The day started with something I had been hoping for. Confirmation that a velvet swimmer crab peel is happening. Not the big cock crabs, which inspired the fishing back in May, but the females, that secrete a hormone as they are thinking about peeling, and then the males come find them. They collect them under their bodies, and hold onto them until they peel.
This is the only time it is safe for the male to reproduce with her. He continues to protect her until her carapace is nearly hard, when she is released to go on her way. Bass also know this. And bass love velvet swimmer peeler crabs. Add on the cuttle swarms, and there is every reason for the reefs inshore to come alive again.
First sailing, tail end of the flood and first bit of ebb, was with Andrew, his lad Finlay, and his other, elder lad Luke. And, it has to be said, the fishing was pretty good. Not the numbers, but the sizes. We landed eleven, with five released. Not because of size though, but because of law. The limit this season is 2 bass per angler per day. The five released were all in size.
Plus some beasts that got away. Moments after young Finlay landed the biggest fish of the session, weighed on board at 5.5lb, brother Luke lost a fish that was giving all the signs of being bigger still. Cracking fishing, echoes of the magic fishing last July and August. Maybe its about to come after all.
2nd sailing, and suddenly, I was wondering. Armando and Andrew on board. Armando had to catch at least one cuttle, as his wife enjoys eating them immensely. You know when you really try hard to do something, that when you are not trying, is easy...? Thats cuttle.
Happily, in the end, we managed to get one that allowed the net to get behind it. This technique clearly still needs some tweaks. I will nail it next time I have a cuttle enthusiast onboard.
As for the fishing, it was the worst session of the day. Lots of tugs and tweaks, but a lack of commitment from the fish. Just four bass landed, with three of them going off to be eaten. Plus that very hard earned cuttle.
Final sailing, and catch up Christmas present from regular Garry to his son Josh. And what a sailing. Fish landed, fish lost. Several around the 4lb mark. Some smaller ones this session though. Maybe five could have been considered quality schoolies.
The other 11 (yes. 16 in the one three hour session between the guys and me) were well in, and pushing on my max kill size of 5lb. Bycatch? Typically, another cuttle. And a small bream somehow thought it was big enough to eat my 28gm AXIA Mighty Minnow. A very enjoyable days fishing, and happy faces all around. Perfect.