The rain made fishing Iluka tough but we still managed to get a few fish…….

Conditions: Strong south easterly winds pushing up huge 3m swells and plenty of rain
Season: Late Autumn
Strategy: Fish the protected areas away from the winds and large swell
Technique: Soft plastics fished in close to the rocks
Gear set up: 3-5kg 7ft graphite rod, 2500 size reel, 8lb braid & 8lb leader
Lures: 3” soft plastic minnows & 2” soft plastic creature baits on a range of jigheads
Session Rating: 3/10 – It was cool hanging out with my older brother and catching some fish but the weather tested our spirits.

Fishing down at Iluka over the previous couple of days had been pretty good but just as my older brother arrived the weather turned for the worst. The fishing over the rest of the trip was restricted to the rain free windows between squalls and downpours. Around 50mm of rain ended up getting dumped over those 3 days and so if our accommodation had not already been booked from a week earlier we probably would have come another time when the forecast did not look as grim. We toughed it out, managed a few sessions and actually ended up having a pretty good time.

Bream feeding at the rocks walls

Mullet were running at this time of year which down in the Clarence River means that the mighty Mulloway is not far behind. While we didn’t tangle with any Jewfish, the Bream were plentiful. The big swells meant that we concentrated our efforts on the protected river rock walls in toward town and around the harbour.  It was along here that the Bream swarmed all of our offerings. They provided plenty of entertainment on light gear when our plastics wafted down in close to the rock walls on light jigheads.

Double hook-up and a new species

We managed to get up to one of the magnificent headlands for a session. The waves made fishing the front impossible so we moved over to the north side where we were a bit more protected.

I pretty quickly hooked a little Bream on a plastic and as I brought it in, big bro hooked a Flathead to give us a fun little double hook up for the day. Not long after this, big bro was hopping his plastic back when it appeared to snag in the sand. As the wash from the waves pulled back, we walked out and saw a tiny mouth poking out of the sand. We pulled it up and out came one of the ugliest fish I have ever seen.

It’s called a Stargazer because its eyes are on top of its head and it sits buried in the sand all night looking up at the stars while it waits to catch bait that passes above it. Apparently they have delicious white flesh but we opted to throw it back anyway.

We managed a couple of other little fish as we checked out various spots around town. It was nice spending a bit of time with my older brother.  We both agreed that we need to go back down again when the sun is out and the wind and swell back off.

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