BNB Fishing Mag | February 2023

Page 1

Free Angler’s Almanac inside 495


Includes GST

February 2023 Print Post Approved PP100001534 Volume 34, Number 2

Barra tips and techniques

Whiting on lures Mixing it up with muddies Summer flathead fire ISSN 1832-4517

9 771832 451001

Proudly produced and printed in Australia


Fishing etiquette Moreton Bay round up

Estuary • Offshore • Freshwater • 4WD • Camping • Touring Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 1

F I S H | FA M I LY | F U N

F360M LENGTH 6.35m | BEAM 2.44m | MAX FUEL 250L MAX HP 200hp | WEIGHT BMT 2,220kg

w w w. c r u i s e c r a f t . c o m . a u

Page 2 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 au



K'GARI BEACH RESORT (FORMERLY EURONG BEACH RESORT) Newly renovated hotel rooms & two-bedroom apartments Located right on 75 Mile Beach - perfect for tailor season (self-drive 4WD access only)

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1800 678 623 Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 3

Celebrating 125 Years of Constant Innovation. From the first spools of linen fishing line produced by founder George ‘Mac’ Macpherson in 1898, Platypus has strived to continually develop and produce premium lines that Aussie anglers can trust. An early innovator of monofilament lines in the 1960s, Platypus have continually evolved and improved their products as new technologies, techniques and materials became available. And now in 2023, this iconic Australian brand continues to push the limits with high quality braids, monofilaments and leaders. Drawing on 125 years of expertise and experience, Platypus produce fishing lines here in Australia that anglers all over the world rely on in pursuit of their fishing dreams.


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Page 4 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

fishing newsletter: au

From the Bush ‘n Beach Fishing editor


S mentioned in last month’s editorial, our Collins Clan is now on the road for a six-month adventure around Australia. We have been away for a couple of weeks and have travelled over 3000km, as we fasttracked our way to the southern coast of Australia – I’m writing this editorial in Kingston, about 300km southeast of Adelaide. Our fast-past start to the trip was very exciting and we’ve witnessed a host of awesome stuff – it has meant however that the trip reports will not start until the March edition. It has also meant that I’ve had to put the adventure website on hold due to time constraints. However, we are photographing and posting on Instagram, so make sure to follow us at #bushnbeachadventures On a positive note, we were fortunate to make it through to Victoria, with no road closures on the roads we took due to the Murray or Darling rivers flooding – though plenty of water was around

and had impacted some routes. The crazy part is, in the next day or so, we will actually get to see the river mouth, which will be surreal in some ways because we’ve essentially followed it south. The mighty Murray Darling in full flow at the mouth will be a sight to see. It doesn’t seem that long ago I was watching documentaries on how this river system was dying and that it wasn’t even flowing into the sea. Wow, that has certainly changed. Unfortunately, the top end of Australia has also seen historic flooding, with Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing and basically the whole Kimberly area underwater. We had planned to do the Gibb River Road after visiting Broome but are now a little unsure if we’ll be able to get through. Thankfully, that’s still a few months away, and I’m sure there will be more developments as the water recedes and plans are put in place to fix the roads.

Back on the home front, it is good to see a few marlin being caught. It doesn’t matter if these fish are 20kg or 200kg, they are great fun on light gear. If you are chasing them for sport, make sure you are prepared and organised for a quick release – it is senseless to keep them out of the water for a long time if you plan to release them. In fact, it is often better to get the photo of the capture alongside the boat, which means you don’t have to even remove them from the water. Spanish mackerel closure The first of the southern spanish mackerel closures will come into force from February 1 to February 21. This is a total ban for both commercial and recreational anglers, so be mindful of the closure and target other species during this time. We need to get the numbers of this fish back to a more sustainable level. Barramundi closed season over As of February 1, the

Catch up on the adventures of the Collins clan via #bushnbeachadventures on Instagram and Facebook.

east coast barramundi fishery will be open again. With more of these fish being targeted and caught in less traditional areas such as the Gold and Sunshine coasts, it’s important to stay abreast of all the regulations – which can be challenging at times.

However, Fisheries Queensland have everything documented on their website, if it’s too hard to remember all the different regulations. I have to check in with them every now and then to make sure my information is correct too. Ben Collins

OUR COVER Free Angler’s Almanac inside



Includes GST

February 2023 Print Post Approved PP100001534 Volume 34, Number 2

Barra tips and techniques

Whiting on lures Mixing it up with muddies Summer flathead fire ISSN 1832-4517

9 771832 451001

Proudly produced and printed in Australia


Fishing etiquette Moreton Bay round up

Estuary • Offshore • Freshwater • 4WD • Camping • Touring Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 1

SAM ROWLEY with a 91cm barramundi taken on a Shads 6” in Silver Flash from Lake Monduran. Check out Sam’s article on page 78 for more information on catching this iconic species.

NEXT EDITION: March edition will be on sale in news­agents from February 24. FEBRUARY SUBSCRIPTION OFFER: See the subscription form on Page 84 and subscribe this month to receive a pair of braid scissors, valued at $10.95 RRP each. DECEMBER PRIZE WINNERS: Congratulations to R. Hope, Springwood; J. Clifford, Birkdale; G. Van Eyk, Airlie Beach; M. Gardner, Ascot; A. Blain, Brighton – each will receive a Zerek pack from Wilson Fishing valued at over $105 RRP each. Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 5

February 2023 contents Crustaceans are crushing it. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Keith Stratford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P8 PBA recent highlights. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Mick Clutterbuck . . . . . . . . . . . P10 Tide Times - Brisbane Bar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P10 Fisho dies after boat capsizes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P13 Feasting on flathead, sharks and stonker squid. . . . . . . . . by Mark Templeton . . . . . . . . . . . . P14 Do the right thing for fishing and the environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P17 Fishing etiquette and respecting fellow anglers. . . . . . . . by Sean Thompson . . . . . . . . . . . . P18 Healthy flatty stocks from management practices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P21 Offshore snapper and GT fire up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Ben Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P24 Competition Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P26 Summer whiting on lures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Clint Ansell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P28 Mackerel and mahi mahi mayhem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Gavin Dobson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P32 Platypus Fishing Lines celebrates 125 years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P34 Bring on the flatties, jacks and pelagics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Brett Hyde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P36 Solid snapper and juvenile jewfish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Tye Porter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P37 Angler’s Almanac. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P39 Product News �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������P42 Charter Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P46 Awesome crabs and jacks in TCB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Chris Rippon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P48 Fish rich in February . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Tri Ton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P52 Tide Times - Waddy Point. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P54 Barra are back baby. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by John Boon ���������������������������������P56 Riverine recovery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P58 Insights into boat insurance ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������P60 Mercury Marine announces Avator 7.5e electric. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P61 Seasonal fishing tips featuring Yellowfin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P62 Find secret fishing spots with Territory Striker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P64 Meet the perfect all-rounder Crossfire Side Console. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P65 First outing after gap year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Neil Schultz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P66 Lip gripper tips ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������P67 Tin Can Bay Tourist Park. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Ben Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P68 Crab Creek Park. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P69 Quick trip to Cooktown. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Matt Potter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P70 Solid circuit start at Stanthorpe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Ben Collins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P72 Eyre Peninsula and beyond. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Barry ‘Billabong Baz’ Lyon . . P74 Australian sea lions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P75 Barra tips and techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Justin Willmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . P76 Full moon, new moon or somewhere in between . . . . . . . by Sam Rowley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P78 Bait restrictions – aquacultured or farmed fish �����������������������������������������������������������������������������P79 Getting back to normal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Brian Dare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P80 Dam Levels �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������P80 Bucket list trip catches cash and a great big fish �������������������������������������������������������������������������P81 Trading Post. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P82 Readers’ Forum ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������P83 Subscription Form ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������P84 Page 6 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

9 25


58 au

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The Team

EDITOR: Ben Collins ADVERTISING: Rachel Fordyce PRODUCTION: Tiffany Brown Lisa Jones

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. Phone 07 3286 1833 Email: PO Box 162, Wynnum, Qld 4178 PRINTER: Spotpress DISTRIBUTION BY: Wrapaway Max. recommended retail price $4.95 (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 and contributors to ensure the correctness of their claims and statements. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher.

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 7

Doug Jarvis caught a mangrove jack on an MDD Splash Prawn cast around structure.

Jake and Regan Bayliss, with uncle Boggey, went out crabbing and weren’t disappointed.

Crustaceans are crushing it

T Some big mud crabs will be on the move during February.

Chloe Benfer scored a monster mud crab when crabbing with her dad recently. Page 8 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

HE holiday season is finally over! February will see most people back to work and the kids going to school. The boat ramps will return to normal and, hopefully, the fish and crustaceans are ready to play. Prawns should well and truly be on the move this month. Most of the action is up the rivers and creeks at this time of year, but that can have a lot to do with the amount of rain we receive. At the time of writing, the water was very clean. This should see the prawns scattered throughout systems such as the Pine and Caboolture rivers. Both of these rivers cop an absolute flogging and it’s hard to get a day when you can have a school of prawns to yourself, but there are plenty for everyone, so play nice. Most of the holes in


the upper reaches will hold prawns. It’s only a matter of sounding each bend until the better numbers are found. Though beware of snags on these bends because, after a flood, these are where fallen trees will end up being washed into. Cast nets can be very expensive, so it’s a good idea to have a cheaper back up net if you’re prawning unfamiliar water. Crabs will also be on the move this month. Mud crabs are around in good numbers, however a lot of empty crabs are among them. I expect the quality to improve during February. Fresh bait is the key to catching any crab. If you’re crabbing for a few nights, change the bait daily. This is more important when the pots are

in shallow water or if they come out of the water at low tide. The hot weather heats the water up and your bait can turn stinky quite quickly. Mullet and chicken frames are proven bait, but any fish frames seem to work well too. Believe it or not, we have found bream to be the standout bait. A couple of years ago, I was given a marlin frame and it worked very well. Other oily fish such as tuna and tailor are also good. Sand crabs were everywhere over the holiday period. I’ve never put much effort into catching them, so we thought we would put a few pots in to see if we could get a few for Christmas. Crabs were thick wherever we put them, and our Christmas * continued P9 au

Crustaceans crushing it * from P8

sand crabs were sorted very quickly. Plenty of flathead have been around the mouths of the rivers. Some decent sized fish in the 60cm range have been turning up too. Paddle tail plastics have been doing the damage. I have been keeping the plastics fairly small – in the 2.5-3” range. The larger fish have also been happy to eat these smaller plastics. The bait around the mouths of rivers has been quite small, so these plastics are matching the bait flatties are feeding on. You’ll also find plenty of jelly prawns around the mangrove edges.

These are getting eaten by everything, with fish seen eating them off the surface regularly. You won’t see too many flathead eating them off the surface, though they will definitely be down deeper, eating the prawns you can’t see. It’s always worth a few casts around any bait you come across. Big schools of tailor have also been showing up in the deeper water. Some days, huge schools of them were smashing into baitfish on the surface and down deep. Most fish have been around the 40cm mark. They generally aren’t too fussy with what they eat.

I wouldn’t recommend casting your $20 vibe into them though. They’re quite good at chewing plastics up… and swallowing them and biting the whole thing off! The Brisbane River has been hit and miss. Threadfin salmon are schooled up along the wharves at the mouth and are copping a flogging. Some anglers think it’s OK to sit on them for hours, catch a dozen of them to release straight into the path of hungry bull sharks sitting under their boats. That’s it from me for this month. Hope you get into a few fish and crustaceans, and I might see you on the water.

Ash Levy landed a decent flathead recently.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 9



STRALIA, EAST COAST – BRISBANE BRISBANE BAR BAR LAT 27° 22ʼ S LONG 153° 10ʼ E Times and Heights of High and Low Waters MARCH FEBRUARY

