Iluka – Woody Head Trevally Alley – 9 August 2010

I have just returned from a week camping next to the Bundjalong National Park at Iluka. I fished the rocky headlands around the mouth of the mighty Clarence River. I had a number of great fishing sessions and I will post a report on each, over the next week or so.
I arrived for a midday session on Monday. It was low tide and I decided to get straight into the fishing at Woody Head. This can be a difficult spot to fish from the rocks. It is only really possible at low tide, when there is a very calm sea. There are stepped rock ledges all around the headland and if there is a serious swell it is very hard to land a decent fish. On Monday I was very fortunate as there was a limited swell, very little wind and I arrived just before low tide.
I was fishing plastics using my current favourite rock fishing rod – the Rovex Bario 6811. It is an 11 foot, 3.3 metre rod. It is great for plastics fishing. It is strong enough to drag a decent fish up the rocks but also light enough to feel the bites and work the plastic. Obviously there is only limited action and it does not compare to a light spin outfit but it is a good compromise between strength and feel. It is also excellent for casting out heavy metal slugs and poppers for Tailor/ Tuna if you wish to change strategy halfway through a session. I partner the rod with a Stradic 6500 spin reel, 20lb Fireline and usually, a 25lb Fluorocarbon leader. For jigheads, I usually start with a 3/8th 3/0 size and put on something like a 4/5” Jerkshad or Minnow shaped plastic, in a fairly neutral colour.
I was looking for anything but predicting Tailor or Australian Salmon – or perhaps a very hungry Bream. I moved along the rocks casting at each small patch of deepwater that was in reach of the shore. I lost several jigheads to the rocks and then, just as I got to a large rock called ‘Barnacle Bob’, I hooked a decent fish. I played it for about 30 seconds before it wedged itself down below the rock ledge and the wave action sawed through the leader. It was a good sized Tailor and I was sorry to lose it. Next cast I was bitten off, clean, on the drop so I switched to a 45lb leader. This took a while and when I returned the Tailor had obviously cruised past.
After a few more casts I hooked up again. This time it was a nice Trevally. I took him to safety and cast out in the same spot with exactly the same result – another similar sized Trevally. I switched to a new GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow and remained with the 3/8th 3/0 jighead. After a couple more casts I caught a smaller, Big Eye Trevally which I released. Over the next hour I lost 4 more to the rocks and was bitten off, clean, again. I swapped between the 4” Minnow and a 5” Pumpkinseed Jerkshad and the fish were interested in both.
By now the swell and the rising tide was making it too difficult to fish and I was getting a regular soaking from the waves, so I turned for home. Please remember – no fish is worth risking your life to catch – always be sensible and take appropriate precautions when fishing the rocks. Good rock fishing shoes and a clear understanding of the terrain and sea movements are essential. Fish with a mate and let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. The next instalment is coming soon.

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