Fingal Head predator – 21 November 2012


A couple of big storms over the weekend and this week, the wind was back to blowing from the south east. The tailor have been pretty solid at Fingal Head and despite the long drive and the early start, that looked like the best option on Wednesday. The wind was forecast to gradually drop through the morning, from about 15 knots down to 10 knots. Low tide would be just before 8.00 am.

I arrived about 4.15 am (QLD time) and it was already past first light. There was a small shower of drizzle as I walked out to the rocks. It was cloudy and overcast but the south easterly was blowing a good deal harder than 15 knots.

I rigged the heavy rod – I am still using the 20lb Fireline and a 30lb fluorocarbon leader, for the first casts of the day. I tied on the RAPALA SXR 14 hard bodied minnow. After only a few rock fishing sessions it is looking a bit battered, but I always think you should try the biggest, most daring lure in the bag for your first cast, as it might just tempt something which has been lurking around all night.

It hit the water and bait sprayed in all directions which was a great sign. They were tiny smelt coloured anchovies about 3cm long. They certainly did not look much like a red headed RAPALA SXR 14 but on the next cast – tug, tug – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. That’s how the tailor seem to play. Sometimes I think a couple of fish hit the lure at about the same time and that’s why there is a slight delay before they start running. It’s only when the faster/ more aggressive fish wins and clamps down on the lure that the fun starts. This one tried to head south but with the heavy gear I turned its head and soon had it round on the north side and safely landed. It was another very handsome Tailor – just over 50cm long. It was spitting up plenty of the 3cm bait fish.

It had given the RAPALA SXR 14 a good work over. As I have mentioned, I like these lures – great action, good colours, consistent swimming depth and tough trebles and rings but the paint job and their lack of overall durability lets them down. This one had now lost more than 50% of its paint, it was missing a chunk off its rear end and the wire frame was bent sideways. It had caught three or four fish and was only in its third session. This not a cheap lure at approximately A$20, so it should be tougher than it is. I straightened out the wire frame and peppered the areas with casts again. But I did not get another hit.

After about 10 minutes, I swapped to a smaller RAPALA Clackin Rap CNM11 hard bodied minnow. This lure is 110mm long and weighs 20 grams. I had it in the Grey Ghost colour. RAPALA describe it as ‘slow sinking’ which really means it suspends in a big swell. The ‘clack’ is caused by a big ball bearing that rattles on a cylinder across the body of the lure. It has a lighter set of trebles and, on the back treble, one of the hooks is slightly elongated. It has a fairly standard slashbait /minnow action. The smaller profile or the louder rattle obviously did the trick because I hooked up on the first cast. It was a smaller tailor – about 35cm long.

By 6.30 am things had gone quiet, so I decided to try a soft plastic lure. I tied on a 3/8th ounce, 2/0 hook, jighead and loaded it with a GULP 4” minnow in the pearl water melon colour. I still had the heavy rod but I had dropped down to 20lb fluorocarbon leader. I dropped the lure down close to rocks on the eastern side of the rock platform. I could see a thick school of bait sitting there. I let it sink to the bottom and immediately got snagged. I broke off the line and re-rigged. This time I cast out a bit further and let the plastic waft in, close to the rocks, as I retrieved it.

Just before I lifted it from the water there was a big bait spray and a Jewfish engulfed it. The fish turned and took off. I had got a clear look and it looked like a 10kg fish. At first it started heading north but it soon turned south, in the direction of a load of rocky snags. Even with the big rod and a fairly tight drag, it was taking plenty of line. After a few minutes of sustained pressure I brought it to the surface, close to the rocks. Landing it would be very tricky, but the problem was solved before I had to think about it. With a shake of its head, it spat the bent hook out and was gone.

I swapped the bent jighead and mangled soft plastic for a tougher one and cast out again. After a few casts and a couple more jigheads lost to the bottom, I hooked up again. I did not get a look at it this time. It swam straight around the corner to the south and broke the leader on the rocks. This was getting frustrating.

Con – another local rock fisherman was spinning with a ’waxwing’ lure on the north side of the rocks. He gave me a shout and I went over. He had hooked a small tailor and something had decided to eat half of it on the way in – ouch. I tried a few casts in the area with a soft plastic but could only manage to catch a dart and then a long tom, neither of which seemed like likely suspects for the tailor robbery. Something bigger was prowling around but despite trying every lure in the bag, neither of us could tempt it.

