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kiwicraig

West Reef fun

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I got out yesterday morning for an early session.  My plan was an early start to be on West Reef by the time the sun was coming up.  I wanted to get a fish in before the forecast gale came up late morning.  I did all the prep Friday night so when the alarm went off at 4am it was a coffee and a quick bite then hook the boat up and go.  I was on the water before 5 am.  

Given that I was starting so early I wanted to chase snapper - which is something I have not actually done much of.  I had done some recon on Navionics and marked a few underwater dropoffs around the headlands between Box Head and West Reef.  I sounded each on the way to West Reef but only saw scattered bait, no bigger arches.  After the 4th ledge i headed to wards the Landward side of West Reef.  In the hole  between I marked some bigger fish so I dropped the anchor and drifted back over it and started a burley trail.  Not long after I hooked up right on the bottom.  I turned out to be a blue spot flathead that went 35cm.  I figured that meant that I was on more of a sandy bottom and had not seen the bigger arches come back so I decided to push forward to the reef and restart the trail.  I could see lots of bait on the sounder and hoped there might be some snappers below it.  What I found instead was tailor.  I quickly landed a 33cm tailor and a yakka.  Shortly after I hooked something with more weight but hardly any fight.  I was not surprised to bring up a red rock cod.  I didn't feel like risking the spines so I used the pliers to shake it off the hook without lifting it from the water.  I rebaited and decided it was time to try out my Father's day present - a camping espresso maker.  You fill it from a thermos and then pump it to build the pressure.  Not the easiest thing to anchored over a reef with a side on swell, but the result was worth it.  

I had figured that the red rock cod was a sign I was too far up on the reef so I was planning to finish my coffee and move off a little.  Just as I was enjoying my coffee the rod in the holder got hit.  It had more fight than the cod so I thought probably another tailor.  But I was wrong.  It was the target species, just not the target size - it only went 27cm so was released. 

Given that catch I decided to stick it out.  Over the next hour I pulled in another 3 tailor and 3 more red rock cods, but no more snapper.  

I decided to call it and head in, with a few drifts inside (and one more coffee) along the way.  Once home I smoked one of the tailor and filleted and vac-packed the rest and a yakka as future flesh baits.  

I don't have any photos of the fish because I had to go out in the arvo - but here is one of Cafe Envy.

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Sounds like a nice morning on the water Craig. Especially with a nice hot coffee on the go! 

When you drift those reefs with the drop offs, do you use sps at all? 

If not, it’s probably worth a shot. Especially if your sounding bait. The snapper will sit under them waiting for an opportunistic meal. You can leave a baited rod in the holder at the same time. Just a thought! 

Cheers scratchie!!! 

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Thanks scratchie - will give it a go.  Cast ahead of the drift, right?

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Red rock cod = poor mans lobster. Theres a nugget of flesh on them that is really sweet and delicious. Not exactly enough to make a meal, but worth taking one or two home for a tasty snack. 

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8 hours ago, kiwicraig said:

Thanks scratchie - will give it a go.  Cast ahead of the drift, right?

Yes mate! Big long casts and just let it waft under the bait. You don’t need to impart much action to the lure at all. Then big long loops back towards you. It’s a great way to target them with very little crappy bicatch! 

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49 minutes ago, flatheadluke said:

Nice report Craig well done.

How did the tailor taste? 

It was nice but a fairly strong flavour, next time I'd bleed it if I was planning to smoke it.

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Tailor is nice smoked, just bleed it and chuck some lemon up its guts with a bit of herbs, simple but goes pretty good on tailor, 

but more importantly how does the coffee taste??

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sorry I couldn't join you. I'm out in two weekends time. I ended up making some big sinkers instead. Load of wind

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I have handled many Red Rock Cod and not had trouble with any spines. Just grab them under the head if you need to hold one. Other relatives of the cod do have poisonous spines and head spikes.

They are more head than body, but the bigger ones around the 30cm mark have small chunky fillets that are good eating.

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On 9/17/2018 at 9:28 AM, Squ!rt said:

but more importantly how does the coffee taste??

Not as strong as what comes out of my home espresso machine but certainly good enough for it and about.  Smooth and balanced with just a hint of pilchard...

22 hours ago, Yowie said:

I have handled many Red Rock Cod and not had trouble with any spines. Just grab them under the head if you need to hold one. Other relatives of the cod do have poisonous spines and head spikes.

They are more head than body, but the bigger ones around the 30cm mark have small chunky fillets that are good eating.

I have a fairly healthy respect for these.  I got spiked once through a soft sided Esky bag and it certainly hurt a lot.  Could of been worse though - I was fishing from a yak that day and put it between my legs to land it! That said they are much better eating than most people give them credit for.  I've got a recipe for cooking then whole and they come out looking like a sea monster!

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10 hours ago, kiwicraig said:

 I was fishing from a yak that day and put it between my legs to land it!

 

Whatever you do in a kayak, do not put a flattie between your legs unless it is in a landing net. I imagine that would be a worse experience.

Edited by Yowie

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3 hours ago, kiwicraig said:

Not as strong as what comes out of my home espresso machine but certainly good enough for it and about.  Smooth and balanced with just a hint of pilchard...

mmmm, pilchard to add the extra salty taste instead of sugar aye?

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I've heard that the red rock cod is a relative of the stone fish and if he gets you properly it is very painful and you are not likely to enjoy the rest of your days fishing!  They can lie in wait for a fair few hours then flick just as you go to clean them but well worth the effort imo

Edited by Toilor3000

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I got stung by really big one while kayak fishing on West Reef (silly me tried to get a baby squid out of its mouth, lol). It was not that bad I would say, painful of course but not really painful-painful.

As for the cooking stuff, amount of meat there and quality of it can not justify killing the creature to me.

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Unlucky on the snapper

But sounds like a good day nonetheless 

I think i want one of those coffee makers,

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On 9/17/2018 at 5:25 AM, Scratchie said:

Yes mate! Big long casts and just let it waft under the bait. You don’t need to impart much action to the lure at all. Then big long loops back towards you. It’s a great way to target them with very little crappy bicatch! 

So I went out for a pre-work fish this morning - report later.  I rigged up my biggest, whitest soft plastic.  You called it @Scratchie - I caught very little crappy bycatch!  Gotta love his attitude thought - he's only just longer than the lure!?

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