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Change of plan bears results


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I went out yesterday with a friend of mine Edgar who came up from Sydney.  He wanted to try the off-shore flathead fishing I've been doing a bit of lately.  Conditions were ok but not great but we decided to give it a try.  We headed out not too early at about 7.  We stopped for a drop over the bottles on the way out the flathead grounds, but there was not much on the sonar and we did not get a touch so we moved on.  When we got out to about 46m we dropped the lines down for flatties and were quickly rewarded with miniature versions of them.  I also pulled in a slimy mackerel that went back down as a livie.

After an hour or so we'd only landed undersized flathead and had reached the end of our drift.  The swell was coming up so we decided to duck inside the heads and change tactics.  We pulled in behind one on the rocky headlands inside Box Head and dropped anchor.  I had decided that we might be able to get some fun happening if we stopped drifting for flatties and got a good burly trail going.  I was thinking it should bring in yakkas, bream and trevs and there was always a chance of a small snapper.  It worked too, because in minutes we had yakka surrounding the boat.

Rather than re-rig rods I kept the same paternosters we had been using off shore.  On two of the rods I dropped the hook size and reduced the sinker weight and we actively fished these rods.  On a third rod I left bigger hooks and a slightly heavier sinker - to run as a heave and leave with big, fresh baits on it in case anything substantial came up the burly trail .  We had a blast pulling in yakkas and a couple of small bream (returned) on almost every drop.  Then Edgar managed to get his line tangled with the heave and leave rod.  I just about had it untangled when I felt something hit the line in my hand.  I cut Edgar's line just below the swivel and pulled the braid free and quickly untangled his leader so he could re-tie it, while I pulled in exactly what we had stopped trying to catch - flathead.  It was only just legal and not really big enough to get decent fillets off so we liberated it.  It had not even managed to pull off the yakka fillet so I dropped it back down again.  Then rebaited my other rod and dropped that down as well.  It never made it to the bottom.  I pulled up another slightly bigger flathead and that one went into the ice box.  We pulled in a few more yakkas and then Edgar yelped with surprise when something a bit more substantial grabbed his line.  He was pretty happy when a good sized flattie came into view.  He bravely (or naively) lifted it in before I could grab the net but it was well hooked.  I measured in at 55cm.

I had pulled the heave and leave line in while Edgar was bringing in his fish, so I rebaited and dropped it again.  And again it was hit straight away and I pulled in another - slightly bigger - flathead that had also swum up the burly trail.  With three good fish and some future baits in the esky we decided to head in and have some lunch and a couple of cold ones.  Had nothing to do with me wanting to call it while I was ahead!

A great morning on the water. Funny how we caught some great flatties after we stopped trying to catch flatties - but that is fishing sometimes!

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