I have been trying for a Yellowtail on fly for 3 years with no success. The most frustrating time was off of Robben Island two years ago when big (6/7kilo) fish would follow the fly all the way to the boat without committing. Well I finally managed one yesterday. It was the perfect day offshore:
We headed out of Millers Point at 8am and immediately saw surface action two kilometers offshore. I hadnt even rigged my fly rod but we quickly threw surface plugs through the commotion with no pulls. It was a giant pod of dolphins chasing bait with a few seals in the mix. The highlight was a few minutes in when a Thresher Shark jumped clear out the water on the edge of the shoal. The first I've ever seen in the flesh.
With yesterdays public holiday the water looked like the Bassmaster classic and with crowds in mind we decided to head to the Anvil and then out towards the tuna grounds in the hope of finding some small Yellowfin tuna. We quickly found small groups of Skipjack Tuna breaking the surface but couldn't manage to get one to take a spoon or plug. Eventually we stopped and cut the motors and then spotted something big coming our way. A Mako! He swam straight under the boat and with two kicks of the tail sped off at pace. We dropped a few casts but he was gone and we had no chum to convince him to stay.
On the sharks departure little skippies started breaking the surface all around us and we drifted along. I rigged up my 10wt Scott S4s with a Rio Deepsea 300g, straight 30lb flouro (7ft) and tied on my go-to clouser for anything chasing small bait in these seas- Chartreuse lead dumbells, white Sea Hair layered with Yellow Super Hair and Light Blue Super Hair over it. Basically yellowtail colours.
Brad was casting plugs and spinners with no joy and I couldnt seem to pick up a strike either so I changed tactics by dropping the line ahead of our drift and dropping it to sink for 30 seconds. I tweaked and retrieved slowly and felt two bites and then a hard pull - ON! The fish took off into the backing and after a short fight I felt a few vibrations and the fish came off.
This started the bite and we quickly picked up a few on spinning tackle. What interested me is how many fish we dropped, over 60%. The amount these fish shake means that they quickly work a hole big enough for the barb to pull out.
After enough skippy action we saw some big surface action and chased after it. Before we could get to the shoal one of the trolling rods screamed and as it did i dropped a full cast back- good reaction! I let it sink for a count of 10 and then two strips in I had another slow bite and pull. My fish was pulling strangely and not taking line....strange. The line was now almost heading straight down and as I looked overboard i couldnt believe my eyes. There was a shoal of thousands of big yellowtail about 5m under us and i could clearly see my fish still swimming with the shoal- clouser neatly in the scissors. I yanked to try and see if i could get him to turn and as i did he shook his head and the fly came off, right in front of my eyes! Amazing. To top it off as the fly left his mouth another fish quickly took it and also came off! I turned to a laughing brad to see 2 yellowtail on the same Rapala. Ive seen that with bass and other fish but never on a pelagic.
Back to it- I dropped a cast ahead of the boat again and after the 15 second drop began stripping. I stripped three times and the fly stopped DEAD. And then took off. A few miniutes later I had my first yellowtail in hand. Awesome.
|Going Deep - Yellowtail on Fly|
|Yellowtail on fly|
|Yellowtail on Fly|
|Yellowtail on Fly|
still going to land one of those....
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