Heavy overcast, lots of fish in the seaway but few active fish. Very little bait showing anywhere, no sign of hardys, white pilchards or pike in the broadwater.
We moved into the seaway at about 12.30am, an early start because the conditions were good and there was alot of ground I wanted to have a look at. We tried all the usual spots and a few new ones but despite the huge number of fish showing on the sounder nothing was eating, we even tried a bit of trolling through the middle where the fish were stacked up. I decided to up the jighead weight to 1/2oz and try a few drifts through the deep hole but stick with a small bait size to mimic the white pilchards that have been around the last few weeks. Plastic of choice was a Gulp Minnow in Chartreuse Pearl. Rather than use the standard hops I used deadsticking, with the only up and down to make sure the lure was no more than 1 metre off the bottom at all times. On the first drift as we approached the deepest part of the hole I felt a tap, then a solid weight so I hit him. It felt like a good fish as he powered off and headed out to sea aided by the runout tide. He slugged it out on the bottom for ages, making a few runs but all of them short, no more than 20m at a time. The headshakes during the fight had me thinking jewie or snapper. Once he started to tire I started getting him up and soon had him next to the boat, my biggest jewie yet at 118cm, weighing 15.08kg. Due to coming up from such deep water he had an inflated swim bladder and stomach area so I had to puncture that and then swim him next to the boat for a few minutes to get his strength up. Once he started to kick I released him and he swam away.
After that we did a few more drifts though the deep hole for zip so we decided to head offshore and check out the shallow bait reefs while it was still dark. Ryan's post below(Thanks Ryan) had me intrigued about whether we could get pike from there while it was still dark in preparation for dawn so we checked it out. It didn't take long before we found the fish but they weren't interested in the bait jig. What we did find out was that the same rig that pulled the jewie (1/20z 3/0 with a gulp 3" minnow) worked pretty good, over the next couple of hours we managed about 10 pike between 15 and 45cm, 5 barracuda around 40cm and 5 baby teraglin around 30cm. Most of the pike we caught offshore are definitely a different species though, I'm thinking they could actually be Big eyed sea pike compared to the striped sea pike we get in the broadwater.
Just before dawn we moved back to the seaway and chucked down some livies, unfortunately it was very quiet and we only managed 1 tailor around 35cm and had a few baits mauled. We waited around for the change of tide to see if the incoming tide would bring some surface feeding but by 9.30am there was still nothing so we gave it away.
So an interesting day, despite the huge number of fish that were holding in the seaway few were caught. I only saw a couple of bream and one undersize jewie landed by other boats. The lack of bait could have been the reason. Nice to get a good fish in the boat though.