At about 8.30 am I gave up for the day and drove back up to Brisbane. Still plenty of bait and plenty of fish around.


Fingal Head – Trevally, Tailor, Dart and Bream – 16 November 2012


The weather was going from one extreme to the other. On Monday the strong south-easterly had lifted the seas and made things tough. By Friday a howling north easterly was forecast. I managed to find a space for a quick fish but with the wind forecast to be blowing at 30 knots, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it.

I wanted to have another try with the RAPALA lures I had been sent so I woke at 2.45 am and went outside to see what the wind was doing. In Brisbane there was no breeze at all so I decided to go for it. By the time I reached the rocks at Fingal Head, an hour and a half later, the wind was well and truly up.

I tried to walk over the headland to the rock platform and nearly got blown over. There was no point trying to fish off the rock platform so I had a look to the south for a more sheltered spot. The northerly had completely flattened the swell. I climbed down on to a ledge just to the south of the main platform.

I tied on the RAPALA SXR 14 – a 140mm hard bodied minnow. They describe it as a ‘slashbait’. This just means that it will move more violently from side to side than a normal minnow, but you need to work it, quite aggressively, to achieve this type of action. I had it in the ‘Clown’ colour – red head and yellowish body. I picked the size 14 as it looked like it would be the only one heavy enough to cast against the wind. It weighs 43 grams but with the wind blowing this hard from the north, my attempts to cast against it were fruitless.

The sun was just coming over the horizon and now all I could do was cast to the south and retrieve against the wind. The tide was just past low and would be high at 11.00 am so I was not fishing in much water.

After a couple of casts I felt a really powerful hit and then line started peeling. The drag was set pretty tight but the fish had no trouble stripping line. Initially it went south, with the current and wind, but then it turned north which helped me. I got back some line and climbed down as close to the base of the rocks as I could. It was not a tailor – it was too calm and powerful. I played it for few minutes but still could not get a look at it. Each time I got it towards the foot of the rocks it took off again. Eventually it came into view – a good looking trevally. It was pretty tired now so I used a wave to lift it onto a safe looking ledge and then hopped down and picked it up. It was a very handsome grunting fish, just about 70cm long. After a few pictures, I pulled out the treble and let the fish swim away.

I carried on fishing the SXR 14 and a few casts later it hooked a small tailor. Then all went quiet – except for the wind which just got stronger and stronger. I decided to switch locations and move round to the more sheltered southern side of the headland. There is not much sea bed structure here but there are a couple of large rock pools that are constantly filling and draining. I cast around these with the SXR 14 and then tried an 85g Raider. Neither produced a fish so I decided to swap down to the light rod.

I swapped over to the DUO Tetraworks Yurameki lure. This is a small bibless sinking lure. It has a tight action. It weighs 6.3 grams and is 48mm long. Normally it sinks fairly fast but with the wind blowing a big bow in the line, it dropped very slowly. I could see the Bream come up to look at it but they did not strike. I cast around and got a few hits further out. I persisted in the same area, leaving the lure for a long time, to make sure it had reached the bottom before I started the retrieve. After a long wait I lifted the lure for its first hop and a fish hit it. It pulled hard on the light rod and as it came to the surface I saw it was a swallowtail dart. It was a good size and another species notched up on the DUO Tetraworks Yurameki. I threw it back and carried on battling the wind.

I eventually swapped over to a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic lure, on a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead and this got the bream going. I kept feeling them hit the plastic but could not hook up. Eventually I caught one and then another, and another but they were only just legal size, at about 28cm. The wind was now too difficult to deal with so, at about 10.00 am, I gave up and headed home.

More Tailor from the rocks – Fingal Head – 12 November 2012


A big south easterly blow had stirred things up over the weekend and it was still forecast to be blowing at 15-20 knots on Monday morning. It looked like I only had one day to fish this week, so I had to go for it. The recent rain would make the estuaries dirty, so I decided to drive back down to Fingal Head and fish the rocks.

