After a windy and stormy night with a fair amount of rain, I woke to grey skies on Wednesday. Agnes Water and 1770 can be a tough place to fish. Half the problem is that everywhere just looks so fishy. The mangrove lined creeks, the rocky headlands and unspoiled beaches. It raises your expectations but as with fishing everywhere, you still need to put in the hard work. That means fishing at dawn and dusk – when the fish eat. It also means trying everything in the tackle box and trying lots of different locations.
Wednesday morning would be wet with rough seas but it was still worth a fish. I was up at 4-15 am and drove down to Flat Rock Beach in Deepwater National Park. I walked out on to the beach and watched the sun come up as I cast a few soft plastics around. The water was murky and it was just too windy, so I retreated and put plan B in to action.
Plan B was to drive further down the sandy track and head for Flat Rock boat ramp on Baffle Creek. It is a fairly wide stretch of Baffle Creek with a few scattered rock bars and mangrove lined edges. The main attraction is a wide rock bar that juts out into the channel and is submerged on high tide. Sadly, despite its fairly remote location, this spot seems to get fished quite a lot and there is a fair amount of boat traffic coming and going from the nearby ramp, especially at weekends and later in the day. When its windy out on the ocean this is the only option.
I arrived at about 11.00 am and only had to share the space with one other land based fisherman – a friendly Kiwi called Chris – who was camping nearby at Wreck Rock. He had had a fair bit of success using flesh baits and pilchards, he had landed a nice mangrove jack, a day previously. There was sickly sweet smell and I could see it was coming from the nasty green algal bloom covering the mud and the sand, as the tide receded.
I started with my light spinning rig and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I was fishing with a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I cast along parallel with the mangroves. The tide was running out. I soon picked up a dusky flathead – 50 cm long. A few casts later the lure was slammed by a fairly significant fish. I hooked up instantly and it took off. On the first leap I could not see what it was. On the second, its black back gave it away as a pretty big (60cm +) Tarpon. It leapt three or four times and kept making blistering runs. With 10lb leader I could not muscle it in so I let it have its head. Unfortunately, as soon as I tried to tighten the drag and put some pressure on, it snapped the leader.
I fished for a little longer with the GULP Shrimp, then swapped to a Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I had now re-rigged with 15lb leader. After a few casts I had a solid bite and about 3 casts later, another smaller Tarpon hit hard. I set the hook and let it take line and leap around for a few minutes. When it had worn itself out I reeled it in, unhooked it and released it. These are tough fighting fish with small hard mouths, so they can be hard to hook.
I fished on through the falling tide but the wind got stronger and stronger and even made fishing this sheltered spot hard. I had a few bites from smaller fish but at about noon. I gave up for the day.