Iluka – Shark Bay – Tailor / Bream – 17 March 2016

Thursday

On Thursday the weather was much the same and low tide was not until 11.20 am. Most of my favourite fishing points around Iluka are low or falling tide spots, so I decided to have a lie in. Of course a fisherman’s lie in just means getting up at dawn, rather than 90 minutes before dawn, but it was nice to get a full 8 hours sleep.

At about 8.30 am I drove round to Woody Head to have a look at conditions. Although the tide was far enough out to make fishing possible, the swell was still bashing up against the rocks. The swell had been a steady 1.5/ 1.8m all week. It was caused by the slow moving tropical storm that had missed the Queensland coast the week before, but stirred everything up. Discretion is the better part of valour and I was not going to risk my life for a fish, so I walked back to the car.

I drove round to Shark Bay again. I walked out onto the rock and tied on 55g HALCO Twisty in the brass/ gold colour. I catch far more fish on the brass/ gold colour of this lure than the silver colour – no idea why. I started with big long casts on the heavy rod and after five or six casts, I had a 30 cm tailor. A few casts later I had another…. and another. I swapped up to an 80mm HALCO Roosta Popper in the Fluoro Pink colour. I blooped this back towards me, making plenty of splashes and stopped for a few seconds every now and then. After a few bloops, a bigger tailor grabbed it and I soon had a 50cm tailor at my feet.

It was now about 11.00 am and I swapped to the lighter rod, 14lb fluorocarbon leader, a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead and a GULP 4 inch Minnowp soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The first cast was smashed by a tailor which then spat it out. The second, attracted a few snaps from a long tom, which followed the soft plastic right back to me. After about ten more minutes of casting I caught another 30cm bream.

I decided to try the other side of the rock platform but neither soft plastics nor slugs could raise anything there so at about 12.00 noon, I gave up.

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Iluka – Shark Bay – Tailor / Bream – 16 March 2016

Wednesday

Wednesday in Iluka and more rain was forecast.  I woke to grey skies and the persistent south easterly wind and swell.

Shark Bay would be the only sensible place to fish. Low tide would be about 9.30 am. By standing on the north side of the rocky outcrop, I would be able to cast out with the wind behind me. I was fishing with the Rovex Bario (good) and the Penn Spinfisher (awful, but just about functional).

My current line of choice for the big rod is the 17lb breaking strain Aldi ‘Crane’ braid, in the yellow colour. I picked up about ten 250 metre reels when they were reduced to A$ 11.99 each to clear, earlier in the year. This stuff is great. Alibaba offers me 184 braided fishing line suppliers in China so it could be from anyone but my sources tell me that braid this good is probably made by either Sunline or by Innovative Textiles (now owned by Shimano). I am pretty certain the breaking strain is almost double the listed 17lbs. It’s tough and does not fray. The colour fades after a while but that happens with almost all the brands I have used. When it comes round again, grab some.

I started with a big (150 mm) red and white Classic Lures plastic popper. This stirred up the long toms, initially. But after about twenty minutes of casting around it connected with a good size tailor. Unfortunately the fish swam straight for a bommie and managed to unhook itself but leave the popper firmly lodged in the cunjevoi. To add insult to injury the heavens then opened and I got soaked by a brief downpour.

I swapped to a big new Spanyid Maniac 45g metal spoon. This looks like a great lure. It’s a nice wide target for the tailor to attack. The only downside is that it’s much wider profile makes it less aerodynamic and therefore hard to cast long distances. I could still get it 40 metres or so out, which would be enough. It proved irresistible and after a few retrieves during which it was bumped and nudged a few times, a fish grabbed it and the rod bent over. It was another tailor about 35 cm long. I continued casting and soon caught two more fish of about the same size.

By about 10.00 am the tailor seemed to have gone off the bite. I swapped to the light rod and tied on a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic on a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead. After a few casts this found a fish. This time it was a bream. It was about 30 cm long so I put it aside for dinner. The next cast produced another bream, about the same size, so I kept that as well.  Things quietened down again, so I cleaned my fish and went home to dry out.

