As we say goodbye to November and get into the last month of 2013, the baitfish numbers continue to increase but fish behaviour is still erratic. I fished fairly long days on both Monday and Wednesday rather than fishing a heap of separate days this week.
The fish are there but bite times can be short, or the fish bite for a long time and it's hard to get a hookup. To be fair the tides were rubbish with middle of the day run-in tides. Next weeks morning and afternoon tides should fish alot better. The afternoon tides over the weekend should fish ok as well, the morning's might fish ok but the wind looks to be howling, . If you do go out, you won't have much company and sometimes the windiest days can have the best fishing. Baitfish numbers have exploded, now not only do we have large schools of frogmouth pilchards, but there are large schools of white pilchards as well. On the run-in tide it's almost one giant stream of baitfish from the mouth of the seaway through to the cross channels just south of Crab island. Next weeks sustained SE winds look very good as well, if the forecast holds. Water temperatures are fluctuating wildly, from 21.5 degrees up to 25 degrees and back down again.
As for the fish, there is an element of predictability but also some random behaviour thrown in as well just to make you think real hard about the decisions you make. Should I go out to the end of the North wall/Pipeline or stick around the Canyon in the hope that the Kings & GT's will begin to feed. For an example, bottom of the tide on Monday around 8.30am the absolute worst stage of tide for surface feeding, the Kings came up at least half a dozen times and on the last time they came up I finally managed to get a decent cast in, only for the Kings to have 5 goes at the skitterbait without hooking up then a 65cm GT grabbed it.
The Kingfish are centered in 3 locations, The Pipeline, the Canyon and the Cross Channels.
The Pipeline is a mix of 60cm and metre long fish. The Canyon and Cross Channels are all metre long fish.
The Pipeline fish are feeding on the surface on the 3/4 line and up to 100m east of that(3/4 of the way across the seaway from the south to the north)during the run-in tide. Sometimes they will feed for 15 minutes, sometimes it goes for hours but hooking the Pipeline fish is not easy. The odd one is getting caught on chrome metals and poppers but it's hard work and frustrating. On Wednesday at midday the little kingfish fed for 2 hours at least coming up every 10 minutes or so but only one was hooked on a 25g raider, they were moving fast too so it was difficult to get a cast in the zone. There is also a chance of a Kingfish in close to the southern end of the Pipeline just on dawn.
The Canyon fish are alot easier to hook(or at least get interested) but they feed less. They are hunting in the area between the Canyon and the first set of beacons north. The second half of the run-in tide seems to see them out and feeding every 10 minutes or so but this can depend on the day. On Monday they didn't show at all on the run-in, but did on the run-out. On Wednesday they didn't show on the run-out but did on the second half of the run-in(2pm-3.30pm). They are definitely feeding and will hit a lure but you still need a bit of luck to get a hookup. I had lots of looks, nudges and follows this week with no hookups.
The Cross Channels fish are located near the two beacons just south of Crab, they are the least predictable and fewest in number but if everywhere else is quiet it's worth a look. At least if you hook a fish around them there isn't much structure.
GT's are still mixed in with the Canyon Kingfish, but a small school of just GT's did show on Monday morning alongside the North Wavebreak Rock Wall from the tip to halfway along it just on sunup so keep an eye on that area around dawn. Trolling and plastics didn't get any GT's at all so it looks like your only shot for a GT is casting into bustups.
Tailor are still around the North Wall in numbers. They are also feeding erratically, dawn sessions have been ordinary for the most part with only the odd good fish. They are feeding on the run-in tides along the inside of the North Wall in the middle of the day but only for very short periods, if you can get a twistie or skitterbait into the area they are feeding then you'll hookup but hooking strays after they stop feeding is rare. They did feed on the surface along the 3/4 line of the pipeline on the first of the runout tide on thursday afternoon which is unusual.
Bigeyes continue to confound me, I've seen them a few times. Alongside the north wall of wavebreak up as far as the little cove at dawn, near the pipeline in the middle of the day but catching them in any sort of numbers seems to be impossible. Hopefully that will change as water temperatures increase.
