South Ballina – 17 August 2020

We had some wild weather and rain over the weekend, so I decided to fish on Monday. The swell was set to drop throughout the day. I walked out onto the rockwall at South Ballina just after first light but about 20 minutes before dawn. The wind was cold but light from the west. As the sky lit up, the birds started circling as did the dolphins, so the bait had to be there. Sunrise was at 6.15 am and high tide was at about 7.00 am. It was three days to the new moon.

I started fishing with my heavier Daiwa Demonblood 962 rod, Daiwa TD SOL III LT 6000 D reel, 30lb main line braid and 30 lb fluorocarbon leader, a 1/4 ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead, loaded with a 5″ GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I caught a couple of decent bream, but then I started losing the tails of my soft plastics at the base of the rocks. I then swapped to a 60 gram Halco twisty and threw that around until just after dawn. That lure did not elicit any hook-ups.

Once the sun was up, the birds started dive bombing but there were no surface bust ups.

The bait was back

I swapped back to soft plastics and a couple of times I saw decent sized tailor follow my soft plastics in and swipe at them but they always missed. I swapped down to Daiwa Crossfire 1062 with 20lb braid, 16lb leader and 1/6th oz size 1/0 jighead. Then predictably, a big tailor grabbed my Mad Scientist Lime Tiger jerkshad (I had finished all my GULPs in the Lime Tiger colour) at the base of the rocks, pulled for a few seconds and then bit through. I re-rigged with a 1/4 ounce jighead and put on a GULP 4″ minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour. This caught a solid 35 cm plus bream, followed by a few smaller ones, then they bit through the tail. I put another Mad Scientist Lime Tiger coloured Jerkshad on and, after a few casts I hooked and landed a decent 50 cm tailor.

The birds were really working now, but always just out of reach. I was casting and retrieving fairly quickly now. I saw a group of tailor follow the lure in and right at the base of the rocks a decent sized one swallowed the jighead and lure and bit through. I moved back to my heavy rig and tried the 60 gram Halco Twisty for about twenty casts with no luck.

I fished here a few more mornings later in the month, after the new moon. I caught and was bitten off by tailor during both sessions but it was long time between the fish. As usual I swapped down to my lighter gear when things got quiet. I caught a few good bream and then got monstered by something at the base of the rocks. Not sure when I will learn some patience.

1770 – Middle Rock, Wreck Rock -14 May 2016

Saturday

I had some work to do in Gladstone in mid-May and this year I have decided to add fishing to work, at every opportunity.  I was driving up and decided a few days of land based fishing at 1770 would be a good move. I rented a unit from Gavin and Kim at the Loka Santi appartments (nestled in the sand dunes behind the beach) which are my favorite place to stay.  You can book through http://www.1770beachaccommodation.com.au/. I packed the car full of rods and lures (and reluctantly my work boots).

I arrived late on Friday, looked at the weather for the next few days and planned where I would fish. Failing to plan means you are planning to fail, so they say. There is certainly some truth in this. Optimum fishing times (in my opinion) are dawn and dusk. If the change of tide coincides with dawn and dusk, even better. If it’s the lead up to the full or new moons, even better again. The week looked prett,y good with light south-easterly winds in the morning rising in strength through the days. The moon was about half full.

For my first session, I drove along the four wheel drive track just south of Agnes Waters into Deepwater National Park. I set off before dawn in order to fish through first light and sunrise at 6.21 a.m. I rigged up my Daiwa Air Edge rod, Shimano Sustain 4000 reel. I was using the 8lb Aldi braid and I started with a 20lb fluorocarbon leader to give myself a chance against a bigger fish if one was around. Low tide would be at 9.43 am and there was not much swell.

There are lots of submerged rocks in this spot and I have caught stripey perch, trevally, bream, flathead, whiting and morwong/slatey bream here. I started by casting a DUO Realis Vib 62 (a sinking vibe lure) all around the rocks using the 9′ the Daiwa Air Edge rod. This did not get a bite. After 15 minutes, I swapped to 12lb leader, a 1/6th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and a GULP 4-inch Minnow soft plastic lure in the Lime Tiger colour. As soon as it hit the water this was attacked by the ugly local long toms.

About 7.30 am I jumped back in the car and drove down the track to Wreck Rock. I walked out on the rocks at the north side of the small bay and started casting again with the same set up. The long toms were here as well.  I swapped through a couple of small and big GULP soft plastics, gradually moving further out along the rocks as the tide receded. At about 8.30 am the wind started to pick up from the south east. By now I was fishing with the GULP Cajun Chicken Jerkshad (black and pink colour). I was hopping it along the sandy bottom between the rocks, when I saw a fast shape swim up and grab it, at the foot of the rocks. Line started peeling and in the blink of an eye it was a silver flash in the waves 25 metres away. I tightened the drag a little which did little to slow it. But the fast action, fairly whippy Daiwa Air Edge rod soaked up the lunges. After a few minutes I had a 50 cm trevally at my feet. It had completely swallowed the soft plastic.