By 4.00pm I was ready for more fishing. I drove out to Iluka Bluff. The swell was still pretty lively. Between waves I managed a few casts with the lighter rig and caught another good bream – about 38cm long – on a GULP Jerkshad in the Sweet & Sour Chicken colour.

There was no shortage of fish in the area but I just needed the swell to go away. At about 6.00pm I packed up for the day.

Iluka – Shark Bay – 5 April 2012

Thursday

On Thursday morning the weather had improved considerably, with a clearer sky and less wind, but the swell was still up. I decided to start at Shark Bay on the rock platform. There was a bit of west in the wind and it was quite cool.

Sunrise Shark Bay - Iluka

I started on the west side and could not raise a bite. I moved across to the rocks on the east side. There are a number of ridges on this side with small inlets in between each. The surf was smashing into these but it was just possible to cast into the white water. I tried a few bays and caught another couple of good Bream – the bigger of the two was over 35cm. This time I was using the GULP 3” Minnow Grub in the Pumpkinseed colour again, but on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I carried on fishing for a while and dropped a few more fish – which could have been small Tailor or more Bream.

Shark Bay Bream - Light leader and a paddle tail lure

Then I stopped to clean the two Bream in the rock pools. When I had finish I took them over to the surf to rinse them off. I shook them under the water for perhaps ten seconds and when I looked down, two Wobbegongs were ready to steal them. I pulled the fish out of the water and quickly put them away in the keeper bag. I suggest you mind where you tread around here, as they must always be pretty close by.

Plenty of Wobbegongs in the shallows

Iluka – Shark Bay – 26 March 2012

Monday

Iluka is pretty much fishing heaven – but even in fishing heaven you still have to deal with the weather. I was up early – way too early. I found myself standing on the beach looking out into the dark at Frasers Reef at about 5.15 am. When I say dark, I mean pitch black. There was virtually no moon and there was plenty of low cloud. There wasn’t much wind, a light south easterly, but I could tell from the sound of the crashing waves, there would be too much swell to fish the rocks safely here.

I walked back to the car and drove along to Shark Bay – a couple of kms to the north. When the wind is blowing and the swell is up you can still fish off the rocky outcrop here. It is sheltered from the big seas by Woody Head. I started with the big rod, the Daiwa 9 foot Demon Blood, a 3/8th oz 3/0 jighead, 30lb leader and 20lb braid. I put on a 5” Gulp Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I cast out from the rock platform, over the kelp into the foaming water. I almost instantly got snagged. That is the problem in this location. I tried a spinning a 65g raider for a while, but I soon lost that too.

I switched to the lighter rig – a 7’6’ Nitro spinning rod, ¼ oz 2/0 jighead, 12 lb leader and 8lb braid. I put on a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour and tried again. It was now about 6.30 am and the sun had just come over the horizon. Low tide had been at about 5.15 am. The lighter jighead pulled through the kelp and got snagged less easily. After a few casts, a fish hit my plastic. It felt pretty solid. I let it take line and then pulled it over the kelp beds with the aid of the swell. It was a good size bream – just over 35cm.

I carried on in this location for another 30 minutes and then moved to the southern side of the rock platform. I stuck with the lighter rod and the same soft plastic. I concentrated on the foamy water, in close to the rocks and after a few casts I had another fish. This one was fighting hard and there were rocks everywhere. I took it slow and let it take line when it needed too. I gradually increased the drag pressure and pulled it towards a gap in the rocks where I could land it. I saw a flash of silver and on the next wave I pulled it on to the rocks. Another Bream – a thumper at just under 40cm.

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I carried on fishing here for another hour. I had a few more hits but could not hook any more fish. Eventually, the tide and swell pushed me off this headland and, as I cleaned the two Bream, the heavens opened and I got soaked. I had managed two good fish in less than ideal conditions – not a bad start to the week.