Time 0411 1011 1559 2238

m 1.89 0.95 1.88 0.61

0523 1135 1710 2342

2.03 0.92 1.81 0.55

0629 1256 1820

2.21 0.82 1.79

0043 0728 1406 1926

0.47 2.40 0.69 1.80

0141 0823 1507 2027


m 2.19 0.87 WE 1856 1.62


m 2.23 0.82 TH 1811 1.69


m 2.04 0.99 WE 1734 1.50 2319 0.84


m 2.15 0.89 TH 1646 1.60 2243 0.75

1 0629 1316 1903

m 2.12 0.78 SA 1903 1.76

16 0626 1315 1902

0617 2 1312 1845

2.11 0.88 TH 1845 1.59

0544 17 1241 1811

0055 2 0715 1354

0104 17 0720 1403

3 0031 0710 1357

0.77 2.20 FR 1357 0.78 1934 1.71

18 0007 0652 1344

4 0127 0755 1435

0.68 2.28 SA 1435 0.71 2014 1.82

19 0118 0748 1435

0211 0833 SU 1510 2048

0.59 0218 0.40 2.34 0838 2.62 0.65 MO 1519 0.39 1.91 2100 2.17


6 0249 0908 1541

21 0310 0922 1600

7 0325 0940 1611


0055 2 0738 1422

0.62 2.28 TH 1422 0.78 1950 1.68

0020 17 0711 1400

3 0145 0821 1504

0.57 2.35 FR 1504 0.71 2033 1.74

18 0128 0809 1457

4 0228 0900 1541

0.52 2.39 SA 1541 0.67 2110 1.80

19 0228 0900 1546

0.39 2.56 0.57 1.85

0306 0936 SU 1615 2143

0.48 0321 0.26 2.42 0946 2.75 0.65 MO 1631 0.37 1.85 2203 2.11


0235 0915 1602 2124

0.31 2.69 0.47 1.90

6 0341 1009 1645

21 0410 1030 1712

0328 1003 1653 2216

0.25 2.77 0.41 1.96

7 0415 1040 1714

0.44 0456 2.44 1111 TU 1714 0.62 WE 1748 2247 1.94 2332


0417 1050 1740 2307

0.22 2.79 0.38 2.00

0449 1110 WE 1743 2322


0.46 2.42 0.60 1.96

23 0540 1149 1823

0400 1011 WE 1640 2227


0.47 2.40 0.54 2.12

23 0441 1041 1708

0506 1135 1823 2355

0.25 2.74 0.39 2.02

0524 1140 TH 1812 2359

0.51 2.36 0.60 1.98

24 0015 0623

0436 1040 TH 1708 2300

0.49 2.36 0.52 2.16

24 0524 1117

0553 0.33 1219 2.62 1904 0.43

10 0600 1211

0.60 2.28 FR 1842 0.60

25 0059 0709

10 0512 1110

0.54 2.29 FR 1736 0.51 2336 2.18

25 0605 1152

0043 0641 1301 1944

2.03 0.47 2.45 0.48

11 0037 0639

26 0145 0800

11 0548 1140

26 0026 0648

0132 0731 1343 2024

2.01 0.63 2.24 0.54

12 0120 0725


2.07 1.00 1.64 0.75

12 0013 0627


0227 0828 1429 2106

2.00 0.81 2.02 0.59

13 0213 0824

28 0349 1036

2.03 1.05 TU 1554 1.51 2158 0.83

13 0054 0713

28 0154 0837

0330 0936 1522 2156

1.99 0.94 1.81 0.64

14 0323 0944

14 0144 0813


0441 1100 1630 2254

2.03 1.00 1.67 0.67

15 0446 1118

15 0252 0937

30 0415 1132

0549 1226 1747 2357

2.10 0.96 1.60 0.66


0.45 2.44 1645 0.64 MO 2215 1.90


1.97 0.70 SA 1243 2.17 1914 0.61

0.46 2.57 SA 1457 0.53 2023 1.90

0.35 2.69 SU 1546 0.43 2115 2.02

0.23 2.74 1712 0.35 TU 2249 2.19

0.36 2.50 TH 1823 0.40 2.23 0.51 FR 1227 2.30 1856 0.47

2.20 0.68 SA 1303 2.07 1928 0.55

2.14 0.86 SU 1344 1.84 2004 0.65

1.97 0240 0.81 0904 SU 1320 2.03 MO 1434 1950 0.63 2051

1.97 0.92 MO 1410 1.87 2038 0.67

0.26 2.66 0.36 2.23

1.99 0.98 TU 1520 1.73 2145 0.69

2.08 0.94 1648 1.66 WE 2305 0.66


0.52 2.39 1541 0.61 MO 2120 1.99

2.26 0.75 FR 1811 1.72

0.65 2.42 SA 1344 0.60 1917 1.88

0.52 2.55 SU 1435 0.47 2012 2.04

0.33 2.62 1600 0.34 TU 2145 2.29

0.48 0357 2.40 1002 TU 1611 0.58 WE 1635 2153 2.06 2226


0.62 2.18 SA 1803 0.53

2.17 0.82 MO 1253 1.89 1907 0.62

0.46 2.27 FR 1738 0.40 2346 2.40

0.59 2.08 SA 1807 0.47

2.35 0.74 SU 1228 1.87 1835 0.57 2.26 0.88 1.68 0.70

2.15 0.99 TU 1357 1.53 1952 0.83

2.14 0255 0.91 1006 TU 1346 1.73 WE 1524 1957 0.70 2100

2.11 0.95 1507 1.61 WE 2111 0.76

0.31 2.56 0.33 2.37

0.36 2.44 TH 1708 0.35 2307 2.41

2.18 0107 0.71 0736 SU 1214 2.04 MO 1306 1832 0.57 1908

2.05 1.02 1.44 0.94

2.00 0.97 1712 1.49 TH 2236 0.96

31 0531 1231

2.04 0.88 FR 1817 1.62 2358 0.89

monwealth of Australia 2021, Bureau of Meteorology NewTide Moon First ons is Lowest Astronomical


New MoonFull

m 2.39 0.53 SU 1902 2.02

16 0420 1116 1646

16 0605 1248 1811


Moon First Quarter Last Quarter Full Moon

Page 10 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023



1 0509 1209 1734

1 0648 1331 1856

0.58 2.41 FR 1400 0.67 1922 1.79

Time Zone –1000 APRIL

0.78 2.20 SU 1354 0.69 1943 1.90

0.57 2.45 MO 1403 0.43 1954 2.18

PBA Club Champion Rob Schomberg… again! Check out how many times his

0142 0.67 0202 0.49 is on 3 name 18the 0755 2.27 0808trophy. 2.45 1429 0.62 1445 0.37

PBA recent highlights

MO 1429 0.62 2017 2.02

4 0224 0830 1500

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0.54 2.31 0.50 2.22

were0.45a 20E 0341 0930 2.30 1555 0.34 TH 1555 0.34 2201 2.50


Power Boat Anglers by MICK CLUTTERBUCK

Reel Repairs, Wynnum Marine, Klik Sinkers and Bank of Queensland Geebung. Apologies if I’ve missed anyone. The winners of the major awards for the year were: • PBA Cup – Rob Schomberg • Club Champion – first was Rob Schomberg, second was Helene Wilesmith and third was Roy Lane • Largest Species winners – pearl perch was

Chris White, parrotfish was John Myers, and snapper, sweetlip and pelagic was Rob Schomberg. Seventeen Seventy competition winners were: • BNB Trophy – John Hooker • Largest species winners – red emperor was Dale McClurg, coral trout was John Hooker, and sweetlip was Darren Blackburn. A big thank you to all * continued P12

Seventeen Seventy BNB Trophy winner John Hooker. au



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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 11

PBA recent highlights * from P10

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Page 12 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

the organisers and people who helped prepare the venue and prizes, particularly the Dales family – very much appreciated – thanks to all. Christmas Eve winter whiting It had been ages since the boat had been on the water, so when some decent weather popped up – even though it was Christmas Eve – well, it was just too good to pass up. I rang my son Josh to see what he was up to and to my delight he was free, so a quick plan was put together to be on the water by around 7am the next morning – a nice leisurely start. We left the Nudgee ramp almost on time and in reasonable conditions. It was a little bumpy, but the forecast predicted the wind to die out around 10am, so all would be good. We headed to the Sandhills and started looking at some spots that we had caught winter whiting from in December previously. Though try as we might, we couldn’t locate any tasty treats, with the only stretch on the line coming from numerous grinners, a small grass sweetlip and spangled emperor, which seem to plague the area at that time of year. My previous trip several months earlier had been much the same, and I only caught fish when I ran to the northern end of the bay to find some good numbers there. Well, 10am rolled around and, with still not a scale in the boat,

it was time to try some areas I’d not fished before. In fact, I’d not been anywhere near the selected area but we figured we might as well catch nothing there as stay and catch nothing at our current location. The new spot was around 4m deep, with the bottom looking OK and what I’d usually see when they’re on the bite – basically a slightly thicker brown line on the bottom, not much, only slight. We started the drift and, within about a minute, we had the first one aboard. It was quite decent – being around 28cm, which was good for winter whiting. Each drift varied slightly due to small wind changes and the

turning of the tide. Nevertheless, we kept bringing them over the side, and by midday we had about 60 and decided it was time to head for home. The conditions going back were almost a glass out, which made it a very easy trip home. The other thing that made it extremely easy was that I’d recently bitten the bullet and changed my steering from cable to hydraulic. I’ve wanted to do this for a while, since I replaced the last cable, but wished I’d done it earlier. I did a bit of research on various boat owner pages and settled on a Hydrive unit, which was fairly well regarded and recommended. * continued P13

Christmas Eve trip was fairly successful as evidenced by our winter whiting catch.

The new Hydrive hydraulic steering installed on the author’s boat. au

PBA recent highlights * from P12

The kit itself came with everything needed, except the tools, and installation was very easy – simply follow the instructions and, if you do have issues, give them a call. On the water, the steering is light and responsive, and being hydraulic, you don’t get the motor wanting to crank you to starboard when you put the throttle down. For Queensland people, they’re based in Cleveland, and I had a very quick response from Graham Stokes in regard to the kit I required and where to purchase from.

Anyway, if you’re looking to do a change as I did or want one for a new boat installation, I can highly recommend Hydrive. Meetings Note, meetings occur on the first Wednesday of every month at the ‘Club Manly’ (bowls club), 26 Faine St Manly from 6.30pm for a 7pm start. We’re back on deck now for the 2023 season and all raring to go. The first meeting will be on Wednesday February 1, with the March meeting on Wednesday March 1. Until next month, safe boating.

Fisho dies after boat capsizes


ECENTLY a man died after a boat capsized off Moreton Bay. Three fishos were on a trip off Cleveland when their 4.6m runabout started taking on water. Richard Clayton was forced to swim to shore with his daughter, but his friend didn’t survive. Mr Clayton said, “We were out crabbing, enjoying the beautiful day and we decided to come back in.” “All of a sudden water started coming on the boat – it just happened so quickly. “It was 10 seconds – it was all over – and we were in the water.” He said he tried to raise the alarm with passing ferries. “I was actually sitting on the bow of the boat so people could see us,” Mr Clayton said.

“A couple of ferries from Cleveland were going out. “We were waving our hands and singing out, but obviously no one saw us.” He said his friend was holding onto the back of the boat when he slipped away. “He started drifting off and I started to go as well,” Mr Clayton said. “Unfortunately, I lost him in tragic circumstances.” Mr Clayton and his daughter clung to an Esky to stay afloat. The alarm was raised by a member of the public before Mr Clayton and his daughter started to swim to shore in the murky water. “It was pretty hard,” Mr Clayton said. “She deserves a medal. “It was Moreton Bay – it’s full of sharks.

“You’re in the water, you’re trying to get to safety and everything’s going through your mind.” He said he was still in shock over the loss of a friend. Take care on the water and ensure all safety measures are utilised and up to date before heading out. It’s also a good idea to contact your local volunteer marine rescue with your details or use their log on log off service. This is a voyage planning service that allows recreational boaties and fishos to call in to a marine rescue group to record their all sign or vessel name, departure point and time, intended destination, trip intention, number of people onboard, mobile phone number and expected time of return.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 13

Joel ventured over to Stradbroke Island and scored a cracker of a tiger squid.



Nicolas landed a shovel nose shark – the biggest fish he had ever caught.


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Fantastic feasting on flathead, sharks and stonker squid


ELL, February has arrived again and so far, it’s looking better than the February we had in 2022! Last year, we did a ‘random act of kindness’ on behalf of Robert from RWM Cleaning and Maintenance. This year, Robert has done it again. Fifty packets of prawns were randomly given out to unsuspecting customers – the packets were received by very surprised recipients and in a few cases, the fishos were speechless. So, a huge thanks to Robert for supporting and caring about our locals. Nicolas and his dad ventured down to Sandgate for bit of a ‘boys’ day out’ and ended up at the new

Northern Moreton Bay by MARK TEMPLETON

boat ramp on Cabbage Tree Creek. Nicolas hooked up to a great little shovel nose shark and the battle started. Nicolas gained some line and lost a heap, then gained even more – the battle raged on! Everything stopped – a boatie waited un-

til it was landed then launched, people on the pontoon stopped and gathered around to give him encouragement – it was so good to watch. Finally, Nicolas landed the beast – the biggest fish he had ever caught. * continued P16

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Saturday - 8am to 12pm Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 15

Fantastic feasting on flathead, sharks and stonker squid * from P14

Kaio’s ‘one last cast’ was nailed by a 66cm flathead. The family fishing trip was extended until he managed to land the stonker.

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Hooks were removed, photos were taken, the fish was released in great condition and then there were the pats on the back – Nicolas had a huge smile on his face, as did his dad. That’s what it’s all about. Well done, Nicolas – a great moment to witness. Joel ventured over to Stradbroke Island for a couple of days and wet a line while he was there. Fishing the flats, he managed some very nice flathead. However, the catch of the day would have to be the cracker of a tiger squid! Squid such as this one can be caught during most of the year in places such as Stradbroke and Moreton islands – the water is clearer, which makes it an awesome habitat for them. Coastal areas such as Redcliffe, Sandgate and Woody Point generally see good numbers and catches in winter, particularly when we have a westerly wind. The way this year is going so far, it will be squid season before we know it. Well done, Joel! We hope you had a great break over there and a few awesome catches to make it even better. In Brisbane on holidays, Kaio had to have a fish. His family ventured to the Pine River on

the flats and had a crack at a few flathead. A great day was had by all and soon it was time to pack up and head home. But, and we’ve all done it, Kaio had to have that ‘one last cast’ before leaving. This one paid off for him as he was nailed by a 66cm flattie, so the trip was extended a little, until he managed to land the stonker. Not many of us manage to make that ‘last cast’ count, but Kaio did it with style. Well done Kaio – you’ve proven that it does actually work, sometimes. So, everybody, get out there and follow his lead! If the weather plays the game, I think many more photos of cracker fish being caught will be taken. We all know 2022 was either wet, windy or wet and windy! Fingers crossed, 2023 will be a lot more supportive of us getting out there and grabbing a feed. It will also be a great time to go out with the family and have a cracking time on the water. For those who don’t have a boat, land-based fishing for the whole family is as good, and most spots are family friendly and easy to access. Piers and jetties are some of the best locations to train young anglers – use No. 8-12 hooks, a bit of cured worm and drop straight down.

Remember though, live bloodworms do bite! Don’t overthink what you’re doing – a baited hook into the water and let the fish do the rest. I keep telling our newer fishos, “Fish don’t have Google or YouTube, just get it down there, they will do their thing.” Having a great year ahead of us, think of your boat, your trailer and your safety gear. If only one of those three things fail, your awesome day out could suddenly and very easily become expensive, one that you’ll want to forget or a tragedy. A little preventative maintenance on your boat and trailer might be one of those things that you’ll get around to – but make the time. Safety gear is just that – it’s designed to help keep you safe. If it is not checked or serviced regularly, it is likely that it will fail when you need it most. Flares, emergency position indicating radio beacons, life jackets and the rest of your safety gear – check it early in the year and you are set for months, without a worry or a fine. Also remember, it is illegal to have out of date flares on the boat, and flares should always be stored in a dry place where they are easily accessible in an emergency. Be safe out there, maintain the passion and don’t be afraid to lose tackle! au

Do the right thing for fishing and the environment


ITH popular fishing locations seeing a recent increase in fishing activity, in some cases unfortunately that means more litter and lost fishing gear. Fishing related litter and debris can have a big impact on wildlife that interact with it. Birds, turtles, seals, platypus and other aquatic animals can be accidentally injured by discarded fishing tackle, including fishing line, hooks and sinkers, lures, traps and nets. At popular fishing sites, it can also impact visitors and their dogs. No one likes the sight of litter when spending a day by the water, so remember to always dispose of rubbish, bait and unwanted tackle – even if it is not yours!

Here are some tips to help reduce fishing-based litter and debris: • Don’t carry packaging around with you – unwrap new fishing tackle before you go, to reduce the chance of the packaging ending up in the environment • Familiarise yourself with fishing techniques that minimise gear loss and marine litter • Use the appropriate gear for the location you intend to fish to and master your knot tying skills to reduce the amount of snagged and lost fishing tackle • Think about the environment you are fishing in – if it’s a snaggy reef environment, think about how you can fish it without snagging – suspend your bait using a float, use only very small

weights or no weights at all to keep your bait away from the snags, or use a sufficiently heavy weight adjacent to the snaggy area to prevent your bait drifting into the structure • Always attend your lines, reducing the risk of tackle and line being lost and entering the environment • Leave no trace – ensure all litter and fish waste at your fishing spot is taken and disposed of appropriately after every fishing trip • If a public bin is overflowing, find another bin or take your rubbish home with you • If you are disposing of fishing line at home, it is best to cut the line up into small pieces before putting it in the bin – this reduces the risk of it causing additional prob-

lems for birds at landfill sites • Go the extra mile and checkout ways in which you can help further – including any locally run ‘clean up’ events – with organisations such

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 17

Allow easy access for others at the trailer-parking lot by keeping your boat and trailer within the marked lines. Anglers who move quietly and slowly when wading will catch more and not spook fish others might be chasing.

Fishing etiquette n Respect fellow recreational anglers


Make sure you move to the rigging and derigging area and out of the way of others reversing or retrieving at the ramp.



