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Hints for your holiday fishing fix

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January 2018 Print Post Approved PP100001534 Volume 29, Number 1

Moreton Bay guides for: • Tuskies • Pelagics • Prawns

Wicked wahoo Kings of our creeks Mangrove jack tips Impoundment barramundi Choosing the right kayak paddle Offshore action

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Inside this month Wicked fishing

Gold Coast

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Giant trevally

Big barra

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That scenario is almost as good as going fishing, to be honest! It’s about now that I need to introduce Drew Argus, a mate of mine, and an absolute guru on everything estuary fishing and prawning. As far as whiting anglers go, you’d be hard pressed

OUR COVER

Phone (07) 3286 1833 Fax (07) 3821 2637 Email: ben@bnbfishing.com.au Internet: www.bnbfishing.com.au PO Box 387, Cleveland, Qld 4163 Unit 2, 39 Enterprise Street, Cleveland, Qld 4163 AFTA PRINTER: Rural Press, Ormiston DISTRIBUTION BY: Fairfax Max. recommended retail price $4.50 (includes GST). CORRESPONDENTS: Editorial contributions are welcome, as is news from clubs, associations, or individuals; and new product news from manufacturers. Entire contents copyright. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. It is the responsibility of advertisers to ensure the correctness of their claims and statements. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. G IN

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Ben Collins Daniel Tomlinson Ben Collins, Kacie Hubbert Jo Hendley

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www.bnbfishing.com. au

EDITOR: SUBEDITOR: ADVERTISING: PRODUCTION:

AUST

FEBRUARY edition will be on sale in newsagents from January 29. See subscriber offer on Page 72 to go in the draw to win a Rod Armour Complete Solution 6 pack and 8 pack valued at $400.

Bush ‘n Beach Fishing magazine is published monthly by Collins Media Pty Ltd ABN 43 159 051 500 ACN 159 051 500 trading as Collins Media.

E TUR FU

GEORGE MOLE nailed this hard-fighting tuskfish in Moreton Bay after putting in some hard yards. More of these brutes will be making an appearance in the next couple of months, so check out ADAM FOLEY’s article on Page 16 for a few tips.

to go past Drew, and as for the prawns, well they just don’t really stand a chance when he is around. He doesn’t mind a feed of them either, let me tell you! Drew has recently taken his passion for prawning to a whole new level by launching Pro Throw Cast Nets. For a long time, Drew actually constructed his own cast nets, custom made for prawning in our rivers, creeks and bays. After hundreds of hours on the water, year after year, Drew’s nets and prawn captures were getting noticed. Drew constructed a number of nets for mates and prawners who desired them and then decided to embark on a journey to find a supplier he could work with to create his custom net at scale, aiming to offer the premium purpose-built prawning cast net on the market. After 18 months finetuning the production, Pro Throw Cast Nets have hit the market, and I sat down with Drew to get the low-down on how to maximise your chances of catching prawns in southeast Queensland. CR: Drewy, you seem to manage to find the prawns more regularly than anyone I know, but what is the best time of year to go prawning in southeast Queensland? DA: It really does change every year depending on the climate and rainfall. Generally speaking, the period from February to the end of May prawns best but it’s fairly common to still get good catches into June. Rainfall is key as the

ATI ON

by CHRIS RAIMONDI

CI

There’s just something about these tasty little critters. A Queensland summer isn’t the same unless you’re tucking into a few fresh prawns in the sweltering heat, washing them down with cold beers while the Aussies smash the poms in the cricket.

Prawning Q&A

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F you’re anything like me, you will spend the Christmas and New Year period attempting to eat your body weight in prawns.

Prawning SEQ..............................by Chris Raimondi ..............................P3 Wahoo mayhem...........................by Mati Bats.........................................P7 Holiday options offshore...........by Bill Corten .....................................P10 Moreton Bay pelagics ...............by Brian Webb...................................P13 Tidal Talk .......................................by Peter Layton..................................P15 Tackling tuskies ..........................by Adam Foley ...................................P16 Wicked Fishing ...........................by Greg Lamprecht ...........................P18 Kings of our creeks ....................by Brad Smith ....................................P20 Looking back to plan ahead .......by Wayne ‘Youngy’ Young ..............P21 Competition Report.....................by Dean Galpin..................................P22 Spotties grace Gold Coast........by Heath Zygnerski ..........................P24 Inshore sportfish action ............by Darren Rama ................................P25 Pelagics in warm water ...........by Gavin Dobson ...............................P26 Ballina summer species .............. by Brett Hyde ...........................................P27 Evans Head ...................................by Gary ‘Squidgie’ Palmer..............P28 Land-based pelagics..................by Tye Porter ......................................P29 Flathead at Newcastle ..............by Nathan ‘Nath’ Palmer ................P30 Wilson Fishing puzzle page .....................................................................P31 Sunshine Coast............................by Wade Qualischefski...................P32 Mangrove jack................................. by Keith Stratford....................................P34 Mackerel mania ..........................by Craig Tomkinson .........................P35 Fraser Guided Fishing................by Tri Ton .............................................P36 Popular spots around Bundy ... by Brad Young ...................................P37 Horizon 485 Scorpion review ..by Daniel Tomlinson ........................P39 Insights into insurance..............by Nautilus Marine ..........................P42 Fishing ideas for holidays ........by Sean ‘Skip’ Thompson ...............P44 Readers Forum.............................................................................................P45 Yak Hunters round-up ................by Mathew Kouimtzis......................P46 Victorian kayak comp................by Eoin Corroon.................................P46 Cooby Dam cod............................by Noal Kuhl ......................................P47 Choosing a kayak paddle .........by Dan Owbridge..............................P48 Yakking for jacks ........................by Joel Johnson................................P49 Charter Directory ................................................................................. P50,51 Rocky Barra Bounty ...................by Lachie Baker ................................P52 Gladstone Region....................... by Gary Churchward .......................P53 School holiday fishing fun....... by John Boon ....................................P54 Stanage Bay ................................ by Pee Wee........................................P55 GTs on Barrier Reef ....................by Todd Eveleigh ..............................P56 Port Douglas fishing trip............... by Daniel Tomlinson..............................P57 Cape York camping ................... by ‘Billabong’ Bazz Lyon ................P58 Torch Review .............................. by Daniel Tomlinson........................P59 Trailer maintenance .................. by Craig Tomkinson .........................P60 Murray cod opening weekend .. by Neil Schultz ........................................P61 Competition Report.................... by Russell Nowland ........................P62 Freshwater Impoundments ..... by Matthew Langford......................P63 Monduran barra ......................... by Donna Gane .................................P64 Barra fishing trip ........................ by Callum Munro..............................P65 Zerek BARRA Tour ..................... by Robert Payne ...............................P66 Bass at Borumba Dam .............. by Peter Herbst .................................P67 Land-based bass ........................ by Jordan ‘Grinner’ Koschel .........P68 Glenlyon Dam...............................by Brian Dare.....................................P69 Moogerah Dam ........................... by Steve Wilkes ...............................P70 Trading Post.................................................................................................P71 Competition Report.................... by Russell Nowland ........................P72

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Top prawning tips for southeast Queensland

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PRO TE CT

Gordy Triplett put his Pro Throw cast net to good use.

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HE past 12 months have been pretty full on, for lack of a better phrase, and I’m definitely looking forward to a more settled 2018.

HIN G T R A D E

One significant impact on the fishing industry was the massive ecological disaster in and around Moreton Bay with the outbreak of white spot disease, with prawns still under a movement control order in southeast Queensland. Hopefully you are aware of what you can and can’t do with uncooked prawns. It is important to be aware of the current regulations so you don’t inadvertently aid in spreading the disease or land yourself with a fine. If you’re not sure, jump on bnbfish ing.com.au to find a whole host of information relating to white spot. Speaking of prawns, this month we’ve got a good question and answer article written by Chris Raimondi looking into prawning in southeast Queensland. It is well worth reading if you want to learn more about catching these tasty morsels. Hopefully a few prawns turn up in our waterways just before Christmas so I can catch some for the relatives. It should almost go without saying but if you are heading out on the water over the holidays, be aware of or have links to current fishing and boating regulations on your phone. On our website we have a useful links page with links to size and bag limits, marine maps, weather sites and more, so make sure you jump on and check it out. Also ensure your boating safety gear is in date and in good condition and you have everything you need for the waters you are fishing or boating in. On Page 5 this month you can read a timely reminder to wear your lifejacket when participating in water sports. Unfortunately, inland water sports, particularly when alcohol is involved, have the highest rate of drowning in Australia compared to other recreational activities. This should act as a wake-up call for everyone to do the right thing. Also in this issue, Bill Corten has detailed the current situation with South Passage Bar. It is important to plan your bar crossing carefully because even the best skipper can be caught out. While there is a picture of the bar in the mag, please be aware sand bars and channels move fairly regularly, so check the weather, including wind strength and wave size and direction before heading out. Our writers have been enjoying awesome pelagic action offshore, so I’m sure a few readers will be heading out over the bar during the holiday season. I’m hoping to get amongst these speedsters and put some blood on the deck of my new Cruise Craft 685 Explorer, which will be getting a full review once I have finished a few modifications and adjustments (hopefully these will be completed in the next month or so). Once fully finished I will put the in-depth review in the mag and on YouTube, detailing the boat, all its options and why I chose them. I haven’t gone over the top, almost the opposite in some cases, so I’ll give you some insight into my thinking throughout the review. Take care on the water and here’s wishing a happy and safe New Year to all. Ben Collins

November prizewinner Congratulations to Ashley Murphy, Holland Park who has won $350 worth of Okuma gear thanks to Tackle Tactics.

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 5


A productive couple of hours.

The solid spread of a Pro Throw cast net.

A top-pocket net is a must when prawning.

Top Prawning tips for southeast Queensland ☛ from P5

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fresh water impacts the rivers and creeks by flushing baitfish and prawns towards the saltier water at the mouth. I like prawning on the run-out tide in the rivers and creeks. In more open water in the bay, a change of tide is best because the prawns will tend to rise off the bottom during periods of low current flow. CR: What type of prawns can you expect to encounter in our rivers, creeks and bays? DA: You’ll generally catch three species in southeast Queensland. Most common is the banana prawn, which is typically a nice size and really good eating. Greasy bay prawns are usually a little smaller and best used for bait, particularly live. School prawns are mostly found up the rivers and creeks. On the odd occasion you’ll come across a few tiger prawns mixed in your catch. Commonly, the eating quality of prawns caught in more open waters such as Moreton Bay is slightly better than in the rivers and creeks. Having said that, my favourite way to eat any of these locally caught prawns is by cooking them on the barbecue or making prawn cutlets rather than boiling them. CR: You’re based at Redcliffe, a northside boy, so where are your favourite locations to chase a feed of prawns?

DA: The Pine and Caboolture rivers are good places to start. Having said that, the Brisbane River and Pumicestone Passage hold great numbers of prawns at times. Bramble Bay, out the front of Clontarf Beach, is my go-to area in Moreton Bay. South of Brisbane, a good place to start is Jacobs Well, as are the Power Lines, Rocky Point, the Saltworks, Redland Bay and the Logan River. CR: When you’re out chasing prawns, how do you find them? DA: Like when you’re fishing, having a good sounder in your boat can make all the difference. Occasionally, the prawns will shower on the surface and give away their location but most of the time you need to locate them in the deeper water using your sounder. Using your sounder, find deeper sections of the creeks because prawns will tend to retreat to those on a dropping tide. Playing around with your sounder settings is also important. Every sounder is different but if you get the settings right, it’ll make prawns easier to locate and you’ll be able to use those shows as a guide each time you chase them. CR: Obviously you’re pretty passionate about prawning and no doubt believe a quality cast net is the key to catching them consistently, given you’ve just introduced Pro Throw to the market?

DA: Again, like fishing, you need to be confident in your gear. Top-pocket nets are by far and away the best for targeting prawns. Prawns will typically swim up once captured, thus congregating in the top pocket where they can be easily accessed before casting again. Bottom pocket nets will work, but you’ll be spending a lot of time removing prawns and baitfish from your net, which means less casting. The gaps between your mesh are also important because you obviously want to ensure as few prawns as possible can get through it and escape. The weight around the perimeter of your cast net is important too. The heavier it is, the harder it is to throw but the quicker it will sink, allowing it to trap more prawns before they escape. No matter what net you use, cleaning it after use and taking care of it is the key to being able to call on it season after season. CR: So in your opinion, what should people out there look for in a cast net specifically for prawning? DA: In no particular order, these are the most important factors, in my opinion. • Use a net that can spread well when cast and sinks quickly through the water column (as heavily weighted as possible). • Make sure your net has a very functional top pocket that is reliable and does its job. That is, it traps and holds prawns.

• Ensure your net is constructed using quality monofilament. Quality ensures strength and means your net is less likely to tear. 27mm mesh is ideal because it will allow a quick sink rate but prawns won’t escape through the gaps. The smaller the gaps, the slower your net will sink. • Ensure the components are quality. That means your swivels should be stainless steel or brass. Make sure your net has quality galvanised chain weight or lead line. CR: Throwing a cast net isn’t easy, for me anyway. What are your tips for throwing one? DA: There are heaps of different ways to throw a net and it really doesn’t matter how you do it as long as it’s comfortable for you and effective. First things first, you need to find a net you’re comfortable holding and make sure it’s not too big or heavy. Learning techniques off

other prawners or anglers gathering bait is a really great way to discover different techniques and figure out the one that works best for you. There are also plenty of ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube and social media, so it’s worth checking those out and practising in the backyard. Some techniques are easier on the body than others, so you just need to find out what works for you and practice the technique that will allow you to keep casting all day. CR: For those chasing prawns for the first time, what are the rules and regulations to note? DA: Here in Queensland, we have a possession limit of one 10-litre bucket of prawns per person. Nets are not to exceed 3.7m in length and must have a mesh size no greater than 28mm. The recent white spot disease outbreak has seen a containment area ap☛ continued P7

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Seqwater warns lake users still water is still dangerous Custom Marine Welding

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isitors to southeast Queensland’s lakes and dams are being reminded to play it safe this summer, with inland waterways continuing to be the leading location for drowning in Australia. The warning comes from the region’s bulk water supplier Seqwater, which manages open catchments, allowing millions of visitors each year to enjoy recreational activities on the dams and lakes that supply our drinking water. Seqwater acting chief executive officer Dan Spiller said the summer months always saw an influx of visitors to Seqwater’s recreation areas, so it was important for all members of the public to take care and be considerate of others. During these busy periods, Seqwater rangers and compliance officers

work with the Queensland Police Service and other agencies such as Maritime Safety Queensland to enforce safe and responsible behaviour on and off the water. “These patrols are not about stopping people from enjoying themselves, rather making sure that people are acting safely and responsibly,” Mr Spiller said. “Our rangers and police can’t be everywhere, so we rely on people to stay vigilant about their own safety and the safety of others.” The warning follows the earlier release of the 201617 Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report, which revealed that inland waterways continued to be the leading location for drowning in Australia. According to the report, there were 97 drowning deaths in inland waterways such as rivers, lakes

and dams in the past year. In addition, the highest number of drowning deaths occurred in summer. To put the safety message at the forefront of people’s minds, Seqwater is launching its annual Play it safe education campaign, which will run during summer through to Easter. “It is important to remember that still water can still be dangerous – accidents can happen if we get complacent,” Mr

Spiller said. “Queenslanders grow up learning about safety in the surf and in the pool, but it’s just as important to follow some simple safety rules on still water. “I encourage everyone to plan ahead by visiting Seqwater’s website to explore what activities are available at each lake, along with helpful safety hints.” Here are some tips for playing it safe at Seqwater sites: • Always wear a life-

jacket when on the water; • Watch your children near the water – remember there are no lifeguards on duty; • Plan ahead and bring sunscreen and plenty of water; and • When swimming, stay within the designated swimming areas. Find out how you can play it safe and where on the Seqwater website or via the interactive map at seqwater.com.au/recrea tion

Help keep white spot out of NSW this summer

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HE NSW Department of Primary Industries is calling on the public to remain vigilant this summer to ensure NSW remains free of white spot disease.

DPI is continuing its work to minimise the spread of white spot, which was detected in

prawns in southeast Queensland in December 2016. DPI manager Aquatic Biosecurity Juliet Corish said everyone in coastal and inland communities has a role to play in protecting our waterways. “This summer we are calling on the community to help play a role in

Fishers are encouraged to keep their fishing gear, boat and trailer clean.

Prawning tips for SEQ ☛ from P6

plied to waters (and inland areas) of southeast Queensland. It is very important that the spread of this disease is prevented, so paying attention to that containment area is key. It always pays to check your local regulations online before you go prawning in case anything has changed, particularly in relation to the prevention of white spot. CR: So when you’ve caught a few prawns, and you’re not too keen on using them for bait, what’s the best way to look after them? DA: Always ensure you keep your prawns in a cold ice slurry. It’s really no different to storing fish; you want to cool them down as quickly as possible and not allow them to stress because that may impact their www.bnbfishing.com. au

eating quality. In terms of storing your prawns, I find two ways work equally well. One is removing the heads but leaving the shell and tail on and freezing them in containers filled with salt water. The other is storing them in bags with the air removed, preferably by using a Cryovac machine. So there you have it – a few key things to note if you’re keen on catching a feed of prawns over the next few months. If you’re interested in a Pro Throw Cast Net, check out the Facebook page at facebook. c o m / p r o t h r ow n e t s or the website pro thrownets.com.au Better still, give Drew a call on 0421 815 608 and he can put you in touch with your local tackle shop that stocks them. Catch ya!

keeping white spot out of NSW, which is especially important when there is more activity on our waterways during the holiday season,” Ms Corish said. “White spot is a highly contagious viral disease of crustaceans, primarily prawns, but crabs, lobsters and freshwater crayfish as well as marine worms can carry the virus. “Prawns are safe to eat. “White spot disease does not pose a threat to human health or food safety. “It is crucial that people fishing, crabbing or trapping yabbies in any of our waterways do not use prawns intended for human consumption as bait, as this might spread the virus to new areas. “We want to make sure

everyone is aware of movement restrictions that apply in certain areas of southeast Queensland to prevent further spread.” Ms Corish said DPI continues to test prawns from both estuary regions and ocean haul zones along the NSW coastline. “We will continue to conduct testing on our prawns in NSW through ongoing surveillance and sampling,” Ms Corish said. Tips to keep NSW white spot disease free • Prawns and other seafood meant for human consumption must not be used as bait. Although safe for human consumption, they have the potential to spread diseases to aquatic animals when used as bait. • Dispose of all prawn, seafood and bait waste in

the bin – not in your local waterway. • Make ‘clean’ part of your routine! Keep your fishing gear, boat and trailer clean. Use soapy water and allow the gear to dry completely before reuse in another location. Ms Corish said as part of the NSW Biosecurity Act, all members of the community have a general biosecurity duty. “Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and we need everyone to remain vigilant to ensure white spot does not enter our state,” she said. Suspected diseases and pests can be reported to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888. For more information about white spot, visit dpi. nsw.gov.au/fishing

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 7


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Page 8 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

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Pete lifted a 27kg wahoo.

Wahoo mayhem W

AHOO have well and truly moved into southeast Queensland waters in large numbers.

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They are certainly not an uncommon capture at this time of year but we have never seen them in such impressive numbers. Many are asking whether these fish are being caught up north or off Cato Reef. It may be hard to believe, but these fish are all coming from the waters off Moreton Island. Though epic numbers are there, they can still be picky, but with some minor adjustments the ‘hoo can lock on and cause absolute mayhem. I am certainly no trolling guru and anyone who knows us, knows we predominantly chase red emperor. Targeting the mighty red emperor has taught us a very valuable lesson, and that is persistence always pays off. This applies to chasing any species and in this case it has paid off for us when trolling. The fish may be all over the

Fishing Trip by MATI BATS

sounder and our lures might be swimming right over their heads yet they are not getting hit. This could mean a number of things. Your trolling speed may be incorrect, you might have the wrong type of lure, the tide or moon phase could be less than ideal, the water temperature/ visibility could be putting the fish off or they may just not be feeding. The key is to keep making minor adjustments until what you’re doing begins working. There are days when the fish will only hit one colour and others when they won’t hit anything at all. Our successful trips off Moreton Island consist of being on the trolling grounds before sunrise, aiming to have a tide change between 5am and 7am and then trolling four deep-diving lures until the tide

change as fast as possible without the lures skipping (usually nine knots). Right on the tide change we switch to hex-head skirts that we troll at 14-15 knots. To many people those speeds would sound too fast for running lures, but it certainly works and our hook-up rates have gone through the roof. Some days only certain colours work and that usually has to do with lighting (overcast days/water visibility), but the go-to colours this season are red, white, pink, blue and purple. However, we have had a couple of trips where we haven’t been able to get a fish to hit a lure, though the fish have certainly been there. Fortunately, one of our crew is a spearfisher, and with the slightest opportunity he gets in ☛ continued P10

The author held a wahoo that was part of a three-way hook-up.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 9


Wahoo mayhem ☛ from P9

Pete landed this 20kg wahoo on a 60g metal slug after not expecting to hook one of the larger fish in the school.

the water to spear a few fish so we don’t go home empty-handed. Usually it can take a while to work out which lures are working on the day and what speed to troll at. This season has been so good that almost all lures and methods are working. We’ve had trips where we haven’t had time to set four rods before the first reel began screaming. On other days we would find the fish and throw metal slugs and stickbaits at them just for the fun of it, which worked too. Many people ask where to troll on a reef system and that is a

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Page 10 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

OR as long as I can remember, I’ve loved fish-

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will never forget. An important thing to remember when heading out for a trolling session, especially when there is quite a bit of traffic, is to ensure you know the location of your spread of lures and to be mindful of other fishos doing the same thing. We’ve seen people getting caught on each other’s lures this season and it can become quite a dangerous and frustrating exercise if things don’t go right. Nothing is more enjoyable than hearing a reel scream, and with a bit of effort and common sense on the water, it’s very possible.

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very broad question. Some fishos will strictly follow pressure edges, others will troll the top of the reef and others will troll the bottom of the reef. It honestly comes down to whatever works on the day, so don’t be afraid to muck around with the trolling routes and routines. This season we have been averaging six to 10 wahoo a trip and we have been home by 10am on almost all outings. On our best trip we landed 16 ‘hoo and had 25 hook-ups, with two of the fish boated going over 20kg. That was one trip we

My mum and dad, not realising the addict they were creating, introduced me to fishing at a young age. I’d try to fish before and after school, and on weekends I’d get dropped at Victoria Point to walk the flats for the day. I didn’t care about the weather – as long as I had a rod in my hands I was happy. As the years progressed, I bought a Clark 12’ tinnie with a 20hp outboard from my neighbour John. Now I had the boat but very little experience navigating or fishing the bay islands. I took every chance I could to get out and explore the bay but my results were pretty ordinary and progress was desperately slow. Around the same time, I heard about the Redland Bay Amateur Fishing Club from a mate’s dad. He invited me to a meeting and it soon became apparent these people were just as nuts about fishing as me. That was 2003. I joined the following year and I’ve never looked back. Members of the club showed me pretty much everything I’d been lacking, such as how to safely navigate my way around different parts of the bay and some productive spots to get me started. Talking to members at the weigh-ins and comparing notes to see what had worked on a particular trip helped my fishing improve

quite quickly. Occasionally no one would do particularly well, but it was nice to know it was the fish and not something I had done wrong. Being part of a club while finding my feet on the water, it was reassuring to know that if I did get into trouble, other club members were close by to help me out. Joining a fishing club helped me become a better fisher and I’ve found new mates who enjoy fishing just as much as I do. Club trips are planned months in advance and because of this I am able to fish more. Advance notice helps me plan better around all the day-to-day commitments and work. The club runs trips for inshore, offshore, freshwater and beach anglers. There is something for everyone. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of joining a club, come along to the RBAFC sign-on day on Sunday, February 4, 2018. We are located between the Redland Bay barge terminal and police station at 247 The Esplanade, Redland Bay Queensland 4165. We hold monthly meetings at 7.30pm on the third Thursday of each month, and visitors are always welcome. You can also find us on Facebook! Now, 18 years later, I still fish out of my trusty little Clark Cutter. The fish don’t care how big your boat is! Adam Neeson RBAFC President www.bnbfishing.com. au


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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 11


Paul Higgins enjoyed catching a feed of teraglin from his Boston Whaler.

A recent aerial shot of South Passage Bar in perfect conditions. It doesn’t always look this easy.

Offshore options over holidays ■ South Passage Bar

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All interesting stuff as the Bureau of Meteorology prediction of a La Nina period for the start of summer due to the trade winds drawing cooler pools of ocean water into critical areas is right on cue. This alteration in the usual weather pattern has had the effect of some changes around our local coastal bar and with this edition hitting the newsstands right at peak holiday time, it is relevant to discuss these. Unlike many other coastal bars, South Passage Bar has no rock training walls or navigational aids and pretty much displays an annual pattern as to what the various channels will look like at this time of year. For example, at the start

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Page 12 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Offshore by BILL CORTEN

If the swells are breaking inconsistently all around you, then exercise common sense and look for a better area of the bar to head out from. of summer the sand usually builds up heavily on the inside of our southern channel around the corner from Amity Point due to a dominance of northerly wind and a severe lack of ocean swells. The first big swell of the new year usually flushes the channel nicely into its regular shape. As this summer has seen more easterly trade winds than those incessant northerlies and with so much swell rolling through, the southern channel entrance on the inside is actually in pretty good shape compared to what I would normally expect. However, the trade-off is the big build-up of sand halfway out through the usual surf zone area and this is making the southern channel a very tricky choice when swell is running. It’s not a problem on the upper sections of the tide on a small swell, but when the swell is from the east with a bit of size in it, and if the tide is running out, heavy surf will be breaking regularly right across the southern end of the bar. One recent day on the way home from fishing, we surfed in across the

southern channel at close to low tide, but while it was still ebbing, and on a small swell the crew with me were amazed at how dodgy it was compared to when we headed out early that morning on a higher incoming tide. My best advice is to work the upper sections of the tide if heading out the southern channel over the Christmas period. If the swells are breaking inconsistently all around you, then exercise common sense and look for a better area of the bar

to head out from. Further up the bar to the north is a sand island that is obvious at low tide. At this time of year it can usually be seen out of the water at high tide because the pre-Christmas northerly wind builds up the sand nicely. With all the swells of late, the sand has been chopped off the top of the island and it is under water at high tide but easily visible at low tide. Because of the deep water immediately to the south of the sand island, many people use this as their entrance to the ocean because it opens into a large area of seemingly good water at high tide and on a small swell day it also looks great. However, a large shallow outer bank runs all the way across the outside. If you head far enough to the southeast you can avoid that big outer bank, but will need to play Russian roulette avoiding the swells on the intervening banks while heading southeast. The area of the outer banks transiting seaward from south of the sand island is where the charter boat rollover occurred

earlier this year and is an area to be avoided by novices whenever swell is running. I call it the false middle channel and encourage people to avoid it because safer options exist. A kilometre or so further north of the sand island is a much better alternative channel with decent water depth. Search for and use it wisely, inputting good accurate waypoints for future guidance as you go and then only rely on what you can see, not GPS co-ordinates, as the bar can look different dependent on tide height, swell size and direction. Further north at Short Point on Moreton Island was a good little channel to use when going north along Moreton to fish the coffee rock and bait grounds. It has really silted up through there lately and is not recommended when the swell is up. While far from being a negative person, I would rather give some advice here and maybe it will save someone some grief from being too ambitious on the bar while on holi☛ continued P14

Understanding the effects of current is critical when diving offshore.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 13


Offshore options over holidays ☛ from P12

Nat Vidulich with a big red from Fitzroy Reef while fishing on his Viking Star in 1987.

days this summer. Another thing – think about wearing lifejackets on the bar and use your radio to log on and off before and after when heading out so someone is maintaining a listening watch on your behalf. All right, that’s enough of the soap box. Fishing wise, plenty of current has been running. It has brought an increase in water temperature locally and dolphinfish have finally arrived at the wave buoy. North along Moreton, excellent teraglin and

The author’s favourite shot of the late Chris Barnard with the results of another ‘challenge’: an excellent 62cm pearl perch.

Page 14 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

amberjack have been taken around Square Patch, with livies almost assuring solid hook-ups and a nice feed. When you’ve had enough of fighting the current, think about fishing the lines of reef closer inshore, such as the 33-fathom reef, for parrot and pearl perch. This reef has been firing well on the big run days, with late-season snapper present too. You can cover a lot of ground and keep bait in the zone over productive spots for long drifts. Some days the current can be fickle, going from nothing to strong and back to a slow run again, even on the shallow grounds. A good example was when I recently had a crew of divers offshore doing some very technical dives with rebreathers and expensive underwater movie cameras for a television documentary they are producing. We got on site in the shallows one day and after anchoring streamed a line with a float attached from the stern for use if need be. In the space of 10 minutes, the line with the float went from facing west to slanting strongly to the south with no change in wind direction.

The crew had a crack at the dive but soon retreated to the stern line because the current was making it too difficult and dangerous to dive with multiple tanks and big bulky gear until the run eased. I get to make a lot of friends with what I do with the boat and enjoy many friendships, but it is always sad when one passes away. Our good friend Chris Barnard passed away recently after a short battle with an aggressive illness. Chris was a guru in the finance industry, an avid reader of Bush ‘n Beach and ultra passionate about his fishing, be it for whiting at the Sandhills or snapper from Tempest, and he really enjoyed catching pearl perch at Wide Caloundra. A devout Christian man who was dedicated to his family, he loved being on the water as one of the boys and was always willing to give advice on life and share his knowledge of financial markets, and was just as interested in what the swells and fish populations were doing on any given day. George Baumber and I really enjoyed his company and our last reef trip with Chris was out of Turkey Beach in March

2017 just before his illness took effect. We shared some very special moments without any of us realising it would be our last offshore trip as a trio and it was fitting that he nailed so many awesome fish on that trip. In the lead-up to that trip he politely informed me of the three vacant spots for special photos of fish on his wall of fame in the study. I always enjoyed Chris’s challenges and it was so nice to later on see those spots on the wall filled and knowing we never let him down, because he was the sort of guy who went the extra yard for you and you always made sure you reciprocated. So many of us learnt a lot about being better people thanks to Chris and he is sadly missed. Another gentleman who recently passed away was Nat Vidulich. Nat was a larger than life character who fished offshore for many years and back in the day loved his night fishing at places including Square Patch, Deep Tempest and an area of the 33-fathom reef known locally as Nats Rock. A good place to anchor and fish at night if the current was running, Nats used to be a mecca for

snapper and teraglin, in particular. Nat used to get around in a range of boats such as his old Viking Star and later a 35’ Bertram. He was heavily involved in the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club when it was more of an offshore fishing power house and was very generous with providing prizes for fishing competitions and throwing in plenty of support when needed. A successful businessman, he helped out a lot of people and that wasn’t restricted just to his fishing and boating activities. Nat was a very talented pianist too and he absolutely blew me away the first time I listened to him play. George used to do a number of coastal voyages with Nat in the days before GPS to some interesting places along our coastline and he assures me Nat was no slouch at coastal navigation. He tells of leaving Lady Musgrave Island to fish the Eastern Warregoes and then heading to Burnett Heads, navigating purely by compass and arriving barely 100m off course. It is sad to lose some of the real-life characters you meet in fishing but it makes us appreciate the good trips even more.

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A paravane can allow you to run your lures or baits deeper to find the mackerel holding away from the surface.

That’s a mouth full of teeth.

An assortment of metal slugs.

Tips on how to target Moreton Bay pelagics

W

ITH the hottest part of the year upon us, many fishos have pelagics on their minds as these silver speedsters enter Moreton Bay waters during summer. Doggies (school mackerel) can be found in the bay’s waters most of the year, while spotties and the odd spaniard turn up off the Sunshine Coast in November and not long after enter Moreton Bay. Bait schools (hardyheads, whitebait and frogmouth pillies) enter the bay from the northern entrance during the warmer months and mackerel action will slowly increase as the bait disperses through the bay. The shipping, Pearl, Rous and Rainbow channels seem to hold the

Moreton Bay by BRIAN WEBB

better quantities of bait schools. However, the action can spill out onto various banks, with spotties often caught in a few feet of water over a sandbank in the northern end of the bay. Most schools are found by spotting congregations of birds dive bombing the water, but if there are no birds, don’t think that automatically means no mackerel. While mackerel can push bait to the surface, they also push it down deep. Having the knowledge to locate mackerel, or at least recognise areas where

they will most likely be holding, will definitely put you in with a greater chance of success. As a side note, while travelling the bay’s northern channels and banks, why not drop a few crab pots in, as you could end up with a reasonable feed of sand crabs to go with your mackerel fillets. Mackerel numbers increase from December to January and the best schools of doggies seem to turn up in the shipping channel and Rainbow Channel, especially from Amity Point south. For the inexperienced fishos, schools of birds

diving are often the only means of finding mackerel and occasionally they are not mackerel below but tuna (longtail and mack). The way to work out what they are is to watch the feeding action. Mackerel will stay under the surface, while tuna will often be seen breaching the surface. Tuna numbers also increase during the warmer months and two out of three bust-ups are tuna and not mackerel. Quite often, the measured mile beacons north to Caloundra will hold doggy mackerel down deep feeding on bait and taking shelter in the eddies formed behind the beacons due to the fast current. There are a few means

of hooking up to a mackerel, but the most common involves metal slugs around the same size as the bait being attacked (20-50g), with silver the predominant colour. Instead of a treble, I use a single hook, which I reckon gives a better hook-up rate than trebles. ☛ continued P16

Using a treble as a stinger rig is a good way to increase your hook-up rate.

