heavier grabbed it. It turned with the swell and took a bit of line. It then started swimming away faster, once it realised it was hooked. After a few minutes I pulled it up onto the rocks with the aid of a breaking wave. It was another good sized slatey bream with bright orange markings behind its lips.

I decided to keep this one for supper and so I retreated to the dryer rocks to bleed and clean it. By the time it was gutted the tide had come up further and the wind was really starting to blow so I gave up for the day.

1770 – Flat Rock – Dart – 7 April 2015


The family took off for Lady Musgrave Island to have a look at the reef. But the prospect of ninety minutes battling high seas had me close to throwing up so I dropped them off at about 8.00 am and drove back down to Flat Rock.

The sun was out when I arrived and there was a light northerly wind blowing. I had the beach to myself and walked south to the spot where I had been fishing the day before. I was fishing the same fairly light rig and was sticking with the 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I would not stop any toothy fish with light leader but even if I upped it to a 30lb breaking strain, I doubt I would be able to hang on to a mackerel or big trevally. I prefer to fish lighter and lose a few fish than not get the bites. I tied on a 1/6th ounce, size 2 hook jighead and loaded it with a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the sardine colour. It was now about 9.45 am and just about high tide. I started by fishing the gutter on the inside of the Flat Rock without much success. The sky turned grey and the wind started to pick up.

After about an hour I had had a few bites but caught nothing. I moved south and as the tide started to run out I waded across the gutter in a fairly shallow spot and stood up on the Flat Rock in ankle deep water. I started casting out beyond the rock. This immediately resulted in fish contact. I could see and feel the moses perch swiping at the soft plastic lure close to the front edge.

I cast out a bit further and found a small dart. I caught a few more and then changed to bigger 4” Minnow soft plastic. The dart kept hitting the bigger plastic but could not swallow it. I swapped back down to the 3” Minnow in the New Penny colour and instantly hooked another, slightly bigger dart.  I moved up and down the front face of the rock and tried different plastics. The dart kept coming but they did not get much bigger. The rain came too and gave me a good soaking. At about 1.00 pm, I gave up for the day.

1770 – Flat Rock – Slatey Bream, Dart & Stripy Perch – 6 April 2015


I managed to persuade the family that my beloved 1770 would be a good place to spend some of the Easter school holidays. Fishing was strictly rationed, but I did get a few sessions in.

We drove up from Brisbane and passed through some monster storms on Sunday. We visited Cooks Monument and walked out to the tip of the headland on arrival. You could see there had been plenty of rain. The dirty water was clearly visible, running out into the sea from the creek.

Dirty Water at the bottom of the tide 1770

On Monday morning the skies had cleared and the wind had dropped so we drove down to deserted Flat Rock beach in Deepwater National Park. Despite the recent heavy rain and lots of Easter holiday visitors the sandy four wheel drive track down through the park was in good order.

I like to fish this spot on a falling tide and anything can happen. Locals have told me they have caught saltwater barramundi, mackerel, tuna and jewfish here. I have caught the bread and butter species – stripey perch, estuary cod, dart, tailor, bream, whiting, flathead, all along the flat rock that runs parallel with the shore. I have also been bitten off by plenty of powerful predators, but I have never landed any trophy fish here.

I find the best time to start fishing is about an hour after high tide, through to about an hour before low tide. I wade out to the Flat Rock and walk along it fishing over the edge into the surf which breaks on its front edge. There are a couple of places where the rock breaks and the water runs out. These are great spots, the fish accumulate to feed on what is being washed out from the beach gutter.

The tide reveals Flat Rock

I was fishing with my lighter rock fishing rod and reel setup – the NS Blackhole Cabin 2 S862L, rated 8-14lb, 2.59 m long matched with a Shimano Sustain – 4000 reel. I use 12 lb braid and a 12 lb fluorocarbon leader.