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Page 18 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

T’S been a few years since I wrote about fishing etiquette in this publication, but with an increasing amount of frustration on and around the water from the selfish actions of others, I thought it was time for a refresher and update on this topic. I understand many readers will be doing the right thing – however a few reminders can’t hurt, and some may be just blissfully unaware of their impact on others. Therefore, this month I want to outline some basic principles I apply or appreciate being applied by others when I am fishing. Sadly, I see many people breach these – either out of ignorance or lack of courtesy. As recreational anglers, we have enough pressure from activists and politicians doing deals with minorities to shut us out of more fishing areas.

Fishing Tips by SEAN THOMPSON

As a group of anglers, we must support each other and adopt a common courtesy for all fellow fishos. A good place to start is by following good fishing etiquette, as described below. At the boat ramp Pre-prepare your boat Before you line up ready to back your boat down the ramp, prepare your boat out of the way of others trying to reverse down or retrieve. This includes putting gear on board and tie downs removed – don’t remove your safety chain though – so all you need to do is unclip the latch hook and safety chain and slide the boat off once you have reversed down the ramp. When you have, quickly secure your boat or have a friend move it or

hold it out of the way of others and remove your boat and trailer as soon as possible. Don’t stand around having a chat or load more gear in once your boat is on the water. At night If pulling your trailer or boat out of a ramp at night and there is someone else trying to reverse down, turn your lights off or at least have only your parkers on. Help Help others at the ramp. If you see others struggling at the ramp, don’t stand and laugh at them – or worse, abuse them – help them out. Parking Once you have pulled your trailer out of the water, make sure you have courtesy when parking your boat and trailer. * continued P19 au

Respecting fellow fishos * from P18

This means parking between the lines, so you don’t take up more than one parking space. And don’t park too far forward or back in the car park, where your car or trailer can obscure others trying to get past or reverse out. I see this lack of courtesy far too regularly at my local ramp. Speed limits Finally, when making your way out of the ramp in a marina or six-knot zone, follow it all the way through the marked channels until the speed limit changes. Driving a jet ski does not entitle you to breach these rules or sneak outside the designated channel and speed off above six knots, leaving others to battle your wake or it wash into the marina. Respect and care for your boat passengers As a skipper your passengers are your responsibility. Sadly, we had another avoidable death on Moreton Bay recently. These days – with the exception of the cheap and nasty old school square monstrosities – inflatable life jackets are light and easy to wear the whole time you are fishing. I now have a rule that anyone who comes onto my boat in open or semi-open water must put on our life jacket before the motor is started. You get so used to them – I often forget I’m still wearing one when I go to collect my car and trailer at the end of the session. I also talk all new passengers through how to start the motor, what the

kill switch does, which I wear, and what to do if we go in the water – showing the floating grab bag of gear and life ropes to secure themselves to, and how to work the emergency position indicating radio beacon. Boat fishing etiquette First in best dressed If you arrive at a spot and boats are drifting over a reef patch, don’t pull up and anchor on it. Likewise, if you arrive later than a group of boats to a spot, don’t motor right into the middle – this will put the fish off for all anglers. Make room when anchoring Give other anglers enough space when you anchor, so that their fish won’t be cut off on your anchor rope. You will not be popular if you do. Keep a wide berth If anglers are drifting, anchored or trolling a line out of the main channel, or shore anglers are casting to a spot also out of the main channel, take a wide birth if you can – certainly don’t drive over it – and slow your speed as you pass. Slowing down and giving them room means they don’t get hammered by your wash and you are less likely to spook their fish. It’s common courtesy – but sadly rarely adopted. This same principal applies if you are intending to pull skiers or tubes around where anglers are already fishing – go somewhere else. Don’t be a claim jumper Anglers drifting a run for winter whiting,

snapper or in a freshwater dam chasing bass and such do not appreciate other fishos pulling up and drifting in front of them, giving them first access to the fish. If you must fish the same area, go parallel to or behind those there first, but at a reasonable distance. Working with others Chasing banana prawns is probably the one exception where congregations of boats are widely accepted. That said, most prawners will still do their best to keep a good casting distance away from other boats and will apologise and move if they drift in too close. Don’t blind other anglers As with beach fishing, don’t shine your spotlight or headlight on the water near where other anglers are fishing. Likewise – and I regrettably see this at times – don’t shine your spotlight randomly around and often into the eyes of anchored fishos, ruining their night vision. Beach and flats fishing etiquette Tailor picket lines At places such as K’gari or a few Gold Coast beaches, it is common to see a picket line of anglers chasing tailor in winter. A good practice is to join the end of the picket line, especially when it is a group of friends fishing together that you join. If it’s a long picket line and there’s no room on the ends, only then look for openings, and then only join the middle of the group if you can cast and retrieve straight and

Fishing is as much about the serenity as it is about catching fish. In quiet locations, don’t roar past or disturb others with loud music or conversations.

Most prawners apply good etiquette, though it pays to still keep at least a good net-casting distance from others.

* continued P20

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 19

Tailor picket lines can be frantic places – give others enough casting room or move to the end of the gutter.

Jetties can be busy places – respect how others are fishing around you, such as drifting floats or bait, and don’t get tangled among them.

Fishing etiquette and respecting fellow anglers * from P19

not tangle others. Better still, it is much more satisfying to use your eyes and the knowledge you can gain from magazines such as this one to find your own gutter to fish. Don’t crowd out gutters for other species While there are some benefits from a picket line of bait fishers spreading berley in a tailor gutter, there is no excuse to jump in on someone else’s gut-

ter on a remote beach – or even a popular beach, if fishing for species such as whiting, dart, bream and mulloway. Apart from common courtesy, fish such as whiting and dart will feed right at the edge of the shoreline if there are dumping waves on the beach. The more anglers, the more chance the fish will be spooked. There are only so many fish in a whiting

gutter anyway, so it’s always best to move from gutter to gutter. For mulloway, it is critical that if you have a hook up, it’s lines in from anyone fishing in the same gutter. The more lines, the more chance your trophy fish will get tangled in someone else’s line, which is likely to lead to frayed tempers. Not a good outcome, particularly if it’s someone you don’t know.

find us on facebook • Win prizes • Post your brag • Chat to readers shots and writers • Join in on the fun • See who’s catching banter what • Have a laugh Page 20 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

Keep your headlights off the water If you are searching for a gutter after dusk or before dawn, don’t pull up and shine your headlights on the ocean when other anglers are fishing there. Likewise, be careful not to shine your headlights on the water when you leave the gutter when others are still fishing. The same principle applies to headlamps or torches. Keep them off the water around others full stop – and, for that matter, for your own fishing benefit. Flashes of light on the water at night will spook the fish, unlike permanent sources of light on the water that attract bait and consequently predators to the shadows surrounding them. Wade the flats with stealth If you join fellow anglers wading the flats for whiting or flathead on foot, don’t splash about or walk in front of where they are casting. Respect the peace and quiet of others It should go without saying, though it amazes me that it still happens.

If you are in a boat – particularly in a fairly difficult spot to access or a secluded area – don’t pull your boat up in front of anglers fishing from the shore. Worst still, don’t go in with music blaring or having loud conversations – including over the phone. Show some respect and go fish somewhere else, where you won’t disturb the fishing of others or the tranquility. Rock or jetty fishing etiquette Don’t anchor your rig among drifters If you come across anglers walking a rock wall float fishing for luderick or casting and retrieving for tailor, don’t jump in and throw out a heavily anchored bait between them. Rightfully, they will not be happy. They are drifting for a reason, while the fish are taking a moving bait in the current. I hope these few tips on fishing etiquette help you to help others. Until next month, I hope to hear from you on my social media pages including Facebook at Ontour Fishing Australia. au

Healthy flatty stocks from leading management practices


NATION-leading fishery management practice has helped ensure the recovery of the stock of one of Queensland’s favourite fish species. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the latest stock assessment for dusky flathead found the stock was in a healthy condition. “By introducing a ‘slot limit’, which sets both an upper and lower size limit for catches, the dusky flathead stock has rebounded from around 30 percent of biomass in the early 2000s to a healthy 48 percent currently,” Minister Furner said. “This is great news for anglers and seafood lovers, as dusky flathead is a bread-and-but-

ter species favoured by many anglers and is also highly valued as a table fish in seafood shops throughout Queensland. “Having a healthy stock of this much-loved species highlights the value of taking a long-term approach to managing our fishery resources.” Minister Furner said the population recovery could be largely attributed to the introduction of a ‘slot limit’ for the species, which protects both immature fish and large breeding females. “Unlike the familiar minimum legal size that applies to many species, the ‘slot limit’ for dusky flathead has both an upper size limit of 75cm and lower size limit of 40cm, so you can only take fish from within that ‘slot’,” Minister Furner said. “A main benefit of the

‘slot limit’ is that it provides additional protection to large breeding females within the population.” This management tool for dusky flathead has been followed by other jurisdictions, such as Victoria and more recently NSW.” Minister Furner said the dusky flathead stock assessment showed the benefits of responsibly managing Queensland’s fisheries. Management tools such as catch and size limits, closed seasons and spawning closures are key elements in the effort to rebuild fishery stocks, which ultimately benefits many sectors of the community. “Rebuilding stocks is only possible with the hard work and cooperation of all sectors of the seafood industry, includ-

ing those who supply data on catch and effort, and important biological samples for data on fish age, growth and reproduction, and I thank all who have contributed,” Minister Furner said. “The Palaszczuk Government is committed to implementing the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy to ensure fish stocks will be sustainable, so we continue to have Queensland seafood on

our tables and to protect and sustain thousands of good jobs in both the commercial and recreational sectors.” The dusty flathead stock assessment is available at For information on Queensland’s fishing regulations, visit fisher, call 13 25 23 or download the free ‘Qld Fishing 2.0’ app from Apple and Google app stores.

Dusky flathead stock has rebounded to a healthy 48 percent of biomass. Photo: Taylor Pheeney

Wading the flats for whiting at K’gari.

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 21

Don’t miss out on the

Fish ‘n SIPS challenge

Purchase a permit and fish for the tagged fish in one of Queensland’s participating stocked impoundments to be in the running to win! The first 15 tagged fish caught and reported will win one of 15 cash prizes. To be in the running, you need to purchase a SIPS permit and fish for the tagged fish at these Queensland stocked impoundments:

Tinaroo Dam Lake Proserpine (Peter Faust Dam) Kinchant Dam Callide Dam

Competition ends on 31 October 2023, or until all 15 tagged fish prizes have been claimed. For more info go to and search for Fish n SIPS.

Cania Dam

Stock status

What you need to know Spanish mackerel CLOSED The southern closures apply to east coast waters south of latitude 22˚S — located slightly north of Stanage Bay, between Mackay and Yeppoon. 1 February 2023 to 21 February 2023 and 1 March 2023 to 21 March 2023 For more info go to the Qld Fishing 2.0 app

at your fingertips The Qld Fishing 2.0 app is a great way to keep up to date with the fishing rules and now you can use it to check the stock status of our most popular species, including coral trout, barramundi, mud crab, red emperor and many others. With almost 50,000 subscribers, the Qld Fishing 2.0 app provides you with all the information you need to know when you wet a line. This is another way we’re making it easier for you to get the latest information as part of our Sustainable Fisheries Strategy. Download the ‘Qld Fishing 2.0’ app from the App Store or Google Play.

Download the free ‘Qld Fishing 2.0’ app from the App Store or Google Play DAF1873 01/23

1873 Bush and Beach February 2023_FINAL.indd 2 Page 22 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023


11/1/23 8:10 am au

Wetlands –

how we protect fish habitats

Wetlands have never been more important for fish and fishers alike. Not only do they provide places to fish, but also essential habitat to many species. In addition to being fish factories, wetlands contain marine plants that protect our shorelines from erosion and improve water quality. When left undisturbed, marine plants and the sediments they grow in also store carbon. Keeping these carbon stores safe is a big help in managing the impacts of climate change. That is why Fisheries Queensland provides advice on proposals that could impact marine plants or the ability for fish to move within and between different wetland habitats. When a development could impact marine plants or fish passage, we assess the proposal against codes that form part of the State Development Assessment Provisions (SDAP). The codes include performance outcomes and

sets expectations for developments, to help protect and manage marine plants, fish habitat and fish passage. We publish guidelines about marine plants, fish passage and information about what to include in a development application with practical examples. The guidelines are designed to help developments avoid impacts to marine plants and fish passage. This means we can still undertake developments that are important for Queensland’s economy – while making sure our fish can continue to use wetlands for food, shelter and to breed. This means more fish for our future. So, the next time you go fishing - remember the many benefits wetlands provide, and celebrate your favourite wetlands with us on World Wetlands Day on 2 February. For more information on the guidelines go to and search for SDAP.

Faces of Fisheries Meet Sam…

Sam joined the Fisheries Queensland team in 2017 and has worked in both fisheries science and management roles over the last five years. He is currently the Director of Assessment and Monitoring. Sam’s passion for fish and fisheries started early, having grown up in Tasmania fishing for flathead and squid. Sam now lives in Queensland and spends a great deal of his spare time on the waters off South East Queensland. He considers learning from and sharing knowledge with others as one of the most enjoyable parts of his role. He especially loves chatting with people who have a passion for learning more about the species they fish for. Sam also mentors university research students — helping to develop the next generation of researchers. 13 25 23 FisheriesQueensland FisheriesQld DAFQld

1873 Bush and Beach February 2023_FINAL.indd



am Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February11/1/23 2023 –8:10 Page 23

Fishing is always fun, as Fleur and Caitlin found out.

This 7kg snapper fell to a float-lined pilchard on 15lb monofilament line.

Offshore snapper and GT fire up


Tyler and Jake picked up some decent flathead while drifting the Seaway with live herrings as bait.


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VER the past month, we’ve seen an incredible rise in the number of people visiting the Gold Coast and surrounding areas to spend their time fishing. There is a visible increase in trailers at boat ramps, the foreshores and jetties are almost always populated with happy fishos, while tackle stores are enjoying the increase in sales. Summer is a great time to visit the coast for a fish, with all of the warmer weather species on offer. In the rivers, canals and estuaries, mangrove jack are on fire. All techniques and approaches are working well. One of the most exciting ways to target these monsters is on surface lures. Flicking small floating prawn or baitfish-style lures such as Bassday Sugapens up and under pontoon edges or rock walls around dawn and dusk can produce some very serious action. Finding a stormwater drain or pressure edge that creates an ambush point for jacks to round

Gold Coast by BEN SMITH

up their prey is always productive. The most important thing is to get that lure into the hot zone. What I’m saying is that you almost need to cast into the snags and work it out slowly with enough action to create some interest yet leave it there long enough for them to become aware of what’s on offer. Using small sharp twitches of the rod tip to allow the lure to work is all that’s needed, with not so many big sweeps of the rod. A good feeling of connection to the lure with good line control is crucial because the hit is serious and hard. The fish will roll over and head for cover in the blink of an eye, so slack line will end in tears almost every time. If casting lures is too hard for you, tossing a live poddy mullet or herring in may be the way to go. Basically, you would fish all the same spots as lure fishing but use a

small running sinker on a couple of snelled 3/0 octopus suicide hooks to secure your live bait. Good 30lb leader and 20lb braid is probably a minimum, with some fishos claiming that they’ve been smoked on 40-50lb sticks. Either way, now is the time to be chasing them hard, and it gets even better if an afternoon storm looks likely. Flathead have also continued to be about in good numbers over summer and they have been smacking the plastics along the north wall of the Gold Coast Seaway. Jigging them vertically as you drift the outgoing tide parallel with the rock wall has been proving the most successful way for those giving it a go. A 12-15lb braid and 2m fluorocarbon 16lb leader works best on a 3000-size reel and a good graphite rod about 1.80m long. The mouth of the Seaway saw an abundance

* continued P25 au

Offshore snapper and GT fire up It was a friend who had just seen a boat overturn after being swallowed by a wave when trying to cross the Seaway. It was the second in two days. He thought it might have been me – fortunately it wasn’t. Since the 1980s, the

A solid Gold Coast giant trevally taken on the author’s 30lb slow pitch setup.





