1770 – Getaway Beach – 21 October 2014

Tuesday

On Tuesday, I was up early to fish the rocks at Getaway Beach. This can be reached from Springs Road along a walking track, or by walking north around the headland from the new road that was constructed for the desalination plant inlet.

I have caught and dropped a few jewfish/mulloway here in the past. There are lots of spots that look promising, in fact it is pretty much perfect with rocky overhangs and sea caves all around the headlands. But I am much less confident in my ability to find them here than I am down south, in Southern Queensland or Northern New South Wales. They are very much creatures of habit but the more I think about it and the more I fish for them, I realise that there must be ready supply of bait for them to hang around. The moon and tides are also important. The run up to the full and new moons both seem to make them more active but, like most fish, it is a constant food supply that they are most interested in. I agree that they also prefer the water to be stirred up and foamy but not necessarily dirty.

The new moon was only a few days away.  The tide was running in. I started fishing about 5.30 am, a little after sunrise (late for work again!). I started with my lighter rock and beach fishing combo, based on the N.S Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod. It is 2.59m long (8’6”) and rated 8-14 lb. I match this rod with a Shimano Sustain 3000 reel. This is rigged with 15lb braid and I usually fish it with a 12lb to 16lb fluorocarbon leader. Today I had some 14lb. When I am looking for a jewfish I start with the lightest jighead that will sink in the swell. That varies between a 3/8th ounce, down to a 1/8th ounce. A ¼ ounce was perfect for the conditions – a light south-easterly swell. I started with some big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshads and then regular Jerkshads, then 4” Minnows and finally 3 “ Minnows. Nothing produced a jewfish.

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I caught plenty of stripey perch and lost tails to small dart/ whiting. At one point, I hooked the resident turtle – who set off for New Zealand, before unhooking himself. I moved around the rocks and cast into every crevasse and at every bommy – but nothing produced what I was looking for.

The wind started to build and by 9.00 am it was a 25 knot south-easterly so I gave up. No fish pictures because you all know what a dart and stripey perch look like by now.

1770 Round Hill Creek – 20 October 2014

Monday – Dusk

On Monday afternoon, the south easterly wind was blowing hard and the beaches south of 1770 were impossible to fish. I decided to fish on the northern side of the 1770 headland, in Round Hill Creek. I drove to the car park by Captain Cooks Monument and followed the path down to the creek.

1770 is one of the few places you can actually see great sunrises and sunsets. I started fishing with small soft plastics at about 4.00 pm. I moved along the shoreline towards the mouth of the creek. At one point a small school of what looked like trevally came by, busting up into some bait on the surface. As is so often the case, they remained just out of casting range.

The shoreline is rocky, interspersed with patches of sandy bottom. As with everywhere in this town it looks very fishy! I swapped to a slightly bigger 4” GULP Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. As I pulled this carefully over the top of the submerged rocks a small cod shot out and grabbed it. It did its best to bury itself in the rocks but I just let the pressure off and waited for it to swim out. It was about 30 cm long – so I sent it on its way.

 

I swapped to a bigger soft plastic a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I was still fishing with my light rig – 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th, 1/0 jighead. After a few casts, I felt a solid bite at the foot of the rocks and was sure I had a fish on for a few seconds. But it must have dropped the soft plastic. I carried on along the shore and turned back as the sun began to drop towards the horizon. I stopped where I had felt the bite previously and put in another cast. I slowed it all down and let the plastic sit on the bottom for a good 10 seconds. I then hopped it back towards the shore. On the third attempt the fish hit the plastic hard.  It hooked itself and started thrashing around in the fairly shallow water. I let it make a few runs then tightened the drag and pulled it up on to the pebbly beach. It was another flathead – but a dusky this time. It was a little bigger the mornings version at about 55 cm. By the time I had photographed and released it, I had a violent red sunset to watch.

Nothing spectacular but a decent fish and sunrise at the beginning of the day and a decent fish and sunset at the end of the day – perfect!

