Iluka – Woody Head – 26 November 2014

Wednesday

Morning

It rained overnight on Tuesday and it was warm and cloudy on Wednesday morning. I chose to fish at Woody Head again. The wind had settled down and had turned north-easterly again. I was in position early. With first light at just after 5.00 am local time (which is 4.00 am Queensland time) bedtime is about 8.00 pm.

I arrived on the rock platform just before first light and rigged up my heavy rod. Low tide would be about 5.00 am.  I was using 30lb fluorocarbon leader and I put a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour on a 1/6th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. The swell had settled considerably and I could safely get fairly close to the edge of the rock ledges.  I knew where to cast – as close as I could to the edge of the rocks. Sure enough, on my third attempt I felt the gentle pull of a jewfish mouthing the plastic. I paused, then struck. With the big rod and light swell, this fish was fairly easy to subdue. It was 5.30 am and I had my first jewfish of the day. It was probably just over 70 cm, but I had left over fish from the day before, so I speared it back into the foamy wash.

I stayed with the heavy rod for about another thirty minutes  and caught a great bream but I was having trouble keeping in touch with the soft plastic, so I swapped to the lighter rod with a 14lb fluorocarbon leader. I moved to the south along the rocks, casting at any likely looking water. I soon found a few more good bream. I caught about 6 over the next hour – most were over 35cm. I used both big and small soft plastics in various patterns and colours.

At one point something bit hard on a 3 “ minnow soft plastic and took off, after a few seconds the line went slack and I retrieved just half a jighead. You need good teeth to bite clean through the jighead – mackerel? Shark?

At about 8.30 am the rain started falling and gradually got heavier until I decided to stop for the morning.

Afternoon

At about 3.00 pm the rain stopped and I went back to Woody Head to fish the afternoon low tide. The wind had picked up a bit from the north. I caught a few more bream on soft plastics all along the front of the rock platform. I caught one 35 cm on a GULP Jerkshad, but in general the fish where smaller than they had been in the morning.

As the sunset behind the headland the wild weather turned the sky a great colour. I fished through dusk and kept catching small bream and a couple of dart. At about 6.30 pm I decided I had had enough and walked back to the carpark.

Fingal Head – Jew & Tailor – 1 November 2012

Thursday

I was up early again – full moon had passed on Wednesday. Low tide would be just before 4.00 am. It would still be a pretty big tidal flow. A northerly blow was forecast but it would be calm around dawn. I decided to drive back down to Fingal Head.

I arrived in between dawn and first light – just a little late. It was cloudy but as the northerly picked up it turned into a beautiful morning. I started with DUO Beachwalker MD 120 hard-bodied minnow in the orange colour. I had swapped back to treble hooks. There were bumps and splashes on each of my first three casts. On the fourth cast I hooked something. It pulled pretty hard and I thought I had connected with a good fish and then I realised it was a small Tailor – hooked through the back. I let it go and carried on casting but could not hook anything else.

I swapped over to a 65g Raider metal slug and moved round to the north edge of the rock platform and cast as far as I could. After about 20 casts I felt a knock at the base of the rocks. Then, on the next cast, a fish hit the lure right at the base of the rocks. It was a small Tailor – around 40cm long. I let that one go. I decided to try some soft plastics on the lighter rod and reel combo – the Shimano Catana Coastline light rod, 2500 reel, 6lb braided main line and 10lb leader.

A local fisho, Bill arrived with his Alvey and big rod and threw out a fresh prawn. His first cast produced an excellent Tarwhine, which looked to be about the 1kg mark. There were definitely fish around.

The strong northerly was making it easier to fish on the southern side of the rock platform now. I cast out a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour, on a 1/6th 1 jighead and let it slowly sink. I cast in all directions and did not get any interest for about an hour. The water was very clear and just in the mouth of the channel that separates the causeway from the mainland; there was a school of small baitfish, hugging the rocks. There is a slight overhang here and some deeper water close to the rocks. I dropped the plastic into the middle of the channel and thought I felt the faintest of bites. I flicked the bail arm over and released a metre or two of line. As I slowly retrieved it, it flicked tight and the rod bent over. Line started peeling and I started thinking – how and where will I land this?

