Brooms Head – 3 October 2015

Saturday

On Saturday we were heading back to Brisbane. The looming thought of returning to work forced a right turn at Brooms Head. This coastal area in the Yuraygir National Park is a land-based fisherman’s paradise. There are plenty of estuaries, rocky headlands and beaches to choose from. You can catch all the common species; tailor, kingfish, mulloway, trevally, dart, bream, whiting and flathead.

We drove up to the Brooms Head lookout. It was a beautiful day and just as we arrived a whale and its calf swam by, stopping for a brief tail slapping session.

Brooms HeadBrooms Head fishingMagnificent view from the lookout

It was just about lunch time but I could not resist getting the fishing rod out and clambering down the rocks for a quick cast. I put on a small soft plastic and felt a few small bream bites, close to the foot of the rocks. After about twenty minutes, I pulled up a tiny wriggling tusk fish of some kind.

The sun was out, the water was crystal clear and I could have stayed here another week – but unfortunately there are bills to pay.

Brooms Head Tailor – 29 September 2012

Thursday / Friday / Saturday

On Thursday I was still at Brooms Head and the northerly wind was forecast to blow hard. This had the advantage of flattening out the sea and, on the southern tip of the headland, you could still fish in the morning.

I started at about 5.15 am, just after first light. I had a look at the Bream spot. The water was not washing over it but with high tide just after dawn it was a bit too dangerous – a rogue wave could easily turn up and leave me soaked, if not worse. I cast a few soft plastics on the inside of the razor back but and lost a few tails but did not hook up with a fish.

The difference however, was the bait. Everytime the lure hit the water, in close to the rocks, bait would go flying everywhere. I thought there might be some Tailor around and another guy confirmed it by catching a 40cm Tailor, on a 65g Raider, on his first cast of the day.

I quickly swapped over to a DUO Tide Minnow in the purple colour, which has caught plenty of fish for me. After a few casts, I came up tight on a small Tailor – around 40 cm. I brought it into the rocks, but I was too keen, with the Catana light rod and I pulled the treble out of its mouth, just as I was about to lift it up.

I carried on casting and the bait kept scattering. A couple of times I even speared a baitfish with the DUO Tide Minnow. I carried on until about 8.30 am when I lost my beloved purple Tide Minnow to a rock. I gave up and vowed to come back the next day.

The northerly had been blowing powerfully all night on Thursday and it was still going on Friday morning but the south side of the Brooms Head platform remained sheltered and if anything, the swell had eased a little. I put on a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour and cast out next to the ‘razorback’. There was still plenty of push around the rocks so I swapped from a 1/8th 1/0 jighead to a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and cast out again. This did the trick and I soon had another good 32cm+ Bream at my feet. The tide was coming in so I decided to retreat and try casting a few slugs around. I had heard that someone had caught a couple of Kingfish the day before so I was keen to try for one.

I cast a few forty gram slugs and hard bodies and felt a few hits but I could not hook up. The bait was still there, but it was more patchy, hanging around close to the bommies. I think a forty gram slug is about the limit of the Catana’s casting capability and I doubt it would be able to subdue a Tailor or Salmon over about 45cm.

Saturday was my last morning and I was hopeful that the bait would bring in some bigger predators. I decided to try bigger slugs and use the heavy rig, 9’6” the Daiwa Demon Blood with the Shimano Stradic 8000. I found the Tailor but unfortunately they were all about 25cm long. I caught fish after fish on a whole range of slugs but they never got any bigger. Finally I threw out a GULP Jerkshad on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and it was monstered close to the rocks. The fish took off on a solid run but then suddenly it was gone – it had spat the hook. That was it for the day.

I feel I am gradually getting to know this spot. Who knows, in 20 years I may have mastered it.

Brooms Head – 25/26 September 2012

Tuesday/Wednesday

At Brooms Head on Tuesday morning the wind was up from the south east and so was the swell. I could not reach my Bream spot without risking my neck and I was not prepared to do that – especially when there was plenty of fish in the fridge.

Because of the wind and swell I had to switch to a ¼ oz 1/0 jighead. I put on a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I managed to put a few casts out from the top of the ‘Razorback’ towards the Bream spot and after losing a few jigheads, I did hook up with a nice 30cm+ Bream, but the wind and swell made it really difficult to fish and at about 8.00 am I was forced to give up.

The Bream were still there but hard to reach

On Tuesday night we had a thunderstorm and the swell and wind was still up on Wednesday morning. It was a solid south easterly wind. I walked down to the ‘Razorback’ but there was no point fishing. The waves were crashing over the top of the rocks and the whole area was covered in white water. I watched the surf for a while and then decided to head home for a hot cup of tea.

