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One of those dayz...

Andy Gunn

It was almost knock off time on a Sunday afternoon. A quick check of the weather forecast for the following morning, followed by a quick phone call to one of the mates, and we had organised an offshore trip fishing the close in reefs for the next morning.

With the alarm going off at 3.00am the next morning, the anticipation of the day ahead was growing. After packing a few drinks, a couple of rods and my ZMan plastics, I was ready for what lay ahead. Arriving at the boat ramp to find my mate waiting, with just a quick transfer of my gear to the boat we were on our way.

Arriving at our destination, we sounded up the bait and positioned the boat, using the bow mount to hold the boat in position, and we were ready to go. Firing out a long cast over the reefy bottom, I let the big ZMan GrubZ sink down on a HeadlockZ HD jighead and started to hop the plastic up around one to two metres off the bottom, then let it sink back down again in search of snapper, sweetlip or whatever other species may be feeding in the area.

Repeating this process it wasn't long before I felt the bump of a fish and then the rod loaded and line started peeling off the reel. After a few good solid runs I had started to turn the fish and gain some line back. The biggest problem I had at that moment was that I had fired out a long cast but was only fishing in about ten metres of water. At any time if the fish got its head down and headed for the reef I would have a lot of trouble trying to stop it. Keeping the rod high and the fish's head up allowed me to avoid losing the fish and after a few more runs and anxious moments I had a nice snapper in the net. Over the next half an hour we managed to land another four nice snapper and drop a couple of fish.

Once this spot had quietened down we decided to head up off to another area of similar depth that had produced for us on previous trips. It wasn't long again before line was peeling off my reel and the drag was screaming. A different fight this time, harder runs toward the bottom but not as long. I managed to get this fish under control fairly quickly and this time I had managed to land a nice grassy.

We managed to land another couple of fish from this area, until it also went quiet. This could have been due to the sun now getting up in the sky or just the commotion caused by the fish we had landed. This is one of the draw backs of shallow water plastics.

Next we headed out to the slightly deeper water, holding some better structure. This time, rather than casting the plastics, we were just free spooling the plastics down when we located the fish on the sounder. Feathering the line down through our fingers gave us more control over the plastic and feel for when the fish were hitting the plastic. This worked well for a couple more fish before they went quiet as well.

On one of my retrieves I gave the plastic a sudden burst of speed to imitate a fleeing baitfish. Doing this, my lure reached about five metres off the bottom before the ZMan 3.75" StreakZ in Opening Night colour got smashed. With a brutal fight and hard runs trying to get straight back to the bottom, I was unsure what I had hooked or even if I would land this fish. Staying deep, with constant circular runs under the boat, I still had no idea what I had hooked. Before long my mate had tried the same retrieve and found himself hooked up to a similar species.

I just kept the fish's head coming up and to my surprise I had hooked a nice yellowtail kingfish. It had actually been a double hook up on these hard fighting fish and once landed it was time for a few quick photos and then they were returned to fight another day.

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