Tailor & Mulloway/ Jewfish – Fingal Head – 26 November 2012

Monday

I had fished on Sunday morning at Bribie and managed not to catch anything at all. I had tried a range of soft plastics and small hard bodies and nothing raised a bite. The water was warm and still and the breeze was from the north. It is a while since I have scored a duck and I did not like the feeling. So on Monday I decided I needed to get back down to Fingal Head where I have been finding fish.

I arrived at 4.00 am and walked out to the rocks with a faint glow beginning to show on the horizon. Northerly, northerly, northerly wind was the forecast – not too strong but consistently from the north. I started with the battered RAPALA SXR 14 hard bodied minnow. When it is still fairly dark you have to be careful at the end of the retrieve not to get snagged on the rocks. I worked the lure around in a semi-circle on the northern side of the rock platform. It did not take long to get a hit – about 5 casts. It turned out to be the biggest Tailor of the day, as the first fish often is. It was about 50cm long. It was 4.50 am. A few casts later I caught another, smaller fish. This one was pinned in the mouth and back and was slightly smaller. Then things slowed down.

The sun was now over the horizon and I could see the large schools of tiny bait fish in close, hugging the rocks. Interestingly, most of the birds were missing from the beach or rocks. I decided to swap over to a soft plastic lure. I stuck with my Daiwa Demonblood heavy rod and tied on a 30lb fluorocarbon leader and 3/8th oz, 2/0 jighead. I chose a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I walked over to the south side of the platform. With not much swell and the sea flattened, by the northerlies I had a good chance of landing anything I hooked up with.

Once again it did not take very long. After about three casts the line tightened and the rod bent over. It was a Jewfish, sitting close to the edge of the rocks. I played it round to the front of the rocks and hauled it up. It was just under 50cm long. I tried again in the same area for a while but I could not locate another. It was now about 6.00 am. I got snagged a few times and then decided to move round to the east side of the platform. This area has a lot of bommies and rocks but I think there is an overhang under which the jewfish school. This spot did not produce but I was sure the fish were down there somewhere.

I swapped back to a slightly smaller RAPALA SXR12 – hard bodied minnow, in the red headed ‘clown’ colour. I cast out and slowed down my retrieve, so that I could only just feel the vibration as the lure slashed from side to side. After about six casts a fish hit the lure next to some submerged rocks. I subdued it and pulled it in. It was a smaller Tailor, which I threw back.

By 7.00 am I was back on the east side of the platform fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Smelt colour. I had dropped down to a 20lb leader but was still using my heavy rig. I managed to put in about 5 casts and retrieves without getting snagged. I was just lobbing the plastic out about a metre and letting it waft around next to the rocks. I let it sink for 5 – 10 seconds then jigged it up from the bottom. On one of these retrieves the bait went flying and the fish grabbed the soft plastic centimetres from the rocks.

This one was a little bigger than the last but I was in a good position. I played it out and then hauled it on to a flat rock. I waited for a gap in the wave sets and jumped down and picked it up. It was another jewfish in beautiful condition.

That was it for the day as I had to get back to Brisbane. I am sure there were more fish around and I will be back soon to have another go at them.

Iluka – Woody Head – 11 April 2011

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Monday – pm

After a good start earlier in the day, I could not resist an afternoon fish. We were staying in a cabin at Woody Head – so I was ideally placed to fish off the rocks, on the afternoon low tide. I walked out on the rock ledges, directly in front of the camp site, at about 5.00 pm. Low tide would be at about 7.30 pm.

There was a strong north easterly breeze and a few small rain squalls were coming over. I started around 5.00 pm with a 3/8oz 3/0 hook jighead and a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I was using a 30lb fluorocarbon leader again.
It is always difficult to avoid losing tackle in this location. The fish tend to bite just at the edge of the rock ledges and very close in. If you pull your lure to safety to fast, you will miss them. If you leave it too long, you get snagged. After a couple of casts I was stuck firm in the rocks, so I snapped off the jighead and plastic and re-rigged with the same set up.

I sent out five or six casts in a semi – circle, from my position on the edge of the rocks. Every now and then I would carefully retreat in the face of a big wave but only my feet were getting wet. The rocks are incredibly slippery so you need good rock fishing boots and you need to move slowly – running away from a wave is a recipe for disaster as you will almost certainly fall over. It is better to duck down and hang on if you see a big one coming – you may get wet, but hopefully you will not break your neck! Remember rock fishing is a dangerous activity, stay safe and if in doubt – don’t go out.

I moved along the rocks and just on 5.15 pm I hooked a fish. I let it run until I could see a good wave that would bring it up the rocks. I then tightened the drag and lifted the fish clear. The wave pushed it up and broke over the ledge. It was a school Jewfish/ Mulloway, just under 50cm. I unhooked it and cast out into the same spot. Before the lure had hit the bottom it was grabbed again. This time it was a much faster and more powerful fish. It headed out to see and then turned and ran along the edge of the rock ledge. I tightened the drag to slow it down as I could see it was going to try and bury itself in the rocks. The leader got stuck between the sea squirts that line the rocks, but a big wave lifted it clear and up came the fish. I was soaked but I had a good sized (45cm +) Trevally at my feet.

These two would be dinner and as another rain squall came over I decided to head back to the cabin for a warm shower. It had been another great land based session fishing with soft plastics from the rocks.