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The author’s Christmas dinner was sorted on a morning trip to the 36-fathom reef off Southport.

* continued P26


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ing skirted lures have been going off, with many of these fish being caught around the fish aggregating devices located at the 36 and 50-fathom grounds east of South Stradbroke Island. Good snapper are also on the chew in 65m of water, east of the Seaway, and this month pilchard have been working best. Earlier in the season, it was squid, but they’ve changed their diet. On Christmas Eve, we were able to get a good Esky full of snapper using pillies as bait. Finally, and I think most importantly, we need to seriously consider our safety when fishing. As I was writing this article, my phone started to ring.


of baitfish over December and January, and following them in were some very impressive giant trevally. Giant trevally is a species we have on the Gold Coast year-round, at around the 45-55cm mark. This species is known for turning it on when hooked, and going berserk in their attempt at freedom. Though recently, the GT we’ve seen were much bigger, and fish over 70cm on a light line can certainly test the angler. The offshore scene is sensational at the moment, with plenty of marlin, snapper, mackerel and mahi mahi still being caught off the coast. Live baiting and troll-


* from P24

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 25

03 5022 7 03 5152 3 03 5562 6 03 5443 5 03 5822 2 03 5174 1 03 9397 6 02 6024 6

Some nice snapper were around for Lisa.




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Snapper and GT fire up * from P25

Gold Coast Seaway has been the main passage for mariners to enter and exit the open ocean from the Gold Coast. There’s always an element of risk when crossing it, and caution and planning must never be overlooked. Even the most experienced skippers need to be able to assess the conditions for their safety. It’s not only the outward crossing that needs to be considered. You’ll have to re-enter at some stage and conditions can change dramatically during your time at sea. Incoming tides will generally flatten the waves and make it easier to traverse but when the tide changes and starts to run out, the wave form changes considerably. Pressure waves stand up and can start to break, causing white water across the entrance. Mix this with big tides around a new or full moon and it becomes even worse, as the flow and speed of water through the entrance is increased. Learning to be able to read the ocean, tides and moon phases is something we all need to do

prior to any trip to sea, regardless of what type of vessel you have. To add to this, it fairly clear that the sand-pumping jetty isn’t doing its job anymore. A large body of sand has built up across the width of the Seaway and now extends from the Spit all the way across to Dead Man’s Bank, in some areas being only 4m deep. This is the cause of the dangerous conditions whenever a reasonable-sized swell hits the coast. Dredging the channel in the Seaway is done periodically, which is great, but the problem is that they dump the sand to the south. Within a year or two that sand travels north up the coast into the entrance, re-establishing the sand bar again. The sand should be taken north to follow the natural movement of the ocean currents. It’s a matter of public safety and something for the relevant authorities to get onto, to return it back to working order. Something to think about. Enjoy your fishing and boating folks, be safe and I’ll see you all next month. au

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 27

Craig played out a 39cm whiting using 3lb at the Gold Coast Broadwater. Alf was very excited to catch and release his first ever mulloway.

Summer whiting on lures


I everyone, it’s crazy that we are into February al-

The author with a 40cm whiting, taken from ankle-deep water.

ready. January flew by so fast, with plenty of charters for us during peak season. The fishing has been excellent – bumper catches of big sand whiting, still plenty of flathead and even late runs of tailor feeding in the Broadwater on huge schools of whitebait. Mangrove jack will continue to be caught



Broadwater Guide by CLINT ANSELL

as well – we are lucky to be able to catch such big jacks here on the Gold Coast and from the Tweed River. This month is still a great time to catch a feed of delicious sand whiting. As I have written about previously, whiting are easily caught on yabbies in the Broadwater and on worms in the Nerang River, however this

month, I’m going to talk about catching whiting on lures. One of the most visual and exciting ways to target this sporty fish is with surface lures. Two of our favourites are MMD Splash Prawns and Bassday Sugapens. It is not easy to catch whiting on surface lures on the Gold Coast. * continued P29



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Page 28 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

Andreas caught a pair of big summer whiting on a wading trip with the author. au

Summer whiting on lures * from P28

The best chance for a good session is to get out there early in the morning and put long casts out over shallow sand. A non-stop medium speed retrieve while twitching the rod works well. Another tip is to use clear monofilament for leader line because it

floats more than fluorocarbon and doesn’t drag the lure under the surface of the water. A 7’ light-action rod is all that is needed, and for a reel, we like the Okuma Ceymar HD CHD2500HA spinning reel spooled with 8lb braid and 6-8lb mono leader. At times, the Tweed River is an amazing

We had a late run of legal tailor in the Broadwater. Aaron and his friends caught a heap of them on charter with the author.

fishery for whiting on surface lures. If you want to experience it for yourself, book on one of Brad Smith’s charters this month or in March. Smithy can be contacted on 0419 028 704. Other lures that work well are Ecogear ZXs and Z-Man 2.5” PrawnZ and ST GrubZ. A new lure that arrived recently from the US is the micro finesse Z-Man Shad FryZ 1.75”. For me, these tiny soft plastics are already catching loads of flathead and I’ll be trying them on whiting too. However, for now, it’s back to my proven lures. For many years we have been using Ecogear ZX40 blades with scent smeared on them. We have caught over

* continued P30

Jay had fun on a charter with the author catching flathead on Z-Man PrawnZ and ST GrubZ.

Jeff jigged a nice flathead using an Ecogear blade while on charter with Brad Smith on the Tweed River.


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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 29

Summer whiting on lures * from P29

Taj landed his first ever fish and crabs with his dad Steve on a charter.

30 species on them, including big whiting and tons of winter whiting. These are best fished in water 4m and deeper, using a tea-bagging method while drifting. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with the ZX40s smaller siblings – the ZX35s and 30s – for a more finessed presentation over the flats in water less than 1m deep. These little lures cast a long way for their size. Then it’s a matter of hopping them over the sand, while mixing up the speed of the retrieve to discover what triggers fish to bite. If you don’t get hits, keep casting in different directions all around the boat. My first very cast with the tiny ZX30 over the shallows resulted in a 62cm flathead. Not a bad by-catch when fishing for whiting! When the water is clear


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– as it often is on a runin tide and there have been no floods – use the 411 and 440 colours. When the water is dirty, colours such as 447 work well. I prefer to use Pro-Cure Saltwater Yabby Nipper scent on these and soft plastic lures to attract the attention of whiting. The small Z-Man plastics such as the 2.5” PrawnZ, ST GrubZ and the 1.75” Shad FryZ have a great strike rate on the shallow flats. The PrawnZ and ST GrubZ are best rigged on TT Fishing DemonZ 1/4oz 2/0 jig heads, and the FryZ on the TT Fishing HeadlockZ Finesse 1/8oz #2 jig head. Some successful colours in these little plastics include Opening Night, Laguna Shrimp, Houdini, Beer Run, Midnight Oil and Blood Oil. As with blades, you can cast these anywhere on sand flats to catch whiting, flathead and bream. I find that a single hop, pause, wind up slack line and repeat works as well as anything. With good polarised sunglasses such as Spotters, you can see all the weed edges, baitfish

and darker little holes – which are highly productive places to cast to and get strikes. With good sunnies you can often spot whiting too, either by seeing their body shape or their shadow over the sand. When they are feeding in sand, they will turn on their side and you’ll see their flashy sides. My favourite rods are light Samakis and TT Fishing Black Mambas, with Okuma Ceymar HD CHD-1000HA and CHD-2500HA size reels, spooled with 10lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. My biggest tips for finding fish in the shallows, whether by boat or on foot, are cover lots of ground until you get bites, look for baitfish near weed beds, listen and see flathead busting up on the surface in the shallows, and also keep an eye out for birds diving on white bait. To book on a charter with myself or Brad, or if you have any fishing related questions, visit goldcoastrivercharters. com, SMS 0432 990 302 or email fishing, or find us on Facebook at Brad Smith Fishing Charters.

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Florian caught some nice flathead up to 55cm on Z-Man plastics. au




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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 31

Damien with a solid bass.

Toby caught quite a few bass during a recent afternoon session.

Mackerel and mahi mahi mayhem


Snapper and jewfish will often grab a mackerel bait, especially on a downrigger. Damien took this cracking shot of Gary with a jewfish on a recent mackerel excursion.

Dust off the mackerel rods and get some bait in the water, it’s that time of the year again! Page 32 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

ROUND here, February is the pick of the months for mackerel, if you ask me. As I write, they are still very patchy but big swells have dominated the bar over the new year holiday period and there haven’t been too many boats getting out. When boats did take the bar on, an occasional spanish mackerel was caught, but not a lot, that’s for sure. Mahi mahi are the pelagic of the season so far, with terrific specimens coming from the 32 and 50-fathom lines. The 50-fathom line – or the shelf line – seems to be the dominance of big mahi, whereas the 32-fathom line is holding anything from 50cm rats to 15kg specimens. The fish aggregating device off Byron is on the 32-fathom line and, while the vast majority of mahi are small, there are some bigger models

Tweed to Byron Bay by GAVIN DOBSON

with them this year – if you can wade through the little tackers. Trolling the 32-fathom line with a spread of skirts seems to be the best way to pick up the larger fish, but if you troll past the FAD, the smaller ones will tackle even a great big lure at times. I’m not sure why FADs seem to attract large numbers of smaller fish but, as I said, this season there are a few bigger mahi hanging around it, so be persistent. Back to the mackerel – there are massive amounts of frogmouth pilchard hanging around, which may lead you to think that, if they stick around, both spotted and spanish mackerel will come and gorge themselves – so fingers crossed that is the case.

Anchoring up and using a berley with white pillies, frogmouth pilchard or blue pillies should get you in the game. Sometimes live bait can be hard to find – such as at the moment with the big swells we’ve been having – and this is when a good supply of bigger dead bait are important for slow trolling. Bonito have recently shown up, so grab some of them if you get a chance because they are the premium spanish bait. But remember, you can’t claim them as baitfish if NSW Fisheries checks you out as they are a species that have a bag limit. This year, once again, sharks are going to be a problem eating hooked mackerel.

* continued P34 au

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 33

Platypus Fishing Lines celebrates 125 years


HIS year, Platypus Fishing Lines – Australia’s longest running fishing tackle brand – celebrates its 125th year. From its humble beginnings in 1898, George Ross McPherson – a Scottish immigrant rope maker – began making fishing line from twisted linen to meet the demands of local anglers. In 1902, the first ‘factory’ – a corrugated iron shed at the back of the house – was established at Chermside in Queensland and, over the next 15 years, ‘Mac’s Platypus Brand’ cemented itself as a quality product. The Platypus in the name – chosen because the products were good on the land and in the

water – reflects both the production of rope and fishing line. George’s son George William eventually purchased the business. GW added more machinery, experimented with a wonder thread called ‘nylon’ and, through the tough period of the war years and due to shortages in linen thread, bought thousands of shoelaces, which were dismantled and re-spun into yarn to manufacture fishing line.

A reflection of angler and Australian ingenuity. As nylon lines improved in the 1950’s, GW’s son Don became involved in the business, purchased the company’s first nylon extruder and began developing nylon fishing line technologies in Australia. This was a pioneering time in sportfishing, as linen gave way to nylon lines in the 1960s and throughout the 1970s. With help from some

Mackerel and mahi mahi mayhem * from P32

Please don’t keep fishing and feeding the sharks because this is damaging a fishery for no reason. The monster bull sharks are getting worse each year and, while a 3m bull shark jumping clear out of the water with your mackerel in its mouth is a sight to behold, I wish they would just get lost. At the opposite end of the bull shark spectrum, there are plenty of little ones in the Tweed River currently. So, if a bit of sport and a feed of flake sounds good, get a few live bait and fish some of the holes during low tide. Most are only 6090cm long, though

you may come across an occasional 1.8m taxman. Mangrove jack are going off in the Brunswick River. Live bait are an advantage during the day but, if you are fishing low light or night, all you need is a bit of cut bait or half a pilchard. In the Brunswick River, the lower rock walls have been hectic with jacks. The spur wall, the L wall, the harbour walls and, on low tide, the river mouth walls have all produced fish to 60cm. I haven’t been up the river to check out the jack situation – I haven’t had to – it’s much easier fishing off the bank instead of launching the boat.