I bled the fish and re-rigged but could not find anymore. I swapped to a MARIA MJ Twitch suspending hard bodied minnow. This seemed to drive the long toms crazy but did not entice any other fish. By 10.15 am the wind had picked up to about 15 knots from the south east and the tide had turned, so I gave up.

1770 – Wreck Rock and Deepwater Creek – 8 November 2011

Saturday

It was my last day in 1770 for a while. I decided to fish the afternoon low tide at Wreck Rock. It was full moon so the water would get quite shallow around the rocks. There was a fairly light north easterly wind and not much swell.

I arrived at about 3.00 pm and rigged up with a 16lb fluorocarbon leader and 3 “ GULP Minnow on a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead. This produced a small dart on the first cast and almost a fish a cast thereafter, for the next 30 minutes. I gradually moved along the rocks and it was usually the first cast, in a new location that produced the bigger dart. I soon had a few worth keeping.

By about 3.30 pm I had almost arrived at the end of the rocks. I had now swapped to a Zman 4” Jerkshad in the Shiner colour. A cast it out, about 5 metres directly in front of the rocks and the lure fluttered towards the bottom. I set the hook on another dart. Dart fight hard and love to turn sideways like trevally, but this one was positively hyperactive. I pulled it clear of the water and then released it. The next cast produced another dart, a little smaller but equally frantic. Then I saw why the fish were so spooked. I long, slow moving grey shape swam along the base of the rocks. It looked about 1.5 metres long and had clear black markings on its fin – so I presume it was a black tipped reef shark. This probably explains numerous bite offs I have had around these rocks.

The dart kept coming but as the tide turned in I caught a few small trevally – including  a strange looking bumpnose trevally. As the tide started to run in at about 5.00 pm,  I decided to swap locations.

I drove down to Deepwater Creek to fish through dusk. I thought the big tide and full moon might create some good conditions. I arrived about 5.30 pm and fished through the dusk with poppers and small soft plastics on a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I tried both the freshwater and saltwater sections. I was surprised to get a catfish from the salt water side. It grabbed a GULP Swimmow soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour, presented on a 1/16th, size 1 jighead. Meanwhile as the sun dropped below the horizon something swiped at the popper on the freshwater side. On the saltwater side, in the pitch dark, I could hear plenty of surface slurps and bust ups. The moon was not up yet and as I dragged the popper slowly across the surface, it was getting bumped and nudged all the way through the retrieve. Finally I hooked something and it pulled quite hard. I turned the headlamp on to reveal a small mullet. There was a big school of them cruising round.

I gave up for the night and marked this spot down for a future visit. Once again, I would like to recommend Gavin and Kim of 1770 Beach Accommodation. I stayed at Loka Santi which are very smart apartments, but they have accommodation to rent at every budget level and can offer some really great rates – visit their website for more information  www.1770beachaccommodation.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

Bribie Island – the old oyster jetty flats – 21 June 2013

Friday

It’s been a long time between fishing sessions. Work and the dreadful weather – particularly the wind, have limited my fishing opportunities. On Friday the rain and strong south-easterly winds were forecast again but I had no choice, I had to go for it. Fish don’t really care about the wind in an estuary, but if it is really strong, it makes it very hard to feel the bite and cast accurately, not to mention the cold, if it has some west in it.

On Friday morning, on the flats opposite Bribie Island, the wind was switching between a strong south-easterly and south-westerly and bringing plenty of rain with it. The tide had been high at 7.10 am and we were approaching the full moon, due in a couple of days.

I started fishing at about 9.00am. I wanted to fish the second half of the run out tide, through to about midday. I waded out under the bridge in a disposable rain poncho and my waders – I was dry underneath but the wind was very cold. The rain varied between a steady drizzle and heavy squalls.

Despite the wild weather the water was clear and cold. Unfortunately the algae (snot weed) are all over the sea grass and rocks on the bottom, between the bridge and the old oyster jetty. If you let your lure hit the bottom, it just gets clogged up with this stuff, straight away.

The situation improved to the south of the oyster jetty. I think the current is a little stronger here so the algae find it harder to take hold. I was fishing with a GULP 4” minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. After an hour of casting around I connected with a fish, but after a short fight, it slipped free. I persisted in the same spot for another 20 minutes. Eventually, I hooked the fish (or one of its neighbours) again. It was a flathead about 45cm long. Given how tough the fishing had been it seemed I was unlikely to catch the three fish minimum that I would need to feed my mob, so I released it.

