Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 14 November 2013

Thursday

It would be my last chance to fish in Yeppoon, for a while. The wind had been blowing hard, so I decided to give Fishing Creek a look.I arrived at about 8.30 am but I had misjudged the tide. It was a big high and it would be a while before it ran out enough for me to proceed down the creek. I fished around the top end and saw a fair amount of bait moving around, but did not catch anything. The combination of a strong north-easterly wind and the big tide had stirred the water up, so I could not see much.

By about 9.30 am the water level was dropping fast and I could walk down the creek towards Corio Bay. I was using my new G.Loomis TSR Ultralight 6′ 7″ rod. It needed to catch a fish, to settle its nerves and I thought it would be fairly easy to find a flathead for it, in this creek. I waded down the creek for an hour, stopping at a every bend and sand bar, but I could not find a fish.

I liked the feel of the rod and its very sensitive tip. I gradually got used to the feel of the 1/8th ounce jighead hopping along the sand corrugations, on the bottom. I lost plenty of jigheads to the trees and snags, as I got used to casting with the slightly longer rod. At about 11.00 am I reached a bend in the creek where a big drain rounds a sand island and empties out into the main channel. The fast flowing water has carved some deepish holes and exposed the mangrove roots.

I thought there must be a fish here. I put on a GULP 5″ Jerkshad soft plastic, in the natural, Peppered Prawn colour and loaded it onto a 1/8th ounce, size 2/0 hook jighead. I cast around the mouth of the drain, still looking for a flathead, without any luck. I turned my attention to the eddies, at the foot of the mangroves on the other side of the channel. After about three casts at these roots, the line pulled tight about halfway back across the channel and a fish took off with the soft plastic. The rod bent right over and absorbed the initial smash, then line started peeling. I could feel the tail beats of something fast.

It kept making for the mangrove roots but I gradually subdued it. When I caught sight of it, it was a trevally – about 40cm long. It is amazing how powerful these fish can be when they have a strong current to run with. It took a while but I pulled it up on to the sand and took a few pictures.

The rod was off the mark but I could not find any more fish. With the north-easterly now almost gale force, I gave up just before noon.

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Yeppoon – Emu Park 10/11 November 2013

Sunday/ Monday

I was back in Yeppoon on Sunday and decided to see if the fingermark were still around at Emu Park. It would be low tide just after dawn and the winds would be light from the north-east. The temperature was a bit lower than it had been when I was last here and the water was not as clear.

I had repaired the tip on my slightly heavier rod, which is ideal for this kind of fishing – the NS Blackhole Cabin 2 S862L, rated 8-14lb, 2.59m long. I match this with a Shimano Sustain 4000, loaded with 15lb Super PE braid and I started with 14lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th, 1/0 jighead. This rod is great for fishing with soft plastic lures and small hard bodied lures and slugs. It has the power to land a decent fish but is still quite sensitive.

As is often the case the first 30 minutes of the session produced the most action. I rigged up a GULP 3” Minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour and cast it out towards a semi-submerged bommy. As soon as I pulled in the slack there was a fish attached and it took off. A few moments later I landed a decent sized fingermark – about 45cm long.

After a few more touches, I decided to put on a larger soft plastic and chose a 5” Peppered Prawn Jerkshad. After a few casts, I felt a very solid bite but when I struck the fish was not there. I cast back in the same spot and let the soft plastic sink and sit on the bottom for 10 seconds. When I lifted it, it was slammed and line started peeling. A few moments later a very big fingermark – well over 70cm leapt clear of the water. I was still attached but even my bigger rod was no match for this fish. It kept running and soon had itself wrapped around some rocks. There was a bit of see-sawing and the fish was gone.

I re-rigged with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour. As soon as I cast this out it was slammed, as it sank. It was another big fish and it took plenty of line. I did not get a look at it, as it also buried itself in the rocks and the leader snapped. I continued fishing with the bigger soft plastics but everything seemed to have shut down and I did not get another bite.

The next morning I was back, at sunrise. There was more water over the rocks as low tide would be about an hour later. I beefed up my leader to 20lb fluorocarbon, as I wanted to try and hang on to any big fish that I could hook. I was pretty confident but nothing much happened with the big soft plastics. After about 40 minutes something grabbed the a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour. It was too slow for a fingermark but it was still crafty and tried to lodge itself under the overhanging rocks. After a minute or two, I pulled up a decent sized cod.

I dropped back down to a smaller soft plastic – the GULP Swimmow in the Peppered Prawn colour. This soft plastic has a small paddle-tail and creates a tight vibration in the water, as you retrieve it. After a couple of casts with this I felt a very light bite, I paused and struck, but there was no fish there. Next cast – same thing. Next cast, I left the soft plastic on the bottom for about 10 seconds and as soon as I lifted it … the fish was running with it. After a short fight, I saw a flash of silver. A few moments later, I landed a 40cm grunter.

By about 7.30 am everything seemed to shut down. I walked around the whole headland casting, but all I could collect were more small cod. At about 9.00am it was hot and I was tired, so I gave up.

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 31 October 2013

Thursday

Time for one last session at Fishing Creek before heading back to work. It would be a late morning low tide with not much wind to start with. There was no need for very early start as the creek would be too full of water to wade along, until about 7.30 am.

I was back to fishing light. I was using my recently acquired Berkley IM6 Dropshot GEN IV 6’6″ Light Spin two piece rod, rated 2-4 kg. I paired it with the Shimano Stella 2500 loaded with 8lb Fireline and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I had a few of my favorite GULP soft plastics and small DUO hard bodied lures, in my chest pack.

I started with the trusty GULP 3″ Minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 2 hook jighead. This soon found a few small flathead. Wherever I found flathead lies in the sand I cast around until I found the fish and it usually worked.

