Up early and back out to Emu Park to see if I could find more fingermark. I had the replacement Berkley Dropshot and the Shimano Stella 2500 was pretty well suited to it. I upped my leader to 14lb fluorocarbon, mainline was original fused Fireline, rated 8lb.
I have probably said this before, but I love the original fused Fireline in the fluoro/yellow colour. It casts well, I can see it in low light and it is extremely tough. The only downside is that I need a new spool of it after every 5/6 sessions, when its starts to fray and breakdown. I have tried Berkley Exceed and Nanofil but these are not an improvement on the original. Just make the original more durable please Berkley.
I arrived just after 5.00 am and there was a bit more water over the rocks and the wind was up. It was an easterly, blowing about 10 knots. There were a few clouds around, but rain was unlikely. The moon was a waning crescent with the new moon not due for about a week. The tide was running out and would be low just before 10.30 am.
The first fish was a tiny striped perch who grabbed the soft plastic, in close to the rocks. Next came the obligatory small cod. I fished for 30 minutes and caught a few more small cod. Perhaps the Fingermark had moved on.
Just after 6.00 am I found them again – maybe they were having a lie in. The first one made a tentative nudge at the soft plastic lure as it sank (a GULP 4” Minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour), then it (or one of its companions) followed it in to the shore and thumped it right at the edge of the rocks. It took off and the added strength of the Berkley Dropshot was immediately apparent. It was a good size fish so I actually loosened the drag a little to avoid straightening the hook or pulling it out, and let the fish wear itself out. A minute or two later I had it at my feet. It was another very nice fingermark, well over 50cm long.
I released it, tidied up the soft plastic lure, re-positioned it on the jighead and cast it out again. Two lifts of the rod tip and bang, I was on again. It was another slightly smaller fingermark. The fish were definitely eating now. I released it and cast out again. This time the soft plastic did not reach the bottom. A fish walloped it and took off for New Zealand. A couple of times I felt that I might be slowing it down, but it was probably just pausing for a rest. I gradually tightened the drag but it did not make much difference. This fish was big and I could not really apply any pressure. Eventually the line went slack and I pulled in a bent jighead.
The jighead was a TT Headlockz series; 1/8th ounce , size 2/0 hook. These carry a GULP Minnow 4” soft plastic very nicely. I have however, straightened a few of them. I think the heavier gauge hook necessary for the Headlockz system gives the impression they are heavier duty than they actually are. In my experience the original fine gauge Tournament Series TT/ Gamakatsu jigheads (in the orange backed packet) are actually tougher than the Headlockz. Having said that, I would probably not have landed this fish with a 6/0 heavy duty jighead – it was just too powerful.
I re-rigged, this time with a bigger GULP 5” Jerkshad but after 10 minutes, this produced nothing. I swapped back to the smaller GULP 3” Minnow first in Peppered Prawn and then in Watermelon Pearl colour. I caught three smaller fingermark on each, over the next 30 minutes. It seems lure size was important to these fish.
At about 7.30 am I caught a small estuary cod and that was it – everything suddenly went quiet. I tried a few different soft plastics and moved to a few other spots around the headland, but it seems the fish had shut down again.
Another great session and a good way to warm up a new rod.
I am a young (In high school) Emu park local and since I read this post I want to fish there really bad. Would love it if next time you in town if I could tag along on one of these adventures. I am super keen on using plastics especially for finger mark and those bigger species you can encounter of the local headlands.
landangler, your comments on the headlockz I find very interesting; disappointing also. I’ve been a TT headhunter extreme (XH series) fan for several years; never had one fail me yet. The one shortcoming I always found was the poor grip on SP’s. The Gulps sat well, but after one or two fish it would no longer endure a good case and stay in place. The Z-man range was hard to seat properly. I guess that’s where the headlockz design was inspired from?
I had an idea to use the headlockz for my trip to Exmouth next year….now having second thoughts!