Port Macquarie – Rivermouth rockwall 1 July 2021

In early July, before more lockdown madness started, I did a bit of work in the Hunter Valley. Catching a plane anywhere has become such a lottery that I decided to drive down and stopped on the way back to fish at Port Macquarie.

I only had one morning and the weather was pretty rubbish so I chose to fish the rock-wall. I had arrived just on dusk the night before and seen the birds working over a school of something in the river mouth. So at first light I drove round and took the ferry across the river to fish the north wall. To my surprise I could drive almost all the way to the end and park more or less next to where I wanted to fish – very civilised.

It was soon raining and very grey. I cast a 40g metal slug for I while. I was using my old Daiwa Seabass rod which is great for casting small slugs or soft plastics for tailor – although it does take a while to land a decent greenback – if you find one. The slug was not working so I swapped to a soft plastic lure. I chose a GULP 4″ Minnow. First in the Lime Tiger and then later in the Camo colour. I loaded them on a 1/4 ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and both caught tailor for me. I caught half a dozen tailor and a couple of small trevally all between 30 and 40 cm, over about the next hour. Eventually the rain started to set in and I gave up.

The estuary looks like it would fish well for flathead, bream, jewfish and all the usual suspects. I look forward to visiting again soon.

Brunswick Heads – New Brighton – North Head wall and the beach 4/6/8 June 2021

On the morning of the 4th of June conditions were perfect for fishing. The moon was a waning crescent, about 30% full. There was little wind, a clear sky and a very light swell. I set off for the mouth of the Brunswick River to see what I could find at about 10.00 am. Low tide was at 10.09 am at the river mouth.

I parked in the small car park at the southern end of North Head Road. I picked up my light spin rig (flathead fishing gear) and decided to walk along the wooded path down to the north bank of the river and Harry’s Hill Beach. As I walked parallel with the beach, I could see the birds circling, close in. I broke off the path down to the beach and realised they were dive bombing bait schools, very close to the beach.

I ran down to the shoreline, rigged a big bright soft plastic and cast in to the mayhem. I got a couple of hits on the first cast, but no hook up. On the next one I did a faster retrieve. Half way back to me a tailor slammed the soft plastic. It was a bigger fish than I had expected, my ‘noodle like’ Samaki Zing Gen 2 rod was in for a work out. I was rigged with 12Lb fluorocarbon leader, so I did not think I had much of a chance but after a fairly protracted fight a wave washed a 40cm tailor up to my feet.

It’s great fishing when the tailor come into this beach gutter in calm conditions
tailor from the beach

I should have quit at the point but I released the fish and cast out again. I hooked up almost straight away and this time the Samaki Zing had had enough. It snapped just above the join as the tailor took off. No complaints about the rod – I had just brought a knife to gunfight.

Broken Samaki Zing
The light rod could not take it – two piece became three piece

I jogged back to the car got out my light rock fishing rig – Daiwa Crossfire 1062 and Shimano Stella 4000 reel, 30lb braid and (luckily) 30lb fluorocarbon leader and my keeper bag. I made it back to the beach in about 10 minutes and the mayhem was in full swing.

I started with another big bright soft plastic and that landed a couple of tailor before it was destroyed. I swapped to the 40g Duo Dragmetal Cast Slow. This is a jig designed to be worked quite slowly. It has two assist hooks at the top and one on the bottom. I cast it out and jigged it back to me. I immediately caught a couple of solid dart.

By now I could see the reason the fish where here. All along the wavebreak there were thick schools of small baitfish. A huge school of dart and tailor were roaming the shoreline smashing into this bait. I cast the jig out again and it was picked up almost immediately. I started playing the fish and let it take some line. When I pulled the fish towards me it suddenly felt much heavier. It also started moving really erratically. There were a couple of swirls and splashes and then I realised I had hooked two tailor on the one jig. I kept up the pressure and then one of them pulled the hook/ bit through the jig and I landed the single fish on one of the remaining hooks.

I swapped around between soft plastics metal slugs and jigs for about an hour. Everything caught fish and at one point I reeled in a big popper that someone else must have lost. By just after 11.30 am the bait school gradually moved to the north along the beach and took the tailor dart and birds with it. I kept six tailor for a family fish pie and let the dart and the rest of the fish go.

A couple of days later on the 6th June I arrived at dawn, to see if the fish were there. This time I started fishing further to the north on the beach at New Brighton, just before sunrise. There was a good gutter and cast into its mouth. The first taker was a tailor. It bit down hard on a 55g Halco Twisty metal lure, in the gold colour. But there was only one and I put in a lot of casts trying to find another. Once the sun was truly up, I swapped to a big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the lime tiger colour. I fished this on 1/4 ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I cast it into the gutter and let it waft around. I hooked a fish, almost immediately. As I pulled it towards me it wriggled off. I carried on peppering the area with casts and after about 10 more I came up tigh on another (or perhaps the same one).

On Tuesday, 8th June I came down to fish the area again at about 11.30 am. It was now two days before the new moon and the tidal flow was quite powerful. There had been some rain the day before and the river was a little murky on the run out tide. I walked out to the end of the rockwall at North Head. I started fishing with a 40g Halco Twisty. I cast and retrieved it across the mouth of the river and then along the line where the river running out met the clearer ocean wash. I soon had a fish – a 35cm tailor. I released it and caught another two straight way. Then things went quiet.

I swapped to a soft plastic minnow and caught a couple of 30cm bream and then things went quiet again. On the way back to the car I had a quick cast in the shallows in the corner of the beach. On about my 4th try, I felt the unmistakable thud of a flathead bite and after a short tussle I had a 45cm fish at my feet. Not a bad session but the big tailor school had clearly moved on.

Brunswick River – Brunswick Heads – 28 May/ 1 June 2021

The 28th of May was a beautiful morning with a cool north-westerly wind blowing. The water in the Brunswick River was crystal clear. But the big bait schools that had been in the lower reaches of the river had moved on. I cast around with lots of different soft plastics on my light spinning rig, loaded with 10lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader, but I did not get a bite.