On Wednesday it was just too hard

Brooms Head – The Razorback – 24 September 2012

Monday

Sunday had been pretty breezy so I spent the day with the family – after all, that is what family holidays are about – I suppose. By Monday I had had enough of them and the wind had eased off in the early morning, so I decided to try fishing the rocks on the southern side of the headland.

I started out on a prominent rock that juts out into the water, just north of Back Beach. I fished with the Catana Coastline rig again, using a 10lb leader and various soft plastics. I did not raise any bites but first the dolphins came through and then a magnificent black back appeared out of the water. It was a big humpback and the dolphins played around it for a while.

I watched the show and then decided to head back to the rocks, known locally as the ‘Razorback’ on the southern edge of the headland. This is a very dangerous spot to fish but, if the sea is flattened by a north westerly, as it was this morning, and there is not much swell – it can be approached, safely. Every now and then a big wave comes over the top of these rocks and I have witnessed several people get washed down the barnacles and leave plenty of skin on them. If you see/hear a big wave coming over, it is best to hunker down and hang on, rather than trying to out run it. Your clothes will dry out quicker than the grazes will heal!

I had watched the swell from my other fishing spot for about an hour before I deemed it safe to go out onto these rocks. I had rock boots and a small automatic inflating life vest on. I stuck with the 10lb leader and a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I chose a brightly coloured GULP 4” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour, for my first cast. The wind was now negligible but there was a slight ruffle on the surface of the clear water. I watched the lure sink and counted to five. As I lifted the rod tip I felt a solid hit and run. The fish took some line but the Catana and drag absorbed the lunges and soon I had a healthy 34cm Bream at my feet.

I lost the jighead on the next cast – snagged tight, as the current wafted it into the rocks. I re-rigged with the same weight jighead and leader but swapped to a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Molting colour. I cast this one along the inside of the ‘Razorback’ and it was slammed in close to an opening in the rocks. It was another solid Bream and it was easier to subdue and land on this side. When I got it to my feet I realized it was a monster – pushing 40cm.

I carried on for another 30 minutes and the Bream kept coming. They took all types of small soft plastic – the GULP, 3” Minnow in Smelt, Emerald Shine, Rainbow, Lime Tiger and Pearl Watermelon and the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn and Molting colours. I caught about twelve fish and kept the best four. They were all between 32cm and 40cm. These fish were not fussy.

At about 8.30 am I stopped and cleaned my catch in the rock pools. As I looked down, I could see why the Whales were around. The water was full of tiny see through Krill. There were small shrimp like shapes fluttering around everywhere. I thought this was what the Bream could have been eating, but when I opened their stomachs, I found them all empty. I still could not see any bait in the water but at least now I had found a fishy spot.

Brooms Head – the Lagoon ridge – 22 September 2012

Saturday

It was on to Brooms Head in Northern New South Wales for our family holiday. Fortunately this represented another fishing opportunity. I have fished here a few times and never found it very easy. The terrain looks incredibly fishy but it often fails to deliver. It is also a very exposed stretch of coast, so the swell can make things tough.

Now September can be particularly tricky when fishing from the rocks. The wind keeps changing around and the water can be cool and clear or brown and dirty (if it has rained a lot). Fortunately it was cool and clear at Brooms Head. But it was so crystal clear that it would be difficult to fool the fish.

I started on Saturday morning trying to fish the mouth of the lagoon on the north side of the headland. I say trying because the north easterly was producing enough chop to give me a good soaking every 10 minutes or so. I was fishing with the Shimano Catana Coastline light rod with the Shimano Stella 2500. I soon swapped from hard bodies to soft plastics and from 20lb to 10lb leader.

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I was fishing with a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and a GULP 2” Shrimp when I caught the first fish. It was sitting right in the mouth of the lagoon – a Pike – followed by another, on the next cast. I threw them back and then cast out a bit further. I lost a few jigheads to the rocks and then re-rigged with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. I cast close into a bommie and let the lure sink. It was hit hard by a small angry Bream. It was about 25cm but would not be much of a meal so I threw it back.

At about 8.00 am I was soaked through, cold and no longer getting any bites so I gave up. A few fish, but not a very promising start.

Brooms Head – The Sandon River – 27 March 2012

Tuesday

On Tuesday afternoon the wind and swell were up again, at Iluka, so I decided to drive down to fish the lunchtime high tide on the north side of the Sandon River – near Brooms Head. This is a very shallow estuary but it is sheltered from the wind and can produce some good fish.

