On Tuesday and Wednesday, the scourge of all serious fishermen – paid employment – took me to the Hunter Valley. Before you get excited it was coal, rather than wine related! But every cloud has a silver lining and I managed to set aside Thursday morning for a bit of fishing.
I decided to drive out towards Nelson Bay from Newcastle and stopped at Fisherman’s Bay – near Anna Bay. This whole coast, just north of Newcastle, has loads of fishy looking spots. Unfortunately I was not up early enough to be fishing at dawn but this was probably wise on an unknown set of rocks. I was fishing with my Berkley Nomad 6’6″, 2-4 kg, 5 piece travel rod. This rod is a compromise between strength and travel convenience. Inevitably, the bend is nothing like a two piece rod but it is still the only decent rod I have found, that will fit safely inside a standard roll-on travel bag. I match the rod to an old Shimano Stradic 2500. The reel was loaded with 10lb braid and I tied on a 12lb leader.
Fisherman’s Bay is a series of rocky outcrops and shallow inlets. The inlets are dotted with kelp covered bommies and patches of rock and reef. There had been a heavy storm and a lot of rain in the days before my visit. This meant that there was a lot of debris floating around but the water was still very clear. The rod can manage hard bodies, up to about twenty grams but they would not work with all the weed, so I tied on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and put on a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic lure, to start with. I worked my way around the rocks, losing plenty of gear as I worked out where the patches of reef were.
I fished from about 7.30am to 9.30 am without a touch. I had walked around the whole bay and was now on the southern side. I had dropped down to a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 8lb fluorocarbon leader. I was now fishing with the GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the smelt colour. Finally, I found the fish – but they were only pike. Sitting behind a bommy, they came out, one after another to attack the soft plastic. I caught a few and then they went quiet. I swapped back to the GULP Shrimp again and caught a few more.
At about 10.30 am I had to head off to the airport for the flight back to Brisbane. I had not caught much but it is always great fun to explore a new area – I hope I can do this again soon.