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.

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1770 – Flat Rock – Dart – 7 April 2015

Tuesday

The family took off for Lady Musgrave Island to have a look at the reef. But the prospect of ninety minutes battling high seas had me close to throwing up so I dropped them off at about 8.00 am and drove back down to Flat Rock.

The sun was out when I arrived and there was a light northerly wind blowing. I had the beach to myself and walked south to the spot where I had been fishing the day before. I was fishing the same fairly light rig and was sticking with the 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I would not stop any toothy fish with light leader but even if I upped it to a 30lb breaking strain, I doubt I would be able to hang on to a mackerel or big trevally. I prefer to fish lighter and lose a few fish than not get the bites. I tied on a 1/6th ounce, size 2 hook jighead and loaded it with a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the sardine colour. It was now about 9.45 am and just about high tide. I started by fishing the gutter on the inside of the Flat Rock without much success. The sky turned grey and the wind started to pick up.

After about an hour I had had a few bites but caught nothing. I moved south and as the tide started to run out I waded across the gutter in a fairly shallow spot and stood up on the Flat Rock in ankle deep water. I started casting out beyond the rock. This immediately resulted in fish contact. I could see and feel the moses perch swiping at the soft plastic lure close to the front edge.

I cast out a bit further and found a small dart. I caught a few more and then changed to bigger 4” Minnow soft plastic. The dart kept hitting the bigger plastic but could not swallow it. I swapped back down to the 3” Minnow in the New Penny colour and instantly hooked another, slightly bigger dart.  I moved up and down the front face of the rock and tried different plastics. The dart kept coming but they did not get much bigger. The rain came too and gave me a good soaking. At about 1.00 pm, I gave up for the day.

1770 – The headlands , beaches and Round Hill Creek – 8 September 2013

Thursday to Sunday

Unfortunately, there is not much to report from the remaining days I had at 1770. The south-easterly blow persisted, so I was pretty much limited to fishing the rocks on the northern side of the 1770 headland and the creeks. The high seas stirred up the water and so it was soon fairly murky.

I drove into Eurimbula National Park and fished the creeks. I fished lighter and lighter, until I finally found a few whiting and small bream. I also went back down to Baffle Creek and failed to catch anything. I tried Wreck Rock and Flat Rock beaches, but the water was just too stirred up and the wind was still howling.

As you will see from previous trip reports, you often have to work hard for your dinner here, but this was a disaster. I gave up on Sunday and drove back inland to do a bit of work and see if I could catch something other than catfish, in the inland waterways.

1770 – Getaway Beach – Jewfish – 5 May 2013

Monday

A friendly tackle supplier is fed up with reading about my exploits with the very capable Shimano Catana and decided to give me an alternative rod to try out. It arrived on Saturday – a N.S Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod. It is 2.59m long (8’6”) and rated 8-14 lb. It will throw up to a 30g lure or ½ oz jighead, for a soft plastic. It is designed for throwing small lures in the surf or off the rocks. NS Black Hole rods are made in Korea and have forged a strong reputation for durability, mainly in the US. It seemed like a good idea to put it to work. So on Sunday I decided to head for Agnes Water and 1770 for a few days.

I arrived in the late afternoon and went straight down to the beach opposite the 1770 Getaway resort, where I like to stay – http://www.1770getaway.com.au . They have great stand-alone cottages and an on-site restaurant / coffee shop which produces a magnificent lamb spit roast, twice a week. The best thing about the resort is that Michael, the owner, is a mad keen fisherman. He has good information on where to fish when the wind is blowing from almost any direction. He is always very willing to share his knowledge, just sit him down over a coffee and pick his brains.
I had matched the new N.S Black Hole Cabin II with my Shimano Sustain 4000 reel. I had it loaded with 15lb Super PE braid and decided on a 16lb fluorocarbon leader, to start with. The beach is about a 10 minute walk from the resort and has a number of rocky out crops. It is just round the corner from Workman’s Beach, which is a little more sheltered, if there is a strong south-easterly blowing.

It was about 3.30 pm by the time I was ready to fish. The water was pretty stirred up and the swell was building. The wind was on shore at about 10 to 15 knots and it was bright and sunny. High tide would be at about 5.45 pm and the moon was about three days off new. I walked out on to one of the rocky out crops and loaded up with a Powerbait 4” Ripple Shad on the gold and black colour on a ¼ 2/0 jighead. I fished the lure along the edges of the rocks but after about 15 minutes, I had not had a bite. I decided to change to a heavier 3/8th 2/0 jighead, to make sure my lure was on the bottom. I also swapped soft plastics to a 5” GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour.

