On my last mission – some ten days ago – I landed a 12 lbs+ snapper from the rocks, after a challenging and extensive fight on light tackle. The fishing was even better two days ago, on another land based fishing adventure with my top friend Xtian visiting from Germany. We were fishing the outgoing tide and arrived at our destination just on the high tide mark, deploying a small berley bomb and stray-lining squid and pilchards baits. Xtian spotted immediately – while I was preparing my gear – a big snapper in the berley trail and by the time I had a bait in the water, there were plenty of small bait fish and some other biggish snapper to be seen.
After landing two pan-sized snapper, trevally ranging from 25 to 40 cm cruised along the ridge and I had to think of my mate Paul who landed a nice kingfish a few weeks ago deploying a live trevally as bait. Well, things were great, we already had fish for dinner – this is after 20 minutes of fishing – there were plenty more fish hanging around, hard and eager on the bite.
I targeted the trevally and deployed a 35 cm specimen hooked to a rig under a balloon back into the water. It didn’t take long at all and we spotted a few kingfish checking my bait and our dead baits out. I tried skipping a pilchard on the surface which got one of the kingis aroused. Fortunately, I didn’t get a hookup; it would have smoked me on the 15 lbs gear. Although at times three kingfish circled the live bait, none of them seemed to make sound attempts at swallowing the frightened trevally.
‘Hmmm, come on, just take’, but that didn’t get me anywhere. So I went back to stray-lining for a big snapper I had spotted, whilst the trevally was still out there. Almost after two hours of fishing, and after landing more snapper and trevally, I landed a 30 cm-ish trevally and decided to swap my live bait for it.
I was retrieving the line on the kingfish gear when Xtian landed an even smaller trevally, just above 25 cm and my decision was clear. ‘Put the smallest trevally out there and you might even get a hook up today.’
20-30 minutes later, still no sign of the kingfish. Well, ain’t that just typical. It was time for a (lunch) break. I was glad, having a suitable and great-sized live bait out, enough snapper and trevally in the bucket for dinner and more. Job well done, time to relax and have a sit down.
‘Bring the live bait a bit closer to the rocks though.’ That was the line of thought. ‘Bring the bait a bit closer, then sit down and chill.’ So I grab the rod, put my hand on the lever and look up front to see what the live bait is doing anyway. ‘Hmm, what’s wrong with him, why is he pulling the balloon down. Hmm, nah, it should be pretty tired out by now; surely it can’t pull the balloon a meter under the water. Hmm, that is now two meters. Something is going on!’ I pushed the drag from free spool into very light drag and the balloon was still going down. Then it popped, yet another sign that the trevally was actually being dragged down.
‘Stay cool mate, don’t rush it now.’ I pushed the drag up a bit higher, which resulted in line being taken out much faster. Pushed the drag up to strike mode and, kabooom, I was well hooked and the fish started pulling line for real now. It took me about half a minute to get the rod tip up, securing my stance and putting the rod butt into the gimbal (the fight belt). The fish gained some 10-15 m of line very quickly.
There was lots of pressure on the line, I just held the rod with two hands, allowing it to work as it should. When I was able, I retrieved line very quickly. Then I saw the colours of the kingfish. It went for its second hard run gaining some 10 meters on me diving into the deep, then it tried swimming to the left. I held on strongly and kept retrieving when I could, not allowing the fish to take too much line and cut me off on the rocks on the left hand side. It went for a third run, this time hard to the right and right down the ridge, but I felt more and more confident about landing it. I had lots of drag on the fish and didn’t allow it to drag me on the rocks, I worked the rod hard, as to turn the head and its direction.
Xtian was checking the whole action out, and when the fish was starting to give up, swimming sideways along the ledge and trying here and then half-heartedly to get me into the foul, Xtian already had the gaff in his hands. We managed to drag the fish to a good spot where he could get down to the water’s edge, and he gaffed it effortlessly and securely. Excellent job, I just told him to carry the fish away from the water.
Boom, 4-5 minutes after touching my rod to bring the trevally a bit closer to the rocks, and we were standing high on the rocks with a 1.2 m kingfish.
We congratulated each other on the team effort and released all fish that were still lively and started packing in. We experienced 2.5 hours of great fishing, having calm conditions and I was very glad that my mate got to catch some fish and experience superb land based fishing the way it should be, when things go right.
Two great fish in a row, already looking forward to my next fishing mission. You know what they say… Three times is a charm.
She’s rough on the Barrier at the moment. Saturday was perfect, no swell, no wind, a bit over cast, great fishing. Sunday, 50-60 knots gusting, rain and she’s wild on BENIsLAND at the moment.