I never get bored of catching fish but I have enough Flathead in the fridge so it was time for a change of scene. I decided to drive down to Fingal Head on Tuesday morning, to fish the rocks around the lighthouse and the causeway.
My view is there are some things you can be late for – work, submitting your tax return, your wedding, the births of your children, etc – and then there are some things you must never be late for – fishing. I am ashamed to admit that I was late on Tuesday morning. I was up at 3.45 am and on the road south, a few minutes later, but the sun was well over the horizon as I pulled into the car park, at Fingal Head l. It was just before 5.00 am (QLD time). I quickly pulled my rock boots on and hiked out to the causeway and promontory, below the lighthouse. The skies were grey and rain was on the way. The wind was from the south east, initially.
There were a couple of guys fishing and plenty of fresh blood in the rock pools. This just emphasised for me, the need to arrive just before dawn (rather than just after). One of the fisherman confirmed they had landed a good Tailor just after first light.
I rigged up one of my DUO hard bodied favorites – the Beachwalker Mid120. This is a fairly shallow diving minnow. I have swapped a few of my lures over to single hooks to see how this affects my hook up and capture rates. I think trebles may connect with more fish but bigger, single hooks give you a better chance of landing the fish, from the rocks, once it is hooked. I was using a bright orange coloured DUO Beachwalker and after a few casts I saw the small Tailor following it in. There were some splashes behind the lure and a couple of knocks but I did not hook up.
I swapped to a soft plastic GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Black shad colour on a 3/8th oz, 3/0 jighead and threw that out. I was fishing with my Daiwa Demonblood, 9’6” rod, 30lb braid and 20lb fluorocarbon leader. The soft plastic did not seem to interest the fish. In fact, I did not even lose the tail to the smaller fish, which is what usually happens here.
I swapped through a few more plastics and hard bodies but could not connect with anything. At about 8.15am I swapped down to my lighter Shimano Catana Coastline rod and 2500 size reel 8lb Fireline Exceed and 16lb fluorocarbon leader. I tried fishing a few smaller soft plastics on light jigheads but they did not attract any fish.
I swapped over to another of my DUO lures – the Bay Ruf Manic 115. This is an 18 gram stick bait that is cleverly weighted to cast long distances and sink slowly. At only 18 grams it is a little light to cast with my big rig but it is perfect with the Catana. I had left the original trebles on this one. It does not look like it has much action but on closer inspection, it has a very tight sub-surface wobble which leaves a pulsing wake.
I cast it out and let it sink for a few seconds. On the first retrieve I saw a fish come up behind it then turn away. On the next cast a fish grabbed it right at the base of the rocks and took off. It was at this moment that I remembered the rod is called the Shimano Catana Coastline LIGHT. It bends over nicely and is a great shock absorbed but it cannot apply much pressure to decent sized Tailor. After a few frenetic runs, I started to get a bit of line back. The fish jumped and I saw it was going to be a headache to land – it was a good Tailor well over 50cm.
I steered it round the rocks and tried to pull it in close to a ledge where I might be able to grab the leader and pull it up. I increased the pressure and tightened the drag but then the lure pulled free of the mouth and the fish was gone. I pulled up the lure which had scale on it and a slightly bent rear treble. Things went quiet again and I had a chat with another angler – Steve. We were distracted from our chat by a few swooping birds who started dive bombing the swell, a few metres out in front of us.
We both chucked a lure at the boil – I had the Bay Ruf Manic and Steve had a 45g metal slug. We both hooked up straight away. After a brief fight I had a 50cm Tailor at my feet and Steve had landed a slightly smaller model. The Bay Ruf Manic had lost its tail-end treble – half of which I later found lodged in the roof of its mouth. DUO lures had produced for me again.
By this point my shoulders and back were killing me, so I decided one fish would do. I walked back to the car – covered it in ice and drove back to Brisbane.