I was now about 200 metres to the south of the old oyster jetty and the tide was running out, strongly. It was time to continue the sea trials of the Zman Minnowz. I chose the fairly natural, Houdini colour and put it on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I covered much of the same ground I had covered with the GULP Minnow and after about 20 minutes, I caught another small flathead about 35cm long.

I moved up and down casting at the edge of the weed beds but the after another 40 minutes with no bites I swapped back to a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic lure, in the Pearl Watermelon colour. This produced a result on the first cast – another small flathead about 30cm long. I continued fishing the same area for another 30 minutes, but could not find anymore.
The wind was really building now, so I turned back and waded towards the bridge. On the way, I slowed my retrieve right down and left it longer on the bottom between hops. This produced one more flathead, just before low tide at about 1.00 pm.

Tough session – but the fish were there – as they nearly always are.

Iluka – Woody Head – Woody Bay – 8 April 2013

Monday – Morning

I have managed to sneak down to Woody Head for a few days and even though there are plenty of showers around, the wind and swell forecasts look pretty good for some rock fishing.

On Monday I awoke to a cool, light south westerly wind. It was a morning high tide at about 7.00 am. The new moon is due on Wednesday. I could not go far as the family are with me and they apparently think that fishing is not the only activity on offer here. I decided to have a fish around the rock bars on the edge of Woody Bay, in front of the Woody Head camp site.

I was fishing with my light spin rig – a 6’6” Loomis GL 2 rod and Shimano Stradic 2500, 6lb Fireline and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I started with Gulp 2” Jigging Grub soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour, on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead.

The tide was a fairly big one and by first light it had almost submerged all the rocks in the bay. I had not bothered with my waders, as the water was fairly warm. This was a mistake – as soon as my shorts got wet, the light south westerly had me chilled to the bone.

After a couple casts, a fish grabbed my plastic, next to one of the rock bars and took off. It made two good runs before I tightened the (loose) drag and subdued it. It was a handsome tarwhine, just over 30 cm long. I took a few pictures and threw it back.

A few casts later, I felt and saw a long tom try to grab it. I swapped to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour – gold and grey with a black fleck. I felt a good bite, then another, then I was on to a fish, a biggish Pike about 35cm long. I put that back and carried on.

An early morning Woody Head tarwhine

An early morning Woody Head tarwhine

The long toms kept grabbing, but I could not hook one. At about 8.00 am I connected with a small fish that turned out to be a very small trevally. At 8.30 am I gave up and went for a hot shower.

A good sized pike

A good sized pike

Monday – Afternoon

With a lunchtime low tide and clear skies I decided to go and have a look out the front of the Woody Head platform, with my Shimano Catana Coastline light combo. This is a good rod, heavy enough to land school jewfish, but still light enough to feel the bream bite.

I use it with a size 3000 Shimano Sustain reel and 16lb Super PE braid. I started with a 15lb leader. The water is fairly clear and the swell was very light. I decided to start big and colourful and put on a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic, in the Lime Tiger colour. I attached it to a ¼ oz, 2/0 jighead and started fishing.

The first cast produced nothing but on the second a fish grabbed the plastic and ran with it for a few seconds, before dropping it. As is often the case, it had struck very close to the rocks. On the next cast the same thing happened. I swapped down to a smaller soft plastic – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. This did the trick and I pulled up a bream – just under 30 cm. In the next 5 casts a caught 2 more, about the same size. Then things went quiet. It was about 3.00 pm and the wind had turned south easterly and was blowing a huge rain cloud in my direction. I caught a small dart and then decided to give up for the day.

As I cleaned the bream for supper, the resident wobbegongs soon appeared. In the end there were five, swimming around trying to figure out where the fish blood was coming from. I had not caught any big fish but I had dinner – not a bad start to the week.

Caloundra – Kings Beach Rocks – 3 November 2011

Thursday

I decided to do a bit more exploring at Caloundra. I only had time for a short session so I decided to have a look at the rocks at the northern end of Kings Beach. I arrived just on low tide at about 10.00 am. There was a light southerly breeze, just enough to keep cool but not enough to make the fishing difficult.

I parked in Anzac Park and took a path down to the rocks. This whole shoreline looks very fishy. Where the rocks meet the sand there are numerous overhangs and small bays. The hard thing is timing. If the tide is too high it will be hard to get your lure / bait into the right spot – just beyond the rocks, where the sandy bottom starts. If the tide is too low the fish won’t be there anymore. I was lucky, I was fishing the couple of hours after low tide, which was pretty much ideal.