I started by choosing my current favourite fish finding soft plastic lure – the GULP 3” Minnow in the lime tiger colour. I rigged it on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and cast out. Within a few minutes I caught a small dart and then a small moses perch. I had started fishing at the side of one of the breaks in the rock and the water was gushing through the gap. I kept casting the soft plastic just on to the edge of the Flat Rock and let the water push it out through the gap.

After about half an hour a fish grabbed the soft plastic and shot under the rock. I had the drag fairly loose and by the time I tightened it, the fish had tucked himself right in. I tried to put a bit of pressure on it but the light leader quickly snapped.

I tied on another Lime Tiger Minnow but it did not tempt another fish. After another 20 minutes, I swapped to a GULP Mantis Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour and a slightly heavier, 1/6th ounce, size 1 hook, jighead. It was now just before 1.00 pm and the resident sea eagle who had been watching me form the tree line, was getting restless. I cast out the Mantis Shrimp and let it sink and be carried off by the fast running tide. I paused for about 15 seconds, to make absolutely sure it was on the bottom, then slowly lifted the rod tip and started hopping the soft plastic back towards me. On about the 3rd hop, a fish snaffled it and turned to run out to sea. It was not very fast but it was powerful. It took plenty of line but eventually I slowed it down and it just sat in the current, about a metre from the rocks. I used the light swell to heave it over the rocks and on to the beach. It was a slatey bream (painted sweetlip) with magnificent red flashes behind its lips and around its gills. It was about 40 cm long. As long as they are quickly bled and carefully filleted, these fish taste great. They have flaky white fillets and are great fried in a little olive oil. This one was coming home for supper.

It was now lunch time and the fainthearted tourists (my family) had had enough of watching me fishing, so we packed up.

1770 – Wreck Rock and Deepwater Creek – 8 November 2011


It was my last day in 1770 for a while. I decided to fish the afternoon low tide at Wreck Rock. It was full moon so the water would get quite shallow around the rocks. There was a fairly light north easterly wind and not much swell.

I arrived at about 3.00 pm and rigged up with a 16lb fluorocarbon leader and 3 “ GULP Minnow on a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead. This produced a small dart on the first cast and almost a fish a cast thereafter, for the next 30 minutes. I gradually moved along the rocks and it was usually the first cast, in a new location that produced the bigger dart. I soon had a few worth keeping.

By about 3.30 pm I had almost arrived at the end of the rocks. I had now swapped to a Zman 4” Jerkshad in the Shiner colour. A cast it out, about 5 metres directly in front of the rocks and the lure fluttered towards the bottom. I set the hook on another dart. Dart fight hard and love to turn sideways like trevally, but this one was positively hyperactive. I pulled it clear of the water and then released it. The next cast produced another dart, a little smaller but equally frantic. Then I saw why the fish were so spooked. I long, slow moving grey shape swam along the base of the rocks. It looked about 1.5 metres long and had clear black markings on its fin – so I presume it was a black tipped reef shark. This probably explains numerous bite offs I have had around these rocks.

The dart kept coming but as the tide turned in I caught a few small trevally – including  a strange looking bumpnose trevally. As the tide started to run in at about 5.00 pm,  I decided to swap locations.

I drove down to Deepwater Creek to fish through dusk. I thought the big tide and full moon might create some good conditions. I arrived about 5.30 pm and fished through the dusk with poppers and small soft plastics on a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I tried both the freshwater and saltwater sections. I was surprised to get a catfish from the salt water side. It grabbed a GULP Swimmow soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour, presented on a 1/16th, size 1 jighead. Meanwhile as the sun dropped below the horizon something swiped at the popper on the freshwater side. On the saltwater side, in the pitch dark, I could hear plenty of surface slurps and bust ups. The moon was not up yet and as I dragged the popper slowly across the surface, it was getting bumped and nudged all the way through the retrieve. Finally I hooked something and it pulled quite hard. I turned the headlamp on to reveal a small mullet. There was a big school of them cruising round.