I decided from the slow and powerful runs it was not a Tailor. I would try to coax it round the rocky outcrop, to the front of the rock platform. The northerly had flattened the sea and it was safe to jump down a few steps to the wash area, to grab a fish between waves, if I could get it that far. It did not want to come round the rocks and with the light rod and 10lb leader I could not apply much pressure. I left the drag quite light and just kept winding. Eventually I dragged the fish round the rocks and saw it was a small Jew. I used the surge to get it onto a flat rock at the water line and then hopped down and picked it up, between waves. It was a good looking 55cm fish. I slit its throat and put it in the keeper pool.

The plastic and leader was a bit gnarled but OK, so I threw it back out. Two or three casts later and I was on again. This time it was a much bigger fish and initially I really was not making much of an impression. But Jewfish tire quickly and after a while the fish was beaten but the swell was still making things tricky. I aborted a couple of attempts to pull the fish round the rocks but eventually it swam in the right direction. I got it on to the same ledge as the previous one, jumped down and grabbed it under the gills. This was a much bigger fish at about 75cm. I decided to keep this one as well. It was 8.15 am.

I swapped the soft plastic for bigger one – a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Black Shad colour. I stuck with the 10lb leader and the 1/6th 1 jighead. After about 10 more minutes of casting and retrieving, close to the overhang – bang, I was on to a fish. This one was bigger again and after a long tussle I got it to the same spot. But this one was too much for the 10lb leader and as I pulled the fish onto the rock ledge, it snapped.

I decided to upgrade to the bigger rod and use 20lb leader. I stuck with the 1/6th 1 jighead and the same soft plastic. I carried on or another hour but did not get another bite. Was it the heavier leader or had I spooked them? I am not sure. All the fish were caught in no more than 2m of water – the Jewfish certainly don’t mind feeding in the shallows.

At about 10.00am I left the platform to Bill, cleaned up the Jewfish and went in search of ice.

Iluka – Woody Head -The Barnacles – 24 June 2011

Friday

A long weekend with my daughter, camping at Iluka, gave me the opportunity to put in a few fishing sessions on the rocks at Woody Head. I was limited to fishing when she got up, which meant no early starts, but fortunately, the low tides were mid-morning. The chilly morning weather and occasional showers also made staying in bed a little longer, an attractive option.

I wandered out by the boat ramp with my light rod at about 7.30am, thinking I might catch a Flathead or a few Bream on the receding tide. The wind was light from the south west. I rigged up with a 3” GULP Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour on a ¼ oz 1/0 jighead tied on to a metre of 12lb Fluorocarbon leader and 10lb braid.

I was fishing along the line of partially submerged rocks that juts out from the shore just to the north of the boat launching area. I felt a couple of knocks and bumps that did not feel like the rocks and so concentrated my fire by casting in the same area for a few minutes. After about ten retrieves, a fish grabbed the lure, just at the edge of the rocks. It took off, jumping clean out of the water. It was an Australian Salmon and it carried on leaping for the next few minutes as I wrestled it to the shore. These fish really fight hard and they just never give up. Every time I got it near the rocks, it took off again and on the light rod it took a while to wear it out. Eventually I dragged it out of the water and took a few pictures. Although they look magnificent and fight hard, they taste dreadful. So I took a few pictures and then released it.

After a quick breakfast, I headed out to the rocks at the front of Woody Head, to the area known as ‘the Barnacles’. The weather was gloomy and rain was threatening but there was virtually no swell and a light south westerly wind. Low tide would be around 10.00 am. I was now using the heavy rod – the Daiwa 9 Ft Demon Blood, with a Shimano Stradic 6000 reel – loaded with 20lb braid and 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I loaded up with a GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad in the Curried Chicken colour mounted on a 3/8 oz 3/0 jighead.