I swapped to a 3″ Minnow soft plastic in the newly available Red Green Sparkle colour. GULP have recently released a few new colours in Australia and this is my favorite amongst the newcomers. The new colours fill in a few gaps in the range. I will not try to describe the colour but have a look at the photos attached to this post. The new colour did not seem to have much trouble and after a few casts, I christened it with a small flathead.

As the tide ran out I followed it about 3.5 kms down the creek. My constant companion was an eagle looking for a free lunch. I kept catching small flathead but there were not many keeper size ones around. I swapped back to the more natural coloured Watermelon Pearl Minnow and this produced a decent estuary cod.

At about 11.30 am, as the wind picked up and I was about to give up for the day, I found a reasonable sized grunter bream. I released it and made the long trek back to the car. Not many big ones, but plenty of fish – which I think makes for a good session.

Yeppoon – Emu Park – 29 October 2013

Monday

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.

Yeppoon – Emu Park – 27 October 2013

Sunday

Finally a morning with virtually no wind forecast. I decided to head for Emu Park to fish the rocks. Low tide would be around 9.30 am and the moon was in its last quarter. I started at one of the headlands towards Zilzie and climbed out on to the rocks just after first light, at about 5.00 am.

There was virtually no wind and the sea was still. The water was not particularly clear and there was the bad smell of a recent algal bloom on the rocks. I was fishing light – actually I did not have a choice – as I had noticed, the night before, the tip on my heavier rod had snapped off during my recent travels.

I rigged up with 12lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour. I was using my trusty Loomis GL2 light spin rod and Shimano Stella 2500. I have fished here a few times in the cooler months and found some good Bream. This morning the first taker was a tiny greedy estuary cod. I caught a few of these and swapped through a few colours and styles of soft plastics.

After about 45 minutes the cod where the only thing biting, so I moved round to the rocky outcrop in front of the ‘Singing Ship’ at Emu Park. It was now about 6.15 am and already getting warm. I stuck with the same light rod but swapped to a lighter, 1/12th ounce, size 1 hook, jighead. I put on a 3” GULP Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour. I positioned myself right on the end of the outcrop and cast to the north of a large bommy that sits a few metres offshore. If you are fishing land-based, you can only reach this spot for a few hours either side of low tide.

After a couple of casts in various directions, I felt a very solid and obvious thud as the lure sunk. I paused and then lifted the rod tip fairly quickly. I had hooked the fish and now it took off for the submerged rocks and caves, which are all over the seafloor in this area. I could not really muscle it in with my light rod, so I let it take line when necessary and very slowly tightened the drag. I gradually started to move it towards me. It managed to get behind the rocks a couple of times but, on both occasions I let it swim out and then successfully took up the slack.

It was soon in the wash at my feet and I could see it was a good sized Fingermark with the tell-tale black dot on its side. I grabbed the leader and pulled the fish clear of the water. I recovered the soft plastic with the aid of my pliers. It was a long way down its throat. The fish was about 50 cm long and it looked like the perfect size for dinner, so I put it in a nearby rock pool that was big enough to act as a live well.

I re-loaded the soft plastic on the jighead and cast into the same area. Just a few retrieves later, I was on to another fish. This one was bigger and put up a more spirited fight. My 2 to 4 lb Loomis rod was working pretty hard. I saw a big tail flap over and thought I had it, but as I increased the pressure the jighead came free.

I re-rigged – same small 1/12th ounce jighead, same small soft plastic. 12lb leader was all I had with me, so that had to do. Things went quiet for 30 minutes and I mover around the rocks in either direction looking for more good spots. I had another solid bit but did not hook the fish.

Just after 7.00 am I was back where I had caught the first fish. I lobbed out a long cast and again, as I lifted the plastic off the bottom I felt that very solid whack! This was another good fish. It did not do much initially but as soon as it realised something was wrong, it went mad and leapt clean out of the water. It remained on the line but tried to bury itself under a weedy ledge. After a few minutes I pulled it clear with a great lump of weed on its nose. It was about 55cm – so I added it to the live well. I decided to stay in this spot and was soon rewarded with another smaller Fingermark – about 40cm. I let this one go and carried on fishing.

It was now about 7.30 am. I lobbed a cast up close to the edge of the bommy and let it sink. I paused and gave it a couple of slow lifts and then paused again. Next time, I felt a very light tap as I lifted the rod tip and then a solid whack! The fish took the lure and turned for open water. It stripped perhaps 25 metres of line in two long, straight runs and I began to think it might be some kind of pelagic. I held on, tightened the drag as much as I dared and held the spool to slow it ever so slightly, each time it to tried run again. I gradually tired it out and fortunately it had stayed clear of the worst structure. After a few minutes it was close to the sloping rock where I had pulled the other fish ashore. Bit this would be tricky. Its tail flapped over and I could see it was a big Fingermark. I waited for a surge in the light swell and heaved the fish up. Crack! My beloved G.Loomis GL2 light spin rod made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. It snapped just above the join but the leader was intact and still attached to the fish. I grabbed the line and pulled the fish up the rocks and it just reached safety before the leader also snapped.

I sat clutching the fish with one hand and broken rod in the other, with my heart still pounding from the fight. It had been a fantastic capture and it was a marvellous fish. We do not get to sample much reef fish in my house, so I decided to keep the three in the live well. The big one measured in at 63cm and it probably weighed in somewhere between 3 and 4 kg – maybe more.
Needless to say that was the end of the session – but what a session it had been!

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 14 October 2013

Monday

Last morning in Yeppoon for a while and yes, of course I was heading for Fishing Creek. I had wanted to fish some of the headlands on this trip but the wind was up to 15 knots everyday by 10.00 am, so it had been out of the question. In hindsight, I was glad I had been forced to explore. I was enjoying fishing in this estuary system.

It was the same basic plan as Monday – walk down the creek from the top end, following the receding tide, casting into the pools and channels. I started at the shallow end with the GULP 3” Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour. I was using my light spin rig, 2.8kg Fireline, 12lb fluorocarbon leader and 1/8th ounce, size 2 hook, jighead. This is the perfect size jighead for this size soft plastic. The weather was overcast but there had been no rain. There was a light north-easterly wind blowing but it was gradually picking up. I started just before the sun came over the horizon.

