Hit up the harbour around Balmain and Blackwattle this weekend and had some roaring success on some new gear.
On Friday night with the old man in town I asked him to join me for a quick flick down at Blackwattle Bay. Walking up and down the drop-off to a couple of holes I'd had some success on I was casting out small lures on 1/12 and 1/20 jig heads hoping for a big bream or EP. As we were about to turn it in for the evening I had a final cast out with a tiny 2 inch squidgee and a 1/20 jig head. Hitting the bottom I felt a soft pull and then a bit of a thump. Coming up tight on my ultra light gear it started to feel like a serious fish. After a long wrestle on 6lb line with some solid runs, with no net handy I sent my dad down onto the oysters to grab the fish by hand.
On 6lb line, a 3kg rod and a little Stradic 1000 I nabbed my PB flathead, coming in at 75cm:
Saturday I dropped into the tackle shop to spool up a heavier outfit with 15lb line. The rod is a 4-7kg Lox with a 3000 Caldia, intended for bigger plastics fishing. Derek has shown me the ropes on tossing out bigger plastics - 5", 6" and even 9" shads and slapsticks - for larger pelagic species and after getting the basics down over the course of a few masterclass sessions with the pro I picked up the outfit for summer.
While waiting for a mate who was tied up with a sick kid at home, I went down to a little bay in Balmain where I have had some success with flatties and blackfish previously. Launching out some of the bigger shads I had some hook-ups with some decent fish, however both times I managed to lose the fish before I even got to catch a glimpse of what I'd hooked onto. Switching to something lighter I put on a 5" shad in nuclear chicken and pitched it out on a 1/6 jighead.
A couple of flicks, a pause and then wham! I was on as the pressure came down like a tonne of bricks. My reel started to burn off line. After the first intense few runs I was fairly sure what I was onto and looked to play it cool as I was only on a 16lb leader, letting the fish take line at will and keeping the pressure on as best I could. I tried to keep the fish off the rocks and oysters to the left, trying to pull him in close enough to where I could potentially grab the leader. The fish had other ideas, dragging me around the corner to where I had to fight it from high up on a ledge.
Pump and wind, pump and wind, and there it was: glimmering a few feet under the surface, the unmistakable yellow lateral line, shiny green back and forked yellow tail. It was a king for sure, and I saw it with my own eyes! It floated around, exhausted for 30 seconds before beating its tail and taking another powerful run off into the deep. I need a net, I thought.
I flagged down a passing car, yelling over to them that I needed some help. Without much exchange, I tossed them my car keys and told them my net was in the boot. Unfortunately they weren't much good with the net so I decided to pull the fish onto the rocks and grab it myself. I walked it over, easing the spent fish onto the rocks, jumped down the ledge and grabbed the fish by the tail. There you go!
First king on plastics, first king in 18 months and my second PB in 24 hours. Came in at 78cm and 6kg. What a weekend!
A big thank you to Derek who has introduced me to this kind of fishing and who taught me the retrieve and gave me the confidence that you can actually catch big fish on light line with this technique and a bit of patience and persistence. Cheers mate!