Report: 2 hour walk mission
Posted on 28 October 2016
Original plan was to fish a spot that Felix and Jack normally fishes but due to swell and wind we fished a different spot that was also new to everyone
Due to taking an incorrect turn near the start, we ended up walking along the rocks rather than cutting through the bush and in total we walked around nearly 2 hours to our spot. We walked 50~60min to the first spot, fished it for an hour then walked another 40~45min into a different spot and fished for few hours and later when we finished and walked back to the correct path, it only took a mere 20~25 minutes. We were carrying a full bag of berley, 5kg of banana prawns and whole bunch of other gear, water bottles, food, camera equipment and etc so you can imagine what a mission it was to carry everything even wading through knee deep water along slippery rocks and climbing up multiple cliffs. Overall this would have to up but there with the top 2 hardest walks of all time rivalling the infamous Box Head walk Gabriel and I experienced a few years ago where we didn’t have a 4 wheel drive so we had to walk in from before the big hills.
Due to the swell and wind, we fished the protected side of the ledge which looked more like a shallow calm bay for squid or groper and my predictions were correct with Gabriel landing a monster 40cm+ hood length calamari on ISO and Jacky’s father landing a small brown Groper around 50~55cm. That was at the first point which we only fished for around an hour before taking a short break and then walking another 45min. Upon arriving, everyone prepared to rig up whilst I decided to drop all my gear and walk another 7~8min further around to the ocean facing ledge and I saw paradise. If the conditions would have allowed to fish that side, this would be where a 70cm+ Drummer would come from.
Anyways I walked back to the protected side and began fishing. First 2 hours was very quiet as tide was low and zero wash, almost like harbour fishing but still this was Port Stephens and to combine with that this was a spot that is very untouched so I had high expectations. There’s no shortage of wrasse and parrotfish at this spot as we were pulling them out like rock cods. I managed to catch my first Blue Drummer which has been on my bucket list for sometime. In my opinion they are much more closely related to the Korean/Japanese Onaga due to their tail and they are found in areas which have current lines produced by islands between ledges. They hit the bait similar to Snapper where your fishing with an open spool and they smash the bait in the top water column with a big surge of line coming off the spool at great speed.
Later when the tide had changed and started to rise the water looked much better. We fished a hole infront of us which now looked promising and we began berleying. Jacky’s father managed to land another small brown Groper and we all started to consitently land some fish which included smaller Drummer and Trevally. As the tide became higher we started getting better sized Drummer including a few 43cm~47s by Gabriel and I.
Biggest Drummer of the session came when I locked up fully on a 51~52cm Drummer, nothing big, not a big size for Port Stephen standards. Very easy fight, locked up tight and it didn’t take any of my drag or lever-brake and after few seconds it was up on the surface.
Highlight of the session:
Now this is what we came for. Jacky’s father who is fishing Groper gear, as I didn’t ask what setup he was using but it was Shimano Fireblood Wild Game #2.2 wasn’t too sure about mainline and trace either but I assume it was #7 or #8 trace to a 2/0 size hook. He hooked up to a massive Drummer in the hole and locked up completely as well. After an immense tug of war and pumping the fish like no tomorrow it came up to the surface within seconds and everyone was just in shock at the size of this thing. Everyone who saw the fish could not believe at the size of this thing. This was a VERY LONG Drummer, it had the build of a Silver Drummer like a torpedo and it was a ridiculous size. There is no doubt the Drummer was 60cm+ infact it was looking more like 65cm+ but we’ll keep the estimation modest at 63~65cm. This was not your usual fat bowling ball shape Drummer but the longest Drummer I’ve ever seen, you could have mistaken it for a pelagic fish.
This is where the shit show begins, with the monster Drummer up on the surface and just awaiting the net, Jacky’s father could have now backed off a bit and played it easy but as he brought the fish up to the surface so fast, it still had some power left in him to which Jacky’s father continued to pump the fish when it went for a dive which resulted in a bust off on his mega heavy trace.
Since that session, that moment kept on replaying in my head will definitely have to go back and fish this spot again especially the ocean facing side where I think a 70cm+ Drummer is possible.
For an area that is untouched and hard to access, the result was very poor but it was a great learning experience and we're confident on what to do next time and how to fish it.
I look forward to the day I can fish this ledge again or somewhere nearby with the proper preparation and conditions and I have no doubt a 70cm+ Drummer lurks around this area.
Although we didn’t get to take much photos and videos etc Gabriel should be uploading whatever photos we did manage to take.