Wreck Rock and Middle Creek – 8 October 2011

Saturday

I was still camped at Wreck Rock in Deepwater National Park. The best fishing is around the low tide on the local beaches. But I had morning highs for a few days so I started right out the front of the camp site at Wreck Rock, standing on the southern corner of the bay cast into the wash from the rocks. There was a very light swell and a light north-easterly breeze. As the first glow lit the horizon things looked very promising. I started with a 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour, rigged on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. After a few casts and no hits I swapped down to a smaller 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour.

The sun had now crossed the horizon and unfortunately the wind was picking up. Right at the base of the rocks I felt a solid hit and realized I had a fish on. I reeled it clear of the water – it was a Dusky Flathead – around 35cm long. I released it and carried on fishing. Some other campers had pulled two 50cm + Flathead from these rocks the day before so I was hopeful I might find a bigger one. I swapped the plastic for a brighter coloured Nuclear Chicken version and then, for 2” Shrimp pattern in the Pepper Prawn colour – none of these tempted the fish. Finally, I switched to a 5” turtle back worm in the Pepper Prawn colour and I caught a few small Dart.

The wind had been very changeable over the last few days. It was swirling round from the south to the north and back again. Finally it settled into a very solid northerly – 25 knots and forced me off this spot. I needed to find some sheltered water to fish and decided to drive up to Middle Creek, to fish the main channel on the bottom of the tide – which would be around 1.00 pm. Middle Creek is reached along another four-wheel drive track off the road into Agnes Waters. The creek has a wide tidal estuary that forms a fairly narrow channel at its mouth, at low tide. You can walk or wade along the south side of the channel for about a kilometer. The track in is currently very easy but can be a challenge after heavy rain. This whole area is effectively a tidal swamp and parts of the road quickly get submerged in a big storm.

By the time I got out to fish the wind was howling, blowing the sand off the tops of the banks like a scene from Lawrence of Arabia. I walked out towards the mouth and started casting, as I waded across a lagoon of shallow water – less than 30 cms deep , I saw a couple of decent Flathead scatter. They are always in less water than you think! I decided to start with a 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour – this is my all time favorite Flathead soft plastic. I rigged it on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead as I needed to keep in touch with the bottom. I cast and cast and cast but to no avail. I swapped down to a 2” Shrimp in the Pepper Prawn colour and almost immediately pulled up a tiny 25cm Bar-tailed Flathead. I walked further out, towards the mouth and after another 30 minutes caught another Flathead – this time it was a Dusky, approximately 30 cm long. Then I caught a few Whiting and saw a few Bream in the clear water, but I could not tempt them.

The sky had turned a scary shade of grey so I walked back to the car. As I got in the heavens opened and a major deluge started. I drove carefully back along the track which was already underwater in a number of places. The ground had not really softened and the going was pretty solid but I could see how easily this track could become impassable. It had been another morning with no really decent fish. The weather had not helped and, in my experience, a northerly wind often turns the fish off. I spent a wet and windy night in my tent which, thankfully kept the rain out and I prayed to wake up to some sunshine and a light south-easterly breeze.

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