A duck at Fingal Head – 25 April 2011

Easter Monday

All good things come to an end and after a fantastic run of fish – yesterday was a stinker! What made it worse was that I had asked a friend to come along. I have a pretty good fishing average but it seems that every time I invite this chap along – we don’t catch anything. He is beginning to suspect that I am taking him to dud spots to throw him off the scent!

Yesterday, we decided to fish the dawn at Fingal Head, just south of the Tweed River in Northern New South Wales. We parked and walked out to the headland at around 5.30am and crossed over the small causeway to the rocky promontory, just as the sun was rising and a few rain squalls were passing over. We would be fishing the last few hours of the run out tide. The water was fairly churned up and there was a fresh southerly wind blowing. It looked to me like ideal Jewfish weather.

There are also Trevally and Tailor around here, so we started with slugs and poppers. We cast in every direction but got nothing so we switched to plastics. We spent another hour casting all around and neither of us registered a bite. We walked around the headland to the south and tried fishing the soft plastic lures in that location, but also drew a blank.

Finally around 8.00 am we decided to drive up to the south rockwall of the Tweed River. It was just about the bottom of the tide when we arrived. We cast out soft plastics on 3/8thoz 2/0 jigheads. We both were getting nibbles from smaller fish at the base of the rocks and after a few hits I finally hooked a reasonable fish on a GULP 4” Vader minnow. I never got to see it as the leader got caught in the rocks and as the swell bashed against them, it snapped.

We gave up and went home for a Flathead BBQ and a few bottles of red to drown our sorrows.

Fingal Head – Jew & Trevally – 8 Feb 2011

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Tuesday

I could see that the weather looked reasonable for a few days so I decided to head south. Plenty of showers to come but the wind and swell looked like they were finally calming down.

I was heading for Iluka, in Northern New South Wales, to chase a few Jewfish from the rocky headlands of the Bundjalong National Park. I decided to stop at Fingal Head for a fishing session on my way down, on Tuesday morning. I arrived around 4.45am and crossed the causeway out onto the rock platform and rigged up my light 2-4g 7ft Nitro spin rod. I wanted to try fishing with lighter weighted jigheads – around a 1/4oz – and to do this effectively, I had to dump the traditional heavy rock fishing rod.

Unfortunately the wind was howling (southerly) and the swell was up – fishing a 1/4 oz jighead was not working, so I switched to a 3/8 oz. I was fishing with the GULP Crazy Legs Lime Tiger Jerkshad and using a 16lb fluorocarbon leader. I was casting out from the northern side of the rock platform and bumping the lure back along the sand to the base of the rocks. As dawn broke there was a huge school of birds working above a bait school, but they were too far to cast at.

After fishing for about 45 minutes the lure was hit about 6 metres from the rocks and I hooked up. It was a Jewfish – just over 50 cm and after a couple of runs, I landed it safely. I tried for another 30 minutes and then swapped to a more natural GULP 4″ Peppered Prawn minnow soft plastic. The birds were still working but not moving any closer.

I was casting out from the northern tip of the rock platform. The wind and swell was washing the plastic back into the rocks fairly quickly, but it was on the bottom. Suddenly there was a jerk and the line started peeling. There was a blistering initial run and then I tightened the drag and started to get line back. On a decent surge I pulled the fish up, on to the platform. It was a 45cm Big Eye Trevally.

Now it was really blowing, the tide had started to really run and the heavens opened. I took it as an omen and packed up. – Next stop Iluka.

Fingal Head – Nothing for dinner – 3 Feb 2011

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Thursday

Back to Fingal Head in Northern New South Wales – a big drive down from Brisbane – left around 2.45 am – but the Jewfish from the last session had got me all fired up.

I arrived before dawn – and walked all around the headland casting everywhere. I got a few bites just as the sun came up – probably Dart or Bream and then nothing. I started with GULP Jerkshad soft plastic lures on a 1/2 oz jigheads and also tried a HALCO 70g Twisty metal slug. Nothing produced fish. The swell was a bit bigger than on Tuesday and half an hour after dawn it was already stinking hot. I waited until the tide peaked at around 8.30 am and then gave up.

A great spot but I could not find the fish today. I will blame Tropical Cyclone Yasi which was crossing the coast at Cardwell/ Tully just as I started the session.

Fingal Head – The Lighthouse Rocks – 1 Feb 2011

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Tuesday

With the cyclone bearing down and the prospect of another wet and windy period, I thought I had better get out for a fishing session. So early Tuesday morning I headed down to the Tweed river mouth before dawn. I fished around the end of the rockwall for a couple of hours, either side of dawn but failed get a bite so, at around 6.30 am, I decided to head further south to Fingal Head, to fish the rocks there. There is no shortage of great rock fishing spots in Northern New South Wales. Fingal is another beautiful spot with some unique octagonal rock formations. There are good fishing locations in front of the lighthouse, all along the headland but my favourite area is just to the south of the main rock platform.

I started fishing here at about 7.15am. I was using my ROVEX Aureus 9ft rod with the SHIMANO Stradic 6000. It is spooled with 20lb Fireline and I had tied on a 25lb fluorocarbon leader. I attached ½ oz 4/0 jighead and decided on my favourite soft plastic lure for Jewfish – the GULP 5” Crazylegs Jerkshad in the lime tiger colour. On my first cast – I let the plastic sink to the bottom then jerked it back towards the rocks. As I lifted it clear of the water something took a swipe at it – but I could not see what. Next cast I slowed it down even further and let it drift in very close to the base of the rocks. As I lifted it I felt the bite, I dropped the rod tip, paused, then struck hard. I had a fish on and due to the proximity of the rocks I tightened the drag and just winched it up. It was a good size Tarwhine at just over 35cm.

The soft plastic was pretty mauled so I changed it for a new one in the same colour and pattern. I still had about half an hour of run in water before high tide. I got a good soaking from a passing rain squall but that was no hardship as it was so hot and humid. I was standing on the mainland to the south of the narrow causeway that leads out to the main rock platform. The water washes over the causeway at high tide and I was casting in to the area just south of it. The bottom is very rocky so inevitably I lost a few jigheads as my lures got snagged. After a couple of re-rigs I felt the line go taught and then the rod tip started wiggling and I could see silver. I waited for a wave to bring it up over the rocks onto the ledge below me. Then I tightened the drag and pulled the fish up successfully. It was a Jewfish, just on 50 cm long.

Four or five casts later I had the plastic down deep at the base of the rocks and again, I felt a solid bite and then lost a bit of line. Fortunately the swell pulled the fish out from under a ledge and on the next wave I brought it up, out of the water and onto the ledge below. Again, I winched it up to my feet and it was another Jewfish – perhaps a couple of cm smaller than the first.

I carried on for half an hour or so, but then the sky darkened and really heavy rain started, I decided to give up. I presume we will get some fairly big seas and rain as the cyclone passes through up north, but this might bring the Jewfish on in greater numbers. The challenge will be finding somewhere safe to target them.