Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats – 22 February 2013

Friday

I was back in Brisbane considering the land based fishing options. Next week it looks like mad weather – just about everywhere. It’s a tragedy – I have no work on the horizon so I could go and fish just about anywhere, but it looks like the east coast of Australia, will be washed out.

Friday morning did not look very promising locally, either. The big south-easterly blow was not forecast to drop off until about midday and the Pumicestone Passage was pretty much full of fresh water, after all the recent rain.

But the point about fishing is you must never give up. So at about 8.00 am, as the sun came out, I set off for Bribie hoping to find some sheltered spots, where I could put in a few casts.

I arrived just before 9.00 am and decided to fish the mainland side of the Passage around the old oyster jetty. Despite the major tree clearance that took place last year, this area is still quite sheltered from a southerly wind and is a viable option, especially as the tide runs out. High tide had passed at 7.22 am at 2.2 m. I waded south, under the Bribie Bridge. The water was still lapping at the mangroves, but it was running out fairly fast. Predictably the water was pretty brown and full of sediment but you could still just see your feet through about 60cm of it.

I started by casting all around the bridge pylons. I was using a neutral coloured 3” GULP minnow soft plastic in ‘smelt’on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. This produced nothing so I moved further south, to cast alongside and underneath the oyster jetty. I felt a few grabs in this area and soon realised there were some hungry long toms cruising around.

I crossed to the area just to the south of the jetty and swapped to a DUO Ryuki Spearhead hard body which is usually a great bream lure. Unfortunately I sacrificed this in the shallows to a patch of rocky bottom. I moved further south and changed tactics. I swapped back to soft plastics and tied on a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the lime tiger colour – still on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead. I was using about 1.5 m of 10lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader.

By about 11.00 am the tide was about halfway out and I had reached the area where the water drains off the Sandstone Point flats, round the corner. You could not see the bottom but you could tell from the eddies on the surface where the slack water was. I put in a couple of long casts (the southerly wind was helping me). I felt the plastic pull through the see grass but it did not pick up too much. The advantage of all the rain and wild weather is that it washes away any loose stuff.

A few casts later there was a big splash, as the lure hit the water and then a solid tug and run. Line was peeling straight away but as I lifted the rod I clearly felt the jighead pop through the fishes’ lip. This was a sizeable fish so I let it run. There is not much structure in this area, just a line of rocky bottom as you move back towards the mangroves. This fish was too big to tangle with in the water so I would have to walk it back to the shore line. I slowly took back some line and started wading towards the mangroves. The water was now shallower and dirtier, so I had to be careful to steer it over the rocky patches and onto the shore.

It was a solid flathead. I pulled it up on to a ready-made envorimat; a pair of abandoned trawlerman’s waders, that had washed up on the shore. I measured it against the rod and could see it was pushing 70cm. I took a couple of pictures then released it.
Although the water was now very cloudy, there was not much weed floating around so I decided to try out my latest DUO favourite – the Realis Shad MR 59 hard body minnow. It is a small suspending lure and that has caught plenty of flathead for me, but I am sure it will catch good bream over the weed beds. I picked out a white and blue one tied it on and cast out. This lure has a great action but it is the pauses that seem to entice the strikes. So I slowly retrieved it with lots of long pauses. On the second cast my theory panned out as, on the first pause, the lure was first knocked out of the water and then, a moment later, connected to a fish.

The hooked fish was too fast for a flathead – although it may have been a flathead that attacked the lure first. I soon had it subdued – it was a solid 30cm + bream. After a few pictures I released it but I could not find any more.

As the tide level fell I moved further and further south, towards the green channel marker. I was trying to fish the edge of the weed banks but in the dirty water on the bottom of the tide, I was finding it hard to see the edges. I swapped back to a GULP 4” minnow soft plastic in the smelt colour, on the 1/8th 1/0 jighead. This drew the attention of the long toms who I saw follow it in a couple of times. Eventually I got the lure into the right spot and the line started peeling. It was another flathead – just over 50cm. I decided to keep this one and after playing it for a while I managed to grab it with my rag and slip it in my keeper bag.