Good conditions – Brunswick River

When I can’t catch a flathead in a spot where I usually have, my constant question with is – Are they still there but not eating or have they moved on? I think my current conclusion is that they move up and down the river systems with the moon cycle and therefore the stronger current flow, on the bigger tides. Sometimes this process is interrupted by excessive amounts of food in a particular area or spawning and they stay in the same spot for almost the whole lunar cycle. The advantage with flathead is that even if you are not catching them you can usually see where they have recently been from their ‘lies’. These are the marks they leave in the sandy bottom.

On the 1st of June I fished on the south side of the river, upstream of the caravan park and Mangrove Island. I was in my waders – even though the water is still fairly warm. I started in the area where the river narrows and turns to the south. This is where the seagrass beds start to appear and it looks like very good flathead territory. I came across a few big flathead lies so felt fairly confident that the fish had moved up stream.

I started at about 11.30 am and fished through the second half of the run out tide. I cast a few soft plastics from the shallows and caught three flathead of which two would have been legal to keep. I released them all. Unfortunately the stretch of river further up from here is pretty hard to access so I may have problems testing my flathead movement theories. I finished fishing just after 1.30 pm.

Bribie & Mooball Creek – fishing the shallows – May 2017

May saw me out on the flats in front of the Sandstone Point hotel at Bribie Island wading in the shallows. Winter took a long time to arrive and the water styed stubbornly warm all through the month.

The flounder arrived to supplement the flathead and the odd bream. I fished with my light spinning rod and reel, 10lb fluorocarbon leader and generally GULP Jerkshad soft plastics in various colours on 1/8th 1/0 jigheads. I filled a bag with five keeper size flathead in the run up to the new moon on the run out tide.

I also continued my search for fish around Pottsville and found a few tiny flathead and Bream in Mooball Creek. These grabbed the smaller soft plastic minnows.

Coffin Bay – Point Avoid – 11 June 2016

Saturday

Having caught plenty of salmon trout inside Coffin Bay it was time to get out on to the surf beaches and find some bigger models. On Saturday morning I was up at 5.45 am and drove into the Coffin Bay National Park. I drove long the winding track out to the west side. It was cold – about 5 degrees, but the wind had dropped a little. It was still a south-easterly and low tide would be at about 8.45am.

I was heading out to fish the beach at the depressingly named Point Avoid. Point Avoid/ Coffin Bay – they obviously did not think much of the place when they drew up the maps. Point Avoid was named by Matthew Flinders and as it is usually lashed by strong winds and has strong currents racing through rocky channels, its probably a fair name.

It was overcast as I walked down onto the beach. Rain looked likely. I loaded up the Lox Yoshi with a length of 20lb fluorocarbon leader and tied on a 20g Raider metal slug. I put a long cast out into the surf and wound fast. On the second cast – bash , bump, bump and then zzzzzzzzzzzzz. I let it have some line and gradually played it out it was a small Australian Salmon. I dragged it slowly to the sand. It was about 35cm long. I let it go and cast out again. I caught three or four at this size and then a bigger one grabbed the lure. I could not stop it and after a short fight, it buried itself in the rocks and snapped me off.

I put on a small popper (about 50cm). I could not cast this as far but it did not matter. On about the fourth cast I saw a shape come up and snaffle it. This was a bigger fish. Fortunately it headed for open water and did some leaping around. I let it run and wear itself out and slowly I steered it back up the beach. This one was about 40 cm long and I decided to keep it. I bled it and left it under a rock. I cast the popper around again. It did not take long to find another decent salmon. This one really pulled hard and put in some good stunts but I managed to hang on to it. It was about 45cm long and had completely mashed the hooks on the popper’s front treble.

I put on a DUO Realis Jerkbait 120 in a purple colour. This lure suspends about 10 to 15 cm below the surface and has a very loud rattle and great action. The smaller salmon knocked this around for a while. Then something different whacked it. It was a brown spotted wrasse, about 30 cm long.

I moved around the corner and walked out on to a rocky promontory that had been revealed by the falling tide. I swapped to a 1/8th ounce jighead and GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I cast around the deep holes in between the rocks. The salmon where here as well but the lure was a bit big for them.  I caught a couple more small wrasse.

I hooked what I thought was another salmon but on close inspection I realized it was an Australian Herring known locally as a Tommy Rough. I carried on fishing until the tide turned in, then gave up for the morning

 

 

 

 

 

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1770 – Flat Rock – Dart, Bream and Cod – 18 May 2016

On Wednesday the wind had settled down a little, so it was back to Flat Rock to fish the last couple of hours of the run out tide. The moon and tides were getting bigger and the fishing seemed to be improving. I had a lie in and set off at about 9.30 am. The swell was light and so was the wind. It was bright with a few clouds and the water was just breaking over the rock.

I started fishing with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/6th ounce, size 2 jighead. I was using the slighty heavier jighead to counter the breeze, that was slowly picking up. I was still fishing with 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I would not be able to stop anything big with this light set up, but I always get far more bites when fishing light.

The first takers were Moses Perch followed by a few small dart. As I moved north along the top of the rock I caught a couple of bream, more dart and a few tiny flathead. There are a few White Breasted Sea Eagles that live along the beach. As soon as you start catching fish they start hovering in the hope of grabbing a free meal. Many a released dart has fallen victim to these predators.

I moved further north and continued to catch dart. I was now fishing with a GULP Fry in the Lime Tiger colour. I reached a break in the rock, where the water was draining out. On about my third cast something grabbed the soft plastic and tried to swim back under the rock. The drag was fairly tight and I stopped it before it got too far under. I slowly levered it out with the aid of the current. I used the incoming surge to pull the fish over the rock and into the gutter beyond. It was a solid cod about 45cm long.

The fight had obviously taken its toll. I released the fish but on the next cast the rod tip snapped and so, reluctantly, I stopped fishing for the day just after 12.45pm.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 28 April, 2016

Thursday

I was back in Brisbane and it was time to get amongst the flathead. This has traditionally been a very productive time on the flats around Bribie Island. But this year I have fished far less in this area than usual. The weather has also been very warm and fairly dry, which may have affected the movement of the flathead.  In my last few sessions I had found fish, but not in the big groups that have been around in the last few years. I think this may change as the water cools down.

