Coffin Bay – Point Avoid/ Boat Ramp – 3/4 September 2016

Saturday/Sunday

Saturday morning was cold and grey and the low that had passed through the week before had left a big swell behind it. It would be low tide near dawn and although it was cold, it was not raining so I drove back down into the Coffin Bay National Park and round to fish at Point Avoid. I arrived just after dawn. The wind was a howling south westerly and the swell would be too hard to fish in.

I drove back into sheltered Coffin Bay. I bought a coffee and thawed out. The sun came out and I had a fish around the boat ramp with my light Gary Howard Estuary 9’ rod and 6lb fluorocarbon leader. I used a GULP Turtleback Worm in the pumpkinseed colour and a couple of 2 inch Minnows in Smelt and Peppered Prawn, on a 1/16th ounce, size 2 hook jighead. These immediately attracted the attention of the juvenile salmon that swarm around the clear waters of the bay. I caught about ten is quick succession. All about 15cm long.

The sun had come out but the wind was building so I retired to the cabin for a hot shower and a sleep.

On Sunday the wind had died away but the swell was still up. I started in the morning at Point Avoid. I was casting a 40 gram Raider metal slug out in to the surf. Almost from the first cast the bigger salmon were on to it. I caught a couple of 25cm fish and then found myself fighting something bigger. It took a fair amount of line and then started leaping. Each time I thought I had subdued it, it came back to life at my feet and charged off. Australian Salmon are one tough fish – to fight and to eat! This one made about five mad leaps clear of the surf. Eventually I got it to the sandy beach. It was about 55cm long and weighed a few kilos. I released it and carried on fishing.

The smaller salmon kept biting but after a big wave gave me a soaking I decided to retreat. I went back to Coffin Bay and changed into dry clothes. In the afternoon I drove back into the park where I stopped to fish off the high cliffs north of Point Avoid. I was never going to be able to land a significant fish here because the fishing platform is at least five metres above the water, but it just looked so fishy that I had to have a cast.

I started with a 40g Raider metal slug – this almost immediately caught a 30cm salmon – which in turn, regurgitated a small herring (Tommy Ruff). I swapped through a few small metal and vibe lures which all caught fish. I found a good patch of herring but also kept catching the small salmon. They were not particularly interested in the soft plastics – which I also tried for a while. At about 4.00 pm I stopped for the day after continuously catching fish for about 2 hours.

If only this spot had some approachable water I am sure there would be some monsters prowling about at dusk dawn. I will have to keep exploring.

Brooms Head – Lagoon Drain – 19 Sept 2011

Monday

The weather was good again. There was a light breeze from the south west. It was sunny and clear and the wind still had some chill in it. The last few sessions, fishing at Brooms Head in Northern New South Wales had suggested light tackle was probably the best option. I decided to fish the drain at the western side of the Brooms Head lagoon. The lagoon sits just north west of the main Bluff and is deepest by the rock ridge at its mouth, to the east. As the tide rises and falls, the water enters and exits close to the beach via a big sandy drain. The drain never fills to more than about waist deep. If you walk across it your reach rocky/ weedy covered bottom that forms the north wall of the lagoon. Further north, where this wall drops off to a sandy bottom is a great fish holding area. They sit here waiting for food to be washed in and out of the lagoon on the rising and falling tides. The area is highlighted in the aerial photo.

Fishing area just north of the Brooms Head lagoon


I was using the Gary Howard 9’ Estuary rod again. I had loaded a very light 1/16th oz 1 hook jighead. I wanted to avoid getting snagged on the rocky weedy bottom. I used about 1.5 m of 10lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader. I used the soft plastic lure that had been successful the day before – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I waded out into the water, which was surprisingly warm. I put in long casts out over the rocks to the sandy areas to the north. Every time I lifted the lure over the edge of the rocks there would be a small bite or nudge from a fish. The tide was running in and had been low at about 5.30 am. The incoming tide had also produced the fish the day before.

Looking back from the mouth of the lagoon at low tide - Brooms Head


After a bit of wading around up and down the rocky bottom I was onto a fish. It was a good Bream around 30 cm long. I cast back out in the same spot, and the plastic was slammed as soon as it hit the water. The fish pulled hard and took a bit of line. It felt much stronger than the Bream. It kept turning to run as I waded back into the beach, to land it. I saw the stripes in the water and realized it was a small Trevally. It really had pulled hard on the light rod. I released it and headed back out. It was about 8.30 am and the tide was running in strongly.

Lagoon Bream


Lagoon Trevally

Over the next hour I caught two more small Bream, a Tarwhine, three more Trevally and a couple of Pike. The cold southerly breeze eventually made me too cold to carry on but I was delighted to find a few fish. At around 9.45 am I went back to our cabin for a hot shower. Fishing with lighter gear had paid off.

Brooms Head – Back Beach – 18 September

Sunday

I have my 9 year old daughter with me this week so 4.30 am starts are out of the question. She likes to fish, but not that much! At around 8.00 am I persuaded her to walk from Brooms Head south, past the Brooms Head Bluff to Back Beach. It was already warm and fairly still with a very light northerly wind. Low tide had passed at about 5.00 am.

Brooms Head Sunrise


After a disappointing session with the heavier fishing rod and reel the day before, I swapped down to my favorite light beach rod, a Gary Howard Estuary, 9ft. It is excellent for Whiting, Dart and Bream – very whippy with loads for spring and great at hooking fussy fish. It works best with a 1/8th or 1/6th jighead and although it is really designed for an Alvey, I use a Shimano Seido 2500 spinning reel. I have never really mastered the Alvey. I use 10lb Fireline or Braid and usually a 10 or 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

As the fish had been reluctant to bite the day before and because we were outside ideal fish feeding hours (dawn and dusk) I decided to start with a 6lb leader. I waded out to about waist deep and cast in to the northern corner of the bay, just where the rocks meet the sand. I had loaded up with a 2” GULP Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour. I could feel the 1/8th 1 jighead bumping on the rocks and it soon got snagged. I swapped down to a 1/16th 1 hook jighead and put on a 3” GULP Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic. It is not usually possible to cast such a light weight into the surf, but today conditions were calm enough to do it.
After a little while I started to cast over the top of the rocks as the tide was moving up quite quickly. The jighead was now light enough to bump over the top rather than get snagged. Just as the lure reached the edge of the rocks it was grabbed. The rod tip bent over and I had a fish on. It took some line but then swam into the rocks and made short work of the 6lb leader.

I re-rigged with a 10lb leader and cast back out with the same weight jighead and soft plastic lure. After a few casts, I felt a couple of bumps and knocks and then bang, I had a fish. This time the leader held and I steered the fish back up the beach. It was a Bream around 30 cm. I put it in the bag and carried on fishing. About ten minutes later the same thing happened, this time it was a Tarwhine, about the same size, but with much more fight in it.

A Bream from Back Beach at Brooms Head


Now I had dinner so it was time to quit and go for a swim. Conditions were perfect and the water was crystal clear. Even without a mask you could see plenty of Bream swimming around and good schools of bait fish in close to the shore.