It took a while to find some fish, first some small flathead, then one that was big enough to keep, then a couple of small cod. Then I caught a magnificent spotted ray. I was tempted to let him keep my soft plastic but managed to safely remove it.

I swapped up to a GULP 5 inch Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. After a few casts, this got slammed and I thought I might have another barramundi. Then I realised this fish was too frantic to be a barramundi. After some spirited runs I saw a flash of silver and realised it was a small Trevally – these fish always pull surprisingly hard. I released it and moved on.

I reached the spot where I had caught the barramundi, the day before and decided to try one of my DUO hard bodies. I pulled out a Spearhead Ryuki 70S in a pink silver and black colour. This is really a trout lure but I have found it works well in a shallow estuary situation. The bream like it and so do the flathead. It weighs 9 grams and is effectively a sinking minnow. It is designed to maintain its action in fast flowing water and that is why it was ideal in this situation. I put in a few casts and immediately felt a few bumps. After fifteen minutes of casting, up and down current, I connected with a fish, but it spat the lure out. I cast back in the same spot and this time there was no hesitation – as soon as I took up the slack, the fish was attached.

It pulled pretty hard and the current helped it. After a minute or two it settled down and I pulled it ashore. It was a chunky grunter bream. I released it and continued casting the DUO Spearhead Ryuki 70S. I had a few more touch ups from interested fish before the inevitable happened – I lost the lure to the mangrove roots. Yet another lure to add to the very long shopping list I am collating.

It was now about 11.00 am and the wind had started howling, so I made the long walk/ wade back to the car – keeps you fit this fishing lark!

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek Barramundi – 13 October 2013

Sunday

The wind was forecast to be a north-easterly that would build through the day and we were 6 days off the full moon. I could not stay away from Fishing Creek – the sandflies were driving me nuts but the good catches of the day before, drew me back to the same spot, just after dawn. The tide was another hour further in, as I waded through the shallows. I stopped at all the usual pools and channels and continued to fish with lightly weighted GULP soft plastics, in the natural Banana Prawn, Peppered Prawn and Watermelon Pearl colors. I caught a couple of small flathead and tried out a new MARIA suspending minnow hard bodied lure, that I have been sent. Sure enough it got the small flathead going and accounted for another two, before I lost it to a mangrove root. I could not find any big mothers but there were some enormous ‘lies’ in the sand, so they were around.

The MARIA lures that I have used so far have been very good. Despite this, they are slightly cheaper than many of the more established, mass produced lures on sale in Australia. Like my favorite DUO lures, they have superb colours and always have a very refined and specific action. I would love to see them in more tackle shops.

I wanted to fish the area where I had found a Trevally the day before. It is a mangrove lined curve in the bank with several fallen trees along it. The water powers round the curve, when the tide is running and the fallen timber offers a good ambush spot for bigger, predator fish.

My hunch proved right. I was now fishing with a 3″ GULP Minnow on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. First taker was a 45cm estuary cod. It tried to lodge itself in the mangrove roots but I let it swim out and then pulled it ashore.

Something was smashing bait close to the mangrove roots and I thought it was probably another cod. I lobbed a long cast and it landed inches from the roots in exactly the right spot. I let it sink and thought – it will either be snagged or it will catch a fish. I twitched the rod tip up but there was no resistance. I let it sink again, paused and repeated the process. I did this about four times until the lure must have been on the bottom, in about mid-stream.

I twitched the lure up , off the bottom and it stopped dead, on something solid. Before I could register line was screaming off the reel. The fish was heading up current but in the direction of the mangrove roots. I instinctively started walking backwards and winding against the screaming drag. This had little impact at first but then it turned back towards me.

I tightened the drag a little and the fish seemed to pause in the current, for a few moments. It then lunged off again. It kept making long powerful runs but they gradually got shorter. After what seemed like a lifetime, I caught a glimpse of large silver scales and a big tail slapped the surface – it was a barramundi. I was as patient as I could be and I let it run when it needed to. I was fishing with 12lb fluorocarbon leader, so brute force was not going to land this fish. Fortunately I was on a gently sloping sandy bank so when I was sure it was played out, I gradually eased it out of the water.

It was a beautiful 57cm saltwater barramundi. As it lay on the sand, the jighead just dropped out of its chin. I took a few pics and measured it and after a minute or two, decided it was just too handsome to eat. I took it back to the water and it swam off. It was about 9.15 am.

Now I was excited, but cast as I might, I could not find another barramundi. I swapped to a MARIA MJ Twitch hardbodied, suspending minnow and cast this out. This got whacked on its second try, but it only pulled up an angry estuary cod.

I moved on to larger GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. After a few casts, something walloped the plastic and took off. It went berserk and started leaping and splashing. I took it for a Tarpon and after a very violent fight, I landed it.

I fished on until about 10.30 am and then decided I had had enough. It had been an excellent mornings fishing in a beautiful location.

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 12 October 2013

Saturday

On Saturday I drove back out to Fishing Creek so that I could be fishing as the sun came up. There would be a few hours more water in the creek than the day before and I was sure that would mean some better fish.

I used the same tactics as the day before – light spin rod and reel, light leader, light jigheads and small, natural coloured soft plastic lures. The earlier start paid off and on my first two casts, I caught two small flathead.

As I moved down the creek there were plenty of bait schools moving up and down. I paused at a point where the main channel ran over a sandy drop off. I was now fishing with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 jighead. I crossed the channel as quietly as I could and cast back up into the tide, which was running out. I caught two small flathead (about 30cm long) and then another one that was just over 40 cm. They were all sitting along this bank. I was convinced there were some bigger ones somewhere here, so I carried on casting.

