By a lucky twist of fate I found myself stuck in Gladstone for a few days – so I disappeared to 1770. Gavin and Kim at Loka Santi – http://www.lokasanti1770.com.au – had an apartment free at a good rate, so I decided to stay there, again.
The weather looked unpredictable and that was how it turned out. On Monday a strong south-easterly blow appeared from nowhere and brought some rain with it. I started just after dawn at Getaway Beach where I caught a few small stripey perch and dart, mainly on small soft plastics. After a few hours, I did not have much to show for my efforts, so I went off to find some breakfast.
High tide had been at about 5.30 am so by lunch time I could get to fish my favourite spot at Wreck Rock. I arrived at about 11.30 am and wandered out onto the rocks with my NS Blackhole light rock fishing rig. It was lunch time so I kept things light – 10lb fluorocarbon leader, 1/8th 1/0 jigheads and GULP 3” Minnow soft plastics.
The sky was grey and it started to rain. Fortunately the rain dampened down the wind. I caught a steady stream of dart and even a couple of whiting, but there were no bream or trevally around. The rain stopped and the wind picked up again. The water felt much warmer than a couple of weeks earlier which may explain why the tailor and bream had moved on. By about 1.00 pm I was soaked through and decided to call it quits for the day.
On Tuesday, I was up early to fish the rocks at Getaway Beach. This can be reached from Springs Road along a walking track, or by walking north around the headland from the new road that was constructed for the desalination plant inlet.
I have caught and dropped a few jewfish/mulloway here in the past. There are lots of spots that look promising, in fact it is pretty much perfect with rocky overhangs and sea caves all around the headlands. But I am much less confident in my ability to find them here than I am down south, in Southern Queensland or Northern New South Wales. They are very much creatures of habit but the more I think about it and the more I fish for them, I realise that there must be ready supply of bait for them to hang around. The moon and tides are also important. The run up to the full and new moons both seem to make them more active but, like most fish, it is a constant food supply that they are most interested in. I agree that they also prefer the water to be stirred up and foamy but not necessarily dirty.
The new moon was only a few days away. The tide was running in. I started fishing about 5.30 am, a little after sunrise (late for work again!). I started with my lighter rock and beach fishing combo, based on the N.S Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod. It is 2.59m long (8’6”) and rated 8-14 lb. I match this rod with a Shimano Sustain 3000 reel. This is rigged with 15lb braid and I usually fish it with a 12lb to 16lb fluorocarbon leader. Today I had some 14lb. When I am looking for a jewfish I start with the lightest jighead that will sink in the swell. That varies between a 3/8th ounce, down to a 1/8th ounce. A ¼ ounce was perfect for the conditions – a light south-easterly swell. I started with some big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshads and then regular Jerkshads, then 4” Minnows and finally 3 “ Minnows. Nothing produced a jewfish.
I caught plenty of stripey perch and lost tails to small dart/ whiting. At one point, I hooked the resident turtle – who set off for New Zealand, before unhooking himself. I moved around the rocks and cast into every crevasse and at every bommy – but nothing produced what I was looking for.
The wind started to build and by 9.00 am it was a 25 knot south-easterly so I gave up. No fish pictures because you all know what a dart and stripey perch look like by now.