The moon was 67% full. The day would start with a light south-westerly wind, that would turn south-easterly later in the day. Low tide would be at 7.17 am and I was fishing with my light spinning rod and reel (Shimano Stella 2500 and NS Blackhole 6′ SGII 602L trout rod). This was loaded with the ALDI 8lb yellow braid and I had tied on a 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

I arrived, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage at about 5.30 am and waded out on to the sandy/ muddy flats under the bridge. The horizon was beginning to glow and the water had a slight ripple on the surface from the cool breeze. The tide was running out quickly. I cast some big and small GULP soft plastics around the reefy area, just to the south of the bridge, without success.

As dawn approached I moved south and started fishing the area south of the old oyster jetty. I was now using the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. It was 5.50 am. A fish grabbed the lure and scurried off. Then it felt like it was stuck. This is typical estuary cod behaviour. I loosened the drag and dropped the rod tip. After about 30 seconds the leader started moving and the fish swam out. I re-tightened the drag and soon had a 40 cm cod on the surface. I released it and moved on.

About thirty minutes later I was casting around the weed beds by the drain that comes off the Sandstone Point flats and I felt a solid bite. I dropped the rod tip, paused and hooked a 43cm flathead. It went in the bag for dinner. There did not appear to be much bait around.  I put on a bigger GULP soft plastic Jerkshad in the BBQ Chicken colour.  I connected and then dropped what I thought was a flathead, just after 7.00 am.

I continued to the south. The sun came up through the clouds and I moved along the edge of the weed beds. I felt another good bite but did not hook up and then things went quiet. The tide was slowing and the water was now fairly murky. I waded all the way down to the green channel marker without another bite.

At about 7.30am as the tide turned back in, I turned around and walked back towards the bridge. I was now fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead.  My next catch was a blue swimmer/ sand crab that took a swipe at the soft plastic.

About half way back to the bridge I caught another, bigger flathead about 50cm, which I also kept. I kept moving and stuck with the same soft plastic. Frustratingly, I dropped two more flathead before hanging on to a third, just north of the bridge. At about 10.00 am I left the water with three keepers in the fishing bag.

It had felt like hard work but on reflection, there were plenty of fish around.

Iluka – Shark Bay – 15 March 2016

Tuesday

I woke to more grey skies on Tuesday – but grey skies are a fisherman’s friend. At least it was not raining. I drove round to Woody Head, just before dawn I walked out onto the rock platform. But by first light I could already see that this location was going to be difficult to fish with such a big swell. The sun came up between the horizon and the grey line of cloud but after half an hour of attempting to cast heavily weight soft plastics and losing them to the rocks or swell, I decided to switch locations.

I drove round to Shark Bay which is always sheltered from big south easterly swells. As I got out of the car, it started raining. This seemed to dampen down the wind but it was still around a 20 knot south easterly. I could see birds hovering above the shallows on the north side of the rocks so I walked towards them. It was now about 7.15 am. Low tide would be at about 8.30 am.

The birds were feeding on something in very shallow water. As I got closer, I could see Tailor also ‘chopping’ into some huge schools of tiny whitebait. I started prospecting with the light surf rig, my Daiwa Air Edge rod. I tied on a 1/6th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and loaded it with a 3” minnow soft plastic in the pearl watermelon colour. A hungry tailor snaffled this lure as soon as it hit the water and bit it off. I tied on another and upgraded to 35lb leader. This landed a 35 cm tailor on the first cast. I dropped a few more over the next ten minutes.

I decided to swap to my bigger rod and reel and try a bigger lure. The day before the Daiwa Demonblood tip had fallen off so I had swapped to a Rovex Bario that is slightly shorter. I was also trying out a Penn Spinfisher reel. I see these reels everywhere but just because they are plentiful does not make them good and over the week I found all its faults. It was heavy and clunky and the drag only just functioned. My advice is, if you are thinking about buying one – don’t. I had rigged this combo with 20lb braid and 35lb fluorocarbon leader. I tied on a proven performer the DUO Pressbait Saira. This has long profile but is essentially a big heavy slug. Its chief advantage is the distance that you can cast it. I threw it out as far as I could. I think this would be about 60 or 70 metres with a strong southerly behind it. I cranked it back in at full speed. You cannot slow down here as there are too many clumps of rocks in the way. About twenty metres into the retrieve something hit it and the rod bent over. It was another Tailor no bigger than the one I had caught on the soft plastic.

I carried on casting this big lure for the next hour or so. I caught eight more Tailor and kept the biggest one that was about 50 cm long. The Long Toms where also out in force and I caught a few with the big lure. The thick schools of bait and a bit of blood also brought out the Wobbegongs. This is why it’s best to fish in boots and watch your step.

By about 10.00 am things had slowed down so I swapped back to the 3” Minnow soft plastic. After a few casts a bream grabbed it. It was about 25cm long and was followed by a few more. By 11.00 the tide pushed me back from the edge so I gave up for the day.

Iluka – Iluka Bluff – Snapper – 13 March 2016

Sunday

I had managed to bunk off for a few days to fish the rocky headlands of the Bundjalung National Park at Iluka in Northern New South Wales. I drove down through several big rain showers on Sunday morning.

As usual in this spot, the weather would not be ideal. There would be a pretty steady 1.6m swell all week. This would make fishing the exposed headlands difficult. It really needs to be lower than that to be comfortable and safe. The forecast showers would also make sure it was a wet week. The only advantage of the rain was that it might dampen down the wind.

I arrived at Iluka at about lunch time. I unpacked and drove out to Iluka Bluff at about 3.00 pm. The skies were full of grey clouds and the rain was falling intermittently. I had a look at the conditions and assessed that I could safely fish off the front of the bluff. We were about mid-way through the moon phase so it would not have much influence. Low tide would be at 7.34 pm, so the tide was half way out.

I started fishing with my heavy rig –  Shimano Stradic FJ 8000 reel, 9’6” Daiwa Demonblood rod, 20lb braid, 30lb fluorocarbon leader, 3/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the red and yellow, Curry Chicken colour. I cast this around for about 30 minutes but the wind was onshore and I could not get the soft plastic comfortably beyond the rock ledge. I lost a few rigs to the rocks and decided to change strategy.

