A Nice Day Catching "Bait"
Headed out on Sunday for the MAAC monthly comp (if Saturday is cancelled because of strong wind or not enough participants then it reverts to Sunday). Conditions weren’t much better on Sunday but there were enough boats for the comp to be on.
I have a 5m Hornet so there was no other option but to fish inshore for bait species. A solo trip for me as conditions were forecast to be pretty crappy and the deckies pulled out. I was lucky enough to see Ken Matthews at the ramp (Kenny is another one of the “fishing legends” as the MAAC small boat trophy is named after him because he has won the yearly comp about 20 times) and he gave me some insight into hunting local tailor so that was the mission for the first few hours.
The locations were awesome and I put a big effort in with baitcasted mulies and lures into the wash around the breaks. I took a photo at one location as it looked so “fishy”, but after trying a number of spots I just couldn’t find them. They are a schooling fish and I guess and they are there or they are not. I did however spend a few hours checking out great looking ground to visit again, with good knowledge of where all the hazards are.
I got in close at one location and set up a shred and fish based burley slick over the reef and the pike came in. They were thick, and quite a good size, and after some shredding of the mono leader I swapped to a lure for a fish a cast – I think they were smashing the baitfish attracted to the shred. I returned most of them and just kept some of the bigger ones for weigh in. They got annoying and it was time to move on.
A trip to the herring ground was next. Out goes the shred and I stuffed around a bit rigging rods to look up and see the water boiling behind the boat. Unweighted mulie fillets on a small long shank, with an open spool and it was a fish a cast as well. Backed the drag right off so they don’t jump and throw the hook and it was a really entertaining time – I must admit I even netted a big one. Again, most returned with just some large ones for the bag and I didn’t take my allowable limit. The highlight was probably the 350mm slimy that beat the herring to a bait and pulled heaps of string on the light gear and drag setting.
Off to the whiting ground. A bit of sounding to make sure I was on a good patch of sand and back out with the shred. A 2 hook baitchaser with squid tentacle and every time you hit the bottom it was smashed. I got some nice sand whiting and kept the bigger ones. A bycatch of yellowtail was a bonus, and a few undersized flathead added to the entertainment.
Then my mistake of the day – it’s calmed off a little bit, head to the 20’s to try and get the 2 demersals, some nearshore finfish, a sambo and/or a shark. The mongrel “footy fish” were there and a skippy, and a brief run on the floater without hookup, was about it. The weather was ok for a little while but the storms off Rotto formed and they we fuelled by the storms on the hills and it started to howl. When the Minn Kota battery failed after a very hard day it was time to come in as the cross wind between storms was about 20kn - a very slow trip back to get in the lee of the land.
Was setting up to troll the coast for tailor when the lightning started off the coast. A quick check of the BoM radar and it was “run away very fast” to the marina. 5 minutes after I got home the heavens opened. I couldn’t believe people were actually launching when I got to the ramp!
5 “weigh in” species, 5kg+ weight, biggest herring and biggest sand whiting was the result for me. I tied for most species with a few others but was eliminated on the weight count back. The fish of the day was a 17kg+ Dhu to James Omond, and quite a few big male Dhu were weighed in. It was good to see WA Fisheries scientists at the filleting tables collecting the technical data from the demersal fish.
I would never normally head out in conditions like Sunday. The “you have to fish the conditions on the day” is a good challenge and even though I only caught bait it was a very nice, eventful, day on the water.
Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it - LH.