Iluka – Frasers Reef – 27 March 2012

Tuesday

There had been some very heavy showers through the night and at 5.30am, when I left the cabin, it was still pitch black with low cloud cover. But the wind seemed to have dropped so I headed for the rocky headland just to the north of Frasers Reef.

First light was well after 6.00 am but I could tell from the sound of the sea and the lack of spray crashing over the top of the rocks that I was in with a chance. I waited for about 20 minutes and watched the swell as the waves sets came in. It was a fairly light sea with the swell below 1.5 metres, but every 15 minutes or so a bigger set of waves would come through and soak everything. As it was just past the dark of the moon the tidal variation was still very big. On the turn of the tide, which had been at around 5.30 am, the swell can also behave erratically – so you always have to keep your eye on it.

I have felt-soled rock fishing boots which I ordered online from Cabelas in the US – http://www.cabelas.com. I currently have the Cabelas Ultralight 2 Felt-soled Wading Boots and I am very happy with them, so far. With the high Australian dollar they are currently reasonably priced at about A$80.00 a pair. They provide excellent grip even on the slimiest surfaces and also provide good ankle support. My last pair lasted about 3 years which I think is pretty good considering the work out I give them.

I started with the heavy rod and loaded up with a 3/8th 2/0 jighead, 30lb fluorocarbon leader and a Gulp Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Lime Tiger Colour. I fished around in the pre-sunrise light for a bit, lost a few jigheads to the rocks and copped a soaking from a few waves. It is rarely easy fishing this spot.

As the sun came over the horizon I switched to a GULP 4” Minnow in the Vader colour – which has been successful here before. On the first cast I felt a tug, on the second I had a fish. It was a small Jewfish, about 43cm long. I snapped it and let it go. I peppered the same area with casts and about five minutes later I felt a solid bite. The fish took a bit of line and I thought it was well hooked. I put some pressure on but then the line went slack and it was gone. It was no monster but probably a bit larger than the previous one. Now I was fired up but repeated lure changes could not raise another fish and after an hour I moved further south along the rocks – in the direction of Frasers Reef.

I was now fishing with the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Vader colour again, still with the same weight jighead and leader. I cast out into the foamy water at the base of the rocks and felt a solid hit. I was probably 4 metres above the water line so I slowly tightened the drag and lifted the fish up onto the rocks – it was another good sized Bream – about 35cm long. The rain and perhaps the dark of the moon seemed to have the big Bream fired up. I continued to fish all along these rocks but could not find anymore and at about 10.00 am I gave up and went in search of breakfast.

Tweed River – The Rockwall – Jewfish/ Tailor Round 2 – 29 Dec 2010

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Wednesday

With rain flooding into all our river systems, the estuaries are full of fresh water, mud and other rubbish. Therefore, the only real fishing option for a land based angler is to look for a river mouth rockwall or rocky headland, where you can still find some cleaner water. This is why I have been so focused on the Tweed River rockwall lately.

I arrived there on Wednesday morning, just before dawn and unfortunately there was a fairly fresh south easterly breeze blowing. As the sun came up I could see the extent of the milky tea coloured cloud that was pouring out from the mouth of the river. I started with a soft plastic but as the sun moved a bit higher in the sky a sizeable flock of birds started feeding on the surface about 125m north east of the wall. There was a school of something busting up out there and the birds started to move nearer with it. I tied on an 95g SPANYID Sniper and started casting as far as I could. It was the usual story – they stayed just out of casting distance.

I decided to put in a few casts off the end of the wall, into the milky tea. Half way through the retrieve I realised I had a small fish on. When I got it to the rocks I was pretty surprised to see a 30cm soapie Jewfish had grabbed the slug. Back he went and I continued to cast at the birds. Eventually after about 30 mins of arm stretching casts the birds came within casting range and after two or three more casts, into the middle of the boil, I was on to a fish. I had switched to an 85g SPANYID Raider by this stage.  The fish did not give me much trouble and I got him safely up the rocks – a Tailor around 40cm. He went back and after another ten minutes I had one more similar sized fish at my feet.

All along the wall land based anglers were picking up similar size Tailor on bait, slugs and even hard bodies. Just one or two every half an hour or so, as the school moved in close. It was great to see that when the fish are there and they are hungry, you can catch them with almost any technique.

At about 8.00 am I walked back to the car. Just as I was leaving a NSW fisheries officer arrived and walked off to the rockwall. The weather obviously meant he could not be out checking boats – there weren’t any, so he had decided to come and spread his good cheer amongst the land based anglers! I hope everyone had their fishing licenses with them!