I arrived at about 4.15 am and although the wind had calmed a little, there was at least a 2 metre swell. The horizon was grey with a hint of orange, as the sun started to appear. The swell would make it hard to fish but the Tailor love the white water and there was plenty available. I had to carefully time my hop across the causeway, between the big swells.

I rigged up the heavy rod. The reel is a Shimano Stradic 8000 FJ and I have generally used the pink Bionic 20 or 30lb braid on it. This is great line that lasts well but it has started to fray and so I have replaced it with a spool of 20lb Fireline, in the luminous green colour. I find this colour stands out better than all the others, especially in low light. Fireline has advantages and disadvantages. When its new it can be a little stiff but as it is a fused line, it does not take in much water and it slides through the rod guides very easily. Unfortunately, just as it becomes supple enough to be perfect for fishing and knot tying, it starts to fray. It is certainly much tougher than its advertised breaking strain.

For the first cast of the day I usually start with 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I am out of DUO Minnow lures at present but fortunately RAPALA have sent me a box XRS 12s. I love most of the RAPALA lure range, especially their smaller hard bodies for Trout and Bream. But I am not sure they have the build quality of the DUOs, especially in the larger suspending and floating minnows. When you are fishing from the rocks, the lures get knocked around so they need to have a durable paint job. The X-Rap is nicely shaped and has a good action but after half an hour and a few knocks, the paint starts peeling, the loose flakes catch in the water and this changes the lures action. To get it to swim right you then start peeling off the rest of the paint – which is not ideal.

I tied on an XR12 in the Silver colour and cast out. I have tried different speed retrieves but I generally prefer to go fairly quickly, jerking the rod to the side in long sweeps until I can feel the vibration coming back up the line. On the second cast a fish hit the lure and I hooked up. It was a good Tailor about 50cm long. I took a few pictures and threw it back. Shortly afterwards I lost the lure to the rocks. I tied on another in a different colour but after 30 minutes this had not produced anything. I tried a smaller YOZURI Crystal Minnow but the swell was too much for it and I could not get it to run right. I put on a 65g Raider metal slug and fished it for a while, but it did not find a fish. Then I tied on a cheap, bottom of the tackle box, sinking vibe lure. I cast it out about ten times until it was grabbed at the base of the rocks by another 45cm Tailor.

The swell was pounding over the rock platform, so I could not stand on the eastern edge and cast at the area where the fish have been holding. I decided to give a heavier, 85g Raider metal slug a try. I would be able to cast this further and pull it over the area where I though the fish were. After a few casts I had another fish on. I pulled it round the rocks to the north and landed it. It was another 45cm Tailor. On the next two casts I hooked and then lost fish. A few minutes I hooked yet another.

I got it to the base of the rocks and then it shook itself free. When I pulled up the slug I could see the fish had broken off one of the hooks on the treble and the split ring was looking severely stretched. When the Tailor attack they really get stuck in.

By 9.00am the sun had come up but the swell was still crashing over the front of the rock platform. Even if I hooked more fish it would be very tough/dangerous landing them, so I gave up for the day.

The temperatures are up and it is mid-November but there are still plenty of Tailor about. I wonder how much longer they will hang around?

Fingal Head – more Tailor & more Jewfish – 7 November 2012


Monday’s rock fishing session had me all fired up. There was plenty of bait around and the Tailor and Jewfish would probably stick around as long as it was there. I set the alarm for 2.45 am and arrived at Fingal Head just after 4.00 am (QLD time).

There was not much swell or wind, but the light breeze was from the north east. I walked out to the rocks and rigged up the heavy rod. I was fishing with 20lb braid and 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I tied on a DUO Roughtrail. This is a 130mm sinking, hard bodied, minnow lure. It is designed for tough swell conditions and has a fairly thick bib that keeps the rolling action on track,even in choppy water. It is also a bit tougher than the standard range.

The sun was not yet over the horizon, and it was about 4.50 am when I finished rigging up. The first cast flew away nicely and the lure quickly found its rhythm. On the second, there was an obvious bump, as the lure passed over a submerged bommy. On the third, the line pulled tight and I hooked up. I pulled the fish round the rocks to the north of the platform and landed it – another 50cm Tailor. I took some pictures and bled it. This fish had a treble through its gills so I had to keep it. I quite enjoy eating Tailor when its fresh, but one fish per session is usually enough for me.

