We made an early start and left the calm waters of Thomson Bay bound for the rugged West End of Rottnest Island. Trudging through the waves we raced down the south side of the island enduring whip of the cold salt water in our eyes on what seemed like every wave.
The target for today was the notorious Pink Snapper, well known for their brilliant looks and downright dirty tricks when hooked in shallow reefy waters.
Finally we arrived at “the spot” and anchored up in a sheltered bay next to a ledge that fell sharply from 5 – 15 meters. We were confident they were here and after recently spawning in Cockburn sound we just knew there’d be a few hunting in the shallow water looking for trouble. The burling started and I watched the cubed pilchards disappearing into the depths below.
I mainly fish 4-5 inch jerk minnow style plastics like Atomics, Snapbacks or the trusty Gulps loaded onto 3/8ounce TT (10 grams) 4/0 bullet jigheads. For me it’s about the sport of catching something, so I like to keep it light by using graphite Daiwa spinning combos, in these case it was in the 4-6kg weight range.
“Lines in” we cheered as my fellow desky eagerly awaited with a freshy rigged plastic at the ready – we’re finally fishing! I couldn’t see any fish on the sounder but I was confident that the snapper would be lurking just out of site by now.
The lure slowly sank down, watching the bow in my line as it went down, suddenly there was a sharp ‘tap tap’, I quickly shut the bail arm and lifted the rod tip… nothing. I let the lure rest on the bottom for a moment and cranked back a small amount of slack line allowing the lure to seductively lift off the bottom a few inches as if it was a bait fish popping out of its home for a look around… BANG the line went tight and I was on!
It was the familiar short sharp bursts with lots of head shakes that had me shouting “Pink Snapper”. After a dirty fight all the way back to the boat a brilliant silvery pink specimen was hoisted aboard. Seconds later and still trying to get the hooks out of the fish for release my other rod that I’d floated a pilchard out goes off. ‘No way’ I was thinking, I grabbed the rod and sure enough am back into my favourite back and forth tussle. Not long after, we have two brilliant fish on board and it was high fives all round.
We continued fishing and releasing a variety of amazing species from ‘the spot’ that had hardly ever held a fish before. Some days, the hard work and many hours on the water are forgotten about when it all comes together.