Ganged pillies rigged this way can prove deadly when trolled for mackerel.

A typical Moreton Bay bait boil.

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Tips on how to target Moreton Bay pelagics

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Any tackle shop will stock a multitude of chrome or coloured slugs. Some of the more experienced fishos will make their own slugs out of lead moulds or sinkers that are then painted to the desired colours. Another worthwhile option for mackerel is a pilchard rigged on a set of ganged hooks and trolled along the edge of the channels or sandbanks in the northern bay and Rainbow Channel. Surface-feeding mackerel aren’t as fussy as tuna and as long as the slug is shiny and baitfish sized, they will usually attack it. Owning a high-speed reel will give you an advantage because the faster you wind, the greater chance you have of enticing a mackerel. I use a Shimano TSS4 for all my mackerel fishing. Though it may be an older reel, it gets the job done. Shimano Stradics and Sustains in 5000 size are often used today instead of a TSS4. You don’t have to go out and buy an expensive reel. As long as it has a good retrieval rate and decent drag system it will get the job done. My TSS4 is loaded with 30lb braid and a long 20lb fluoro leader. I use a longer leader in

case of bite-offs, as it’s just a matter of tying a new slug to the end without having to re-rig a new leader. I throw my slugs with a Wilson Live Fibre 10’ Champion Trophy rod. Some anglers use a short wire leader to the hook. If you have two fishos standing together casting at the same school, the angler using mono leader will get the job done more times than the person with wire leader. You may lose a few slugs in a day of casting, but you’ll have a better hookup rate. When baitfish are abundant, birds such as terns (common and spotted), mutton birds and gulls can pinpoint the presence of mackerel below. Often a single bird hovering above the water will notify you of a mackerel cruising below. The distance the birds are above the water is usually a mirror image of how far below the surface the mackerel are. As the birds get closer to the water, you know the mackerel are not far below. Don’t focus all your attention on birds, as quite often mackerel will surface on baitfish without the presence of birds. When surface feeding, mackerel are relatively easy to approach, unlike the pedantic tuna.

Get close to the bait boil without running through the school, which will obviously break the school up and scare the mackerel away. Once you’re 10-15m away from the boil, cast your slug to the side of the school and engage the reel and start your retrieve before the slug hits the water, which means your slug is moving at the same speed as the bait and often stops the slug being bitten off. If you entice a mackerel strike, you will soon know by the sound of the reel screaming as line peels off. I have my drag set so line can be easily pulled off the reel but I’ve still got enough grunt to bring the fish to the boat. Beacon bashing is the other way of finding mackerel. About 80 percent of the time the mackerel around beacons will be doggies. Beacon bashing entails motoring up to the side of the beacon and dropping your slugs to the bottom. I generally use a heavier slug (50g) so it gets to the bottom quicker. Once you have given the slug time to sink, engage the reel and wind like mad, giving the lure the odd twitch during the retrieve as you drift away from the beacon. The strike, if it’s going to happen, will usually come when you’re 10-12m

from the beacon. Ganged pillies with weights attached can be utilised in the same way, or you can anchor up and drift the pillie back towards the beacon. The beacons get busy on days with good weather, so if two or three boats are around and some are anchored, I’ll go to the nearest one with fewer boats. The only problem with the shipping channel beacons is the current. On big tides the water fairly roars past the beacons, so I usually don’t attack the beacons until the few hours either side

of high and low when the current has slowed. The issue here is bait and mackerel take advantage of the slower current to move away from the beacon. If you get a mackerel on the first drift, you’ll usually get another on the next drop. If the beacons and bait boils are quiet, I will troll a metal spoon on my home-made downrigger. Other options are to troll Rapala CD-7 or CD9 hard-bodies, pillies and chrome spoons along the edges of the channels. If you’re lucky, you ☛ continued P17

A doggy mackerel taken off the beacons.

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Why the tide didn’t come in and other puzzling peculiarities pertaining to predictions

G

’DAY, Fred, we’ve been thinking about your phone calls to us over the years – the ones where you want to know why some of the things you have experienced haven’t been exactly as the Tide Guide predicted they would be. What happened to the beach and why do we have to wave it goodbye? Good question, Fred. Where indeed, did the beach go? It was there last week – wide, gently shelving and firmly packed, and when the tide was out, you could have landed a jumbo jet on it, so broad and hard it was. In fact, it was quite a hike from the water’s edge at low tide to your campsite at the base of the dunes. So far that you almost had to fire up the four-

Tidal Talk by PETER LAYTON

wheel-drive just to go down from the tent and throw a line into the surf. Yet seven days later, the beach was gone and so had most of the dunes. The sea had eaten into them, leaving 3m-high sand cliffs and rocks had sprouted up everywhere, creating an obstacle course at low tide. In all your life, you had never seen the surf biting into those dunes at high tide, leaving no room to get your 4WD through. You never knew those rocks existed. So what happened in those seven days, Fred? There was only a little bit of rain and wind, and the tides were nothing special.

Remember the waves, Fred? They were big ones. Cyclonic seas without the cyclone. The surfers loved them. There was day after day of big swells rolling in from some huge storm way, way out at sea, except after each wave rolled in and washed out again, a little bit of it remained, held there by the pressure of the following wave, and the sea level gradually rose. What happened, Fred, was an ocean-sized example of your experience when you went yabby pumping at the top of Moreton Bay and the water was held in by the southerly wind, but this

How to target Moreton Bay pelagics ☛ from P16

could hook up to a spaniard or northern bluefin tuna. Paravanes can also be used to get your bait or lure down to the required depth and they’re cheaper than buying a downrigger; in fact, a lot of the commercial mackerel fishos use them. Once you have hooked a mackerel and you get it on board, it’s best to have a wooden club handy to hit the macker-

el on the head to knock it out or kill it because you don’t want it thrashing around the boat with its mouth full of sharp teeth. I then bleed my mackerel and throw them into an ice slurry. Remember the bag limit for spotties is five fish greater than 60cm, for doggies it is 10 over 50cm and for spanish it’s three bigger than 75cm. Go out and give it a try. I find the best places

to launch from on the southside to save on travel time are Whyte Island and Manly Harbour, which give you more areas to search as you come into the bottom end of the paddock. I also use Victoria Point ramp if targeting Peel Island, the Rous Channel or Rainbow Channel because this ramp allows me to run with or against the current and wind, especially when it’s blowing 15 knots or more.

time the water level was lifted by waves, not wind. It was held there so long that eventually the waves were able to eat into the dunes and disperse the sand back out to sea, further up or down the coast. Exactly where would depend on which way the currents were flowing at the time. Constant wave action can lift sea levels just as surely as sustained low atmospheric pressure or strong onshore wind. The result will be the same – water levels at high tide will be much higher than predicted. Why do we get king tides in the Christmas school holidays? Why not? It’s probably the best time to have them, when all the kids are on holidays and most likely to go swimming. A king tide means there’s a lot more water around, making for more swimming room for the youngsters at a time when they would otherwise be crowded into a lesser amount of water. Someone upstairs was thinking when he devised this one. Are we pulling your leg, Fred? Yes, but the point to ponder here is there is no such thing as a ‘king’ tide. It is just an expression that has grown in popularity over the years to describe what is simply the largest of the spring tides. We get them in winter too, but in winter they always occur at night when few people are likely to be

out there swimming and notice them. Let’s look at some of the basics of tides for a minute, Fred, to give you a better idea of what’s going on. Spring tides occur on average twice a month, as do neap tides. Spring tides occur on the new and full moons while neap tides occur on the first and last quarter moons. Spring tides are the highest high tides and lowest low tides, when the moon is in alignment with the earth and sun. These are the times of big tidal ranges, when the water rises and falls to a greater extent than the average. Neap tides are the smallest high tides and highest low tides, when the moon is at right angles to an imaginary straight line drawn between the earth and sun. These are the small tidal ranges when the tide doesn’t come in very far and doesn’t go out very far. Of the two high tides that occur in a single day in most areas of Australia (semi-diurnal), one will be markedly higher than the other, regardless of whether it’s springs or neaps. In summer, the higher of the two occurs in daytime and in winter, it occurs at night. Your king tide, Fred, is nothing more than the biggest of the spring tides, which occurs when you are most likely to notice it – when you go swimming,

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You could end up with a sea level far more than half a metre higher than the predicted high tide for that day. Combine that with the geographical scenario of a funnel-shaped, shallow bay with all these forces pushing into it and don’t forget the run-off from those flood rains for the past couple of days coming from the opposite direction. Floods, Fred, at the beach, with really big waves. It’s time to throw the cat and dog into the car and get the ‘my gosh’ out of there if you still can. Don’t bother stopping to call and tell us we got that prediction wrong, either, Fred. We’ll already know and we’ll be packing, too! Majorca sounds nice… The Tide Guide managing editor Peter Layton has responded with this article to the people who’ve rung him with complaints over the years. Cartoon by the late Mac Vines and McGookin.

fishing or boating during the day in the middle of summer. What is a storm surge? It’s a good reason not to buy that picturesque holiday home, Fred, the one where the water laps just below the back veranda on a Christmas ‘king’ tide and you can catch dinner while sitting in a deck chair strategically placed within three strides of the fridge – and what that means in terms of an idyllic life on a hot summer day. It’s when all those unpredictable variables occur at once, in conjunction with a big spring tide, to produce the granddaddy of all king tides. Suppose you had a large atmospheric low-pressure area sitting over the coast for a few days – a rain depression that poured inches and inches of rain. Suppose it was accompanied by gale-force, onshore winds over the same couple of days, with the bonus of consistently large swells marching in from a big storm umpteen nautical miles out to sea.

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Tackling Moreton Bay tuskfish W ELL the jumper is well and truly gone and the boardshorts are on, which means summer is here, and with summer come the Moreton Bay tuskfish.

Juvenile tuskfish are greener in colour and female. Once around the 50cm mark they change sex to male and turn more blue.

Right now the tuskies are in full swing and for me nothing is more fun than chasing these brutes in the island shallows of Moreton Bay. The main species you will encounter are either blackspot tuskfish (also known as blue bone) or venus tuskfish. Pound for pound, these fish go as hard as any other fish out there, especially in shallow water. My usual partner in crime is my old man and we have chased tuskies in the bay for over 10 years. During this time we have figured out methods for capturing these sometimes-frustrating fish.

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Moreton Bay

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Tackle My dad and I differ in how we fish for tuskies. I like to fish as light as possible and enjoy the battle, whereas the old boy likes to fish heavy and stop them in their tracks before getting bricked. Using these two methods works well to determine what mood the fish are in. If they are finicky, then obviously the lighter gear will get the fish but if you hook up to something decent you will be done over quickly. The heavy gear can sit without a bite for an hour but if that big fish comes along then you’re in with a chance if you’re quick enough. When fishing the shallows for tuskies, I only use mono line because you need the abrasion resistance through the structure. One touch on braided line and you’re finished. Often I’ll have five or more metres of chafing along the mono after a good fight. Be prepared to lose some tackle and tie a lot of knots, so not having to tie a braid to mono knot gets you back in the water quicker, resulting in more fish on that hot bite. For my light setup, I like to use a Shimano 4500 Baitrunner coupled with a 7’ Wilson Live Fibre rod and 40lb Schneider mono. For my heavy outfit, I team a Shimano 6500 Baitrunner with an 8-15kg, 7’2” Wilson Live Fibre rod and 55lb Schneider line. The Schneider has fan-

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tastic abrasion resistance and though it is a stiffer line, it still knots well. My heavier setup will account for most fish in the bay but when that 5-6kg fish comes along I still have trouble bringing it to the surface. My old man likes to use the good-old Alvey, as with its light free spool the fish don’t feel a thing when taking the bait. But with 80lb mono and the ability to stop a fish in its tracks by grabbing the reel, it provides your best chance at stopping a cracking tusky. I find a stiff but longer rod will help pull the fish up and away when they are trying to get back to structure. As for hooks, you need something sharp, strong and not overly large because it’s always good to have your hook as hidden as possible. The hooks we use are Mustad Hoodlums in size 3-8 and in some instances bigger. Your hook needs to match the size of your bait. Baits When diving, I have witnessed tuskfish swimming their food back to the structure and smashing into it. I have checked inside the stomach of tuskfish I’ve filleted and have seen all manner of crustaceans, shells and coral. Offshore tuskfish feed completely differently to inshore tuskfish. Offshore, they can be readily caught all year round and will feed on squid, mullet, pillies and so on. Inshore, blackspot tuskfish will mainly be caught in summer and will almost exclusively feed on crustaceans.

While blackspot can be caught offshore, I am yet to hear of the pinker offshore tuskfish being caught in the bay. Technique Though tuskfish fight hard, sometimes they are so gentle that they will take your bait without any sign of a bite, resulting in you sitting there unaware for a long time. Don’t overlook even the slightest of bites and always have your rod in your hands because you only have about two seconds to stop a big tuskfish or you’ll be in the structure. Double anchoring (one off the bow and one at the

stern) is a must because if your boat is swinging around with the wind and current it is hard to notice a bite and you will get snagged much easier. Tuskfish can be tricky to catch and sometimes frustrating but with persistence comes reward and what a great reward tuskfish are, rating an A+ on the table. They fight hard and you can target them with your kids in a small tinnie. After all, these fish have accounted for some of my fondest memories with my dad. So put the boat in the water over the holidays and have a crack.

A close-up of the graphic tuskfish’s teeth that are designed for crushing.

The author’s dad with a nice 4kg tuskfish caught in shallow water.

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This graphic tuskfish is common on the reefs but not so commonly caught.

Page 18 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

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   Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 19


Troy Dixon lifted a big coronation trout caught on an ATC flutter jig.

The author nailed a beautiful 15kg red emperor wide of Fraser Island on a large hussar fillet and paternoster rig.

The author with a good size Wreck Reefs GT taken on a slowly worked Zerek Flat Shad plastic and custommade 3oz jig head.

A year of wicked fishing adventures ■ Wreck Reefs ■ Moreton Bay ■ Bunker Group ■ Fraser

I

T’S been a while between fishing trip articles due to work and family commitments, which has left minimal time for much else.

A full string of pearl perch on the new Mustad Fastach Rig Link system east of Sykes Reef in 100m of water.

I’m sure many of you know the feeling. Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to fit a few fishing trips between the busy times. I had another fantastic

NT barra guru Shane Compain with a monster Wreck Reefs dogtooth tuna that fell to a trolled dead bait.

Wicked Fishing by GREG LAMPRECHT

year of fishing that has produced wicked fish and great memories. As we head into the new year, I thought this would be a great opportunity to recap 2017 and share some of my experiences with readers. Wreck Reefs I was lucky enough to be invited on the trip of a lifetime to the Wreck Reefs, located 450km off the Queensland coastline in the Coral Sea. Tackle company Wilson Fishing organised the trip on Big Cat Reality Fishing Charters, which saw us leave Bundaberg heading in a northeasterly direction just after dark. Conditions were moderate and many on board got seasick, which made for a long journey considering it took a whopping 36 hours to arrive at our destination. The Wreck Reefs are made up of several coral

atolls that rise out of the ocean floor from thousands of metres of water. Some of these atolls have small sand islands on them that are inhabited by thousands of seabirds, which is quite a sight. On day one of fishing we were greeted by calm seas, clear water and what can only be described as paradise. We spent the first morning casting poppers and stickbaits around the reef edges for red bass and bluefin trevally before trolling Zerek hard-body and stickbait lures for a crazy session on massive wahoo up to 40kg. With the session slowing, we found ourselves jigging deeper reefs in 4080m of water for big coral and coronation trout. Day two started well with a GT and some green jobfish on the troll before we decided to have a quick jig on a good pinna-

SUPER

cle in 40m of water. I opted to slowly work a large Zerek Flat Shad plastic on a 3oz jig head, which soon got smashed by the GT of the trip, putting up a great battle on 80lb tackle and a Wilson Venom 450g PE5-10 jigging rod. Later that day we decided to cast poppers and stickbaits inside the shallow reefs around Bird Island, which is the largest sand island of the Wreck Reefs. This accounted for big red bass and coral trout along with the great memory of a huge coral trout following my popper all the way to the boat in less than a metre of water. The trout sat boatside, eyeballing us while I frantically swished the popper in front of it hoping for a take, but it soon turned away and swam off. It was frustrating, but sometimes it’s more about the moment and experience than catching the fish. Over the following few days the wind increased to 20-25 knots, making it difficult to fish from the smaller boats away from the reef edges but it didn’t stop most fishos and we soon found ground hold-

ing dogtooth tuna. The majority of boats were hooking them in various sizes but Shane took the honours with a monster doggy taken on a trolled dead bait while the rest were caught on Zerek hard-body and stickbait lures. Big wahoo, green jobfish, sailfish and barracuda were in the mix too and I landed my personal-best yellowfin tuna. While the bad weather made it hard to fish at times, we also spent some time exploring a few of the sand islands, which was interesting and added to the adventure. James and his crew on Big Cat Reality Fishing Charters run a sensational operation and go above and beyond to ensure everyone has an awesome and safe trip. I must thank Wilson Fishing for the opportunity of a lifetime. Brisbane – Moreton Bay and offshore When the weather or time doesn’t allow for big trips up along the coastline, I love nothing more than taking my smaller boat out in Moreton Bay. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the bay ☛ continued P21

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Fishing isolated spots close around Point Lookout has accounted for great snapper this year.

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A year of wicked fishing adventures ☛ from P20

over the past few years searching for wrecks and natural structure with great results. Although finding wrecks is like finding a needle in a haystack, spending 10-hour days just sounding hugely increases your chances. While some say I’m crazy for having the patience to do it, I find it massively rewarding when I do find something. So far the hard work and patience has rewarded me with over 15 wrecks along with plenty of natural structure. Though I don’t fish these spots often for fear of losing them to spot thieves, occasionally I will take the kids for a quick fish or spend time dropping my underwater cameras on them to see what the wreck/structure is and what’s living on it. Big cod are the main species, along with moses perch, snapper, morwong, jewfish, blackspot tuskfish and large-mouth nannygai. Some spots have good numbers of large-mouth nannygai on them and while most people think they’re more of a northern species, Moreton Bay has fairly good numbers of them. My daughter caught one a few months back that interestingly had no tail. It was quickly released to fight another day but it’s great to see a fish with such a disability managing to survive and grow.

Funnily enough, that same fish was caught recently in the same area by fellow writer Sean Conlon from Moreton Bay Fishing Charters and once again released. Another species that has been good fun targeting in the bay is blackspot tuskfish. These hard-fighting fish inhabit structure in the main channels and around the bay islands, which makes them difficult to target because they run for structure within a split second of being hooked. You need to target these fish with crabs and in most cases heavy tackle is required to have even the slightest chance of landing one. Though I’m yet to land one in double-figure weight, I’ve had a blast catching them, particularly with the kids in shallow water around the bay islands and channels. Offshore from Brisbane has also produced some nice fish including bar cod and eastern nannygai in 200-300m of water and quality pearlies in 100150m of water. I’ve had some of these pearlies aged by Fisheries Queensland, and a 64cm, 4kg fish was found to be about eight years old. We’ve also put in some late afternoon/night sessions around the group off Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island, which have produced great snapper along with cod, pearlies and a surprising 70cm red emperor.

Like anywhere, fishing smaller isolated spots that see less fishing pressure has been key to catching quality fish, and using techniques to suit the habitat of each species greatly increases catch rates. Capricorn and Bunker Group reefs With the river entrance sanding up at 1770, I opted to launch the boat at Turkey Beach, which would allow us to come and go at any time and tide. On this trip I wanted to fish the northern end of the Capricorn and Bunker Group reefs up past North Reef and Innamincka and Guthrie shoals. It wasn’t long before I started finding large pinnacles that produced a good mixed bag of coral trout, maori cod, red emperor, spanish mackerel, goldband jobfish and redthroat emperor. As the day progressed, I continued searching and kept finding massive pinnacles that produced some nice fish but overall the fishing was pretty slow and the ground I was finding was not ideal red emperor country. I spent most of the day in this area before making my way south and searching hard for new ground. Later that afternoon I ended up where I’d caught quality fish before and dropped some baits just as the sun was going down. A couple of fish came over the side but once again the fishing was fairly slow, so I spent a few

more hours sounding for new ground for little reward and called it a night. The next morning, we spent some time on the 100m line looking for pearlies and it wasn’t long before the Furuno FCV295 lit up with a great show of fish. On the first drop we had six pearlies and a red emperor come over the side, which was a great start. This continued for several drifts and soon we had our bag limit of pearlies, so moved on. That afternoon we captured cracking trout east of Sykes Reef before heading home just on dark. Fraser Island offshore We’ve had great trips wide of Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach over the past year, and while the reds didn’t come as easily as the previous year, we managed to persist and get solid results. On one trip we were doing it pretty tough and instead of driving away from one area to another just before dark, I thought I would wait because it was coming up to the peak bite period. Minimal current was flowing and I thought the reds may be ‘grazing’ on flats well away from the reefs during the daylight hours before moving back onto the rock on dark. I hung close to one spot for half an hour or so and just as the sun disappeared I sounded over the top of it and to my delight it lit up like a

Christmas tree with a great show of reds. On the first drop we all got smashed and finally after half a day of searching we could smile as 1013kg reds made their way over the side. Each drift resulted in a three-way hook-up on big reds but unfortunately on one drift we ended up getting in a massive tangle with each other. We landed two fish but the tangle stopped Foxy winding any further, so I quickly cut our rigs in an effort to free up his line when all of a sudden his fish pulled hard for a few seconds and then went limp. ☛ continued P22

Being patient and fishing an isolated rock just on dark paid off with crazy red emperor action wide of Fraser Island.

Terry Lamprecht and a beautiful coral trout hooked at the northern end of the Capricorn and Bunker Group reef system.

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The author got a piece of the action with a jewie caught on a blade on the tide change. Catching your first mangrove jack is bound to put a smile on your face.

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GOLD ST COA

by BRAD SMITH

in feeding activity around tide changes, whether it’s the bottom or top of the tide. I have caught both species during the middle of the day on many occasions, but good planning would be to time your trips around the tides changes occurring early in the morning or late of an afternoon into the night. You can of course plan your tides but a couple of details I have noticed over many years of targeting these fish is my best results come from cloudy, overcast days, even with light showery rain. On one of these dull days, choose a deep area where the water is running slightly discoloured, creating a soup in which these apex critters will feel more comfortable to roam and feed. Equipment for both species can be the same, which makes things more cost effective. An example of a wellbalanced setup is a 10-

12kg rod with a reel loaded with 20-30lb braid and 2030lb leader. The 30lb leader is more suited to jacks to help reduce bust-offs in the snags. For some fun, I will use the light spin gear that I typically use for flathead, bream and whiting on the jewies because while they are big and powerful, they are generally clean fighters that can be landed with time, patience and an appropriately set drag. Bait anglers should try using live mullet or herring and lure anglers would be best off starting with well-weighted 4”-5” soft plastics. One of the more common questions my clients

ask me regards the best moon phases for planning their trips. To me, this is not as important as fishing the tide changes. In saying this, I’ve had good results on jacks in the weeks leading up to the new and full moons, and I have had great success on jewies about seven days after the full moon on what is sometimes referred to as ‘the darks’. In discussing our kings of the creeks, I think the third key criteria ‘perseverance’ is the most important because the reward for putting in the time and patience often needed to catch these fish is high levels of excitement. To all my valued readers and sponsors as well as the entire team at BNB, I wish you all the best for the new year.

A 72cm jewie extracted from a deep hole in the Tweed River.

Jake Pitman had fun catching this jew on very light equipment.

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I thought I would start the year talking about the two most sought-after bucket list fish in our local area: the mighty mangrove jack and jewies, which I call the kings of our creeks. The key to catching both these iconic species comes down to three main criteria of planning, preparation and perseverance. The species share several similarities. Due to their size and insatiable appetites, they both need a good presence of bait to feed on, whether it be herring or mullet, which are commonly found in our rivers. It makes good sense for bait fishers to take the time to collect these as their first choice of live baits. As hard as it might seem to some anglers to catch just one jewfish or one jack, it is possible to catch both species in one trip because they also share locations in many cases. The deepest holes in your chosen river or creek are usually a good starting point. These are usually found on tight bends because tides will dig these areas out. If the deep holes have a rocky fringe, whether it be natural rock formations or man-made rock walls, you are on the money. The subtle difference in catching both fish in the same hole is the jacks will in most cases be waiting along the structural edges while the jewies prefer to be out wider in the deeper parts of the hole. Another vital point the species share is they peak

Gold Coast Guide

After freeing his line, he wound in the head of a 15kg-plus red emperor that had been eaten by a shark. With the presence of a shark and happy with 11 reds, I decided to leave the school alone and go sounding for a few hours in new locations. The next morning we tried an area I hadn’t fished for a few years. The fishing was slow

and on the last drift before moving on I got smashed by a horse fish that pulled plenty of drag. All I could think was ‘please don’t get sharked’ and it wasn’t long before we had colour under the boat and then a 15kg red on the surface. We’ve been lucky to catch lots of big reds over the past 15 to 20 years but when they get to about 14kg-plus they really are

special fish and sometimes I think we take it for granted just how awesome they are. We moved on and went to another spot where we had caught a 16.4kg red about 10 years ago. A couple of good fish were showing on it, so we dropped down big hussar fillets and both the old man and I got smashed by two very big fish. They had powerful

runs and we would gain some and lose plenty, so I was thinking they were both 15kg-plus reds when suddenly we both got sharked in a matter of 10 seconds of each other. Talk about gutted, but that’s fishing. Not knowing how big they could have been keeps us going back for more. Happy New Year and until next time, tight lines. www.bnbfishing.com. au


Looking back to plan ahead H I everyone, it’s the start of a new fishing year and one of the first things I do is check my photo diary to see when and where we had our best captures last year. You may think this is not important but if you caught good numbers of a certain species over several years at a similar time in a similar area, you can almost be sure they will be there again around that time this year. The easiest way to keep a diary of your trips is to use a photo diary. Every photo will have the time and date and the background, so soon tells you when and where you got them. The past year’s catches have been hampered by bad weather, not so much by rain but wind. It seems to have been windy most of the year. When we have managed to get out, catches have been great. Here are the better times and species from my past year of fishing to give you an idea of what to expect for 2018. January saw good jew and snapper caught offshore as well as spotty mackerel, however the mackerel season was very short and nowhere near as good as a few years ago. We had a good run of tailor in the Broadwater in March and then again in July, with the better quality showing up late

Broadwater Region

by WAYNE ‘YOUNGY’ YOUNG

in the season. The best crabbing was between January and May, which is normal because most years this coincides with the heaviest rainfall, which flushes the muddies out into the more accessible areas. You can always get a feed of whiting all year round, but the better catches came early in our daytime sessions in March and April and the best night-time sessions were in September, though December has fished quite well. August was the start of another good flathead season. This is when flathead start to move down towards the mouths of our estuaries to breed. Our best snapper catches for the year came late in the season, with September the pick for both size and quality of fish. My apologies if I haven’t mentioned your favourite species but if you take a couple of fish photos each trip you will soon have your own photo diary to plan future fishing. At this time of year I spend a lot of time on the computer planning my year’s fishing, even if it’s just when and where I want to target a particular species.

Some of these may just be local trips to make the most of my fishing time or what we call bucket list trips, those once-in-alifetime trips that we all hope to make. Even some of these bucket list trips can be once-a-year trips with a bit of planning because they can be cheaper than you think. I have a couple of Queensland ones I would recommend. The first is a trip offshore from the Rainbow Beach/Tin Can Bay area. The fishing here is fantastic, with the advantage of catching everything from our local fish such as snapper and pearlies to those much sought-after northern species including red emperor and coral trout. It can cost as little as $250 for a day charter trip or you can take the partner or family and stay for the week, enjoying the local area as well as a couple of trips out. Another location worth spending a few days at is 1770, whether in your own boat or taking advantage of the local charter operators. If you have your own boat and can do an overnighter, it is a great experience and one that will

have you going back at least once a year, like me. Red emperor, redthroat emperor and coral trout are the top three of many great species in the area. If you’re lucky enough to have plenty of spare fishing time or are retired like me and trying to spend the kids’ inheritance, then a bucket list trip chasing black bass in Papua New Guinea should be every angler’s dream. Words cannot describe the power and tenacity of these fish and the only thing to do is go and experience it. While bucket list trips are supposed to be one☛ continued P24

Ben Smith scored a lovely summertime snapper from the close Gold Coast reefs.

The author held a 130cm cobia caught on a bait jig off Rainbow Beach.

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Mr Consistent Arnie Joseph with a couple of beautiful jacks.

Rumour is that jacks just jump out of the water into Arnie’s boat. This photo may prove it.

Mangrove Jack Anglers Tournament results

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Arnie Joseph would have thought he was in a strong position to take out biggest jack on bait with a 60cm fish, and rightly so seeing as we had never seen a 60cm fish captured during the comp. Then Chris Sutton

Competition Report by DEAN GALPIN

chimed in with his 66cm horse to resoundingly take out the biggest jack on bait category. For the first time, the comp was split into bait and lure categories. Each category had separate biggest jack and total length prizes. As mentioned, Arnie and Chris battled it out

for the biggest on bait, however Chris was no match for Arnie in the total length category, with Arnie collecting a massive 429cm of mangrove jack, all peacefully released to fight another day. The lure category saw a much tighter battle, with Mitch Ferris scoring the biggest jack with a 51.5cm

fish over Jai Whell’s 49.5cm red dog. The total length division was taken out by Owen McPaul’s 167.5cm over Jai with 88cm. Jai also did well by winning the Dream Kayaks Beast lucky door prize. The bonus species this year was a flathead over 50cm. We had plenty of flathead by-catch submitted, with James Somerfield catching an 80cm (approximately) flathead. I say approximately be-

cause our custom-made jack brag mats only run to 70cm. We were also lucky enough to have the Yak Hunters crew join our comp for one leg of their yearly events. David Hopper took out the Yak Hunters division with a 41cm jack. For those who are a little more analytical, here is the data that sparks many conversations and much debate. ☛ continued P25

Looking back to plan ahead for a fresh fishing year ☛ from P23

offs, I can assure you they become addictive. Your bucket list may be as simple as catching your first 80cm-plus snapper or your first 40cm-plus whiting this year, and whatever it is, I hope you achieve it. Now we’ve planned our year’s fishing, let’s see what’s on the bite. Currently, the fishing is good, but the weather is crap and can only improve. If it’s not raining, it’s windy and the swell is up, so taking advantage of any good days is essential, and with it being a holiday period, that is possible for a lot of fishos.

When we’ve been able to get out, the offshore fishing has been solid, with decent catches of snapper on the 40m reefs as well as the odd pearlie. Out wider, small black marlin have turned up along with good dolphinfish. At the time of writing we’d seen no mackerel to speak of. Going by experience, mackerel should be here in numbers towards the second half of January. The water colour is a beautiful deep blue but still under 23C. Once it reaches 24C we should see the mackerel turn up. In the estuaries, if

the weather is good the Broadwater is fishing well for whiting on the middle sandbanks, with the best baits yabbies and worms. If it’s windy, then an evening trip up the Nerang River is the best option for whiting. We have been getting good feeds of quality fish in the channels around Chevron Island on bloodworms. Trevally are biting around the rock walls of Sovereign Island and the Runaway Bay canals. They’ve been GTs during the day and big-eye trevally at night. Trevally aren’t fussy and will take a variety of soft plastics, hard-bodied

diving lures and surface lures. They are the ultimate aggressive estuary predators. The forecasters reckon we are going to get a lot of rain this summer. If this is true, get your crab pots ready because muddies will be on in the northern Broadwater, Coomera River

and Pimpama River. Please be careful and patient on the water this month because it can get crazy busy on the Gold Coast. And if you’re thinking of heading offshore, no fish is worth taking on the rough conditions that can occur at this time of year. ‘Til next month, fish for the future.

