Brunswick Heads, Skennars Head and Broken Head – May 2018

May rolled in and we finally got a few cold nights but the weather soon turned warm again. We had a good south-easterly blow and a few days of rain at Brunswick Heads early in the month. In the rough weather some good gutters formed at North Head on the north side of the Brunswick River mouth.

On a couple of nights Tailor reportedly turned up and everyone caught fish. Unfortunately, they were not the nights I was fishing. I did manage a couple of 40 cm choppers, just as the sun fell, using my trusty gold/brass coloured 40g Halco Twisty metal slug.

In the stormy weather I fished the north side of the north wall with a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I was so desperate for a fish that I dropped down to 8lb leader and loaded the plastic on to a size 4, unweighted hook. I let it wash around at the base of the rocks and to my surprise I hooked a solid luderick.

A few days later I moved up river a little and fished at Christmas Beach (just short of the Brunswick River Mouth, on the north side). The tide was running out and the water was a tannin stained brown colour. I was fishing with my light estuary rod, with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader and was jigging a GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon coloured minnow along the sandy bottom. The jighead was a 1/8th ounce weight with a 1/0 jighead. As usual the fish were close to the rocks. The first flathead I caught was in a sandy gully between two rocky outcrops. It was just over 40 cm, so I kept it for dinner. It seems ridiculous that we can have different size limits for flathead in New South Wales (36cm) and Queensland (40 cm). I am sticking with the 40cm, as that is about the minimum size I would consider worth filleting. I carried on as the tide ran out and caught two more from similar spots. I also lost two or three jigheads to the rocks.

On one of the calmer days I had a morning session fishing from the rocks at Skennars Head. As the sun rose I hooked a couple of good sized dart, again using soft plastic minnows. These were quickly followed by two 30cm + chunky bream, close to the base of the rocks. I then put on a bigger 4 inch minnow soft plastic and after a few casts, caught a 40 cm tailor. I caught all the fish before 7.30 am, after which I did not get a bite.

In the light swell I also had a few afternoon sessions fishing down at Broken Head. In the first I found a few small trevally and in the second I caught good sized bream and dart. The dart were in big schools swimming up and down in front of the rocks. Occasionally they would break the surface to feed on smaller fish schools. I cast a slug around but could not connect with any tailor.

Not many big ones but there were plenty of fish on offer in May.

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1770 Getaway Beach, Flat Rock & Wreck Rock – 6/7 November 2014

Thursday/ Friday

The weather stayed good at 1770 on Thursday and Friday. The winds were light northerlies and the sea flattened out. Unfortunately the low tide was in the middle of the day which meant the fishing timetable was not ideal. Low tide just after dawn and dusk would be my favourite, but you cannot have everything you desire.

I fished at Flat Rock and Wreck Rock on the dawn high tides without much luck. As the tide ran out towards lunch time, I found more and more fish. But they were generally small dart, stripey and moses perch and the odd whiting. During these middle of the day low tides I had to drop down to a 1/8thounce, size 2 hook jighead, 8lb fluorocarbon leader and GULP 3” Minnow soft plastics to entice the fish into action. Typically each session would produce a couple of good size dart and I kept a few for dinner.

Dart is really about the only fish I enjoy eating raw. It needs to be bled soon after capture, filleted and refrigerated and then left for about 12 hours.Then comes the tricky bit – take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, before you eat it. The flesh is firm and perfect with a little chilli soy or fish sauce and lime.

Incidentally, the more I catch fish the less I eat it in restaurants. When you know the texture, feel and taste of really fresh fish, it is very hard to eat something that has been sitting around, even a few days. I encourage everybody to catch some bream, whiting or flathead during the holidays, fillet them and eat them. Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle to take the fish home and clean it up, and sometimes it hardly seems worth it – but you will definitely taste the difference. It is also often the smaller fish like dart and whiting, that taste the sweetest.

In desperation I even tried a tiny popper at Flat Rock – hoping to tempt some larger whiting. Instead, this just caught another small dart. A constant stream of small fish still made the fishing fun and as usual the scenery and sunrises were spectacular.

