1770 – Wreck Rock & Deepwater Creek – 5 November 2014

Wednesday

Lunchtime

I had a lie in on Friday morning and waited to fish the lunchtime low tide at Wreck Rock Beach. I drove down into Deepwater National Park at about 10.00 am. The skies were clear and the forecast strong north easterly wind had not materialised. I rock hopped out, about half way along the peninsula and cast out a  GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic, in the Lime Tiger colour. I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 sized hook jighead. The first taker was a small moses perch, who was hiding close to the rocks. I caught a few of these, (none big enough to keep) then moved a little further along.

I cast out in front of the rocks, into the gaps between the bommies. I soon found some more moses perch and then some small dart. I moved around the rocks and swapped through a few different coloured soft plastics. The brighter colours in the three inch size soft plastic minnows – particularly those with some speckle in the colour, seemed to catch the best fish and the dart gradually got bigger. But I could not find any significant fish at Wreck Rock and by about 3.30 pm, the incoming tide pushed me off my fishing perch.

Early evening

I dried off, pulled on some long pants and drove back down to Deepwater Creek. I arrived just after 4.00 pm and rigged up with another small DUO Poco Poco surface popper. I cast out into the fresh water section. I jerked the popper slowly back towards me. There were a couple of swipes behind it, but I did not hook up.

I moved back to the saltwater section and re-rigged with a GULP 3 “ Minnow on a 1/16th ounce, size 2 hook jighead. Tarpon have quite small hard mouths so I hoped the smaller hook gauge might slide home more easily. This did the trick and after a number of hits and dropped fish I finally hooked a good one. They fight so hard and leap around all over the place – they are just great fun to catch. I landed three but hooked up to about ten as the sun dropped and the cicadas started to produce a deafening hum, the action got faster and hotter and then slowly died down.

By about 6.45 pm it was dark and quiet. I tried a few casts with a popper and then gave up.

 

Tarpon Salty water tarpon

1770 – Deepwater Creek – 4 November 2014

Tuesday

On Tuesday I had some work to do in the morning and the wind was blowing hard. By lunchtime, I was keen for a fish, so I decided to drive down to Deepwater Creek, which is just south of 1770 and see what I could catch.

At about 3.00 pm I set out to explore. I have fished a few sections of the creek. It has both freshwater and saltwater parts with a weir separating the two. When it rains heavily, the water runs over the weir and it would be possible for fish who can survive in both, to move up stream. Last year I caught my first tiny barramundi in this creek. I am sure that there are some bigger ones lurking in this system.

It’s important to protect yourself from the bugs. You want to be fishing at dawn or dusk and unfortunately this is the time when they are at their fiercest.  This is a fresh/ saltwater swamp, so after a bit of rain it is buzzing. I find minimising your exposed skin is really the best solution, so I wear long trousers and a long sleeve shirt and fishing gloves. I then use a good repellent on my neck and face.

I started on a section of the fresh side of the creek. Finding a spot to cast from is always a challenge. There are overhanging branches and vegetation everywhere. There are also fallen trees and stumps at regular intervals. You must be prepared to lose plenty of gear. I was fishing light. I was using my G.Loomis TJR fast action, light spin rod, Shimano Stella 2500 reel, 10lb braid with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. There was no movement and the wind was ruffling the tree tops. I decided it was time to think out of the box – the DUO lure box. With so many snags I decided to give a small surface popper a try. I tied on the DUO Tetraworks Pocopoco in the Clear Rainbow colour. This is a very small popper that is great for catching bream over weed beds. It is well made with the usual great DUO paint job and excellent finish – but its real strength is its noisy blooping action.

I cast it out to mid-stream and let it sit for about ten seconds. I took up the slack and it loudly blooped towards me. After each jerk with the rod tip there was another bloop and splash and then I would pause. After three pauses, there was a swirl in the tea tree stained water behind the lure. On the next bloop a fish attacked and ran for bit but then spat the lure out. I could not see what it was.

I cast out to the same spot, there was another swirl and then a surface strike but the fish missed the lure. Popper fishing is always like this – you swing from delight to disappointment, all within a 10 second retrieve. I cast out again and again and I had another bite and run but no hook up. I decided to return later.