So overall, its a bit of a mix. There are fish around and lots of them but if you don't find them feeding you'll end up with nothing(this doesn't apply to livebaiting). Very few fish are being caught as random catches. I suspect what is happening is that because of the huge amount of bait around the fish are full and they are just 'topping up' in short bursts. As always your mileage may vary, with the amount of bait around you might see some random fish pop up and begin to feed so keep your eyes open.
Monday 25th November
4.00am - 3.00pm
0111 0.91, 0636 0.44, 1316 1.25, 2000 0.29
Wednesday 27th November
4.00am - 7.00pm
0328 1.02, 0902 0.47, 1514 1.18, 2147 0.22
A mixed school of Frogmouth and White Pilchards
Hooked up on a Gt alongside the north wall of Wavebreak
This 61cm Gt took a skitterbait just on sunup along the north wavebreak wall
This 65cm GT took a skitterbait in amongst a school of Kingfish
As we head into the end of the year, the water temperatures have begun to creep up and the potential is there, but the fish are still reluctant to feed for extended periods.
This week saw some classic summer surface season feeding behaviour from Kingfish, Bigeyes and Tailor but only for very short periods. Use the wrong lure or be in the wrong place when they come up and you go without. Water temps increased up to 23 degrees this week. I only fished morning sessions on Monday and Tuesday this week.
Kingfish have been the highlight and they showed up in numbers around the Canyon on Monday and around the Pipeline on Tuesday, if you want a Kingfish you are going to have to keep your eye on the birds and get over there fast when they indicate feeding activity. There is still no guarantees about hookups when they feed on surface but if you persist you should get a hookup or two if you are lucky. Landing them is another matter. The Kings should hang around as long as the baitfish do, and that usually hangs around until the new year. Realistically, if you REALLY want to hook a kingfish, hang around the Canyon around sunup or during the first half of a run-in tide and sooner or later they will come up and you will get a shot at them, just be ready when they do.
There have been GT's mixed in with the Kingfish but the numbers aren't there, most of them are still upstream. They are taking surface lures meant for Kingfish but aren't coming up for poppers worked over the Canyon Edge or taking trolled lures. They have to be in feeding mode. Just keep an eye out for any bustups and get a popper or skitterbait in there quick.
Bigeyes are around but their behaviour is still erratic. Tuesday they came up over the pipe on the 3/4 line just after sunup and they were mixed in with the big Kingfish. Most people got nothing though, I managed one about 45cm on a redhead/silver skitterbait.
Tailor are there but with the flat calm conditions they are only coming up to the surface once that tide starts to run-in, and not feeding for long when they do. 20gram Twisties are getting fish and skitterbaits pulled a couple of Tailor around the North Wall working the eddies and edges.
Jewies are still in the usual spots BUT if you are interested in picking one up on a lure you should try the south wall, they are hanging below the massive schools of frogmouth pilchards particularly around the end of the south wall on a run-out tide just before sunup. Most are small (70cm or less)but it wouldn't surprise me if a bigger one was mooching around underneath the schools of bait. Get a small plastic about 5-8cm long on a 3/8oz jighead and work it slow under the schools of bait. I was using Ecogear Grass Minnows in CCM but any small plastic should work particularly anything that resembles a frogmouth pilchard. Squidgy Flickbaits in the 80mm size would be perfect.
Still the occasional Tarpon around, I hooked one off the end of the North Wavebreak rock wall on a run-out tide on tuesday and another couple around the end of the south wall just before sunup. This time of year most of them have headed upstream into the rivers and canals.
So overall, the fish are there but bite times are short. Pay attention to whats going on around you or miss out. Look for the congregations of baitfish on the run-out tides and fish below them in particular around the North Wavebreak Rock Wall and the end of the South Wall. On the run-in tides look for any surface activity and get over there quick. Mornings are still fishing much better than afternoons, but if the tide is right you can get a burst of feeding activity just as the sun sets.