Tony captured this large morwong on a prawn in the Coomera River.

Hydraulic boat steering for a hard day’s fishing Go wherever and whenever the fish are biting with confidence! Made in Australia for our tough marine environments.

Pete with a 70cm jewfish. Just remember the minimum legal size for jewfish is 75cm and you must release those undersize fish, like Pete did.

Photo courtesy of Vindicator Boats.

For product information and to find your nearest authorised dealer contact Graham HyDrive Engineering Pty Ltd – Queensland Unit 12, 73-75 Shore Street, Cleveland 4163 T: 07 3821 6580 E: qld@hydrive.com.au W: hydrive.com.au Page 24 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Brett with one of the many big whiting caught at night lately in the Nerang River.

www.bnbfishing.com. au


Mangrove Jack Anglers Tournament results ☛ from P24

We had 137 competitors comprising 44 bait fishers, 85 lure fishers and eight juniors. Of the 85 lure fishers, 13 submitted legal-sized jacks (15 percent). Of the 44 bait anglers, 13 captured legal jacks

(29 percent). Lure fishers caught 17 fish with a total length of 7.36m at an average length of 43.5cm. Bait fishers picked up 35 fish with a total length of 16.75m at an average length of 47.8cm, meaning 52 jacks in total were

MJA RESULTS Biggest jack (bait) 1

Chris Sutton

66cm

2

Arnold Joseph

60cm

3

Arnold Joseph

57.5cm

4

Dave Smith

56cm

5

Dylan Goode

53cm

Biggest jack (lure) 1

Mitch Ferris

51.5cm

2

Jai Whell

49.5cm

3

Jake Robinson

4

Mitch Tillingar/Luke Keating

46.5cm

5

Simon Davies

45.5cm

49cm

Total length (bait) 1

Arnold Joseph

2

Leon McClymont

270.5cm

459cm

3

Jake Brailak

177.5cm

4

Dylan Goode

152cm

5

John Hunt

139cm

1

Owen McPaul

2

Jai Whell

3

Mitch Ferris

4

Jake Robinson

5

Mitch Tillingar/Luke Keating

Total length (lure) 167.5cm 88cm 51.5cm 49cm 46.5cm

landed during the comp. We must thank our major sponsors BCF Oxenford, Dream Kayaks, Mako Eyewear, Weapons Custom Rods, Marquee Events, Viking Tackle & Boat Sales and Minn Repairs as well as our minor sponsors Caino Lures, 2Deep, Bush ‘n Beach Fishing magazine, D&H Reel Repairs and Mick Molnar Marine Art. A special thanks also goes to Coomera Waters Tavern for providing a great venue for our presentation and of course the one and only John ‘The Jack Guide’ Costello for again being MC on the day. Be sure to keep an eye out for John’s new jack fishing DVD, focusing on catching jacks from a kayak. MJA is growing bigger and stronger, and speaking with competitors throughout the weekend, many are describing the event as a marathon jack session – the Bathurst of mangrove jack fishing. Fish caught in the last 30 minutes of fishing time can affect the results, just the same as fish landed in the first 15 minutes of fishing time on the Friday. Some anglers fish all day and party at night, while some fish at night and sleep all day. Some fish for bite times only and others live in their boat for the entire weekend. This is a competition

that not only brings the mangrove jack fishing community together and away from the keyboard banter but also brings out the competitive spirit in many of us. I spent the weekend with a mate of mine who had never caught a jack and

he didn’t get one during the comp either, but still described it as one of his favourite weekends of fishing. I hope you get some good encounters with red fish over summer. See you at the next comp.

Mitch Ferris with his winning fish in the biggest jack on lure category.

Sign-on day is always a buzz.

The biggest jack MJA Tournaments has ever seen was a 66cm horse from Chris Sutton.

A 60cm jack released and coming for you!

Mitch Ferris with his prize haul.

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Jye held a spotty taken on a pillie.

Mitch showed off a mean-looking mackerel.

Andy with the first mackerel of the season.

Spotties grace Gold Coast waters ■ Wahoo set to show ■ Giant herring ■ Mangrove jack

H Mitch with a solid 98cm giant herring. This is actually the same fish as pictured last month. He recaptured it a few weeks later in the same spot.

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The fishing over the past few weeks has been great, with those warm water species taking up residency on the close reefs right along the Gold Coast. What has been putting a big smile on anglers’ faces is the much-anticipated arrival of the mackerel. Spotties are being caught in all their usual haunts, and both baits and lures are producing the goods. A well-presented half pilchard isn’t lasting too long, but the fish seem to be swallowing the baits right down, which is accounting for a lot of lost fish. It’ll pay to make your traces a little longer so you at least have a chance. Mixed in with the mackerel are hordes of sharks. Some underwater footage I viewed recently showed big schools of black-tips and hammerheads rounding up bait. Among them were a few big sharks that would give the spearfishers nightmares. So take care if you like to knock off a few mackerel using a speargun. Running with the mackerel are cobia and wahoo.

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WITH SEAN CONLON

Gold Coast by HEATH ZYGNERSKI

Big schools of wahoo have been sitting north of the Seaway and it won’t be too long before they also head to the southern end of the Gold Coast. Skirts and big bibbed lures that dive to about 7m work best. Towing these at seven knots or faster usually results in a strike. If you have your lures blowing out of the water, if might pay to lay your rods down flatter to reduce the angle of the line and keep the lures running properly. Also stagger your lures so when turning they can cross underneath each other. If you run them at the same distance behind the boat, it will inevitably result in a terrible tangle. Also, you need to run the same type of lure in the spread, since you tow at different speeds when using a jet head compared to a bibbed lure. When it comes to hooks, don’t skimp. VMC 3X Strong hooks fit the bill nicely. With the water temperature sitting just over 24C, it won’t be long before the spanish mackerel turn up too. Big livies are best for these fish. In the estuaries and creeks, mangrove jack are in full swing. Plenty are being caught and released as they have developed quite the cult following as a sportfish. Another fish quickly gaining a cult following and seeming to be on everyone’s bucket list is the giant herring. With fish easily growing over 1m long, they are testing anglers’ gear and skill in skinny water canals and creeks. The fish have hard bony mouths that even the sharpest hook has trouble penetrating. They are special fish and have been on the chew regularly. If you are targeting jacks, then you’ll be in

with a good chance of getting a giant herring as well. These fish are best released quickly, because they don’t fare well if handled for too long or roughly. Great news for the holiday period is bread and butter species such as flathead, bream and whiting are in abundance. The rain is keeping the schools in the creeks and the water is dirty on the bottom of the tide. With a plethora of tourists and boats hitting the water over the holidays, take extra care because some boat operators seem to forget about common sense and general courtesy. No one needs reef rage at this time of year. The bars are all still in ordinary shape. Tweed River Bar, even though the dredge has been working on that back bank, is still very shallow. Last time I ran over it, it shallowed out to 3.5m, so will catch any decent swell either on the run-in or out. Currumbin Creek Bar looks like a maze.

It has cleaned up a little but the small gutters in and out could make for a hairy time if any swell is about. Use extreme caution. Tallebudgera Creek Bar has a very small gutter over a shallow sandbank. Currumbin Creek Bar is a much better option because at least you have somewhere to run. With Tallebudgera, once you are committed, hang on.

The Seaway is still borderline dangerous. Again, a sandbank out the back is catching the swell and when you couple it with a run-out tide it can get dangerous quick smart. Be aware of the banks to the north and east. I hope everyone has a great Christmas and gets out and catches a few fish. ‘Til next month, smoking drags to you all.

This tarpon knocked off an Austackle lure while fishing for giant herring.

Joe popped his cherry on this solid spotty mackerel.

www.bnbfishing.com. au


Gold Coast the gateway for fantastic fishing

H

I all, I hope you are continuing to make the most of the holidays. With temperatures high, baitfish have been scattering due to active predators trying to hunt down easy meals. After all the presents received at Christmas and with anglers eager to test them, January is generally a good month for fishing because more rods out means more fish caught. Offshore fishing is slowly improving, with reports of mackerel, marlin and mahi mahi on the run. Mahi mahi are being caught by trolling skirts from six to 10 knots, and

Nerang Rooster Report by DARREN RAMA

the occasional black marlin is starting to pop up among the dollies to crash a skirt. Mackerel will be the flavour of the month as people try all techniques to perfect their method for reeling in these fast and tasty sportfish. Finding mackerel can be easy if birds are working the baitfish forced to the surface by the mackerel chopping through them. You can make things exciting by throwing small

The author saw this saratoga swimming along the bank, which made getting the bite easier.

Brandon with a good size spotty mackerel hooked on a stickbait.

stickbaits and surface lures around the bust-ups but be warned it can become quite an expensive exercise due to the mackerel’s razor-sharp teeth. Though the take on surface is pretty hard to go past. Another effective method is spinning metals through the schools or jigging them when the fish are deeper, but again if no wire is used bite-offs can be common. One way to minimise bite-offs is to troll live or dead baits with a small length of coated wire. Once you hook a mackerel, other members of this schooling species won’t be too far away. Inshore fishing for jacks and trevally is in full swing, with water temps above 25C and the trevally busting up baitfish during the low-light periods. Mimicking a small fleeing baitfish on the surface with a small walker or popper will see quite a few caught. Using gear as light as 6lb can make things interesting because the trevally take long runs and hit aggressively. Mangrove jack fishing has been a highlight of the past year, with a lot more fish falling to live and flesh baits at night-time once the water traffic dies down. Lure fishing a variety of structure such as rock

walls, drop-offs, mangroves and bridges will be productive throughout summer. With the Gold Coast waterways being so heavily pressured, patience and persistence are required when targeting jacks on lures because these fish see multiple presentations, day in and day out. Making your presentation more convincing than all the others can be quite tricky. If you’re fishing natural structure, you could check out what the land looks like at low tide. Are there big drops on the bank’s edge? Are trees in the water at all stages of the tide? Are any pockets deeply shaded at certain parts of the day? Are there noticeable drop-offs the fish can retreat to when the water flushes out to the bottom of the tide? Being an ambush fish, having a location to sit and wait for bait to pass by is crucial to how jacks go about feeding. Having a good idea of where the structure is will benefit you when you return and know there is a good spot most likely holding the fish you’re after. One fish becoming quite popular on the coast and seeming to be found in most of our land-locked lake systems is the giant herring. These fish put up an awesome fight, with long runs, acrobatic displays and a willingness to hit lures.

It is easy to see why people are starting to look more intently for these fish. In our freshwater systems, our native spangled perch are showing up more often, which is a positive sign that even though invasive tilapia are infesting streams and rivers, our little natives are putting up a good fight and keeping their populations afloat. Hinze Dam is starting to slow. However, early morning surface fishing on recent hot days has produced the goods for bass and saratoga. Cicada imitations and small walkers are getting interest early, and once the sun is up changing to something like a spinnerbait or lipless crankbait will help tick over the numbers. I hope you wrap up 2017 in a positive fashion. Bring on even better luck in the new year!

This giant herring was caught while hopping a plastic off the bottom.

A decent size spangled perch picked up while targeting tilapia.

A broad-barred mackerel taken on a Damiki Backdrop.

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Night-time hunting for jacks is always a good option to get away from the crowds.

Hugh had a lean time fishing the offshore reefs during spring but was rewarded towards the end of his holiday with this nice mahi mahi.

Pelagics playing in warm water

S

INCE last month, things have changed on the fishing front here in far north NSW.

This is a spotted mackerel from a previous year. Let’s hope they come in thick this season.

After a pretty lean spring offshore, things are moving into summer mode. Every year rumours of mackerel abound and this year was worse than ever as the gossip grapevine ranged from the odd mackerel being caught to spotties as thick as a tax collector’s wallet. Here on the southern side of the border we heard rumours the spotties were going off at Palm Beach Reef on the Gold Coast. A bloke I know couldn’t help himself and headed up there be-

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Tweed to Byron Bay by GAVIN DOBSON

fore dawn the next day. By 9am neither he nor the one other boat on the reef had enticed a bite, so he came home. Palm Beach Reef is known for the huge numbers of vessels that congregate there when the mackerel are ‘on’, so he had a chuckle to himself and chalked it up to experience. If they were in fact on the day before, dozens of boats would have been out there. But that was a few weeks ago now and while I still haven’t heard of any mackerel I can confirm they won’t be far away now. The good news is other pelagics are cruising the warm waters out a little wider. Good size mahi mahi are being caught all up and down the coast and are very welcome visitors after the drudgery of springtime. Hugh and I hadn’t had much luck enticing snapper or jew on his last stay in Brunswick Heads, so with only a few days to go before he headed off and a good forecast, I suggested we head out the next day and go through the motions of mackerel fishing. Even though my gut told me none were around, I think all the talk of mackerel had got the better of me. We went to Black Rock and it couldn’t have looked less like mackerel conditions. The green water didn’t look inspiring but the thousands of yakkas milling around and sucking scum off the surface without a care in the world told me no predators were around. Still, we gave it an hour before we moved. The next spot looked a little better but still no mackerel, though Hugh caught a couple of moses perch and a good size parrotfish. We moved out a bit wider to a spot most locals know as the Plonk Hole. We crossed a current line and the water tem-

perature rose a couple of degrees and was a beautiful blue colour. I deployed a livie and sat back for a few minutes. Shortly after, something ate the livie and as Hugh picked up the rod I was about to be pessimistic and suggest it wasn’t a mackerel bite and was probably a mack tuna, when a mahi mahi came leaping out of the water. After a pretty slow morning, this sprung us into action and boy did the fish put on a great show. It tried every trick in the book from serious aerial displays to slugging deep. Mahi mahi are worthy opponents at the very best of times but even more difficult to budge on relatively light line from an anchored boat in current. Anyway, we weren’t about to set any all-time tackle records and Hugh knew that keeping the pressure on would win the battle, and that’s how it unfolded as I gaffed 10 kilos of gold and blue. The same day, similarsized fish were caught between Tweed and Ballina, though mostly further offshore than us. I’m glad one ventured in a little closer and capped off a good holiday for Hugh. With mahi mahi around the place, it’s no surprise they are hanging around the FAD off Cape Byron. The FAD is a funny place though and some days people have scored good-sized fish while other days they are mostly undersized rats. The other news of interest is some small wahoo have been around. Only a few have been caught on line so far but the spearos are seeing a decent number, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come and we have a cracking year on the ‘hoo. Both wahoo and mahi mahi are generally caught a bit further offshore than mackerel but in some places they overlap when the water is right. The Mackerel Boulder off Julian Rocks is one

such place and this spot is open to fishing again come January 1. Boats usually flock to it on opening day and are normally rewarded with reef fish and pelagics. Make sure you have a good look at maps of the area to see where you can legally fish. In the rivers, there will be plenty of boat traffic this month, but this doesn’t worry the fish too much. I’ve had people say whiting are put off by boat traffic but I haven’t found this to be the case. I know some very good whiting fishers, and when the whiting go off the bite, they do a series of doughnut-style burnouts in the boat right where they are fishing. After the bottom is vigorously stirred up, they re-anchor and commence fishing again. When driving the cruise boat we often head into the shallows to spot stingrays and I regularly observe bream, whiting and stingrays feeding right where the propeller has been as they take advantage of the displaced food items. I guess it’s a bit like crows, egrets and hawks following a tractor around a paddock during ploughing or harvesting. The point is, boats are part of life for the fish in our estuaries. Having said that, I’d always rather have my chosen fishing spot to myself, but that’s for more selfish reasons of peace and quiet. Mud crabs are on the move, which is great news for Christmas dinner. Recent storms and rain have put a fair fresh in our local creeks and rivers and the muddies have responded by going into pots quite co-operatively. The weather has also concentrated the mangrove jacks and trevally in the lower reaches but this is only a temporary phenomenon depending on further rainfall. All in all, the fishing looks good for the remainder of the holiday season. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to everyone. Have fun and stay safe. www.bnbfishing.com. au


Summer species in full swing â– Whiting â–  Mud crabs â–  Bass â–  Mahi mahi

I hope you have a merry Christmas and safe and happy New Year with those nearest and dearest to you. I will start with a quick reminder for all our interstate visitors. This time of year can be very hectic on the water and officers from both NSW DPI Fisheries and Maritime Services will be out and about patrolling, so make sure you have your boat and fishing licences with you at all times, and if you are not sure about any rules then please grab a rules and regulations book from the nearest tackle shop so you are up to date with any recent changes. We are well and truly into summer fishing mode now, with most summer species in full swing. In the Richmond River we have been seeing good-quality whiting caught on both lures and baits. The run-in tide has been a better option for bait fishers using live yabbies and beach worms. Areas such as the sailing club, the lower reaches of North Creek and Pimlico Island have all been prime locations to try your luck. The same spots are productive for the lure brigade, with a mix of stickbaits and poppers having success on different days. We have also had a pretty good summer on the flathead front. The better numbers of fish have been captured from the Burns Point Ferry to the mouth of the river, and seem to be a little more active on the run-out tide. White and blue pilchards and live herring have all been great bait options. A mix of soft plastics, hard-body lures and metal blades have worked at different times, and it will pay to have a few of each in your tackle box. While we have seen good signs from whiting and flathead, bream have been very patchy to say the least. The rock walls from the ferry to Broadwater have produced fish on different days for anglers using baits such as blue pil-

Ballina Bait & Tackle by BRETT HYDE

chards, mullet and bonito. The odd mangrove jack has been taken in that area on hard-body lures such as the Lucky Craft Pointer 78XD and 4� ZMan DieZel MinnowZ soft plastic, but a number of bream fishers have had their rigs cut short by a cranky jack cruising for a feed. Mud crabs have improved in numbers over the past month. The usual spots such as North Creek and the Richmond River above the ferry have produced good numbers on the bigger tides at night. At the time of writing, Emigrant Creek was still blocked off due to the removal of the old highway bridge, but I am hopeful it will reopen at some point in January. The beaches have been a little on the quiet side. We have seen some bream, whiting and flathead from most of the beaches of late, but a lack of formation has meant their numbers have been down. From Angels Beach up to Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head has been slightly more productive. White pilchards and mullet are good bait options for flathead and bream, while the usual baits of worms and pipis have worked a treat on whiting and dart. A few chopper tailor have shown up around Boulders and Seven Mile beaches and have taken interest in metal spinners and pilchards. Offshore has been much the same as the river, with good-quality summer species turning up in the warm currents coming down the coast. Mackerel have not shown up off Ballina just yet, but my guess is they will not be too far away, so now is the time to dust off the gear and check your tackle in preparation. As usual, Lennox Head will be their first port of call on the way south, so it will be worth keeping an eye on this spot over coming weeks. On the other hand, mahi mahi have been haunting both the FAD and

the wave-rider buoy and grabbing everything from live baits to soft plastics and trolled skirted lures. With the mahi mahi hanging around in these areas, a number of small black marlin have also been lurking around looking for an easy dinner. Larger skirted lures in darker colours have tempted these speedsters recently. Out wider on the 48-fathom line we’ve

seen extra-large kingfish and a few amberjack taking a liking to live baits and brighter 300g and 400g knife jigs. The current hasn’t been too bad this summer and seems to be running around 1.5-2.5 knots for the most part, but you may still need a few larger jigs or snapper leads if you are going to head out that wide. The Samaki Hummer V2, Smith Jacknifer and River2Sea Knife Jigs have all been popular choices of late. Well that’s all from me this month. ‘Til next time, tight lines!

Ches Lennon picked up a solid bass upstream from Ballina.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 29


How hungry do you reckon this bass was? One swipe and gone. Fish right on top of the bridge pylons for quality flathead and bream.

Endless options around Evans Head ■ Bass ■ Flathead ■ Jacks ■ Whiting ■ Bream

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Damon Andrews landed a nice skinny water bass.

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The wind is strong and the cloud cover tells me we are heading for a storm. As long as there’s no lightning, a storm buildup is a great time to target mangrove jack and bream in the Evans River. Around the rocks in the Iron Gates area you will hook big bream and very angry mangrove jack, but best of luck with either of these fish here because they know every rock and barnacle to bring you undone. No matter what weight line you use, they are wily fish and know how to blow you away. Another spot to find big jacks and bream is the Black Hole. This is a very deep area that holds sizeable fish that also know how to bring you undone. If you fish the shallows leading up to the Black Hole you’ll encounter big flathead, big whiting and small bream. If you fish light enough in the Black Hole you will also catch flathead and whiting but larger fish will break you off. Try just above the hole too, and if it is a run-in tide, drift and cast upcurrent and slowly wind

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Evans Head by GARY ‘SQUIDGIE’ PALMER

back for flathead, bream and whiting. Use yabbies, worms and prawns as bait or for us fishers who love artificial lures, any prawn imitation will work. With all the holidaymakers around, most fishers will head out early in the morning or late at night. If you are still keen on a daytime fish, just pump your yabbies out the front of the tennis courts on the sand flats in the Evans River, then as the tide comes in fish the same flats for bream, whiting and flathead. Some will be small but if you persist bigger fish will find your offerings. This is a great spot for teaching your children how to gather bait and fish. It really doesn’t matter to them how big the fish is, as long as they are catching fish. If you are teaching young ones, get a pair of pliers and squash the barb on the hook because little fingers sometimes get hooked. The beaches have been fishing OK but the fourwheel-drive traffic that hits the beaches over the holidays makes it a bit hard to get a quiet gutter to yourself. Night and early mornings are the go and jewfish will bite better at night anyway. Keep your lights off the gutter you intend to fish because lights on a gutter mean no fish. I have had plenty of experiences where someone sees you fishing a gutter and has to see what you’re up to, so hits you with high beam right on the gutter. That’s game over and you might as well pack up and leave. But if you find that rare gutter and have no dramas, use mullet, her-

ring and worms to get a feed. Just fish as lightly as possible and if fishing for whiting, you must remember they are at your feet, so don’t cast to the back of the breakers because you will not catch whiting there. Out on the headlands, fishing can be hit or miss. I always take two rods – one light that I can use for bream, blackfish and whiting and one for jew, tailor and sharks. Just keep your eyes out for snakes because they are around during summer and over the years I have run into a few that have scared the hell out of me as I’ve nearly walked on them. When fishing the headlands, take a few slugs for tailor as well as mullet, herring, blue pillies and of course worms and prawns. You will find plenty of other bait out on the rocks such as cunjevoi, red crabs and green weed, but remember your floats for blackfish. I never use a landing net for fish, I just play them out and then gently lift

or use the waves to land them. At the time of writing, the Richmond River is a bit muddy around Woodburn but from all reports whiting are biting their heads off, with very good fish caught. Jewfish can also be taken around the bridge pylons but they’re only soapies, no big fish. Flathead are there as well and if you fish near Duck Creek you’ll find bream and bass biting on blades and spinnerbaits. Drive further upriver and you’ll pick up bass on most deep banks and snags. I use Bassman Spinnerbaits because they don’t snag up very often and bass love them. I use mostly olive, purple and white or blue and white colours. Jump on the Bassman website (bassmanspinner baits.com.au) to look at all the colours and then rock into the nearest shop that stocks them and buy a few. Remember, one is never enough. Up around Lismore you will encounter bass aplenty, with most snags and run-off areas fishing well. Just make sure your lure is right up close to the banks or snags. If you are not getting

caught up on brush, you are not close enough. I would fish all the river, be it the Wilsons or the Richmond, as both upper reaches are fishing well for bass and mullet. I once ate a mullet I caught around Casino, and after bleeding it straight away I filleted and skinned it, cutting out all the blood lines, and it tasted OK. That was about 25 years ago and I’ve never eaten one since but from what some fishers who live up that way reckon, if cooked and cleaned properly they taste pretty good. We had a carp tasting at Lismore not long ago but unfortunately I missed it. The guys and girls who did taste the carp reckon it was OK but for me carp are off the menu and are only buried under my roses. Well that’s it for me this month. I’m in the process of moving house once again because my house has been sold. Gee I hate moving. I think I’ll leave it up to the Minister of Finance to deal with; I’m going fishing. ‘Til next month, remember: limit your kill, don’t kill your limit. Tight lines and smelly fingers.

These sand flats represent a great whiting fishing area.

www.bnbfishing.com. au


Land-based pelagics imminent W

HILE I’m not quite sure where 2017 went, one thing I do know is a hell of a lot of anglers are counting down the sleeps until the 2018 land-based pelagic season kicks off in earnest. Here on the far-north coast of NSW, the first land-based captures of big pelagic fish such as spanish mackerel are gen-

Just Jew by TYE PORTER

erally to be had off the south wall at Ballina on the Australia Day long weekend. By the second week of February, locations further south such as 40 Foot at Evans Head will begin to fire for both mackerel and longtail tuna before

Timothy Butchart of Brisbane picked up this bass on a lure in the Esk River.

Hard-fighting turrum move in along the local headlands in large numbers during summer.

the fish arrive along the breakwalls at Iluka and Yamba by March. Sure, the odd fish will be taken ahead of these times, however I am only stating when you would normally begin to fish these spots with confidence in hooking a fish. Personally, since 1980 I have only used surface poppers to sight fish for tuna while for spaniards I live bait with 6” of 44lb wire between my leader and hook. My standard spin gear consists of a 700A5 Alvey loaded with 30lb Platypus mono fitted to a Pacific Composite FSU5162 rod. I import my 4” Creek Chub poppers from America because they are not available here anymore. Brisbane father and son team Mal and Timothy Butchart visited Iluka for a week in early December and caught quite a few quality fish during their stay. Mal won the flathead stakes with nice lizards to 83cm on soft plastic lures, however Timothy gave his dad a lesson on how to catch wild bass when they paddled their kayaks up the Esk River using both surface and diving lures. Inside the Clarence River, whiting have been

chewing their heads off, with fish being taken from most vantage points. Ashby anglers Lex Dutton and Ted McLean have been having a ball getting amongst some true elbow slappers along the southern bank of Goodwood Island using live beach worms. Flathead are also on the chew inside the river, with quite a few 80cm-plus fish being reported among the large number of smaller pan-sized fish. Out around the headlands, things are slowly picking up, with reasonable catches of bream and the odd school jew, however we are all waiting for those toothy tailor to come back in both numbers and size as they continue to be very scarce. The open beaches such as Main Beach and Shark Bay are producing healthy numbers of flathead on soft plastics from the shallow gutters during the day, while those anglers who have preferred to fish at night with baits such as beach worms and pipis are getting good feeds of tarwhine and bream, with the odd big whiting to boot. A lot of people have been fishing the wall at night for jewfish but sadly apart from the odd just-legal schoolie the fish have been a tad scarce. Mind you, with the amount of torchlight getting shone on the water, the poor fish are probably

too blind to see the bait. Offshore catches have been dominated by spotted mackerel, with most boats returning with their bag limits when conditions allow. This trend will continue over coming months and it is only a matter of time before the spotties’ bigger cousins (spanish mackerel) arrive. All in all, January is shaping up to be a cracker month, which will be very welcome given how poor the fishing was during spring. I have just bought a new pair of double-plugger thongs in readiness for the land-based season, so all I can say is bring it on. ‘Til next month, safe fishin’.

Mal Butchart of Brisbane caught this 83cm flathead in Iluka Bay on a soft plastic.

The author with a tuna taken off the Iluka wall on a 4” surface popper.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 31


Flathead in a feeding frenzy H

I and welcome to this month of BNB Fishing.

I want to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy New Year and I hope most of you are away having fun landing lots of fish and enjoying plenty of cold ones with family and friends. To start this month, let’s talk about the Hunter River near Raymond Terrace. The fishing here has been really good, with great catches of flathead, bream and even a cobia! This cobia was caught 25km upstream from the mouth of Newcastle Harbour under Hexham Bridge. None of us had ever heard of cobia this far upstream. So many stingrays are in the river at the moment and most of us who fish our local spots regularly have encountered a heap when using live baits for jew and even a few on plastics as well. We have not seen anything like this in a long time and some of them have been absolutely huge. In the Hunter River, the best baits are soft plastics such as 50mm Pepper Prawn Berkley Gulps, which have been a big hit with flathead over 80cm. They are taking any prawn imitation, so that’s what most of us are using to land a few and it’s been a heap of fun. I’ve been talking with a few prawners in the past few weeks and since the season started on November 6 they have not found prawns in large numbers, so most of us are crossing our fingers the drought through the middle of the year has not affected them too much and we can get our hands on some sweet river delights just in time for Christmas. Mud crabs are in full swing but because the water is still a tad cool, the deeper spots have produced the best rewards. You can’t beat a good feed of these yummy treats while chasing fish. However, we have a few problems with stupid peo-

Deklan picked up a 46cm flathead recently.

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3WAYSFISHIN – Newcastle by NATHAN ‘NATH’ PALMER

ple pulling other people’s traps, which is a bloody joke. Some anglers have gone to great lengths to film the grubs and pass the footage on to the authorities. I hope they get the book thrown at them because it’s become a real pain and needs to stop. If you want to score a good feed of bream, flathead and the odd jewfish, head upstream from Raymond Terrace Bridge and you’ll come across heaps of rock walls. Plastics are the go because most walls drop down to 3-5m and a slow retrieve while working your plastic slowly will put a bend in your rod, especially if you’re using a prawn imitation. The jew fishing in Newcastle Harbour is hit and miss and I’m not sure why they haven’t turned up in numbers like last year. My cousin Luke Wheatley recently got a few jewfish using yakkas but when they tried for tailor they weren’t around either. Tailor are the best bait to score really big jew, but just remember the tailor must be at least 30cm long. Whiting, however, are in full swing and fresh worms and peeled prawns are the top baits to land whiting for the dinner plate. Up past Stockton Bridge you’ll find heaps of great spots to target them. I’ve been using poppers and Bassday Sugapen lures and having a load of fun working these lures across shallow water and over deep holes with great success. Just remember not to

pause with these lures and wind them all the way back to you because whiting will often strike at your feet. Samaki vibes are still in hot demand, accounting for heaps of flathead in all our rivers as well as the odd jew on a still tide. Make sure you get your hands on a few and give them a try. If you’re new to using soft vibes, they are very simple to work. Just cast them out and let them sit on the bottom before making a small lift of your rod to bring them a foot or two off the bottom. I never twitch vibes like I do with plastics, I just make the one motion with a small lift of the rod tip. If you don’t like spending too much money on Samaki vibes, you can pick up cheaper ones on eBay to try out the technique. This isn’t a bad idea because these lures can become snagged on the bottom and the cost can add up quickly. I’ll be heading to Lake Macquarie over the Christmas period with family and a few gun anglers, using my Viking Kayak in skinny water chasing big elbow-slapping whiting. This time of year is perfect for targeting them. It should be a lot of fun to catch a few prawns through the night too, as long as they turn up in decent numbers. On the next dark moon I’ll be in the lake checking to see if they’re around, so fingers crossed. Newcastle Harbour is producing cracker bream around the pylons. I’ve also heard of some

bigger jewfish caught off the breakwall at Stockton and on Stockton Beach, but they’re just whispers at the moment. On my next days off, I’ll be fishing both these spots to see what’s around. As always, Horseshoe Beach has a mixed bag of fish hanging around including bream, flathead and leatherjacket. Most fish have hit prawns and anglers are happily taking home a feed, which is good to see. Just remember fresh baits are the way to go. Upstream at the chipyards has also been producing awesome flathead and again bream. Small jew and the odd hairtail have turned up and baits of pillies, mullet strips, prawns and worms are the pick.

Peter Radmacca’s awesome catch of flathead.

The author boated this 50cm flathead.

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If you have a sounder, stay 4-5m off the bank and you will notice the bottom change from flat to rocks that really stick out, with most likely fish holding around them. Good mate James Rogers recently sent me some photos of his young bloke Deklan with a cracker flathead and small jew. James said Deklan had a blast out-fishing his old man and was one happy angler, so well done mate and I can’t wait to see your catches in future. That’s me for this month. Please stay safe on the water, always tell a family member where you’re fishing and make sure your safety gear is up to date. Most of all, have a blast on the water over the Christmas period.