I tied on a River2Sea 110mm Dumbell Popper in DP-06 pink and silver colour. This one weighs 26.6 grams but the dumbbell shape means it casts much further than a typical popper of this size. On about my third cast there was a big swirl behind the popper and a flash of silver. A few casts later a fish slammed the popper on the edge of the rock ledge. It took off to the south. I went with it for a minute or two but then the line caught in the cunjevoi covered rocks and leader and lure separated.

Back to the tackle bag – this time I pulled out an 80mm Halco Roosta Popper in the white redhead colour, I cast for about another twenty minutes when suddenly I suddenly saw another swirl, just behind the lure. On the next cast I slowed things down and increased the pauses. This did the trick and a fish grabbed the popper just as it came over the ledge. Once more it put its head down and set off to the south. I had the drag quite a bit tighter this time but I could not slow it. It followed the trajectory of its predecessor and I lost another popper.

I did not have any more poppers so I swapped to my lighter surf rig – the Daiwa Air Edge Surf 96L with a Shimano Sustain 4000 reel. I was using 8lb braid and 20lb fluorocarbon leader. I tied on a ¼ ounce, 1/0 hook jighead and loaded a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The lighter rod, line and leader meant that I could cast the soft plastic much further and let it waft around past the submerged rock ledge, in the strike zone.

At about 5.00 pm something grabbed the soft plastic. After a short fight I lifted a 33cm Snapper clear of the water. Fortunately the size limit for Snapper in NSW is 30 cm so I had something for supper. The heavens opened, so I quickly cleaned the fish and headed home. An exciting start to the week.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 7 March 2016

Monday

The wind and wild weather persists. A look back at my fishing reports suggest that the run up to the full and new moons around February, March, April have produced the most consistent catches of flathead. The latter half of the run out tide also appears to be a good time to get at them.

So on Monday I ignored the wind and grey skies and drove up to Bribie at about 10.30 am, to fish the run out tide on the flats in front of the jetty and the Sandstone Point  Hotel. Low tide would be at 2.38 pm. The wind was about a 15 to 20 knot east-south-easterly by the time I arrived.

As regular readers know, I love my GULP soft plastics (and just for the record I don’t think I have ever received a free packet from anyone – so this is definitely not sponsor induced waffle). We all tend to use bait and tackle that we are confident with. If something works for us we go back to it – whether it’s a fishing spot/ area or favourite lure type. When I first caught a few flathead on a GULP Minnow Grub in the Pumpkinseed colour, I soon convinced myself that this was the only colour and shape that would catch fish. It caught plenty of fish for me but fortunately I was brave / frustrated enough at some point, to experiment with some alternative shapes and colours and even try hard bodied lures.

So this morning I resolved to stick with the ZMAN soft plastics that I carry around but rarely seem to use. My principal problem with them is additional buoyancy in the material they are made of and the lack of scent. I am convinced by the amount of strikes I get when I introduce a GULP soft plastic that is just out of the packet, that the scent is the thing that makes a difference.  Having said that they have a range of shapes in their paddle tail varieties that put GULP to shame. I started with a ZMAN Minnowz in the Redbone colour on a 1/8th 1/0 Headlockz jighead. These jigheads are specially designed to hold the ZMAN soft plastics in place and perhaps also counter the additional buoyancy, they are based on Mustad hooks.

I fished around the bridge and felt a few nudges and bumps from either the resident Moses Perch or perhaps some Pike. After a thorough peppering of the area I moved south, under the jetty and fished along the edge of the weed beds all the way along to the farthest green channel marker. About halfway I swapped colours to the same shape ZMAN in the Rootbeer Gold colour. Unfortunately this made no difference.

I had been fishing for an hour without a bite and I no longer believed the ZMAN soft plastics were going to catch a fish. Confidence is so important when fishing and I just don’t have it when it comes to these plastics. I reached into the tackle bag for a GULP Jerkshad in the BBQ Chicken colour and swapped over. I started back over the ground I had covered and after another 10 minutes, I caught the first fish of the day – a 45cm flathead, close to the edge of the weed.

I carried on moving slowly back towards the jetty, fishing with the same Jerkshad soft plastic. It was now almost 1.00 pm and I caught another flathead, about the same size. Twenty minutes later I caught another much smaller flathead.

There was huge (no doubt multi-million dollar)  fisheries patrol vessel moored in front of the bridge. I think I would rather see our taxes spent on hospitals and schools and just have boats checked in their way in/ out. Especially since the numbers of boats seized, fines issued or commercial licenses cancelled is miniscule. Since we send so much of our good seafood overseas it seems crazy to spend all this money just to race around persecuting recreational anglers.

By now I was casting around just south of the jetty. The jighead stuck fast in to something. It felt like a stick or lump of coral but it was moving. I slowly brought it to the surface with a tightened drag. I was a welcome surprise – a big mud crab with the jighead stuck nicely in one of its back legs. I checked it was male and big enough and I manoeuvred it into my keeper bag and gave up for the day.

Iluka – Middle Bluff – 29 September 2104

Sunday – Morning

It was another mild morning in Iluka. A light northerly wind was doing its best to flatten the sea. I decided to fish Middle Bluff again and see if I could find a legal sized mulloway (jewfish).

At this point I will say my piece about the raising of the jewfish size limit in NSW. I have read a bit about the surveys that were done to determine whether or not the existing limit of 45 cm, was adequate to protect the species. They were very small surveys that relied on a lot of subjective judgments by local fisherman and fisheries officers, but it would have been financially impossible for them to be developed any other way. After putting together these surveys, NSW fisheries concluded that fish at 45cm were not having a chance to reproduce before being caught, so they have raised the legal size to 70 cm and set a bag limit of two. Commercial fishermen also have to obey by the new rules, although they are allowed to keep some smaller fish, under by catch rules. If I have got any of this factually wrong, please comment and correct me.

If we want sustainable fish stocks we need to carry out credible scientific research. Our duplicated state fisheries departments do not need any more boats, trailers, life jackets, uniforms or rulebooks. They need scientists and scientific rigour in their research processes. The science used to support this decision may be proved right but I would have liked to see much more comprehensive studies. We now have the ridiculous situation where on one side of the Tweed River the Mulloway size limit is 70cm and on the other, it is 75cm.

