Iluka – Woody Head – Finally a Snapper – 13 December 2011


The weather was so miserable the next day that I actually had a lie in. When I say lie in – I mean, I woke up at sunrise, rather than an hour before! The grey skies and rain meant that sunrise was a little hard to pin point. The rain was coming over in regular, but not very heavy showers. By now there had been enough to make the river very dirty. The wind was dropping off so the swell was easing. On Sunday I had walked round to Middle Bluff. It was a clear dawn and initially things looked promising. But as I rigged up a couple of big waves came crashing through and I realized that it was not going to work. Every 20 minutes or so a really massive set would come through and completely soak the rock platform!

By Tuesday I was ready to try again and the swell definitely seemed to have eased. I walked out on to the rocks in front of Woody Head at about 4.45 am, as the sky was beginning to lighten. The swell had dropped right back and there was a very light south easterly breeze. Low tide had been at about 4.30 am. So I had a couple of hours to fish left before the tide started to get too high. I started with 65g Raider metal slug and cast it out, all around the area known as ‘the Barnacles’, on the eastern side of the Woody Head platform. After 25 casts, I had not had a touch so I switched to a 5” Gulp Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I rigged it on a ½ oz, 3/0 hook jighead. I was fishing with my heavy rod – the 9’6” Daiwa Demon Blood with 30lb braid and a 30lb fluorocarbon leader on the Shimano Stradic 6000 reel. I could not find any fish here and the swell was still giving me a soaking every now and then, so I moved south, along the front of the rock platform. I cast wherever I could and, predictably lost plenty of jigheads to the rocks.

I stopped for a while at an area known as the ‘Jew hole’ and swapped down to a shorter GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was trying to put something out that was more similar to the Whitebait that I knew were everywhere. This got results almost instantly with a couple of solid bites and then a good run but no hook up. About ten minutes later I had a fish on, it was another Salmon and after a couple of jumps and a brief fight it shook itself off the hook.

I moved further south and rigged up a GULP 5” Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Curry Chicken colour. I was still using the ½ oz, 3/0 jighead. I started to cast out as far as I could, to give the lure plenty of time on the bottom before it got washed in to the rocks. I felt a couple of grabs at the base of the rocks and then a solid bite but still no hook up. It was almost time to go and the swell was picking up again after the calm around dawn. I put in a long cast and counted to twenty. When I lifted the rod I felt a bit of resistance and then all hell broke loose and the reel was screaming. There was a long initial run, out to sea – and then it turned back towards the rocks and I had to wind hard to keep up. It was too fast for a Jew but not mad enough to be a Salmon or a Tailor.

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It gradually slowed and after a few more runs, I tightened the drag and got it up on a ledge below with the help of the swell. Luckily it wedged itself into the rocks and did not wash back out with the receding wave. I looked to see what was coming and then slid down slowly, grabbed the leader and pulled it up. It was a good size Snapper – 3.8kg and somewhere between 60 and 70cm long. I was delighted. After almost a week of pretty mediocre weather and limited fishing opportunities I was holding the biggest Snapper I have ever caught. I am told they are often caught off this platform on fresh squid baits and early morning is always the most successful time.

That was enough for one day and with my heart still racing, knees wobbling and hands shaking. I gathered up my gear and walked back, noisily, through the camp site.


1 thought on “Iluka – Woody Head – Finally a Snapper – 13 December 2011

  1. Hello

    Sorry about the questions.

    I am going to stay at woody head in a couple of weeks, and i was wondering where is the best place to go fishing?

    I was thinking about going around frazer’s reef and the barnicals. I was also wondering wether the barnicals are fishable with 1.5 m swells at low tide.


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