I swapped to a different colour in the same soft plastic – banana prawn. A few casts later this produced a fish – it was a very lively long tom. It did plenty of leaping around and made a couple of runs straight at me which was not that much fun. Usually these fish will cut through the leader pretty quickly but this one seemed to be hooked on the side of its long snout. I managed to flick it off the hook and carried on prospecting for flathead.

Just before 2.00 pm I caught another flathead who was perched on the edge of the weed line. This one was just under 50 cm. I swapped over to the bigger GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the lime tiger colour. This did not produce a fish but it did pull up two sand crabs. I am not sure if they were hungry or mating – either way they ended up in a right tangle. I had been playing football with the crabs all morning – perhaps they were finding it difficult to see me coming in the muddy water.

Just after a 2.00 pm, a set of squally showers moved through and I decided to give up. Conditions had been very average but the fish were there – and I suppose that is all that really matters!

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Iluka – Shark Bay – 14 February 2013

Thursday

On Wednesday afternoon the south-easterly wind had not really dropped off, as forecast. I had a quick fish around Woody Bay but it only yielded one very small flathead, on a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic.

Thursday was my last day and once again it started with rain and a strong south-easterly wind. Low tide was due at 5.40 am, just after first light. I decided to sit out the rain. Once it stopped, at about 6.30 am, I drove round to Frasers Reef and walked along the beach to Middle Bluff. The swell was just too big here and after an hour of losing gear to the rocks and getting soaked, I gave up.

By afternoon the weather had improved and the sun was out. The wind was still blowing from the south-east, so I decided to try fishing on the Shark Bay rock platform, as the tide ran out. I had intended to fish the north side of the rock platform, but when I arrived the wind was light enough and the tide was at just the right level to make it possible to fish on the south side.

After a week of fairly tough fishing, I was not confident of finding big tailor or jewfish, so I started fishing with my ‘light’ rock fishing outfit. I was using a 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a GULP 3” Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour. The swell was light and the water fairly clear so I dropped right down to a 1/8th oz 1/0 jighead. There are a number of low rocky outcrops on this side of the platform that extend into the sea like fingers. There a kelp and barnacle covered bommies all round. The area is dotted with patches of open sand and I concentrated on casting around the edges of these patches. I moved the lure slowly, letting it waft around in the surf. At about 3.00 pm a fish grabbed the lure and took off. It bit hard and took some line. It soon settled and it was not long before I had it safely on shore. It was a cracker bream that measured just fewer than 40 cm long. It had almost swallowed the soft plastic and jighead, whole.

I felt a few other nips over the next couple of hours and I swapped through a range of soft plastics and small hard bodies, but I could not find another fish.

Although the weather had made life tough it had actually been a pretty good week of fishing. I had caught some good bream and a great flathead. I am sure the school jewfish were around but I had just failed to find a spot where I could successfully get at them.

I hope the bait sticks around for a while and then as we move into the cooler months the land-based fishing will only improve.

Iluka – Woody Bay – 13 February 2013

Wednesday

On Wednesday I woke to more showers which were blowing through on a building south-easterly wind. I made some breakfast and waited for them to pass.

By the time the rain stopped it was about 6.30 am. The south-easterly was already blowing at about 15 knots and was forecast to get stronger through the day. There was not much point in trying to fish the headlands. The tide had been low at 5.00 am and had now turned in. I decided to fish around the rocks beside the boat launching area, on the edge of Woody Bay. This area, directly in front of the camp site, is sheltered by Woody Head. Even in a big south-easterly blow, it stays pretty calm.

A grey morning on Woody bay

A grey morning on Woody bay

I decided to switch to my really light spinning outfit – Shimano Stella 2500 reel, Loomis GL2 rod, 1.8kg Fireline and a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The bait that had been jumping around close to the rocks, had been some kind of small whitebait, so I chose a GULP 3” minnow soft plastic in the Watermelon Pearl colour, which would represent a similar profile. I rigged up the plastic on a 1/8th oz., 1/0 jighead. As I stood in the shallows, the water was warm and I started casting along the edge of the semi – submerged rock bars. At about 6.45 am the rain started again and just as it did, I felt the familiar double tap bream attack. I did not hook up but on the next cast, I did. I wound in another very respectable bream.