I am currently testing single hook configurations on skitterbaits and these will be available as an option towards the end of next week. These single hooks are perfectly balanced and do not affect the action or buoyancy but they should increase the chances of landing a big Kingfish on them. Remember that Skitterbaits need to be worked with a steady pulsing action to get the best out of them, keep that rod tip up and don't work them too fast. Get them into a bustup and not many fish will refuse them. This week they have hooked Kingfish, GT's, Tailor and Bigeyes.
Monday 18th November
3.00am - 10.30am
0146 0.04 0830 1.58 1453 0.16 2038 1.10
Tuesday 19th November
3.00am - 11.00am
0219 0.07 0906 1.57 1533 0.17 2114 1.06
Bigeye on a skitterbait cast into a school feeding on surface near the pipeline
Tailor are still taking skitters around the North Wall
GT's are mixed in with the Kingfish, this one took a skitterbait
Slugging it out with a King
This jewie took a CCM grass minnow worked underneath the baitfish schools
While I wouldn't normally put up a post about a lost fish, this one was special. Easily the biggest fish I've hooked in the broadwater and one of the longest fights I've ever had. Anyway on with the story.
Arrived at the seaway monday morning at around 3.30, swell was non existant, as was wind. Too calm for my liking. I immediately forgot about fishing the ends of the walls and decided to stick with the Canyon/North Wavebreak area as that is where the big fish were holding and feeding. Based on what I have seen and reports from others big Kingfish have made it thier feeding ground but only for short periods so I knew I'd have to stick with just the one spot to have a shot at it. Tide was an official low at 1.47am which with the adjustment meant that the tide would begin pushing in around 3.47, right on dawn... GT tide..
Choice of lure was simple, skitterbait on the light rod, Rapala Skitter Pop 9 ST on the big rod. Around 4.30am I saw the first swirls of feeding Kings and on about my 4th cast a big bow wave came up behind the skitterbait then lunged but the bow wave pushed the lure out of its way. After a few more half hearted bustups I placed a good cast right into the middle of a pack of feeding Kings. A king came up behind it and swallowed it and kept going straight at me, I wound the reel fast to pick up the slack and the king opened it's mouth and the lure came out without a hookup.
I tried again, after a few more half-hearted boils they came up in a group and I got over there just in time, a few twitches with the skitterbait and it was nailed by a fish that nearly got airborne on the strike, then took off. A solid hookup and the fish made a few runs before coming to the boat.. strange didn't feel like a kingfish..and it wasn't. It was a decent GT of around 63cm though.
By the time I had dealt with him and got back the action was tapering off, a few more scattered fish came up then there were 15-20 minute gaps between short bustups lasting around 10-15 seconds. I decided to anchor up using my detachable anchor(anchor + 1m chain + 10m rope + float) rather than waste more fuel running in the channel. I anchored up in the eddy at the end of the north wavebreak wall. While I was waiting a few fish busted up near the wall, but I couldn't get a hookup out of them, I think they were Bigeyes. After half an hour or so I saw another bustup so I unclipped the float and raced over there. Got over there too late though. That happened twice more over the next hour so it was drop float, start engine, full throttle over to the bustup and cast in there. Both times the bustup had finished before I arrived.