1770 Deepwater National Park – Flat Rock – 20 October 2014

Monday

I had managed to get a few days off near Gladstone. The weather looked a bit windy but you have to take the cards you are dealt. I pointed the car in the direction of 1770 and set off. This time I decided to stay at Loka Santi Beachside Apartments – www.lokasanti1770.com.au . They are about mid-way between Agnes Waters and 1770, tucked in the sand dunes, 100 metres or so behind the beach. They have three bedroom / two bathroom units with kitchens and laundries but can offer these for singles and couples, at very reasonable rates, by locking off the extra rooms. All of the units have bbq’s, big balconies and outdoor spaces. There is a pool and the beach is only a stone’s throw away. Gavin and Kim run the place and will give you a very warm welcome. Gavin is a keen fisherman and has a side console Polycraft boat, on a trailer, that you can rent to explore the local creeks, if you have a boat license.

I arrived late on Sunday afternoon, after a long drive and decided to go to bed early and make the most of the fishing in the morning.  The wind was forecast to pick up from the south east on Monday afternoon and then blow fairly hard for a few days. In common with so many areas, I have lots of spots around Agnes Waters/ 1770 that are better to fish on a low or falling tide. Dawn on Monday morning would be just after 5.00 am and high tide would be at about 6.30 am on the beaches/ rocks to the south. I decided to fish at Flat Rock, in Deepwater National Park – about 10 kms to the south of Agnes Waters.

Flat Rock, Middle Rock and Wreck Rock are reached by passing along a 4 wheel drive only sand track that turns off the road just south of Agnes Water. The track can be very variable. I used to do it in my Suzuki Grand Vitara and rarely got stuck – but it was challenging.  With a little extra clearance, the FJ Cruiser has no trouble. At the moment the track is in great shape and the tough, steep sandy slope, which used to cause problems, has been filled in with some road base and firmed up.

 

 

It took about 25 minutes to drive from Loka Santi to Flat Rock beach. Flat Rock is a spectacular spot and, unsurprisingly at 5.00 am on a Monday morning – I had it to myself. The beach is named for the long Flat Rock that runs parallel with the shore for almost its entire length. The rock creates a huge gutter at high tide and great fishing platform at low tide. My preference is to stand on the rock on a run out tide and fish into the drains that run through the rock as the tide drains.

This morning I was using my light spinning rig – 8lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader, 1/8th 1 or 2, sized hook jigheads. I was not expecting anything too big as I would be mainly fishing the gutter on the inside of the rock. Small soft plastics – GULP Minnows, Minnow and Jigging Grubs and Shrimps are the best choices along here. I started with a 3 inch GULP Minnow in the smelt colour. The water was clear but foamy and the Flat Rock was completely submerged. Ideally you would like to cast a very light jighead here, perhaps 1/12th of an ounce or 1/16th, but fishing in surf/beach conditions nearly always makes the lightest castable size a 1/8th ounce. This is what I selected.

I walked north along the beach casting towards the inner edge of the Flat Rock. Straight away my plastic was getting hit at the foot of the beach, where the wave breaks. I assumed this was Whiting or Dart. This was confirmed as I pulled out a few tiny Dart.

I moved down to an area about 500 metres to the south of the beach entrance, where there is a break in the rock. At this point the water was rushing in through the break, as the tide filled the inside gutter.

I cast right into the centre of the gap, level with the rocks on either side and let the plastic sink. When I lifted the rod I felt a light tug and then a solid bite. I set the hook and the fish took some line. Fishing in the surf takes some getting used to. The pull of the waves makes it difficult to gauge what you are dealing with. It is essential to try to maintain the tension, as a large wave can lift the fish and give it some slack, then the hook falls out and the fish is gone. You also need to be careful as you pull the fish up the beach. Basically, patience is the key.

I tried to be patient but it has never been my strong point. I kept winding and after a few minutes I had a nice sandy coloured flag tail flathead at my feet. It was a nice fat fish about 50cm long. I took a few pictures and released it.

I carried on fishing this area and swapped to a slightly bigger 4” GULP Minnow in the Green Camo colour. I kept getting hits from fish in the mouth of the drain but could not hook up. I slowed everything down and let the plastic waft around a bit on the bottom. This strategy worked and I felt a good bite and struck. I was surprised to see a fat whiting; about 30 cm long had swallowed the 4” Minnow. I released it and was hopeful of more.

I fished for another hour or so but the wind was building from the south east and this eventually made the fishing too difficult. I caught several more dart, and a couple of really tiny flathead. I think I may have also dropped a couple of larger flathead, but it was difficult to tell. At about 9.00 am, I surrendered the beach to the wind and went for breakfast.