I cast out again and a few metres in to the retrieve, the DUO Roughtrail was slammed and line was peeling, this was a bigger fish and it took me straight down into the rocks and released itself. Disastrously, it left the Roughtrail behind – snagged firmly below the water line. I snapped the line and reviewed my tackle options. I was pretty much out of hard bodied minnow lures. I tried a couple of slugs, a 65g and 85g raider, but these did not get any interest. I also tried a big popper, without success.

By 7.00 am I decided to try the light rod and fish with some soft plastic lures. I put on a 16lb leader and a 1/6th ounce, size 1/0 jighead. I chose a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I let the plastic sink, in close to rocks and after a couple of casts I caught a Bream.

I released it and tried casting the plastic so it would float down beside a submerged bommy, about 6 metres out. Just as I was pulling the plastic over the top of the bommy, a fish grabbed it and the rod bent over. The fish was slow and powerful and immediately headed south. I had the light rod, so I had to go with it. I started to exert some pressure but it was still setting the agenda. I assumed it was a Jewfish but I still had not seen it. It swam round into the mouth of the channel, between the rock platform and the mainland and then I caught sight of a 70-80cm Jewfish.

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The fish was nicely hooked but had plenty of kick left in it. Con, the other fisherman on the rocks, came over to assist but with no gaff and a long way down to a point where we could grab the fish, our options were limited. I tried to ease the fish on to some flat rocks that I could get down to, between wave sets. The swell had built up through the morning and was now easily strong enough to knock me in, if I timed it wrong. I pulled the fish clear of the water and it lay, obligingly on a rock about a metre below. Just then a big wave came through and I had to retreat. As I tried to keep the fish on the rocks the leader snapped, but miraculously the fish just lay there for what seemed like ages (probably 30 seconds) until the next set came through and washed it back into the water.

It seemed like fishing light had done the trick but how would I land them? I swapped up to 20lb leader to give myself more of a chance, but I stuck with the light rod and jighead. About 15 minutes later I was on again. This time the fish had struck right at the base of the rocks, on the eastern side of the rock platform. There was a big swell by now, crashing into the rocks every few minutes and the fish took off to the south again. The last one had shown me that south was not a good option. I tightened the drag and pulled hard, hoping to pull the fish round to the north. I made a bit of headway, but then the line went slack and the fish was gone.

I swapped to the heavy rod with 30lb leader and carried on fishing for another hour. I cast all around the platform and tried a few more different soft plastics, but I did not get another bite. At about 9.30am, I cleaned up the Tailor and gave up for the day.

Fingal Head – Plenty of Tailor – 5 November 2012


The weather looked OK for some rock fishing on Monday. It was forecast as a slight south easterly breeze and swell. It has been a while since we have had the wind from this direction, at dawn. It means that the swell can be difficult but I think the dawn bite is more aggressive when the wind is blowing this way.

I decided on Fingal Head again. I have been catching fish there and it is a beautiful spot even when you are not. I arrived just after 4.30 am to find 3 fishermen out on the rocks already and I could see one was half way through a battle with a decent fish. He had a very light rig and had tempted the fish with a metal slug. He landed it safely and it was a good sized Tailor around 55cm. By now one of the others had hooked up. He was fishing with a shallow diving 110mm Minnow and a wire trace. He landed his fish and several others over the next 30 minutes.

I wasted no time rigging up but in my excitement lost a DUO Beachwalker MD 120 minnow to the rocks, on my first cast. I put on another and moved round to the front of the platform. The wind was stronger than forecast and this made getting down low on the rocks to get the most action out of the shallow diving minnow, difficult. The fish seemed pretty aggressive so I switched to a RAPALA ‘walk the dog’ lure. I got the fish to follow this one and even saw a couple of aborted strikes, but I could not hook up.

In the meantime the other three now had about 6 good fish in the bleeding pond. I swapped again, this time to a the DUO Bay Ruf Manic sub surface stick bait. I had toughened this one up a bit with stronger single hooks and split rings. A fish knocked it out of the water and then there was a good swirl beside it, but I still could not hook up. This was a good bite but the shallow diving minnow was definitely out fishing everything else. I looked for something similar in the tackle box. I found an 18 gram, 90mm, sinking YOZURI Crystal Minnow in a silvery colour and tied this on with 30lb fluorocarbon leader.