Page 34 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

You would think, however, that it would be fairly good fishing upstream too. Bass – mangrove jacks’ freshwater cousins – are going nuts in our creeks, now that the days are hotter. Brave the snakes, walk the banks and throw topwater lures for some great fun, especially in low light conditions. Bass are tough fighters and, while I wouldn’t rate them as being as quick to get back to a snag as a jack, the initial hit is that of a jack and even more in my opinion. All in all, February should be a cracking month and if we can avoid excessive flooding, the rest of the year looks good too.

high-profile Australian anglers who embraced Platypus lines, these Australian-made nylon lines became the lines to use. Don’s intimate knowledge of nylon lines allowed him to control elements such as diameter, stretch and memory as he developed lines for specific applications – Lo-Stretch and Pre-Test – with hundreds of IGFA and ANSA records. A larger factory was established at Strathpine and Don’s knowledge allowed the development of many other products used in medical, mining, farming and other industries, while never losing focus on the advancement of quality fishing line. Stewart McPherson joined his father Don in the late 1990s, before taking over the company – making Platypus a fourth-generation Australian-owned business. This was an exciting period, with the development of new hightech fibres that saw a rapid growth in the popularity of braided lines and Platypus at the forefront of this new line category. In 2018, an opportunity arose for Australian-owned and operated family business Tack-

le Tactics to take on the brand, ensuring it remained an Australian-made product. Key Platypus team members remained with the business, including two fishing-line technicians with over 70 years of combined fishing-line development and manufacturing experience. Under the supervision of new owner Gareth Williams, the team have gone on to develop Pulse Mono, which they describe as their best monofilament line ever, the cutting-edge Hard Armour Leader range and a selection of new braids that utilise the latest in materials and machinery, including Pulse X4, Pulse X8 and Bionic Braid X9. Many anglers have memories of spooling and fishing Platypus lines with their parents, grandparents and great grandparents, so it’s exciting to see Australia’s longest running fishing tackle brand still at the forefront of fishing line development, and continuing to manufacture quality cutting-edge products in Australia for anglers locally and globally. Spool up with a local – au

Gareth Williams from Tackle Tactics and Stewart McPherson from Platypus celebrated the future of Platypus in Australia back in 2018. au


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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 35

Bring on the flatties, jacks and pelagics


ELLO all, we have recently had some amazing news for our local area – with the announcement by the government of an artificial reef to be placed off Ballina. This will be a fantastic fish attracting area and should help to improve our offshore fishery. It should be a boost for our tourism also, as anglers look to holiday locally and enjoy the wonderful fishing our region has to offer. This is a wonderful start to the new year, particularly after such a horrific 2022 was experienced by the entire region, and I certainly look forward to seeing what great captures come from this reef in the years to come. Well, the warm weather has ensured that most anglers have been able to tangle with some quality flathead over the holiday period. As you may expect, a few of the larger models were landed using

Ballina Bait & Tackle by BRETT HYDE

live bait such as herring or yellowtail. A quick reminder to all about the new flathead bag and size limits that came into effect back in August. The bag limit on flathead is now five per person, with a possession limit of 10. This in effect means you can catch and then keep five flathead during a day, and then catch and keep a further five the next, but that is then your full possession limit. The size limit is now a minimum of 36cm, and you are no longer permitted to take any fish over 70cm. So, make sure, if one of those big females grabs your bait or lure, you give her a kiss and carefully get her back in the water as soon as you can. The warm weather has also been stirring up mangrove jack over the past few weeks. I’m not sure if there

are more people fishing for jacks or if there are just more of them around, but there appears to be good numbers of this species being landed of late. While a few have been taken on live herring or mullet strips, the bulk of them were happy to attack a soft plastic or hard-body lure. Dark red, gold or baitfish style colours have all enjoyed some success, with the late afternoon run-out tide being the best time to try your luck. A number of anglers have also run into trevally when out chasing jacks upriver. While a couple of trevally took live bait intended for jacks, others have stolen lures used for flathead over a few of the sand flats. I was hoping that, by the time this article came around, I’d be able to say we’d seen a marked improvement



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02 6686 2527 Page 36 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

in the numbers of both crabs and whiting. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case, with both whiting and crabs being, for this time of the year, very quiet indeed. There’s still time for their numbers to improve, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that this happens. In the meantime, both the creeks will be worth trying if you’re keen for a feed of crabs. Though be prepared to catch only a couple of crabs and putting in plenty of time to do so. As for whiting, North Creek has been holding some of the better fish, along with Pimlico Island and Mobbs Bay. While crabs and whiting have been a little lacklustre, bass have been fairly good, with a couple of quality fish taken from Woodburn to Lismore, and also up the Casino arm. With the scream of cicadas in the air, plenty of fish have been landed on a variety of surface lures throughout the day. The warm days have also meant that a few of the fish were holding up a little deeper in the water column. So, it would be worth trying a heavier spinnerbait or a skirted jig fished slowly down the deeper banks, or even a deeper diving hardbody lure. If the reasonably dry weather hangs around, the fish will continue to move up the river over the next month. While estuary fishing has been fairly productive, the off-

shore fishing has been a slight struggle. This was mainly due to the weather over the past month being extremely windy and the seemingly nonstop swell. On the few days when conditions were good enough to get across the bar, there were some mahi mahi hanging around the fish aggregating device, but they’ve been very skittish. Most days they haven’t shown too much interest in live bait, so it will be worth taking pilchard with you on your next trip out. The current out wide has been running between two and five knots on various days. This has obviously made fishing the wider grounds very difficult, but it has also concentrated a few kingfish and pearl perch. Live bait have worked quite well but, given the current, extra-large leads have been required to get the bait to the bottom. Due to the current, jigs up to 400g have also been common recently. As is the case at this time of year, most of the better snapper have come from the 32-fathom line. Much like the wider grounds, the current has making it tricky to fish in this depth of water without large sinkers, but for those who were willing to drop some mullet, bonito or squid, the reward was nice snapper, flathead and tuskfish. Well, that’s about all from me for this month, until next time – tight lines! au

Solid snapper and juvie jews


HE fishing along the Clarence Coast of northern NSW has been fairly good in recent weeks, with whiting, flathead and school jewfish biting well inside the river. While offshore, the annual run of spotted mackerel is now in full swing. Offshore, excellent catches of spotties to 8kg and the occasional larger spanish mackerel are being boated from Black Rocks in the north to Minnie Waters in the south, with the vast majority of fish being taken by trolling lures such as pink squid. As the season progresses, anglers will continue to troll lures at first light but then, as the sun comes up, most boats will set anchor and float half blue pilchard

Just Jew by TYE PORTER

into a good berley trail. The big advantage of a berley trail is that solid snapper and jewfish can often be taken as by-catch, which is a problem most of us would enjoy experiencing. This month will see the start of big pelagic species such as spanish mackerel and longtail tuna being taken from the headlands at Evans Head, with Forty Foot and Joggly Point being the pick of the spots. By the first week or two of March, these same big speedsters should have made their way to the Yamba and Iluka breakwalls and I for one am chomping

at the bit to get among them. At the age of 63 and with serious health issues, I don’t have too many more seasons left, so with my trusty 700 A5 Alvey reel filled with 30lb Lo-Stretch Platypus monofiliament mounted on my old Pacific Composite FSU 5162 rod, I’ll be out there spinning for tuna using my 4” Creek Chub popper. Oh, silly me, I forgot the most important part of my kit – my trusty double plugger thongs! Note – I do not recommend the use of thongs as footwear on a breakwall. For me, the best part

* continued P38

Mischa Porter with one of several baby jewfish taken from the bank along Goodwood Island when fishing at night for whiting using beachworms.

Somehow this poor seagull had a pipi latched onto its foot and it wouldn’t let go. The bird hung around us up along the beach at Shark Bay for over four hours, taking off and landing on numerous occasions but the pipi was going nowhere.




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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 37

When March comes around, nice spanish mackerel such as this will start being taken from the Iluka breakwall.

Solid snapper and juvenile jewfish in full swing * from P37

of the land-based season is catching up with my great friends from Sydney, who make the pilgrimage up to Iluka each year, and if that’s not what fishing is all about, then I’m not playing. Tailor have been fooling around again, with very few decent fish being reported from the beaches. However, those anglers who have been spinning the rocky headlands with metal slugs seem to have had little

trouble getting a feed of choppers around the 1kg mark. Inside the Clarence River, the water has cleaned up nicely and this in turn has seen good catches of flathead being taken from both off the bank and in a boat, with nice 1kg sized fish being boated using green school prawns as far upstream as Brushgrove. Whiting are still around in good numbers, and myself, my son Mischa and his girlfriend Rebekah have fished the

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Hop on to

Page 38 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

southern bank of Goodwood Island at night for some quality fish to 40cm on live sea worms, along with a handful of baby jew sprats – which are great to see. Young Grafton angler Jake Hyatt fished the pylons of the new Harwood Bridge with soft plastic lures for a handful of little jew too, so these tiny tackers are spread far and wide throughout the river system. Mangrove jack have been on the chew with the warmer weather, with fish to over 50cm being taken on live whiting during the falling tide at Romiaka Bridge over at Yamba, while here at Iluka a handful of smaller fish have been taken from the old ferry approach and the deep hole at the western most point of Moriarty’s Wall near the Marine Rescue tower. I’m surprised there hasn’t been the occasional jewfish taken from the old ferry approach because it’s been holding a huge amount of bait – poddy mullet and herring.

Both Iluka and Yamba breakwalls are holding reasonable numbers of luderick and bream, along with the usual jew, which are in residence year-round. We put quite a few hours in along the local beaches, drowning more than one or two bait for a big jew, but have been cursed by the large number of sharks that were obsessed with eating our bait and two 10/0 hooks each cast. Lismore’s shark whisperer Guy Stewart was fishing with us and on many casts, he didn’t even feel the bite before his line went slack and two hooks and 1m of leader disappeared. I’m sure we’ll finally sneak a bait past the toothy critters sooner or later, it’s more a matter of our hook supply lasting until then. Actually, I think I’ll start using two 2/0 trebles instead of two 10/0 single hooks in my bait off the beach because they are every bit as lethal and a whole lot cheaper to boot. February will continue

to see both spotted and spanish mackerel dominate catches offshore, though if you’re going to chase them and tuna from the breakwalls and fishable headlands, you may have to book a spot. Given reasonable swell conditions, jew will continue to be taken from the headlands on minnow lures, with the Bluff at Iluka and Lovers Point on the Yamba side being the pick of locations to have a cast. For those of you chasing big luderick, the walls and headlands are the places to find plenty of big bull fish on cabbage bait. While inside the river, flathead and whiting will still dominate catches for another month or so before the weather begins to cool around April. Let’s cross all our fingers and toes and pray that the heavy rains predicted don’t come to fruition and we all have a ball doing what we love… at last. Until next month, safe fishing. au

Angler’s Almanac February 2023

DAY Above Below Wed.







4 Sun.


























17 Sat.





20 Tue.

21 Wed.

22 Thur.


1 2




11.12pm 10.49am

5 Mon.

11.56pm 11.35am

6 Tue.

12.19pm 12.39am























24 Sat.









7 Wed.


















18 Sun.



11.09am 11.37pm






12.54pm 12.37am


22 Thur.






23 Fri.

24 Sat.









26 Mon.





Minor Times: Add 6 hours

Collins Media would like to acknowledge and thank Peter Layton from The Great Outdoors Publications for the use of his Angler’s Almanac and associated information. Peter has been kind enough to provide these predictions. The theory behind the predictions will be published on


















10.37pm 10.17am 11.19pm 10.59am Midnight 11.40am



10.10am 10.40pm








10.25pm 10.01am

7 8

DAY Above Below





March 2023






















9.48am 10.15pm 10.40am 11.05pm

Autumn Equinox: Day & night equal length

11.29am 11.54pm 12.18pm 1.06pm 12.42am 1.55pm














Minor Times: Add 6 hours

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 39




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Lucky Craft Pointer

THE Lucky Craft Pointer has been designed with a very low centre of gravity through the use of special brass weights. The low centre of balance causes the lure to wobble and vibrate whenever the retrieving motion is stopped. Absolutely deadly with any type of stop-and-go retrieve, a short twitch will generate a ‘walk the dog’ action under the water. Available in 128SP, 100SP, 100DD, 100XD, 78SP, 78DD, 65XD and 48DD. Shallow is available in 65mm (5g dives to 1-1.2m), 100mm (18g dives to 1.2-1.5m) and 128mm (30g dives 300-900mm). The go-to bait with an absolutely deadly twitching action. A short twitching retrieve will generate a ‘walk the dog’ action under the water, this is a proven barra catcher. Deep Diver is available in 48mm (3.5g) and 100mm (16.5g), the suspending DD Pointer dives to the 1.8-2.1m zone and has a large body that produces a unique action when strongly jerked. The number one ‘power’ bait in the Lucky Craft family. The DD Pointer will still produce a ‘walk the dog’ action underwater with a twitching retrieve and suspend in the strike zone to tempt shut down fish or pressured fish. Extra Deep is available in 65mm (5g), 78mm (6.5g) and 100mm (18.5g), the XD Pointer will easily reach depths of 3m or more without losing its wobble or erratic action and while still being fished fast. This allows anglers to cover more water, check more spots and keep the bait in the strike zone longer.

Page 42 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

AU Barra Series These Japanese-made lures have been tweaked to suit Australian fishing with larger species such as barramundi and mangrove jack in mind. With the use of the light weight yet strong Decoy W-77 trebles, these lures will handle large hard-fighting fish while reducing snagging on structure due to the hook shape. Lightweight trebles are very important as to not change the buoyancy and action of the lures original design but need to be strong enough to not fail on that fish of a lifetime – a balance that the W-77 can provide. Available in three sizes and three diving depths, Lucky Craft AU Pointers will have you covered for a large number of fishing scenarios. SP or shallow is available in 78mm (9.2g 1.2-1.5m) floating, 100mm (18g 1.2-1.5m) slow floating and 128mm (30g 300-900mm) floating. DD or double deep is available in 78mm (9.6g 1.8-2.1m) slow floating in salt, 100mm (16.5g 2.1m) suspending in salt. XD or extra deep is available in 78mm (9.5g 3m) suspending in salt and 100mm (18.5g 4m) suspending in salt. Visit

Steez Soft Shell 90

THE Steez Soft Shell is a uniquely designed soft vibration bait developed in Australia to deliver anglers a new take on the soft vibration lure concept. Designed with two crawfish-like appendages to impart a unique action as the lure sinks to the bottom, the Soft Shell will rest with the claws up, thanks to the stand-up design of the head and the buoy-

ant nature of the material. Designed to be fished close to the bottom with either a hopping or shaking retrieve, the Soft Shell excels on our freshwater predator species such as yellowbelly, barramundi, Australian bass and more. When in saltwater, it draws strikes from prawn feeding species such as flathead, mulloway and snapper. The Steez Soft Shell can be rigged numerous ways and comes standard with both stinger hooks and BKK Fang treble hooks in the pack. Visit

Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada

THE Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada is by far the most popular cicada imitation lure on the market. You need only ask any serious bass angler and they will say the same. This particular lure is a soft foam 40mm bodied cicada imitation, designed to catch a number of both salt and freshwater species, including bass, estuary perch, bream and trout, to name a few. The soft foam body is super buoyant, and its feel is realistic and natural, making the fish hit the lure a number of times if they don’t hook up the first time. This can be the difference between catching fish and not catching fish. On the cast when they hit the water, they sound like the real thing falling out of a tree. The foam is super durable and, with its soft lifelike wings and natural colour range, this lure can be slow rolled or twitched and paused across the surface, making it look, sound and feel like the real thing. The number one cicada lure on the market, the Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada is a musthave lure for any keen topwater fisho. Visit au

Bone Heartcore

Platypus Stealth FC Fluorocarbon

MANUFACTURED in Japan to exacting specifications, Platypus Stealth FC is a new generation of stealth leader – an advanced fluorocarbon leader that offers anglers cutting-edge technology and excellent value for money, with increased spool lengths for their dollar. With over 120 years of fishing line design, development and manufacturing in Australia, Platypus has comprehensively tested fluorocarbon leaders to ensure they are offering anglers a world-class product. Extreme abrasion and impact resistance, excellent knot strength and a refractive index close to that of water, making it virtually invisible in water. Stealth FC also has the benefit of a quicker sink rate than monofilament leaders, making it ideal for maintaining contact with bait and lures when sinking, while not absorbing water and in turn maintaining its strength throughout extended fishing sessions. Feedback from anglers has also seen the inclusion of an elastic line tamer with each spool, designed to protect and control the leader on the spool, while allowing easy dispensing via the eyelet on the line tamer. This will avoid the spaghetti mess of leaders without keepers and the difficulty of locating the end of the leader in hank style clamshell spools. Platypus Stealth FC is available in a comprehensive range of breaking strains from 2-50lb, varying in spool length from 50-100m. Visit

BUILT with a new blank structure on Toray T1100 carbon material, the Heartcore series is the newest series in the Bone line-up. The series features a unique blank action that is super robust and ultra-light in weight. The series uses an improved blank rolling process with multiple layer wrappings on each roll from the butt to the tip. This creates a sturdy taper that allows for maximum sensitivity and flexibility. Equipped with precisely placed Fuji K-Alconite guides, the rods create a beautiful curve that allows maximum casting distance. Fuji reel seats finish off these exquisite rods and they are available in both spin and baitcast formats, and all rods are twopiece for ease of storage and transport. Visit

Daiwa D-Box

DAIWA’S new range of D-Box tackle trays has been designed and developed to produce a cohesive range of purpose-built storage, perfectly suited to the modern angler. Available in a range of sizes and depths, Daiwa’s D-Box range is made from recycled polypropylene – a low-impact material that delivers no toxic waste, no emissions, no fluorocarbons and no halogens in its process. All Daiwa D-Boxes feature a four-sided clasp system to ensure secure latching and to fully compress the water-resistant gasket seal, which is installed 360 degrees

around the lid of all D-Box models. Ten models feature in the range in three sizes, small, medium and large, and three depths, shallow, regular and deep, with each box carefully designed to maximise storage and versatility with features such as spinnerbait storage incorporated into the D-Box Medium Deep and Small Deep models. The D-Box Large Shallow Universal is a unique box with moulded silicon holders that grab hooks and don’t let go – a perfect jig head, soft vibe or hard-body lure storage box. Tackle storage has never looked so good or been as seamless than with the new D-Box storage system from Daiwa Australia. Visit

Steez Current Master

WITH the impoundment barra season in full swing, now is the time to get your hands on the Steez Current Master 93SPDR. Designed in partnership with Japanese engineers and tuned to suit the needs of Australian anglers and to handle the rigours of hard-pulling Australia species, the Steez Current Master is one of the musthave jerkbaits for keen barra anglers. The Current Master 93SP-DR is the perfect mid-size silent jerkbait, with a lively action when jerked and suspends on the pause, inducing hard strikes from predatory species such as barramundi and mangrove jack. The Mag Lock system also creates the perfect lure balance, delivering a super consistent swimming action in still water, heavy current or with faster retrieve speeds. Fitted with ultra-strong split rings and BKK Viper treble hooks, there is no need to upgrade any of the hardware that comes standard on all Current Master 93SP-DR – it’s ready to fish straight out of the box. Visit

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 43

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Tahni and Jackson Hehir were rewarded with a nice catch of mud crabs from the flats.