GULP Minnow gets the first bream

GULP Minnow gets the first bream

I let it go and moved on, casting out and trying to rest my soft plastic lure, for as long as possible, right where the rocks met the sand. Just before 7.00 am I felt the faintest of grabs, as I hopped the lure along the bottom beside the rocks. Two more casts in the same spot produced nothing. On the third, the rod bent over as the jighead stopped dead.

It felt like the lure had stuck fast in the rocks but then very slowly the ‘rocks’ started to move. In a long slow run the fish moved about 6 metres to the south. Then paused and did the same thing again. I pulled up on the rod and tried to recover some line. It was only at this point that the fish realised that it was hooked and started really fighting. It was still so slow and heavy that I thought it was a ray or shovel nose shark. After a few more lunges it turned towards me and rose to the surface shaking its head. I could now see it was a big flathead.

With a ten pound leader I could not risk any abrasion from the barnacle-covered rocks so I let the fish play itself out. It had been lurking in less than 30cm of water so it was hard to keep its head down but I took my time and used the swell. I found a nice sloping rock bar and gradually eased the fish up in a breaking wave. It was a nice flathead who measured up at about 74cm. After a few snaps I put her back and she swam away.

The Clarence River is still very de-oxygenated and full of fresh water from the floods. It is likely that all sorts of species (including flathead) have settled around these headlands to wait for it to clear. The birds were very active, constantly swooping in to pick up baitfish. So it looks like a fair amount of bait has also been washed out.

I decided to wade around the shallows in the bay and look for some more fish. I was soaked from the rain and being in the water was warmer than being out of it. I tried all around the rocks with the same soft plastic and a few others, to see if I could find anymore flathead – but I couldn’t. I watched a few long toms follow my lures in and have a snap at them, but did not hook any.

I swapped over to one of my favourite DUO hard bodied lures. With the river out of bounds there was not much water where I could use their range of finesse lures, but this bay was flat enough and clear of weed, so it was perfect. I tied on the DUO Ryuki Spearhead 45s in a gold/ green colour. This is a small trout lure that seems to work well on bream. It weighs 4 grams and is 45mm long with a small bib. As with most of the DUO range it casts a long way and slips into its action almost as soon as it hits the water. Although it is technically a sinking lure, its lightweight means that it effectively suspends, when you pause the retrieve.

I cast it over the flats and around the rock bars as the tide rose. First it attracted a few undersize moses perch. Then, as I moved into slightly deeper water I found a patch of small bream. I caught a couple before they decided they had had enough.

At about 10.00 am I found myself almost back where I had caught the big flathead earlier. I had waded round the bay in a big circle. I continued to cast along the edge of the rocks and suddenly felt a solid hit and run. The fish was hooked and after a few good runs it calmed down and I pulled it up to the sandy beach. It was another good bream – just over 35cm long. I released it and carried on fishing for about another hour with no luck, so I decided to give up for the morning.

Iluka – Woody Head – The Barnacles – 12 February 2013

Tuesday

It rained hard over night and I actually woke up cold on Tuesday morning. I made a huge mug of tea and fished out a long sleeve t-shirt. It was just after 5.00 am. The wind had already moved round from the south-west to blow from the east, but it was still fairly light. Low tide had been at 4.13 am. The swell might have eased a little overnight so I decided to start on the rock platform, out front at Woody Head. I walked out to the ‘Barnacles’ in the pre-dawn and things looked promising. There was only the occasional wave coming over the top and I would have an hour or so to fish before the tide got too high. It looked like it would even be possible to put out a few casts in front of ‘Barnacle Bob’.

The day before I had noticed the 20lb Fireline had started to fray on the heavy rod and I had lost a fair amount of the 10lb Platil Millenium braid, on the light rod. The Platil braid was getting a bit water-logged and heavy and not casting well. I decided neither was working particularly well in these conditions, so I drove into Big River Bait and Tackle at Maclean and asked for some suggestions on re-spooling. They were all a bit fed up after the floods. The Clarence River was still black and smelly and logically the fish looked like they had all fled out to sea for a while. The Clarence is a huge system and it will be a couple of weeks before the river improves.

As usual, the team gave me some good advice and suggested I re-spool both with 20lb Super PE braid. This would be thin enough to cast well on the light rig, but robust enough to handle a decent fish on the heavy rig. Best of all, they stripped off the old line and re-spooled both reels while I went off for a Pot Belly Pie (a local speciality) and a coffee.