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Things had slowed a little and the others had stopped to clean their fish – they had about 10 between them – all between 50 and 60cm. This gave me access to a bit more waterfront. The swell was slapping against the rocks and making it tricky to finish the retrieve without getting the lure snagged. I cast out at 45 degress to the north east of the rock platform and let the lure drop down in the water column. I retrieved it fairly slowly with plenty of pauses. Three casts in and bang – a fish grabbed it. The line slackened momentarily, as it pushed the lure towards me and then it took off. It was a decent Tailor and it put in a few jumps trying to head south. The only place to land them safely when the swell is up, is on the north side of the platform, but the current is usually pulling them round to the south and so you have too subdue them fairly quickly.

I took the sting out of this one and got it round to the north, where the trebles pulled free, just as it came up on to the rocks. Fortunately the fish fell between two rocks and I reached down and grabbed it behind the gills. It was a good Tailor just short of 50cm. I bled the fish and cast out the lure again. I felt another hit in the same spot but on the next retrieve I connected with a rock and lost the lure. I was reminded once again why I should buy shares in lure manufacturers.

I looked through the tackle box and was disappointed to discover that I did not have another shallow diving minnow with me. I tried an 85g and 65g Raider metal slug, but these did not raise a bite. By about 8.30 am I had switched to soft plastic lures and I was fishing on the lighter Shimano Catana rod. I was using a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour and because of the swell I had put it on a ¼ ounce 1/0 jighead. As I was finishing a retrieve, a fish hit the plastic right at the base of the rocks. I set the hook and it took off. It broke the surface a few metres out and it looked like a small Tailor. Then it managed to bite through or rub off the 10lb leader I had dropped down to.

At about 9.00am with the swell building so I decided to give up. The hour either side of dawn remains the most consistent fishing time at the moment. I will be back again soon.

Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats – 4 November 2012


Sunday was a grey and rainy morning. The early starts and drives south had worn me out so I had a lie I, until 4.15 am and then decided on a quick wading session at Bribie.

I drove through a few showers on the way up and decided to stay on the mainland and fish the weed banks and mud/ sand flats, south of the old oyster jetty. The jetty is now out of bounds pending re-development but it has been repaired and made safe. The complete removal of the tree cover in the area has made the light quite different and I have been wondering if it will affect the weed growth and therefore the fishing. The terrain has flattened out a quite considerably but I think that has more to do with the change of wind and current, as we settle into a more obvious summer weather pattern.

I arrived just after 5.00 am and the sun was up, but buried behind the grey clouds. I waded past the jetty and had a look around. It was just about slack water on low tide. There was no surface action and the water was pretty murky. I tied on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and loaded it with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour – red and yellow. Unfortunately the bright dry sunny days have encouraged the growth of the ‘snot weed’ or algae. This takes particular hold in the areas where there is not much current flow. It means you get a jighead full of slime if you hit the bottom.

Once you reach the edge of the weed beds you can cast parallel with them and avoid it. But don’t go past the sandy patches between the weed as these often harbour a few fish and this was where the first Flathead came from today. It slammed the plastic as soon as it hit the water and I hooked up without really trying, as it tried to swim off with it. It was just under 50cm.

I let the fish go and swapped to a another small hard body from DUO that I have been wanting to try out – the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR. This is a small suspending lure designed for bass but suitable for plenty of other species. It is finished to the usual superb standard and I chose one in the olive colour to try out. I had upgraded the trebles and split rings for saltwater work – the Flathead don’t take prisoners!

I was pretty sure there was more than one Flathead in the sandy patch in front of me and my first cast with the Realis Shad confirmed it. After two quick hops of the lure, a fish knocked it out of the water and then swiped again with a splash. But I did not hook up, so I wound the lure back in and cast out again. This time I let it sit for about 10 seconds – and then gave it a short pull. A fish attacked again and this time it was hooked. But the fish was only about 30 cm long.

I let it go and tried again. After about three more casts, the line pulled tight and a really angry fish surfaced. I pulled this one over to some exposed reef and landed it. This time good Flathead about the same size as the first of the day. I sent it on its way and moved south.

