Location: Cape to Cape (AAAWA Beach and Rock event)
Date: 17/18th May 2014
Most club members fishing the Cape to Cape event arrived Friday night and spent the evening musing over a forecast of strong westerly winds and reports of seaweed shutting down some of their popular southerly haunts. This meant that all that arrived Friday night and crashed at Laurie’s block had to get up early, dust off the previous night’s festivities and get out and verify if the conditions had improved or worsened.
Scouts left the block early and travelled in all directions, some headed as far south as Hamelin bay, whereas others checked closer to Yallingup. Members met back at the AAA briefing and discussed their findings. Overwhelmingly those that looked closer to Yallingup reported clear water and a breeze that was not as stiff as predicted. Those that ventured further south found evidence of the weed reported and varying amounts of beach erosion, in some cases this included no beach at all where there should have been!
Following the compulsory AAAWA briefing members headed off to their respective selected spots and settled in for what they all hoped would be a bountiful fishing adventure. For some it would turn out to be just that, for others it was all about patience and some hard lessons learned.
Most of the OSACWA team fished close to Yallingup with only two venturing further south for the 1pm lines in. Wayne and Paul braved the tougher southerly conditions, amongst which Wayne was able to extract a cracking bag of 8 Skippy, all a good size. Wayne then headed back north for the evening session where he enjoyed continued success fishing the same beach that both Greg and Bruce had established themselves on. Greg and Bruce reported that with the evening change of light the fish switched on, both of them made the most of it snaring good bags of fish. Wayne’s evening success was capped off with a land based Dhufish no less. It took a bait that Wayne cast close into some snaggy looking rocks in deeper water. Well done and great reward. Conditions worsened about 10:00pm and Wayne decided to call it a night. Later it turned out that this was one of only two demersal fish that were accounted for during the competition.
Paul persisted with the southern areas around Hamelin Bay chasing the big salmon and south coastal mulloway that the area is famous for. Unfortunately neither of these species was willing to oblige him and he was left with a long drive back north with a bag of one species and 8 fish for weigh in.
Adam and Brian had scouted out an area about 5-10 kms south of where Greg, Bruce and Wayne decided to fish the evening. After some scratchy 4WDing the pair arrived at a makeshift car park on the top of a hill where they were greeted with an amazing view. There was deep water, a great looking gutter and the beach was free from weed. It was a spectacular location.
Spirits were up, the whole beach looked fishy, and there was not a soul to be seen. The gear was unpacked and moved down to the beach for lines in. Just after 1pm, Adam cast out a rigged up mulie on his new MT8144 and pimped red Alvey (no glow in the dark handle though) – sourced for him by club sponsor West Coast Tackle. BANG, fish on straight away. Short fight later and the first tailor was on the beach! Things were looking up they thought.
Unfortunately that was the end of the excitement for a while. Patience began to wear thin for the fishing but they were treated to a magnificent sunset that made the trip worthwhile.
The clock ticked 8:30pm, not a single other fish had been caught. Unbelievable! As they were all about to call it a night and drown their sorrows, Brian suddenly appeared out of the dark with a lovely Tarwhine firmly grasped in his right mitt. Good work! Spirits were lifted, but not many more fish were landed. Brian got another Tarwhine and some herring. Adam set out some fillets later in the night, and fished them until 12:00 when he bought them back to the beach, completely untouched. Demoralised the gear was packed up and Adam returned to the car for some shuteye. Got to be better tomorrow right?
The weather rolled in overnight. Adam returned to the beach at 5:00am to find that every cast was met with hefty clumps of weed. The beach was completely shut down for fishing. Damn! Brian, Adam and Chris packed up and decided to head round to the bays on the east of the cape, though not before a coffee and some bakery treats to lift the spirits.
It seemed like others had the same idea as many other anglers and some familiar vehicles were spotted. They must be onto something. After some exploring they settled on a patch of beach along the Eagle Bay Meelup Rd and waited for some activity. Whiting were caught and set out as baits. This kept the pickers at bay whilst they waited for something to take interest. It was slow going.
They had started to pack up the gear when they noticed some chaos further up the beach. It was mayhem, anglers practically fell over each other running along the sand casting and retrieving wildly. Such panic, what was going on? Then they saw it. A school of salmon was heading their way. Heading straight for Adam’s set whiting….then Adam’s surf rod started bouncing and going off in the holder! It stopped just as fast as it started. What? Adam wound in quickly to find a perfectly formed whiting still attached. The culinary salmon snobs had snubbed it! The rod bouncing was most likely tails slapping on the line / rig.
Not one to give up, the whiting was whipped off to the delight of the local seagulls gathered around and a manky two day old mulie was pulled out of the top pocket and fixed on the gangs. Adam set about legging it after the school with a single mulie and one chance of success. About 150m later he was ready to cast. After briefly catching his breath, out went the rig, landing 10m in front of the school. In an instant Adam had hooked not only a nice salmon, about 4.6Kg but also a lovely looking top of the line stickbait that was cast over his line. Two for one! Unfortunately the stickbait was dropped, but the salmon was landed after a spirited fight which included multiple acrobatic jumps. At last something to show for his efforts. Finally he felt like he was on a fishing trip, rather than at an Alvey casting clinic. The school vanished afterwards as quickly as it appeared, and time ran out. Off to the weigh in they went.
Club Weigh-in Results (club points system, but AAAWA bag rules)
Total fish weighed in: 125 fish: 13 Salmon, 11 Skippy, 7 Tarwhine, 1 Dhufish, 2 Tailor, 10 Snook, 10 Blackfish, 65 Herring, 2 Wrasse and 4 Herring