Swirling masses of kingfish, piper spraying, surface bust ups, double hook ups…. fly carnage. All of this on the first day back to work. With boss and uber boss still on leave, I was made temporary boss and exercised my temporary boss status to leave the office early under a still blue sky. Coch was a starter – he needed no prompting whatsoever. I’d heard that the naval base was holding hordes of bait and predators, but that’s very much an outgoing tide spot and we’d be starting at the bottom quarter of the incoming. None the less having launched and pushed the boat out, I decided to have a quick look down that way, but she was dead as a dodo. With a few minutes up my sleeve I scoped a few spots around the harbour; all have good potential to hold a good cruiser from time to time.
With Coch aboard we set off, first for another bypass of the naval base [no signs of life] and then we set off out into the channel. Plenty of boats were about and as we began to find plenty of birds. Mutton ducks sat on their fat asses [they are far from my favourite bird] in hundred square metre patches and terns wheeled around. Bait balls showed on the sounder…. Sooner or later there would be some carnage. We hoped for sooner. And our hopes were fulfilled. We rigged up and first cast against a channel marker saw Coch’s rod buckle and line scream off as a kingi ate the fly.
The ‘fishiness’ in the atmosphere was palpable; soon a slight breeze built up and clouds spanned the sky, making the fishing conditions better than perfect. Schools of kings slashed at piper on the surface and the bait fish took to the air in waves. Under the circumstances we were able to fish 2 up and double strikes were common. We got crossed up and had to move around each other with line screaming off. Netting fish single handed was a challenge I'm used to but what a hoot anyway... and with wind against tide we were held close to the action and as the sun slowly eased towards the horizon, and the workup intensified.
Coch and I were able to change flies and test patterns at a whim; what better situation to test what flies work? I set aside my usual never fails and tried out flies gifted to me with some success and some abject failures. It was pretty special being out there as such carnage unfolded. No style of fishing would have been more suited to the situation than fly; and nowhere else in the world I rather have been. Our banter was minimal as we concentrated on hooking, playing and netting fish around each other. With twilight upon us we made the call to head closer to home and on the way just had to stop and fish the Rough Rock, scene of brutal hook ups and bust offs in the past. I reached for the fly box and settled on an EP Flex Calamari in bleeding colours. We jointly cast and Coch hooked up straight off while my fly was mouthed but not taken. Finally after several casts I got a good eat and set the hook on my last fish of the day. It was a stroppy little bugger and why he’d decided that squid was on the menu…. Well who can say?