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PUZZLE PAGE A knotty word search

Spot 10 differences

Words can run vertically, horizontally, diagonally and back to front.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 33


Fulfilling your fishing addiction ■ Mangrove jack ■ Spanish mackerel ■ Beaches

H

Jarrad Rogers picked up this cracking spanish mackerel fishing from his kayak at Noosa North Shore. The big spanish was 136cm long with an estimated weight of 16kg. Photos: fishingnoosa.com.au

APPY New Year! With sum-

mer in full swing, there has never been a better time to get the family out fishing. The Sunshine Coast is one of the best places to fulfil your fishing addiction, with plenty of action in the rivers, on the beaches and offshore making for the perfect angler’s fantasy. In the rivers, it’s been all about our famous mangrove jack. With this season starting early, plenty of fish have been taken in the 60cmplus range. The Maroochy River has really fired and the jacks are in great numbers. Fishing upriver around Coolum and Petrie creeks has been worthwhile on high water during the lower-light periods. Head up the creeks because some of the snags become covered on the bigger tides, which gives the jacks the extra cover they enjoy when chasing baitfish. Using soft plastics such as the Z-Man SwimmerZ 4” or Samaki 100mm Vibelicious Thumper Tail and throwing them at these outcrops has been the best method for securing large fish.

Tarek Lees got a first with this great coral trout taken from North Reef on a live yakka. At 4.6kg, it was a stunning fish.

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Sunshine Coast by WADE QUALISCHEFSKI

Other reputable mentions are the deeper holes further upriver where suspending lures such as the Zerek 69mm Tango Shad in colours SAU and BW have been perfect for keeping the lure in the strike zone longer. My favourite, the fighting whiting, have been popping their heads up, with big fish taking worms and live yabbies around the Black Banks, Chambers Island and the channel outside Picnic Point. Using Tru-Turn 063 hooks in size 4 or 6 will improve your catch rate due to the bait keeper located at the top of the hook ensuring bait longevity. School jew have been taken around the motorway bridge in the Maroochy, with live bait the best bet. Flatties have been prolific around Goat Island on the higher water and slow-rolled soft plastics have proven the winner. Noosa River jacks are still in their favourite area between lakes Cooroibah and Cootharaba. This area is famous for its structure such as fallen trees and submerged rock bars. Trolling deep divers including the Bassday Sugar Deep and Lucky Crafty Pointer will ensure a nice catch. A good tip when trolling is to move the rod with a slight jerking action, which makes the lure irresistible to jacks. Good size whiting have been holding in numbers around the Frying Pan, Munna Point and Sandbags. The best catches are taken on the run-out tide using live yabbies, worms and peeled prawns for bait. If you want to use lures, stick to the Shimano Brenious Rise Pop, which has a unique bubble chamber that entices these yummy predators to the surface. Offshore fishing has been running hot, with everything from pelagics to our famous coral trout and even the occasional black marlin being captured. Spanish mackerel have been hooked using two methods: low and slow and just under the surface. For the low and slow method, try using our exclusive Spanish Special rigged with either a large pilchard or slimy mackerel and trolled at idle speed. The second option is to troll a Halco 190 Laser Pro STD in colour 1250. This lure runs just under the surface at seven knots

and is coloured specifically for this area, making it irresistible to mackerel. The best areas out of Noosa to troll these lures are North Reef, Jew Shoal and Double Island Point. If heading out of Mooloolaba, try Coolum Reef, Old Woman Island and Currimundi Reef. At times you could be faced with a lot of surface action. This disturbance is generally caused by tuna and spotty mackerel, and if you can quietly position yourself close enough to throw a metal slug or weighted swimbait such as the Shimano Coltsniper Rockslide, you will be in for great action. Sunshine Reef is the spot for coral trout and of course live bait is key to enticing these superb table fish. Your rig should consist of two 7/0 Mustad 7766 hooks ganged together below a running sinker. Place the first hook up through the bottom jaw of the bait and let the second hook swing under the belly. The Coffees is a great spot for cod, tuskies, snapper, jew and the occasional mackerel, with fresh mullet and local

squid responsible for the larger catches. Out wider, the Barwon Banks are delivering quality snapper, maori cod and redthroat emperor from the areas around the 40m mark. If fishing the deeper water, about 90m has been popular for pearl perch, with pilchards and butterflied slimy mackerel snaring the bigger fish. Further south off Mooloolaba, the Gneerings and Currimundi are both yielding snapper, pearlies and grass sweetlip on floated pilchards, with occasional mahi mahi schools swimming by. It’s that time of year when Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers will be out in full force, so make sure all your safety gear is up to date. If not, call into our Davo’s Boating and Outdoors shop in Noosaville where we carry a full range of safety gear. While I’m at it, don’t forget the six-knot zone in the lower reaches of the Noosa River. This speed limit will be in place until January 31, 2018. On the beaches, Double Island has been hot for whiting and flathead, with shallow-water gutters producing the best catches. Whiting have averaged about 30cm, with late in the afternoon the pick of

the times to chase them. Beach worms and pipis are the better baits for whiting, with flathead taking baby blue pillies on the start of the run-in. Your flathead rig should be made from two Mustad Penetrator 2/0 hooks snooded on a running sinker rig. If wanting to ensure the line between the hooks is not damaged, place a piece of red tube between the hooks to ensure the rig’s protection. The stretch of beach from Peregian to Maroochy North Shore is producing quality jewfish in the high-water gutters after dark. Fishing the new moon period at night will give you the best shot. An ideal worm rig will consist of a Tru-Turn 090 forged worm hook in 4/0 or 6/0 with a heavy running sinker. Be sure to bait the hook heavily and slide the worm up over the eye of the hook. Jump onto fishingnoosa. com.au for up-to-date bar and fishing reports and don’t forget to drop into Davo’s Tackle World and Davo’s Boating and Outdoors in Noosa or Davo’s Northshore Bait & Tackle at Marcoola to find out where the fish are biting. Remember, tight lines and bent spines!

Jackson Brault scored his first-ever tailor at the mouth of the Noosa River.

Nick Brault with a school jew hooked at the Noosa River mouth.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 35


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The author untangled this jack out of the mangroves.

Resorting back to bait saves the day ■ Mangrove jack fishing at Tin Can Bay

I

WOULD like to welcome all our Bush ‘n Beach readers to the start of another year.

WADDY POINT - FRASER ISLAND

Page 36 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Hopefully everybody has a good Christmas and manages to slip in a few fishing trips among all the food and drinks. This is a very busy time for most people, so it can be difficult to get a spare few hours to put the boat in and pin some fish. January will be busy on the water too. If you are planning on fishing during the busier times of day, you might find it difficult to locate good numbers of feeding fish. I feel boat traffic makes a lot of fish shy. Being on the water in the early morning and late afternoon when it is quieter will give you a better chance of catching fish. Fishing through the night is often the most productive time. Many fish are very active at night and they will happily eat a range of lures and well-presented baits. I like to keep my options open at this time of year. Resorting back to baits when the fish aren’t eating lures can often save the day. I recently took a trip with my mate Phil to Tin Can Bay to chase mangrove jack. On the way we stopped and grabbed some pilchards as a back-up, as I had previously enjoyed good success on pillies at night. We arrived at midday

Fishing Trip by KEITH STRATFORD

and went up a little creek where I’ve caught a few jacks in the past. This creek is only accessible around the top of the tide. We still had an hour of run-in tide until it peaked, so our timing was perfect. We spent the first hour casting plastics around the mangrove-lined edges for one lonely cod. Plan B was put into action and we started casting unweighted pillies cut in half deep into the mangroves. We didn’t have to wait long before Phil’s rod buckled over and he landed a small jack. The next hour and a half was pretty hectic, with 10 jacks, a dozen bream and a few cod landed. We even had to go into the mangroves to untan-

gle a few fish that had bricked us in the dense root systems. If we persisted with lures we probably wouldn’t

have caught a lot of fish. It goes to show how deadly a well-presented bait can be in the right situation. All these fish came from the same spot and the water was only 1.21.5m deep. Even after going into

the mangroves to untangle fish, we were able to catch more fish almost straight away once we moved back out. Not one of these fish ate the bait as it was sinking, which I found a bit unusual. ☛ continued P37

Phil Benfer with a small jack taken on the first cast with a pilchard.

This cod had no trouble finding a mangrove to wrap around.

www.bnbfishing.com. au


COMPETITION DATES COMPETITION

DATE

LOCATION

2018

Photos: fishingnoosa.com.au

Mackerel mania set to start

ABBT* Barra Round 1

Jan 12-14

Awoonga Dam – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

Gamakatsu Team Series Round 3 Mid

Jan 21

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Boondooma Yellowbelly Fishing Competition

Feb 10-11

Boondooma Dam – Terry Allwood 0400 860 122

Gamakatsu Team Series Round 4 North

Feb 11

Ballina, NSW fishingcomps.com.au

ABBT* X-Factor Teams

Feb 17-18

BP Dam – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

ABBT* Bass Singles

Mar 10-11

Boondooma Dam – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

Gamakatsu Team Series Round 4 Mid

Mar 11

Forster, NSW fishingcomps.com.au

ABBT* X-Factor Teams

Mar 24-25 Dam TBA – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

Moura Muddy Water Classic Family Fishing Competition

Mar 31Apr 1

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ABBT* Bass Singles

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ABBT* X-Factor Teams

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Boondooma Dam – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

Tweed Coast Marine Greenback Fishing Comp

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Cabarita Beach – Stephen Duffield 0421 052 135 W: lionsgreenback.com

ABBT* X-Factor Teams

Jul 28-29

Cania Dam – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

Resorting back to bait saves the day

ABBT* Bass Singles

Aug 18-19

Somerset Dam – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

☛ from P36

Catch a Catty Family Fishing Comp

Aug 25-26 Mingo Crossing – John or Ruth Rokesky 07 4127 7252 or 0429 689 821

ABBT* Bass Singles

Sep 15-16

Wuruma Dam – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

WTF Women That Fish Barra Classic

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Rockhampton – Shara Vanhaeren 0429 923 243

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Oct 13-14

BP Dam – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

ABBT* X-Factor Teams Grand Final

Oct 27-28

Dam TBA – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

ABBT* Bass Grand Final

Nov 24-25 Cania Dam – Russell Nowland a/hrs 07 4165 4286 or 07 4167 8183

H

I, it’s Craig To m k i n s o n here.

With January almost upon us, spanish and spotted mackerel should start to thicken up off Double Island Point. The 8 Mile bait ground to the north of the bar holds good bait and spotties, some years running thick here. Bar Leads Reef is another cracker spot for spotties and the bay around Mudlo Reef holds spotties and schoolies. A great way to target these fish is to troll over the area with deep-diving lures or anchor up and berley while running floating baits out the back. If the water is dirty from the floods, put on a sinker and get the bait halfway to the bottom because the water will be cleaner down there. The Pinnacles behind Wolf Rock are a go-to spot for spanish mackerel off DI. Troll shallow and deep-diving lures at var-

Obviously a lot of fish were in the area, but the bait had to be on the bottom before we got a bite.

Noosa to Fraser Coast by CRAIG TOMKINSON

ious speeds or troll gar, pillies or live bait, as all work well for spanish. Off Noosa, try Stingers to the north early in the season, then the Coffees, the Hill and North Reef. As the fish move closer to Noosa, try Little and Big Halls and Jew Shoal. Again, if the Sunshine Coast has had lots of flooding rain, troll deeper-diving lures or use a

We were using circle hooks because we planned on releasing the fish. It took Phil a little while

downrigger to pull your live and dead baits down deeper to the clean water. Troll the 30m line on the northern edge of Sunshine Reef and then down its eastern edge. Victor Baileys and Chardons reefs are other top spots off Noosa if lots of floodwater is around. If we get heaps of floods, in close to DI

to get used to setting a circle hook compared to a standard hook. The trick is not to strike when the fish ini-

Philip caught this pikey bream on an unweighted pilchard.

www.bnbfishing.com. au

and Sunshine Reef will both be great for mixed reef fish. I recently did a couple of days on Bluewater Charters, driving a 10m Cougar Cat out of Noosa as a relief skipper. Deckie Will and I fished Massouds Reef for good size maori cod, moses and pearl perch and a cracking trout of 78cm. Other than that, my wife and I have been crabbing Lake Cootharaba from my 5m tinnie and picking up great crabs. ‘Til next time, be safe on the water.

tially takes the bait. A slow pull back on the rod increases the hook-up rate considerably. If you strike hard with circle hooks, it pulls the hook straight out of the fish’s mouth. The only problem with using circle hooks while fishing for jacks in dense cover is once the fish is hooked it is already close to structure. Not being able to strike hard gives the fish some advantage and means that once the circle hook is set properly, you need to go really hard on the fish to get its head out of the mangroves. Many anglers refuse to fish with bait, but on the tough days it can be the difference between catching a few fish and not hooking any at all. I hope to see you on the water.

*Australian Basstasstic Bass Tournament To have your competition listed in the calendar please phone (07) 3286 1833, email design@bnbfishing.com.au or fax (07) 3821 2637

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 37


Lochie with the very first marlin boated this season in September. The author was at this stage thinking it might turn out to be a cracking year.

Brandon went spotty with surface stickbaits.

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NOTHER year is over, and by the time this edition hits the stands, so will be my marlin season. Again it was another tough year, and what shaped up to be something steady soon faded. I think the weather was a big factor. Heavy rainfall in late-October was repeated in November and December, and this, together with sometimes strong northerly wind, churned the water. The water quality was definitely poor. I think clean water keeps the fish here and also keeps them active. When the water was cleaner, we saw fish less lethargic and more intent on hitting lures as we sight cast to them. The cleaner water turned on

Fraser Guided Fishing by TRI TON

the fish instantly. Luckily for us, November was mackerel central. The spotties truly saved us. Some days they were so thick you could sit on a school for 10-15 minutes. They ate everything from plastics to metals, surface lures and flies. If not for them, it would have been tough going because the weather did not always allow us to reach the more productive grounds. I found jigging plastics and metals hard work on most close areas. Even the beloved mack tuna stood us up. Occasionally we had schools

of longtails crash around the spotties, and they were big longtails too, but they were not easy prey. It was very much a case of being ‘Johnny on the spot’. Whenever you are chasing surface-feeding pelagics, you should always look around for bigger predators, either with your eyes on the surface or electronics looking below. Before I leave the topic of spotties, please be careful with these fish if you are catch and release fishing. They are extremely fragile and the rigours of sportfishing can easily damage them. Use a single hook rather than ☛ continued P39

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Craig enjoyed the golden company and fishing.

Page 38 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

www.bnbfishing.com. au


Lean marlin season but masses of spotties ☛ from P38

trebles (this will also aid in hook-up rate) because trebles mash up their soft jaws and gills, leaving them maimed and probably destined to be shark food. If you intend on releasing them, do not lift them out of the water because doing so will tear and break their mouths. Try to shake them free boatside while they’re still supported by the water. Trebles make quick and gentle shake-offs very difficult. When we hit spotty motherlodes, I make sure we all run single hooks. As we approach the bag limit if we are keeping them, I stop taking fish that have clean hook-ups and mouths and gills intact. I know full well we will come across plenty of damaged fish to fill the quota. But if there are other fish to chase, I recommend leaving the spotties, particularly if you are not willing to take the damaged fish home for a feed. I do not chase mackerel as sportfish unless it’s our final option. I like to catch a few for a feed or to get the monkey off the back

www.bnbfishing.com. au

and then move on to chase something that pulls serious string. Needless to say, my neighbours and I often found mackerel fillets on our dinner tables these past few months. Please be respectful and responsible in your approach to fishing. Outside the mackerel, we were encountering the occasional school of trevally. As always, there’s the chance of big ones at this time of year. Both plastics and jigs are working, and as always, sometimes one technique dominates the other. Looking forward, I expect more spotties and maybe some returning mack tuna schools here and there. Hopefully the odd longtail and big trev shows up too. Summer can be extremely hot and make the bite fickle. Water temperatures often get over 30C and I believe that generally shuts things down a bit. But I don’t think it bothers the spotties too much, for whatever reason. I hope you have a fun and safe holiday season with friends and family. Catch you in the new year!

Popular fishing destinations around Bundy

W

ITH most of us having some sort of holiday break over the Christmas and New Year period, I thought it would be worthwhile revisiting a few of the most popular fishing destinations accessible around the Bundaberg district, especially those for the land-based angler. We have a smorgasbord of opportunities from which to choose and maybe the holiday break will provide you the opportunity to fish a couple of new spots. While some anglers own or dream of owning a small boat to provide access to spots that look enticing to many an angler, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Numerous land-based fishing spots in our neck of the woods provide anglers with excellent opportunities to enjoy a successful fishing trip. Agnes Water/1770 This area provides fishing from the beach areas in Round Hill Creek (check for ‘areas closed to fishing’) as well as the rocky locations near Workmans Beach. Best baits include prawns and pilchards (whole and halves) and mullet strips. If you are fishing along the rocky areas, take extreme care and always watch the waves.

Bundaberg Region by BRAD YOUNG

Never turn your back and have a planned escape route if a big wave approaches. While not land based, offshore fishing charters operate from this area, providing the usually land-based angler the opportunity to experience a day of offshore fishing. Flat Rock/Middle Rock/ Wreck Rock Fishing from the rocks and/or small patches of sand between rocky outcrops can be high-yield fishing strategies. These three rocky outcrops provide the chance to do both. One consideration here is to check the weather is not too wild because these are open beaches and the wind and waves can prevent them being fished effectively. Flathead can often be caught on the sandy areas between rocky outcrops using pilchards, while whiting can be extracted from the same areas using beachworms captured along the beachfront at low tide. If the seas are calm, it is possible to fish from the rocks at Wreck Rock with extreme care. This can provide you with access to species such as mackerel and reef fish.

Miara Holiday Park At the Miara Holiday Park you can try out the new camping gear you received for Christmas while enjoying the fishing. Camp on the Kolan riverfront and fish the large flats on foot. Yabbies can be pumped along this stretch and using fresh yabbies and fishing with light gear on an incoming tide is the best strategy in this area, likely to yield flathead and whiting. Bream may also be captured on deeper water drop-offs. Moore Park Creek Access to Moore Park Creek is via Moore Park Rd, which is a right-hand turn as you head towards Gin Gin. The creek is located at the southern end of Moore Park Beach and provides an opportunity to fish the banks around the creek mouth as well as the beach itself. Burnett River The Burnett River provides a wide range of fishing options including the boat harbour near the mouth, the kilometres of rock walls accessible upstream of the mouth, the area near the Strathdees boat ramp/old ferry crossing on both north and

south banks, the reach from the Kalkie boat ramp to the Millaquin mill and the rock walls along Queens Park. There is a high chance you may catch a bream along these stretches over the holiday period because a good summer bream run usually occurs at this time. Species such as grunter, moses perch and Burnett salmon are also likely. Best baits are green prawns and mullet strips. You’re best using a lighter line with a heavier trace because there is a good chance you will be fishing near rocks. Bargara Some fishing options exist along the Bargara beachfront but other areas are closed to fishing. If you want to fish along this area, check for closed zones beforehand. Elliott Heads This area is a favourite for families because of the large range of opportunities in terms of both fishing and recreational options for kids. The rocky areas and open surf beach provide anglers with the chance to fish the open water for species such as bream and whiting, with a predatory trevally or queenfish also on the cards. The river mouth and estuary provide calm water fishing that is great for beginners and younger children to have a fish. The bonus here is the

patrolled surf beach and river are suitable for supervised swimming for children. But beware the fast tidal stream, especially on an outgoing tide. On an incoming tide, it is also a spot where you can test snorkelling gear. If you get to walk the large area of sand flats at low tide, you are likely to identify some kite-shaped flathead lies from the previous high tide. Marking these with a stick will allow you to revisit the area on the incoming tide. Flathead often return to the same area and this tactic can reap rewards. Whiting and flathead are the most likely catches here on yabbies and half pilchard baits, respectively. This is also a great spot to use soft plastics, small hard-bodied lures (including whiting poppers) and to try out your new fly rod. Coonarr Creek Coonarr Creek, south of Bundaberg, is accessed by heading south along Goodwood Rd. As you reach the Elliott River crossing/railway bridge, take the left-hand turn towards Coonarr. Follow the road until you reach the beachfront area and explore both north and south. The mouth of Coonarr Creek provides another fishing option. ☛ continued P40

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 39


BOATING & marine Sealegs FC 680 and Mercury package getting attention

H

A M I LTON, NZ-based FC Boats is on the cusp of adding an amphibious option to its well-respected line-up of specialist fishing boats, and Mercury Verado technology is helping make this unique package even more attractive.

Ross Christensen and his team at FC have created an FC 680 Sealegs prototype that is garnering plenty of attention because of its clever design,

improved aesthetics and lovely handling. The boat is unusually roomy for an amphibious craft because the additional engine, which drives the Sealegs’ wheels and hydraulics, has been built into the centre console, with the hull reengineered to conceal the pipework necessary for cooling and exhaust. Additional storage areas have been created to ensure all the floorspace remains available for

walking and fishing. Externally, the Catalina-style raised sheer line of the FC 680 means the front wheel of the Sealegs system is also tucked away nicely when it’s elevated, providing a more visually pleasing profile. “It has generated heaps of interest,” Ross said. “Whenever we took it out for a test we’d have people follow us right back to the workshop.” The one-off prototype was made for one of Ross’s existing custom-

A boat for every budget... FISH HUNTER 459 centre console

ers who lives right on the water and wanted a fishing boat he could simply drive in and out of his boat shed. “He’s really happy with the end result,” Ross said. “And so am I. “We had to do quite a bit of research and development, as well as modify the hull somewhat, to make sure the overall package worked. “For example, all the Sealegs equipment weighs about 500kg, which had to be taken into account, but this hull was designed originally for a similar overall weight, so it works well with this sort of load.” A key element of the prototype’s overall success has been the decision to pair it with a sixcylinder 225hp Mercury Verado that has brought both power and technological benefits into the mix. The Verado’s power steering technology has allowed FC Boats to link the outboard and the front wheel in one steering system. “It works better than other brands due to the Verado’s vertical steering pivot, even when the motor is fully trimmed up,” Ross said. “It really enhances the

steering of the boat when it’s up on its wheels. “And when it’s in the water it’s a beautiful boat to drive.” The Verado’s Digital Throttle and Shift also makes the change from ‘boating’ to ‘driving’ much quicker and easier, particularly the digital throttle and stop/start button. “With this Verado we’ve had the boat up to 40 knots and there’s so much acceleration,” Ross said. “It jumps onto the plane beautifully when fully loaded, no bother at all.” With the success of the prototype, Ross and his crew are now considering a slightly larger 7.3m version to add to the FC Boats line-up. “We’re looking at it very carefully because we don’t offer a new boat until we’re absolutely sure it’s ready,” he said. “We’re also working closely with Sealegs. “But we think that a slightly longer boat, probably with a 250hp Verado, will be an even better performer.” For more information about FC Boats, visit fcboats.co.nz and for more on the Verado range, visit mercuryma rine.com.au

...Stessco has it!

Popular fishing destinations around Bundaberg region ☛ from P39

ur new o y h t i water w e h t n o Get ay! d o t o c s s Ste BRISBANE | Karee Marine

IPSWICH | Ipswich Marine Centre

1776 Ipswich Motorway, Rocklea kareemarine.com.au 07 3875 1600

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BRISBANE NORTH | Motorsport Marine

SUNSHINE COAST | Laguna Boating Centre

11 Brewers St, Burpengary motorsportmarine.com.au 07 3888 0555

16 Project Ave, Noosaville lagunaboating.com.au 07 5442 4872

Page 40 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Walking the beach using light gear and a shoulder bag to carry your small tackle box and fish is one of the favoured tactics in this area. Target species include whiting, dart and flathead, with yabbies the best bait. Woodgate Beach Heading further south along Goodwood Rd will see you approach the signed left-hand turn-off to Woodgate, just after you pass Goodwood State School. Follow the road until you reach the T junction on the beachfront

at Woodgate. Head north to the carpark at the mouth of Theodolite Creek or south to Walkers Point. Between these two creek mouths is a long beach from which you can fish. Target species include whiting, flathead and dart and the best bait is yabbies. Use light lines to improve catch rates. Have a question or want to share your catch photo? Drop me a line at fish nboat@bigpond. com or PO Box 5812 Bundaberg West Queensland 4670. Until next month… www.bnbfishing.com. au


BOATING & marine

Reverse chines effectively deal with spray and combine with the enveloping cabin to keep occupants totally dry while under way.

The Horizon 485 Scorpion rode smoothly and had a great high driving position.

Horizon 485 Scorpion Cuddy

F

AMILY orientated fishos are these days quite spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a new rig to satisfy both their fishing aspirations and partner’s desires. With such a wide variety of boats on the market, to attract the eye of prospective buyers most brands ensure they have a point of difference that sets

Boat Review by DANIEL TOMLINSON

them apart from the rest. For Horizon Aluminium Boats, that key point is exceptional value for money, which the wellknown Aussie boating brand has been delivering since 1992.

I recently ducked down to the Tweed River on a gloomy and windy day to check out the newfor-2018 Horizon 485 Scorpion Cuddy powered by Yamaha’s lightweight pocket rocket F60LB

four-stroke outboard. First impressions had me wondering how well the relatively small fourcylinder would push along the chunkily proportioned Scorpion in the fast-flowing Tweed River. As soon as we hit the water, my concerns dissipated. Running with the tide and with three people ☛ continued P42

The 485 Scorpion is just as happy doing family duties as catering to serious fishos. Yamaha 60hp four-stroke provided ample punch on this budget setup.

#HomeOfFishingBoats#NorthsideMarine

For more information visit www.nsmarine.com.au Easy In-House Finance and Insurance Options Available.

www.bnbfishing.com. au

2294 Sandgate Rd, Boondall Q

3265 8000

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 41


BOATING & marine Horizon 485 Scorpion Cuddy review ☛ from P41

Broad and clean dash layout provides endless options for fitting electronics and one-piece curved glass windscreen is a classy touch.

Cabin bunks aren’t quite long enough to sleep an adult, but are perfect for the kids once they’re tuckered out from a day on the water.

Strut-opening cabin hatch allows plenty of light to filter into the cabin and offers access to the anchor well.

on board, the Scorpion quickly scooted out to about 50km/h (easily read on the crystal-clear Yamaha 6YC LCD information display), which would no doubt be plenty of performance for the average family fisho. The single overhead cam, 996cc Yamaha effortlessly pushed the 550kg (dry weight) Scorpion onto the plane and was whisper-quiet at all running speeds, allowing easy communication and even quality audio recordings of conversation in the cockpit at about 40km/h. The Horizon’s foamfilled Hydro Lift hull and 3mm bottom sheets no doubt played a part in this quiet ride too, with minimal wave noise and water rustling coming through the hull at speed. During testing, we mainly stayed in the calm waters of the mid-Tweed River, however any passing boat wakes were handled with ease both at full speed and cruise speed and no spray found its way over the sides. Yamaha’s performance testing of this boat and

motor package revealed a swift cruising speed of 38.85km/h at 4500rpm to be the sweet spot, punching out an excellent 3.38km per litre fuel economy figure. With a 60-litre fuel tank, running the tank dry at that cruising speed would net you a 202km range, which is nothing to be sneezed at for a family friendly fishing rig. Internally, the Scorpion has a fully carpeted floor extending into the cabin. Speaking of the cabin, with a bow to transom length of 4.9m, the 485 Scorpion is not exactly what you’d class as a ‘big’ boat, however the cabin’s size and layout is ‘big boat style’. Extending forwards right up to the anchor well and then running aft until about midships, the cabin structure is no insignificant thing. The reason for such an accommodating cabin comes back to that philosophy of satisfying both the fisho within and keeping the family happy. The cabin provides ample storage under the cushions, and an optional bunk infill would turn

the area into a perfect sleeping pad for the kids (there’s not quite enough length for an adult to lie flat). A large, clear central hatch allows for natural light to enter the cabin, giving a greater sense of space, and provides access to the bow to make anchoring a breeze. The driving position too, feels airy and is up nice and high, giving a commanding view out over the waves. Heading out of the cabin and moving astern, a heavily padded backrest accompanies a fold-away three-quarter rear lounge, which makes chilling out down the back of the boat while under way a decidedly pleasant option. The final quarter of the stern area is occupied by a door that leads out to a non-slip boarding area replete with fold-up/down ladder for ease of entry and egress. So that’s the family taken care of, but what about the fisho? Well despite the fairly large cabin up the front of the 485 Scorpion, fishing room in the cockpit is not overly compromised, with

loads of space for three or even four fishos with the rear lounge stowed away, thanks in part to a 2.2m beam. Behind the rear lounge is the battery, tucked neatly out of sight, and also absent from view is the fuel tank, which has been fitted under the floor. In summary, when it comes to value for money, you’ll be hard pressed to find better than a Horizon boat. As tested with the bimini, Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro with chart, single battery and Yamaha 60hp four-stroke, the 485 Scorpion Cuddy is priced at just $32,990 drive away from Marine Tune on the Gold Coast.

That’s outstanding value for a cuddy cabin boat with the ability to do inshore overnighters and keep the family entertained for hours on end. Will from Yamaha was even telling me this boat was pulling him around in a tube with no worries just a few days before our test. The perfect family rig for those on a budget? The Horizon 485 Scorpion Cuddy comes pretty darn close. For more information and to find a dealer near you, visit horizonboats. com.au and to learn more about the exceptional range of Yamaha outboards, head to yamahamotor.com.au

Fold-away rear lounge and heavily padded backrest make for an ideal place to sit while under way.

See your authorised Mercury MerCruiser Dealer today AIRLIE BEACH | Whitsunday Outboard Centre 17 William Murray Dr, Cannonvale Q 4802 P: 07 4946 7286 E: woc@whitsundayoutboardcentre.com.au W: whitsundayoutboardcentre.com.au

BRISBANE SOUTH | Coorparoo Marine 57 Cavendish Rd, Coorparoo Q 4151 P: 07 3397 4141 E: info@coorparoomarine.com.au W: coorparoomarine.com.au

BRISBANE | Holt Marine 25 Queens Rd, Everton Park Q 4053 P: 07 3353 1928 E: info@holtmarine.com.au W: holtmarine.com.au

GOLD COAST | Onshore Marine Horizon Shores Marina, Woongoolba Q 4207 P: 07 5546 2480 E: onshoremarine@ozemail.com.au W: onshoremarine.com.au

BRISBANE NORTH | Brisbane Marine 306 Duffield Rd, Clontarf Q 4019 P: 07 3889 3033 E: info@brismarine.com.au W: brismarine.com.au

IPSWICH | Ipswich Marine Centre 45 Huxham St, Raceview Q 4305 P: 07 3294 3944 E: enquiries@ipswichmarine.com.au W: ipswichmarine.com.au

Page 42 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

www.bnbfishing.com. au


BOATING & marine Formosa Marine celebrates 20 years for more information and to see the vast range of attachments that can be added to the QuickPort or contact Formosa Marine’s Brisbane dealer Australian Marine Centre on 07 3808 7333 for a price list. Your Formosa Tomahawk southeast Queensland dealer For a great Tomahawk, Suzuki motor and trailer package, contact Formosa Marine’s southeast Queensland dealer Australian Marine Centre situated at 3491 Pacific

Can you have it all in the one outboard? The Best Torque The Best Fuel Economy The Lowest Emissions The Lowest Maintenance Costs

Yamaha Motor Corporation US acquires Bennett Marine

100% YES Evinrude Etec G2 evinrude.com.au

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The company is known for hydraulic trim tab systems and the recently launched Bolt electric trim tab and AutoTrim Pro systems. With its manufacturing facility and headquarters in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Bennett Marine will become a part of Yamaha’s newly created subsidiary, Yamaha Marine Systems Company, Inc. Yamaha Marine Group president Ben Speciale said, “We believe this acquisition will enable us to innovate and expand at a pace unparalleled in the industry.” “Through the acquisition of Bennett Marine, Yamaha Marine has the capability to further broaden our offerings to boat builders and provide even greater integration of Yamaha marine systems. “Bennett Marine has a long-standing reputation for building durable, reliable trim tab systems that can be found on boats all over the world. “The integrity of the Bennett Marine brand aligns well with the Yamaha Marine brand, and we look forward to delivering top-quality products together.” www.bnbfishing.com. au

Charles Bennett invented the first adjustable trim tab in 1959, dramatically improving a boat’s performance in an expanded range of conditions. Bennett Marine is the largest manufacturer of durable hydraulic and electric trim tab systems designed for a variety of boat styles and sizes. Adding Bennett to the Yamaha portfolio allows increased control system integration and the potential for an even better boater experience. Bennett Marine CEO Charles Sweet said, “We’re very excited to become part of the Yamaha Marine family and look forward to continuing the great legacy of producing innovative and high-quality boat-levelling solutions well into the future.” “We believe this acquisition will enable us to innovate and expand at a pace unparalleled in the industry.” Bennett Marine general manager Paul Ness said, “Yamaha Marine is a premium brand, just like Bennett Marine.” “Both companies value product integrity and reliability, and I know that by working together, we can continue to deliver marine systems that keep customers happy on the water.” For more information on the innovative range of Bennett trim tabs, visit harroldmarine.com.au

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AMAHA Motor Corporation (US) recently announced the acquisition of Bennett Marine, creator of the adjustable trim tab.