At around 9am I saw a big bustup up near the first set of channel markers north. Anyone who has chased Kingfish before will be familiar with the area. I got there just as the action was tapering off and managed to put in one decent cast. The lure was about 3 metres away from the boat when out of nowhere a yellowtailed torpedo nailed it and sped off. You see the Kingfish feeding so leisurely most of the time you forget how fast they can be when they really want to move. He sped northwards emptying the spool of the little Ballistic 3000 so I gave chase. The worst thing you can do for a kingfish is give it alot line out, your best hope is to keep the line as vertical as possible so thats what I did. He headed for the Canyon, the place of nightmares when it comes to big Kingfish. A rugged bottom full of sharp rocks, two cungevoi incrusted beacons, sunken trees and a large rock wall. For the next 20 minutes he slugged it out at the back end of the canyon going from one side to the other thankfully keeping away from the dropoff where the sharpest rocks were, then he went for a run alongside the North Wavebreak rock wall, unfortunately heading right for the anchor rope which was still floating from where I'd left it. Of course he managed to wrap the line around it so I got over there and managed to untangle it and retrieve it one handed(18.00 mins on the video). He headed for the yellow beacon marking the Wavebreak anchorage so I got alongside him and applied some side pressure which turned him around just in time. I did get a good look at him at this point as he arced around the front of the boat and he was easily the biggest Kingfish I've ever seen, well over a metre long and fat too. He headed back out heading North east, a real good direction, nothing but sand in that direction. For the first time I thought I had a chance... I should have known better. Once he reached the middle of the channel he turned and headed back north and over to the eastern side of the channel where he slugged it out for another 10 minutes. Then slowly but surely he began to work his way south west towards the dropoff and the sharpest rocks. The tide was now slowing and he made the dropoff then spent 10 minutes swimming along the edge of it trying to get the right angle to bust me off. Due to the fact that I was right over him the whole time it took him a while but eventually the line hit a rock edge and it was all over. Sat down for a while after that.
So could I have done anything different to change the outcome? I kept the line as vertical as possible, I used directional changes to keep him away from serious structure. The only thing I could have tried but didn't was to freespool him in the hope he would swim away from the dropoff but that is a technique fraught with danger. Overall I'm happy with what I accomplished, most kingfish hookups only last seconds let alone 40 minutes. As I always say, only the stupid big kingfish get caught, and there aren't too many of them.
Skitterbait's have now proven themselves to be one of the most versatile seaway lures in my box, able to hook everything from the smallest tailor to the largest kingfish. They can hack a bit of punishment with the hooks I supply them with as long as you don't try and redline your gear or fish them on gear that is too heavy. When it comes right down to it, I'd rather hook a kingfish and lose it than not hook any at all. That said, I will be trialling the use of single hooks on skitterbaits to improve your chances on large kingfish.
Lure: Skitterbait Black Redhead
Line: 15lb Spider Braid
Leader: 30lb Famell Super shock
Rod: Daiwa Triforce TFZA701MLFS
Reel: Daiwa Ballistic 3000
Here is 23 minutes of the battle, batteries in the camera went flat after that.
I thought I'd keep track of how we are fairing against the Kingfish this summer, this list includes everyone I know who has hooked a Kingfish and includes bustoffs and landed fish. So far the list is entirely in the Kingfish favour. If there are any mistakes let me know and I'll fix them up. Also Let me know if a fish you have hooked is not on the list. The list is confined to lure or fly caught/hooked fish only.
Loss.. busted off
Fly - White Silver
Fly - Pink White
Loss busted off
Old Mans Corner
Loss - busted off
Fly - White Red
Loss - busted off
North Wavebreak Rock Wall
Fly - White Pink
Loss - Busted off
North Wavebreak Rock Wall
Loss - Busted off
North Wavebreak Rock Wall
Little Jack Seguroid
Loss - hook straightened
North Wavebreak Rock Wall
Loss - Bustoff
Loss - Hooks straightened at the boat.
Loss - Bustoff after 40 mins
Hooked near first set beacons north of Wavebreak, lost in Canyon
I spent 3 days in the seaway this week, Monday Wednesday and Friday, all morning sessions. Despite the Fish Alert I put out on Wednesday the fishing still remains unpredictable. Some day's the fish are feeding, some days they aren't. There was significant surface feeding on Monday through to Wednesday in the strong Northerlies, not sure about Thursday but no surface feeding on Friday in the much better conditions. Unfortunately the fish seem to be favouring windy conditions so it doesn't look good for the weekend given the forecast of light winds and no swell. Still you never know if you never go. Bait levels in the seaway are very high with massive schools of big Frogmouth Pilchards everywhere.