So back at Woody Head the next morning I was fishing with perfectly loaded reels. This makes a huge difference when casting in difficult conditions. Every line change takes a little getting used too but the Sunline Super PE was a massive improvement. I started with the heavy rod and a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour on a ¼ oz, 3/0 jighead. I moved out carefully over the rocks to a spot just in front of ‘Barnacle Bob’. This has been the scene of a couple of big fish captures for me and whenever it’s safe I try a few casts here. I put the lure exactly where I wanted it but after five or six casts I had not found anything. I swapped through a few more soft plastic colours, but these did not produce any interest.

I moved south along the front of rocks to a safer spot and swapped down to the lighter rod. I put on a 1/6th oz, 2/0 jighead and tied on a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I decided to try a different soft plastic lure. I have never been a fan of the pure white lures, I have always assumed they are an offshore, deep water idea. But I had a packet of GULP jerkshads in white and I was not having much luck, so I decided to give them a try.

It was a wise choice; I cast out wide and let the lure waft in on the swell. I left it as long as I could and it got snagged. I re-rigged with the same set up. This time, right at the base of the rocks, I felt a bite, dropped the rod down and then struck. I had a fish. I let the swell wash it up. It was a nice Bream, well over 30 cm long.

I cast out again and felt another bite, but did not hook up. I carried on for a few more casts, using exactly the same technique. About five minutes later at 6.15 am I felt a gentle tug and then a solid bite. A wave came crashing over the top and I thought the fish was gone but as the water drained, the line was still tight. On the next swell I tightened the drag a little and pulled hard. A school Jewfish came into view. It had a bit of fight left in it and I only had a 12lb leader so I let it swim back out again. The next wave was a big one and it washed the fish over the rocks and back, past me into the drain behind me. I waited for the water to drain away again and when it did the fish was stranded and I grabbed it.

It was the first school jewfish of the week and it had been lurking right at the base of the rocks waiting for dinner. It was no monster at about 50cm long (NSW size limit is 45cm) but it would make a good meal. I despatched it and put it in a keeper rock pool. I looked for more and fished for another two hours but could not find any. I lost plenty of gear trying to get my lures into the strike zone but as the tide rose and the wind picked up, it became harder and harder. At about 8.45 am the water was sloshing over the rocks with every surge and I had to retreat.

Jewfish stomach contents

I went back to wash clean up the jewfish. I gutted it and had a look in the stomach. It was full of the tiny whitebait I had seen jumping by the rocks. As I was doing this I was standing in the shallow rock pool. After a few minutes of cleaning and scaling, I nearly jumped out of my skin as I heard a loud snap and splash, just behind my heal.

I found a big hungry wobbegong already in attendance. It had swum up a series of very shallow rapids to reach the pool, just below where I had lay the jewfish. The blood and guts had attracted him. I hopped out of the water and quickly found another (stranded) patch of water to finish the cleaning. By the time I finished cleaning the bream there were four of them swimming around, like toothy puppies waiting for lunch.

I had cut off the bream’s head as I intended to pan fry it on my camp stove. I left it on the edge of the rock pool and was amazed as two of the wobbegongs wriggled out of the water, in their attempts to reach it. Eventually the bigger of the two lunged forward and inhaled the head, with a loud snap.

In the afternoon I came back to the same spot as soon as the tide would allow, at about 2.30 pm. I fished all through the afternoon but the swell and wash made it difficult again. I caught one good Bream, about 33 cm and dropped a bigger one, both on a smaller GULP 3” Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/6th, 1/0 jighead, around 3.00pm. There was plenty of bait, jumping, in close to the rocks but I just could keep the lure where I wanted it.

By 5.00 pm I was soaked through and decided to give up and head for the wood fire, fried bream and a bottle of red.

Iluka – Middle Bluff and Shark Bay – 11 February 2013

Monday

The wind started a little cool from the south west but was forecast to move round to the east and north east. The tide would be too full to fish the dawn at Woody Head, so I decided to give Middle Bluff a try again. I arrived in the pre-dawn light, just before 6.00 am and immediately set to work with the heavy rig. I started with 3/8th oz, 3/0 jighead and a Gulp Jerkshad in the Pumpkinseed colour. The bommie, beside which the jewfish lurk, was covered in wash and the sweep took a few of my lures in quick succession. I had done too much of this the day before, so I changed tactics.