It was now about 7.20 am and I think it was still a couple of hours off low tide, at this point in the creek. I had now switched to the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. There was good current flow but a 1/8th ounce jighead gave me just the right sink rate. I kept casting as close as I could to the mangrove roots and the deeper water along the edge of the channel. I let the lure get washed along the bottom for about ten seconds on each cast. On one of these casts, I lifted the lure and felt some resistance. I set the hook with a jerk of the rod tip and there was a long, powerful run back up the creek against the current. I had found a decent fish.

Fortunately this one did not seem to want to go back into the roots but it did start to cause problems when it turned and started swimming with the current flow. I just let it run – with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader, I did not have much choice.

It kept its head down but I gradually tired it out. As I brought it into the shallows it created some big swirls and I saw it was a nice flathead. I grabbed the leader and gently pulled it up the sand. It measured about 77cm on my tape and after a few pictures, I let it swim off.

I moved onto the next likely patch of darker water and loaded a new soft plastic in the same pattern. After a couple of casts something ate it. I could feel the fish trying to wedge itself against the terrain on the bottom and knew it was an estuary cod. Eventually a 40cm cod popped up on the surface.

I was now about 3km from the mouth of Fishing Creek and it was just after 9.45 am. I was still using the 4” Minnow soft plastic and something grabbed it and took off. After a tough fight I pulled up a 30cm Trevally which had completely swallowed the lure.

I turned around and headed back to the car. I looked at my legs and realised I had been monstered by sandflies – I would be itching like hell in a few days’ time. On the way back I caught a few more cod and tiny flathead. The fishing had definitely been better than the day before, but I had probably just timed my session better. I’ll be back!

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 11 October 2013

Friday

On Thursday, I found myself with time off for a few days. I was in Central Queensland and decided to drive out to Byfield National Park, just north of Yeppoon. I stayed at the Rainforest Ranch Cabins in Byfield (which are very comfortable, but more focused on providing a romantic getaway than fish filleting facilities) and intended to drive over the sand hills, to fish in Corio Bay, as I have done before.

I was up early and reached the foot of the big sand hill that leads over to Nine Mile Beach, at about 6.15 am. I lowered my tyre pressures to about 22 PSI and put the FJ Cruiser into low range. Last time it had floated up this hill – but that was after months of rain. This time it was like wading through treacle. The sand was soft and dry and the track had no doubt been torn up by previous drivers, who had found it as tough as I had. I tried three times and stopped when I started to sink and rolled back down to try again. After three attempts I gave up. I was on my own and I was concerned I would get stuck and not be able to simply roll back down. I need a bit more practice at this sort of thing.

I turned around and looked at my options. It was now just about low tide. I decided to drive back through Byfield and towards Yeppoon. I would go to the end of Fishing Creek and walk down it, towards Corio Bay, fishing in the pools and mangrove lined channels. This spot had produced a few fish for me in the past but it looked like it had potential for far better things.

By the time I got going it was about 8.30 am. Low tide was about 7.30 am in Yeppoon, so I assumed it would be about 1.5 hours later, this far up Fishing Creek. The moon was a somewhere between new and full and it was not a particularly big tide. It was hot – already about 28 degrees. It was still but a northerly wind was forecast to pick up later in the morning.

I was fishing light – 2.8 kg Fireline and a 10lb fluorocarbon leader, Loomis GL2 Fast Action spin rod and Shimano Stella 2500 reel. I started with small soft plastics in natural colours on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. The locals had recommended the GULP 2” Shrimp and 3” Minnow, in the Banana Prawn colour, for flathead and grunter bream.

I waded through the shallows and paused to cast wherever there looked like there was a bit of a hole or drain. There were plenty of schools of small mullet (or perhaps blue salmon) cruising the shallows. I was hoping the bigger predators had followed them up the creek.

I passed plenty of flathead lies on the exposed sand banks, but most looked like the fish would have been under the legal size. My first fish of the day was a tiny flathead that was sitting a metre from the bank, in about 15 cm of water. It was now just after 9.00 am and I expect we were nearly at low tide, as the water was slowing.

I found a slightly deeper channel, on a mangrove lined bend and concentrated on putting my casts in close to the mangrove roots. I lost plenty of jigheads to the trees and roots – but that’s where the fish live so if you are not pretty close, you will not catch them. I had some solid bites and caught another small flathead. At about 9.30 am something grabbed the GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic and dragged it down into the roots. I could not pull it out so I let the drag off and eventually it swam out and I pulled it up on to the sandbank. It was an estuary cod, but only a small one. I let it go but as it swam away another predator – an eagle, swooped down and grabbed it. It did not have a good grip and dropped it on the sand. It soon swooped for another attempt and this time it was successful. It disappeared into the mangroves to eat its breakfast.

I continued along the creek and caught several more cod, the largest of which would have been just over 40 cm long. At about 11.00 am the tide turned in and I decided I had better head back to the car. I was delighted to be catching fish, even if they were small. I decided to try and get back here a little closer the high tide next time.

Yeppoon – Byfield National Park – Kellys Landing – 8 June 2013

Saturday

On Saturday, I was back in Byfield National Park, so I decided to try fishing further up Water Park Creek, near Kelly’s Landing. There are thick mangroves lining the creek with only a few openings on to the muddy banks, along this stretch. A few visitors had arrived to camp beside the river and although we are well into the ‘dry’ season, the day started with rain patches, grey skies and drizzle.

This is another muddy spot and I was soon ankle-deep in the stuff. I squelched up river, using the same technique as I had on Wednesday. I was fishing with 8lb fluorocarbon leader, my light spin rig, small soft plastic minnows and shrimps on a 1/8th ounce, # 1 hook jighead. It was a new moon so there was a big, powerful outgoing tide.

The water was fairly shallow but formed some deeper channels close to the bank. In a few places there were oyster covered rocky outcrops and I settled in the mud, a few metres short of one of these and concentrated my efforts casting close to it.

