On Wednesday the swell was forecast to drop right off to about 0.7 metres all along the northern New South Wales coast. So it was time to try fishing off the rocks again. Low tide would be around 6.30 am so I decided to fish at Flat Rock, just to the south of Skennars Head.
I arrived about 5.45 am, just after first light and walked out on to the eastern edge of the rock platform. As the sun came over the horizon and low tide approached, the swell remained a good deal heavier than the forecast 0.7 metres.
I was fishing with my light rock fishing rig – Daiwa Crossfire 1062 rod and Shimano Stella 4000 reel, 20lb braid and 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I started fishing with 1/6th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead and loaded it with a 4″minnow soft plastic in the pearl watermelon colour. After half an hour I had only felt a couple of light tugs at the soft plastic so I decided to move round to the southern edge of the rock platform and fish there.
This was just too hard as with persistent swell I could not cast my hard bodied or soft plastic lures over the ledges into the deeper water beyond. With no luck and now thoroughly soaked, I went back round to the eastern side. The tide was now coming in. I put on a GULP 2″ Shrimp soft plastic in the Nuclear Chicken colour and cast it out as far as I could. A fish picked it up on the drop and the rod tip bent over. It was a solid dart, just of 40 cm long. I kept casting and the dart kept coming. When I ran out of my Nuclear Chicken Shrimps I swapped to a GULP 3″ Lime Tiger minnow soft plastic and this continued to catch more dart. They seem to like the high contrast colours. I also caught a couple of small bream.
Eventually the tide forced me to retreat from my spot. The final tally was 14 dart of which I kept the best five for supper.
On Sunday lunchtime I had to fly home from Rockhampton. In Yeppoon, it had rained all night and was very cold but by Sunday morning the weather was perfect.
I did not have much time so I decided to return to the rocks at Double Head. I arrived just before dawn and followed the path out to fishing ledges. It was about 5.45 am and low tide would be around 8.00 am. I set up with a small 20g metal slug. I was fishing with my Berkley Nomadic 1-4 kg travel rod and a 20g slug is about as big as you can throw. As the sky started to change colour, I cast the slug in all directions but could not raise a bite.
At about 6.15am, the sun was just coming over the horizon and suddenly the bait fish started leaping around, in close to the shore. I was now fishing with a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic in the purple and black colour. I felt a few solid bites, but could not hook up. I down-sized to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Nuclear Chicken colour, on a 1/8th 1 hook, jighead and carried on casting. I was now using only 10lb leader in my desperation to land a fish.
Once the sun was up the bait activity died away. The water was a milky mess with all the fresh water from the night before pouring out of the creeks. I moved around the headland casting in all directions but the water was now very dirty on the bottom of the tide. Finally I hooked up with a small Bream but I failed to find the monsters this spot is famous for.
Finally a clear, cold dawn
The water got murkier as the tide receded
Nice steep edges
Plenty of fishy structure
Eventually I found a small bream
By noon I was on the plane heading for Brisbane and already planning my next trip to this part of the world. Hopefully the weather will be kinder next time.