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The difference a day makes - Sydney Kings

The Rev

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Hi there fellow Raiders,

Last week before the heavens opened I had wanted to get offshore to the Wave Rider Buoy on the Wednesday (17 March) to see if I could get a few MahiMahi.  Alas, too much work and couldn’t sneak out early.  The weather was great and the water was warm. From looking at the charts it looked 24+ degrees out there.  And then the rain came, and came as we all know.

Fast forward a week and I was able to take Thursday (25 March) off to catch up on some time due to me - it has been a crazy time with COVID for us at the church I run in Manly.  I checked the surface sea temp chart and saw the dreaded blue colour sitting off the coast of Sydney - cold water.  In the previous 24 hours the water temp have plunged about 4-5 degrees! The difference a day makes.  

Not to be deterred and with a perfect weather day otherwise I headed out by myself yesterday.  Brown water in the harbour greeted me as I launched at Little Manly.  Brown water with a temp of 19.6 C at the ramp 😕. Not to be deterred Iheaded over to Fairlight and caught some live yakkas (10)in about 40 minutes. With the enough bait for myself I headed offshore hoping beyond logic that the brown cold water wouldn’t extend 10km out to sea.  As the conditions were perfect it was a quick run out.  Sadly the water at both the Dee Why FAD and the Wave rider was brown and cold!  Flathead I thought can’t be too affected by this so I headed over to my sure bet flathead grounds.  Zilch.  Not even a tap after 15 minute,  so on we went, next stop Long Reef. When I was catching the live bait one of the charter boats was there (Raptor) filling up on livies as well and we were chatting about our plans for the day and he said that Long Reef often fishes well after rain.

When I got there I was positively surprised to see a few boats fishing - hopeful sign, and green water! I have never been so glad to see green water , so much better than brown!  I had brought with me two packs of Lake Macquarie  caught squid from my trip up there in February that I had vacuumed packed for king fishing.

I went to my spot from my last successful trip there back in January, put the minn Kota on spot lock, put in a few baits and started to burley and waited.  I didn’t;t have to wait long as about 10 minutes later my new Penn Slammer 4500 loaded with 30lb braid and 40lb leader started to move and then sprung to life as a serious fish took off. With drag pealing off I hardly had time to lift the rod before it reefed me on the Wall. 😫. I had probably 11kg of drag on the line when it hit and it hardly stopped it - big king I thought.

5 minutes later the Shimano  8500 Baitrunner goes off.  It also had 30lb broad with 40 leader. As with the last fish it was headed straight for the Wall with the drag screaming.  With a fair bit of line already gone and knowing I was about to be reefed again I locked down on the spool with my hand and the line just exploded.  Big fish #2 gone 😡. I was fishing at this stage with squid heads and I reloaded both rods with fresh bait and set them out in the burley trail and sat back to wait.  In about 5 minuets the Penn went off with the reel again screaming.  Given that this was the first serious fish it had hooked and has 30lbs drag, i was impressed with how smooth it was.  This time I managed to pick up the rod quicker and managed to turn the head before it hit the wall.  I then slowly got some line back and was feeling hopeful until the fish decided enough was enough and promptly headed down this time and reefed me again.  Big fish #3 GONE!

While this was happening other boats had joined the fun with 3 charter boats slow trolling livies.  All of them were hooking up so I thought why not join the fun as after the 3rd fish it went quiet for 30 minutes.  Sadly I hadn’t;t brought by heaviest rod as I was thinking MahiMahi and the Talica 12 was home in the garage.  But I still had the Saragossa 10,000 that was spooled with 65lb braid.  I had a livie on it the whole time the rods were going off and nothing touched it 😞 .  But now was its time to shine.  With a poor mans down river set up deployed I followed the conga line of boats slow trolling livies up and down the Long Reef wall with a whole dead squid attached.  I hadn’t;t even reached the end of the firwst run before the thump on the Gosa’ rod could be heard and we were on.  King for sure I thought and after a good battle managed to net it by myself.  63cm.  Blow.  But i thought to myself- it’s start.  So a fresh squid was baited up and off we went again.  1 minute later - bang - another king. This one went 66cm and was quickly bled to take home for dinner.  Next squid on and another 1 minute troll and bang again.  This one felt bigger.  It wasn;t able to pull any of the line with the drag wound up but was a serious fish the way it pulled.  It went 69cm.

After that it went quiet and I thought the fish are here in this new spot so I spot locked and fished with the Penn with a squid head.  Bang - on again and this time managed to land it.  63cm again so back in it went.

By this time it was time to head in. Final days count was 7-7-4.  & kingfish hooked and fought. 4 landed.

Excited by the reality of how many kings there were there at Long Reef (everyone was hooking up in the time I was there), I snuck out again this morning. With high tide at 7:15am, I thought I can be there on the tide change and I had more fresh squid in the freezer so no need to catch livies.  So today I headed out again, with one of my staff on board on our day off, full of excitement for what the day could hold.  The drive over to Long Reef was amazing with the sun rising behind clouds and the sea having more swell.  But when we got there, the water temp had plunged even further to 18.5 and the colour had gone “Hawksbury River Brown”!  As soon as we got there I new it was going to be a struggle.  I down rigged 2 fresh whole squid for 2 hours for not one touch from a king!  The difference a day makes.

With nothing happening and my staff member now sea sick we can in early, cleaned the boat and sashimi kingfish from yesterdays catch!

for those heading out this weekend - the weather looks good in terms of wind and swell, but the water is flowing south and the brown water from the floods was well and truly affecting things today.  But you never know if you never go - because that is the difference that a day can make.

The Rev


Edited by The Rev
Mistake made on fish length
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On 3/26/2021 at 2:28 PM, Yowie said:

Nice work. You won't catch anything sitting down at home. 😂

The fish will be about somewhere.

absolutely - it's amazing though how conditions change. Even today the surf here at Manly cleaned up overnight from the brown look of yesterday!


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On 3/27/2021 at 5:09 PM, Pickles said:

Way to go Bruce, thanks for sharing - a very comprehensive report with great info and those squid look perfectly preserved.

Thanks Bob - the good old Aldi vacuum packer does a great job!

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