"Fishing before a fishing trip"

I couldn’t resist one last crack in the harbour before leaving it to the mercy of the weekend warriors. The plan was to be in Port Stephens on Thursday afternoon, prep the boat, interview some local fisho's and get enough shopping to last three hungry fisherman five days - unfortunately, none of that was accomplished. 

 

After having some great success in the Sydney Harbour lately (read here: http://www.frogleysoffshore.com.au/samurai-sydney-kings/) I was a little disappointed that I had to go north for five days. The Trailer Boat Fishing Tournament is held annually in Port Stephens and every year TrailerBoat magazine sends us on assignment to capture, fish and write about the event. 

 

The trip from Sydney to Port Stephens is by no means a big trip, from my place, about three hours. However, this year we fished from my boat and when you’re towing your boat everything becomes just that much more tedious. You’re paying excessive attention to the road, the trip takes longer and preparation time doubles…

 

 

With an empty stomach and sleepy eyes, my mate Dave and I dragged the tarp off the boat. I was already regretting my decision to go “fishing” before a “fishing trip”. Anyhow, there was no convincing Dave otherwise and we drove to Little Manly ramp where we deployed the boat and begun our hunt for squid.

 

Buuuut, it was slim pickings - we battled away for a few hours and only managed two decent sized squid. We decided to be on the safe side and grabbed some yakka’s too. As we approached the spot two blokes in a little side console tinny were falling over each other trying to cast at some boiling fish on the surface. One was casting a fairly large popper; the other was flicking a white Sluggo. I quickly rigged up a small Roosta popper and flung it towards the surface activity. I chugged it all the way back to the boat when it was sucked from the surface like a vacuum cleaner! It was only five meters deep and the bottom was a mass of kelp. But after a few minutes I had the shock leader back on the reel and was searching for the net. It was a solid fish of about 80cm and a great way to open the account. Unfortunately during the chaos he took another run and the hooks pulled. Unfazed, we filled up with yakka’s and shot out to North Head while the blokes in the tinny were still casting to no avail. 

 

We found a nice chunky piece of reef to set anchor on and slowly sent down the first squid. Before we could set the second line the live squid line had an enquiry. The bites were tentative but defiantly a kingy, I free-spooled the fish till the reel howled then with quick accuracy tightened the drag to max - you really can’t afford to give these fish an inch. We had the anchor set up with a float so we could drop it if necessary. 

 

After a touch and go fight a nice 83cm fish was boated. Instead of taking any snaps I sent our second squid straight down and before I could even put the rod in the holder, we were on. This time - an 85cm model. 

 

 

 

Although they weren’t as big as the fish we were getting a week prior, you can’t complain with action like that. We put down the yakka’s we had previously collected and sat it out for another two hours. Some days kingfish can be fickle - live squid are always a safe bet. 

 

After a hard and fast morning on the fish, we put the boat back on the trailer. I dropped Dave to his car and started the Red Bull and KFC fueled journey north. It did turn out to be worthwhile trip, so when its five o’clock in the morning and you can’t decide whether to get out of bed or not - do it! There are some great fish around at the moment. However, The TrailerBoat crew paid the price for my sneaky harbour mission, as I wasn’t able to clean the boat prior to heading to Port Stephens. We fished from a messy, salty, and stinky boat. 

 

To read about how we fared in Port Stephens keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming TrailerBoat magazine http://www.trailerboat.com.au.  

 

JM

 

 

 

 

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