Highway, Springwood, Queensland. Visit amcboats.com.au for more information. Book a Suzuki engine service with Australian Marine Centre before March 31, 2018 for your chance to win a True North seven-night Kimberley Snapshot Cruise for two or five years’ free servicing (T&Cs apply). Visit AMC’s website for more information. Discover more with a Formosa by visiting formos amarineboats.com.au

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From humble beginnings, Formosa Marine now sees itself as one of the mainstay brands of the Australian recreational boating market, with a distribution network Australia wide. The key to the longevity, growth and reputation of Formosa Marine has been the constant onward development of the company’s product range and designs to meet customers’ demands for high-quality build and performance in a hull that can be tailored to their individual needs. A Formosa Marine-built hull is marketed under the Tomahawk and SeaRod brands of plate boats, offering a full range of models from open boats to cabin hard tops, in sizes from 4.55m Classics to the latest 7.4m heavy-duty Offshores with true selfdraining decks. Select from one of the largest ranges of optional extras, such as the latest BowActive Ladder, or custom design to enhance your boating form.

New boat graphics for 2018 To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Formosa Marine is relaunching its boat graphics for both the Tomahawk and SeaRod ranges. The new graphics will feature the iconic Formosa Marlin and a 20th Anniversary sticker, plus an increase in size of the branding to accommodate the larger boat models now on offer. Formosa acknowledges its graphic has become symbolic with its branding, readily recognisable on the water and much sought after. The barra graphic is still available on request too. Free gift to celebrate As well as a boat graphic refresh, Formosa Marine is giving away a free gift to celebrate 20 years in business. If you order the famous Formosa Marinedesigned and built bait board and bait tank, you will receive a free Railblaza StowPod with removable QuickPort fastener. The Railblaza StowPod is UV resistant, has a drink holder partition and holds all your personal items at your fingertips. Check out railblaza.com

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ORMOSA Marine is proud to acknowledge that 2018 will mark 20 years of aluminium boat building for the Australian boating public.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL EVINRUDE DEALER TODAY

CALOUNDRA MARINE 8 Baldwin St, Caloundra QLD 07 5491 1944 E: sales@caloundramarine.com.au W: caloundramarine.com.au

WATER SKIERS WAREHOUSE (QLD) 91-93 Neil St, Toowoomba QLD 0400 379 514 E: info@waterskierswarehouse.com.au W: waterskierswarehouse.com.au

ADRIANS MARINE CENTRE 28 Ritchie St, Bundaberg QLD 07 4153 1819 E: adriansmarinecentre@bigpond.com W: adriansmarinecentre.com.au

STEVE FLEETWOOD MARINE 10 Morgan St, Gladstone QLD 07 4972 9463 E: sfmarine@tpg.com.au

WHITE WATER MARINE 10 Hinde St, Ashmore QLD 07 5532 4402 E: sales@whitewatermarine.com.au W: whitewatermarine.com.au

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 43


BOATING & marine Twin 350 Verados turn CamCraft 6.8 into an offshore beast

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T’S something else altogether – a 6.8m fishing boat that touches 120km/h. But what do you expect when it’s being pushed by a pair of Mercury 350hp Verado outboards. The man who owns the CamCraft 6.8, Neil Robertson said, “When we first put the boat in the water we were doing 115km/h but since then the engines have loosened up a bit and we’ve hit 120km/h. And to say it’s turning heads along the Mornington Peninsula would be an understatement.

“Since getting the boat I’ve taken it out a lot because I wanted to get my 20 hours up really quickly so I can go offshore,” Neil said. “And every time I start it up at the ramp, heads spin around.” “Then when I push the throttle the sound is unbelievable – not loud – just unbelievable. “Everyone stops talking just to listen to the engines.” But you’d be wrong to think Neil has only got a muscle boat. “I went out with my wife recently and we were

Insights into boat insurance

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USH ‘n Beach has brought Nautilus Marine Insurance on board to expand the fine print and provide readers with clear, easy-tounderstand and helpful tips on protecting their boating assets. If you want a lively discussion during New Year celebrations, casually ask those standing around you what they think their car’s compulsory third-party insurance protects them against. If you actually know what CTP covers, you will probably be stunned by some of the incorrect answers you hear. And then, if you really want to escalate the spirited discussion, particularly if standing in a boat club at the time, ask the same people whether Queensland has CTP coverage in the annual boat registration cost. The short answers to those questions are: What does car CTP cover? A lot less than many people believe it does. And CTP boat insurance? There is no cover or protection provided with your boat’s annual registration. So now understanding that in CTP insurance terms, a car is not a boat, let’s break it down a little. Your annual car registration has two key components: the registration and associated costs and the compulsory thirdparty insurance component. The Queensland Government’s Motor Accident Insurance Commission clearly states that CTP provides cover for any person injured in a motor vehicle accident… and then clarifies issues such as fault, vehicle driver,

ownership and so on. It also clearly states that CTP does not cover damage to other vehicles or property. However, many people think CTP also covers the damage they might do to another vehicle. It does not. If your $1000 car has nothing more than registration and CTP when it crashes into the latest model prestige SUV with you being at fault, be prepared for a serious bill and/or damages claim from the other driver or insurer. Yes, in general terms you will be covered against any injury claim from people in the SUV at the time of the accident, but that SUV repair will be headed your way in one form or another. A $1000 car not worth insuring, or at least taking out a form of extended cover to protect you against property damages claims? Think again, unless you have countless reserves of cash and assets and are prepared to hand them over to make good the damage you caused. When it comes to boats, there is no CTP cover associated with your annual registration. So if ever things go pear-shaped in the marina and your $2000 tinnie, which you didn’t believe worth insuring, careers into a series of luxury cruisers gouging unsightly rashes into their immaculate flanks, again you can expect a series of very expensive bills to be headed your way. And if someone was injured during that incident, the bills will probably be even greater. Potentially, your $2000 tinnie could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even more, simply because

you did not believe it worth insuring. Specialist marine insurers such as Nautilus Marine provide a public liability coverage within their policies. So irrespective of whether you have a $2000 tinnie or a $2 million cruiser, you can enjoy your boating knowing you are covered for any injury to people or damage to property. Like other specialist marine insurers, Nautilus sets limits to the amount of coverage, depending on factors such as where and how you use your boat as well as what you agree to be a reasonable level of protection. If you are determined not to comprehensively insure your $2000 tinnie and thereby inherently secure public liability cover, you can just take out a third-party cover. That means your tinnie won’t be insured, but any damage caused by it due to your negligence will be covered within the limits outlined in the policy. Finally, just who are these ‘parties’ in CTP? Well, in terms of car insurance, the first party is the owner or driver of the vehicle ‘at fault’. The second party is the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault. The third party is the injured person.

In a boating context, it’s the other person. To own or drive a boat that does not have some level of insurance protection against the injuries or damage it may cause to others is to run a very, very serious risk of crippling debt should a claim ever be made against you. Remember, there’s no automatic provision against it in your annual registration fee. Finally, as with all insurance policies, always check your product disclosure document and if you have a query, ask for clarification. If you need further information, you can contact Nautilus Marine Insurance on 1300 780 533 for any boat insurance requirements. Win a Nautilus Marine rod Nautilus will also be answering your boat insurance questions of a general nature and offering a great bi-monthly prize for the best questions received. The prize is a custom-built 15-24kg Nautilus Marine-branded overhead 5’6” light game and reef fishing rod crafted by Gary Howard and featuring Fuji guides, a graphite reel seat and roller tip. Each rod has a retail value of about $300. Just email your questions to qld@nautilusin surance.com.au

Any advice contained in this article is of a general nature only and may not apply or be right for you as it does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice provided in this article, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

Page 44 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

cruising at 3500 revs, about 75km/h, and only using 60 litres an hour, so not only do I have all this power, I have brilliant fuel economy as well,” he said. It sounds like a pairing made in heaven but the original plan was to put the 350hp Verados on a different, larger boat. Neil originally ordered one of the new 8m CamCrafts and bought the outboards for that. “When I saw there were two Verado 350s available in white, I got the builder, Cam Strachan, to grab them straight away because I think they look so good,” Neil said. But then, with the 8m boat being delayed, Neil asked Cam to put the Verados on a 6.8 he could use in the meantime. “As soon as I had it in the water, I thought ‘forget about the 8m, this is perfect’,” Neil said. “The only thing I was worried about was the weight, but all it’s done is

make the boat sit down in the water a little and actually handle better, which is what CamCrafts are already known for.” The Verados were fitted and adjusted by Leigh McGilp at Supreme Marine on Westernport Bay. “Putting 700hp on a 6.8m boat is a bit out of the norm for anyone I think, but the outcome is mind-blowing,” Leigh said. Leigh spent a lot of time getting the balance and trim just right, eventually pairing the outboards with 23” fourblade Mercury Revolution 4 props. “It’s a lot of power but we were assured by Cam

the builder that the boat could handle it and he was absolutely right,” Leigh said. “Actually, in some ways I think I have created a bit of a monster because the phone doesn’t stop ringing now with people asking about adding more power to their boats.” For Neil, he just can’t wait to get out into the deep blue. “I have another boat, a 13.5’ Haines Hunter that I use for fishing inshore,” he said. “This one really is an offshore boat that I’m going to use to chase marlin, and it’s going to be amazing.”

Riviera returns to SCIBS in 2018

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ANCTUARY Cove International Boat Show organisers recently announced that luxury motor yacht builder Riviera will be returning to the southern hemisphere’s most highly anticipated marine event for its milestone 30th anniversary.

As one of the first exhibitors to sign up for the 2018 show, the iconic Gold Coast-based manufacturer will return in full force, bringing with it an inspiring multi-milliondollar showcase including one world premiere model. Officially launching the 2018 edition recently, SCIBS general manager Johan Hasser said the team was thrilled to have Riviera return for what was already gearing up to be a bumper anniversary show from May 24 to 27, 2018. “We are excited to announce Australia’s renowned boating brand Riviera is back on board for the 30th anniversary of SCIBS,” Mr Hasser said. “Riviera is a major force in the global marine industry and we are pleased to have them join a host of leading motor yacht brands at next year’s show.” Having launched more than 5200 motor yachts over its reputable 37-year history, Riviera’s display will represent the brand’s five distinctive and highly awarded model collections – the SUV, Flybridge, Sports Motor Yacht, Sport Yacht and Belize motor yacht range. Riviera owner and chairman Rodney Longhurst said the company was excited to be return-

ing next year to celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary alongside the rest of the marine community. “We are proud to be returning to the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in 2018,” Mr Longhurst said. “SCIBS is the premium boat show in Queensland and the entire Riviera family is looking forward to being back and playing a part in this world-class event.” Having designed and launched 12 extremely successful new models since Riviera’s last SCIBS appearance, Mr Longhurst said visitors would have the opportunity to step aboard and experience the very latest luxury Riviera yachts from their individual design collections. “Over the past five years, we have created 12 new models and launched two entirely new motor yacht designs with our class-defining, long-range 68 and 72 Sports Motor Yacht Collection and our sporty and adventurous SUV Collection featuring

the 445, 525 and 575 models,” he said. “We are excited to share our significant achievements over the past five years with SCIBS visitors, who will have the opportunity to step aboard selected new models and experience first-hand the latest in our industry-leading marine technology, innovation and luxury appointments. “I know they will be very impressed with the calibre of yachts we are creating at Riviera today.” Growing significantly from an exhibitor show in 1989 to the worldclass showcase it is today, the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show attracts upwards of 40,000 visitors and more than 300 quality exhibitors each year, cementing its place as the southern hemisphere’s premier marine event. Exhibitor applications are now open. To register as an exhibitor, contact the boat show office on 07 5577 6011 or visit sanctuarycoveboat show.com.au

www.bnbfishing.com. au


Cooee Bay Marine joins the Yamaha family

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AMAHA Marine is proud to announce the opening of the latest Yamaha-authorised, Queensland-based WaveRunner and outboard dealer, Cooee Bay Marine. Family owned and operated by owner Brad Welsh and wife Natalie, Cooee Bay Marine has a steep history in the area, serving the personal watercraft and boating market in central Queensland since 1974. Originally managed by husband and wife team Vince and Leslie Welsh, Cooee Bay has seen many changes in its 40-plus year history. Starting out as a Yamahaauthorised motorcycle and outboard dealer, son Brad now oversees the day-to-day operation of the dealership as the business transitions to the next generation. Going from strength to strength, Cooee Bay recently re-established its relationship with Yamaha by taking on both the Yamaha WaveRunner and Yamaha outboard product lines. “Yamaha’s legendary product reliability and comprehen-

sive business support is what brought us back to the Yamaha fold,” Brad said. “We have never experienced the level of backing and assistance that is now available to us, and when we combine this with our existing relationship with Quintrex, we are able to offer our customers the best of the best when it comes to complete boat and repower packages. “We also recently introduced a fully mobile mechanical workshop to provide on-site repairs to the growing local marina and to meet the

increased business we expect to see from taking on the industry’s leading outboard brand.” A keen and passionate supporter of the local personal watercraft community, Brad is also a proud ambassador for the annual Yamaha Variety Jet Trek, which raises funds for Aussie kids in need. For more information regarding Cooee Bay Marine, visit cooeebaymarine.com.au To learn more about Yamaha’s class-leading range of outboard motors, head to yamahamotor.com.au

New Minn Kota and Humminbird Inflatable PFDs – Level 150

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UMMINBIRD and Minn Kota have released new Inflatable Level 150 PFDs. They are manually activated 150N inflatable PFDs, approved to AS4758-150. Their slim, multi-fit design is suitable for continuous wearing. An oral inflation tube,

whistle and 25mm D-ring lanyard attachment point are also included. The outer 420 denier nylon cover is printed with clean care, donning and inflation instructions. The inflatable body features 5mm radio frequencywelded seams with a heavyduty PVC protective cover

over the CO2 cylinder and firing mechanism. The 38mm-wide webbing back strap includes a heavyduty adjustable release buckle. An annual service record chart is also printed on the inflation bladder. SRP is $99 and more information can be found at bla. com.au

The Stacer 449 Nomad is a budget, fishing friendly boat, offering plenty of handy features. Surprisingly spacious and beamy with the new Shark carpet which is soft underfoot providing excellent grip. This model includes all the standard features and you can option her up with a stainless steel telescopic rear boarding ladder and electric motor bow mount plate. Visit www.stacer.com.au for more details.

For more information contact your local Stacer dealer:

Boondall | Northside Marine 2294 Sandgate Rd, Boondall Q 4034 Phone: 07 3265 8000 info@nsmarine.com.au northsidemarine.com.au Bundaberg | Adrians Marine Centre 28 Ritchie St, Bundaberg Q 4670 Phone: 07 4153 1819 adriansmarinecentre@bigpond.com adriansmarinecentre.com.au Gladstone | Curtis Coast Marine 40 Chapple St, Gladstone Q 4680 Phone: 07 4972 0135 sales@curtiscoastmarinecom.au curtiscoastmarine.com.au Gold Coast | White Water Marine 10 Hinde St, Ashmore Q 4214 Phone: 07 5532 4402 sales@whitewatermarine.com.au whitewatermarine.com.au

Breaksea & Beyond DVD Join Greg Lamprecht and his Wicked Fishing crew as they fish the Breaksea Spit region north of Fraser Island on the southern Great Barrier Reef. Featuring 24 different species of fish including red emperor to 17kg and drag-screaming marlin and wahoo action.

Sunshine Coast | North Coast Boating 264 Nicklin Way,Warana Q 4575 Phone : 07 5493 9376 sales@northcoastboating.com.au northcoastboating.com.au

Experience fascinating and rarely seen underwater footage of fish roaming the reefs in their natural habitat. Greg combines this footage with sounder readings to create a fantastic learning tool that won’t be forgotten.

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Wynnum | Wynnum Marine 31 Fox St, Wynnum Q 4178 Phone: 07 3396 9777 info@wynnummarine.com.au wynnummarine.com.au

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 45


Catching whiting, bream and dart off the beach is a good option for kids in the holidays.

Beach bikes present an excellent way to get away from the crowds.

Fishing ideas over busy holidays

T Even at Noosa, you can find shallow spots that hold fish away from the jet skis and boating crowds.

Fishing the beaches at dawn is a great way to find fish in the holidays.

HE summer holidays is often the time of year when many of us can get time off, but it can also be the busiest time on the water and beaches.

Certainly the fishing can be impacted by the crowds and boats on the water. All is not lost however, you just need to change your plans or think a bit differently to still catch fish. So with the holiday season upon us, here are a few short tips to help you catch fish and have fun over this period, despite the crowds. 1. Dawn and dusk, or into the night, will see fewer numbers on the beaches, estuaries, dams and reefs, and you will

%2$7&29(56‡&$123,(6‡%,0,1,6 Karee Marine now offers a full boat trimming service with the acquisition of MV Marine. We are now able to manufacture and repair all types of canopies and marine upholstery on site. No job too big or small!

Fishing Tips by SEAN THOMPSON

get better results for most species then anyway. The crowds normally arrive well after the sun is up and disappear towards dusk. 2. Fish the beaches away from the flags and board riders. This might mean you have to walk another few hundred metres, but it is worth it. 3. A beach bike with fat wheels is a great way to avoid the summer crowds and get good exercise when heading to and from fishing spots. 4. Jump on Google Earth to find more remote beaches, tidal flats and rock fishing locations away from where the crowds will likely be. 5. Go looking in your library or the tackle shop for fishing maps and locality books to find some places less populated or fished. You will be surprised what you find. 6. In estuaries, fish the hidden bays or sneaky little creeks where, during the middle of the day, fish will take refuge from heavy boat traffic. 7. In dams, fish around heavy structure such as drowned trees and rocks that the jet skis and skiers will keep well clear of. This will not only be quieter, but is excellent structure for holding fish. 8. Sound around with

your boat’s fishfinder for new territory well away from the crowds. 9. During the middle of a hot summer’s day, fish the banks on the ‘shadowed’ side of creeks, dams and estuaries. This includes bridges and jetties. Fish will hang in the structure around these shadows. 10. Throw small hardbody lures or very lightly weighted plastics (1/8oz or less) into these shadowy structures. A live unweighted prawn or yabby cast into these locations can also be deadly. 11. In an estuary, pull your boat up on the shallow side of a sandbank or island, opposite the often ‘mad’ deep channel side and fish the melon holes and slightly deeper drains in the shallows with live baits such as worms and yabbies. 12. Pump yabbies into a sieve at high tide on estu-

ary sandbanks and you will create a berley trail. You will be amazed at the fish you will catch in such circumstances, even with noise and traffic going nuts behind you on the deeper and busier side. 13. If you are limited to a busy jetty, rock wall or wharf, use a berley bucket near your bait and fish unweighted or very light. 14. Cover more territory and find fish by trolling lures up small creeks and deeper drains in estuaries around the top half of the tide. 15. Offer to help others out at the ramp rather than just being annoyed if they are struggling. It will mean you are on the water quicker and make life less stressful for all. I hope these tips help you get a few over the busy period. In the meantime, be sure to jump on my Ontour Fishing Australia Facebook page or #ontourfish ingaustralia on Instagram for more tips and reports.

A nice midday haul from a quiet riverbank during summer.

Specialising in custom biminis, full boat covers, storm covers, upholstery repairs and insurance work.

Karee Marine has you covered! 1776 IPSWICH MOTORWAY, ROCKLEA ph. 07 3875 1600

www.kareemarine.com.au Page 46 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Trolling up quiet, small creeks is a good way to find fish such as flathead in summer.

www.bnbfishing.com. au


Adam Foley with a 14.2kg red emperor caught off Double Island Point.

Andrew Muller hooked this cracking mangrove jack in Moore Park Creek on a Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ with a TT jig head.

Matt Egan picked up this 85cm flathead (safely released) on a Rapala X-Rap while fishing at Jumpinpin recently. Sacha Slade

Sean Kerr landed this monster bass at Baroon Pocket Dam.

Matt Kiernan caught this quality bream in Broadbeach Waters on a Daiwa Gekkabijin rod and reel combo, 3lb Toray straight though fluorocarbon and a Samaki Boom Bait Spider Prawn in Avocado Pearl. Aaron Blacksell

Bruce Saville scored his PB snapper at Tempest off Moreton Island on a Berkley Gulp 7” Pink Shine rigged with 20lb gear.

Phil with a double-header of quality snapper hooked on a paternoster rig off Moreton Island. Lochlan Saville

Emma Goodhew captured this 32cm bream off a Tweed River jetty while on holiday in the area.

To have a photo of your catch featured in Readers Forum, simply email ben@ bnbfishing.com.au with a good-quality picture, your name and details or hop onto our Facebook page and send us a message. Smurf and Lochlan Saville with Smurf’s PB black marlin caught and released around Hutchies on a 7” pusher and 8kg tackle.

■ Readers Forum ■ Readers Forum ■ Readers Forum www.bnbfishing.com. au

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 47


K AYAKING & canoeing Yak Hunters monthly round-up

Y

AK Hunters had a very eventful and successful November, as we partnered with the Movember Foundation to help raise funds and spread awareness relating to men’s health. In total, we managed to raise $1695, which would not have been possible without the support of all our members and supporters. Did you see Santa on the water? Our NSW Yak Hunters had an awesome turnout for their monthly competition, with loads of members out there supporting the Movember cause. The members decided

to dress up as Santa to add a bit of fun and festivity to the whole thing. The competition had three winners: Bob Walter took out first place with a 34cm Tailor, Brian Rourke came in second with a 38.5cm bream and third went to Jason Rumph with a 67cm flathead. The winners were chosen via a tier system that works down through each species, with certain species ranking higher than others.

The Queensland competition winners.

We would like to give a special thanks to all the sponsors and supporters who supplied prizes and helped make this competition possible. We then headed up the M1 into Queensland, where the monthly competition saw new and existing members come together to raise funds for another good cause. Flathead was the target species and even though it was a tough day of fishing, a number of flathead still turned up.

NSW member Jason Rumph as Santa.

The Yak Hunters Movember fundraising banner.

Yak Hunters NSW members dressed as Santa.

Page 48 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Michael Pitkin scored first with a 59cm flathead and Dean Saville came second with a 52.5cm model. Young Summer Hopper took out the kids’ category, winning a kids’ fishing rod built and donated by Graham from Pure Custom Rods. A great day was had by all. Another special thankyou must this time go to both John Costello and Doug Burt for their support and donations, which helped make the day even more special. We are currently working on our next project, which is the Yak Hunters Elite Series. Whether you are an elite fisher or a beginner, this competition will suit you because of the two classes in the series, Elite and Pro Am. The series will consist of four rounds in each state, with anglers fishing for points to become National Champion. The National Champion will take home a Wilderness Systems kayak, and each state will have individual event prizes and a State Champion. The first round for each state will launch in January. To find out where and when each round is within your state, jump on the Yak Hunters Elite Series Facebook page or your local state page. Then if you wish to register, head over to yakhunters.com where you can also find all the competition rules and regulations. Something else to keep an eye out for in the near future is Yak Hunters TV, which will feature 10 NSW members journeying up the Hawkesbury River for a five-day fishing adventure, with plenty of great fishing and mateship. To become a part of these great events and adventures, head over to whichever one of our Facebook groups you would like to be a part of. The links to our groups are also on our website. We would like to give a warm welcome to Yak Hunters Western Australia, who have just joined our ever-expanding Yak Hunters family. So if you’re from Western Australia and looking for a kayaking group/family to become a part of, feel free to check it out. Mathew Kouimtzis

Victorian North Shore Challenge 2018

W

ITH the approach of the Victorian summer fishing season, our attention turns once again to pelagic species.

Long-range wind forecasts are scanned on phones during work meetings and brownie points are dutifully stowed in high-interest savings accounts, ready to be cleaned out for the Australia Day long weekend. All eyes turn towards the southwest coast of Victoria, to the North Shore of Portland, where tuna and kingfish hit the shallow reefs, coming close enough to be within the grasp of fishos in humanpowered craft. The Sea Sherpa North Shore Challenge will kick off for its second year on January 26, 2018, promising another weekend of tactics, banter and hopefully good fishing, with the field competing for $7000 worth of gear and their name etched on one of the NSC trophies. The competition is designed to force anglers into making tactical decisions that may or may not pay off on the day, and the three titles on offer each demand a different approach from the winner. Here’s a quick run-down on the options. Individual competition The points system for individuals is based on the length of fish entered, with a greater weighting given to higher-quality pelagic fish over the everyday species. A winner for the individual challenge will be decided by compiling the accrued points across each of the species entered. The top five anglers will also get to choose a prize pack from the prize pool in the order they place. The scoring works like this: • 0-39cm: 0.5 points per cm; • 40-75cm: 1 point per cm; • 75-99cm: 1.5 points per cm; and • 100cm-plus: 2 points per cm. In terms of tactics, the fishing conditions leading up to the event, in particular water temperature, will be very important. If the kingfish are fir-

Kayak Fishing by EOIN CORROON

ing in close, they can be caught in as little as 8m of water and it will be on for one and all. However, if like last year the water temps are a little cold, tuna will be the big point-scorers but also the hardest work, with a 14km paddle each way to get out to Julia Reef to bag them. Chasing the glory with tuna means competitors will have little time to chase other species because realistically the majority of the comp window will be spent covering the ground to and from Julia Reef. If competitors decide to take a detour to try to nab other species, they run the risk of missing the weighin deadline back at the beach, which happened to two anglers with tuna catches last year. Looking at species sizes prevalent in the area, the point-scoring capability of the various species can almost be predicted. A tuna will usually be worth 200-plus points, kings are generally 100150 points, whiting will be 40-50 points and salmon and squid will be padding that could make the difference in a close contest. There is always the outside chance that a school of bigger salmon could come through, as per two years ago (before the comp was running) when 68-70cm models were being caught, which would be well worth adding to a bag. If chasing pelagic fish

out wide is not the plan of attack, anglers can still do some damage on the scoreboard with lighter setups. Squid are an easy target available at the back of the breakwall and over some of the weedy areas in front of Minerva Reef. Where there are squid there are also usually King George whiting, so it is worth having a paternoster rig on board because the whiting caught last year were quality fish between 45 and 50cm. That same paternoster could be doubled up to target pinky snapper on Minerva Reef, particularly if anglers have already caught fresh squid. Lastly, a few white soft plastics or small pilchardpattern metals are always handy to have on board in case a school of Australian salmon should come through. Check out the Navionics plot of general areas where different species can be targeted. Teams competition The teams competition is decided using the fish entered by each angler in the individual competition. The highest pointscoring fish of each team member is selected and submitted towards the team’s tally. This tally is then divided by five to give the team’s average score. The team with the highest average score will be crowned the winner. The key to chasing the ☛ continued P49

www.bnbfishing.com. au


K AYAKING & canoeing Chasing cod on Cooby Dam in a yak

I

HOPE everyone is enjoying hot fishing sessions over the festive break. For those of us working, we still try to hit the local spots in the short time available, so getting to know your own backyard is worthwhile. Lake Cooby lies about 17km north of Toowoomba on Cooby Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River. The council has removed the boom gate cost, though entry to the picnic area near the wall is restricted to certain hours and times of the year. Reports in the local paper suggested great fishing at the dam using any method, so I decided to take the kayak over to check out how things were going at Cooby.

Fresh Water by NOAL KUHL

Many types of craft were on the water and I don’t think I have ever seen so many anglers on the lake at one time. I decided to be optimistic and take the long scenic route, keeping a deepdiving lure trolling behind me as I paddled. Being able to gravel rash 5m-plus deep diving lures along the main creek bed had its advantages, as I got a good strike on the rod and ended up with a cod. Quality numbers of stocked Murray cod fry and natural spawnings have resulted in above average returns of these big green fish in recent seasons.

Surprisingly, the majority of fish have been caught in less than 3m of water and away from the main creek drop-off zones. Jigging lures over the weed beds in 2-3m of water has been working and many anglers were using this technique from their boats. As the water recedes during periods of no rain, the fish will automatically move to zones that roughly resemble what they have been forcibly removed from. Cover with structure and new feeding grounds result in overcrowding of shared space with other tenants.

Kayaks, being small and silently powered, allow you to sneak up on the local wildlife.

In most impoundments, irrigation needs for downstream users see huge drops in water levels that will often cause fish to switch into panic mode by shutting down their feeding habits. With Cooby, a slow draw-down for Toowoomba City’s water needs shows the fish react differently and treat the shrinking water supply as a natural short-term circumstance. The fish in Cooby have maintained high activity and after a mild winter the lake has warmed a lot quicker and has the fish firing earlier in the season than in lakes with full reserves. This year it even beat the local creeks into firing up with fish. The extra month or two of action has offered anglers more rewards on bait options such as worms, shrimp and frozen saltwater yabbies. I find 12lb main line is more than enough to catch the fish offered at Cooby, though don’t be surprised when a bigger one latches on and gives you a run for your money. I set up a rig to fish off the bottom and 2/0 hooks are large enough. Plenty of bait dangling free from the hook’s thread gives better results too. Land-based anglers

Victorian North Shore Challenge 2018 ☛ from P48

teams title is to make sure all team members get on the board, because a team member returning a doughnut can really hurt a team’s average. This was the case last year, where teams that had only two members catching big fish were outdone by teams with more members contributing, even if they were smaller fish. It is in the teams where all members go for glory out at the reef that the challenge gets interesting. The likelihood of all members returning with a tuna is quite low, but the fact that they are worth twice as many points as most other fish means only half the team would need a fish to be at the pointy end of the comp, meaning the best tactic is probably to have a team with a couple of tuna chasers and three on the reef to bank the ‘safe’ points. That is, unless the kingies are firing in close… www.bnbfishing.com. au

Best catch award The best catch title is up for grabs between anglers entering either a kingfish or tuna as part of their bag. The winner will be determined by the fish with the greatest length difference over their species benchmarks of 90cm for tuna and 75cm for kingfish. If anglers are tied on length difference, the winner will be the angler who returned to the beach with their fish first. Last year with the lower water temperatures, this comp was played out on tuna rather than kings, though one king was caught on comp day. The tuna were around in good numbers in the days leading up to the competition but proved hard to tempt, with a number of anglers reporting schools of tuna swimming along happily two metres behind their trolled lures. Hard-bodies of all shapes and sizes were thrown and trolled and

while one tuna fell victim to a small skirt towed behind a Hobie Adventure Island, it was soft plastics that unlocked the code. Small white soft plastics such as Atomic Plazos and Z-Man Jerk ShadZ have consistently worked well on school tuna over the cooler months, but last summer we had no luck on the small plastics and instead it was larger 7” jerk shads in pilchard/ blue fleck colours that did the damage when trolled slowly behind the kayak. If the kings play ball, anglers have a few options for tackling them in the shallower water of Minerva Reef. They can be fooled by live baits, dead baits, lures and soft plastics. In terms of bait, squid are the go, preferably alive but they are also good as dead baits. Squid can be sourced on the weed beds near the breakwall. If the kings are on in really good numbers, they can even take shop-

bought Californian squid. In terms of lures and plastics, you are looking at sinking stickbaits and big 9”-10” soft plastics, with white the colour of choice for most anglers. Whatever tactics are chosen, it will always be a gamble, but one thing is for sure, it will be another great weekend away down the coast in one of the best fisheries Victoria has to offer. Cracking prizes are on offer in the form of rod and reel combos, a Beachwheels kayak cart, a new sounder from Lowrance, underwater tow cameras, an opportunity to spend it up at motackle.com.au and much more. It’s safe to say there are prizes to suit everyone’s taste. Tickets are available through the tournaments tab on the Sea Sherpa website seasherpa.com. au Get in early to avoid disappointment as last year’s event sold out!

are getting among great specimens of fat golden and silver perch around the rocks. I hope all BNB readers and writers have a great new year of fishing to look forward to.

Small cod can put up a decent fight and this becomes more evident when dealing with them from a kayak.

A kayak gives more freedom of movement and better opportunities for catching fish such as golden perch that are feeding in the weedy shallows.

A lucky catch considering other anglers were putting in a lot of effort for no return. Though any lure in the water has a better chance of catching a fish than giving up before reaching the boat ramp.

e Get back to natur • Canoes • Kayaks • Accessories • Repairs • Boat hire • Lessons

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natureline.com.au Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 49


K AYAKING & canoeing Choosing the right kayak paddle

A

N often written about topic in the paddling world is picking the right kayak to suit your needs.

A high angle paddle blade.

A low angle paddle blade.

Paddle area relative to angle.

