1770 – The Catwalk and Flat Rock – 11 May 2011

Wednesday

On Wednesday I got out of the tent and boiled the billy at around 4.30 am. It was seriously cold but there was virtually no wind. After a thawing cup of tea and some breakfast I jumped in the car and drove the 15kms north to 1770 and clambered out over the rocks to the famous ‘catwalk’.

For those of you who don’t know it, it is a sloping rock ledge about twenty five metres long that forms an ideal casting platform. It is just south of the tip of the 1770 headland and is a favourite spot for land based game fishermen who wish to get a shot at catching big fish, from the shore. It is most popular when the various tuna species pass by, from about October to March, but there are fish to be had all year round. This morning I had it to myself which was probably not a good sign!

I started in the pre-dawn light with big soft plastic Jerkshads on ½ oz jigheads. After about 20 casts I was on to a fish. It was slow and heavy and first I thought it might be a turtle. After a couple of slow runs there was a huge swirl on the surface and then ping it was gone. I realised it was one of the enormous resident Gropers. I switched to an 85g slug and over the next hour, as the sun came up, I put in over 60 casts in every direction. It was a beautiful sunrise but there were no fish around so at about 8.00 am I headed back down the track to Flat Rock beach again.

I arrived around low tide at 9.00 am. By now the rock was uncovered and I waded through the gutter and up on to it. I then walked north along it, casting along the edge, in front of me. There are lots of drains and over hangs and other good structure to focus on. I was fishing with my light spin rod again but had upgraded to a 14lb leader to give me a chance, if a big fish appeared.

Long Toms - seriously ugly fish


The first predators to appear were the Long Toms – every now then one would leap clear of the water chasing the lure as it landed. They particularly liked the GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour.I walked up and down the face of Flat Rock for the next three hours and caught fish all the way along. I caught Bream, Whiting, Dart, Stripy Perch, Flathead and lots more Long Toms. Most were small but I kept a couple of the better sized Dart for supper. As the tide started to run in and the water lapped over the rock I gave up and headed back to camp.

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1770 – Deep Water National Park – Flat Rock – 10 May 2011

No – the Stonefish did not kill me. I have been away for a week of land-based fishing at the town of 1770. I was fishing the rocky headlands, beaches and bays of the Deepwater National Park. The park is reached via a sandy four wheel drive track that heads south from Agnes Waters.

There are three main access points to the water, off this track – at Flat Rock, Middle Rock and Wreck Rock. I arrived last Tuesday and set up camp at the Wreck Rock camp ground. It is basic, but beautifully positioned in the Banksia covered sand dunes, behind the beach. It has a composting toilet and access to bore water and an outdoor, cold water shower. There are about eight secluded camp sites.

I arrived at about noon and needed to catch dinner, so I set off for Flat Rock beach with my light spin rod. There was a light, cold, south westerly breeze blowing but the bright sunshine took the sting out of it. I started fishing at about 2.00pm. Flat Rock beach is so named because a long flat rock formation runs parallel with the shore, for about 4 kilometres. On the highest of high tides, it is covered by about three metres of water and on the lowest of lows, it is completely exposed. It is a great fishing platform to walk along, around low tide and it is also a great fish holding structure, on a high tide.

Flat Rock - covered by high water

The tide was only a little way into the run out phase, so the rock was completely covered by water when I walked out onto the beach. In these circumstances the rock forms the eastern wall of a huge gutter all the way along the beach. I rigged a 1/8th 1 hook jighead with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour and started walking north along the beach, stopping to cast every few metres. When I need to figure out what is biting and need to be sure of catching something to eat. I fish as light as I can, so I was using an 8lb Fluorocarbon leader. I soon got a couple of bites and grabs and quickly hooked a 25cm Whiting. I threw it back hoping for something better. I caught a few more that were around the same size. I swapped to the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour and after a few casts I found a patch of slightly bigger Whiting. It was now about 3.30 pm and I needed something for dinner so I kept four of the bigger Whiting, that where about 30cm long.

Dart will have a go at almost any lure - fish light and you will catch them

When I reached a break in the rock, where the water was draining out to sea from the gutter, I switched back to the GULP 3” Pearl Watermelon Minnow. I got a couple of more aggressive hits and finally hooked a Dart that was edible size. I got a few more and kept the two largest. Then I caught a tiny, but very well camouflaged Bartailed Flathead, only about 20cm long. The sun was dropping and it was getting seriously cold so I headed back to camp to clean and then eat the fish. Nothing spectacular but I had a caught dinner.

Nice camouflage - Bar-tailed Flathead