Once again I had arrived in time for a cold snap. Fortunately there was not much wind and the high tides were falling around dawn so, apart from the sudden temperature drop – conditions looked very good.
I started on the rocks just around from Rosslyn Bay harbour. There are some excellent ledges here and with a big tide there is plenty of water in front of them. I ventured out just after first light at around 6.10 am. I started with the big rod – the 9’6” Daiwa Demon Blood, and a new Stradic 8000 FJ, spooled with 30lb braid and a 30lb fluorocarbon leader. This is my heavy gear and I was hoping to find some big fish. The moon was coming up to full and as I walked across the rocks there was a huge pile of scales and big set of blood stains. I recognized the scales as Jewfish – so things were looking promising.
I walked as far along the rock ledge as I could to the mouth of a cave, which has an inlet in front of it. I rigged up with a 3/8th oz, 2/0 jighead and a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour. I cast out and waited for a while. I let it sink then hopped the lure back across the bottom.
I carried on for 30 minutes without success. Before the sun came cleared the horizon I felt a quick grab about 4 metres out from the shore. I stopped the retrieve, waited – nothing. I slowly wound it back to the base of the rocks – bang. Just as I was lifting the plastic from the water the fish struck.
The drag was set pretty tight but this fish hardly noticed it. It put its head down and went straight down under the rocks. I got right down to the edge of the water and tried to put some pressure on. I thought I was getting somewhere as the fish slowly came out. But it was just looking for a better hiding place and this time it effortlessly took more line and headed further under the rock ledge. I could feel the line rubbing whenever I tried to put more pressure on. Stalemate – I waited hoping it might swim out but it was in control of the encounter and after a few more tugs, the line snapped at the leader to braid join. Not sure what it was – it felt a bit faster than a Jewfish – perhaps a Jack or Cod or some other reef species.
I was left with a pounding heart and shaking hands watching a magnificent sun on the horizon. I re-rigged and carried casting all around these ledges for another 3 hours and did not get another bite. I swapped to slugs for a while and also tried smaller soft plastics on the light rod, but nothing could interest the fish. There did not appear to be any bait around – which might have been a problem or perhaps the cold south westerly breeze had shut things down.
I decided to drive down to Emu Park. I had breakfast and then walked out to survey the rocks. The big tidal variation in this area makes planning where and when to fish essential. There will be four metres of water coming and going with each tide, at this phase of the moon. So you have to follow the shore line out and in, and make sure you don’t get stuck. The big run can be beneficial, as the fast running water creates draining pools and eddies which give the fish ambush spots.
The rocky headland in front of Emu Park has a small bay and it was now almost low tide – around noon. I took the light rod and put on a 1/8th, 1/0 jighead and a 3” Minnow Grub soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I dropped down to 10lb leader. The grub tail plastic will often entice a strike in shallower water, especially outside of normal fish feeding times.
I found the Pike first, then a few tiny cod, then a passing school of small Trevally came marauding through. All the fish were small. I tried bigger soft plastics but the fish did not get any bigger. It was encouraging that all these fish were here. I would need to come back closer to dawn or dusk or perhaps when there is a little more water.
Just after 12.30 pm I gave up for the day. When fishing in unfamiliar territory you have to expect some tough days. I think I am beginning to work this area out.