Magnetic Island – Townsville – 27 August 2011

Saturday AM

I was up early for a quick morning fish at Bremner Point on Magnetic Island. The climb out, over the boulders to reach the fishing zone was pretty tough. My knees are not that effective as shock absorbers anymore, but I managed to arrive just before dawn, at around 5.30 am.
The first cast produced a small pike and the next a small Stripy Perch. I carried on casting, gradually moving north around the front of the headland. I caught a few more Perch and a few more cod. They were all very small but pulled hard on the light rod.

After a slightly more solid fish bit me off I put a GULP 4” Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead and cast it out. I was now standing on a flat rock above a ‘V’ shaped inlet. Things had slowed down a bit and I was letting the plastic slowly waft around in close to the shore. As I wound in the plastic and was about to lift it out of the water, a great silver shape came shooting up from beneath and in one clean movement, turned over on top of the plastic, swallowed it and took off. It was a good size Giant Trevally and line started peeling. The tiny rod was never going to stop it so reluctantly I gradually tightened the drag. The fish slowed for a bit and then as it took off again the line went slack. I wound it in to find a jighead with a thoroughly straightened hook.

I carried on fishing around the headland until I reached Alma Bay at about 11.00 am – where I stopped for a quick swim. Outgunned by the fish again.

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Saturday PM

This was to be my last session on Magnetic Island and I decided to try the north rockwall, in front of the main harbor at Nellie Bay. I tried a number of different soft plastics but nothing really happened until the sun dropped behind the hills. Then the familiar routine started up again. Just as the plastic reached the edge of the rocks, a fish would dart out, grab it and drag it back down. I think these fish were better sized cod and I did not manage to win my fight with any of them. Just as it was really getting dark I pulled one clear of the water, only to find the orange/ brown eye of a small barramundi staring back at me – it was no more than 25cm long and had grabbed the GULP 3” Pearl Watermelon Minnow on a 1/8th oz 1/0 jighead. Its skin was almost black and that was why I had mistaken it for a cod.

The session ended abruptly as the tip of the Pflueger rod snapped on the next cast. I had put it through its paces over the last few days but it should be made of sterner stuff – so I will be taking it back to BCF. It had been a great introduction to land based fishing on Magnetic Island. I will be back again soon,but next time I will go properly prepared!

Wreck Rock – Deep Water National Park 1770 – 13 May 2011

Friday

Having seen the Tuna working just offshore, all afternoon the day before, at both Wreck Rock and Flat Rock, I decided to spend dawn on Friday casting slugs from the southern tip of Wreck Rock. The tides where getting bigger in the run up to the full moon. Low tide would be at 11.10 am, so there would be plenty of water close into the rocks, at dawn.

The south end of Wreck Rock at dawn

The southern tip of the Wreck Rock bay has a couple of rocky outcrops and submerged bommies. At low tide there is only about a metre of water in front of them, but at high tide, this can increase to almost 4 metres. South of these rocks is a long, almost completely uninterrupted beach ( Rules Beach), that runs all the way down to the mouth of Baffle Creek. At the moment, the big seas and storms through the summer months have created a very steep, sloping beach with a few nice wholes and gutters. This means there is good deep water on high tide, all along this section.

Looking south from Wreck Rock - towards the mouth of Baffle Creek

It was another bitterly cold morning, the sky was crystal clear, but there was a light south-westerly wind blowing. As the sun came up I was casting a 90g slug from the rocks. I then tried a River to Sea – Dumbbell Popper and various heavy blades and big hard bodies. I could not interest the fish. I could see the Tuna, in small groups, smashing into the bait fish and the birds diving in to get a free breakfast, but they stayed at least 800m away the whole time.

Wreck Rock bay - just after dawn


I switched from the Daiwa 9’ 6” Demon Blood rod, which I use for slugs and poppers, to the light spin rod and rigged a soft plastic on a ¼ oz 1 jighead. I chose the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. After about 30 minutes I had caught two tiny Dart and a Long Tom. At about 8.30am I headed back into my camp to thaw out with a hot cup of tea and some breakfast.

Mackerel, Trevally, Tailor and a few reef species all cruise around these rocks at the southern end of Wreck Rock bay


I considered my options and spoke to another keen fisherman who was camped nearby. He too had seen the Tuna and was planning to spend the day casting slugs at them. As low tide approached I decided to head out the rocks on the southern tip of Wreck Rock bay. The Tuna were there but always just out of reach. They would swing in tantalizingly close and I would cast slugs at them then they were gone again. As the tide dropped I moved as far as I could out onto the exposed rocks to the south. I cast out at about 45 degrees to the shoreline and as my slug landed a huge circle of bait scattered around it. Then ‘zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ….fftt’ and the fish was gone. I wound the line back in and it looked like a clean bite through the 40lb leader. I presumed it was a Mackerel or some other toothy species. I rigged a wire trace and carried on, but after twenty more casts I was still without a decent fish.

The bait that shelters around this bommy at Wreck Rock, attracts all sorts of predators

I switched from the slug rod to the light spin rod again and rigged a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I wanted to cast a bit of distance, but I also wanted to make sure the lure wafted around in the strike zone for as long as possible. I settled on a ¼ oz 2/0 jighead and downgraded to 16lb fluorocarbon leader. First cast was hit on the drop but then the fish dropped it. Third cast and I had a solid hook up. The fish took line in a couple of fast blistering runs then swam round in front of the rocks into a good position. On the next surge I tightened the drag and pulled it up to my feet (getting soaked in the process). Then I grabbed the leader and pulled the fish clear. It was a Giant Trevally around 50cm – no monster, but a decent fish. Cold and wet, I decided I had enough – it was just after noon.

Finally a decent fish - 50cm GT at Wreck Rock

As always when fishing an area that you have not been to for a while, you need to spend a few sessions figuring out what works and where the fish are. It was my fourth day and I finally felt I understood when and where to concentrate. I headed back to camp for some fish cleaning.