Amber Moy scored a decent feed of mud crab.

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’DAY crew, I trust everyone had a belter of a holiday and got out to smack a few fish over the past month or so. Can’t say I’ve done too much over the past couple of weeks because the shop has been pumping and I’ve not been able to get out – but hey, that’s retail for you. Plenty of holiday makers are still piling into Tin Can Bay. It’s always great to see the town busy, and to meet new people and hear their stories of the one that got away or the ones that came home for dinner. The fishing of late has not disappointed, that’s for sure! December and January saw a bounty of mud crabs being caught and hitting the tables for a few fresh crab sandwiches, and no doubt washed down with a


few cold beverages. The big high tides meant the flats were the places to be and the number of crabs being trapped allowed fishos to be picky – from all reports, they took only A-grade crabs. Up the creeks was still productive, but as I said, the mangrove-lined flats were the choice spots. Crew in the know reported smashing their bag limits in one tide! Fresh bait and a good soak are always a great combination, but checking the pots after giving them a few hours was the key. The creeks have been fishing exceptionally well over the past few weeks and this is sure to continue.

Mangrove jack, cod, bream, grunter, trevally and the occasional barramundi were all being caught. I even had a toadfish hit a surface lure the last time I was out. I don’t know if that’s a sign of a healthy and productive system, but it was certainly a surprise, plus I got only half my Z-Man Goat back. If anyone out there has use for green toadfish, let us know – at times, they can be in plague proportions around here and I’m sure there’s an industry for them somewhere. Jacks haven’t been shy lately, with the average fish being in the high 40cm, and good * continued P50

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Page 48 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

Brook Carnellor showed how to crab in the mangrove-lined flats. au






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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 49

Scott from Mooloolaba scored a cracker red emperor.

Owen Prior with a monster grouper that was quickly released after a photo.

Awesome crabs and jacks in TCB * from P48

A solid pearl perch caught by Craig Moy.

Owen Prior caught a nice mangrove jack.

Neilo Moy displays an awesome coronation trout. Page 50 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

numbers of 50-54cm fish being caught. The bait fishos have been racking up solid numbers and the nighttime bite has been dominating. Lure fishos had a good run too and fishing bite times such as early morning and sunset proved to be the most productive. This could be due also to lighter traffic on the waterways here at those times. Either way, you aren’t going to catch them sitting on the couch, you’ve got to be in it to win it. Whiting and flathead were caught in good numbers, with the flats near Tinnanbar and Poona proving to be productive areas to chase a feed of these great bread and butter species. Mixed in with catches of whiting and flatties were some nice-sized golden trevally. It’s good to hear that they have been roaming the flats recently. And decent numbers of diver whiting have been patrolling the deeper channels of the Tin Can Bay inlet. Offshore has also been producing the goods when the weather allowed fishos to get wide

of the Wide Bay Bar. Red emperor were caught in good numbers to the north and catches of snapper, pearl perch, coronation trout and tuskfish have all filled Eskies. Out the front of Rainbow Beach have been good catches of jewfish, snapper and grass sweetlip, with the wrecks fishing very well for jew, nannygai and cobia. Spanish mackerel were around in good numbers, but beating the sharks to

them has been a major problem. I don’t think there is an issue with the numbers of spanish in our waters, but there is one hell of a shark problem at times. But that’s getting political, so I’m not going to go to broach that subject. Anyway, that’s enough from me for now, so until next time, tight lines and stay safe. The Chandlery Bait and Tackle, for all your fishing and boating needs.

Tahni Mackay with a decent mangrove jack.

Amber was happy with this quality pearl perch. au



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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 51

Leah was stoked with her first lure-caught fish.

Tyson was the youngest to land a marlin this season.

Fish rich in February A decent giant trevally for Jye.

Alan with a nice golden trevally.

> Hervey Bay > Fraser Island > Sandy Strait


APPY new year… unless you are a fishing guide. The weather continues to be challenging, and therefore, so is the fishing. Where are the masses of spotted and mack tuna? Where are the occasionally annoying school mackerel? Yes, sorry, but have some wind instead – unfortunately, I spent the beginning of December hiding from wind. Thankfully, the small

Get into the best fishing action! Full and half day tours All levels of experience Experienced guide > 0427 230 261 Page 52 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

Fraser Guided Fishing by TRI TON

area I was able to fish was fish rich. A pair of customers booked the first week of the month and scored an early Christmas gift to last ten festive seasons. Not a glamour day to be seen in the forecast, however it was good enough and, with the fish in shallow, all we needed was some light. We had two days of solid sunlight, with the others being from broken cloud to solidly overcast. Marlin and tuna are dark, so are easier to see in less-than-ideal lighting. They also love to cruise on the surface – another redeeming factor. Marlin slow glide effortlessly and respond quickly to any stimulus they might sense. Their aggression is borderline berserk and will often strike more than once. Tuna move faster and often in schools. Once they bite, they won’t strike again most likely.

If they miss… well, you might get another shot, but their tendency to flee makes them more difficult to entice. That being said, they are infinitely easier to stay attached to and land. However, they will more than likely encourage you to book in to see your chiropractor. Marlin antics in the first moments of battle often see the lure thrown. But don’t fret, the fish might have another go. We keep making attempts until we can’t see them anymore. The fight is usually frantic, so expect a burst of speed or two. If this doesn’t happen, expect to get a beating when you attempt to land it. Be careful not to break the beak off. I often drive around trying to encourage a few runs from the fish. Unfortunately, the sight-fishing mayhem didn’t last and we’re

* continued P54 au

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 53


2023 2023



Time Time

Timesand Times andHeights Heightsof ofHigh Highand andLow LowWaters Waters MARCH FEBRUARY FEBRUARY MARCH


Time Time

Time Time



Time Time 0413 0413 1142 1142 1625 WE WE 1625 2150 2150

mm 1.80 1.80 1.02 1.02 1.23 1.23 0.92 0.92

Time Time 0312 0312 1023 1023 1532 TH TH 1532 2053 2053

mm 1.85 1.85 0.90 0.90 1.29 1.29 0.84 0.84

Time TimeZone Zone–1000 –1000 Ro APRIL with a beast sight-cast K’gari marlin, with Peter’s assistance on the tail. APRIL

Fish rich in February

Time Time 0503 0503 1158 1158 SA 1751 SA 1751 2309 2309

Time mm Time 0454 1.82 1.82 0454 1136 0.81 0.81 1136 1.41 1.41 SU 1740 SU 1740 2316 0.84 0.84 2316

mm 2.03 2.03 0.59 0.59 1.60 1.60 0.69 0.69

0324 0324 0859 0859 1426 1426 2102 2102

1.52 1.52 1.02 1.02 1.47 1.47 0.60 0.60

0543 0543 1238 1238 1740 WE WE 1740 2311 2311


1.88 1.88 0.96 0.96 1.27 1.27 0.74 0.74

16 16

0422 0422 1028 1028 1536 1536 2154 2154

1.67 1.67 0.97 0.97 1.40 1.40 0.56 0.56

0621 0621 1311 1311 1833 TH TH 1833 2354 2354

1.94 1.94 0.88 0.88 1.29 1.29 0.69 0.69

0540 2.05 2.05 0507 1.84 1.84 0421 1.96 1.96 0543 1.86 1.86 0544 2.05 2.05 17 22 0507 22*0543 17 17 0540 17 0421 from 1216 1228 1120 1224 0.72 1213 1228 0.71 17 0544 0.71 1216 0.94 0.94 17 1120 0.76 0.76 1224 0.72P52 1213 0.51 0.51 1739 1747 1650 1.36 1825 1.51 1824 1.73 1747 1.36 1.36 1739 1.27 1.27

0511 0511 1138 1138 1642 1642 2247 2247

1.84 1.84 0.87 0.87 1.36 1.36 0.50 0.50

0658 2.00 2.00 0629 2.20 2.20 0550 1.89 1.89 0518 2.07 2.07 33 0658 33 0550 18 0629 18 0518 1341 1242 1312 1206 1341 0.80 0.80 18 1312 0.58 0.58 1242 0.86 0.86 18 1206 0.63 0.63 1916 1821 1.34 1843 1.45 1751 1.47 1916 1.34 1.34

0557 0557 1234 1234 1743 1743 2340 2340

2.01 2.01 0.74 0.74 1.36 1.36 0.44 0.44

0034 0034 0732 0732 1411 SA SA 1411 1951 1951

0.64 0.64 2.04 2.04 0.74 0.74 1.38 1.38

0642 2.18 2.18 0642 1324 0.62 0.62 1324 1840 1.40 1.40 1840

0111 0111 0806 0806 1441 SU SU 1441 2022 2022

0.60 0118 0.60 0118 2.05 0802 2.05 0802 0.71 1433 0.71 MO 1433 MO 1.41 2020 1.41 2020

0033 0033 0729 0729 1412 1412 1937 1937

0.37 0.37 2.33 2.33 0.51 0.51 1.46 1.46

0147 0147 0838 0838 1509 MO MO 1509 2051 2051

0.57 0.57 2.03 2.03 0.69 0.69 1.44 1.44

0125 0125 0818 0818 1458 1458 2032 2032

0.32 0.32 2.41 2.41 0.44 0.44 1.52 1.52

0222 0222 0907 0907 1538 TU TU 1538 2119 2119

0.57 0252 0.57 0252 2.00 0933 2.00 0933 0.69 0.69 WE 1554 WE 1554 1.46 2154 1.46 2154

0216 0216 0909 0909 1545 1545 2126 2126

0.33 0.33 2.42 2.42 0.43 0.43 1.55 1.55

0255 8 0255 0936 0936

0.60 0.60 1.96 1.96 1606 0.68 0.68 WE WE 1606 2151 2151 1.49 1.49

0338 23 0338 1016 1016 1635

0307 0307 0959 0959 1632 2219

0.39 0.39 2.34 2.34 0.47 1.55

0328 0328 1007 1007 TH 1635 2230

0.66 0.66 1.90 1.90 0.68 1.51

0356 1047 1718 2312

0.52 2.20 0.55 1.54

0.75 1.82 1705 0.67 FR 2314 1.53


0447 0447 1138 1138 1641 TH TH 1641 2232 2232 FR FR

5 6

2336 2336 0.55 0.55

SA SA 1843 1.45



1.90 1.90 0.85 0.85 1.30 1.30 0.66 0.66



2248 2248 0.87 0.87

FR FR 1821 1.34 2336 2336 0.78 0.78

16 16

FR FR 1650 1.36 2228 2228 0.75 0.75

SA SA 1751 1.47 2330 2330 0.62 0.62

0030 0.44 0.44 0627 1.94 1.94 0609 2.17 2.17 44 0627 19 19 0030 19 0609 1308 0716 1245 0716 2.31 2.31 1308 0.77 0.77 19 1245 0.53 0.53 1856 1.41 1353 0.48 1838 1.59

SU SU 1353 0.48 1932 1932 1.56 1.56


0.36 0.36 2.36 2.36 0.43 0.43 1.65 1.65

SA SA 1856 1.41

0017 0017 0702 0702 1335 1335 SU SU 1928 1928


SU SU 1838 1.59

0.69 0019 0.69 0019 0654 1.98 1.98 0654 1322 0.70 0.70 MO 1322 MO 1920 1.48 1.48 1920


0104 0206 0.35 0.35 0055 0.61 0.61 0104 0.44 0.44 21 0206 6 0055 0848 0734 0848 2.33 2.33 0734 1.99 1.99 21 0736 0736 2.20 2.20 1514 0.43 1401 0.64 1356 0.42 TU TU 1514 0.43 2107 2107 1.71 1.71

