The week that ended as the fulfillment of one of my ambitions, no pun intended, did not start out so well.
I took a group of my friends out over a couple of days to check out the fishing around the Port before the ‘Newcastle Port Stephens Shoot Out’ tournament at the end of the week.
The inshore conditions up here have been changing so rapidly it is hard to keep up with them. I spent a couple of days inshore looking for the Blacks, one day a spot would look good with good water colour and temperature the next cold and dirty, in fact sometimes it even changed whilst we were there. After a couple of days of that and only catching one Black at Seal Rocks I’d had enough and decided to try the offshore grounds.
The first day offshore the water went to that magical indigo blue at 80 fathoms so we put the lines in and you wouldn’t believe it the line was pulled out of Dom’s hand and a Blue took off in a screaming run doing what they do best. Unfortunately it came to an abrupt halt when on one of its jumps it landed on the line breaking it. The lines went back in, we hadn’t gone much further when the ‘Pakula Lumo’ was hit again but again this ended in tragedy when after a short fight the swivel was straightened. We ended the day losing another much bigger Blue which after taking the ‘Fallen Angel’ on the shot gun, just fell off the hooks, how they can do that constantly amazes me, and tagging a small Black in 200 fathoms. At least I’d found where I was going to fish during the ‘Shoot Out’.
The week-end came, the weather was not the best but we took off for the grounds an hour away. We put the Pakula’s in just short of the shelf in 25 degrees of beautiful water. A few boats were working some bait just on the edge but seeing no apparent action I continued to where we’d been the day before on a nice down hill run. It didn’t take long before the ‘Lumo’ was hit but no hook up, a few second later the ‘Fallen Angel’ on the shot gun was taken and after the usual screaming run charged the boat and went deep dogging it out for some time before Marchello worked it back to the boat where it was dutifully tagged. I’d definitely found a hot spot because in short time we tagged another two Blues, one on a ‘Lumo’ and the other on the ‘Fallen Angel’ all three being between 140 and 170 kilo’s. The crew of new comers were stoked having never experienced anything like it.
Day two of the ‘Shoot Out’ started and we were raring to go, we knew we were leading the competition now all we had to do was stay ahead, catch another couple of fish and we were assured of winning. Seemed easy after our success the previous day but old Murphy was watching; I couldn’t raise a scale and in the area I’d been fishing the day before there were now ten boats, the only fish we saw were on other peoples lines. A few other boats had tagged two fish and lots had one. All day long we were waiting for someone to over take us – to say it was a long frustrating day was a major understatement.
However we did prevail and the crew of Wayhu, Daniel, George and Marchello with the help of Pat received a great introduction to Tournament fishing.