 

I moved down to the saltwater section and found a good looking stretch of bank with sunken timber and lots of mangrove roots. I swapped to a soft plastic lure – a GULP 3” Smelt Minnow and as the water was hardly moving, I dropped down to 1/12th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. As I cast along parallel with the bank, small bait fish hopped along in front of my lure. It was now about 4.30 pm and there were a few surface bust ups, in close to the mangrove roots. I lost a few jigheads and leaders to the submerged timber, but I kept re-rigging.  At about 5.00 pm something slammed my lure just before I was going to lift it clear of the water. The rod bent over and it tried to head straight back towards the mangrove roots. With 10lb leader I was not going to force the fish out once it buried itself – so I quickly tightened the drag and gambled that the G.Loomis would be a good enough shock absorber. This worked and I turned the fish back towards mid-stream. It pulled hard but after a minute or two it was tired and I carefully pulled it clear of the water. It was a Mangrove Jack and measured 38cm. I took a few pictures and released it.

After another 30 minutes I decided to turn my attentions back to the fresh water section of the creek. I wanted to see if I could catch what had been chasing my popper, earlier. I went back to the other spot and I tied the popper back on. It was now about 5.30 pm and the shadows where getting longer. I cast into the middle of the stream, where the fish had been earlier, but with no luck. I cast closer to some tall swamp grass on the far bank and saw a faint swirl behind the popper. I put the next cast back in the same spot and this time the fish took it in one great gulp. It was a chunky spangled perch – about 30 cm long. There is obviously plenty to eat in this system.

I don’t think the strikes earlier in the day had been from this species, they had been much more aggressive. Perhaps they were from some tarpon, which can be caught all through this system.  By about 6.30 pm it was too dark to carry on so I stopped for the day. Exploring new systems can be hit and miss but this afternoon was definitely a hit!

1770 – Baffle Creek – Deepwater Creek – 4 September 2013

Wednesday

From Gayndah I drove north to Agnes Waters/ 1770 for the important part of the trip. Unfortunately the weather messed up my plans. No rain this time but a howling south-easterly blow.

I decided to do some exploring around Baffle Creek. I started on Wednesday morning at Flat Rock on Baffle Creek. There are a few submerged rock bars in this area. I walked out onto one in the pre-dawn light and cast a few soft plastics along the edge of the Mangroves.

Just after first light I caught a decent Bream – about 32 cm long, but as the sun came up everything went quiet. I moved down to the flats to the south of the boat ramp and cast around with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I had a few hits in the shallows but I could not hook up. I slowed the retrieve and caught a small flounder.

I carried on for an hour but I could not catch anything more, so I decided to switch locations. I drove into Deepwater National Park and decided to stop and fish along Deepwater Creek. This is a long meandering waterway that works its way out to the sea near Rules Beach. It is fresh at the top end but then flows over a small weir to meet the salty water. It is shallow and tannin stained but there are a few deep holes.

I swapped down to very light gear – 8lb leader and 1/8th, 1 hook jighead and a 3” GULP Crazylegs shad in the smelt colour. After all the rain earlier in the year, there was plenty of water in the system, but it was not running over the weir. I stopped at a few breaks in the vegetation on the bank and put in a few casts – no luck.

I followed a track off the road, down to the weir itself and decided to cast at the snags along the banks. There was plenty of bait close to the bank and something was lunging at it, periodically. I cast in close to the snags and lost a few jig heads.

After about an hour of peppering the area, I had not had a touch. I was about to give up. I cast in, under an overhanging branch, a few inches from the bank. The lure started to sink and there was a tail splash as something engulfed it. It took off hard for mid-stream. Then it leapt out of the water and I could see it was a small Barramundi.

It calmed down and I pulled it up onto the concrete. I was delighted to have my first barramundi. It was sitting on the salty side of the weir and was a golden bronze colour. I did not measure it but it was about 40 cm long. I took a few photos and sent it on its way. It was just before noon.

The wind had forced me to spend time exploring and it had paid off.