The tide was now flowing in strongly. I waded along casting over the weed beds. I caught two more Flathead – both about 45cm long, on the Realis Shad. The incoming tide had now lifted lots of strap weed and this was starting to clog the hard bodied lure. I swapped back the GULP curry chicken Jerkshad and this tempted two more 45cm fish before I gave up at about 8.30 am.

As I waded back along the shoreline there were Flathead ’lies’ everywhere. Many were very close to the Mangrove roots, showing that the fish will move up into very shallow water on the higher overnight tides.

You have a very good chance of catching dinner at the moment, especially if you get up early!

Fingal Head – Jew & Tailor – 1 November 2012


I was up early again – full moon had passed on Wednesday. Low tide would be just before 4.00 am. It would still be a pretty big tidal flow. A northerly blow was forecast but it would be calm around dawn. I decided to drive back down to Fingal Head.

I arrived in between dawn and first light – just a little late. It was cloudy but as the northerly picked up it turned into a beautiful morning. I started with DUO Beachwalker MD 120 hard-bodied minnow in the orange colour. I had swapped back to treble hooks. There were bumps and splashes on each of my first three casts. On the fourth cast I hooked something. It pulled pretty hard and I thought I had connected with a good fish and then I realised it was a small Tailor – hooked through the back. I let it go and carried on casting but could not hook anything else.

I swapped over to a 65g Raider metal slug and moved round to the north edge of the rock platform and cast as far as I could. After about 20 casts I felt a knock at the base of the rocks. Then, on the next cast, a fish hit the lure right at the base of the rocks. It was a small Tailor – around 40cm long. I let that one go. I decided to try some soft plastics on the lighter rod and reel combo – the Shimano Catana Coastline light rod, 2500 reel, 6lb braided main line and 10lb leader.

A local fisho, Bill arrived with his Alvey and big rod and threw out a fresh prawn. His first cast produced an excellent Tarwhine, which looked to be about the 1kg mark. There were definitely fish around.

The strong northerly was making it easier to fish on the southern side of the rock platform now. I cast out a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour, on a 1/6th 1 jighead and let it slowly sink. I cast in all directions and did not get any interest for about an hour. The water was very clear and just in the mouth of the channel that separates the causeway from the mainland; there was a school of small baitfish, hugging the rocks. There is a slight overhang here and some deeper water close to the rocks. I dropped the plastic into the middle of the channel and thought I felt the faintest of bites. I flicked the bail arm over and released a metre or two of line. As I slowly retrieved it, it flicked tight and the rod bent over. Line started peeling and I started thinking – how and where will I land this?

I decided from the slow and powerful runs it was not a Tailor. I would try to coax it round the rocky outcrop, to the front of the rock platform. The northerly had flattened the sea and it was safe to jump down a few steps to the wash area, to grab a fish between waves, if I could get it that far. It did not want to come round the rocks and with the light rod and 10lb leader I could not apply much pressure. I left the drag quite light and just kept winding. Eventually I dragged the fish round the rocks and saw it was a small Jew. I used the surge to get it onto a flat rock at the water line and then hopped down and picked it up, between waves. It was a good looking 55cm fish. I slit its throat and put it in the keeper pool.

The plastic and leader was a bit gnarled but OK, so I threw it back out. Two or three casts later and I was on again. This time it was a much bigger fish and initially I really was not making much of an impression. But Jewfish tire quickly and after a while the fish was beaten but the swell was still making things tricky. I aborted a couple of attempts to pull the fish round the rocks but eventually it swam in the right direction. I got it on to the same ledge as the previous one, jumped down and grabbed it under the gills. This was a much bigger fish at about 75cm. I decided to keep this one as well. It was 8.15 am.

I swapped the soft plastic for bigger one – a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Black Shad colour. I stuck with the 10lb leader and the 1/6th 1 jighead. After about 10 more minutes of casting and retrieving, close to the overhang – bang, I was on to a fish. This one was bigger again and after a long tussle I got it to the same spot. But this one was too much for the 10lb leader and as I pulled the fish onto the rock ledge, it snapped.