MO MO 1401 0.64 1958 1958 1.55 1.55

TU TU 1356 0.42 2001 2001 1.82 1.82

0.42 0.42 2.22 2.22 0.48 0.48 1.74 1.74

0130 0130 0803 0803 1426 1426 TU TU 2027 2027

0.56 0149 0.56 0149 1.98 0817 1.98 0817 0.61 1432 0.61 WE 1432 WE 1.60 2044 1.60 2044

0.57 0.57 2.05 2.05 0.56 TH TH 1635 0.56 2242 2242 1.75 1.75

0204 8 0204 0832 0832 1451

0.56 0.56 1.95 1.95 0.59 WE WE 1451 0.59 2057 2057 1.66 1.66

0233 23 0233 0858 0858 1506

0428 24 0428 1056 1056 1714

0238 0238 0901 0901 TH 1516 2130

0.60 0.60 1.90 1.90 0.58 1.71

0319 24 0319 0937 0937 1540

10 0406 1041

25 0528 1137 1755

10 0313 0933 1542

0.67 1.83 FR 1542 0.58 2207 1.75

25 0412 1016 1611

0447 0.69 1134 2.01 1805 0.63

11 0450 1117

26 0031 0650 1222

11 0352 1008 1610

26 0517 1056 1644

0010 0543 1219 1852

1.54 0.87 1.81 0.70

12 0005 0547

27 0144 0834 1321

12 0437 1045 1642

27 0638 1145 1725

0120 0654 1306 1942

1.55 1.02 1.62 0.74

0109 13 0702

0304 28 1033 1445

0536 13 1125 1720

0243 0836 1401 2037

1.61 1.12 1.46 0.77

0231 14 0846

0359 1025 1512 2133

1.70 1.11 1.34 0.78

0345 15 1032

0457 1150 1628 224 2224

1.79 1.04 1.27 0.77




0.85 1.73 SA 1739 0.68

1.54 0.96 1156 1.62 SU 1818 0.69

1.57 1.04 MO 1241 1.50 1906 0.71

0.75 0.75 1.86 1.86 FR 1714 0.65 2333 1.74

0.93 1.66 SA 1755 0.74

1.73 1.08 SU 1222 1.49 1841 0.82

1.73 1.14 1.35 1321 MO 1937 0.89

1.63 1.07 TU 1342 1.38 2004 0.72

1.75 0.99 WE 1521 1.30 2115 0.71

1.76 1.10 TU 1445 1.25 2043 0.92




0.77 1.74 SA 1610 0.61 2248 1.76

0.87 1.63 SU 1642 0.66 2333 1.77

0.44 0.44 2.13 2.13 0.44 0.44 1.90 1.90

0.53 0.53 2.00 2.00 TH 0.49 TH 1506 0.49 2127 2127 1.95 1.95 0.67 0.67 1.83 1.83 FR 1540 0.58 2211 1.96

0.82 1.67 SA 1611 0.68 2256 1.95

0.97 1.51 SU 1644 0.78 2345 1.91

back to the regular grind. 0005 0618 1.89 1.89 0005 0.60 0.60 33 0618 1247 0628 18 For0.63 the18 sakes of the 1247 0.63 0628 2.03 2.03 1856 1.61 1246 MO 1856 1.61 TU 1246 0.46 0.46 MOholiday TU makers 1904 1904 1.86 1.86that make up a large quan0030 0050 0030 0.64 0.64 0050 0.57 0.57 44tity 19 0709 1.96 0650 1.90 19 0650 of 1.90 0709 in 1.96Janmy tours TU 1311 0.55 0.55 WE 1318 0.45 0.45 TU 1311 WE 1318 1943 1.97 1927 uary, I hope 1927 1.70 1.70 1943the 1.97surfeeders fire0.60 up. 0106 0106 0.60 0.60 0135 0.60 5face 20an0135 0721 1.89 0747 1.87 0721 1.89 be 0747 1.87 It can extreme1335 0.50 1349 0.47 WE TH WE 1335 0.50 TH 1349 0.47 1957 1.79 2023 2.06 1957slow 1.79 tour 2023 without 2.06 ly 0142 0220 0.67 0142 0.60 0.60 0220 these to pad out a day 0.67 6 0751 0751 1.86 1.86 21 0826 0826 1.74 1.74 catch release. 0.52 1401 0.47 TH FR 1401 0.47 and 1420 0.52 THof FR 1420 2103 2030 2030 1.88 2103 2.10 2.10 On 1.88 the topic of re0220 0.63 0309 0.77 0220 0.63 0309 0.77 – again – spear7lease 22 0825 0905 0825 1.80 1.80 0905 1.62 1.62 1427 0.47 0.60 FR SA 1427 fish 0.47 back 1448into 0.60 the FRing SA 1448 2105 2143 2105 1.95 1.95 2143 2.11 2.11 water is something I 0300 0404 0300 0.69 0.69 0404 0.87 0.87 to touch on. 8wish 23 0944 0902 1.50 0902 1.72 1.72 0944 1.50 0.50 1517 SA 1456 0.50is SU 1517 0.70 0.70 SA 1456 SUparticularly This 2144 2224 2144 1.99 1.99 2224 2.08 2.08 important for tuna and 0345 0506 0345 0.78 0.78 0506 0.95 0.95 9mackerel. 0942 0942 1.61 1.61 24 1026 1026 1.40 1.40 SU 1527 0.57 0.57 MO 1551 0.80 0.80 MOit1551 I believe is not 2225 2.00 2307 2.02 2.00 2307 2.02 the power of the spearing 0439 0.87 0612 0.87 0612 1.00 1.00 10but 1024 the 1.50 1115 1.50 25 1115 1.32 1.32 action of the 1601 0.66 1632 MO 0.66 TU 0.90 TU 1632 0.90 2311 1.97 2356 1.94 water rushing 1.97 2356through 1.94 0547 gills. 0.94 0723 0.94 0723 1.02 1.02 11the 1112 1.38 1.38 26 1220 1220 1.26 1.26fish Remember, TU 1641 0.76 0.76 WE 1729 0.99 0.99 WE 1729 breathe the dissolved SU SU 1825 1.51 MO MO 1824 1.73 2351 2351 0.73 0.73

0056 27 0056 0844 0844 TH 1401

0043 28 0810 1250

0850 13 0127 1411

0208 0208 0954 28 0954 FR 1537

0029 14 0658 1215

0153 29 0951 1428

0247 14 0959 1538

0317 0317 29 1039 1039 SA 1636

0149 15 0858 1345

0308 30 1053 1616

0355 15 1053 1647

0412 0412 1110 30 1110 SU 1718

0.97 1.51 MO 1720 0.72 1.76 1.04 TU 1215 1.39 1810 0.79

1.78 1.02 WE 1345 1.29 1921 0.84

1.06 1.38 MO 1725 0.88

16 16

12 0008 0715 1221

1.86 1.09 TU 1250 1.28 1824 0.97

1.81 1.05 WE 1428 1.23 1942 1.03 1.79 0.98 TH 1616 1.25 2105 1.02

1.93 1.93 0.96 0.96 WE 1221 1.29 1.29 1737 0.86 0.86 1.90 1.90 0.92 0.92 1.27 TH 1411 1.27 1902 0.92 0.92

1.92 1.92 0.81 0.81 1.34 FR 1538 1.34 0.90 2045 0.90

1.98 1.98 0.70 0.70 1.46 SA 1647 1.46 2216 0.80 0.80

1.85 1.85 1.01 1.01 1.24 TH 1401 1.24 1850 1850 1.05 1.05

oxygen in the water, not the air bubbles created by the turbulence of a powerful water entry. A smooth entry is ideal. Often, in an attempt to power the fish into the depths as is sometimes portrayed on TV, we can turn the tail and therefore the fish flail on the surface. I find that holding the fish head down and perpendicular above the water line then letting go is sufficient to produce a smooth head-first entry. If sharks are present, it’s a bit more difficult, however a gentle torpedo angled slightly away from the boat will get the fish swim-

ming away from the big taxmen under the boat. Of course, this is pointless if you haven’t been responsible by not quickly landing and handling the fish with appropriate practice and tackle. Any time the fish is easily released without excess handling is highly encouraged – another reason for one-hook lures and a de-hook tool. De-hookers are basically a metal rod with a ‘u’ bend in the action end. They are cheap tools and extremely effective on waterline release – I prefer them to pliers. Let’s hope we get to see them again

1.78 1.78 0.96 0.96 1.28 FR 1537 1.28 2015 1.05 1.05 2015

1.75 1.75 0.88 0.88 1.36 SA 1636 1.36 2134 0.99 0.99 2134

1.75 1.75 0.78 0.78 1.46 SU 1718 1.46 2235 0.89 2235 0.89

0412 31 1129 1713

1.80 0.90 FR 1713 1.33 2216 0.95

monwealth of Australia 2021, Bureau of Meteorology NewTide Moon First ns is Lowest Astronomical ons

bols bols

0.50 0.50 2.21 2.21 0.46 0.46 1.71 1.71


New Moon MoonFull New


Moon First Last Quarter First Quarter Quarter Full Moon Moon Full

Last Quarter Quarter Last 16 16

Page 54 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

Pete took a solid sight-cast longtail tuna. au

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 55

With fingermark running hot, you will always find black jewfish among them. The author with a proper donkey from Port Alma.

Barra are back baby

I It’s time to get back into barramundi. The author with a nice school-sized barramundi taken on Lucky Craft Pointer.

Not all threadfin salmon are monsters in the netfree zone. The author’s wife Amanda with a cutie before release.

Fingermark continue to run hot. The author tagged this one before release. Page 56 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

T’S been a long three month wait and I’m glad we’re at the end of it. Not being able to target one of your most favourite species is hard. Though the break does give you a chance to go back through your old diary notes and devise a plan as to what you could do differently for the coming year. Find out what worked well and what didn’t, and also try to come up with new theories or techniques to try. If you continue to do the same old thing, then you are limiting your growth as an angler. One of the improvements I would like to work on is targeting saltwater barramundi on big tides. The majority of our barra fishing is based around neap tides, when the water is cleaner. These tides are when our competitions are held too, so it kind of makes sense that we only barra fish the neaps. It would be great to get to a point where you could go out at any stage of the lunar cycle and be consistent with putting

Capricorn Coast by JOHN BOON

barra on the deck. I’ve watched a heap of videos where anglers in the Northern Territory are smacking barra over the spring tides. Those videos gave me a few good ideas for us to try here. There’s nothing like dedicating a bit of time to doing some research. So, that’s enough about barramundi, let’s get onto what’s been happening locally. With all the rain, it’s no surprise that mud crabs have been moving well. Great reports have come in from all areas of the net-free zone, including Corio Bay, Corooman Creek and the Port Alma area. The Fitzroy River has been hit and miss due to the amount of fresh still getting around. Better reports have been coming in about towards the mouth area. Fingermark have still been biting well on smaller tides, when the water had cleared up.

The Connors Rock bar out at Port Alma has been the number one pick. It’s highly pressured but still produces some amazing results. The better catches have come from anglers searching out smaller isolated rocks away from the main area. Vertically jigged soft vibes such as Zerek Fish Traps have worked well and fishos who did some live baiting with mullet and herring have also done very well. Mangrove jack have been a bit hit and miss. Our jack campaign didn’t go well at all during this closed season. The most consistent place for jacks was the ever-faithful Causeway – between Yeppoon and Emu Park. Anglers soaking live bait from the bridge during the peak run, through periods around the full and new moons, cleaned up.

* continued P58 au

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 57

Riverine recovery


ORE than $19 million to repair damaged riverine areas following severe flooding, which impacted large areas of Queensland in early 2022, has been made available. Stage 2 of the Riverine Recovery Program to repair flood-damaged riverine, wetland and riparian environments is joint-funded under the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said the program will enable eligible natural resource management bodies, bulk water supply utilities and First Nations corporations to undertake significant works. “Floods like we saw last year impact communities in a range of ways, and restoring our environment is an important part of the recovery process,” Minister Watt said. “River health plays a crucial role in supporting some of our most precious marine areas including the southern Great Barrier Reef and Moreton Bay and these impacted waterways contain important delicate instream ecosystems.” Queensland Act-

ing Premier Steven Miles said the funding would in particular support environmental recovery in riverine areas across southeast and central Queensland impacted by multiple severe weather events. “Under Stage 2 of the program, funding is available for recovery works including bank repair and stabilisation for erosion control, and native vegetation plantings to restore natural ecosystem functions,” Minister Miles said. Applications opened January 10, 2023, with successful grant applicants aiming to begin their on-ground works from April 2023, to be completed by June 2024. Applications can be lodged for the Riverine Recovery Program Stage 2 works grants through the Department of Environment and Science’s online grant portal. Applications close February 24, 2023. Information on other disaster recovery initiatives can be found on the National Emergency Management Agency’s website at and the Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s website at au

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Luke Peisker with a solid barramundi from Port Alma.

Barra are back baby * from P56

Skip casting plastics around the mangrove fringes in the upper parts of the Causeway was another great technique, but unfortunately the jacks were on the small side. When the weather windows allowed the offshore grounds to be fished, there were a few great reports that filtered back. Unfortunately, the sharks were absolutely running amuck – some boats gave up and came back to the marina because they couldn’t get fish to the boat. If this ever happens to you, keep moving and look to fish smaller structure. Big pinnacles and wrecks are shark havens. Small isolated rocks and wonky holes are a better option. Large-mouth nannygai were in good numbers around the wonky holes and fern patches. They are a slow pitch jiggers dream because it’s not often a nanny will run to structure. Coral trout have been in good supply too, particularly around the islands.

I’ve chatted to a few fishos who did well soaking live bait around the pressure edges and points. When soaking a live bait, make sure you put down a rig with a big fresh prawn on it. Those big island blackspot tuskfish love a well-presented prawn. Unless your using bigger than average gear, you might lose a lot more than you get to the boat – the blackspots fight hard and play dirty. Red emperor were a bit harder to find but the anglers addicted to the hunt have turned over good numbers. The fern ground seemed to be where the action was at. Finding the bait

schooled up was key. One particular fisho was sitting on his spot with not much to show for it. He sent a bait jig down and grabbed a few live bait from that area, such as pike and yakka. When he sent them back down, the reds came on. He’d had not so much as a sniff before that. It always pays to be observant and try other techniques if what you’re doing isn’t working. Well, that’s it from me this month. I’m heading out the door to put the barra gear in the boat. Stay safe when on the water and above all have fun.

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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 59

BOATING & marine Insights into boat insurance

Boating joy served up on a plate


HAT’S the most important thing to look for when buying a new boat? The overall length? The style of boat in terms of runabout, centre console, half cabin or other types? Its capacity to fish inshore or offshore? The price? The electronics and entertainment system? These all rate consideration, however perhaps the most important thing to look for is a plaque that states ‘Australian Builder’s Plate’, which should be affixed to the boat where it can be seen clearly by the skipper. The plate is not required on every type of vessel – as examples,

not on floating toys or personal watercraft that carry only one of two people, rowing shells, boats over 24m in length and some other exceptions. Still, the plate was introduced back in 2005 and there have been further updates to what it provides for. The current version is number five. Why is this plate so important? Well, without it and in most cases, the boat is not allowed to be sold without contravening legislative provisions and as a follow-on from that, you may find that your vessel is totally uninsurable. In general terms, this plate was introduced as part of an overall boat-

ing safety strategy. While it’s called an Australian Builder’s Plate, don’t be confused into thinking that it can only be fitted if the boat was built in Australia. Rather, it means a compliance plate that needs to be fitted to new boats in Australia. Therefore, it can be fitted by a boat builder, a boat importer or someone else who is competent. If you decide to commission a boat through a website to be built as a one-off copy in China, you can see the potential problems when the vessel lands in Australia. It therefore is imperative to check your plan out with a specialist marine insurer before

When buying a new boat, look for a plaque that states ‘Australian Builder’s Plate’.

you act or if you have any queries about the Australian Builder’s Plate. There is a raft of questions that arise in a legal context, which are beyond the scope of this article. For example, should you decide to sell the boat, what are your legal responsibilities under consumer legislation in terms of warranty, your liabilities in the case of an injury suffered by a subsequent owner should they decide to argue that you are in fact an importer – it gets complicated and when this happens, things tend to get expensive. Likewise, marine insurance specialists such as Nautilus Marine and boat service centres see boats sitting on trailers that are not compliant in terms of load ratings. Don’t only take the word of a private seller about compliance – seek proof – such as a weighbridge certificate or confirmation from a reputable dealer, and match that against the information plate that should be displayed on the trailer. Likewise, a reputable dealer may be able to

assist you in ascertaining whether a particular outboard exceeds the maximum allowed by the boat’s manufacturer or not. That’s one of the pieces of information on the Australian Builder’s Plate, along with the maximum load, maximum number of people and buoyancy level rating. The recurring theme here is to speak with your specialist marine insurer before embarking on a purchase. Seek to gain some insight into whether your intended vessel is insurable with that company or not. As always, what is and what may not be covered will always be decided in accord with the terms of insurance as defined in your insurance policy’s Product Disclosure Statement. Similarly, any special conditions and excesses should always be explained clearly in your insurance policy’s Product Disclosure Statement. If you need further information, you can contact Nautilus Marine Insurance on 1300 780 533 for any boat insurance requirements.