I was using the GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon Colour. This was as close as I could get to the small bait fish. They were cruising up and down beside the rocks in small schools. After a few minutes, there was a surge and splash as something hit them from below.

I dropped my lure as close as I could to the rocks and let it sink. After about 10 seconds, I hopped it up, off the bottom and felt some resistance. I had a small flathead, about 35cm long. I persisted, casting along the edge of the mangrove roots and I soon had another – a bit over 40cm. I had found a patch and I caught three more over the next 30 minutes, all about the same size, in the same general area.

I kept fishing this spot for more than hour. As the tide went out I was able to climb onto the rocks and cast further upstream, from them. I was soaked, muddy, cold and kept losing gear to the oyster covered rocks and mangrove roots. I was pondering the long squelch back to the car when a freight train smashed the soft plastic, very close to the base of the rocks.

The fish took off, but fortunately it swam out into mid-stream. I only had 8lb leader on so I left the drag alone but did everything I could to keep the fish way from the rocks. It darted back into the mangrove roots and I thought it was gone. I kept the pressure on, but did not try to pull it out – I would just have snapped the light leader. After what seemed like a few minutes but was most likely 30 seconds, I saw the leader wiggle and the fish swam out. I pulled it a little further out and then tightened the drag and quickly lifted it clear of the water. It was a handsome mangrove jack – no monster – about 30 cm long. I took a few pictures and released it.

I decided to finish the session on a high note and so I gradually squelched and slid my way back to the car. On the way, I caught a couple more small flathead. Despite several interludes with the Zman Minnowz, I had not been successful with them – it was a GULP day today. Perhaps a different profile Zman would have worked as well as the GULP Minnow, but I think in the muddy water, the GULP scent may have been an advantage.

Yeppoon – Byfield National Park – Fishing Creek – 4/5 June 2013

Tuesday/ Wednesday

Byfield is a beautiful spot and I spent Tuesday exploring. The wind was a howling south-easterly, all day, so I focused on scouting out some good sheltered spots. I tried the lee side of the headland that I had fished the day before, at the end of Nine Mile Beach. This looks like a great spot but the waves were crashing in and I could not keep my lures in the dirty water. After a few hours, I gave up on the fishing and climbed up the hill.

It looks like the water is generally quite shallow and the sediment that has poured out of the creeks and bays must get stirred up by the wind. I climbed to the top of the hill and surveyed the whole area. There were a few trawlers working just offshore. I concluded this would be an excellent area to fish land-based, so I will be back.

On Wednesday the wind was still up and it had rained heavily overnight. I decided to try fishing one of the shallow creeks that feed into Corio Bay. I chose Fishing Creek, which comes in from the south and drove down Fishing Creek Road until it petered out at a bend in the creek. It was just after high tide at about 7.00 am. There was a small ledge path on the muddy, mangrove lined banks and I squelched my way along it.

The guys at Barra Jacks in Rockhampton had suggested this spot, when I was in there a few days before. They reckoned that crocodiles were very unlikely to be around at this time of year but that I should keep my eyes peeled. That always adds a little excitement to the session!

I was fishing with my light spin rig (Loomis GL2 and Shimano Stradic 2500) and I dropped all the way down to 8lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook, jighead. I decided to stick with natural colours and started with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour. The water was not too dirty as the tide had just peaked. I dropped the soft plastic up current and bounced it back to me, along the bottom. I cast as close to the bank as I could and gradually lengthened the pauses on the bottom. After about ten casts, I felt a bite and was connected to a fast fish for a few seconds, and then it was gone. I stayed in the same area and after about 10 more casts, I landed a small flathead. A few casts later I found another, it was just under 40 cm.

I continued down the creek towards the estuary. The tide was running out quickly revealing various ponds and channel. I was wet and muddy but the sun was out and I was catching fish, so things were looking up. I concentrated on the patches of deeper water and the caught a steady stream of small flathead, over the next 4 hours. The 3” GULP Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour was the most successful lure of the day. I tried the paddle-tailed Zman Minnowz, in a couple of colours, but did not catch anything on them.

I gradually ran out of water as the creek emptied and at about 12 noon, I turned around and walked back to the car. I caught a couple of fish in the shallow pools on the way back. By the time I reached the car, I had caught 9 flathead – the majority were between 30 and 40 cm long and only two looked like they were big enough to keep.

It had been a much more successful session and had given me confidence that this is a very fishy area, when conditions allow you to get at it.

Yeppoon – Byfield National Park – 3 June 2013

Monday

Sorry I have not posted a report in a while, but once again paid work has interfered with fishing. It has however, given me the opportunity to fish a few interesting spots.

In early June I found myself back in Rockhampton and decided to spend a few more days fishing in the Byfield National Park – just north of Yeppoon. Last time I was up this way the rain pretty much washed out the fishing. Unfortunately, this trip was not very different. Whilst it was not actually raining, the accumulated downpours had left the creeks and estuaries of Byfield very fresh and muddy.

On Monday it was also very windy with a 15 knot south-easterly forecast. I drove in to the national park across the causeway and along the four-wheel drive sand tracks. There was a big bog on the track in and someone had cut a crude bypass through the forest beside it – but this required the car to get over a few fallen logs and stumps. The car was up to the challenge and got through ok. I carried on over the sand hills and drove down Nine Mile Beach to Corio Bay.

I decide to fish the Corio Bay estuary where there had been a bit of action last time I was here. When I walked around to the inside of the headland the wind was blowing harder than 20 knots and it was coming from the south. This meant there was not much shelter. We were a few days off the new moon but the tide was running in, very strongly.

I started with my medium rod and reel combo – an N.S Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod 2.59m long (8’6”) and rated 8-14 lb, matched with a Shimano Sustain 4000 reel. I had it spooled with 15lb Super PE Braid in the green colour. This will cast big and small soft plastics, small hard bodies and slugs.