Page 50 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

However, what is seldom written about is the thing you use to push that same craft around in the water: the humble paddle. This is without a doubt a topic that could fill many pages, but I’ll just discuss the most important considerations for the next time you are faced with choosing a new paddle for your pride and joy. Before getting started, it’s worth going over the main parts of a kayak paddle and their purpose. First, the business end of a paddle is called a blade. It’s the bit you put into the water and use to pull yourself around. It’s an often-misunderstood concept with paddling that the blade is actually designed to lock in the water so you can pull the kayak past it. Picture that in your mind the next time you paddle. On most paddles the blades are not parallel with each other and will be offset by an angle, usually 65 degrees, to reduce the wind effect on the blade that is out of the water. Next is the shaft, which is the bit you hang onto that keeps the two blades apart. How long that shaft is and how much flex it has are very important to paddle design. But more on that later. On most good paddles, the area on the shaft under your right hand should be an oval shape or have an insert called a locater attached to the back of the shaft. This allows the paddler to locate the right blade of their paddle at right angles to the water and to rotate the shaft to align the

Kayaking by DAN OWBRIDGE

left blade when it strikes the water. The last items you will commonly see on good paddles are drip rings. These small rubber rings are positioned close to where the blade and shaft meet and are designed to keep water from running off your blade and into your lap. Because let’s face it, nobody wants a wet lap! Length of the paddle The length of your paddle is determined by three factors – the physical size of the paddler, the width of the kayak and his or her paddling style. It goes without saying that if you are a tall person paddling a large fishing sit-on kayak around the bay, you are probably going to use a much longer paddle than a short person paddling a racing kayak on the river. The average paddle length is usually around 218cm from tip of blade to tip of blade, though adjustments for height (or more importantly arm span) of the paddler and width of the craft they are paddling will add or subtract from this. Typically, the range is from 205cm up to 225cm for 90 percent of the population. While 20cm doesn’t seem a lot, it can make plenty of difference if you are paddling your kayak all day. The other factor that comes into play is paddling style. Here paddlers will talk about high angle and low angle paddling styles. In simple terms, they are describing how high they hold their top hand while paddling and what angle the paddle is in relation to

the surface of the water. A high angle style is a more aggressive and powerful stroke used in racing or faster, shorter-duration paddling, while a low angle style is a more relaxed and passive stroke used for recreational or longerduration paddling. Paddlers using a high angle style will typically have a paddle length 5cm shorter than a low angle style paddler. Blade shape The business end of the paddle is obviously very important and as with length is largely dependent on the paddling style used. One thing that is common with both is the benefit of having an asymmetric-shaped blade. This means the shape of the paddle blade is different above and below the longitudinal centreline of the paddle. If you refer to the diagram of a paddle in the water, you will notice the area above and below the centreline of the blade is roughly equal. This is done so there is little or no twisting of the shaft in a paddler’s hand as the blade moves in the water. Both high angle and low angle style paddles will incorporate this asymmetric design in their blades, though the shape will vary slightly to accommodate the angle at which the paddle is designed to enter the water. High angle paddles will tend to have a shorter and wider paddle blade because the paddle is being held at an angle closer to vertical. The blade does not need to be as long to achieve an effective depth in the water. Low angle paddles will be longer and narrower because the blade needs extra length to ensure the centre of effort is deep enough in the water to be effective. Both styles of paddle will have a similar surface area, just presented to the water in a slightly different way. For recreational paddlers, I advise using a low angle paddle unless you are paddling a large kayak that needs strong steering strokes or are a paddler that likes to go everywhere fast. Material of construction The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is generally true when it comes to paddle construction.

What you are paying for with paddles is lightness and stiffness. The lighter and stiffer a paddle blade is, the easier it is to swing all day and the more efficient it is at propelling your craft through the water. Blade material is typically a choice between plastic and fibreglass, though carbon fibre is fast becoming a viable third alternative. Shaft material is usually a choice between fibreglass and aluminium. Fibreglass, while being a more expensive choice, has the advantage of being lighter and more flexible. Flex in a paddle shaft is seen as beneficial because it can prevent strain injuries and provides ‘feel’ of the blade in the water. For both shaft and blade, increasing price relates to decreasing weight. A plastic blade, while being cheap and relatively robust, will be heavier and flex more than a comparable fibreglass blade. Fibreglass as the middle ground offers lighter weight, improved stiffness and good strength but with a penalty on cost. Finally, carbon fibre offers significant improvement in stiffness and reductions in weight but comes with a heavy cost penalty. Most recreational paddlers would start out with a paddle that has plastic blades and an aluminium shaft. As their paddling journey continues and the length of time they spend on the water increases, this will usually mean they gravitate towards a fibreglass shaft with either a more refined plastic blade or one made from fibreglass. My advice to new paddlers is to consider the length of time they spend on the water and select an appropriate paddle material to suit. Generally speaking, this is a fibreglass shaft with reasonable-quality plastic asymmetric blades. As with any purchase, you can’t beat face to face advice. If you are buying a paddle for the first time or looking for a serious upgrade to your current blade, you should head to your nearest paddling shop and chat to the staff for advice. Natureline Australia operates a showroom at Murarrie and would be delighted to help match a paddle to your individual style. Call us on 07 3390 4106 or check out natureline. com.au Happy paddling! www.bnbfishing.com. au


K AYAKING & canoeing

A great-sized mangrove jack caught in tight structure using a Z-Man MinnowZ rigged on a snagless TT SnakelockZ jig head.

A small mangrove jack pulled from a rock ledge in less than a metre of water.

Mangrove jack fishing made easy with Snakelockz

Y

OU know you’re keen to finish the working week when you start planning weekend fishing trips on Monday night. Getting out and exploring the spectacular fishing at our doorstep is what I live for. Nothing excites me more than heading out into the ocean in search of new ground or throwing the kayak on the roof of my four-wheel-drive and going off the beaten track looking for untouched skinny water that’s thriving with life. This time, however, my girlfriend Leeah and I were returning to a destination fished only once before that we had found using Google Earth and a lot of guesswork. Ever since that day of prospecting that led to two great mangrove jack, we had been eager to return and explore further and fish harder. We hit the road midmorning and after a 45-minute drive arrived at our launching site, which was a sharp, eroded embankment alongside an old single-lane bridge. Since buying our tandem kayak, its benefits have shone when venturing through secluded destinations that are far beyond the limits of any boat. Having the ability to drag the kayak through nearly anything and still have the fishing capability of most creek boats adds a whole extra dimension to fishing. After setting up the kayak and launching on dead low tide, we made our way downstream, flicking soft plastics deep into the snag-riddled banks hoping to entice a feisty jack. In my earlier experiences with mangrove jack fishing, I had always fished big, casting sizewww.bnbfishing.com. au

Bundaberg Offshore by JOEL JOHNSON

able live baits and 4” soft plastics into structure with fairly limited success. On our last trip to this spot, however, we had our best luck using small soft plastics. A trip to the tackle shop earlier in the week had stocked my tackle trays with a range of small plastics, adding 2” and 3” plastics to my artillery. Another fresh addition was varying sizes of SnakelockZ jig heads from TT Lures. These jig heads enable you to fit your soft plastic with a snagless hook to suit and switch between weights to match the conditions. They also allow you to keep the same weight head and alternate your pre-rigged lures with a simple but heavy-duty clip design. Time and time again I have simply put up with a soft plastic rigged with a too light or too heavy jig just because I was forever missing valuable fishing time though constantly retying with different weights. Not only do these jig heads save time, they also provide a unique action to your soft plastic, giving the lure a similar movement to the action imparted by a loop knot. This simple touch can give you the edge when you’re on the water. Something to remember is that some soft plastics, generally those constructed with a stiffer material, may need a heavier jig head in order for the soft plastic to swim under its own weight. So in circumstances such as mangrove jack fishing where you’re cast-

ing as close to the snag as possible, you want the soft plastic to be swimming as soon as it hits the water, not just when you begin to retrieve it. With a 3” Z-Man MinnowZ rigged on a 1/4oz SnakelockZ on my baitcaster setup and a 3” Fish Candy Curly Bait rigged on Leeah’s rod with a 1/4oz SnakelockZ, we fished our way along the very good-looking area lined with snags and about as many rock bars as you could imagine. No wonder fish are there! We decided to pull up on a small sandbank near a fairly shallow section of rocks to have lunch, and as the tide rushed in it was hard to resist having a cast with the sand between our toes. On the very first cast Leeah hooked up dangerously close to the shallow rocks on the opposing bank but managed to keep her rod high and battle the fish above the sharp structure. A hungry little estuary cod was the result and after a quick snap was released back to its hideyhole. Shortly before jumping back in the kayak, a large rock situated in less than a metre of water in the full flow of the current caught my attention, with a shadowed ledge along one side. I had to at least give it one cast to satisfy my interest. So I sent my Z-Man soft plastic beyond the structure and proceeded to slow roll it into the prime area for a fish to ambush. Out of nowhere, a flash of red exploded from un-

derneath the rock and I was on! Being only a juvenile mangrove jack, I made fairly easy work of the fight, but seeing it all take place in the shallows was spectacular. We continued our way along the riverbanks, finally reaching the point we had made it to on the previous occasion, and as we slowly drifted along we could see a likely looking snag ahead of us. I pitched a cast into the tangled branches and almost instantly hooked up. I knew straight away it was a mangrove jack by the powerful strike and I didn’t hold back, trying my best to keep the fish from going home. Just as I thought I’d fought it far enough from danger, I felt my line rubbing on something and discovered the fish had managed to wrap me up in a submerged snag further out. I slowly backed off the tension and bang, the fish swam out of the snag and I fought it to the surface. Seeing the jack power off after being released was an added thrill. A great reward for another long day of kayaking. As the sun began descending towards the horizon, we pushed around the next corner, knowing we would have to turn back soon enough. We paddled around the next kink in the creek to find a steep rocky bank riddled with fallen trees, but ahead another 100m was an extremely fishylooking submerged tree. I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night if we turned back without having a cast. So we paddled straight to it and went crazy, flicking our lures under every section of the snag. I had a massive hit but

frustratingly didn’t hook up. After this we didn’t get any more interest, so slowly made our way back to the car. Finding destinations like this that keep you constantly on edge with regular hits and takes makes the fishing so much more rewarding when you finally bury the hooks and battle a fish away from its home. Catch and release fishing is a personal choice, but I believe it’s important to only take what you need, especially in small creek systems. Finding destinations that fish well is the first step to having a successful day on the water, but keeping the location full of fish is the next step to ensuring the ecosystem continues thriving.

A selection of TT Lures’ removable SnakelockZ heads. These are ideal for adapting to suit the conditions you’re fishing.

Leeah Bahr with an estuary cod caught off a shallow rock bar.

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 51


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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 53


Rocky Barra Bounty I

’LL pick up where I left off last month, midway through the 2017 Rocky Barra Bounty.

A 103cm king thready from the Fitzroy River.

The author released a quality barra.

On the way to the ramp on the final morning of the comp, the debate started as to where we should go. Luckily the Nerimbera ramp turn-off was along the way to Coorooman Creek, as we decided lastminute to go back to the same location we fished the day before. We had been casting for about half an hour without any love before Dad came up tight on a solid fish. It was staying high and taking heaps of line at an alarming rate. We thought it was another monster king threadfin and we weren’t wrong. It came up beside the boat and once slapped onto the ruler went 107cm. Dad was rapt with this very nice fish. I, however, was getting frustrated because I still hadn’t caught a thready. After more persistence and continuing casting at every opportunity, my Zerek Fat Betty Fish Trap

The author held his new PB thready.

The author lifted a solid 83cm barra from the Fitzroy.

Page 54 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Fishing Trip – Part 2 by LACHIE BAKER

I heard the distinct ‘tick’ a leader knot makes as it runs through the guides of your rod, and something just told me to stop winding for a second. I looked up and then back down at my lure sitting in the water, except it wasn’t sitting in the water, it was in a large barramundi’s mouth. was absolutely crunched by what I knew was a good fish. I was using a new 6kg Venom baitcaster from Wilson that needed blooding, and this was certainly a good way to do it. I had the rod loaded right up as the big king went under the boat and I wasn’t able to manoeuvre the line under the outboard or around the Minn Kota, so I just pumped and wound until I turned its head towards the net. Although it wasn’t a barra, I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest, as I had achieved a goal for my trip and upgraded my PB thready to 101cm. I popped in a tag and sent the fish on its merry way. We had no more success here, so ran down to where I caught the barra the day before. Upon arriving, we found a few other boats had the same idea and were all over where we had caught our fish. On the run down we saw a half-decent point with shallow timber on it

and I’d suggested we stop there on the way back, but now looked as good a time as ever. A couple of casts in, I was beginning to lose hope because we had drifted past the timber and were just fishing a mud bank with some bait holding on it. I heard the distinct ‘tick’ a leader knot makes as it runs through the guides of your rod, and something just told me to stop winding for a second. I looked up and then back down at my lure sitting in the water, except it wasn’t sitting in the water, it was in a large barramundi’s mouth. I reacted quickly and set the hooks, and the barra didn’t like it one bit. Off it went, wrapping around the Minn Kota twice and jumping like crazy. Trying not to panic, I was ‘calmly’ screaming at my old man to lift the electric up. I nearly snapped my favourite Venom rod in trying to push the line off the shaft, as well as momentarily letting the line go slack while using my hands to untangle the braid from the propeller. I had effectively tried everything to lose this

fish, but none of that mattered as seconds after I untangled my line I was back in the fight. The fish finally slid into the net and I slumped onto the Esky with my head in my hands – I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. The ruler revealed the barra to be 83cm long and it was in such good condition, sporting thick shoulders and a fat gut. After the tag going in and a quick swim, the fish was keen on heading back to terrorise the local mullet. Both my barra and one of Dad’s were caught on the Zerek Barra X. We made our way back up the river, hitting a few spots along the route with no success. The 38C day meant the land had heated up very quickly and the sea breeze was already pumping by 11.30am. I caught a couple more cod and then by the end of the comp we were fishing side by side with Dicko and Nick as well as Lochie and Aaron. As 12pm rolled around, fishing ceased and we quickly packed up before heading back to the ramp. I was holding the boat while watching Lochie approach the ramp with Aaron ready for a quick exit on the front cast platform. They came in a little too hot and when the boat bumped into the ramp, Aaron ended up completing a full somersault and landing flat on his back, which sent Lochie, myself and a few other fishos into hysterics. Luckily, only his pride was injured. That night at the presentations we learnt the biggest barra of the tournament measured 133cm. What a beast would be an understatement. Many barra over the metre mark were landed, as well as plenty of king threadies. Lochie and Dad were neck and neck for almost the whole comp in the overall length of other

species category, but Loch managed to sneak ahead and come first, leaving the old man tied for third place. I didn’t win anything competition wise, but in terms of kicking personal goals I certainly won. Our goals for the trip were: one, not to come last; and two, have a good time. We finished 42nd out of 88 teams, which I was more than happy with. I really didn’t want the competition to finish because I had an absolute ball fishing a new area and whacking a few good fish with the old man and some old and new mates. With the implementation of the net-free zones, it’s not hard to see the improvements to the fish stocks, and it’s only going to get better. Something like this for the Brisbane River and surrounding foreshores would be a godsend for the local threadfin and snapper populations. I have no problem at all with people commercially fishing to make a living, it’s just that threadfin aren’t a sustainable species to target. The results from the Bounty speak for themselves. The Fitzroy has improved rapidly in such a short time and I think it would be an interesting debate if we were to look at the same program in our Brisbane area. I cannot recommend highly enough making the trip to Rocky to go for a fish. With the amazing fishing usually available in the town reaches not on offer due to the filthy water during the Bounty, I am more than keen to get back up there for another crack. It’s only two-thirds of a day’s drive from Brisbane and with the fishing reputation the area has garnered, I think it’s well worth every minute of the trip. Tight lines and sore arms.

Glen Baker with a 107cm thready.

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Thinking about a new fishing year

A

S we move into 2018, I hope everyone has a merry Christmas and sees the new year in with style. Every year I have a few fish I want to spend more time targeting. These may be fish I haven’t caught before or fish I just don’t catch enough of. For 2018, a decent jewfish is on the list. I have managed to get a few small ones but will need to spend more time fishing different locations to crack a pattern. A couple of more uncommon fish are on my list as well in the form of a triple tail and permit. These fish will not be captured quickly, and it will take time to find them and work out what they will eat. This is part of the adventure and if you can work it out, you can get great satisfaction from achieving your goals. This year I plan on spending more time on the Fitzroy River when the barra season outside of impoundments reopens on February 1, trying to see if I can figure out where the bigger barra hold in the river. Exploring a few more places around the region is high on my list as well, such as the Mackay area and plenty of other places 100km either side of Gladstone. I plan on spending more time fishing fresh water, with Awoonga Dam only a short drive away. The Mackay region also features plenty of fresh water including streams for sooties and jacks, which will be something new for me. Having a few targets for the year keeps you motivated and gives you the initiative to try different techniques and locations. A vast amount of information is available on the internet, with anything from Google Maps to fishing websites and Facebook providing a wealth of knowledge. Using all the tools you

Gladstone Region by GARY CHURCHWARD

can, gather as much information as possible before hitting the water to help you spend more time fishing and less time travelling around trying to find spots. On the fishing front, good numbers of mangrove jack have been coming from the entire region, with the Boyne River fishing extremely well for fish from 30-50cm. Most are falling to live baits and 3” soft plastics fished along the rocky drop-offs into deeper water. The Calliope River is fishing the best for jacks that I have seen in many years. The entire river is holding fish but I would start by trying around Devils Elbow or any of the bridge pylons. Grunter are quite thick as well, with a lightly weighted live prawn fished around gravel banks enticing good-sized fish. You will also pick up pikey bream in big numbers on every snag, rock bar and gravel bank. They are extremely aggressive and hitting anything with gusto, making them good fun to catch on light line. Like jacks, estuary cod have fired up with the hotter weather and can be annoying when targeting jacks. When they reach 4550cm they hit hard and can be just as tough to extract as jacks. The joy of estuary cod is they are more common than jacks and will eat anything close to them. It’s common to see them with a gob full of crabs or fish when you bring them over the side. Awoonga Dam is fishing well for barra of 60-80cm, which is smaller than the average size a few years ago but these are still decent fish Concentrating your fishing around the moon

phases and moon and sun rises and sets will put you in with the best chance. Crabs started to move in December, with numbers and quality improving, and most of the legal crabs we’ve caught have been full. Unfortunately, a lot of pots are either being checked or stolen, so you need to take the risk or sit on your pots. I have taken to using the cheap rectangular pots. While I don’t think they work as well as round

pots, it doesn’t hurt as much if they go missing. It is going to become bloody hot, so remember if you are going to spend time on the water to take plenty of drinking water, especially if the kids are tagging along. You may not look the best but long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats and heaps of sunscreen will see you return home in good nick. If you’re game enough, wearing long pants, shoes and gloves too will give you the best protection. I hope everyone gets a chance to head out and catch good fish at the start of the new year. Cheers and happy fishing from Gladdy.

Phil with an Awoonga Dam barra taken on a hard-body lure.

Urs Schneider from Switzerland captured this mangrove jack in the Calliope River on a Samaki Vibelicious Thumper Tail.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 55


School holiday fishing fun D

Marianne Medall recently visited from France. She nailed these fine muddies with local crabbing guru Dan Baker.

Anthony Jasperson had a good session on jacks recently.

Josh Thorogood with a massive creek jack that took out the Secret Spot Bait & Tackle photo of the month comp.

Young Jett Bell with dad Guy and a beaut golden trevally. It’s great to see parents getting their kids into fishing.

Page 56 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

ON’T you love the smell of a new year?

I’ll start with a big happy New Year to everyone. Out with the old and in with the new, they say. What’s going to be on your piscatorial radar for 2018? Maybe it’s increasing a PB on a particular species, maybe catching a new species and it might even be something as simple as increasing your knowledge on a species. Whatever your flavour, it’s great to have some direction and set yourself goals. By the time this fabulous publication hits the stands, we will be about halfway through the school holidays. If you haven’t yet managed to grab the kiddies and head into the great outdoors, then it’s a fantastic time of year to do so. Plenty of parents here on the Capricorn Coast have been getting the youngsters out fishing and boating. It’s a big job to play deckie for the little ones but with patience and planning it can be a very rewarding experience. The big smiles on their faces when they lift a fish for the camera are priceless. The best thing to remember is, at a young age, a fish is a fish. It doesn’t have to be the biggest and best. Small bream and whiting are fairly easy to catch and will pull a bit of drag on something like an Ugly Stik Tackle Ratz kids combo. The kids will get the full experience of hooking and fighting the fish but the biggest reward of all is having fun. Having three young ones of my own, I have a few tips that have helped us out over the years and hopefully they might help you as well. First, take plenty of food and drinks. Kids get bored very quickly and it’s not surprising that having a nibble will take their minds off being bored if the fish aren’t playing the game. Generally, once they finish having a snack they are keen to grab the rod again. Second, make sure you have plenty of patience. If the kids feel you getting frustrated, chances are they will become frustrated as well. Hooks will need regular rebaiting, you’ll see hundreds of tangles, and casting will take plenty of practice. Leave your rod at home and save it for serious trips. The aim of the game is to develop the kids’ skills while they are having fun. Third, have a few alternative activities up your sleeve. Tasks such as yabby pumping and helping you sort through the cast net keep the kids among the action if the fishing is a bit slow. A mullet swimming around in a bucket is a big deal. Pointing the yabbies out on the sand is also a big deal.

Capricorn Coast by JOHN BOON

Another great adventure is setting a few crab pots, even just off the bank. Places including the ocean side of causeways give the kids options if they want a break. Our kids will jump in the clear, shallow water for a swim if they get bored or even go looking for shells. The goal is for them to have fun and want to come back and do it again. When they put down their iPads and ask to go fishing, you know you’re on a winner. Local report So what has the fishing on the Capricorn Coast been like over the past month? Well the offshore weather hasn’t been very kind, with limited chances to push out past the islands. I’ve just had a look at next week’s forecast while sitting in front of the keyboard and a few opportunities might be coming up. Fingers crossed someone gets a shot at good weather because unfortunately I’ll be working. One species that has fired up with the humid weather and storm activity is mangrove jack. I still haven’t had a chance to target them but others are finding them in the most obvious places, right under everyone’s noses. Causeway Lake and Ross Creek have been turning up absolute horses. Young Josh Thorogood has taken out the Secret Spot Bait & Tackle photo of the month comp with a monster jack that pushed over 60cm. The best part is he was only using 6lb braid and 10lb leader when the beast climbed on. I would put that right up there as being the fish of a lifetime. Fingermark are closely related to mangrove jack and have a similar fighting style, heading straight for structure. They are starting to become more active thanks to the humid weather. Reports are filtering through of good-sized creek models up to 60cm coming from Port Alma and Coorooman Creek. If the weather allows for a run out the front, then Finlays Reef and Corio Heads are the top spots to look for bigger models. Mud crabs are on the move. A lot of just-undersize males have been captured, which is always a great sign, as is a healthy population of females. The legal males have taken a fair bit of work to locate but by constantly moving pots and using a process of elimination we have found where they are holding. The muddies have been far more active on the full and new moons. Our better catches have come from deep in the mangrove gutters and drains. We normally try to push

further up than most people dare to go. We pick up our pots every two hours when crabbing properly but if you can get a high tide late in the afternoon and early the next morning then you can push those pots up into the mangrove line and retrieve them the next morning. King threadfin have been around in good numbers on the smaller tides, which is pretty standard for this time of year. The good news is mullet and prawns are pushing back up into the town reaches of the Fitzroy River and the threadies are following. I launched at the Nerimbera boat ramp a few

weeks ago and the water was still really fresh and dirty. I found the odd thready but not great numbers like I did towards the mouth where the water was a bit saltier. With the rain forecast over the next few months, I doubt the river will have time to clear before we get our next freshwater run through the barrage. Bread and butter species have been biting well in Coorooman Creek. Fresh baits such as yabbies and prawns have been doing the damage. Steelback or flat salmon have also been around in numbers. If eaten fresh, they make for a tasty meal. That’s it for this month. I hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year. Until next month, stay safe and tight lines.

How’s this for a thumper coral trout? Issac Alexander showed his dad how to catch the big ones.

Mark and son Liam Campbell with a fantastic Capricorn Coast fingermark.

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The business end of a spaniard caught around the close offshore islands.

A spanish mackerel boated in recent weeks.

Jew hole going off at Stanage Bay I AM writing this article on behalf of Von while she is out discovering the other great wonders of our country.

I thought I’d sneak in and pinch a piece of her paradise. The track into Stanage cannot be faulted. Road works have just been completed and the road is in excellent con-

Stanage Bay by PEE WEE

dition for the entire trip, so if it’s a comfortable journey you’re after, now is the time to visit. Be sure to bring the big gear and Eskies with you because the Jew Hole in Stanage Bay is going crazy with activity. The jewfish are starving,

One of the famed monster muddies from Stanage Bay.

so make sure you present them with a fully loaded hook, with large prawns being a favourite. If you’re up for the challenge of tackling rough seas, the Percy Isles have an assortment of reefies on the bite, particularly red emperor and nannygai.

The odd bream is being caught in and around the bay and if you have the patience for flicking lures, salmon are hanging around Porters Creek. Muddies are a bit on the quiet side, but their size makes up for their numbers. The boat ramp has recently been graded and is in fantastic condition.

This big golden trevally took plenty of line-burning runs.

Be sure to be first on the water to jag a close park. Of late the ramp has been chockers with keen anglers from all over, mostly on the chase for jewfish. Mozzies and sandflies have been few and far between, making this time of year even more pleasant. During the silly season we need to remember to be responsible on our waterways. Limit the amount of alcohol consumption on board and keep a clear head so everyone comes home safe. Now to wait and see what Mother Nature will provide for the current wet season. Here’s hoping for some decent fresh water to bring on those muddies Stanage is so renowned for. Stay safe and may the fish be plentiful.

Corey’s old man picked up this cracking jewfish.

Corey with a solid jewfish from Stanage.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 57


GTs on the Great Barrier Reef

M

ERRY Christmas and happy New Year eve-

rybody.

Nick and Rebecca lifted a fierce GT.

KO with a monster GT.

A lengthy GT hooked by Brendan on a stickbait.

Wow, hasn’t the year flown? We have been very busy and 2018 is already shaping up to be much the same, with lots of advance bookings. As you have probably noticed if you read my articles or follow us on Facebook and Instagram, Crackajack Sportfishing is really forging ahead in bluewater sportfishing. Many of you would have seen TV shows depicting surface fishing on the Great Barrier Reef with top-end sportfishing companies. Well I am happy to tell you that you can experience pretty fantastic sportfishing with us here out off Hinchinbrook Island, chasing all those stickbait and poppercrunching reefies that you have seen on TV but at a price most anglers can afford. We really are spoilt here at Hinchinbrook, and depending on the time of year we can catch fantastic GTs around the island headlands, on pressure points on the Great Barrier Reef and among massive fusilier schools off the reef edges. Once you have had your arms pulled off by monster GTs, you’ll understand what fantastic fun it is drifting over the coral flats where the water seems to just glow from all the colours of the Great Barrier Reef shining through. On glassed-out days, it is very hard to distinguish where the ocean meets the sky on the horizon. Drifting across these flats throwing small surface poppers and stickbaits can be amazing fun and the species list just goes on, from big coral trout to red bass and all types of sweetlip, as well as sight casting to giant

Hinchinbrook News by TODD EVELEIGH

pelagics cruising across the shallows looking for an easy feed. It has become one of my favourite ways to fish in north Queensland. The awesome hand-tohand combat with those fish in the shallows is epic and the power those reef fish have in short bursts is just incredible. When getting into this style of fishing, everybody talks very high-end equipment and subsequently big price tags. Well we’ve been using Zeikel Slayer PE6-8 rods, which can be posted to your door for less than $270 from zeikel.com.au Reel wise, we have been employing the Shimano Saragosa 10,000SW spinning reels and let me tell you, the old ‘Gosas are pretty much bulletproof. Running 65-80lb braid depending on the areas we are fishing, this outfit has accounted for hundreds of big GTs, trout, spanish mackerel and more and comes in well under the normal budget for this type of fishing. With braid, we stick to the trusty Shimano Power Pro Super 8 Slick braid. This eight-carrier braid is super smooth, casts well and is quite abrasion resistant and robust. We tend to tie our braid to 80-150lb Schneider Clear Leader, which is a fantastic leader material and very affordable.

As for lures, I must confess I have a lure fetish and have way more than I need. But at the end of the day you need a few varieties to see what the fish are going to home in on each day. For poppers, I tend to use the Nomad Chug Norris and trusty Halco Roosta Popper. When it comes to poppers, I think bigger is better. My preferred subsurface stickbaits are the Nomad Riptide Sinking and Lively Lures Slick Stick, both of which produce a lot of big GTs across the reef flats. Slick Sticks, Nomad Madscads and River2Sea Doggies slay the reefies in the shallows. Surface stickbaits such as the Nomad Riptide and Shimano Ocea Head Dip catch a lot of fish and are easier to work for long periods compared to big poppers but I still believe big poppers equal big fish. In years to come, Crack-

ajack is going to focus more on bluewater sportfishing, however we will still offer our usual inshore sportfishing charters for barra, mangrove jack, sooty grunter and so on. I just wanted to give you a bit of insight on some gear and equipment to get you out trying this type of fishing for yourself because there is no better way to catch fish than seeing them in the pristine crystal-clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef. You just have to experience a big fish coming up and eating your lure in front of your eyes and then trying to rip you out of the boat as it dives back deep into the coral bommies. Maybe you’ll be able to buy yourself a late Christmas present of a Saragosa and a popping stick. Have a wonderful new year and I hope you push out of your comfort zone in your fishing and try to experience different methods and techniques while exploring new areas because it really helps you evolve as an angler. Until next time!

Brendan used a stickbait to entice this GT.

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Brendan nailed this GT on a Nomad Riptide stickbait.

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Todd & Raylene Eveleigh T: 07 4777 2968 M: 0417 192 318 E: barra@crackfish.com www.crackfish.com Page 58 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Terry with a cracker (his face says it all).

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A beautifully coloured estuary cod was caught and released by Bill.

Allan was the small-mouth nannygai whisperer.

The author picked up a just-undersize coral trout on a live herring.

Port Douglas a fishing paradise A FTER putting the December edition of BNB to bed, my fiancé Carly and I took the opportunity to escape the bustle of Brisbane and head north to Port Douglas for a much-needed break.

Port Douglas is located just an hour’s drive north of Cairns and these days is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world and all walks of

Fishing Trip

by DANIEL TOMLINSON

life thanks to its beautiful location nestled between the Great Barrier Reef to the east and Daintree Rainforest to the west. Despite the onset of summer (or wet season for Port Douglas locals), the weather was surprisingly mild and just perfect for

Vicky was brave enough to briefly hold a shark she fought hard to land.

Stripies were everywhere in the warm, shallow waters off Port Douglas.