The sun was up and I moved right to the north end of Middle Bluff. I switched to the light rod with 16lb leader and put on a 1/6th oz, 3/0 jighead. I started with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad, in the Lime Tiger colour. I could just about cast the lure out, over the edge of the fringing reef and leave it there for a few seconds. Then I would have to quickly retrieve it with a wave, that was breaking over the reef. After a couple of casts, I lost the tail of the soft plastic, so I put on another. Each time I retrieved, small baitfish leapt ahead of the lure, as it approached the reef edge. After about three casts, a fish grabbed the lure right at the edge of the reef. I let it have some line and looked for a wave to bring it over the reef.

I had not caught much in the few days previously and I was a bit too eager. As the next wave washed over the edge, I pulled a bit too hard and the hook came out. I did not get a good look at it, but I would say it was more likely to have been a tailor or trevally, than jewfish.

I threw a lot of lures at this spot over the next hour, with both the light and heavy rod. After about twenty minutes one of my GULP 2” Smelt Minnows was bitten off right next to the edge, but that was it, I did not hook anything else. By about 10 am the water was surging over the rocks too often and I had to move off. The fish were definitely there, but they had again proved hard to get at.

By late afternoon the north-easterly breeze had picked up. I decided to try fishing at Shark Bay, to the north of Woody Head. This is another spot that is only really accessible around low tide. The rock platform at the southern end of the bay is exposed for a few hours either side of low. There is a large patch of reef just north of the main platform and the channel between is often a good target area.

The sea was fairly flat here. I decided to start with the light rod. I tied on 12lb leader and a 1/6th oz, 2/0 jighead and loaded a GULP 2” Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour. I cast north and waited for the lure to sink. As it did so,…….bang, it was hit on the drop. The Shimano Catana Coastline bent over and took the lunges. After a few runs I reeled in another good size bream.

A few casts later I pulled in a tiny Moses Perch and then I started to lose tails to some rapid hit and run attacks. I decided to put a bigger lure on and loaded a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad. On the first retrieve it was slammed. I knew it was a tailor from the mad head shakes. I wound in steadily and soon had it by my feet. It was about 40 cm long. Over the next hour I had several more plastics mangled, but could not hook up. At one point I saw a couple of long toms following the lure in. At about 7.00 pm, exhausted, I gave up for the day.

Iluka – Frasers Reef/ Middle Bluff – 9 February 2013

Saturday/ Sunday

I woke at about 4.30am on Saturday, to a big storm. I must be getting less keen. In the past I would have put my wet weather gear on and headed straight out to fish the dawn. Instead, I rolled over and slept for another hour. When I woke up the rain had stopped so I pulled on my fishing boots and drove down to Fraser’s Reef.

As I pulled in to the car park the sun was well and truly up. My late arrival was underscored when a local acquaintance – John, appeared with a bag full of Blackfish. He had caught them all using the green string weed and had already finished for the day. He did not tap his fingers on his watch but he may as well have. It was about 8.30 am and I was only just starting.

I walked out to Middle Bluff, which is the headland to the north of Fraser’s Reef. The swell may have herded the Blackfish into a few holes where they could be easily extracted, but it made fishing for anything else pretty difficult. I started with the heavy rod and a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour , which I rigged on a 3/8th oz, 3/0 jighead. I cast out a few times but the sweep and swell threw the lure around and I could not really control it. I worked through a few more soft plastic lures in various colours and shapes. I tried the heavier, ½ oz, 3/0 jigheads, but these just kept getting snagged.

In a repeat of the conditions of the day before I just could not get the lure into the area close to the base of the rocks where, I was pretty sure the school jewfish would be hiding. While I was trying, I had to retreat a couple of times to avoid a soaking but, inevitably, I soon copped a drenching from a big wave set. You cannot run across these rocks and the recent rain and big seas means there is a thick coating of black green slippery, slimy weed. If you have barnacles under foot you are ok, but the black and green stuff is like ice. I use felt soled rock boots from Cabelas in the US, but even these can slip in the slime.