If you do see a bustup cast in there with whatever you have on the line and it should get eaten. When the fish do decide to feed they aren't fussy. Skitterbaits are being taken home by kings at an alarming rate, I know of 4 that have been lost over the last week to rampaging kingfish, noone has managed to land a big one on them yet. Skitterbaits are also still being taken by Tailor around the north wall after sunup but only a few this week. The North Wall around dawn has fished very poorly due to all the dirty water from the Northerlies. Most of the Tailor action this week was on Tuesday and Wednesday with lots of surface busting around the end of the North Wall halfway through the runout from 9am-11am.
Black Redhead Skitterbaits are out of stock at the moment but more are coming in next week.
The North Wavebreak Wall and the Canyon was where most of the big surface action was but it was shortlived, only lasting a few minutes on Monday and about 10 minutes on Wednesday. There was no surface action there at all on Friday.
It's tough to make any recommendations at the moment due to things changing so quickly and unpredictable behaviour. We'd all rather be catching fish on lures but if you don't mind soaking a bait while waiting for some surface action, catch a dozen or so frogmouths on bait jigs and put some down the bottom on a single hook through the head(put it through both the top and bottom jaws to stop the mouth opening and the bait spinning). Sink it to the bottom then lift it up a metre so that it drifts just above the bottom. With the amount of Frogmouths around it's an effective technique and keeps you busy while waiting for something to throw your lure at. I did this for an hour or so on Friday and managed 2 Flathead around 40cm, a Spangled Emperor around 30cm, A Jewie around 65-70cm and a couple of 30cm Bream. It wouldn't surprise me if some other bigger fish(Kingfish, GT, Tailor) took a liking to that technique either. Best to use decent gear as you never know what you will hook. I was using 50lb leader and a 3/0 XX Tru Turn hook. I might be on Channel 7 news tonight with that Jewie as Paul Burt took some footage of it.
Low water temps are still a problem with it being around 20.5 degrees on Friday.
As we head towards the end of the year baitfish levels continue to increase, this week saw some interesting things happen.
Tailor continue to be the most consistent catch, with them preferring the days with good wash around the north wall. I fished on Tuesday/Wednesday this week and the 20/25kt SE winds on Tuesday had the tailor active and feeding in the wash for hours. Still had to work for them a bit but I was able to catch them on skitterbaits as late as 9am in the morning. Minnows like the flash 15, 25 and vision 111 are still pulling some decent fish around dawn with the odd fish after sunup. I didn't get a single fish on metals this week. Afternoons just don't seem to be fishing well for them at the moment.
Kingfish are still around the Canyon and the Pipeline, though some days they aren't feeding much at all with just a few boils. Tuesday they fed probably 10 times and I managed to get two decent casts into them, the skitterbait got hit twice but no hookup. Wednesday they only came up 3 times each time around 5 seconds each, not enough time to get a cast in.
Bigeyes are around further up the Nerang river with a few around Marina Mirage but the bulk of the fish in the stretch from Sunrise Bridge to the Council Chambers feeding early mornings, late afternoons or just after dark. There's only a few around the seaway, though with the volume of bait coming through I don't think it will be long before they return to the seaway area.
GT's are still further up the rivers, I've heard of a few from Marina Mirage and at random spots in the river up to Lake Intrepid.
Small Mack Tuna have been turning up in the seaway but it's very random, there are there one day and gone the next.
I didn't see any surface feeding anywhere in the northern channel up as far as Crab or in the Southern channel this week.