I fished around the rocks for another 20 minutes or so and felt a few bumps. The swell was up, I had a new rod and I did not know the terrain, so it was hard to tell if I was bumping into fish or the bottom.

Just before 4.00 pm, I lifted the lure from the bottom and felt a bit of resistance. I dropped it back down for a few moments, then struck. The rod tip started to wiggle and bent over. The new rod behaved well and soaked up the lunges and the Shimano Sustain drag took care of the hard initial runs. The tricky bit was the swell and the rocks – 16lb leader will withstand a Jewfish mouth for a while but it won’t last long if it rubs against the barnacles.

Fortunately the swell was pushing the fish in and there was a nice ledge at water level. I took my time and left the drag alone. The swell pushed the fish on to the ledge and I jumped down and grabbed it.

It was a great looking Jewfish – 77cm long and in fantastic condition. It had completely swallowed the jighead, which was now very obviously lodged in its throat. It had little chance of survival, so I decided to keep it and share it with my hosts at the 1770 Getaway resort.

I continued fishing until dusk but did not find any more. It had been a great opening session and I had successfully christened the new rod which had performed well.

1770 – Deepwater National Park – Flat Rock – 10 August 2012

Friday

After a couple of weeks of mostly perfect fishing weather, two high pressure fronts were heading up the Queensland coast. Cold south westerly winds to 25 knots were forecast for Friday and I woke to the sound of palm fronds crashing down and a very cool breeze.

I stepped out just on dawn but it was too windy, so I drove down to 1770 for breakfast. I sorted out my gear, re-loaded the fishing vest and added a few drops of oil to the Stella. By lunchtime the wind had dropped a little, so I decided to drive down to Flat Rock beach, in Deepwater National Park, to the south of Agnes Water.

When there is a westerly blow the steep beach provides some shelter from the wind. The tide was about half way in and it was just washing over the long flat rock that gives the beach its name. The westerly wind had flattened the sea but once my legs were wet, the wind chill was nasty. Fortunately it was a bright sunny day.

I started at about noon at the south end of the rock and walked along casting off the seaward edge. As the waves rose over the rock you could see plenty of baitfish hugging the edge. The water was crystal clear. I was fishing with the light rod, a 1/6th 1/0 jighead, 8lb fluorocarbon leader and a 2” GULP Shrimp in the Natural colour. I felt plenty of touches and after about 10 minutes caught a tiny Stripey Perch. I caught a few more, all hiding in close to the edge. None of them were big enough to keep. I moved further along and the lure was hit by a better fish – this time it was a Bream, about 30cm long. I released and carried on.

The waves were now breaking over the rock and I was soaked and pretty cold. I let the soft plastic lie on the bottom for a while and when I lifted it I had another fish on – a flounder – plenty of species along here.There was now too much water washing over the rock and I was too cold so I gave up and went to thaw out in the sun.

I went back to my cabin and after a few hours off, I went down the track to the beach. I walked up on to a slightly sheltered rock and cast a small 3″ Gulp Minnow in the Sardine colour. The wind carried the 1/6th 1/0 jig head a long way and I slowly retrieved it. At the base of the rocks in the foam, a fish took it and made for cover. It took some line then felt like a brick – typical Cod behavior – they turn sideways and try to wedge themselves under an over hang or rock. I only had the 8lb leader in place so I let it swim down and hide and loosened the drag. After a couple of minutes it swam out and I landed it. No monster but a reasonably fat little cod. A few more casts produced nothing and the wind was just too strong to feel anything, so I gave up for the second time.

Middle Rock and Flat Rock – 1770 – 9 October 2011

Sunday

The storm passed and I woke around 4.00 am thinking the sun was coming up. In fact it was the moon – high above, in a very clear sky. It was a few days off full and so bright, that I did not need a torch to get the billy on and brew up some tea. After a few nights of instant noodles, I needed some protein, so it was time to stop looking for trophy fish and go and catch something to eat.

I started at dawn at Middle Rock. High tide would be at about 7.00 am and first light was about 5.00 am. It is just a few km north of my campsite at Wreck Rock, in Deepwater National Park. There are three main rocky outcrops with rubble, coral bommies and sandy patches in between. As the sky brightened only the tops of a few of the bommies and the big rocks were visible. I have had a few good Trevally from this spot on high water.

