I got up early again, eager for a quick, early fish off the rocks. The idea was to go hard for a couple of hours and be back at the car at 0900. All my gear was packed and I left home at 0500, the sun wasn’t up yet but there was enough light to see where I was going, although the sky was very dark. The sea-forecast mentioned rain and it sure looked like it could pour down any minute. Half an hour later Rani and I were walking on Medland’s beach, it was dribbling a bit but was even warmer than yesterday. No wind at all, much more cloud cover than the previous day. Good and comfortable conditions really; my chances of landing a kingfish were pretty good today.
I had a little bag of frozen berley and low tide would be almost an hour later, which would give me more time to get things organized. Come 6 o’clock and I was fishing off the ledge, the berley was dispersing nicely, there was a hint of a slight swell which created some whitewater next to me. I was fishing for kahawai with my lightest rod, the strongest spinner setup was rigged with a popper, ready in case the kingis show up. The big live bait setup was rigged and also ready to be deployed. My gaff, a wet towel, bait, bucket with water, yeah, all the things I might need, were right next to me. It didn’t take long for the snapper to go on the bite, I noticed some trevally and another similar fish. There was heaps of action up close, the fish were more active and bigger in size.
No kahawai though, so I casted the popper for a few minutes and then went back to bait fishing. Moments later, I noticed splashing water in the corner of my eye, a small school of bait fish was approaching. They were small, but fat, juicy kahawai. I spotted four of them and watched how my bait got swallowed, boom I had one on the end of the line. Well hooked in the mouth, thanks to the circle hook. It was in great condition when it went back into the water as live bait and swam happily away. I tried hooking more kahawai but, to my surprise, they were gone. I kept trying, it’s always good to have a reserve live bait in the bucket. At around 0730 things were going really well, Rani was sleeping in the background, the tide had turned and was coming in, I had the perfect position for the live bait rod, the kind of position where your bait covers an area and can come real close to the rocks, but won’t get caught up in white water or in the kelp. It just did its own thing and I didn’t have to touch the rod any more and could fish for snapper, and closely watch the water.
The kingis were (over)due I was thinking, they just have to show up and I’ll hook one on the kahawai. Perfect size, irresistible prey for any kingi. Again, on retrieving bait from the deep I noticed a fish coming up, it looked like a kingi, it was casual as, like real cool and stuff, as if it was hanging in the background, feeding on the berley at its own leisure. So I casted out again and retrieved, this time towards the live bait, and there it came up again, a small kingi, all on its own, no big commotion like yesterday, but when it noticed my live bait, it decided to check it out more closely. I had heaps of time to put the bait rod away and take the live bait rod out of the rod holder, taking a higher position on the rocks. The kingi kept circling the kahawai, the whole action was around a meter away from the rocks, the kahawai went alongside the kelp, the kingi after it.
The prey was cornered, the predator was sure of its meal, it just needed that perfect timing to attack and swallow the kahawai head-first. It tried and tried and finally succeeded, feeling quite happy as it started swimming deep, taking the balloon with it. I waited, waited and put the reel into strike mode, waited for the line to tighten up and struck, the fish was on. Then it tried getting away, around the corner, but had no chance against the drag, it tried going deep, changing directions. I played it, looked at the gaff, then at the fish. Decided not to gaff it as I couldn’t tell for sure whether it was of legal size. It was clearly shorter than a meter, perhaps borderline. So I went down to grab the leader, my terminal tackle was 120 pounds and I lifted the fish, after it tried bitterly to gain at least some distance from the rocks, by the leader up onto to the rocks and had a better look.
It turned out that the kingi was really a borderline call, about 2 and a half times my shoe, which would be 75 cm, but it wasn’t as long as my full-stretched arm. Hey, I landed one, I can land another, so I torpedo-ed this baby back. It only looks that calm on the picture because I put it on a wet rock and covered its head with a wet towel.
Finally, a kingi off the rocks! I was stoked and since it was just after 8 o’clock, I chucked the rest of the bait into the water, emptied the berley and watched as some bigger snapper came up from the deep and started munching away casually in less than a meter of depth. It was easy enough to land two of them within the next five minutes.
I was back at the car by 9 o’clock, the drizzle turned into light showers, I was really happy about the snapper in my pack, and it was good to finally land a kingfish off the rocks here on the barrier. Only a rat, couldn’t put up a fight, but nonetheless, I caught it on a live bait and not by chance, and since I targeted kingis this morning, I can gladly say: Mission accomplished. This is part I, let’s see what follows.
And by the way, I enjoy early morning fishing, when you’re finished it is still early in the morning…