It was another spectacular sunrise at Middle Bluff. I decided to fish with the light rig from the beginning and stick to the soft plastics. I was using 16lb fluorocarbon leader and a ¼ ounce, size 1/0 hook Nitro jighead. I loaded up with a GULP 4” Minnow in the new Green Camo colour.

The sun came over the horizon at about 5.30am and by 5.45am, I had my first fish. It was another mulloway/ jewfish, but it would not be dinner because it was only about 45cm long. I unhooked it in a rock pool and took a few pictures, then speared it back down in to the wash. It had grabbed the plastic very close to the rocks again.

I put in plenty of casts but could not get another. I swapped down to a lighter 10lb fluorocarbon leader and put on a GULP 2” Shrimp, also in the Green Camo colour. I moved a little further north along the rocks and cast down into the wash. I let the soft plastic waft around, but I left it too long and got snagged. I re-rigged and put it back in the same spot. After a couple of casts I felt a solid hit and the rod bent over. Fortunately, the swell was light and I was able to get down quite close to the water. I let the fish take some line then tightened the drag a little and lifted it up, onto the rocks with the help of a wave. It was a very solid 37cm bream. So I would have something for dinner.

 

 

I fished on for another hour but the wind picked up and the tide started in, making fishing a bit hard. At about 9.00 am, I cleaned up the bream and walked back along the beach to the car.

Sunday Afternoon

On Sunday afternoon I decided to wade out on the stretch of the Clarence River – just in front of the Anchorage Holiday Park. There are sand banks and weed beds and it looks like an ideal flathead spot. I started just before 5.00 pm. The tide was running out and I waded across the sandy and muddy bottom until I came to the weed banks that fringe the deeper main river channel. As I was exploring, I started by fishing with a soft plastic that I am very confident using – the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was fishing with my estuary light spin rod, 10lb fluorocarbon leader and 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jighead.

It did not take long to find the fish. I caught a couple of small flathead first and then a legal one (40cm), that was sitting in a sandy hollow. I waded up river and decided to switch to a DUO Realis Shad 59 MR hard bodied lure. This is a medium diving lure and the flathead and bream love it. As the sun set, I caught a couple more small flathead on this lure.

I had fished at dawn and dusk and caught fish at both sessions – and had a nice bream for dinner – living the dream!

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.

Bribie – Oyster jetty flats again – 22 April 2013

Monday

After a good session at Bribie last week, I was keen to get back out there. The wind was light and the moon phase was good, with the tides getting bigger in the run up to the full moon, on Friday. I could not fish the dawn, but I could fish the run out tide for a few hours before low tide, at about 1.00 pm.

I arrived just before 9.00 am and decided to keep fishing the flats on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge. There had been plenty of flathead around and I presumed they would still be there. There was not much wind and the sky was cloudy.

I understand it is New South Wales school holidays this week so I expected a bit more boat traffic than normal but as I walked out at about 9.30 am, there were crab pots as far as the eye could see. As I waded south from the bridge, they were everywhere. I counted 50 in sight before I gave up. It made casting a little difficult, in places. There were plenty of sand crabs around, as I kept kicking them. However the density of pots meant that there was a boat arriving to; figure out which were theirs, check them and reset them, every five minutes.

This did not do much for the fishing but after all the crap weather we have had, is was good to see boats out and about and the odd pot being pulled up with a few keepers in it. I decided to stay in the shallows and find some undisturbed areas to fish.

The tide was running out quite fast and so the boats and pots gradually retreated, leaving me to fish the edge of the sand and weed banks, which were now covered in only 800 mm of water. This is where I concentrated my casts. I tried to pause my retrieve right at the edge of the banks. This was where my first fish of the day hit just before 10.00 am. I was using a GULP Jerkshad in the red and yellow Curried Chicken colour on a 1/8th, 2/0 jighead. It was a good flathead but the sand banks where not yet exposed so I had nowhere to land it. I tried the tricky manoeuvre of pulling the fish into my body then grabbing it with a rag. The fish promptly spiked me hard, unhooked itself and wriggled free. It was a good spike right in the middle of my thumb. I could not rub some slime into it to ease the sting, as the fish had gone and taken all its slime with it! I wrapped it up in a bit of rag.

When you get spiked like this the blood does not clot very quickly, as the venom in the spike is slightly anti-coagulant. So if you are not careful, you end up dripping blood everywhere. This is not ideal in waist deep water! The thumb calmed down after a while and I carried on casting. I kept peppering the same spot with casts and I soon hooked up again. This was a slightly smaller fish and made sure it was tired out before pulling it in close and grabbing it with the rag. It ended up being a bit over 45cm.

I moved further south and was soon close to the green channel marker. I swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken – the black and purple colour. I used the usual technique along the edge of the sand bank and soon caught two more undersized (35cm) flathead. I persisted in the same area and after about ten more casts, I felt a good bite. I paused and dropped the rod tip. When I lifted it I had another fish on. This one was about 45 cm again, and I safely grabbed it and put it in the bag.

It was now about 12.45pm and I turned back and waded towards the bridge. In the shallows, just short of the jetty, I hooked another flathead and pulled it up to the shore. It was also a keeper, at about 50cm long.

Three little flathead went swimming one day...

Three little flathead went swimming one day…

I had to give up at about 1.15 pm, just as the tide stopped moving. I had forgotten the camera today, so only one snap of the keepers is included, from my phone. Considering the late start and all the boat traffic, it had been another good session.

Bribie – Under the bridge/ The Seaside Museum creek drain – 11 March 2013

Monday

There is still a strong south-easterly blowing and it is still dumping rain on us. New moon is Tuesday and with all the recent rain the Bream should be around. With the big tides and the top up showers that water is not clearing up as fast as I thought it would.

I went for an early start again, as the hour before dawn has produced the best fishing recently. The wind was forecast to get stronger through the day, so I had a very limited choice of locations. I decided I would rely on the bridge lights at Bribie again.

I arrived just after 4.00 am. Low tide had passed at 2.50 am. The water was already running in fast and it was very muddy and weedy. I started with a GULP 4” minnow in the smelt colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I started on the south side of the bridge. I cast into the shadows and slowly hopped the plastic along the bottom, under the lights.

