Saturday, 14 November 2015

2015 Snapper Trips

Since writing the Marlin blog i been busy making fishing gear and promoting Busted Fishing so there was not much time to fish. Needless to say by the time October was in sight i was itching to get back out there chasing Snapper. This season i also had a welcome addition in the form of a jet cooker and my first cookup was Sphagetti Bolognaise which went down a treat. I regret not getting onto them sooner as it doesn't add much weight to the backpack at all.


After the first 2 trips without a fish i managed the first Snapper at the end of September

Start of October i had another great weekend with the first Snapper of the rocks, and then the plan was to catch some fresh Squid afterwards and fish of a pier. The morning session produced one small Snapper.

The new addition to my tackle for 2015 was a new Avet MXJ Mag Cast reel which i planned to put through it's paces. Although not the perfect outfit for casting Whiting under a float for Squid i wanted to see how the mag cast would handle it. I was very surprised with it's performance and managed two good Squid from the beach

Armed with the two Squid, the Avet MXJ and the Anyfish Anywhere Six & Bait i headed to a jetty for a night session. And what a session it turned out to be with 2 great Snapper landed on Squid strips and the Duck's Nuts running rigs. The Avet cast like a dream with zero overruns

Having a rest the following day having already bagged out i headed back to the rocks for another night session and pulled up another nice Snapper rounding up a great trip.

The rod i been using this year is a Anyfish Anywhere Six & Bait multiplyer and typical weights i would cast were 4oz to 7oz grip sinkers, depending on conditions. The rigs were all Pulley Rigs and Duck's Nuts running rigs with either Pilchards or Squid strips.
The rod as always performed flawless in belting out the heavier weights and knocked over the large rays and skates with ease. Occasional Eagle Rays always provide some great fun too like this fella leaping out of the water on two occasions.

During the past couple of seasons i noticed Pilchards outfished the Squid baits during the day and vice versa during the night so i was keen to get a few more Squid on the next trip. And what a crazy session it turned out to be as i bagged out on Squid to 42cm hoods in 2 hours. The rig i used was just a standard Whiting on a prong with a sliding glitterbug float set to about 1m depth.

Having plenty of bait i caught up with a couple of mates on the pier and we got our favourite spot and started to punch squid strips out, hoping for a Snapper. My rod was the first to go off and straight away it felt like a good fish. My mate netted a nice Snapper of 7.5kg and just as he did his rod went off and he ended up with 4kg model as well. Over the next couple of hours our other mates also caught a Snapper of 5 and 6kg each which was their pb so all round it was a great night.

There was a storm warning for the first weekend of November but i was so pumped all week to get out and chase Snapper i decided to go anyway. And i'm glad i did as it turned out to be the best 2 days. Friday night i got a nice Snapper but struggled to take a good photo with the phone and wet hands. Soggy fingers and touch screens don't mix but eventually i got one with my head cut off.

The next morning i managed another 2 Snapper of which i released this smaller one after a quick pic

The hike back to the car took an hour and i put the 2 fish on ice, changed into some dry clothes and had a nap. Batteries re charged, the weather looking better i was keen to get back out there and have a fish at sunset.

With Snapper number 3 i had reached my bag limit and i was stoked. I dug the Snapper into a deep hole in the sand to keep it in good condition and called it a night.

The next morning started of awesome with another 2 nice Snapper and another one released as i had enough to carry back anyway.

The hike back out took me over 2 hours and i struggled with all the gear and 3 fish in the bucket but it was one of the best Snapper trips i had with 5 keepers and 2 released.

By mid November work commitments were piling up and there was one last chance to get out for a landbased Snapper trip. I left work early to be on the rocks before the change of tide and luck would have it, not even an hour into the trip i pulled up a nice Snapper.

It turned out to be a great night for Snapper with another 2 over 40cm completing a bag and the final tally was 19 Snapper over 40cm for the season

On the way back to camp i came across a few Penguins which were a great sight and it's the little surprises like this, that always make up for a great experience

Landbased fishing can be very disappointing but also very rewarding, no matter what the outcome. Just being out there in the elements can provide a great sense of freedom and i'm already looking forward to next season and planning other landbased adventures.

If you like this blog, check out my website Busted Fishing for more landbased fishing blogs.

Thanks for reading,
Frank Fernkorn

Saturday, 18 April 2015

My Marlin off the rocks

There were some changes in 2014 with access to the Beecroft Weapons Range, with first access restrictions to only daylight hours and then it was changed to the gate opening at 2am in the morning. This meant for us we missed out on booking any accommodation in time and we made a plan to travel up from Melbourne before Christmas, hoping to get a spot on an outer ledge for 4 weeks. When Brad and myself got there, we found nobody else was there camped for that time and we started to set up our swags.

We didn't have much luck fishing wise and as the weather blew up we couldn't fish. Then we got a call, Francois had secured an overflow site at the caravan park and we packed up and concentrated on fishing the bay instead.

Previously we slept down there on the rocks, but now we had to carry all our stuff in at 2am and back out every night. Pumps, hoses, pools, backpacks, rods and reels, burley etc. Setting up pools at 2.30am and catching bait til the sun comes up, then fishing all day. After 3 days of this routine we were stuffed.
All i managed to hook was a Hammerhead Shark, which we released.

After the first week, Adem and Francois came up and Brad had to go back to Melbourne. Neither of us had any luck over the next 3 weeks, but we saw Antonio catch a magnificent Marlin, which gave us a lot of motivation to get up early in the mornings and fish, eat, sleep, repeat.

At the end of my 4 week stint, i stopped for a fish down the coast and reflect on the 4 weeks with a cold beer or two. Having just left, plans were already set in motion to make the 9 hour drive back up the following weekend. Work commitments, relationships and sanity can be pushed to the limits in the pursuit for this one fish of the stones.

The next weekend came and went fishless again, so did another weekend after that. Driving up from Melbourne for 9 hours on a Friday after work, to be at the gate at 1am and ready to fish til Sunday afternoon and drive back to Melbourne, sleeping at the factory for a couple of hours before starting work is a tough gig and this was to be the last trip for the season.

Motivation on Saturday was at an all time high after young Wil Scheibe had just landed a magnificent Marlin and everyone was buzzing.
As it happened, i fed out a live Slimie Mackerel on the southern end and coundn't control it. The bait snagged me around a boulder and i lost my rig and had to retie the double. I was spewing.
Finally back in business, i fed out another bait on the northern end just behind Nathaniel's bait. All of the sudden as i feeding out line, it went a bit quicker and the float went under. I said to Nathaniel "I think i'm away". He said "you reckon?". I said "not 100% sure". He said "wait a bit". It just kept cruising off at a steady pace and my heart was in my pants. Nathaniel said "I think you're on, maybe hit it". I said "you reckon?". It picked up a bit of speed and i hit it. To my delight a small Marlin launched out of the water. It put on a great show, jumping all over the place, to the left of the bay and then back to the right. It's all a bit of a blur as i was so worried the hook would pull again or something else would stuff up like it had before.
Young Brett Rushton managed to take a couple of great jump shots.

Needless to say, i was over the moon when the fish hit the rocks after a few years of trying to catch one and i finally had some luck as well. The hook was only just lodged in the very last soft part of the bill.

Although painful, it was a great pleasure to carry the fish back up the steep track to the car and in traditional fashion, it was strapped to the bullbar and taken to the filleting table.


A big thanks to the local guys for sharing the ledge with us again this summer, to Phil for gaffing the fish for me and Corbo for taking some great pics.
Also a big thanks to the guys from ALBAA and ANSA for the effort to make the changes in access hours. It's much appreciated.

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