The water was dirty and muddy and full of fresh and there was very little surface action. The water was considerably colder than it had been a month or so ago. I started with big soft plastic jerkshads on light jigheads and gradually swapped through heavier jigheads until I settled on a ¼ oz 2/0 jighead and a GULP 4” Minnow in the Rainbow colour. I cast into the incoming current and let the lure sink as it was carried past the rock bars by the current. I got snagged a few times and re-rigged. I had a couple of quite aggressive bites, but no hook ups. It was about 7.30 am and high tide would be at about 11.00 am. The sun was out but the wind was getting stronger and stronger.

I swapped to a suspending YOZURI Crystal Minnow hard body for about 20 casts, but this did not tempt the fish. I swapped back to the soft plastic minnow in the Rainbow colour and at about 8.10 am I felt a solid bite. On the next cast a fish grabbed the soft plastic as it landed in the water. It was quite powerful but small. After a couple of runs a pulled a very small blue salmon from the muddy water.

I carried on fishing through to the high tide and tried a number of the bays on the inside of the headland but after a few hours, the wind just made it too tough, so I gave up.

That afternoon I followed a very narrow four wheel drive only track down to Five Rocks Beach. This looks like a spectacular fishing spot and I tried a few casts, as I explored it. On the north side of the headland I was sheltered from the 25 knot southerly wind. But the water was now very stirred up and I did not get a bite. It was good fun exploring this area but it would have been better if I had caught something.

Yeppoon – Byfield National Park – Corio Bay – 12 May 2013

Saturday

Paid work had left me in Rockhampton on Friday, so I decided to have a go at fishing in Byfield National Park, over the weekend. I have a new car – an FJ Cruiser – the perfect fishing car. I love it – great clearance, plenty of power and a hose out interior. I needed to give it a workout and to get it dirty and Byfield, with its many creek crossings and sandy hills, looked like the perfect spot. There had been plenty of rain, so there would be water in the creeks, but the sand tracks would have firmed up.

I set out before first light on Saturday and drove from Rockhampton to Byfield. I grabbed a cup of coffee and breakfast in Yeppoon and arrived at the Waterpark Creek causeway, that leads into the park, at about 7.30 am. Water was flooding over the causeway. According to the depth markers it was about 400 mm deep – no problem for the new motor. You have to watch this spot when there are showers around, as a lot of rain runs off into this creek. The water level can rise very quickly and leave you stuck on the wrong side.

I had wanted to visit Five Rocks Beach but due to the recent wet weather, the tracks in that direction were closed. I headed for Nine Mile Beach, instead. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the beach from the causeway. The biggest obstacle is a climb up a big sand hill. The track was a bit churned up towards the top but it was fairly firm. I am not sure that the old Suzuki Grand Vitara would have had the clearance to make it, but the FJ rolled over the top.

Nine Mile Beach is spectacular and looked particularly wild with the grey clouds rolling in. The wind was howling so I decided to drive down the beach to find some shelter and fish in Corio Bay. At the end of the beach there is a small track that leads across the back of the headland. I took this and found some sheltered water. I believe this area is Corio Bay. The rain kept coming over in squally showers.

I took out my light spin rod and reel and wandered along the mangrove fringed banks of a sandy channel. In between the mangroves, rock bars protruded into the channel at regular intervals, forming a couple of small bays. The tidal variation is huge here, often rising 5 metres from low to high. By the time I started fishing it was about 11.15 am – low tide had passed at about 10.30 am. The water was dark grey and very muddy. The area looked very fishy and I heard a few big gulps, in the eddies around the edges of the rock bars – could have been cod or even a barra – who knows?

I started with a Zman Minnowz in the Houdini colour, on 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead. I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I lost a few soft plastics and jigheads to the rocks. I re-rigged with the same plastic and cast out and suddenly a fish connected, tight against the rocks. It pulled hard and kept taking short determined runs. I thought it might be a cod but it did not stop still, like a cod would. I got some line back, but it was now under an overhanging rock and I could feel the line rubbing. I did not have the power to pull it out with the light rod. I saw a flash of silver but could not identify it and then it must have loosened the jighead against the rocks, and it was gone.

I decided to try something a little more colourful and tied on a GULP Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour – a mixture of yellow and pumpkinseed. I stayed with the 1/8th 1/0 jighead and light leader. I cast it into the fast flowing water, in the middle of channel and let it sink. It was hit on the drop by something very fast and powerful. The fish ran with the fast current and took plenty of line very quickly. Then it jumped clear of the water and I could see it was Queenfish. Every time I got it close to shore it took off again, but eventually I pulled it clear of the water. I am sure it would only be considered a baby in local circles – but it was the biggest Queenfish I have ever caught. I took a few pictures and let it go.

I tried more and swapped through hard bodied lures, vibes and a few more soft plastics. I ended up fishing with the Zman Minnowz again. I fished around the rockbars and felt a few bites. I left the lure on the bottom for long pauses. About an hour after the Queenfish capture, I hooked something else. It pulled hard and hugged the rocks. In the end I pulled up another fish I have never caught before. Not sure what it was – see pictures. I released it and decided to give up, as another shower was coming over the headland.

I drove back through the rain, safely crossed the causeway and drove back to Yeppoon. This is a fantastic spot. I will be back!

Yeppoon – Double Head, Emu Park, Rocky Point – 5 August 2012

Sunday

The weather and conditions were perfect once again. Virtually no wind, clear skies and clear water. Unfortunately it was probably a little too clear and a little too calm. I started the day at Double Head, fishing on the north side. I was hoping for another Fingermark but the sun came up and the tide ebbed and nothing much happened. Low tide had passed before dawn, at 5.18 am and now it had just started to come in. I swapped from my heavy rod to my light one. This worked and I caught a small Bream and a very small Trevally.

I decided to move on and try fishing at Emu Park. There are a number of good rocky outcrops along the coast here and I have been told they all hold fish. I had breakfast and by the time I had finished at about 9.00 am, the tide was running in strongly. I walked out on to the rocks in front of the beach boat ramp and looked for a good spot. The problem here is always the tide. It moves so fast that you really need to time you fishing session perfectly. I arrived just as the rocky causeway was getting covered by the incoming water so I only had about half an hour of access to good water.