I spent 30 minutes methodically covering the ground to the south of the bridge. I did not get a touch and I did not see much bait moving around. At about 4.30 am, I moved round to the north side of the bridge. There is a good channel here, between two rocky patches. It is very difficult to get your lure to move along the bottom without getting snagged, but if you can leave it in the strike zone long enough, you are in with a chance.

On my first cast I got snagged. The water is shallow enough in this area to wade over and retrieve the lure, but if I did that, I would spook any fish in the vicinity, so I had to break it off and re-rig. I tied on the same lure again. But this time I put it on a 1/6th oz, 2/0 jighead. The water was running fast and even though I was more likely to get snagged, I wanted the lure on, or near the bottom, all the time.

I stayed in the shadows under the bridge and after a few casts, a flathead grabbed the plastic, just over a metre away from me and took off. It hooked itself and I steered it over the rocky bottom to the shoreline. It was just over 50cm and it was 4.57 am.

I swapped to a GULP 4” shrimp in the banana prawn colour (gold). I kept casting around the area and after about 5 minutes, I caught another flathead, just a little smaller than the first.

GULP Shrimp in Banana Prawn for the second one

GULP Shrimp in Banana Prawn for the second one

At about 5.15 am, I crossed the bridge to the other side of the Passage, to see if the bridge lights on that side offered any fishing opportunities. The weed banks in this area seem to have either been washed away or covered in sediment. There is a storm water drain that empties fresh water into the Passage just under the bridge – this will have been flowing pretty constantly recently. I waded up and down but did not get a touch. A big rain shower passed over just when the sun should have been coming up and all the time the wind was building.

I swapped locations again and had a quick cast around by the Seaside Museum creek drain. I spent about 40 minutes here but did not get a bite. By 8.00 am it was too blowy to carry on so I packed up. I had caught a couple of fish but would kill for some flat, clean water to fish in!

Iluka – Woody Bay – 13 February 2013

Wednesday

On Wednesday I woke to more showers which were blowing through on a building south-easterly wind. I made some breakfast and waited for them to pass.

By the time the rain stopped it was about 6.30 am. The south-easterly was already blowing at about 15 knots and was forecast to get stronger through the day. There was not much point in trying to fish the headlands. The tide had been low at 5.00 am and had now turned in. I decided to fish around the rocks beside the boat launching area, on the edge of Woody Bay. This area, directly in front of the camp site, is sheltered by Woody Head. Even in a big south-easterly blow, it stays pretty calm.

A grey morning on Woody bay

A grey morning on Woody bay

I decided to switch to my really light spinning outfit – Shimano Stella 2500 reel, Loomis GL2 rod, 1.8kg Fireline and a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The bait that had been jumping around close to the rocks, had been some kind of small whitebait, so I chose a GULP 3” minnow soft plastic in the Watermelon Pearl colour, which would represent a similar profile. I rigged up the plastic on a 1/8th oz., 1/0 jighead. As I stood in the shallows, the water was warm and I started casting along the edge of the semi – submerged rock bars. At about 6.45 am the rain started again and just as it did, I felt the familiar double tap bream attack. I did not hook up but on the next cast, I did. I wound in another very respectable bream.

GULP Minnow gets the first bream

GULP Minnow gets the first bream

I let it go and moved on, casting out and trying to rest my soft plastic lure, for as long as possible, right where the rocks met the sand. Just before 7.00 am I felt the faintest of grabs, as I hopped the lure along the bottom beside the rocks. Two more casts in the same spot produced nothing. On the third, the rod bent over as the jighead stopped dead.

It felt like the lure had stuck fast in the rocks but then very slowly the ‘rocks’ started to move. In a long slow run the fish moved about 6 metres to the south. Then paused and did the same thing again. I pulled up on the rod and tried to recover some line. It was only at this point that the fish realised that it was hooked and started really fighting. It was still so slow and heavy that I thought it was a ray or shovel nose shark. After a few more lunges it turned towards me and rose to the surface shaking its head. I could now see it was a big flathead.

With a ten pound leader I could not risk any abrasion from the barnacle-covered rocks so I let the fish play itself out. It had been lurking in less than 30cm of water so it was hard to keep its head down but I took my time and used the swell. I found a nice sloping rock bar and gradually eased the fish up in a breaking wave. It was a nice flathead who measured up at about 74cm. After a few snaps I put her back and she swam away.

The Clarence River is still very de-oxygenated and full of fresh water from the floods. It is likely that all sorts of species (including flathead) have settled around these headlands to wait for it to clear. The birds were very active, constantly swooping in to pick up baitfish. So it looks like a fair amount of bait has also been washed out.

I decided to wade around the shallows in the bay and look for some more fish. I was soaked from the rain and being in the water was warmer than being out of it. I tried all around the rocks with the same soft plastic and a few others, to see if I could find anymore flathead – but I couldn’t. I watched a few long toms follow my lures in and have a snap at them, but did not hook any.

I swapped over to one of my favourite DUO hard bodied lures. With the river out of bounds there was not much water where I could use their range of finesse lures, but this bay was flat enough and clear of weed, so it was perfect. I tied on the DUO Ryuki Spearhead 45s in a gold/ green colour. This is a small trout lure that seems to work well on bream. It weighs 4 grams and is 45mm long with a small bib. As with most of the DUO range it casts a long way and slips into its action almost as soon as it hits the water. Although it is technically a sinking lure, its lightweight means that it effectively suspends, when you pause the retrieve.

I cast it over the flats and around the rock bars as the tide rose. First it attracted a few undersize moses perch. Then, as I moved into slightly deeper water I found a patch of small bream. I caught a couple before they decided they had had enough.

At about 10.00 am I found myself almost back where I had caught the big flathead earlier. I had waded round the bay in a big circle. I continued to cast along the edge of the rocks and suddenly felt a solid hit and run. The fish was hooked and after a few good runs it calmed down and I pulled it up to the sandy beach. It was another good bream – just over 35cm long. I released it and carried on fishing for about another hour with no luck, so I decided to give up for the morning.

