Wreck Rock & Middle Rock – Tuna & Trevally – Deepwater National Park – 14 May 2011

Saturday

On Friday evening the keen fisherman camped nearby told me he had hooked up to a freight train Tuna, off the beach, in the early afternoon and unfortunately pulled the treble out. He had spent the rest of the day running up and down the beach trying to get his metal slug back in front of the fish but they just never came close enough. I decided to try the slugs in the morning down at Flat Rock where I had also seen the Tuna working. As the sun came up I cast and cast and cast in the direction of the feeding Tuna – but they just never quite came close enough.

Flat Rock beach - with the rock just covered - just after dawn

After a couple of hours I gave up and went back to camp for breakfast. I was greeted by my neighbour whose persistence had paid off and finally he had a good size Mac Tuna. He had eventually caught up with a school that came into less than 3 metres of water, only about 25 metres from the shore, about 1km south of Wreck Rock, along the beach. He had followed the birds and dead Whitebait that littered the beach until he saw a boil of feeding fish on the surface close in to the beach. He hooked up on his second cast and hung on. I was delighted for him, but he looked almost as tired as the fish. Who said angling is a sedentary sport?

Mac Tuna caught off Wreck Rock Beach on a chrome slug - May 2011

Mac Tuna off the beach - does not happen very often - full marks to this fisho for putting in the hard work

Now I was really fired up but I needed to have a look at some other spots, so that afternoon with a high tide due for about 6.00 pm, I jumped in the car and drove along the track to Middle Rock. Middle Rock, predictably sits between Flat Rock and Wreck Rock. It is a set of three rocky promontories that are almost completely submerged on the bigger high tides. It was approaching high tide when I started fishing there just after 5.00pm.

I was using the light spin rod and was casting out a 1/6th 2/0 jighead loaded with a GULP Jerkshad in the Pumpkinseed colour. I was hopping the plastic over the submerged rocks pretty quickly so that it would not get snagged. Suddenly a fish smashed the soft plastic lure ran with it for a few metres, then dropped it. A few casts later and I was in contact with a fish again. It took off and took plenty of line. The light rod has no real strength so I had to wear this one out with the drag and use the waves to bring it in. It put up a good fight but it was solidly hooked and I soon had a 50cm Trevally at my feet. I think it was a Big Eye – but I am never quite sure as some of the species can look pretty similar. The sun had gone down by now and the south-westerly wind was chilling so I gave up for the day.

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Wreck Rock – Deep Water National Park 1770 – 13 May 2011

Friday

Having seen the Tuna working just offshore, all afternoon the day before, at both Wreck Rock and Flat Rock, I decided to spend dawn on Friday casting slugs from the southern tip of Wreck Rock. The tides where getting bigger in the run up to the full moon. Low tide would be at 11.10 am, so there would be plenty of water close into the rocks, at dawn.

The south end of Wreck Rock at dawn

The southern tip of the Wreck Rock bay has a couple of rocky outcrops and submerged bommies. At low tide there is only about a metre of water in front of them, but at high tide, this can increase to almost 4 metres. South of these rocks is a long, almost completely uninterrupted beach ( Rules Beach), that runs all the way down to the mouth of Baffle Creek. At the moment, the big seas and storms through the summer months have created a very steep, sloping beach with a few nice wholes and gutters. This means there is good deep water on high tide, all along this section.

Looking south from Wreck Rock - towards the mouth of Baffle Creek

It was another bitterly cold morning, the sky was crystal clear, but there was a light south-westerly wind blowing. As the sun came up I was casting a 90g slug from the rocks. I then tried a River to Sea – Dumbbell Popper and various heavy blades and big hard bodies. I could not interest the fish. I could see the Tuna, in small groups, smashing into the bait fish and the birds diving in to get a free breakfast, but they stayed at least 800m away the whole time.

Wreck Rock bay - just after dawn


I switched from the Daiwa 9’ 6” Demon Blood rod, which I use for slugs and poppers, to the light spin rod and rigged a soft plastic on a ¼ oz 1 jighead. I chose the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. After about 30 minutes I had caught two tiny Dart and a Long Tom. At about 8.30am I headed back into my camp to thaw out with a hot cup of tea and some breakfast.

Mackerel, Trevally, Tailor and a few reef species all cruise around these rocks at the southern end of Wreck Rock bay


I considered my options and spoke to another keen fisherman who was camped nearby. He too had seen the Tuna and was planning to spend the day casting slugs at them. As low tide approached I decided to head out the rocks on the southern tip of Wreck Rock bay. The Tuna were there but always just out of reach. They would swing in tantalizingly close and I would cast slugs at them then they were gone again. As the tide dropped I moved as far as I could out onto the exposed rocks to the south. I cast out at about 45 degrees to the shoreline and as my slug landed a huge circle of bait scattered around it. Then ‘zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ….fftt’ and the fish was gone. I wound the line back in and it looked like a clean bite through the 40lb leader. I presumed it was a Mackerel or some other toothy species. I rigged a wire trace and carried on, but after twenty more casts I was still without a decent fish.

The bait that shelters around this bommy at Wreck Rock, attracts all sorts of predators

I switched from the slug rod to the light spin rod again and rigged a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I wanted to cast a bit of distance, but I also wanted to make sure the lure wafted around in the strike zone for as long as possible. I settled on a ¼ oz 2/0 jighead and downgraded to 16lb fluorocarbon leader. First cast was hit on the drop but then the fish dropped it. Third cast and I had a solid hook up. The fish took line in a couple of fast blistering runs then swam round in front of the rocks into a good position. On the next surge I tightened the drag and pulled it up to my feet (getting soaked in the process). Then I grabbed the leader and pulled the fish clear. It was a Giant Trevally around 50cm – no monster, but a decent fish. Cold and wet, I decided I had enough – it was just after noon.

Finally a decent fish - 50cm GT at Wreck Rock

As always when fishing an area that you have not been to for a while, you need to spend a few sessions figuring out what works and where the fish are. It was my fourth day and I finally felt I understood when and where to concentrate. I headed back to camp for some fish cleaning.