I found a patch of Pike and caught about 4 but nothing else turned up, so I decided to move on again. I drove down to another set of rocks called – imaginatively – Rocky Point. There was some fishy looking water in front of these so I went to explore. It was now about 11.00 am and we were approaching high tide. I was fishing with the light rod but I had dropped down to 8lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. When the water is so clear I think you have to fish light. I cast around these rocks and again, caught a few Pike. I was now fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I dropped it close to a bommy and bang, it was hit as it floated down to the bottom. It was another good Bream, who measured 38cm. The next cast I was hit again but did not hook up. It was now high tide and middle of the day so I decided to call it quits.

Unfortunately just as I was beginning to get to know it, it was time to move on from Yeppoon. I will certainly be back.

Yeppoon – Double Head and Bluff Rock – 4 August 2012

Saturday

It was back to Yeppoon for the weekend. The weather was perfect – no breeze, gentle seas, a big tide and it was just after full moon. I decided to start at Double Head again, but this time on the south side. There is a great platform on the south corner and the locals tell me the Mackerel often come past here. Low tide had been at about 5.00am and it was now just after 6.00 am. There was only about a metre of water around the base of the rocks. I started with the big rod and big Jerkshad soft plastics, just after first light.

After 30 minutes the sun was up and I had not had a bite. I swapped to the light rod and dropped down to a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour, on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead. I moved along the base of the rocks and hooked a couple of small Pike. I then moved down on to the southern corner and caught a small cod, then a slightly bigger one, then another. Then it wall went quiet.

At about 10.30 am, I decided to move across the bay to the next headland – Bluff Rock and fish the northern side. This is a little more difficult to reach and the bottom is rockier. But on my second cast, with the same soft plastic, I pulled up another Cod. As I moved around the rocks I lost a fair few jigheads, but I kept catching more Cod. After about five more, I felt a decent hit. In true Cod style, it wedged itself under a rock and I could not move it. I loosened the drag and after a couple of minutes it swam out and I landed it. It was the best Cod of the weekend at about 40cm.

I dropped down to a smaller soft plastic minnow, in the same colour and kept casting into the sandy patches, between the rocks. Just after 1.00pm, with the tide now running out, I got a solid bite and I landed a decent Bream – which measured 34cm.

At this point I gave up. I had had fantastic scenery, weather, conditions and plenty of fish. No medals, but a good day!

Yeppoon – Double Head – 31 July 2012

Tuesday

I was up before dawn and headed straight back down to Double Head, beside Rosslyn Bay Harbour to see if I could have a return match, with the fish that robbed me the day before. I started with the heavy rod again. This time I re-tied the leader and checked everything was solid.

Definitely the best time of the day to fish

I tied on a 3/8th 2/0 jighead and loaded a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. The horizon was glowing red and the water was calm. High tide would be at about 8.00 am and it was now just after 6.20 am. I cast out and moved the plastic quite quickly, to stop the heavier head getting snagged. About two metres out there was a bite, and then, close to the rocks the fish grabbed it and headed for its hole.

A 40cm Fingermark

This one was not so big, and after a few moments, I got it clear of the rocks and up to my feet. It was a 40 cm Fingermark. It had pulled hard but it was not the monster of the day before. I continued fishing for another two hours, but I could not find anymore. In fact. I did not get another bite.

Fantastic scenery – Double Head

It was time to move on. I was pleased to have a decent fish from such a beautiful spot and hoped to get back again in a few days.

Yeppoon & Emu Park – 30 July 2012

Monday

Once again I had arrived in time for a cold snap. Fortunately there was not much wind and the high tides were falling around dawn so, apart from the sudden temperature drop – conditions looked very good.

I started on the rocks just around from Rosslyn Bay harbour. There are some excellent ledges here and with a big tide there is plenty of water in front of them. I ventured out just after first light at around 6.10 am. I started with the big rod – the 9’6” Daiwa Demon Blood, and a new Stradic 8000 FJ, spooled with 30lb braid and a 30lb fluorocarbon leader. This is my heavy gear and I was hoping to find some big fish. The moon was coming up to full and as I walked across the rocks there was a huge pile of scales and big set of blood stains. I recognized the scales as Jewfish – so things were looking promising.

I walked as far along the rock ledge as I could to the mouth of a cave, which has an inlet in front of it. I rigged up with a 3/8th oz, 2/0 jighead and a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour. I cast out and waited for a while. I let it sink then hopped the lure back across the bottom.

I carried on for 30 minutes without success. Before the sun came cleared the horizon I felt a quick grab about 4 metres out from the shore. I stopped the retrieve, waited – nothing. I slowly wound it back to the base of the rocks – bang. Just as I was lifting the plastic from the water the fish struck.

The drag was set pretty tight but this fish hardly noticed it. It put its head down and went straight down under the rocks. I got right down to the edge of the water and tried to put some pressure on. I thought I was getting somewhere as the fish slowly came out. But it was just looking for a better hiding place and this time it effortlessly took more line and headed further under the rock ledge. I could feel the line rubbing whenever I tried to put more pressure on. Stalemate – I waited hoping it might swim out but it was in control of the encounter and after a few more tugs, the line snapped at the leader to braid join. Not sure what it was – it felt a bit faster than a Jewfish – perhaps a Jack or Cod or some other reef species.

I was left with a pounding heart and shaking hands watching a magnificent sun on the horizon. I re-rigged and carried casting all around these ledges for another 3 hours and did not get another bite. I swapped to slugs for a while and also tried smaller soft plastics on the light rod, but nothing could interest the fish. There did not appear to be any bait around – which might have been a problem or perhaps the cold south westerly breeze had shut things down.