I was using the Shimano Catana Light rod again but put on a 16lb leader – just in case something big appeared. I loaded up with the GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th 1 jighead. I cast out, as close as I could to the edge of the half-submerged bommy. I started a quick retrieve – there are too many rocks to let the soft plastic hang around in one spot. I had only jerked the rod tip a couple of times and then I had a fish. It was a nice Bream about 30cm long. A few more casts produced another. Then I caught a couple of tiny Moses Perch and finally a couple of smaller Bream.

The water was calm and glassy and crystal clear, despite the storm. At about 9.00 am I drove up to Flat Rock and waded out onto the partially submerged rock, to fish the rest of the run out tide. Flat Rock is great to fish on once you can stand safely on the rock itself. There are a couple of breaks in the rock that runs the length of the beach and these are good fish congregating areas.

I started at the south end where the front of the rock has an almost vertical edge, in some places. These are usually a good Bream spots as there is plenty of wash. Sure enough, as I wandered along the rock casting into no more than 1.5m of water, I caught about five more Bream, a handful of small Whiting, a tiny Bar Tailed Flathead, Butter Bream and lots of small Stripey Perch and Dart. All of the Bream were just about 30cm – so I kept the biggest three. I was impressed with the range of fish but disappointed by the size.

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I moved down to the southern end where the rock breaks down into a surf beach dotted with submerged bommies, but by about 11.00 am the northerly wind had come up again and the fish seemed to stop biting. I cleaned up the Bream in the rock pools and headed back to camp for some hammock time.

1770 – Middle Rock – Flat Rock – Deepwater National Park – 15 May 2011

Sunday

On Sunday morning the weather was beginning to change. The breeze was moving round from the south west to the south east. It was much warmer and conditions were good as the south easterly was still light. I had worked out that low tide presented the better fishing opportunities at Flat Rock and Wreck Rock and so, with high tide a few hours after dawn, I headed back to Middle Rock and more specifically the set of rocks in the middle of Middle Rock.

Middle Rock - an hour before high tide pre-dawn

Jupiter and Venus had been bright and visible in the eastern sky just before dawn, all week. Since about Thursday, Mercury was also clearly visible. Venus was so bright that it cast a clear light across the water. It had been similarly bright when I was fishing down at Iluka, in NSW, last month and I wonder if it has an effect on the fish.

I was fishing with the heavy rod – the Daiwa 9’ 6” Demon Blood, matched with a Shimano Stradic 6000 reel, loaded with 20lb braid and a 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I was hoping to encounter some bigger fish at dawn and thought that the cold snap would have got the Tailor going. My camping neighbour had caught a few off the beach to the south of Wreck Rock, the evening before. They had taken cut up Pike baits about an hour after sunset.

I rigged up with a GULP 5” Pumpkinseed Jerkshad soft plastic lure on a 3/8 oz 2/0 jighead. I cast all round the rocks in the pre-dawn light. I could not raise a bite so I dropped down to a ¼ oz 1/0 jighead and 16lb Fluorocarbon leader and cast around again. Third cast, in very shallow water, only a couple of metres from the beach, I had a fish. It was a Bream about 30cm long. I released it and cast back in the same spot. I hooked up straight away – it was another Bream – slightly bigger at around 34cm. I carried on but all I could not find anything bigger so at 8.00 am I went back to camp for breakfast.

Middle Rock Bream

Whilst there were fish around it was becoming clear that this week was right in the middle of the changeover between the dominance of the warm weather species –Tuna, Mackerel, Dart, Whiting and the emergence of the cold weather species – Tailor, Bream, Flathead. The air temperature had been bitterly cold but the water was still very warm. It was hard work trying to figure out what to try next!

After breakfast I decided I would fish the run out tide at Flat Rock. The moon was almost full so the tide would be very low. I arrived just after 10.00 am and the long rock was already exposed. I waded out and climbed up onto it. I was back to the light spin rod, using a 1/6th 1 jig head, 12lb leader and 2” and 3” GULP Shrimp and Minnow soft plastics. For the next few hours I walked all the way along the rock to the northern end of the beach, casting out over the edge. There was no shortage of fish but the problem was size. Everything seemed to be under 30 cm long. I caught Whiting, Flathead, Bream, Stripy Perch, Dart and Long Toms, but nothing was worth keeping. By 2.00 pm the wind was getting up and the tide was running in so I gave up.