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Annual South West Rocks report

The Poacher

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Hi Raiders,

Just got back from SWR - and we had a good time so forgive the big rave. I had been like a kid counting the days to go as my fishing buddy had been there for 2 weeks and was cleaning up on Spotted mackerel to 10kg (yes, the real big boys) and a few spanish to 12kgs. However, when the forecast came through I was shattered - 20 plus knots of wind every day and 2 plus metres of swell for a week with a cyclone in Queensland! Surprise number #1 was we could fish every day as the wind, although strong, was out of the south west and so the river mouth was protected and inshore fishing was possible.

Got up to grassy on day #1 and the water was 25 degrees and so blue you could see the colour even in 25knots of wind. Surprise #2 was there appeared to be few fish active. Eventually a bait went off in a screaming run, and we were tight to a solid fish. 10 minutes in we realised that it was no spotted mackerel, but something bigger - awesome. 10 minutes later we were chasing the fish to win back some line. Eventually, it comes up, totally spent and didn't even flinch when we stuck the gaff into 20kilos of prime spanish - on a threadlike it was a great fight, and well worth the crappy conditions. A couple of other baits were "scared" by fish that didn't strike and so we went home all smiles.


Next day we were straight out again and surprise #3 was hitting a large log at about 50km/hour. We were in part of the bay that was still a little bit sheltered and we were cracking along. Andrew just had time to hit neutral, before we hit it. It looked all OK, and we wrote it off as a warning - you never can tell what will happen on the water. The log was half submerged and was all but impossible to see. Anyway, surprise #4 was not even getting a hit that day.

Had a few days off to spend with the family and let the fishing improve. During this time I noticed that the log had actually damaged the transom significantly, and had pulled the top two bolts through the inner fibreglass well, and the engine was only supported by the outer hull. Luckily, we had my boat there as well.

So anyway, went out Friday and noticed some bait balls being worked over about 400m from Grassy head middle ground. There were 10 boats already on the spot, so we had the bait balls to ourselves - awesome. First bait it got nailed within 1 minute, and was a smallish Spanish. Second bait in lasted about 1 minute and it hooked a chunky fish. It pealed a stack of line, and given we had caught 2 spanish, we thought it was a 30kg job given the way it went. We chased it round a bit, and as there was still bait being chased around us, I slipped another bait over the back for my son. It was too good not to, even though my mate was still tight to a big fish. Anyway, it went off after a minute and so we had a double hook-up going. It was insane. At one stage I reckon we had 2 fish 200m apart with the boat in the middle. Anyway, after a lot of driving and stuffing about up comes surprise #5, a Longtail at about 16kgs. Those things will pull a Spanish backwards! Meanwhile, my son had done pretty well not to loose his cool on his fish. I had whacked a gimbal belt on him as he had done a little "Wicked Tuna" and stuck the rod in the holder to crank, as he needed a rest. (PS - Wicked Tuna is a Reality TV show about professional tuna fisherman in the US who fish with rod/reel and the leave the rod in the holder). Anyway, with one fish in we could focus on his, and we got it too in pretty short order after that. After a big clean down, we eventually got to the spot to find things pretty quiet, though we did get a spotted mack.


All in all, a real day to remember for all of us. 4 great fish by 9am. For Andrew and I it was a great day, as we had put about a dozen trips in chasing bluefin at Port Stephens for nothing. So we got to tick them off the species list. Plus for me, to knock over a solid fish with my son was a day to remember. Finally, we also went up to Smoky Cape one night, and saw a rainbow land on Fish Rock - I kid you not! There must be some treasure there.



The weather is improving now that I have come home, and I am sure that guys will catch heaps of fish this holiday break, and good luck to them.

Thanks to other raiders who have given me some rigging advice for the Mid North Coast in the past. Refining your technique with rigging certainly makes a difference.

Anyway, I feel blessed by God to have such an experience, and wish you all the best for Easter.


The Poacher

Edited by The Poacher
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Hi Chocolate,

Yes, the bar is always an issue. But if you keep your wits about you, then I don think you would have a problem. I like it because it keeps the volume of fishers down. Its such a good spot, that if it had a harbour there would be even more boats there!,


The Poacher

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Hi Skirulz,

Thats bad news. The gaols grounds have been hot and cold for me. Whilst Grassy can be slow, its very rare that you get nothing up there. Whereas the gaol grounds can be a marine desert one day and 3 days later there are marlin 400m out from the gaol. Would love to see more reports from that area so if you are up there again, let us know. Thanks in advance.

The Poacher

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