The most interesting thing this week was finding massive schools of 10-15cm pike and 5cm yellowtail holding on the north wall flats dropoff. I noticed these when they started jumping out of the water trying to get my lure which was swinging over the side of the boat. I put on a bait jig and managed to get about 10 of these fairly quickly. I've been wondering what the large bait was that I've been seeing in the seaway and that's what it was. I know for a fact that the kingfish have been chasing these so having these as livies I though I might be in with a shot casting them unweighted into bustups. Unfortunately the Kingfish really didn't show in any numbers on that day and I had to leave early so I didn't spend much time livebaiting them on the bottom. I definitely think it will work but again accuracy and timing will be important. If you can get a live mini pike into a kingfish bustup I don't think they would refuse it. It also explains why skitterbaits are getting some interest, the small thin profile is a pretty good imitation of a small pike.
So overall not much improvement on last week but with the sheer volume of bait around(Eyes + Frogmouths + Small Yellowtail + Small Pike) I can't imagine the seaway will be overlooked by predators much longer. Water temperatures are still low, around 21.5 degrees this week.
Tuesday 5th November
4.00am - 10.00am
0227 -0.06 0914 1.68 1535 0.03 2125 1.20
Wednesday 6th November
3.30am - 8.00am
0311 -0.02 1002 1.68 1628 0.06 2216 1.12
A skitterbait Tailor
Tailor on a Flash 15
Small pike caught on a bait jig off the north wall flats dropoff
Active kingfish near the pipeline
Inactive kingfish on the bottom near the canyon, you can also see the pike to the upper left and a school of frogmouths to the upper right
Kane with a number of good reports posted this month. Kane wins a ANSA Catch and Release Mat. Bit of a tough month overall, probably the worst October I've seen. Some Tailor, a few small kingfish and that's pretty much it. Lets hope November brings in a few more species and some more varied weather.
The reports competition has been discontinued as of November, you can still post your reports but there won't be any prizes. Just remember the more you share the more you will get out of it. I will continue to post reports/weekly wrap ups and Fish Alerts if something good(and catchable) ever shows up.
Well the big news this week is that... the big Kingfish have returned in numbers to the Seaway and the Canyon Area and are now feeding during the first half of the run in tides. I spent Thursday and Friday morning's on the water this week and the kings showed up on both days. I have also seen them feeding halfway through the run-out in the north wavebreak flats corner. Look for them just after sunrise or whenever baitfish begin to congregate around this area. They are still pretty hard to get a cast into but if you can get a lure in there when they are feeding you are in with a shot. One of our members Chris managed to get a good cast into a bustup this morning with a skitterbait and it got eaten, he got busted off though.
In other news Tailor are still around the North Wall and if you can pick a day when a school of baitfish comes through you are in for some good fishing. Thursday morning a school of yellowtail came through and the Tailor smashed into them in the Eddy at the end of the North Wall. That excited them enough to get them really hitting the surface lures with gusto for an hour or so though most lures caught fish. Flash 25 minnows, Vision 111, Twisties, Skitterbaits and skitter pops all got fish. Friday morning by comparison they weren't interested and I only managed a few on minnows.
At the moment it seems we only have Tailor and Kingfish and while thats an improvement, we should be seeing more than that by this time of year. Bigeyes and GT's are nowhere to be seen. I did manage to hook a decent shark on Thursday over the Canyon just on sunset on a Bolt Omega, it jumped twice and busted me off though. It looked around 1.5m long.
There is loads of bait around but most of it is no bigger than 4cm, and on the run-in tide it is not hanging around the Canyon but moves through the Northern channel up closer to Crab Island. There doesn't seem to be any fish up that far, I looked on multiple occasions and saw nothing. There is plenty up in the Southern Channel as well but I didn't see any fish into them.
This weekends tides are pretty good for both the morning and afternoon, with the afternoon being the best. If the boating traffic isn't too bad you should see some feeding by Kingfish around the Canyon as the tide pushes in around 3-6pm.
Thursday 31st October
3.00 - 9.30
0550 1.23 1142 0.26 1748 1.28
Friday 1st November
3.30 - 10.00
0000 0.07 0629 1.36 1228 0.18 1831 1.30
A school of Frogmouths preying on a school of eyes.
Tailor and Yellowtail
Another popper tailor
This Tailor had a set of ganged hooks hanging out of its gills