Not worth fishing – so here are a few pics of my favourite lures in action – 31 January 2013

Surveying the dirty brown waters of our estuaries and Moreton Bay – I have decided this week, and probably most of next, will be a write off as far as land based fishing is concerned. But there is nothing more depressing than not being able to fish and not having any fishy pictures to look at, so I have put up a few of my favourite captures and lures from the last few years.

If you have a sore back from cleaning the mud out of some flooded area of your house I hope these will represent light at the end of the tunnel!

Fingal Head – Plenty of Tailor – 5 November 2012

Monday

The weather looked OK for some rock fishing on Monday. It was forecast as a slight south easterly breeze and swell. It has been a while since we have had the wind from this direction, at dawn. It means that the swell can be difficult but I think the dawn bite is more aggressive when the wind is blowing this way.

I decided on Fingal Head again. I have been catching fish there and it is a beautiful spot even when you are not. I arrived just after 4.30 am to find 3 fishermen out on the rocks already and I could see one was half way through a battle with a decent fish. He had a very light rig and had tempted the fish with a metal slug. He landed it safely and it was a good sized Tailor around 55cm. By now one of the others had hooked up. He was fishing with a shallow diving 110mm Minnow and a wire trace. He landed his fish and several others over the next 30 minutes.

I wasted no time rigging up but in my excitement lost a DUO Beachwalker MD 120 minnow to the rocks, on my first cast. I put on another and moved round to the front of the platform. The wind was stronger than forecast and this made getting down low on the rocks to get the most action out of the shallow diving minnow, difficult. The fish seemed pretty aggressive so I switched to a RAPALA ‘walk the dog’ lure. I got the fish to follow this one and even saw a couple of aborted strikes, but I could not hook up.

In the meantime the other three now had about 6 good fish in the bleeding pond. I swapped again, this time to a the DUO Bay Ruf Manic sub surface stick bait. I had toughened this one up a bit with stronger single hooks and split rings. A fish knocked it out of the water and then there was a good swirl beside it, but I still could not hook up. This was a good bite but the shallow diving minnow was definitely out fishing everything else. I looked for something similar in the tackle box. I found an 18 gram, 90mm, sinking YOZURI Crystal Minnow in a silvery colour and tied this on with 30lb fluorocarbon leader.

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Things had slowed a little and the others had stopped to clean their fish – they had about 10 between them – all between 50 and 60cm. This gave me access to a bit more waterfront. The swell was slapping against the rocks and making it tricky to finish the retrieve without getting the lure snagged. I cast out at 45 degress to the north east of the rock platform and let the lure drop down in the water column. I retrieved it fairly slowly with plenty of pauses. Three casts in and bang – a fish grabbed it. The line slackened momentarily, as it pushed the lure towards me and then it took off. It was a decent Tailor and it put in a few jumps trying to head south. The only place to land them safely when the swell is up, is on the north side of the platform, but the current is usually pulling them round to the south and so you have too subdue them fairly quickly.

I took the sting out of this one and got it round to the north, where the trebles pulled free, just as it came up on to the rocks. Fortunately the fish fell between two rocks and I reached down and grabbed it behind the gills. It was a good Tailor just short of 50cm. I bled the fish and cast out the lure again. I felt another hit in the same spot but on the next retrieve I connected with a rock and lost the lure. I was reminded once again why I should buy shares in lure manufacturers.

I looked through the tackle box and was disappointed to discover that I did not have another shallow diving minnow with me. I tried an 85g and 65g Raider metal slug, but these did not raise a bite. By about 8.30 am I had switched to soft plastic lures and I was fishing on the lighter Shimano Catana rod. I was using a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour and because of the swell I had put it on a ¼ ounce 1/0 jighead. As I was finishing a retrieve, a fish hit the plastic right at the base of the rocks. I set the hook and it took off. It broke the surface a few metres out and it looked like a small Tailor. Then it managed to bite through or rub off the 10lb leader I had dropped down to.

At about 9.00am with the swell building so I decided to give up. The hour either side of dawn remains the most consistent fishing time at the moment. I will be back again soon.

Bribie Island – The Oyster Jetty to the channel marker – 17 June 2012

Monday

I had to do the tax return on Monday. But one look at the weather and I decided that Wayne Swan would have to wait another few days. Fishing conditions were perfect. I could not start early so I arrived at the Bribie Bridge just after 8.30am. It was just after high tide. There was no real wind and the new moon was due on Tuesday. The water was very clear despite the recent high winds.

I got straight down to business with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jig head. I was using my light spin rod and had it loaded with 8lb braid and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I waded out to the north of the bridge, on the mainland side. The Flathead come right up to the edge of the mangroves on a high tide and this was what I was looking for.

It started with Smelt

It was a 1.8 m high tide which is a fairly ‘low’ high tide for this area. I waded out a bit further on the north side of the bridge to cast at the rocky area, just in front of the third set of bridge legs. The lure bumped on a few rocks and then the line went tight and started wiggling. It was a 44cm Flathead and my first decent fish for a while.

Under the Bribie Bridge

The first decent fish for a while

I moved south towards the oyster jetty. The tide was just starting to run out. I cast all around the rocky reef just south of the bridge, with no luck. As I got a bit closer to the jetty I felt a solid bite. I paused, counted to ten, then struck. This one was a bigger Flathead – just under 50 cm. It tried a few headshakes, as I waded up into the shallows, but I soon had it landed by the mangroves.

Also took the Smelt colour

Then came a bigger one

I moved under the oyster jetty and continued to cast out into the Passage. I was casting into the run out tide and working my lure back along the bottom with the flow. I felt a good bite and cast back in the same spot. This time I saw the Flathead follow the plastic but it turned away at the last minute. I kept casting at the same spot and felt another bite, but I just could not hook it.

I swapped soft plastics to a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. I moved further south, over the sand flats towards the green channel markers. At about 10.30 am I felt a solid hit and the line started peeling. This was a bigger fish and it had grabbed the lure on the drop, so it was a long way away from me. The tide was running out but there was still no nearby sand bank to land the fish on. I decided to play it out and try and grab it – this usually ends in tears – with me getting a quick spike and then dropping the fish. This time, I let the fish make lots of runs and then maneuvered my keeper bag, like a landing net, under the fish. I shortened the line and pulled the fish into the bag. I then took out the hook in the bag. This was the best fish of the day at just under 60cm.