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relaxing on the beach and in the pool as well as exploring the nearby Barrier Reef and myriad inland locations. But first, I had to go fishing! I’m a big believer in exploring new areas with the guidance of a qualified charter operator at least once to get an idea of the lay of the land and learn the tricks to fooling the local fish species, so prior to the trip I had arranged a charter with Out n About Sportfishing Port Douglas. After arriving in Port Douglas on a Wednesday afternoon, I made my way down to the public pontoon at 7.45am the next day to meet friendly business owner Syd and our guide Andy (both longtime locals). It was a toss-up whether to bring Carly along for the charter but in the end we decided her amazing ability to get seasick in a bathtub would limit her ability to have a good time on the reefs out the front of Port Douglas due to a southeasterly trade wind blowing a steady 10-15 knots. Upon arriving at the pontoon I learnt I would be sharing the charter with three other guests, Vicky from Victoria, Bill from Victoria and Allan from Port Douglas (though formerly a charter operator at South West Rocks). After briefing us on the safety equipment and locations, Andy rounded Port Douglas Headland and pointed the bow of the 6.2m Stabicraft southeast, punching through the wind chop to our first fishing location. Pulling up and dropping anchor in 7-8m of green water, we picked up our Penn Slammer reels that were paired with various rods and running fairly

heavy braid and leader for the depth of water we were fishing. I thought the thick line might cause the fish to shy away from our squid, pilchard and chicken baits, but boy was I wrong. Within seconds of dropping our lines, Allan had brought a juvenile smallmouth nannygai over the side to kick off a fairly hectic few hours of fishing. All on board managed to catch fish at this first spot, though almost all were undersized stripies and nannygai. I couldn’t believe how readily and aggressively these relatively small fish were hitting our heavy setups. I guess that’s what a lack of fishing pressure does. Trying the same tactics in the Moreton Bay shallows would almost certainly result in a doughnut. Our baits were barely lasting a few seconds on the bottom before being smashed by hungry fish, which made for great entertainment but the abundance of small stripies and nannies prompted Andy to pull the plug and make the trek to a wreck a bit further offshore. After dealing with the smaller fish at the first spot, I had backed off the very tight drag on my Slammer to play the fish out a little before bringing them aboard. This would prove a telling mistake. Upon arrival at the wreck, Andy could see good shows of fish surrounding it and suggested we drop some live herring that Syd had picked up in the cast net that morning. Down went my live herring without me having cranked my still reasonably tight drag, and within seconds, bang, the herring was inhaled. I struck hard and began bringing the fish to the surface, maybe gaining about 5m before the fish decided it was time to really fight and began

powering towards the bottom, stripping line at an alarming rate. Andy yelled to tighten the drag a few clicks, which I was straight onto, but it made no difference and the powerful fish charged past the wreck and cut my line. I was absolutely devastated and really felt for the others on board, as I’d likely just dropped a solid large-mouth nannygai, which, like red emperor, almost always go off the bite once a fish has been lost. After I’d apologised to the others, we picked up several fish including a couple of just-undersized small-mouth nannygai and coral trout. When things slowed, Andy moved us back inshore to a spot he knew could hold good size trout. Indeed, the trout were on and we scored a few including a beautiful darker legal-sized fish for Allan that was destined for the dinner table. We fished hard right up to our 12pm deadline and ended up catching a heap of fish between us. Accompanied by Andy’s informative commentary throughout the day, all on board had a great time, and we could have had some cracking keeper fish if I hadn’t buggered it on that wreck. Carly and I spent the next four days exploring Port Douglas and surrounds and didn’t want to leave. I can’t wait to go back and get my revenge on whatever smoked me. Thanks very much Syd and Andy for a top day on the water, I’ll see you again in your little slice of paradise before too long. If you’re heading to Port Douglas and looking to do some fishing, I can highly recommend a charter with Out n About Sportfishing. Get in touch on 0409 204 985 to organise your charter today or visit outnaboutfishing.com.au for pricing and more information.

This 40cm coral trout was destined to become a delicious dinner for Allan.

Looking back to the Port Douglas Reef Marina on the way out of Dickson Inlet.

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C AMPING & outdoors

Scenic Portland Roads served as a vital port for the Allied Iron Range air force base during World War II.

Josh and Chastyn checked out one of the underground bunkers from the World War II base.

Cracking Cape York camping trip I

T has been great reading about fellow writers who have been penning articles for Bush ‘n Beach Fishing magazine for over 20 years. That sort of dedication reflects what a solid, quality magazine this has been over such a long period. Back in 1990 or 1991, having been attracted to the authentic, down-toearth magazine, I sent an article about Cape York fishing to editor Ron. He used it and I’ve been contributing ever since. Unfortunately, I never got to meet Ron personally, but know he would be really proud of just how well this excellent magazine has progressed with Ben, Sue and the rest of the crew at the helm. The Lyon family has a long history of undertaking a lengthy camping/fishing expedition to some remote area at least once a year. These have always been epic and memorable, with a wonderful blend of exploration, nature, companionship, adventure and of course fishing. Writing about such remote area expeditions

Cape York by ‘BILLABONG’ BAZZ LYON

has proven a great way of sharing these experiences with readers, and hopefully any advice offered has been of some use. The most epic trips were undoubtedly those to the Cape Melville area in eastern Cape York, camping under the shady wongai trees along the beautiful Bathurst Bay. The 220km trip up from Cooktown via the ‘coast road’ took a demanding 10 to 12 hours depending on track conditions. Featuring an endless succession of wash-outs, gullies and stretches of bulldust, it really tested a vehicle’s suspension and the patience of travellers. It’s not all that much better now either, at least over the northern part, though the alternative route through Rinyirru (Lakefield National Park) is much easier, at least to Wakooka. Our expeditions were always at least two weeks long, sometimes three weeks, and we had to be completely self-sufficient.

Ever ything was crammed into the Land Rover station wagon, including food for the duration, camping, personal and fishing gear, a 40-litre gas fridge, an outboard motor, fuel tanks, safety gear and extra fuel and an 11’ tinnie strapped to the roof racks. Plus of course our family of five. We nearly needed a shoehorn to fit everything in! Well, the annual fishing trip tradition continues, with as many family and friends joining in as possible. Some years we return to the ever-popular Cape Melville (if it is not too windy). When the wind is howling, we may choose Rinyirru as an alternative. The billabong and riverside bush camping is excellent, the wildlife fantastic and the fishing great. If the barramundi are quiet, as is their nature sometimes, you can al-

The rare giant shore crab found while spotlighting at night at Chilli Beach.

Page 60 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

ways access the estuaries for a range of other species and of course delectable mud crabs. In 2017, for the second year in a row, we went to Chilli Beach within Iron Range National Park. As with all the east coast of Cape York, the southeasterly trade wind here can be something else. Fortunately, many of the mostly shady campsites offer some protection from the Cape York ‘gales’. The massive trees that offer such good protection and are often bowed by the wind go by the name of calophyllum inophyllum. I don’t know their common name, however they are some of the most impressive trees you’ll see in Australia, and also the shadiest. This year we didn’t have the good weather we experienced in 2016, which limited fishing somewhat. In fact, the wind only dropped to about 15 knots for two days, on one of which I went fishing soft plastics with Richo and young Eligh over some inshore reef patches. We simply drifted while jigging the bottom and ended up hooking snodger large-mouth nannygai. Josh had given us Berkley Gulp plastics to use, and as usual, they worked an absolute treat. They also attracted three unstoppable fish that we called for big cod or groper. There was some hope for a short while, and the sound of the line going out against the drag was exciting as always. However, eventually the pressure was too much and they were off. The two nannygai we kept were superb eating, and they are surely one of the tastiest of the tropical ocean species.

Unfortunately, a crook neck stopped me going out on any other days. However Josh, Richo and Drew put up with the rougher conditions to voyage out to the main Great Barrier Reef over a few days in Josh’s Yamaha Southwind. They speared a great range of fish to keep us eating in style each night. Coral trout, spanish mackerel, sweetlip and green jobfish were the main species. Richo also undertook a little experiment. One day out of curiosity, he speared and cooked up a couple of ‘mia mias’ – a common fish with venomous spines not well regarded as an eating fish by many. Are they really that bad, Richo wondered? So he grilled them over the coals and discovered they were bad, with rubbery flesh and a pretty ordinary taste all round. Otherwise, even with the windy weather, everyone still had a great time. The kids free ranged happily around the campsites with almost permanent smiles and made shelters out of palm fronds, played on the beach, beachcombed, climbed the magnificent callophyllum trees and generally ran amok. We adults too enjoyed the camping, superb scenery, wildlife and absolutely top tucker. I don’t know of any other outdoor activity that can get family and friends together for so much sustained fun. Each night we’d go for a spotlight along the track, spying white-lipped tree frogs, spiders, striped possums and one night a brown tree snake. The kids also reported seeing a big crab in the rainforest well back from

the beach, which scurried back down its hole when approached. One night while out spotlighting, I encountered one of these strangelooking crabs in the jungle, eating leaves. I later identified it as a giant shore crab. While common on many Indo-Pacific islands, they apparently have a limited distribution in Australia. In Queensland they are only known to exist from Cape Tribulation near Cairns to Lizard Island. A fairly interesting find! On another day, we explored the remains of bunkers from the Allied air force base constructed at Iron Range during World War II. Established in 1942, this was a major base for aircraft missions to New Guinea and other islands in the southwest Pacific. Tragically, two Liberator bombers and a number of other aircraft crashed after take-off or while trying to land here, with significant loss of life.

And apparently, wet season rains played havoc with operations generally, with runways often boggy and covered with water. The turn-off to the site is not signposted and it is just north of the current Iron Range airstrip on the western side of the road. It’s well worth a look. Portland Roads, on the coast further north, was developed as a major wharf for unloading supplies and other needs and you can still see some of the infrastructure here, rusting away. All an amazing part of Australia’s history. Official predictions are for at least an average wet season for the Cape, and there’s a general sense among locals that it could be a good one. Let’s hope so, for the land and sea to be rejuvenated. I hope everyone is having a great holiday season with plenty of bush, beach and maybe sea action, and all the best for the new year!

Eligh and Richo with a couple of cracker large-mouth nannygai jigged up from the bottom.

www.bnbfishing.com. au


C AMPING & outdoors Powerful pint-sized torch W

HETHER you get away into the great outdoors once a week or once a year, you will need a torch on hand to ably assist you at night in the bush or on the beach. And if you’re going to have a torch, you might as well have one that blows all others out of the water. The Olight X7R Marauder is a pretty aggressive name for a torch, but once you hit that power switch, you’ll realise the name fits. With a maximum output of an unbelievable 12,000 lumens thrown 380m (I swear it’s brighter than daylight), this Coke cansized flashlight sure packs a punch. An IPX7 waterproof rating means the X7R Marauder is also able to be submerged up to 1m under water without any water

Product Review by DANIEL TOMLINSON

finding its way into the unit and wreaking havoc on vital componentry. Despite being rechargeable, the Marauder’s USB Type-C charging port is only revealed by twisting the base of the light, meaning when not plugged in and charging, water will find the unit impenetrable, perfect for withstanding those often-stormy camping trips during a hot Aussie summer. I recently managed to escape for three nights of camping at Boreen Point with my fiancé Carly and her workmates and took the Olight X7R along for the ride. We were camped just in front of a large ov-

al, and come nightfall, I couldn’t wait to give the fully charged unit a whirl, opening it up to its maximum 12,000 lumen setting, which is accessed by a double click (7000 lumens) and then another double click of the power button. Wow is about the only word I can use to describe the light this little thing throws. The trees on the far side of the oval were not only illuminated, but the light penetrated deep into the thick scrub. Carly’s workmates were amazed, as was I, at not just how bright the beam from the three LEDs was, but how broad it was too. While some lights get away with throwing their beams a long distance by generating a pinprick of light, that’s not the case with the X7R, which throws more of a floodlight beam to totally illuminate any space, large or small. In total, the X7R has six power levels plus a strobe setting, so if you don’t need to blind possums you can simply keep it on the lowest power setting of

500 lumens (adjusted by holding the power button for a couple of seconds). Run time on the lowest power setting is an impressive 14 hours, though on max power the light will only last for three minutes before reverting to a 3000-lumen setting to conserve battery life for a further two hours of run time. Each night during the camping trip, someone new would experience the power of the X7R Marauder and every time they’d be blown away at how effective it was. But it’s not all about power, as this Olight is smart too. A proximity sensor drops the output automatically when the flashlight head approaches a nearby object, and to prevent any damage or overheating an active thermal management system reduces the output when the light gets too hot. In addition, a multifunction indicator under the side switch works as a location indicator, flashlight status indicator and low-battery indicator. While it’s only about the size of a Coke can, the X7R Marauder is a fairly heavy unit, tipping the scales at 665g, so it’s a good thing it has been designed to be comfortable to hold for extended periods with milled finger grooves and a pop-out lanyard hole for extra security on your wrist. A holster keeps the torch safe when not in use and can be attached to your belt for ease of carrying. So no matter what you’re into, be it fishing, camping or any outdoor activity, I can guarantee you’ll find a great light partner in the Olight X7R Marauder. For more information on this wicked little torch, visit powabeam.com.au or call 02 6680 3522.

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cabin damage from occurring. Constructed from steel with a high-quality powder-coated finish, this mounting bracket is built to last and to hold your shovel in place for the rough road ahead. Backed by a three-year warranty, the RhinoRack Pioneer Shovel Mounting Bracket is a must for any adventurer looking to take their outdoor pursuits to the next level. RRP is $79. For more information on Rhino-Rack and to view the full product range, visit rhinorack. com.au

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 61


4WDING & off - road Holiday trailer maintenance H I, it’s Craig Tomkinson here.

Construction of a new drawbar for the author’s old pop-top van.

The pop-top’s trailer finished and ready to go.

The new drawbar tow hitch on the boat trailer.

Of late I’ve been performing maintenance on my boat trailer and pop-up van. The trailer under the 5m boat is a tilt model and it’s had a worn drawbar pin for a few years now. Every year I go to Cape York, I look at it, give it a good wriggle and say it will make it because the roads are not that bad, and I have a second locking bolt so it’s always strong and safe. But I am thinking of towing my boat to Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory to visit my mate Nathan Dumschat next year, and the trailer certainly needed fixing before attempting that trip. I towed it up near my shed, chocked the wheels and jacked it up onto two lumps of timber to take the weight. Then I took out the drawbar and cut off about 70mm, welding on a new piece of 75mm x 50mm steel and putting the drawbar back on the trailer, marking the spot to drill the new hole. Then I cut a bit of 0.75” OD thick-wall gal pipe and made it a tight fit to go in the end of the 75mm x 50mm box to make a bush. Finally I put a new 14mm bolt through it and the box and welded in the spot. By doing this, instead of wearing on just two spots on the bolt, the wear is on the full length of the bolt. Over the years, I have not been happy with the ride height difference between the trailer and four-wheel-drive, so I cut the old tow hitch off and made a new one out of 100mm x 8mm flat bar. The old hitch was bolted on top of the 75mm x 50mm x 3mm box drawbar. This time I used a piece of 56cm-long, 100mm x 8mm flat bar and welded it square with a 200mm overlap to the bottom of the drawbar, leaving 360mm to bolt the coupling to. This would lift the draw-

Trailer Maintenance

by CRAIG TOMKINSON

bar 75mm higher and have the trailer sitting more level behind the 4WD when towing. Once that was welded on the drawbar, I drilled four new 12mm holes to bolt the coupling to. Now while that may look good, because the flat bar was laying flat it had no strength, so I ran an 8mm rail down each side of the coupling. Starting at 100mm high, it went for 250mm and then tapered down to 40mm at the end. I welded that on and knew the hitch was strong and would do the job nicely. I welded on new safety chains and bolted it back together and the job was done. The next job was to lengthen the drawbar on my old pop-up van because I wanted to be able to pull up at night for a camp, put the van up, pull the slide-out beds out and still be able to open the doors on my 80 Series LandCruiser wagon with the van hooked up to the 4WD. So I towed the van up to the shed, chocked it for safety and cut off square about 200mm of the old drawbar. This left a 130mm gap between the two old

90mm x 40mm x 2.5mm steel A-frame pieces. Because the van is only about 800kg loaded, I used 50mm x 50mm x 6mm angle and 100mm x 6mm flat bar. I started by welding a bit of 100mm x 6mm across the bottom of the cutoff A-frame with 10mm sticking past the 90mm x 40mm. I had worked out I needed to weld in two 1m-long bits of 50mm x 50mm x 6mm to sit on top of the 100mm x 6mm I had already welded in. They lay flat and facing each other 30mm apart to make a bit of a channel. They run forward 640mm to make the new drawbar and back past the 100mm flat bar by 250mm to join to the crossmember steel brace on the A-frame.

Next I welded in the old 250mm x 100mm x 6mm manual handbrake steel plate to the end of the 50mm x 50mm x 6mm angle and drilled four holes right through to bolt the coupling onto. Then with a 640mmlong piece of the 100mm x 6mm flat bar it sat with a 10mm overhang on the main 90mm x 40mm drawbar. I wrapped it forward along the 50mm x 50mm x 6mm angle as bracing and welded it in place on both sides. I also welded in a couple more bits of steel here and there, gave it all a grind to smooth off the sharp bits and finally rust-proofed it. Both jobs cost about $150 for the steel and gear. I reckon to get these jobs done at an engineering shop you’d be looking at no change out of $800 per job. ‘Til next time, be safe on the water and roads.

The worn hole in the boat trailer and the new one.

The finished boat trailer setup.

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Outstanding Murray cod opening weekend A FTER three months of abstinence, the opening of the freshwater cod season was enthusiastically greeted by fans of the green fish.

Coincidentally, when the calendar flipped over to opening day (December 1) this year, I had an engagement that took me out west into the Balonne River catchment. I decided to take advantage of being in St George for a 5km race (on foot, not on the Harley) to indulge in a little green fish therapy. The drive out after work was an easy, fast run with little traffic once I’d passed through Dalby and veered south on the Moonie highway. With eighties rock blaring from the speakers and the car on cruise control, the distance ticked over quickly, seeing me roll into town just before dusk. Before finding my accommodation, I checked out the river to see how much the recent rain had affected its depth and clarity. Typical of many slow-flowing inland streams, the Balonne is clay stained and usually the colour of strong white coffee. On this trip, the clarity was as poor as I’d expected, but I still had one option that had produced cod for me in muddy water in several streams over years past. After dark, I walked the river’s shoreline, stepping down from the higher bank onto

Fishing for Sport

by NEIL SCHULTZ

small ‘beach’ areas to cast a lure. My selection was a very shallow-running, semi-surface lure that pushed a strong wake, imitating the natural food sources of surface-feeding cod. Hooks rattling against the timber body of the lure create a strong sound signature that is picked up by the fish’s lateral line. Remember that these fish have evolved in cloudy water so hunt using senses other than sight. The section of river I was fishing has been well stocked with cod for decades, so the population is quite healthy. That fact became obvious after just 30 minutes of casting when an enthusiastic fish shattered the calm of the evening in impressive fashion. Blasting the old Danger Mouse in fairly shallow water not far from the rod tip, the fish showered me with spray and turned to bolt before I could react. Like most fish in cod streams, this was not a large specimen, so the tussle was a brief affair with the fish soon subdued at my feet. Slipped onto damp ground and photographed for posterity, the chunky little cod was very quickly back into the river, no

A nocturnal session on opening day resulted in an encounter with this handsome Balonne River cod that couldn’t resist the Danger Mouse.

It is very difficult to get good photos when fishing solo. This cod was sitting in a deep corner and snaffled a barra lure bumped past its snag.

A Creek Cobra in the Red-Bellied Black colour scheme was the undoing of several cod on the Saturday of opening weekend.

www.bnbfishing.com. au

worse for the encounter except for possibly being a little bewildered. Further blind casting into the darkness produced no more strikes, so I grew impatient with the midges and mozzies and retreated to my room. Saturday morning dawned overcast and windy, ideal for running but not what you’d describe as ideal for freshwater fishing. The race started early and was run in cool air under low cloud, weather that would be OK for my planned kayak outing later in the morning. That changed as the last runner crossed the line and the heavens opened, delivering much-needed but poorly timed unrelenting rain. My plan was to drive eastwards along the border to fish other streams that normally run clear. For a couple of hours I motored eastwards in driving rain with the wipers going flat chat on thankfully quiet roads with no traffic or wildlife to dodge. Just before I cruised into Goondiwindi, the rain eased and I was soon driving on dry roads. Within another hour or so, I slipped the Mitsubishi into four-wheel-drive and left the bitumen, bouncing right to the water at a pool I’ve fished regularly for years. Although the rain was far behind me, the wind was occasionally gusting strongly, but at least the water was much cleaner and the cloud cover kept the temperature comfortable. Once sitting in the Hobie on the water, I rigged two rods, both heavy casting outfits loaded with braid of ‘whopper stopper’ calibre. One rod wore a shallowrunning Creek Cobra for the majority of the section of water I’d be fishing while the other carried a deeper-running Barra Cobra for the corner pools. This part of the river felt like coming home as familiar snags came into view around every corner, all of which had been targets for my lure casting over the span of a couple of decades. Success was almost a foregone conclusion and the top end of the first pool yielded a fish within minutes. Windy conditions made the task of holding position while casting a little trying, but the fish were co-operating, so I persevered. After releasing half a dozen well-coloured cod, I had to pull the pin and return to my launch spot to retrieve the kayak and make the long return drive home. Opening weekend didn’t result in my spending a significant number of hours on the water, but it was very encouraging to encounter healthy fish in numbers. The coming summer looks good for a few trips west of the range in pursuit of those marvellous speckled green fish.

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 63


Brett Renz finished third at the Cania Grand Final. Terry Allwood with his prizes for finishing in first.

Patrick Conduit placed second.

Allwood takes out Basstasstic GF

A

NGLERS travelled to Cania Dam on November 25 and 26 to fish the Basstasstic Singles and Junior Grand Final.

With huge cash and prizes to be won, all anglers were keen to get out there. The dam was at 100 percent, so there were plenty of areas to fish. With 36 senior anglers all wanting a piece of the cash pool and so many good prizes on offer, it was game on. On Friday night all the senior anglers were sold in a Calcutta and auctioned off to whoever

Layla Allwood was the junior winner.

Competition Report by RUSSELL NOWLAND

could afford them. Some went for big money and others went for bugger-all but the Calcutta pool ended up at a huge $1800, so three lucky buyers would go home with a pocket full of money. The weather was perfect and anglers were pumped because they knew what Cania could deliver. On Saturday night at camp WINNERS

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2582

2

Patrick Conduit

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Brett Renz

2441

4

Paul Allwood

2391

5

Michael Thompson

2380

6

Sean Kerr

2282

7

Rick Russell

2263

8

Lachlan Achilles

2226

9

Steve Otto

2224

10

Barry Reynolds

2221

Paul Allwood finished in fourth place.

BIG BASS 520mm to the fork

Michael Thompson

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CURRENT AS OF 11/12/2017

PERCENTAGE

JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 6 Atkinson 6 5 6 18 18 Awoonga 98 98 97 118 100 100 Bjelke-Petersen * 22 22 19 18 18 19 Boondooma * 49 45 51 49 47 46 Borumba * 81 80 75 83 99 101 Burdekin Falls * 95 91 86 81 82 82 Callide * 87 86 85 86 85 84 96 Cania * 95 92 104 100 99 Coolmunda * 95 93 89 86 83 79 Dyer/Bill Gunn * 9 7 7 7 7 7 100 Eungella * 99 98 97 93 95 Fairbairn * 42 40 38 36 34 32 Glenlyon * 75 75 74 72 73 72 Hinze 100 99 98 98 99 100 Julius 89 87 84 80 78 77 Kinchant * 84 81 75 66 67 77 Leslie * 18 18 17 15 14 14 93 Macdonald 89 84 106 101 103 Maroon * 100 99 98 98 98 98 Monduran/Fred Haigh * 99 98 97 141 102 101 98 Moogerah * 97 94 92 92 92 North Pine/Samsonvale * 70 68 67 70 75 76 Peter Faust/Proserpine * 78 77 75 73 72 72 Somerset * 77 76 75 78 79 80 Teemburra * 100 100 98 97 97 99 Tinaroo* 50 48 44 41 41 40 Toonumbar 100 100 98 101 101 100 Wivenhoe * 70 68 66 68 71 72 Wuruma * 98 97 95 104 100 100 Wyaralong 99 98 97 97 97 97 For updates on dams, visit sunwater.com.au or seqwater.com.au *This symbol indicates that a Stocked Impoundment Permit is required to fish these dams.

www.livelyluresonline.com.au Page 64 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Terry Allwood

Biggest bass caught for 2017 at any event

DAM LEVELS DAMS

Points

1

Braden Schuch

Available from livelyluresonline.com.au

Nowland, where most of the anglers gathered to talk and eat, all the talk was about who would get lucky on day two. At the end of day, it was down to a battle between five anglers for the number-one spot: Terry Allwood of Wondai, Patrick Conduit of Brisbane, Brett Renz of Bundaberg, Paul Allwood of Ipswich and Michael Thompson of Stanthorpe.

At the end of session three, Terry was the angler to rise to the top spot for 2017. He was very proud that he and his dad Paul, and let’s not forget his daughter Layla who came first in the junior section, had done so well. They were given great praise by all anglers and such a dominating family performance may never be seen again. A special time for the Allwood family. The prizes this year were a real credit to the sponsors and their belief in the Basstasstic Tournaments.

JUNIOR WINNERS

Points

1

Layla Allwood

2277

2

Lane Thompson

2187

3

Jaxson Thompson

1505

4

Emma Wojtasik

1060

5

Ethan Thompson

749

6

David Nowland

699

It was a win for both father and daughter at the Cania Grand Final.

Braden Schuch with the Big Bass, which measured 520mm to the fork.

www.bnbfishing.com. au


Storm build-ups make for fun South Burnett fishing

T

HE hot weather and afternoon storm build-ups generate awesome opportunities for catching big bass and yellowbelly. With the onset of summer, this weather pattern is quite common and it really brings the native fish on the bite. If you’re an avid troller, from now through to February is the best time to dust off the deep divers and head to the South Burnett’s dams to get into great native trolling action. Boondooma Dam When the warmer months arrive and it’s hot, the yellowbelly and bass like to position themselves in a zone called the thermocline, or comfortable water, which is generally at a depth of 5.5-7.5m. This zone or column of water is the section that the predatory fish find the most comfortable, where the temperature is just right to sit while it’s hot upstairs and is full of the little critters they love to gorge on. With the majority of fish sitting in this zone throughout the dam, it opens up the door for fantastic fishing opportunities.

Freshwater Impoundments by MATTHEW LANGFORD

If I want to target bass, the first place I’ll look is the deep water off any prominent points. I’ll use my sounder to sound out the fish sitting in that optimal depth. When I’m happy that I’ve found a good concentration of fish, I will pull up and begin casting 3” to 4” soft plastics rigged with a 1/2oz or 5/8oz head. With a big long cast over the areas where I found the fish, I will let the jig head sink for seven to 10 seconds and begin a slow retrieve back to the boat with a couple of twitches mixed in. The same can be done with a 12g or 18g Nories spoon. Continue this technique until you start to feel a few taps on the plastic or spoon. When you feel a tap, it’s important to keep that slow wind going until you feel weight on the line, then slowly lift the rod tip until you feel the full weight of the fish.

At this point the fish will know it’s hooked and make great runs back into deeper water. Keep your drag fairly loose so the hook doesn’t pull on the way back to the boat. Using this method over the holiday period will account for big bass on Boondooma. The timbered arms are holding good numbers of bass and yellowbelly. They are holding very close to structure and you’ll need to get your lures in as close as you can to get a bite. Look for spindly timber or big trees out in the middle of the arms. Lures of choice for this scenario are 5/8oz or 3/8oz Bassman Spinnerbaits, a 1/2oz jig head rigged with a 3” soft plastic and any sinking lipless crankbait. Give your lure up to five seconds to sink and then start a slow wind. It’s important to make sure you have a lure retriever with you because

Members of the Barambah stocking group and eager young helpers released Australian bass.

occasionally you will get snagged on the trees, but if you’re getting snagged you know you’re in the thick of it. Fishing close to structure, I use 14-20lb leaders so I have a chance if a fish rubs the line through trees. Otherwise, if I’m in open water I’ll decrease my leader weight to 6-10lb because I’m less concerned about a fish dragging me through structure. Trollers are picking up great bass and yellowbelly around the deeper sections of the dam, targeting those suspended fish. Have plenty of deep divers handy and 5/8oz Bassman Spinnerbaits because getting down to 4.5-6m will consistently get you onto fish. Bait fishers are getting a mixed bag in the timbered arms using worms and fresh shrimp. It may even pay to move to the main basin and let your bait suspend under the boat in the 4.5-7.5m range. Drifting with the wind is a great way to cover water with your bait under the boat. Eventually it will cross paths with a hungry fish or two. Red claw numbers are also starting to pick up with the hot weather, so make sure you pack the opera house traps if you’re coming out this way. Lake Barambah With a similar pattern to that of Boondooma, Lake Barambah is also producing great fishing. The fish are sitting in the 4.5-6m range and are very willing to take anything placed in front of them. Because Barambah is a shallower dam, you can target more areas and use a wider variety of lures to catch a few natives.

The bass are responding well to 3” soft plastics, 1/4oz blades and 3/8oz and 5/8oz spinnerbaits. Some likely areas to target are the large flat area in front of the main dam wall, the Quarry and wide of Bass Point. On a recent fishing charter we targeted the lake’s bass with 1/2oz jig heads and 3” soft plastics and caught dozens of bass and yellowbelly. We focused on areas in 4.5-6m of water with adjacent rocky edges and drop-offs. I found the bigger fish ☛ continued P66

82-year-old Bep had a great day on Barambah, catching a few bass on 3” plastics rigged on 1/2oz jig heads.

Maddie and Lane with a nice variety of fish captured on a recent charter at Barambah.

Craig and Rob had a cracking day on a charter, throwing spoons to bass positioned in 6m of water.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 65


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Dennis Harold with his world record 44.62kg, 134cm long, 107cm girth barra caught from his kayak at Lake Monduran in 2010.

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Pop in on your way to Monduran Dam for all your tackle needs – easy parking with boats! 26 Mulgrave St, Gin Gin (next to ďŹ re station)

0427 880 826

www.barratackle.com.au Page 66 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Where and how to catch Monduran barra

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UMMER weather can be hot and humid around Gin Gin and Lake Monduran, with air temperatures as high as 44C. With such high air temperatures, Lake Monduran’s water temperatures soar into the 30C range, and one spot I found last summer had water of an insane 35C. Barramundi do not hang around in the shallows for long when water temperatures are that high. They will come up to feed when baitfish are around and they are hungry but then they’ll drop back into deeper, more comfortable water to cruise and hang out. When conditions are like this, I look for a point that drops away slowly over 15-20m to a depth of 2-3m before dropping off quickly into an old creek bed 4-6m deep. Several of these points are in the lake, it is just a matter of taking your time and sounding around to locate one. Once you have found your chosen point, the best thing to do is tie up to a tree or anchor so you can cast at both the point and the old creek bed. I’ll usually have two or three rods set up with different types of lures so I don’t have to spend time changing rigs. The first rig is normally some sort of soft plastic such as a 5� or 7� Zerek Flat Shad or Zerek Live Cherabin. This rig is primarily used to cast towards the point but can also be used in the deeper creek bed. When casting into the creek bed, let the plastic sink for a while so when you retrieve it the plastic is swimming back through the strike zone. The second rod will be rigged with a shallowdiving hard-body such as the Reidy’s B52 and RMG Scorpion. These lures can also be cast to the point or out along the creek bed. A slow roll is one productive technique that involves giving the lure a few quick twitches to get it down deep before starting a slow retrieve back to the boat. Another good retrieve starts by giving the lure a few fast and erratic twitches and then letting it float back to the surface before counting to five or 10, taking up the slack line and repeating the process. This retrieve works better in the shallower water. My third rod will be set up to use in the deeper creek bed and it will have a suspending or very slow-rising lure on it. One of the best is the jointed Bomber. This lure can be cranked down into the strike zone and left suspended while you count to eight or nine before giving it life with a twitch or a couple of

Monduran Dam by DONNA GANE

cranks on your reel. This is very successful because your lure will hover down in the strike zone longer than any other method. A lot of barra anglers including myself have turned some of our standard lures into suspending or slow-rising lures. This can be done to your floating lures by simply upgrading to heavier hooks, adding extra split rings or using sticky weights. Also remember that a lot of technology has gone into the design of lures and sometimes playing with them and adding or replacing hooks and rings can make the lure perform differently, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. For the anglers who prefer to troll when the water temperatures reach the 30s, troll the old creek beds that wind through the shallows, the south arm of B and Bird Bay. Again, look for water that is 2-3m deep with a deep creek bed running through it. Troll lures that run fairly shallow, around 1-3m, and troll slowly. Don’t put your rods in the holders; hold them. Why hold your rod while trolling? Holding your rod allows you to give your lure much more action. Simply drop your rod tip back every now and again or give it a series of small twitches. Doing these simple

things will draw much more attention from barra than just a plain old swimming lure. While trolling in these areas, watch your sounder to keep yourself in the creek beds. If you have a GPS, use the tracking feature to retrace your steps and set up a troll pattern.

Keep an eye on your sounder for where two old creek beds meet because this is often where different underwater currents join, attracting baitfish and barra. Mark them on your GPS or remember the location because these spots are often prime areas to cast. If using this trolling method, the Lake Monduran map can be very useful because it shows you the old creek beds, and the longitudes and lat-

itudes let you plan which areas you want to return to. Just punch the co-ordinates into your GPS to save a lot of time travelling around the lake watching your sounder for the old creek beds. Barra Havoc has maps and lures for Lake Monduran in store, so make sure you call in and see us for all the local knowledge and up-to-date information. Happy fishing.

Aiden was happy with this Monduran barra.

Aiden had a great weekend of fishing with his father. This barra was caught in Insane Bay among the spindly timber.

