Fingal Head – Jew & Tailor – 1 November 2012

Thursday

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.

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