I gave up for the night and marked this spot down for a future visit. Once again, I would like to recommend Gavin and Kim of 1770 Beach Accommodation. I stayed at Loka Santi which are very smart apartments, but they have accommodation to rent at every budget level and can offer some really great rates – visit their website for more information  www.1770beachaccommodation.com.au






1770 Getaway Beach, Flat Rock & Wreck Rock – 6/7 November 2014

Thursday/ Friday

The weather stayed good at 1770 on Thursday and Friday. The winds were light northerlies and the sea flattened out. Unfortunately the low tide was in the middle of the day which meant the fishing timetable was not ideal. Low tide just after dawn and dusk would be my favourite, but you cannot have everything you desire.

I fished at Flat Rock and Wreck Rock on the dawn high tides without much luck. As the tide ran out towards lunch time, I found more and more fish. But they were generally small dart, stripey and moses perch and the odd whiting. During these middle of the day low tides I had to drop down to a 1/8thounce, size 2 hook jighead, 8lb fluorocarbon leader and GULP 3” Minnow soft plastics to entice the fish into action. Typically each session would produce a couple of good size dart and I kept a few for dinner.

Dart is really about the only fish I enjoy eating raw. It needs to be bled soon after capture, filleted and refrigerated and then left for about 12 hours.Then comes the tricky bit – take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, before you eat it. The flesh is firm and perfect with a little chilli soy or fish sauce and lime.

Incidentally, the more I catch fish the less I eat it in restaurants. When you know the texture, feel and taste of really fresh fish, it is very hard to eat something that has been sitting around, even a few days. I encourage everybody to catch some bream, whiting or flathead during the holidays, fillet them and eat them. Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle to take the fish home and clean it up, and sometimes it hardly seems worth it – but you will definitely taste the difference. It is also often the smaller fish like dart and whiting, that taste the sweetest.

In desperation I even tried a tiny popper at Flat Rock – hoping to tempt some larger whiting. Instead, this just caught another small dart. A constant stream of small fish still made the fishing fun and as usual the scenery and sunrises were spectacular.

1770 – Wreck Rock & Deepwater Creek – 5 November 2014



I had a lie in on Friday morning and waited to fish the lunchtime low tide at Wreck Rock Beach. I drove down into Deepwater National Park at about 10.00 am. The skies were clear and the forecast strong north easterly wind had not materialised. I rock hopped out, about half way along the peninsula and cast out a  GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic, in the Lime Tiger colour. I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 sized hook jighead. The first taker was a small moses perch, who was hiding close to the rocks. I caught a few of these, (none big enough to keep) then moved a little further along.

I cast out in front of the rocks, into the gaps between the bommies. I soon found some more moses perch and then some small dart. I moved around the rocks and swapped through a few different coloured soft plastics. The brighter colours in the three inch size soft plastic minnows – particularly those with some speckle in the colour, seemed to catch the best fish and the dart gradually got bigger. But I could not find any significant fish at Wreck Rock and by about 3.30 pm, the incoming tide pushed me off my fishing perch.

Early evening

I dried off, pulled on some long pants and drove back down to Deepwater Creek. I arrived just after 4.00 pm and rigged up with another small DUO Poco Poco surface popper. I cast out into the fresh water section. I jerked the popper slowly back towards me. There were a couple of swipes behind it, but I did not hook up.

I moved back to the saltwater section and re-rigged with a GULP 3 “ Minnow on a 1/16th ounce, size 2 hook jighead. Tarpon have quite small hard mouths so I hoped the smaller hook gauge might slide home more easily. This did the trick and after a number of hits and dropped fish I finally hooked a good one. They fight so hard and leap around all over the place – they are just great fun to catch. I landed three but hooked up to about ten as the sun dropped and the cicadas started to produce a deafening hum, the action got faster and hotter and then slowly died down.

By about 6.45 pm it was dark and quiet. I tried a few casts with a popper and then gave up.


Tarpon Salty water tarpon