This one took a Cajun Chicken

I continued wading across the flats and soon caught two more Flathead on the same soft plastic, about 50cm long. With a full bag it was now catch and release for the rest of the day.

A bag of Bribie Flathead

A bag of Bribie Flathead

I had reached a sandy patch by the green channel marker and decided to try the DUO Tetraworks Bivi small hard body vibe lure. After a couple of casts I found some Pike. The lure may have worked on the Flathead but the problem was getting passed the Pike. I caught seven Pike in ten casts and realized that I was not going to beat them.

The DUO Bivi could net get past the Pike

I swapped back to a GULP Jerkshad – this time in the Satay Chicken colour. The Pike left this alone so I turned around and started to wade back in the direction of the old oyster jetty. At the edge of the weed banks I found the Flathead again. I caught another six on the way back to the bridge – all were legal size, from about 50 to 60 cm. They all went back for someone else to catch.

Satay Chicken for this one

The weather was perfect and the fishing matched the weather – shame about the tax return!

Conditions were perfect

The spectators were unimpressed

Tweed River – South Rockwall – Tailor, Trevally – 6 Aug 2011

Saturday

I have not been doing so well at Bribie Island lately so I decided to fish the Tweed River mouth on Saturday morning. I chose to fish the southern rock wall which you reach by driving through Fingal Head.

The forecast was for a light northerly wind and low tide would be just before dawn. You have to be in this spot before dawn, as the light change often brings the fish on to the bite – often just for half an hour or so. I left Brisbane around 3.45 am and arrived just after 5.00 am. I walked out the end of the rock wall and rigged up with my headlamp. I try to keep the light off the water when I am doing this.
I rigged up a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour – this is a black soft plastic with a purple/ pink underbody. I put it on a ½ oz 3/0 hook jighead. I had the Daiwa Demon Blood 9 foot rod loaded with 40lb braid and about 2 metres of 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I had a couple of casts in the dark, but with no bites, I decided to wait for some light.

A choppy morning on the South Rockwall at the Tweed River mouth

About 10 minutes later, I could see what I was doing and I cast my soft plastic straight out into the river mouth. It landed about 15 metres off shore and slowly sank, as it ran out with the tide. Before it reached the bottom I felt a couple of solid strikes. I jerked the lure up and then paused and let it sink again. As I started to repeat the process there was a solid pull on the end of the line and the rod tip started wiggling. The fish took some line and then raced out towards the middle of the river. It was moving fast and then broke the surface with a vertical, head shaking leap. It was a good size Tailor – probably around 60 cm long. I tightened the drag a little and played it to the base of the rocks. I tightened the drag some more and gradually heaved it up the rocks towards me – just as I grabbed the leader the hook pulled from its mouth and it was gone. Bugger!

I checked the plastic – it was pretty mauled but serviceable, so I cast it back out. This time the action was instant – bitten off, as soon as it hit the water. I re-rigged – same colour plastic, same weight jighead. First cast – nothing, but I hooked up again on the second. This time it was a small Tailor – about 40cm and I pulled him safely over the rocks. I presumed they had just moved up the river and would be back again shortly but they did not return. It was just before 7.00 am and it had all gone quiet.

A Tweed Tailor grabs the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad

I finished the session with this Trevally

I moved around the front of the rockwall casting in a broad semicircle. I changed to different colored plastics, I tried lighter jigheads. I tried various minnows and grub shapes. By 8.00 am the sun was up and the choppy swell had started to settle down a bit. The tide was now running in again. I had dropped right down to a 3/8th oz 2/0 jighead and I was using a 4” Gulp Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. Just as I was about to flick it up, out of the water, at the base of the rocks, a Trevally grabbed it. It was around 40cm long and I landed it safely. I hoped there would be more but after another 30 minutes without a bite I decided to pack up and head home.

Tweed Rockwall – Tailor – 4 August 2011

Thursday

On Thursday morning conditions looked perfect – light north-westerly breeze, low tide just before dawn, not much swell and not much moon. I went to bed early but sleep was elusive, the big Snapper encounter of Tuesday morning was playing on my mind. By 3.00 am I gave up on sleeping any longer and decided to go back down to the Tweed River north rockwall. By 4.30 am I was walking along the rockwall under a fantastic night sky. There were a few clouds but no moon so the stars formed and impressive canopy.

I stopped at couple of points along the wall, on the ocean side and put in a few casts. I find fishing these locations on a moonless night pretty difficult. You cannot see where you cast lands or keep track of how fast / slow you are retrieving line. You have to estimate when to ‘jump’ the plastic over the rocks at the end of the retrieve. I caught the line in the rocks a few times, snapped it off and re-rigged. It was now about 5.30 am and I had not had a touch from a fish.

I was fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour rigged on a 3/8th oz 2/0 jighead. I had about 2 metres of 30lb fluorocarbon leader tied onto 40lb braided main line. This set up will work well with both a heavily weighted soft plastic lure and a metal slug or popper, so it is great for fishing the rock walls.

I moved on to the end of the wall as the horizon began to glow. The first few casts produced nothing. There was no surface action – things did not look good. The hour around dawn is always the most productive for me, in this location – if nothing happens in the first few casts, it is often the same for the rest of the session. I cast all around the end of the rock wall, I changed the plastic from a bright colour to a dark silhouette, from a Jerkshad to a Paddletail, and tried heavier and lighter jigheads – still nothing.

Finally at around 6.00 am, just before the sun came over the horizon, I felt a couple of touches. I was now fishing with the trusted GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was casting into the river mouth and letting the last of the run out tide sweep the soft plastic around the end of the rock wall. I got another solid hit, then another and I struck. It was a Tailor – just over 35cm – nothing spectacular but at least I had a fish. I confidently let it go – hoping for something bigger. A fish also hit the next cast but there was no hook up – just a solid bite mark through the plastic.

A 35cm Tweed rockwall Tailor


Despite numerous further casts, that was it. I fished on for another hour or so, but there was no further action and needless to say, the Snapper did not reappear. Finally around 8.00 am I gave up. If fishing was easy it would be no fun – but right now, I am struggling with just how hard it can be!