Conditions looked promising for an after work session on a local reef. High tide meant some special tactics were gonna be needed to access the sweet spots due to the high spring tide. This is where the wetsuit, dry bag and of course the Van Staal VSB 150 reel.
The kit more specifically is a 3/2mm zipperless wetsuit by West (one of my many surfing suits), a Gill Pro dinghy spray top, some wetsuit fin socks, and my regular Patagonia wading boots. I use a 20L roll top dry bag with a buit in shoulder strap, some plastic sealed boxes inside, containing a small selection of hard and soft lures, as well as the tools and hardware needed for a session. With this kit, and the Van Staal, I am able to drop into deep gullies, and swim between rocks, to get the best access when waders just wont cut it.
The rod coming for a swim this evening is the Major Craft KG Evolution Hirasuzuki Series 11’ 10-42g, and the line spooled on the Van Staal VSB 150 is the tough and reliable Sunline Super Braid PE#3 (30lb). I have found this line to respond well to the rough environment associated with wetsuit fishing amongst the rocks, in the water filled gullies. PE#3 might seem a bit scary to people, but it really is not that thick in the fingers, and distance casting when using the heavier kit is not an issue. The fact it is a bit thicker, means you are less likely to have any braid related issues, especially when you are in and out of the water, rock scrambling and casting out in less than ideal conditions.
The shallow reef I was fishing out over is a bit of a tackle graveyard for anything that dives deep, or softies on jigheads. The minimal swell and fizz to the water was shouting out for some surface lure action. I worked a DUO Realis Pencil in a couple of colours, in between the rock heads, bringing the lure to life across the water. It was not long until the first Bass hit the lure, and brought to my feet. Only a small one, but a good sign that the fish were there. The next Bass was a much better size. It swirled twice at the lure, I kept working it back in, and the third time it hit, giving a good fight as it made a break for the deeper water. Another schoolie after that finished off a fun evening on the reef.
The Major Craft Hirasuzuki may be 11', and coupled with the Van Staal, it is not the lightest set up; However, working these top water lures for a good couple of hours, the set up proved to be very useable, both in the action imparted on the lure, as well as the effort required to sustain continuous casting and top water lure working. It's added length proved very useful when guiding the lure in and around the numerous partially submerged rocks, and made a good job of controlling the Bass in a tricky environment.