Iluka is pretty much fishing heaven – but even in fishing heaven you still have to deal with the weather. I was up early – way too early. I found myself standing on the beach looking out into the dark at Frasers Reef at about 5.15 am. When I say dark, I mean pitch black. There was virtually no moon and there was plenty of low cloud. There wasn’t much wind, a light south easterly, but I could tell from the sound of the crashing waves, there would be too much swell to fish the rocks safely here.
I walked back to the car and drove along to Shark Bay – a couple of kms to the north. When the wind is blowing and the swell is up you can still fish off the rocky outcrop here. It is sheltered from the big seas by Woody Head. I started with the big rod, the Daiwa 9 foot Demon Blood, a 3/8th oz 3/0 jighead, 30lb leader and 20lb braid. I put on a 5” Gulp Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I cast out from the rock platform, over the kelp into the foaming water. I almost instantly got snagged. That is the problem in this location. I tried a spinning a 65g raider for a while, but I soon lost that too.
I switched to the lighter rig – a 7’6’ Nitro spinning rod, ¼ oz 2/0 jighead, 12 lb leader and 8lb braid. I put on a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour and tried again. It was now about 6.30 am and the sun had just come over the horizon. Low tide had been at about 5.15 am. The lighter jighead pulled through the kelp and got snagged less easily. After a few casts, a fish hit my plastic. It felt pretty solid. I let it take line and then pulled it over the kelp beds with the aid of the swell. It was a good size bream – just over 35cm.
I carried on in this location for another 30 minutes and then moved to the southern side of the rock platform. I stuck with the lighter rod and the same soft plastic. I concentrated on the foamy water, in close to the rocks and after a few casts I had another fish. This one was fighting hard and there were rocks everywhere. I took it slow and let it take line when it needed too. I gradually increased the drag pressure and pulled it towards a gap in the rocks where I could land it. I saw a flash of silver and on the next wave I pulled it on to the rocks. Another Bream – a thumper at just under 40cm.
I carried on fishing here for another hour. I had a few more hits but could not hook any more fish. Eventually, the tide and swell pushed me off this headland and, as I cleaned the two Bream, the heavens opened and I got soaked. I had managed two good fish in less than ideal conditions – not a bad start to the week.