I decided to drive down to Emu Park. I had breakfast and then walked out to survey the rocks. The big tidal variation in this area makes planning where and when to fish essential. There will be four metres of water coming and going with each tide, at this phase of the moon. So you have to follow the shore line out and in, and make sure you don’t get stuck. The big run can be beneficial, as the fast running water creates draining pools and eddies which give the fish ambush spots.

The rocky headland in front of Emu Park has a small bay and it was now almost low tide – around noon. I took the light rod and put on a 1/8th, 1/0 jighead and a 3” Minnow Grub soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I dropped down to 10lb leader. The grub tail plastic will often entice a strike in shallower water, especially outside of normal fish feeding times.

I found the Pike first, then a few tiny cod, then a passing school of small Trevally came marauding through. All the fish were small. I tried bigger soft plastics but the fish did not get any bigger. It was encouraging that all these fish were here. I would need to come back closer to dawn or dusk or perhaps when there is a little more water.

Just after 12.30 pm I gave up for the day. When fishing in unfamiliar territory you have to expect some tough days. I think I am beginning to work this area out.

Yeppoon – Causeway Lake – 29 July 2012

Sunday

I was heading up to Central Queensland again this week, so I decided to break my journey in Yeppoon. I would stay for a couple of days and try my luck fishing from the rocky headlands along this coast.

On Sunday afternoon I drove down to Causeway Lake to flick a soft plastic lure around at dusk. It had been a beautiful afternoon and everybody in Yeppoon and the surrounding area seemed to have had the same idea. There were lines everywhere along the bank and quite a few boats and kayaks further out.

This looks like a great fishing spot – it is a large lagoon that always has water in it. It fills from the ocean every time there is a high tide over about 3.6 metres. During these tides the water rushes in, and then out, over the rock bar at the entrance to the lake. This big tidal flow often produces some good fish near the rock bar, but there also plenty around the edges of the lake.

I started with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour, loaded on a 1/8th, size 1 jighead. I was using my light spin rod and reel. I had about 1.5m of fluorocarbon leader tied on to a spool of 4kg braid.

I cast all along the edge of the lake, beside the main road, gradually working my way towards the rock bar. There were too many other anglers at the rock bar itself, so I concentrated on the area close to the bank, where the mangroves start to grow. I felt a few bites and after about 30 minutes I found a small Flathead.

I let it go and switched to a small DUO Tetraworks Bivi, hard bodied vibe lure in a blue/ silver colour. I continued casting until well after sunset but could not persuade any fish to eat this one.

It was not a very impressive performance but on a quiet day I am sure this location would produce good fish!

Yeppoon – Double Head – 27 May 2012

Sunday

On Sunday lunchtime I had to fly home from Rockhampton. In Yeppoon, it had rained all night and was very cold but by Sunday morning the weather was perfect.

I did not have much time so I decided to return to the rocks at Double Head. I arrived just before dawn and followed the path out to fishing ledges. It was about 5.45 am and low tide would be around 8.00 am. I set up with a small 20g metal slug. I was fishing with my Berkley Nomadic 1-4 kg travel rod and a 20g slug is about as big as you can throw. As the sky started to change colour, I cast the slug in all directions but could not raise a bite.

At about 6.15am, the sun was just coming over the horizon and suddenly the bait fish started leaping around, in close to the shore. I was now fishing with a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic in the purple and black colour. I felt a few solid bites, but could not hook up. I down-sized to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Nuclear Chicken colour, on a 1/8th 1 hook, jighead and carried on casting. I was now using only 10lb leader in my desperation to land a fish.

Once the sun was up the bait activity died away. The water was a milky mess with all the fresh water from the night before pouring out of the creeks. I moved around the headland casting in all directions but the water was now very dirty on the bottom of the tide. Finally I hooked up with a small Bream but I failed to find the monsters this spot is famous for.

By noon I was on the plane heading for Brisbane and already planning my next trip to this part of the world. Hopefully the weather will be kinder next time.

Yeppoon – Rosslyn Bay & Double Head – 26 May 2012

Saturday

Once more I have allowed myself to be diverted from my true purpose in life. Yes – I have been engaging in that most dreadful of pursuits – earning a living. I have hardly wet a line in three weeks and I have been missing one of my favorite periods of the year.

It was time to fish – so on Saturday I found myself near Rockhampton and decided to stay for the weekend and have a fish around Yeppoon. There are lots of options along the coast in this area. I decided to start on the rockwalls at Rosslyn Bay Boat Harbour and the exposed rock ledges at the foot of Double Head.

Unfortunately, the weather tried its best to derail my plans. Saturday 4.30 am, I woke to light rain and no wind. I drove down to the harbour and fished around the lights and the edges of the pontoons and felt a few touches. I tried big and small soft plastics but could not raise a solid bite. As it grew light I moved down to the entrance to the harbour and cast all around but still could not stir any interest. Low tide was at about 6.30 am and the water was a milky brown colour. I could not see any bait around.

I walked out onto the rocks in front of Double Head. This area looked seriously fishy, but the water was very murky on the bottom of the tide. I walked across the small bay and out, around the headland until I could walk no further. The rain was coming and going and the wind was picking up. The tide had now started to run in – there was no sign of the sun.

I tried a small hard body vibe lure and then a bigger popper. I swapped back to the soft plastics and put on a GULP 3” Minnow in the Nuclear Chicken colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. After a few casts, I felt a bite in close to the rocks. I paused for a few seconds and then set the hook. At last, a fish. It wasn’t very big but it was a new species for me – what the locals call a ‘blue’ Salmon. It looked like a Threadfin Salmon to me – perhaps they are the same thing? It was about 45cm long, so I took a few pictures and threw it back. The next cast produced a smaller fish – I think it was a baby Salmon? And then it all went quiet again.

The wind turned colder and the rain started to get serious so after 5 hours of fishing, I gave up. It can be hard exploring new ground, especially in crappy weather, but it’s always better to fish, than not to fish!