Went for a fish yesterday afternoon, the wind dropped right off from about 4pm, it turned out to be a beautiful night to be on the water. Into the seaway at 5pm, had a look around saw some fish hitting the surface near wavebreak but they were small, queenies probably. Headed offshore was lumpy but fishable. Birds and fish feeding from the south wall down past the sand pumping jetty some big fish amonst them. We managed 1 Gt around 60cm plus some small mackt's and frigates was some bigger fish there though. We ran out of daylight all too soon and headed back to the north wall fished around there for zip then headed into the broadwater to let the boats in the seaway settle down, trolled around for a bit and got some herring while we waited for full darkness.
Moved back into the seaway at around 7.30pm to try for some tarpon. Plastics first, we had plenty of hits and nudges which is a sure sign of Tarpon being fussy but for the first hour we couldn't convert one to a hookup. I trialled drifting a herring under a float but they weren't interested in that at all. I went back to plastics and around 8.30 I finally managed to hook one and even got it next to the boat before it threw the hook. Over the couple of hours we hooked another 10 or so Tarpon only landing one in the mid 50's. Some of those jumps were awesome too, at least a metre out of the water. Can't have been too much action for the other boats as there was only one other boat in there by the time we left at 10.30pm.
Not too bad a fish for an afternoon effort, though I wish I had been able to get out on the water earlier but you take what you can get.
Into the broadwater at 5am I had a few things that I wanted to do today. Firstly I wanted to try a few new locations to see if I could get herring there and secondly I wanted to test circle hooks effectiveness in increasing the hookup rate while using herring as a livie. A standard hook through the nose usually results in a hookup rate of 50% at best depending on the day and the fish around. Wind was 10-15kts from the south, tide was running out to a low at 10.30am. Water temp was around 25-26 degrees. The first couple of locations only yielded half a dozen herring but that was enough to be going on with so I headed into the seaway at dawn. Chucked a few lures around for zip then switched to live herring, first one down got eaten by something good but the hook pulled early in the fight. Second one down was eaten by another good fish which turned out to be a 61cm tailor hooked in the side of the mouth. The next few I lost without hookups. Tried lures again for a while then headed into the broadwater to look for some more herring. Checked out a number of locations and ended up with about 20 after a couple of hours so not exactly heaps of them around. Back to the seaway I used up all the small ones waiting for the tide to turn, picked up a couple of small jewies and a couple of bream all hooked in the mouth.. one of the good things about circle hooks is that fish are always hooked in the mouth which makes them easy to release. Once the tide turned things picked up with some more small jewies(one of which was eaten by a shark) more bream in the 25-30cm range and the surprise of the day a 42cm Pennant Fish which is a new species for me. Also got cut off a couple of times, probably by tailor. Ran out of bait an hour later and called it a day.
So an interesting day, unfortunately circle hooks did not increase the hookup rate at all so its back to the drawing board in that regard. I'll be testing a dual hook rig on my next livie fish. Not heaps of fish landed(about 10-12) and those bream were a pain, but thats what you get for using herring as a livie.
Ever since the snap clips I was using last year went dodgy I've been looking for a suitable replacement. I've been through roughly 10 different brands and types and none of them were up to the task, they either straightened/bent or would not attach properly to jigheads or messed with the lures action too much. However I've been trialling these black coastlock snaps from Surecatch and so far I'm very impressed. They have been trialled on Striped, Yellowfin and Mack tuna up to about 3.5 kilos as well as GT's, Goldens, Bigeyes and Jewies across a range of techniques, including plastics, bibbed minnows, livebaiting and casting slugs. So far so good and only one test remains and its the hardest one of the lot. Tarpon. While they may not be big, a 60cm+ Tarpon will stress your terminal tackle like few other inshore fish out there, the constant jumps places a huge amount of stress on your end tackle. Tarpon season in the seaway has just started so we will soon see if these clips have what it takes. If you want to give them a go yourself the only place I've seen these is in BCF($2.95 a pack) , make sure you get the ones with the yellow 'Stainless Steel' sticker on the pack. I've been hard on Surecatch terminal tackle in the past and for good reason, most of it is unsuitable for targeting hard pulling, fast running fish. However this time they may have actually made something decent. Time will tell.
Update 6th June 2012.
These clips have now been tested on lots of big tarpon and have passed with flying colours so they are my reccomended clip at this point in time.
Into the seaway at 4am fished for tarpon early and managed to jump off two but other than that it was pretty quiet. Lots and Lots of fish hanging just off the north wall but not feeding. Picked up a small jewie just on dawn then headed offshore found loads of small 20-25cm mackt's around the 1 mile bait reefs. Headed south looking for bigger fish, found them at mermaid, mack tuna and striped tuna 2-3 kilos with a few smaller fish. They weren't the slightest bit bothered by the boat and would regularly feed within metres of it. After a while they rounded the bait into balls and just smacked into them constantly. Great fun but too many boats around, on one cast I managed to get hooked up on 3 separate lines... We headed north away from the pack found some more fish around the south wall but all small mack tuna and some bigeyes. Pretty good day overall, lots of tuna around but centred over the reefs. Tons of bait around everywhere. Expect some good fishing in the weeks ahead. Given the amount of bait that was pouring into the seaway with the run in tide it probably would have fished well if we had stuck around but the weather was too good to stay in the seaway.