Storm build-ups make for fun South Burnett fishing ☛ from P65

were holding tight to the drop-offs and waiting for bait to swim over. Areas like this are prime ambush positions for native fish, so don’t forget to give them a go. Trollers are catching solid bass and yellowbelly over the Quarry and towards the dam wall as well as adjacent to the steep rock wall on the left of the dam just before Bass Point. Bait fishers are consistently scoring good numbers of yellowbelly and bass by anchoring along the steeper edges of the dam. The best baits have been fresh shrimp and worms. Red claw are patchy but I have heard of some people extracting good numbers. Park news The fish stocking programs for both dams are still very much alive, with two massive releases recently. Boondooma Dam Fish

Stocking Association released 82,000 bass into Boondooma, and 56,000 bass joined the other fish life in Barambah. These releases will provide a great boost for fishing in the South Burnett. It’s excellent to see our stocking associations working hard to make this happen because without them we wouldn’t get

to catch the fish we really love chasing. Don’t forget to book your last-minute site for the New Year’s celebrations at Boondooma Dam because this year’s fireworks display will be a cracker. When you get to enjoy your holiday with great fishing, water sports and beautiful sunsets, I reckon you would be

mad not to come out and enjoy a break. On a final note, I have just started up a fishing charter business catering to Boondooma and Barambah. If you’d like a great day out with all the info and knowledge to catch bass and yellowbelly, give me a call on 0408 658 592. Until next time, tight lines and bent rods.

The sunsets on Boondooma are sensational. There’s not many better ways to finish a day.

www.bnbfishing.com. au


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James Munro with a 90cm Teemburra Dam barra.

The author scored a cracker barra.

Barra in Kinchant and Teemburra dams

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ICKING up where I left off last month, after a good night’s rest at Awoonga Gateway Lodge, we headed north to Mackay.

It was an early morning start, getting up at 3am, but it’s all worth it to catch barramundi. The drive north took about five and a half hours and our first stop was Lake Kinchant, just inland from Mackay. This dam is about the same size as Lake Macdonald back home… so basically a puddle. It’s an amazing dam though, with plenty of water lilies, weed edges, points and a massive dam wall. It’s a great place to camp because you can get right up to the water’s edge, with powered sites and cabins available. If you’re in the Mackay region, I’d definitely suggest stopping in and trying to land a barra. Before getting onto the dam for a fish, we decided to have a quick feed and nap so we’d have plenty of energy for fishing well into the night. Kinchant Dam After our nap, onto the dam we went for the first time in two years, and I was keen to whack some

Fishing Trip – Part 2 by CALLUM MUNRO

big barra. The water level hadn’t changed since the last trip and even the wind was blowing in the same direction, so I had a pretty good idea of where the fish would be holding. It had to be the back northwest corner of the dam that the southeasterly wind had been blowing into. Last time we found a point here holding heaps of fish, so this was our first stop. We began casting one of our favourite Happy Rock Softies, the Big Willy in pearl white matched to a 1/2oz jig head. We would cast as far as we could, count the plastic down five seconds and then start our retrieve. The plastics needed to be counted down because we were targeting the deeper edge of the point with a lot of broken weed clumps. The five-second countdown saw our lures just hitting the top of the weed on the retrieve. If we collected a bit of weed, we’d rip the rod as

hard as we could to try to free the plastic, and this is usually when the barra would hit the lure. The first hour was pretty slow, with no bites at all, but we knew as soon as it got dark the fish would come on the chew. We were seeing enough fish on our Humminbird sounder to know it was just a matter of time. Right on dark, Dad hooked a quality fish around the 90cm mark that wrapped him around a couple of weed piles, so we had to pull anchor. It was such a wicked fight on light gear and Dad landed the fish after about three minutes. We took a couple of happy snaps and quickly released the fish back into the water. After this the fish went very quiet and we weren’t seeing anywhere near as many fish coming through on the sounder’s side scan, so we decided to move spots and headed to the old river channel. Fishing in about 6m of water, we could now see

heaps more fish moving through. Casting big Berkley PowerBait Ripple Shads with 1oz jig heads, we managed to land another three fish and dropped two. We used the 1oz head because a lot of the fish were sitting close to the bottom and we wanted to keep the baits right down. Another option was to burn the lure back to the boat to try to get a reaction out of the fish. With a lighter jig head, I wouldn’t have been able to keep in touch with the bottom as easily. At about 10.30pm we decided to call it a night and go and have a good sleep because we were off to Teemburra Dam the next morning. Teemburra Dam Teemburra Dam is only about a 30-minute drive from Kinchant, and just a little further inland up in the hills. Teemburra reminds me a lot of Borumba Dam. It’s very deep and has plenty of trees, rock walls, water lilies and points. You name it, Teemburra has it. I hadn’t fished this dam before, so it was going to take some working out. We sounded around for

a decent chunk of the day, not fishing at all, just looking for good areas where the fish would be coming through. In the end we found six spots that looked awesome and were holding fish. We marked them so at night we could come back and target them while the moon was rising. The first night we caught four and dropped six. Hopping between the spots was the trick to landing fish. Unfortunately, Dad dropped a horse that would have been a 110cmplus fish, but it was still good to catch this many without really knowing where to fish. The next day our mate Ben Durkin from BTD Lures joined us. Ben’s a great angler and formerly the best barra angler in Australia in the ABT tournament scene. It was an absolute privilege to have him out on the boat with us. Benny had four spots he wanted to fish. They were completely different to the areas we targeted the day before. We sounded around the areas to see if the fish were around and only two

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☛ continued P68

Skills still need a lifejacket.

An awesome silver Teemburra barra.

Our lakes and dams are still some of the best spots to enjoy water sports. But still water can still be dangerous. So when boating, make sure you have the following: - Lifejacket(s) - A signalling device - Firefighting equipment

- Sun protective gear - Oars & bailing equipment

- An anchor - Drinking water

Play it safe on our lakes and dams and always wear the proper safety gear. Ben Durkin and the author with the results of a barra double hook-up.

www.bnbfishing.com. au

seqwater.com.au Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 67


The author and Dicko with a great pair of barra caught during the final hours of the all-nighter at Peter Faust Dam.

Peter Faust Dam holds cracker fish and Dicko tackled this one in the timber.

2017 Zerek BARRA Tour experiences

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T’S not very often I’ll enter a fishing competition other than the Gold Coast Flathead Classic, but when Troy Dixon of Wilson Fishing invited me to fish the Zerek BARRA Tour, I was pretty keen to check it out.

The author’s first fish during the comp at Kinchant Dam measured 113cm.

A beaut 104cm barra hooked at Kinchant.

The 95mm Zerek Fish Trap accounted for many of the fish captured by Team Venom.

Owning a small but exceptionally busy engineering business certainly makes entering these comps very difficult but somehow I managed to embark the flight to Mackay for the first round. Dicko picked me up from Mackay Airport and we went straight to Kinchant Dam for a pre-fish. Kinchant Dam was constructed in 1977 and is about 41km from Mackay. It’s only a small dam, covering a surface area of 920ha when full, and as an angler you’ll notice plenty of weed beds that offer great cover for barramundi. I went into the pre-fish and competitions with my eyes wide open and no preconceived ideas because I had spent a grand total of two hours on each of Peter Faust and Kinchant dams and had never seen Teemburra before. At each round, pre-fishing is allowed up until midnight the evening before the event. I’d fished Kinchant back in 2009 for a couple of hours when Leeann and I were travelling around Australia and caught a

Dicko held a fine Kinchant specimen.

Page 68 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Fishing Australia by ROBERT PAYNE

few barra on the Horny Toad lures that were very popular back then, however this was my first time back with a new arsenal of lures under my belt. My pre-fishing plan was simple – to use what I was comfortable with. I began with 5” and 7” Zerek Flat Shads but didn’t feel overly confident, so switched to a 95mm Zerek Fish Trap that I could work the way I wanted. After a lot of rod and lure changing, I looked at my rod line-up to choose what I knew worked and I felt comfortable with. After having just completed the Flathead Classic prior to the tour, I eyed my Wilson Venom Deepinatration rod, which I had teamed with a 65mm Fish Trap. This is a combo I constantly have in my hand during the Flathead Classic and though we were targeting a completely different fish, I thought why not have a crack and try to get a bite happening? From there it took all of two casts before I landed my first 90cm-plus barramundi on Kinchant Dam, so I kept the trend going with that rod and technique. During our few hours of pre-fishing we managed to land a couple of barramundi before heading to our accommodation in Mackay to unpack our gear and get some shuteye. The following day presented our only chance to have a pre-fish at Teemburra Dam because round one at Kinchant and round two at Teemburra were back-to-back events. Teemburra is a relatively new dam, being constructed in 1997 for water storage and irrigation. It is located about 50km west of Mackay and has a surface area of 1040ha at capacity. Dicko and I knew Teemburra would be the thorn in our sides because we had very little time for

the pre-fish and it didn’t go particularly well as we mostly used our time to sound around the area looking for fish ‘highways’ and likely looking spots where fish may be holding. Sticking with what I had felt comfortable with at Kinchant, I continued using the Venom Deepintration rod along with the Fish Trap but we didn’t land a fish, though we mostly spent our time observing rather than fishing. We then headed back to Kinchant for round one, a night-time event being held from 5pm to midnight. We did reasonably well for a couple of flathead anglers, landing our bag of five barramundi using the 65mm and 95mm Fish Traps along with Flat Shads. Mostly we ‘hopped’ the lures using slow hops with a pause and sometimes a longer draw-back of the rod, but mixed it up through the night to upgrade our barra. We lost a few after getting the hit and then dropping them almost immediately. Dicko and I fishing as Team Venom managed to end up in a respectable fourth place with a combined weight of 51.87kg. The winners, Team Flattop Fishing comprising Brett Turner and Dean

Jackson, landed a whopping 78.01kg as the total weight of their five longest fish. The comp was a bit different in that while the fish were measured, a conversion scale was used to convert length to weight. We went into Teemburra with minimal knowledge but hoped we would at least catch a barra each. Once again, the fishing time was from 5pm to midnight and I’ll admit it was a pretty long night because we missed two barra and landed two, bringing our total weight to 8.45kg, which unfortunately had us back in 14th overall for the round. Peter Laine and Zac Hunt of Team Barratrauma took out this event with their five biggest fish weighing 45.94kg and Peter’s best fish measuring 126cm. Peter Faust Dam was next for both rounds three (two days of fishing) and four (an all-night session from 4pm-8am). The biggest struggle was finding accommodation close to the dam because the cyclone earlier in 2017 had wiped out a lot of options and we ended up having to travel from Conway Beach, which was an absolute nightmare and bloody tiring. I started using my flatty rod for the first session at Faust but when the fish changed into lure-collecting demons, I put away the light gear. We had a corker of a

first night, with our fivefish bag putting us in the lead thanks to vertically jigging our lures next to a tree that was lit up with barra on the sounder. The second night, however, was abysmal, with just one fish weighed in and relegating us to sixth place overall for round three. During the all-nighter round four, 15 barra were lost before we landed the first one at 6.30am. This is when a critical rod change made the difference. I started using a rod that I would never normally pick up in this situation because I felt it was too long, but that certainly changed when we started catching fish. When you’re in the middle of a snag pile with all the odds against you and metre-plus barra only pull 30cm of string, you know you’re on a good thing. The rod was a Venom 6kg baitcaster. Something to consider with rods is you need to ensure the rod doesn’t soak up too much of the lure action because this made a massive difference with the 95mm Fish Traps. Make sure the rod has enough backbone to get the lure to work instantly and not absorb the action in the tip. By the tour’s end, Team Venom finished in fourth place overall, which we were rapt with considering the time we’d spent fishing the locations.

Barra in Kinchant and Teemburra dams ☛ from P67

of the four spots had any fish moving through. Targeting these fish at night was going to be a challenge because they were hanging around plenty of trees. The fish came on the chew right on dark, with Benny and I scoring a double hook-up. We soon landed another nice fish around the 90cm mark. Sinking big plastics

down on 6m flats, we must have scored over 15 hook-ups. This was an absolutely amazing session, and one that I’ll never forget. I also got smoked by a huge fish that would have been at least a metre long. It just kept swimming and swimming – there was no stopping it. In the end it was its gill rakers that got me. I couldn’t believe it.

The big fish I’d been chasing the entire trip had cut me off. I hadn’t had this happen to me in such a long time, and I was gutted. But that’s fishing. You can’t win them all. I’d like to thank Benny for taking us out and showing us new areas and techniques – you’re a champion! Until next time, keep those lines tight! www.bnbfishing.com. au


The author with a solid saratoga that took a liking to his Lucky Craft Kelly J Jr surface fizzer.

Damien was so impressed with Borumba that he went back the next weekend and was rewarded with this great saratoga.

Birthday bass at Borumba Dam

I

N November, I was planning a birthday celebration fishing trip with some mates. I wanted to choose a location that was fishable in all weather, had fairly consistent fishing and wasn’t too far for us to all travel to. After considering a few options, Borumba Dam got the thumbs up from everyone who could go. The plan was to tow up from Brisbane on Friday afternoon and drive back midmorning on Sunday. The cabins were unfortunately all booked out but we were able to secure a larger permanent caravan for the two nights. It was a little cramped with four blokes in there, but was ample accommodation for our stay because fishing was the main focus and we only spent time in the van to sleep. Friday afternoon My mate Damien and I were the first to hit the water late on Friday afternoon. We went up the dam and I suggested we start by having a look around an area that was heavily timbered because I had heard the bass at times school around the timber. Within a minute or two we found a few bass on Damien’s Simrad side scan and decided to have a cast with small Keitech paddle tail soft plastics. Straight away we were onto the fish. I dropped mine but

Freshwater Trip by PETER HERBST

Damo’s first fish was a cracking bass of 53cm, which was a PB for him and an unbelievable start to our fishing trip. Straight after, we had a double hook-up, both bringing in mid-40cm bass. Those fish then shut down, so we hit the edges with small hard-bodies in the hope of hooking a bass or if we were lucky, a saratoga. After a while I was smashed on my Lucky Craft Pointer 65 and a good-sized saratoga got airborne only a metre or two in front of the boat. It was at that time I realised I was in some trouble because a number of trees were around the boat and I was fishing with gear far too light for a fish of this size. After a short one-sided fight, I lost the toga. Before we knew it, we had no light left so headed back, happy with how the trip had started. Saturday Saturday morning saw a fairly early start, as my mate and fellow contributor Tri had joined us during the night and was as keen as us to catch fish. We decided to hit the edges first in the hope of another saratoga encounter. We all threw surface lures around at the start

Toga sure are pretty fish.

www.bnbfishing.com. au

but it wasn’t until we started fishing deeper that we began catching fish. Small Lucky Craft hardbodies and Jackall lipless crankbaits accounted for 10 smallish bass in the first few hours. We then decided to go back out to the deeper water where we caught the big bass the afternoon before. Straight away we found fish schooled in 7m of water and they were very keen on a slow-rolled 4” Keitech Easy Shiner plastic on a painted TT jig head. Like the day before, these schooled fish were big ones, with the majority over 40cm. Using the sounder was very important because it seemed we would get a bite and other fish would follow the hooked fish and become more active, resulting in three or four fish being caught quickly. Once the fish stopped biting, we would move the boat around until we saw more fish on the side scan sounder between the trees. As the day went on, the fishing became tougher and it took some clever thinking from Tri to work out how to get them to bite. Tri started fishing very slowly along the bottom amongst the timber with creature-type soft plastics

and then most effectively with skirted jigs. This was something a little new to Damien and I and it made catching big bass even more rewarding and fun. We pulled the pin to get lunch back in Imbil and said goodbye to Tri and hello to a couple of other mates who had rocked up with their boat to fish the afternoon and next morning. We went straight back to the schooled bass and were rewarded with good size bass once again on skirted jigs and soft plastics. As the day drew to an end, we went back to hitting the edges in the hope of another toga bite. Drifting with the wind along a very long, shallow bank with lily pads and timber scattered throughout, I fanned casts with my Lucky Craft Kelly J Jr surface fizzer. The second cast that went alongside an outcrop of lilies saw the lure smashed by a toga that showered water everywhere. The hooks stayed in and with the wind blowing us towards the fish and me driving the electric motor as well, the fight was short and had the saratoga in the net in no time. Damien had not seen one before and was impressed by the colours, hard scales and overall uniqueness of a fish that is unlike most others. This was a really cool finish to a very successful day on the water and we headed back to the van for dinner and bed. Sunday The next morning’s session was going to be a quick one because we didn’t want to get stuck in the usual traffic heading south that builds up after lunchtime on a Sunday. We decided to just target bass because the toga seemed more active in the afternoons. That plan worked out to be a good one because we landed about 20 bass in three hours, ranging from 42-53cm. Slow rolling the 4” Easy Shiner Keitech soft plastics accounted for all the fish in what was a great end to a great trip.

Damien held a 53cm bass that put up a great fight amongst the timber.

This was the biggest bass of the trip and measured an impressive 53.5cm.

Big bass on soft plastics are great fun.

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 69


Hot land-based bass bite W

ITH the clouds black, angry and rumbling across the afternoon skyline, my mind ticked back to when I used to live down south and chase nothing but freshwater natives.

A solid fish that fell for a micro jig.

A decent one for Smurf.

I thought that this was textbook bite time for the fresh natives and they would have been chewing their heads off. Out of nowhere, my phone started to ring and it was good fishing pal Smurf (Steven Murphy). He was just as bored as me on this stormy afternoon and I told him how this weather reminded me of the summer days I used to have back home and how insane the sessions were. Talking about it really made me want to fish, so next thing we were organising a little afternoon session. All I wanted to target was a southeast Queensland barra but Smurf somehow persuaded me to chase Aussie bass on light gear. Since moving to Queensland I have not fished fresh water much because I’m normally out in the

Freshwater Fishing by JORDAN ‘GRINNER’ KOSCHEL

A quick stroll from the car had us fishing in a few minutes and little did I know what this session was about to produce. Smurf had first cast and he was on straight away. salty fish-rich waters off the coast. Well I soon found out I had no freshwater fishing gear anymore, so a stop at Tackle World Lawnton was on the cards. I picked up a few lures that old Smurfy knew would work and off we went to one of the local dams. I honesty didn’t know what to expect, but with conditions being pretty

much perfect for freshwater fishing, my hopes were high. A quick stroll from the car had us fishing in a few minutes and little did I know what this session was about to produce. Smurf had first cast and he was on straight away. To make sure it wasn’t a fluke, he got another bass on the second cast, going all the way up to six fish in six casts before I even got my line in the water. I quickly realised I needed to tie a vibe on the end of my leader to emulate Smurf’s setup. With my first cast, bang, I was on. The fishing continued that way for the whole

afternoon, with nearly a fish a cast. If we weren’t hooking up, we were getting plenty of bumps and knocks. The fish weren’t massive but any bass over 30cm is a decent little fish. Most measured 30-38cm but a few stretched into the low-40cm range. I haven’t caught many bass before and I was surprised at how well they fight. For a little fish they pack a fair punch and put up a very dogged fight, especially the larger models. As soon as you feel the whack and line starts peeling off the small reel, you know you have a halfdecent fish on. I also got to try out a new technique and one that definitely became addictive fast. Smurfy swore by it, so I had a crack at it. He called it shore jigging, and using a light micro jig we would jig it back along the bottom like a soft plastic, waiting for that crunch as it fluttered back down. Micro jigs produced the better-quality fish and I’m not going to lie, we lost a couple of brutes. Unfortunately a number of fish were lost to gear failure and something I hadn’t seen before, which was the assist hook slipping straight off the assist cord, resulting in the loss of fish. I’m sure it’s something

that could be fixed with a little work in the production stage because it didn’t just happen once but a few times. It really pays to keep an eye on what the weather and moon are doing. When it comes to freshwater fishing, the main thing to keep an eye on is barometric pressure. What I’ve found is anything over 1008hPa is normally a good indicator that fish may be chewing, and if a storm or weather system is coming you’ll generally encounter hot fishing. I spent hours thinking about it when fishing the rivers down south and came up with half an idea about it. I believe the fish can clearly sense a change coming and are unsure of what’s going to happen to the river or dam water quality, causing them to stock up and feed. I found that a few days after the storms or weather fronts the fishing was always slow and unproductive. All in all, this was an unreal session in which we caught more than 100 bass. Unfortunately we couldn’t stop the big ones but we know where they are and are ready to get them next time. If you would like to join me for a day of fishing, please call Moreton Island Fishing Charters on 0413 128 056.

Micro jigs were the lures of choice as a storm rolled over.

Smurf with a healthy fish.

Page 70 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

www.bnbfishing.com. au


Mark Mackintosh enjoyed a day on the river.

Welcome to 2018 F IRST of all, to the faithful Bush ‘n Beach fans and readers who each month wait for the next edition, Debbie and I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy and safe New Year. It has been and still is good to meet so many readers and anglers who are committed to this magazine and venture out our way to fish. Many return to Glenlyon Dam each year while others call in on their way to new fishing locations. Some, like myself, have got this big thing about rivers, small creeks and the like where tinnies and large boats sit doomed never to see the dams again. Yep, kayaking and canoeing has become the new kid on the block. Never before have I had so many anglers stop by or give me a ring to find out about a location. I often get people calling

Glenlyon Dam

by BRIAN DARE

and asking what secure places to camp are nearby and the answer is usually quite simple. Camping grounds and caravan parks are generally the best option to camp in relative security. Next question is often where can access points to new fishing grounds be found. Yes, someone may have found a spot to fish on Google Earth but it won’t give them a direct launching point or ideal fishing locations. This is where topographic maps come into their own. They can be obtained from most tourist information centres at a cost of $10-$12. Many tackle shops and local newsagents in most

Clayton McGahn of Stanthorpe with his metre-long cod captured in Glenlyon Dam.

www.bnbfishing.com. au

local country towns also have these maps on sale. If you want the best of the best, get in contact with the Central Mapping Authority of NSW, Panorama Avenue, Bathurst NSW 2795. No doubt most states have the same type of department. The new and updated maps have a new format of both topographic and orthophoto maps. In other words, on one side is a complete aerial photo of the map’s area, while the map is on the other side. Don’t be surprised if CDs come out next. Now that I have got you thinking, why not get into your mode of transport and go to locations you may have read about in these pages and do your own detective work. Keep in mind that these new locations might be under threat of closure due to some person or group’s inclination to take over or close a road or reserve access spot you have found. To keep tabs on such events, all local shire councils have to in writing advise of such cases, asking for input as to why the location should not be closed. All too often we are seeing more of the above cases due to cost cutting of management or misuse by the public. Don’t trash your spots. While that new kayak or canoe you got for Christmas might be good to use on a big lake or dam, really the best fun you can have is going down a river or stream, fishing and taking in the sights while

catching and releasing. These craft are not usually set up for keeping fish unless you use an Esky with ice to keep your catch fresh. Safety is a major point, however, and if you are not sure of a rapid or going down a fast-flowing section of river, then walk your craft down with a tow rope. Have your lifejacket on at all times. I prefer the self-inflating ones where you pull a cord. Do not pull the cord on your lifejacket right as you get into trouble. All too often setting it off too early will get you caught under logs or tree branches, making it hard to get to the surface. Never ever go on such trips alone and keep in mind your mates are

Sue Leeson of Casino showed her hubby how to fish.

there to help. Glenlyon Dam is holding at 73 percent capacity, with no major outflows yet, but there will be in the new year for cotton, so be careful on the rivers. Flows of cold water over 400ML into the river systems are dangerous and life threatening due to hypothermia. On closing for 2017, I’d like to say a special thanks to you the readers. To Ben and the staff at Bush ‘n Beach, and to Ben’s mum Sue who over the years put up with my late submissions, merry Christmas and happy New Year. It has now been 28 years of putting pen to paper for such a great crew – how the years roll on. Have a safe Christmas everyone!

GLENLYON DAM TOURIST PARK A great place to fish! s0OWEREDAND5NPOWERED3ITES s.O$OMESTIC0ETSOR'ENERATORS s+IOSKs)CEs'ASs0ETROL s!MENITIES"LOCKSAND,AUNDRY s""1Ss(IRE"OATSs%&40/3 s&ISHING0ERMITS

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GLENLYON DAM TOURIST PARK via STANTHORPE 4380 Contact Debbie or Brian Dare for more information or for bookings

Ph: 02 6737 5266 E: glenlyondamtouristp@bigpond.com Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 71


Fantastic fishing finish to school year

I

WAS fortunate to finish the school year with my favourite program of the year.

It’s hard to believe anyone could wait 15 years to catch their first fish. Well done Max, let’s hope you keep catching them more regularly now.

John just kept pulling them in, one after the other.

The program involved 26 year 10 boys from Churchie and was conducted over five days. The whole program focused on fishing, however, teaching skills was paramount to the success and enjoyment of the week. All boys eagerly awaited the coach to pick them up from school on Monday morning and whisk them off to Moogerah Dam, about a 90-minute bus journey from East Brisbane. Once at the site, the boys had a quick bite to eat before sitting down and

The teachers did well too – it wasn’t just students having fun. James Morrison landed plenty. This was his best and measured 47cm.

Harry captured this yellowbelly by trolling a deep diver towards the end of the ski club area. He ended up picking up a slightly larger yellowbelly on the same lure too.

Bush or the beach – get your school involved. Every camp is tailored to your needs. Freshwater or saltwater fishing.

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For further details visit www.sportstuition.com.au or phone 0403 154 510.

Anywhere. Anytime

Page 72 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018

Freshwater Fishing by STEVE WILKES

listening to a presentation about freshwater fishing. Afterwards, the boys participated in a knots and rigs workshop. They had to learn the perfect loop for tying on a lure and paternoster rigs and blood knots for bait rigs. This key element at the start of the week helped the boys gain independence in the days following. After lunch, another workshop focused on casting. A competition was conducted on the oval and Wilson Fishing kindly donated a rod and reel combo to the winning boy, Tom, who went on to catch plenty of fish on the setup during the week. By the time the group was finally prepared to hit the water on the first day, the wind had picked up and the dam’s surface looked similar to a deep sea in atrocious conditions. If it was any other day, you wouldn’t have ventured out, but first day fever saw the boys excitedly jump into the tinnies and motor towards tree-lined structure in search of fish. To top off the windy conditions, the group had to contend with rain. With the rain and appalling conditions in mind, I was thinking the likelihood of catching fish would be very low. I usually take my phone for video footage and camera for still shots, but thought I would just leave them safe and dry in the car. All the boats carry radios and I had just hit the water when I heard the call of the first fish being landed. It was only a matter of minutes since the boys had hit the water and I honestly thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t, Max had landed a 45cm yellowbelly. So it was back to the car to get my camera and an Esky. The strong wind and rain really stirred up the yellowbelly and they were strongly on the bite. I’ve never seen so many yellowbelly caught in one session and before long the Esky was full. I wouldn’t have picked it, that’s for sure. Since the boys kept some fish, after a hot shower at the campsite, the next workshop involved fish filleting. I gave one demonstration and then the boys took over. They were fantastic and what a brilliant first day it turned out to be. One thing I loved about this group of boys was they were all mad-keen anglers. They chose to go on this camp and certainly wanted to be there. There was no going

around to the cabins to get them out of bed. They were up and ready at 4.30am every morning for the first fish of the day before returning for breakfast. After breakfast they went out again and the final session was in the late afternoon, when the fishing really hit its peak. Each afternoon session was clearly the best of the day. Around 4.30-5pm, the fish began feeding aggressively and 90 percent of the catch was yellowbelly. This catch rate continued until Thursday afternoon and Friday morning when the wind started to die down and bass began to come on the bite. During the week, the group used a combination of lures and live bait. Two bass were caught off the surface and a few

bass were hooked on trolled deep divers. Yellowbelly were also taken on deep-diving trolled lures but the majority of fish were captured using live shrimp as bait. The boys set SureCatch opera house shrimp traps on the edge of the dam to

catch their bait, and if fish were filleted, those frames went into the traps each day, providing fresh bait. Shrimp started to enter the traps at about 4:30pm, so fresh shrimp were available for the afternoon session, however, most shrimp were caught overnight.

Stirling caught 37 fish during the week. He could certainly catch fish and he was great with the filleting knife too.

Max had this 45cm yellowbelly in the boat within minutes of hitting the water on day one.

Trolling the deep-diving Austackle Wobbler netted Hamish three Australian bass in quick succession.

Casting a white spinnerbait and using a slow rolling retrieve saw the author boat this yellowbelly.

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QUALITY USED BOATS WANTED. We have been in business 50-plus years and have clients chasing boats now. Call us today to see how we can assist you. Cash paid or consign. Northside Marine – Ph 07 3265 8044. SAVAGE 645C (2015). As-new Savage 645C fibreglass half cabin that comes with balance of manufacturer’s warranty. Features bimini and clears, bunk infill, Lowrance Elite-7 colour sounder/GPS, dual batteries, under-gunwale lights, removable transom doors, 170-litre underfloor fuel tank, Mercury 150hp four-stroke with only 54 hours, Hydraulic steering, stainless prop, alloy trailer and safety gear. Drive away today for $44,000. Call Trevor at Karee Marine today on 07 3875 1600. SCOUT 175 SPORTFISH CENTRE CONSOLE (2014) powered by Yamaha 115hp four-stroke. Loads of extras. Superb buy at only $46,900 ono. Ref # U001801. Northside Marine – Ph 07 3265 8044. SEA JAY 4.1 MAGNUM (2005) powered by Yamaha 30hp two-stroke. New winch and bearings on trailer in good condition with Queensland rego. Smooth water safety gear. Be quick at $4200 drive away. Call Trevor at Karee Marine today on 07 3875 1600. SEA JAY 535 HAVEN CENTRE CONSOLE; A one owner, stored undercover & beautifully presented CC. Johnson 90Hp just serviced, RWC trailer w. new brakes, Garmin colour GPS/Sounder, Radio, Folding console, L/B tank, Lge Mini top, Safety gear and loads more - $24,995 - Call the team at John Crawford Marine today Ph: 07 3890 2322 www.johncrawfordmarine.com.au

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WHITTLEY VOYAGER 580 (2002) powered by a MerCruiser V6 220hp. Brand-new dual-axle Swiftco trailer (never been in water), bunk cushions, bunk infill, 40-litre freshwater tank, 130-litre fuel tank, sink, portable stove, folding table, dual batteries, Lowrance Elite-7, deck wash, EPIRB and camper covers. This could be a great weekender or fishing boat the whole family can enjoy. Why wait when you can drive away today for $29,990. Call Trevor at Karee Marine today on 07 3875 1600. BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY A unique opportunity for a lifestyle change and to become involved in the inshore charter fishing industry in southeast Queensland. Long-established business with a history of repeat customers. Sold as a going concern with training for the right applicant. Sale includes one 6m and one 4.3m boat, both in survey with current certificates of operation as well as all marine parks and fisheries permits, fishing gear, existing phone number, full website and future bookings. Call now to take advantage of this rare business venture: 0438 565 966.

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Contact Bill Corten T: 07 3286 3647 M: 0447 233 247 0447 ( a f f a i r ) E: reel_affair@yahoo.com Bush ’n Beach Fishing, January 2018 – Page 73


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Barra and Basstasstic competition to be held at Lake Awoonga

A

BARRA tournament is being held at Awoonga Dam from Friday, January 12 to Sunday, January 14, 2018. It will be run from the Lake Awoonga Caravan Park near the dam. The park is offering a great discount for families who come and camp for the comp, with kids staying free. This is an open event, so you don’t have to be a member to compete. It’s a lure-only comp, which includes trolling, and you will need a brag mat and camera to record your catch. This year we are asking for all catches, whether barra or otherwise, to be recorded. A registration office set up at the front of the caravan park will be open from 10am on Fri-

Competition Report by RUSSELL NOWLAND

day morning until 6pm on Saturday to give you plenty of time to set up camp, pay your fees and go fishing. One of the most commonly asked questions is: Is there a pre-fish ban leading up to the comp? The answer is no, you can pre-fish right up to the event. With plenty of barra being recorded lately in the dam, a great time should be had by all. The comp is run using an ‘icon’ that must be in your photo of the fish. If it is not, we assume the fish was not caught in the comp, it’s as easy as that. You will be given the

icon when you register. So make a date with the Barra and Basstasstic Awoonga Barra Tournament over your holidays. Book now with the park or come on down from wherever you are staying and join in for a fun weekend of fishing. Fabulous prizes are up for grabs and the lucky draw prize means you don’t even have to catch a fish to win a prize; just turn up and pay your entry fee! The competition also includes prizes for juniors and female anglers. If you need any more information, call me on 07 4167 8183 or Trevor on 07 4165 4286.

Send your cheque, money order or credit card details for $50 or $95 (inc. GST) to Bush ’n Beach and your copy will be mailed direct to you for the next 12 or 24 months. We’ll advise you when your subscription runs out. Return completed form to: Bush ’n Beach Fishing PO Box 387, Cleveland 4163 ph 07 3286 1833 or fax 07 3821 2637 or go online www.bnbfishing.com.au

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BNB Fishing mag | Jan 2018  

Volume 29, Number 1

BNB Fishing mag | Jan 2018  

Volume 29, Number 1