Wild weather was on its way and the swell would soon start building. I had one last good session in November at Iluka. I chose Middle Bluff again and started before dawn. I was gifted another fabulous sunrise and was in position to fish at about 5.20 am. I could see enough to fish but dawn was twenty minutes away.
I decided to up the stakes and try a really big soft plastic. I choose a GULP 7 ” Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour. I loaded it onto a 1/4 ounce size 1/0 jighead and cast it out. As is so often the case in the pre-dawn session, a fish grabbed it. I played it along the ledge to a landing spot and pulled it up by the leader. It was the smallest mulloway I have caught for sometime, at about 50 cm. Big soft plastics/ lures don’t always translate into big fish.
I tried a few more different soft plastics, but could not catch another mulloway. The sun came up and I switched to my lighter rock fishing rig. I was now fishing with 16lb fluorocarbon leader, a 1/4 ounce , size 1/0 jighead and a GULP 4″ Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour. I move up and down the rock platform casting at the patches of sandy bottom in between the rock bommies and reefs.
After 30 minutes or so I came up tight on another fish. It tried to head straight under the ledge I was standing on but I pulled it clear, tired it a little and landed it. It was a small trevally about 45 cm long. I decided to keep it and while cleaning it I found a hook and leader stuck in its throat. It was an unlucky fish!
At around 8.00 I caught a small striped trevally and then a couple of very small bream. I decided to give up and head back home. I tried fishing the next morning and I caught a couple of decent bream but the swell was up now and as the wind had also picked up, I decided to withdraw. It was time to retreat for a few days while a big storm and lots of rain came through.
It was to be another land based fishing session at Brooms Head just south of Yamba, in Northern New South Wales. At dawn the wind was already gusting strongly from the south-east. It was forecast to blow up to about thirty knots during the morning but the area on the west side of the lagoon was sheltered by the Brooms Head Bluff. I decided it was worth an early morning wade.
Low tide was at 7.30 am and I was wading across the mouth of the lagoon, at the western end, at about 5.45 am. I had broken my lightest rod the day before so I was using my Nitro 7’6” distance spin rod and because of the breeze I had moved up to a heavier 1/8th oz, 1/0 hook jighead and 12lb fluorocarbon leader.
I soon found the fish. They were lurking just on the border of the rocky northern wall of the lagoon, where the weed covered rocks met the sand. I started with a Pike and then 30cm Tarwhine and then three of the striped Trevally. I released them all and with nicely chilled nuts, I waded back for a hot shower and breakfast.
The weather was good again. There was a light breeze from the south west. It was sunny and clear and the wind still had some chill in it. The last few sessions, fishing at Brooms Head in Northern New South Wales had suggested light tackle was probably the best option. I decided to fish the drain at the western side of the Brooms Head lagoon. The lagoon sits just north west of the main Bluff and is deepest by the rock ridge at its mouth, to the east. As the tide rises and falls, the water enters and exits close to the beach via a big sandy drain. The drain never fills to more than about waist deep. If you walk across it your reach rocky/ weedy covered bottom that forms the north wall of the lagoon. Further north, where this wall drops off to a sandy bottom is a great fish holding area. They sit here waiting for food to be washed in and out of the lagoon on the rising and falling tides. The area is highlighted in the aerial photo.
Fishing area just north of the Brooms Head lagoon
I was using the Gary Howard 9’ Estuary rod again. I had loaded a very light 1/16th oz 1 hook jighead. I wanted to avoid getting snagged on the rocky weedy bottom. I used about 1.5 m of 10lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader. I used the soft plastic lure that had been successful the day before – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I waded out into the water, which was surprisingly warm. I put in long casts out over the rocks to the sandy areas to the north. Every time I lifted the lure over the edge of the rocks there would be a small bite or nudge from a fish. The tide was running in and had been low at about 5.30 am. The incoming tide had also produced the fish the day before.
Looking back from the mouth of the lagoon at low tide - Brooms Head
After a bit of wading around up and down the rocky bottom I was onto a fish. It was a good Bream around 30 cm long. I cast back out in the same spot, and the plastic was slammed as soon as it hit the water. The fish pulled hard and took a bit of line. It felt much stronger than the Bream. It kept turning to run as I waded back into the beach, to land it. I saw the stripes in the water and realized it was a small Trevally. It really had pulled hard on the light rod. I released it and headed back out. It was about 8.30 am and the tide was running in strongly.
Over the next hour I caught two more small Bream, a Tarwhine, three more Trevally and a couple of Pike. The cold southerly breeze eventually made me too cold to carry on but I was delighted to find a few fish. At around 9.45 am I went back to our cabin for a hot shower. Fishing with lighter gear had paid off.