Wednesday morning was windy again – a light south-easterly with squalling showers. I walked round to the rocks on the eastern side of Woody Head, at day break but the swell was still sending big sets crashing over the top.
I gave up on the mornings fishing and drove off into Maclean for breakfast and a chat with the helpful folk at Big River Bait & Tackle. They confirmed the presence of a few Jewfish around the rocks but also pointed out the weather would be my biggest obstacle for the next week.
I drove back to Iluka to find the birds working, out in the calm waters off Woody Bay. They were staying too far off shore initially, but gradually through the afternoon, they moved closer in. The netters showed up on the beach at about 2.00 pm and as the whitebait came closer to the shore, they rowed out with a long net to encircle them. They clearly got a good haul as it was too heavy to pull up on the beach. They dragged it along through the water, back to the boat ramp. Then they winched the bulging net up.
The commercial netters row out their net
Another decent Salmon from the Woody Head Beach
Two more Woody Head Salmon
By about 2.30 pm the birds had followed another school in close enough to cast at and a group of beach fisherman had come down to try and catch a few. Suddenly the Salmon started to bash into the school, sending Whitebait flying everywhere. I put on a HALCO 65g Twisty and fired a cast over the boiling water. After a couple of cranks I had a fish on. It was another solid Australian Salmon which put on a great display of acrobatics. As I landed it I saw my son was stuck into another but was turning into hard work as he only had my light Nitro 6’6” spin rod. All along the beach the kids were hooking up. The fish destroyed plenty of gear, but the patient fishermen eventually landed a few decent sized Salmon. My son got his after an epic battle. The fish had grabbed a GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic, attached to a 10lb leader. It was just under 50cm.
Australian Salmon on the light rig
A few more casts with the HALCO Twisty failed to hook up so I decided to try out some of the bigger DUO lures I had brought with me. The first one that had been calling to me from the tackle box, is called the DUO Tide Vib Slim. It is a 32g, 140 mm sinking Vibe lure. Once again, it is a beautifully engineered lure with a very high quality finish. It is comparatively light for its length but has a great action. Although it is very slim it still contains a decent internal rattle. I think this will prove to be big hit with the pelagic species – especially Tuna. I had it in the Qantas colours – red head with a white body. I cast it about fifteen metres off shore and played around until I found what I considered was the ideal retrieve speed – which was fairly slow. I was using the Daiwa Demon Blood rock/ beach rod with a 30lb fluorocarbon leader.
This one fell for the DUO Tide Vib Slim
Tide Vib Slim - weighting system
The Qantas colours often work well - DUO Tide Vib Slim
It did not take long to catch a fish – on the fourth cast a Salmon knocked it out of the water and then lunged at it again and was hooked. It took plenty of line on a very determined initial run and then put in a few leaps and rolls but eventually, I had it safely on the beach. It was a bit over 60cm long.
I caught two more with this lure and then things went quiet again. The soft plastics were still catching fish but I decided to try out another DUO hard bodied lure – the Tide Minnow 105LD. The Tide Minnow is one of their long established best sellers in Japan. It is also used extensively in Europe to target Sea Bass. It looks like a fairly standard sinking minnow but its internal ball bearing weighting system means it casts like a rocket. Consistently with the rest of the range, it is finished to a very high standard. I had it in a shiny purple colour with a dark underbody. It finds it rhythm easily in the surf and it has a rolling body with a wiggling tail action. The fish were thick and did not have to wait long. After about five casts another Salmon slammed the lure just a few metres from the shore. I landed it and cast out a few more times and then, bang I was on to another fish. This one was a little larger and took longer to subdue, but eventually I got him up the beach.
I should point out that these DUO lures have been provided to me at no cost to test drive but as with all freebies, I will only write them up positively if they catch fish. So far the DUO range have delivered fish for me and so I am happy to recommend them. If you want to know more about them contact Steve at http://www.swldistributions.com.au
Australian Salmon on DUO Tide Minnow
Australian Salmon on Tide Vibe Minnow
Another Salmon grabs the DUO Tide Minnow
Suddenly, after an hour or so of mayhem, the fish were gone. The birds were still circling and occasionally diving for the odd, wounded Whitebait, but the Salmon had moved on or stopped eating. It had been a great session and over the course of an hour I had witnessed five guys catch about 25 Australian Salmon between them and lose plenty more. They may be awful to eat but they are great fun to catch.