I decided to fish a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead, so that I would not get snagged too often. I rigged it on my Loomis GL2 light spin rod with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I chose a GULP 3” Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic to start with. Inevitably, I lost a few jigheads in the first 15 minutes, as I worked out where the submerged rocks where.

After casting and moving, casting and moving – a few times, a fish grabbed the lure, just as it came over the rock ledge. I let it have some line then pulled it over the ledge with a wave. It was a nice Bream – about 30cm. I released it and carried non along the shore.

I thought I might find some Flathead, but as time went by and the tide started running in, it was clear the fish had gone to sleep. I enjoyed walking along the rocks and examining the terrain and made a note to return to this spot at dawn or dusk, soon.

Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole – Tailor, Flathead, Bream – 24 July 2011

Unfortunately paid employment has limited my fishing opportunities of late. The weather has also made things tricky with some windy mornings. Sunday was not ideal but I had to get my fix. I arrived at Bribie Island about 5.45 am and conditions were better than I expected. The tide was running out and would be low at around 9.00 am. The wind was from the south at less than 10 knots, but it was building.

Bribie Island Bridge - just before dawn


I started under the bridge on the island side. After a few casts I could see there was a lot less of the clinging ‘snot’ weed floating around. There was no surface action under the bridge lights. I decided to cast a soft plastic around just to the north of the bridge. After five or six casts with a GULP 4″ Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour, I felt a couple of bites. Next cast and the rod tip went mad. It was a Tailor just under 30cm. I caught a few more around the same size and then decided to move down to the mouth of the tidal lagoon, in front of Buckley’s Hole.

A 30cm Tailor - under the Bribie Bridge

I waded out just to the south of the new Bribie Island Seaside Museum. Looks very flash – but I would have preferred to see my tax dollar spent on something a little more essential! Like more gutting tables, hot showers and massages for tired fisherman, etc.

There is a small drain here, just to the south of the main island jetty, and on a run-out tide there are often fish around. After a few casts I had a Tailor – about the same size as the previous ones. I had switched to a GULP 5″ Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I let it go and carried on casting over the coffee rock drop off, that forms the edge of the Pumicestone Passage. I have not caught a Pike for a few weeks – I can only assume the marauding Tailor have either eaten them or scared them off.

Flathead love the Lime Tiger colour

A few casts later a fish grabbed the plastic, just on the top of the ledge. It was slower and heavier than the Tailor, as I dragged it back to the sand I could see it was a Flathead. It was around 45cm – things were looking up.

I started to head south, casting out of over the ledge and gradually skipping my soft plastic in close to the edge. There were small ‘hardy heads’ all along the drop off and every now and then they would scatter as something smashed into them from below. I switched to a 3″ Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. After a couple of casts, a fish grabbed it and tried to hide down under the ledge. I gave it a bit of line then tightened the drag and pulled it up and over. It was a decent Bream around 30 cm long. A few more casts produced another fish, about the same size.

A 30cm Bribie Island Bream


I carried on moving up and down the ledge for another hour. A couple of times I was bitten off by what I assume were Tailor, but I did not land any more fish. I was fishing with 10lb leader which is no match for their teeth, but necessary to tempt the Bream. Overall, it had been a better session than last week.

Woody Head – “The Barnacles’ – Bream – 27 June 2011

Monday

Monday morning was my last session, land-based fishing at Woody Head. The weather had improved and we had clear skies and no swell. I started fishing around 9.30 am at ‘the Barnacles’ area, again. Low tide would be around 11.30 am.

The first cast produced a small Trevally, who fell for the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour. I then caught a few snags and then a small Bream. Over the next hour or so I caught six or seven more Bream – all between 25 and 35cm.

I moved all along the front of the rock platform, casting at any fishy looking water. There were plenty of people around – taking advantage of the excellent conditions. One guy had caught a nice looking 50cm Tailor on a slug. It was the only Tailor I had seen caught in the whole weekend. Further along I saw another fisherman with a 50cm school jewfish, which he caught on some fresh mullet strips.

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I caught more Bream as I walked along the rocks, down to the area at the southern end of the platform, known as ‘Mossies’. I caught more fish on the smaller 3” GULP minnows on light jigheads – 1/6th and 1/8th oz. Another fisherman was catching plenty of Bream on unweighted squid pieces.

By about 12.30pm it was time to go. It had been another great few days of land-based fishing, from the rocks in Northern New South Wales. The big Jewfish had been the highlight but there were plenty of Trevally and Bream, as well. I had not been fishing at dawn, but I was a little surprised by the lack of Tailor – maybe next time.