1770 – Getaway Beach and Wreck Rock – 3 November 2014

Monday

By a lucky twist of fate I found myself stuck in Gladstone for a few days – so I disappeared to 1770. Gavin and Kim at Loka Santi – http://www.lokasanti1770.com.au – had an apartment free at a good rate, so I decided to stay there, again.

The weather looked unpredictable and that was how it turned out. On Monday a strong south-easterly blow appeared from nowhere and brought some rain with it. I started just after dawn at Getaway Beach where I caught a few small stripey perch and dart, mainly on small soft plastics. After a few hours, I did not have much to show for my efforts, so I went off to find some breakfast.

High tide had been at about 5.30 am so by lunch time I could get to fish my favourite spot at Wreck Rock. I arrived at about 11.30 am and wandered out onto the rocks with my NS Blackhole light rock fishing rig. It was lunch time so I kept things light – 10lb fluorocarbon leader, 1/8th 1/0 jigheads and GULP 3” Minnow soft plastics.

The sky was grey and it started to rain. Fortunately the rain dampened down the wind. I caught a steady stream of dart and even a couple of whiting, but there were no bream or trevally around. The rain stopped and the wind picked up again. The water felt much warmer than a couple of weeks earlier which may explain why the tailor and bream had moved on. By about 1.00 pm I was soaked through and decided to call it quits for the day.

1770 – Flat Rock & Red Rock – Blubber Lip – Deep Water National Park – 16 May 2011

Monday

I woke up at around 5.00 am with the wind rustling in the trees. Out on the beach at Wreck Rock, it was a howling south-easterly, so I drove up the track to 1770. I was hoping to have a fish on the sheltered side of the headland but when I arrived, I realised that even that was too blowy. I watched the sunrise and then had a coffee and some breakfast from the bakery at Agnes Waters. I found a sunny spot and pondered where to fish next.
I decided to head for the northern end of Flat Rock beach. At the end of the beach there is rocky headland known as Red Rock. It’s a long walk – about 2.5 km, but the sun was shining and on the way there, at least, the wind was behind me.

I stopped to cast in a few spots along the way. I had to use a ¼ oz size 1 hook jighead to make an impact on the wind. I was fishing it with the GULP 3” Pearl Watermelon Minnow which resembles the small whitebait that the Tuna have been feeding on. I caught a few Dart and Whiting towards the northern end of the rock, where the water was running out of the long gutter and into the ocean.

Eventually I reached the end of the beach and clambered over the rocks known as Red Rock. There is a small corner in this spot that is sheltered from the south-easterly winds and a couple of hours either side of high water, it is a good fishing spot. I cast the Minnow soft plastic close into the foot of the rocks and immediately got a few bites. Next cast I caught a small Dart and then a Stripy Perch – about 30 cm long. The fish were in close to the rocks in just over a metre of water. After half an hour I was running out of water and I had not caught anything worth keeping.

I headed back over the rocks to Flat Rock and waded out onto the northern tip of the rock. I then walked back south along the top of the rock, casting all along the edge. About 600 metres from the northern end of the beach there is a gig drain through a gap in the rock. I cast out in front of it and a fish grabbed the lure and made a short run. I struck but the fish dropped the lure. I paused and struck again – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz I was on. The fish swam straight under the rock and soon I could feel my line rubbing every time I tried to put some tension on it. I let it go slack and after 10 seconds or so pulled it tight again. I made a bit of head way but then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz straight back under the rock. I employed the same procedure 3 or 4 times and eventually the fish swam out. It was a big Blubber Lip Bream around 50 cm long and over 2 kg. I bled and gutted it straight away and decided to keep it for supper. I made the long trek back along the beach – into the wind and decided it was time to head back to Brisbane. I have read a lot of criticism of the taste of the Blubber Lip Bream but my mob scoffed the lot at dinner – the fillets tasted pretty good pan-fried with lime and fish sauce.

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It had been a great week but the fishing had been hard work. I was constantly struggling to find the better fish and the Tailor and better sized Bream, really had not shown up. By the next full moon I would think the Tailor will be more prolific around 1770 – particularly if the Whitebait thicken up their numbers. The water needs to cool a bit more for the winter species, but I think the fishing will get better and better this year, so I hope I am back up here before too long.