I swapped down to the light rig and put on a GULP Jerkshad, in the Pumpkinseed colour on a ¼ oz, 2/0 jighead. I threw this into the foamy swell and hoped it would sink a few feet before getting washed against the rocks. It did and as I took up the slack I felt a fish on the line. I did not have to do much, as the swell more or less threw the fish at me. It was a good sized Bream, just over 34cm long. I moved along the headland trying to fish in a few spots but as the morning went on, the swell got worse and I gave up at about 10.30 am.

In the afternoon, the tide was low at about 3.40 pm so I tried to fish around the Frasers Reef headland, but this yielded nothing except a lot of lost gear. I could see bait in close to the rocks, jumping ahead of my lure but I could not leave the lure in the strike zone long enough. I had caught dinner and avoided a duck but only just.

I tried the same spots on Sunday morning. This time I was in position to see the sunrise. The swell had eased a little but it was still making it pretty tough to fish. The wind dropped off around dawn but then gradually built up again until it was blowing at about 15 knots from the east. I tried a few spells with some big hard bodies and slugs but these did not tempt the fish.

In the afternoon I tried fishing off the rock platform at Woody Head but the wind and swell made it impossible. So after an hour of trying and losing gear, I gave up. So on Sunday I scored a duck and went for dinner at the pub. I went to bed on Sunday night hoping that the wind and swell would ease off soon.

Iluka – Woody Head – the ‘Barnacles’ – 8 February 2013

Friday

After a few delays and cancellations, I decided it was time for an Iluka fishing trip. I had a booking at Woody Head for the week before, but with the Clarence River pouring out mud, I delayed it for a week. By Friday the weather looked reasonable, so I decided to go for it.

I arrived at Woody Head at about lunchtime and set up camp. When I camp, I use the Oztent RV2 as it is quick to set up and very durable. It took about 20 minutes to get sorted and then ten more to get my fishing boots on and light and heavy rods rigged.

For the purposes of rock fishing I use the following outfits:

Heavy – Daiwa Demonblood rod, Stradic 8000FJ reel, 20lb Fireline and usually a 25lb or 30lb fluorocarbon leader.

Light – Shimano Catana Coastline Light rod, Sustain 4000 reel, 10lb Platil Millenium braid and 10lb or 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

I usually carry both out to the rocks with me. My general plan is to start with the heavy rig, throwing big lures or soft plastics and gradually work through to the lighter rig. It is amazing how often down-sizing in this way, produces fish.

I walked round the headland to a spot called ‘the Barnacles’, by the locals. This is a fairly treacherous place and you need to watch the swell carefully for 30 minutes or so before figuring out where is safe to fish. Even then, you can still get caught by a rogue wave, so good boots, a pfd and a willingness to get wet are essential.

I soon got wet as a huge wave slapped against the rocks and came down on top of me. In the bright sunshine, it was quite refreshing but it was a timely reminder to watch my step. I cast around with the big rod using the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastics in the Lime Tiger and New Penny colours. I initially rigged them on 3/8 oz 3/0 jigheads and then dropped back to the ¼ oz 2/0 size.

Low tide had been at 2.15pm and the swell was making keeping the lures in the strike zone hard. The water was pretty dirty, but each time I pulled the lure in close to the rocks, small whitebait would scatter in front of it.

This was perfect jewfish water but the problem was getting my lure to them. During the daytime they will hug the rocks and sit underneath the overhangs. If you want to catch them you lure has to be on the bottom right in front of the overhang. They also can be fussy, so you have to fish light, even a ¼ oz jighead is sometimes too heavy. With a 1.5m swell it was very difficult to keep my lure where I wanted it.

I swapped to the light rig and dropped to a finer wire 1/6th 2/0 jighead and 12lb leader. I put on a plain GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. It was now just after 3.00pm. After a few casts, something hit the lure right beside the rocks and took off. It was fast and stripped some line. It was not a jewfish. I waited for the swell to bring it up over the ledge and then tightened the drag a little. It was a big eye trevally, about 40cm long. I snapped it and bled it – just enough for dinner.

I continued fishing but as the tide turned and the afternoon breeze picked up, I was forced off ‘the Barnacles’. I walked back to camp cleaned the fish and washed up. I got the fire going and the red wine open and planned the next morning’s session.