Conditions for land-based fishing haven’t been good in the last weeks. Complex low pressure systems are bringing strong winds and showers to the island. We’ve had gale warnings for a couple of weeks, either 30 to gusting 50 knots of cold southwesterly winds or wet and rainy gusting winds from the northwest. This makes rockfishing in the Tryphena area difficult and such strong winds also affect the conditions on the east coast fishing spots. The forecast for yesterday was 20+ knots from southwest turning midday to northwest, and after a few days with strong and continuous southwesterly gusts, combined with big tides and strong tidal flows, the sea had actually calmed down a bit and I used this window of less challenging conditions to go for a quick fish off the rocks in the Cape Barrier area.
I left home just before noon and when I got onto the ledge and casted my bait, the wind was still blowing 20 knots plus from the southwest and right onto the ledge. So I went to the tip of the ledge, turning my back to the wind and casting away from it. It was just about an hour before high tide and the current was just ripping. Quite strong indeed but other than finding it hard to feel the fish nibbling on the bait conditions weren’t too bad. It stayed quiet until about an hour after high tide, the current had slowed down and the wind was starting to die off as well, but it was still too challenging to cast right into the wind. I caught only small snapper, one after the other and then many hiwihiwis. Ooh, I don’t like those hiwihiwi fish, useless buggers. You catch them always when fishing off the rocks, they are no good eating, no good for bait, very tough fish that are difficult to handle. Well, the first couple of hours was just like that. Either a small snapper or a hiwihiwi. I tried different weights and different hook sizes but not a single kahawai or decent snapper. When the wind finally died off and you could feel it changing in direction, I was able to fish the ledge from a different point, casting to the south instead of into the north. It is quite interesting actually, you can fish one side of the ledge, the current dragging your bait in one direction and only hiwihiwi, and when you fish the other side, the current drags the bait into another direction and there were plenty of bites. There were plenty more bites and they were all much stronger.
I landed a few legal-sized snapper (27+ cm) immediately and there was so much action that I released them, being confident that bigger snapper were also around. I had lost a good fish on this spot 3 weeks ago, it pulled steadily against a lot of drag and I fought it for about a minute and was starting to gain line and pull the fish up, when it suddenly was all over, the pressure off the line and only an empty hook on its end. I was fishing a single circle hook today because of all the small fish and was happy when something bigger took my bait. Finally, a decent snapper.
Conditions were getting better and better, it would have been great to keep on fishing until about dusk, but I was already out of bait and packed in two snapper and headed back. Note to myself, that spot is much better for fishing in a non-southerly winds. Here is another picture of the ledge.
I met two people on the way back, one local on a walk in Johnson’s Bay and another local who lived close to where I had parked the car. He told me that a few big fish had been caught in recent days by tourists. So, they are still around, just got to go out there at the right time, I guess.
In the following a few pictures from the ‘bush’, I’m going to cook dinner with the rest of the fish.