I decided to upgrade to the bigger rod and use 20lb leader. I stuck with the 1/6th 1 jighead and the same soft plastic. I carried on or another hour but did not get another bite. Was it the heavier leader or had I spooked them? I am not sure. All the fish were caught in no more than 2m of water – the Jewfish certainly don’t mind feeding in the shallows.

At about 10.00am I left the platform to Bill, cleaned up the Jewfish and went in search of ice.

Fingal Head – Tailor – 30 October 2012


I never get bored of catching fish but I have enough Flathead in the fridge so it was time for a change of scene. I decided to drive down to Fingal Head on Tuesday morning, to fish the rocks around the lighthouse and the causeway.

My view is there are some things you can be late for – work, submitting your tax return, your wedding, the births of your children, etc – and then there are some things you must never be late for – fishing. I am ashamed to admit that I was late on Tuesday morning. I was up at 3.45 am and on the road south, a few minutes later, but the sun was well over the horizon as I pulled into the car park, at Fingal Head l. It was just before 5.00 am (QLD time). I quickly pulled my rock boots on and hiked out to the causeway and promontory, below the lighthouse. The skies were grey and rain was on the way. The wind was from the south east, initially.

There were a couple of guys fishing and plenty of fresh blood in the rock pools. This just emphasised for me, the need to arrive just before dawn (rather than just after). One of the fisherman confirmed they had landed a good Tailor just after first light.

I rigged up one of my DUO hard bodied favorites – the Beachwalker Mid120. This is a fairly shallow diving minnow. I have swapped a few of my lures over to single hooks to see how this affects my hook up and capture rates. I think trebles may connect with more fish but bigger, single hooks give you a better chance of landing the fish, from the rocks, once it is hooked. I was using a bright orange coloured DUO Beachwalker and after a few casts I saw the small Tailor following it in. There were some splashes behind the lure and a couple of knocks but I did not hook up.

I swapped to a soft plastic GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Black shad colour on a 3/8th oz, 3/0 jighead and threw that out. I was fishing with my Daiwa Demonblood, 9’6” rod, 30lb braid and 20lb fluorocarbon leader. The soft plastic did not seem to interest the fish. In fact, I did not even lose the tail to the smaller fish, which is what usually happens here.

I swapped through a few more plastics and hard bodies but could not connect with anything. At about 8.15am I swapped down to my lighter Shimano Catana Coastline rod and 2500 size reel 8lb Fireline Exceed and 16lb fluorocarbon leader. I tried fishing a few smaller soft plastics on light jigheads but they did not attract any fish.

I swapped over to another of my DUO lures – the Bay Ruf Manic 115. This is an 18 gram stick bait that is cleverly weighted to cast long distances and sink slowly. At only 18 grams it is a little light to cast with my big rig but it is perfect with the Catana. I had left the original trebles on this one. It does not look like it has much action but on closer inspection, it has a very tight sub-surface wobble which leaves a pulsing wake.

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I cast it out and let it sink for a few seconds. On the first retrieve I saw a fish come up behind it then turn away. On the next cast a fish grabbed it right at the base of the rocks and took off. It was at this moment that I remembered the rod is called the Shimano Catana Coastline LIGHT. It bends over nicely and is a great shock absorbed but it cannot apply much pressure to decent sized Tailor. After a few frenetic runs, I started to get a bit of line back. The fish jumped and I saw it was going to be a headache to land – it was a good Tailor well over 50cm.

I steered it round the rocks and tried to pull it in close to a ledge where I might be able to grab the leader and pull it up. I increased the pressure and tightened the drag but then the lure pulled free of the mouth and the fish was gone. I pulled up the lure which had scale on it and a slightly bent rear treble. Things went quiet again and I had a chat with another angler – Steve. We were distracted from our chat by a few swooping birds who started dive bombing the swell, a few metres out in front of us.

We both chucked a lure at the boil – I had the Bay Ruf Manic and Steve had a 45g metal slug. We both hooked up straight away. After a brief fight I had a 50cm Tailor at my feet and Steve had landed a slightly smaller model. The Bay Ruf Manic had lost its tail-end treble – half of which I later found lodged in the roof of its mouth. DUO lures had produced for me again.

By this point my shoulders and back were killing me, so I decided one fish would do. I walked back to the car – covered it in ice and drove back to Brisbane.