I cast out over the rock ledges and let the soft plastic sink for five seconds or so. As soon as I took up the slack, a fish hit the lure. A few more jerks and pauses and I was hooked up to something. After a quick tussle, I pulled the fish up, over the rocks on an incoming surge, grabbed the leader and landed it. It was a nice Trevally, around 50cm long.

10.5 kg Jewfish

Caught off "the Barnacles" at Woody Head

A solid fish

The next cast got snagged – so I broke the line and re-rigged with another GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad, this time in the New Penny colour, on a 3/8 oz 3/0 jighead. I cast out again and waited for the lure to sink, when I lifted the rod, I had a fish on the end. It made a long, steady initial run. The steadiness suggested it was a Jew. It swam up and down parallel with the shore a few times then tried to bury itself in the rocks. It seemed like it was stuck but I loosened off the drag and it swam out again. I gradually tightened the drag again and pulled it round to where I thought I could land it. After about 10 minutes it was pretty tired and with the aid of a big wave, I pulled it to my feet and grabbed the leader. It snapped, but I got my hand in behind the gills and pulled it across the rocks. It was a great Jewfish at 10.5 kg (gutted and gilled) and measured around 1.1 metres. It was my ‘personal best’ Jewfish and I was delighted.

At 10.30 am after just three casts I called it a day. I had a great fish and I was knackered but I had a very big smile on my face.

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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.

Iluka – Middle Bluff – Jewfish – 9 Feb 2011

Wednesday

I was early to bed on Tuesday – about 8.00 pm (7.00 pm QLD) – in fact. It still did not seem to make getting up at 4.30am Wednesday any easier, especially as it was raining solidly outside. I pulled on the felt soled rock boots and rain jacket and jumped in the car. I drove down to the beachside carpark for Frazer’s Reef, grabbed my gear and walked north along the beach, in the dark. The rain was gradually easing off, but there was no sign of dawn on the horizon, just dark cloudy shadows.

I passed the rocky peninsula which is actually called Frazer’s Reef and carried on to the next headland which is usually called Middle Bluff. Every now and then, I could hear a big wave slap against the rocks and then hear the water come crashing down. The wind was coming from the south east, but very light.

By about 5.30 am I was in position at the northern end of Middle Bluff. There is a large bommy just off shore here, and it provides a bit of shelter for the fish. There was now a faint glow on the horizon and the rain had turned to a fine drizzle.

I was fishing with the 9’ Rovex Aureus, my Shimano Stradic 6000, 20lb Fireline and about 1.5 metres of 30 fluorocarbon leader. For my first cast I chose the GULP Crazylegs lime tiger jerkshad soft plastic which I rigged on a 1/2oz 5/0 jighead. I cast out into the gloom and let it sink. You can’t leave it long – the bottom is littered with rocks and there are only a few sandy patches in between. There was plenty of swell and it was difficult to tell when the plastic had hit the sea floor. I generally count slowly to about ten then jerk up the rod tip, let it sink and then repeat.

I fished for about three more casts and then the line came up taught. There was a quick initial run and then just a few, slow tail slaps. I lifted the fish clear of the rocks on an incoming wave and got soaked in the process. It was a 51 cm school Jewfish. I unhooked it and dropped it into a rock pool, for safekeeping. It was 5.15 am and only just getting light. I carried on with the same plastic for about half an hour and then switched to a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the satay chicken colour. After a couple of retrieves I caught another school Jewfish, but it was just under 45cm so I threw it back. A few casts later I had another and this one was around 50cm, so it went in the rockpool.

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It was now fully light and the rain had stopped. The tide started running out at about 7.30 am and just as the tide changed I caught another fish – another Jewfish, about 50 cm. As the tide built up flow and the sun started to peek through the clouds, the swell really picked up and I got a good soaking from a couple of waves. At about 8.30 am I stopped fishing, cleaned up my catch and headed back to a hot shower.