I parked on the roadside, just past the first set of shacks, but before you reach the main camp ground. I arrived at about 12.30 pm, just after high tide. I put on my waders and picked out my light spin rod, the 6’6” Loomis GL2 which I am now fishing with Shimano Stella 2500. This is the perfect light weight estuary combo for flicking soft plastics and small hard-bodied lures.

Along the shore line there is lots of structure left over from the now abandoned oyster leases. There are also plenty of weed beds and sandbanks. It’s a perfect spot for wading around and flicking soft plastics.

I started with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I loaded it on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead, I was not expecting any really big fish so I dropped right down to an 8lb fluorocarbon leader. There are a few oyster covered rocks around but generally it is a sandy bottom.

The tide was just beginning to run out so I cast up river and let the lure sink to the bottom. Then I slowly bumped it back towards me. I gradually moved along parallel with the shore repeating this process. I was wading in a about a metre of water and casting out into no more than two metres.

I soon had a fish – a tiny 25cm Flathead – I released it and carried on. I caught three more over the next twenty minutes – all about the same size. Then, as I reached a patch of slightly deeper water, something hit hard and took off for the middle of the channel. I tightened the drag a little – it was way too fast for a Flathead, and too powerful for a Bream. I tightened up the drag a little more and started to get some line back, but it was still pulling hard. After a couple of minutes, I could see stripes and silver and realized it was a small Trevally. I got it up on the shore, photographed and released it.

I moved further along the shore towards the river mouth. The tide was now running out strongly and the sky was ominously grey. Now I switched to the GULP 3” Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour. A few casts with this lure and I finally caught a Flathead that was just about legal size. I decided to let it go and moved on. The next fish was a small Bream and then another Flathead that might also just have been legal.

Buy now the grey skies were on top of me and the rain started spitting so I beat a hasty retreat to the car as the downpour started.

Brooms Head – Plover Island & Bonito – OOPS! Slimey Mackerel – 23 September 2011

Friday

Crystal clear water at Plover Island


It was to be my last fishing day for a while. I decided to try fishing the rocks at the front of Plover Island, at the mouth of the Sandon River, about 10kms south of Brooms Head in Northern New South Wales. At low tide you can walk across to the sand spit to the Island. The northern side has a number of rocky platforms to fish from. I arrived at about 9.30 am, just before low tide and climbed across a rocky causeway to some really fishy looking water on the northern side.

Plover Island causeway


I started with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Pepper Prawn colour on a 1/8th 1 jighead. I got a couple of hits on the first cast and on the second, I caught a small Butter Bream. I caught a few more of these and then pulled up a 25cm Tarwhine. I fish this spot again at either dawn or dusk. I moved around to another rocky outcrop and caught a few good sized Pike. I made a mental note to come back and fish this spot again at either dawn or dusk, one day.
For the afternoon session I was back at the Brooms Head lagoon. It would be high tide at about 5.00 pm and decided to clamber along the rock ridge at the eastern end of the Brooms Head lagoon.

Plover Island Tarwhine

I rigged up with the favorite soft plastic of the week –the GULP 3” Pearl Watermelon Minnow. It was fairly choppy – with a strong south easterly blowing. Was using a 1/8thoz, 1/0 jighead, my light 7’6” spinning rod and a 16lb fluorocarbon leader. The bottom in this area is covered in rocks and kelp, with a few sandy holes in between. If you fish with heavy sinkers/ jigheads – you are doomed.

I pulled up a couple small speckled, green coloured fish that are common in amongst the rocks – not sure what they are – but they seem to like the soft plastics. Then I caught a strange red finned Wrasse of some kind. Then I found a few Pike – they always seem to hit the lure really close into the rocks, just as you are about to pull it clear of the water.

Big toothed green fish

Then I noticed a big shimmering area on the surface of the water about 50 metres away that was moving towards me – I waited for it to get in range and then cast the soft plastic straight into the middle of it. I got a couple of bumps but no hook ups. I cast out again and retrieved the lure quickly, so that it was swimming just below the surface. I could now see it was a good sized school of Bonito. I cast out again and this time I raced the lure back through the school and hooked up. I land a small Bonito and released it. For the next half an hour I had a great time catching and releasing Bonito, every time the school came in range. It was a decent size school and it circled the area for about 45 minutes before being chased further out by the Dolphins.

Slimey Mackerel school enters the lagoon

Slimey Mackerel on the surface

Slimey Mackerel

And that was my last session at Brooms Head. The variety of fish had been fantastic, even if there had been no real trophy fish. We had managed to catch dinner most days and I was quite happy with the diet of fresh Flathead and sea Bream. The weather gods had been very kind and I plan to be back again at the same time next year.