Heavy overcast with heavy rain periods. Constant strong winds. Too windy and rough to fish the end of the north wall.
Moved into the seaway at 4.00am, the conditions were terrible with 20-25kt Southerly winds and heavy showers. There was a small window of opportunity to fish for Tarpon so despite the difficulty in fishing I gave it a go. The first two fish jumped off before hooking a good fish which proceeded to jump all over the place , despite that the hook stayed in place and I was able to net my personal best Tarpon of 65cm. By the time I had released him the Tarpon had shut down and I had no more interest. Like i said a 'small window', they are predictable up to a point. Dawn was upon me so I changed to a megabass vision 110 and started working the washes but it was obvious that I couldn't work them properly with the wind constantly blowing me into the wall. Rather than waste more time fighting the wind in the seaway I decided on a secondary course of action. There was two things I wanted to do. I had a new rig I wanted to test for catching pike under 20cm(candies) and I wanted to see if I could catch one of the kings that occasionally visit the flats areas around the broadwater.
The pike rig worked great(though still needs some modifications) and it only took about half an hour before I had a dozen pike between 15 and 25cm in the livewell so I moved off to the flats. I decided to use my 10lb lure outfit and see if i could get a kingie on the light gear. Wasn't long before I noticed a boil in some shallow water so I moved in to have a look. Sure enough there was something there and it looked big going by the swirls it left behind. The first cast was right on the money but a damn bird picked it up and and got fouled. By the time I had dealt with that I had drifted close to where the boil had been. The next thing I know a school of big yellowtail kings(20+) busts up within 5 metres of the boat chasing a school of froggies. I cast in there and it was hammered within seconds, I gave him a few more seconds then hit him and didn't he take off. He powered off the flats and into deeper water and then slugged it out for the next 5 minutes. Then all of a sudden he just took off, even faster than before and I had to chase him. I made some line back until he was slugging it out about 30 metres away and then he got smashed, all I saw was a massive boil in the water, a heap of blood and I was left with a limp line and no fish. Damn sharks, I've been losing quite a few fish to them this year.
Anyway after a rerig I moved back to where I had seen them earlier but no sign of them. I drifted with the wind for a while and then saw a school of froggies leaping out of the water. I cast in there with a fresh pike and it got nailed straight away, its unreal when you see a big king take your bait off the surface. I set the hook and he powered off this time he stayed in the shallow water but didn't he run, in no time I had to chase him. He easily had 100m of line out and was still going strong. At this time I was trying to juggle fighting the fish, filming the fight and controling the boat, not easy at the best of times. After 20 minutes of strong runs he was slugging it out around the boat about 20 metres out with still a few short runs. After another 20 minutes and countless circles around the boat I finally managed to net him in water less than a metre deep. Ever tried fitting a metre long kingie in a environet? Its not easy, he was damn heavy too. My personal best Yellowtail Kingfish at 1 metre long exactly, to say I was ecstatic would be an understatement.
Once he had been photographed and released I moved back to where they had been, they had moved again and were about 100 metres further up. I cast in there, let it sit for a bit before winding back in slowly, the kings followed him back in. I know from previous experience the best thing to do when they do that is to stop winding and let it sit there, so I did that. They swam under the boat then one turned around and hit the pike on the way back through. I set the hook and he powered off, he had about 50 m of line out before I felt him really get violent with lots of shaking, then the line parted. I'd say he got tail wrapped and the braid couldn't take the punishment.
Rather than rerig that one, I pulled out my standard 20lb livebait gear and used that. Same routine find the boils cast in there and hold on. I hooked another fish and he powered off, this one had a few nice runs in him, but they were short, no more than about 50 metres at a time. He was hell bent on getting to structure though and I had to use the boat a number of times to lead him away from it. He slugged it out around the boat for ages and even tried to bust me off around the motor once so I tilted it out of the water. After about 20mins I had another nice yellowtail king next to the boat and into the net, the heavier gear and the shallow water obviously knocked him over alot more quickly. He went 98cm.
After this I could find no more fish, I hung around for about half an hour but they were nowhere to be seen so I gave it away.
Well, what can you say about a day like that. Sightcasting for yellowtail kings on the flats is bloody awesome. I highly doubt it would be like that every day, usually you only see them as lone fish, if you see them at all. All fish were hooked in less than 2 metres of water.
Hi Mike, you can catch pike around any of the weedbeds to the north and north west of Wavebreak Island. Look for areas of extensive weed with a nice sandy dropoff. Any shallow diving minnow from 2-3″ will work but it pays to vary your retrieve and change lures if they’re not interested in a particular colour/pattern on the day. If they’re inactive, I troll for them until I find them and then cast small soft plastic grubs out (Ecogear grass minnow S) on light jigheads and they can be seen following the plastic right up to the boat.
I’m unsure what Craig’s method is for catching smaller pike, but I’ve found the Wilson baitjigs (size 6) tend to catch the smaller specimens.
At night any area with light on the water will hold pike and they can be caught using the same methods as day-time (I prefer using bright coloured or transparent minnows at night with a bit of S Factor).
Hope this helps.
Top effort Craig! Must have been super exciting to see them bust up like that in the shallow water and so close to the boat.
Thanks for the tips Garry, Craig and Rob T.
All your advice is greatly appreciated.
If you don’t mind me asking Craig, what general
area of the broadwater did you pick the Kingys up?
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Again another great info report.
I’ve been trying to catch pike on small minnows and prawn plastics
and have not had much luck.
Are you going to put your rig on the site? and is there anywhere around
the seaway to pick them up quickly?