I had been too lazy to ask for deckie assistance so headed out solo on Thursday morning from Hillarys. I have also been too lazy to fish the right times in the mornings this year but did manage to get away before dawn into the mid 20’s before the sun came up. I started to fish a spot that has produced for me before but it is fair to say the going was fairly slow. I’m sure a pilot whale wanted to mate with my boat as it must have surfaced about 30 times within 50 metres. It scared the sh*t out of me a few times by blowing “close” in the still conditions. After an hour or more I had to move to get away from it.
Got to the new spot and burleyed up and it was a whole different story – I do think it had something to do with the high tide (and my burley slick that was heading to South Africa).
Mayhem really and I probably landed 50 odd fish of all different varieties in the next 2-3 hours. Don’t you love it when your floater and bottom rig are going off at the same time and you need to decide which fish is bigger, or more desirable, before taking it on. I kept a size pinkie at 530mm (I very rarely catch size pinkies during the day) and the biggest breaksea (I have “orders” to bring them home) with everything else released. Back in before noon with sore arms from the workout.
I had a message from zOOm about potentially going out on Friday in his boat after our successful mission a month or so earlier (http://fishwrecked.com/forum/zoom-pink). That was a really good day with good company in a nice rig to fish off so I was keen to go again. Since receiving the message, a couple of the dads from my young ones footy team had contacted me about going out on their boat on Friday to show them how to fish nearshore for the pinkies. These dads cop my stream of fish photos at games, and I even had a mum tell me I had to go out with them so the boat gets used and doesn’t just sit in the marina. Mind you, the boat is a 36 Flybridge with all the “trimmings”. Dilemma. After lots of texts and phone calls the Friday plan was hatched. Fish with zOOm from mid-morning to mid/late afternoon, meet the “dads” at the marina about 3.30pm, swap the boats in the pen and head out again, with Michael invited along as well.
I had a bit of family and work stuff to do on Friday morning so got to Hillarys about 10.30am. Prep the boat, load the gear and off we go. Headed south to the Hale Road reefs but that was “flat” so we decided to go to our previous “found” spot and give it a go again. Burley up and it didn’t take too long. Michael and I had another awesome little session on this spot with a constant supply of fish. Tarwine and big skippy were the common species, as well as undesized pinkies and dhu, and we kept a couple of very large tarwine for Nana and the skippy, for other purposes. The highlight however was the 6kg Dhu that I landed on the little Gomoku (we won’t talk about the very large fish that bit Michael off – no it wasn’t really a monster dhu!). We left the fish biting with good times all round.
Back to the marina and we “upgraded” the boat. The SW wind had come up a bit but was no match for this “beast”. As we headed out I “handed over” the coordinates to one of my “proven” nearshore pinkie spots, but with no guarantees. I have found the nearshore pinkies are very hit and miss but trust your technique and the results sometimes happen.
What do you know, they did. Michael was first to hook up on the floater and landed a nice 630mm model. An hour later my bottom rig was smashed and the little Gomoku got its second 5kg+ fish of the day (750mm). Top this off with a few cold ones and a boat cooked pizza on an awesome rig and it was a very nice end to a quality day. It is so good when you guide the mates out and are lucky.
Saturday was the MAAC comp which was postponed from the week before due to the strong wind warning. With the young lady’s netball hiatus, for some unknown reason, she was keen to come along to fish her first comp of the year. With a lot of “lectures” during the week about how there could be no winging and we were going to be out there for 8+ hours with no coming in she was still keen. Even after the 5.45am wake up the look of anticipation said it all.
MAAC comps are all about species so we headed to “Terry’s pike spot” first up. With the burley in the water the herring and pike were on fire and we soon had what we needed (Nana loves her herring and I always fillet them for her after the comps – the only time I ever target them). With a couple of species in the bag, some nearshore sand whiting were next at another spot -a bit slow but everyone got one so we moved on. The easterly was still blowing 15+ kn so we stayed inshore to try and find some tailor on the reefs. After a few unsuccessful attempts we finally found a school feeding on baitfish. We took turns on landing the strikes and I got the first one with a fish over a kilo. Next was the “favorite little deckie” and this was a quality fish. What a pleasure to watch her fight, and learn, with a predator that goes hard. After 10 minutes we got it in the net and at 580mm and 1.54kg it was a quality specimen. We made sure that everyone got one and moved on.
It was a really good start to the comp but when the wind died so did the bite. We headed out into the 20’s and gave the towcam on the downrigger a test. Not quite the best option in a comp but we wanted to make sure the ground we fished had a chance. It was awesome – how can you fault a live feed from the bottom on a split screen with your sounder. We proved it works and will further refine this technique – I will post more stories in the future but the below photo gives the general idea.
We searched a number of spots with no success in the light northerly wind, until a floater was taken. The little deckie was “first up” and she grabbed the rod with a fish on the end that was bigger than anything she had caught before. I must pay credit to Dean and Wal for talking her through the 25 minute fight and the instructions on how to play the fish. No assistance was given but Dean did have his hand on the butt of the rod to ensure the very expensive combo wasn’t dragged out of the hands of a 10 year old girl into the ocean. The delight at landing the 850mm sambo had to be seen to be believed after the work that had been put in to get it on the boat.
What an awesome day for the young deckie. It was topped off by her winning the mini-juniors, juniors and biggest tailor in the comp. And yes, I was outfished by my daughter but loved it – if I could have weighed in fish from the previous days I would have cleaned up, but that’s fishing. Let’s just say I filleted a lot of fish today and our freezer stocks are high after the good weather marathon. Perth metro nearshore is a fishing paradise.