Advice in this article is general and might not apply or be right for you. Before acting on it, consider its appropriateness having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Nautilus Marine Insurance is a business name of NM Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 34 100 633 038 AFSL 227 186 (NM Insurance), the issuer of Nautilus Marine Boat Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement at before deciding whether to purchase a policy.

Page 60 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 au

BOATING & marine

Mercury Marine announces Avator 7.5e electric


ERCU RY Marine, a division of Brunswick Corporation, introduced the Mercury Avator 7.5e electric outboard in early January at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023 in Las Vegas. Avator is Mercury’s next step forward in marine innovation and the 7.5e model will be the first in a series of electric outboard products to be released in 2023, as Mercury advances on its commitment to be the leader in electrified propulsion. The Avator 7.5e outboard will be introduced into Australia and New Zealand towards the middle of 2023. Mercury also plans to display concepts for its Avator 20e and 35e outboards, which will be in market later in 2023. Mercury Marine president Chris Drees said, “We are excited to formally introduce the Avator 7.5e electric outboard to the world.” “As the innovation leader in the marine industry, both in internal combustion products and now electric propulsion, we have the resources and knowledge to make boating more accessible to more people, while building on our commitment to sustainability. “The Avator program is helping us do this in new and exciting ways.” The Avator 7.5e outboard generates 750W of power at the propellor shaft and produces

similar speed and acceleration as a Mercury FourStroke 3.5hp outboard. Offered with tiller or remote steering, it’s ideal for powering many small boats, including tenders, inflatables and kayaks. Mercury Marine vice president of product development and engineering Tim Reid said, “The Avator 7.5e is much more than only an outboard.” “We created an entire propulsion system, fully integrated from the advanced controls, props and digital gauges to an all-new mobile app. “Every aspect was designed with the same attention to quality, durability and reliability as all Mercury products. “We’re confident the Avator 7.5e outboard will deliver a superior boating experience for boaters interested in powering small vessels with electric propulsion.” Ease of use The Avator 7.5e electric outboard delivers clean quiet power with innovative features that make it simple for boaters to enjoy the water. Swappable batteries, a quick-connect mounting system and intuitive controls make setup and operation easy. A vivid full-colour display tracks battery level and range, for confidently exploring the water. Batteries and chargers With its high-effi-

ciency design and advanced lithium-ion battery system, the Avator 7.5e electric outboard is engineered to optimise range. The 1kWh lithium-ion battery was developed in partnership with the battery experts at Mastervolt and engineered exclusively for marine duty. It’s a safe reliable 48V power source that’s been drop-tested and IP67 rated for water resistance. Smart chargers constantly monitor voltage and current to deliver a safe effective charge and can shut down to protect the battery if there is an issue. An intelligent digital display continuously tracks your current power status and estimated runtime. Motor and performance Industry-first transverse flux motor technology delivers reliable quiet power. The motor generates high torque with little effort, maximising battery life and range while contributing to faster acceleration and more efficient overall performance than similar competitive products. Commitment to sustainability The Avator program continues Mercury’s commitment across all product lines to redefine marine propulsion in ways that leave a positive impact on the environment. Avator outboards

transform the boating experience by making boating possible with no exhaust fumes and zero direct emissions. Each electric outboard is also crafted with many components that are recyclable or reusable. Incredibly calm, quiet and smooth, the Avator 7.5e outboard helps boaters to fully immerse themselves in nature. Connected devices The Avator 7.5e electric outboard is the first propulsion system from Mercury to be compatible with the all-new Mercury Marine app, available for iOS and Android devices. Boaters can access the app for free to enjoy basic functionality, including a library of tutorials and the ability

to connect with a preferred dealer for expert support. Adding a Mercury SmartCraft Connect module to the outboard unlocks advanced features of the app. This includes a GPS map for planning your trips and visualised range estimates so you can confidently explore. The app can also be used to track speed, battery level, outboard hours and system notifications. It provides the most complete set of performance data available for any electric outboard. Visit mercurymarine. c om /en -gb/a u / la nd / mercu r y-avator- elec tric-outboards to learn more about Avator and Mercury’s vision for electrification.

The Avator 7.5e electric outboard is expanding boating access with ease of use, connectivity and smart battery technology. Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 61

BOATING & marine Fishing sensation Michael Guest reveals some of his top tips for seasonal fishing, including hooking a trophy spanish mackerel in autumn when onboard his 7600 Yellowfin Centre Console.

Seasonal fishing tips featuring Yellowfin


S Australians enjoy motoring around in warmer weather, Yellowfin Plate Boats – together with long-term ambassador and Australian fishing icon Michael Guest – is gearing the country up for another successful fishing season. With around 3700 known species of fish – according to the Australian Government – locals are spoilt with what is argued to be some of the hottest fishing conditions in the world. A year-round sport, fishing has become a popular leisure activity for countless Aussie – either solo or with friends. As any story goes – the most important first step to setting any angler up for a ripper season is having a strong reliable vessel to ensure a safe and comfortable journey when heading offshore and back home. Yellowfin Plate Boats have been designed for the best, by the best – crafted in its Gold Coast based factory by a carefully selected exclusive team of the industry’s

top boat builders. Founded from innovation, there is no other boat quite like a Yellowfin. Designed by an expert research and development team invested in creating a product that stands out from the industry, with a second-tonone ride performance when underway and at rest, Yellowfin Plate Boats raise the bar when it comes to offshore fishing. Perfected over decades of design and innovation and first founded in 1984, Yellowfin has established a reputation as one of the most trusted boats in the country – which is important when it comes to offshore boating. A reputation decades deep, nurtured by consistent customer satisfaction and exceeding expectations, all comes down to the build. Built from strength within, Yellowfin feature a wide beam, sharp entry point and fulllength chine for best stability and ride in class, a reinforced sub-floor

Page 62 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

framework for maximum strength and a fully sealed no-return scupper system – all of which are designed using the highest quality of marine grade aluminium. Trusted by Michael Guest – Yellowfin is an easy first choice. Almost born into boating and all things adventure-driven, Michael’s passion has evolved into an addiction, resulting in the Reel Action TV series, which exploded into an Aussie must-see show. Driven towards enlightening fishing techniques and being equipped with the right tools for the job, ‘Guesty’ is all about sharing his knowledge to see every fisho hooking lines as soon as the sun breaks. Yellowfin Plate Boats marketing and communications manager Madeline Bishop said, “Michael Guest is an astounding fisherman, with a wealth of knowledge that perfectly complements the Yellowfin brand.” “We are passionate about delivering a boat

to every Australian that is strong, reliable and built to go the distance – which is reflected by Guesty in his investment in supporting every Australian into boating. “Committed to supporting a cause through the Pirtek Fishing Challenge, with all funds directed towards supporting the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, we are proud of everything Michael Guest stands for and we look forward to the many adventures ahead.” Summer During summer, the east Australian current brings a warm influx of water, pushing all the way down the coast and finishing at St Helens in Tasmania. Species such as black, striped, and blue marlin call the East Australian Current home and their numbers greatly increase during the warmer months. Marlin don’t have it all to themselves, with other species such as the spectacularly coloured mahi mahi – better known as dolphinfish – and wahoo

making an appearance. This style of fishing sees big gold reels and fully rollered rods being dusted off, ready to do battle with high-speed pelagics. Success in game fishing or sportfishing comes down to preparation – the time you spend in the shed before heading out can make a big difference on the water. Preparing live bait traces, checking the drag on those big gold reels and sharpening the hooks in your favourite skirted lure will all add to a successful trip. Marlin are a great adversary, you need to think like one to catch one. Trolling structure – such as undersea canyons, drop-offs and current lines – is a great place to start. Structure is where bait will congregate and of course, predatory fish won’t be too far away. Tide changes are the key bite times, so focus your fishing in an area that looks promising in

* continued P63 au

BOATING & marine

Seasonal fishing tips by Guesty featuring Yellowfin * from P62

and around the tides. Always let someone know where you’re heading, especially on those long runs to the continental shelf. The game fishing season doesn’t last forever, so pick a weather window and get among it. Autumn Cooler temperatures generally bring a more stable weather pattern all around Australia. I often think I’d like to be able to fish everywhere during this season. It’s that time of year when the water temper-

ature can fluctuate – this creates opportunity with species such as spanish mackerel found holding in the warmer pockets. Spanish can be found from Geraldton in Western Australia across the top then down the east coast to Port Stephens. They are one of those trophy fish that tick all the boxes – they’re fast, look great and are exceptionally good eating. Several techniques that work for mackerel include diving hard-bodies, casting metals and topwater lures, trolling dead bait and slow-trolling live bait. Live bait – as with a lot

of our favourite species – is great way to tempt a spanish. They have the sharpest teeth in the business, so single strand wire is a must. A simple 58lb wire rig with two 7/0 hooks set up to suit the size of the bait, then finished with a short length of wire to a black swivel is all you need. Spanish aren’t the only species that will be looking to hold in the warmer pockets. Cobia and longtail tuna will be in and around the same areas, so keep an eye on your temperature gauge – you never

Go wherever and whenever the fish are biting with confidence! Made in Australia for our tough marine environments Photo courtesy of Australian Master Marine

know what you’ll find. Winter I’m a big fan of fishing the cooler months and winter brings snapper in close off the central and mid-north coast of NSW, along with southern Queensland. While that’s happening, further north red emperor and largemouth nannygai are a popular winter species. With the strong onshore wind of the warmer months gone and replaced by cool offshore breezes, it’s a great time to head offshore. Even though red emperor and snapper are two entirely different

species, the techniques used to catch them have their similarities. They both have a preference for squid, cuttlefish and flesh bait. However, the tackle required to extract a big red emperor away from the reef and the sharks needs to be three or four times heavier. There’s nothing like the aggressive whack you get from a big red. Snapper, on the other hand, can generally be caught using 20lb-30lb tackle. One of my favourite ways to target snapper is to float a fresh bait down * continued P64

HYDRAULIC BOAT STEERING FOR A HARD DAY’S FISHING For product information and the name of your Nearest authorised dealer contact Graham HyDrive Engineering Pty Ltd - Queensland Unit 12, 73-75 Shore Street Cleveland 4163 Tel:- 07-38216580

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 63

BOATING & marine Fishing featuring Yellowfin * from P63

a cube trail as the sun comes up on an early winter’s morning. Snapper have been transformed over the past 20 years, from being thought of as strictly a table fish to a great sport fishing adversary, thanks to the popularity of soft plastic fishing combined with lightweight spin rods and reels. Casting 7” jerk shads on 1⁄4oz jig heads across shallow inshore reef is a deadly technique. Look to work the reef edges where they meet the gravel and around bait schools. Spring Spring signals the first warm weather for a while along with a steady increase in water temperature. The two fish I think of when spring comes around are flathead and barramundi. Big breeding trophy flathead are at their best in spring, they concentrate around estuary mouths along rock walls and back eddies. Big soft plastics twitched and rolled slowly across the bottom imitating mullet are a great place to start. Don’t forget any flathead over 58cm is going to be a female, so keep that in the back of your mind when deciding to take a couple home for a feed. Barra move into the next gear as the water starts to warm up during spring.

The shallow edges of impoundments where the sun increases the water temperature can really fire in spring. Slow rolling unweighted soft plastics slightly above the weed beds works a treat. Barramundi are an iconic Australian sportfish, renowned for their spectacular jumps once hooked. As far as tackle goes, 6-10kg baitcasting or spin outfits loaded with 20lb braid and a length of 50lb fluorocarbon leader is a great place to start. Check in with the local tackle store and keep an eye on social media to see what lures the barra are taking a liking to. Michael Guest While the Centre Console and Southerner are two of Guesty’s top choices, Yellowfin offers a wide range of plate boats, designed for a diverse range of boaters and their needs. Available as fully configured boat, motor and trailer packages, built directly from the Gold Coast factory, buying a plate boat has never been easier. Stocked by a select range of Australia’s best dealers, located across the country, Yellowfin Plate Boats are always within close reach. For more boating insights, fishing tips or to purchase your own Yellowfin, contact your local dealer at yellowfinplateboats.

Page 64 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

The Territory Striker range from Stacer is an inland fisherman’s dream and with sizes 349, 369 and 389, there is a boat to suit everyone.

Find secret fishing spots with Territory Striker


T’S a common sight to see popular fishing spots on the bank overrun with keen anglers all vying for that premium placing. So why not open your horizons and get out on the water? The Territory Striker range from Stacer is an inland fisherman’s dream and with sizes 349, 369 and 389, there is a boat to suit everyone. The 369 is smack in the middle and offers a great starting mark for those getting out on the water for the first time. Featuring the Stryker Hull, which allows the boat to slice through the water smoothly, the structure also allows the Territory Striker to get into those hard-toreach places in creek beds, mangroves and river offshoots – per-

fect for finding your very own hidden fishing spot. Construction wise, the boat doesn’t disappoint with a beam of approximately 1.73m and features 1.6mm aluminium tops, sides and bottoms, so you can feel at ease pulling up on a sandy bank. A HP rating of 20 and capacity to fit four ensures you can zip between fishing holes with enough people to have a great day on the water. Seating includes two aluminium bench seats with a handy glove box in the front bench to store your valuables. For those who want to go the extra mile, the 369 Territory Striker can be upgraded to have a bimini – perfect for keeping the family out of the sun – carpeting on the floor, trans-

ducer brackets, rod holders or even a vinyl wrap to really make you stand out. Maintenance and cleaning are a breeze – giving the boat a good hose down after a trip ensures the Territory Striker is kept in tip top shape. A fully calibrated trailer can also be included in your package, otherwise the Territory Striker works very well as a rooftop tinnie. The 369 Territory Striker is a great option for anyone looking at leaving the bank and venturing out on the water for the first time hunting down their fish of choice. Discover your adventure with Stacer by visiting our Territory Striker page to find out more or contact your local dealer at stacer. au

BOATING & marine

The Stacer Crossfire Side Console is considered by many to be the perfect all-rounder boat, capable of meeting all the needs of the family.

Meet the perfect all-rounder Crossfire Side Console


T’S often a common debate among families that have finally decided to purchase a boat – which one to get? Opinions usually differ greatly, someone may want a fishing machine with a big casting deck and plenty of space for gear, while someone else may want something on the more luxurious side with cushions and lounge areas. And the kids may want something that is water sports compatible to scratch their adrenaline itch. Well, why can’t you have it all in one? The Stacer Crossfire Side Console is considered by many to be the perfect all-rounder boat, capable of meeting all the needs of the family. Available in six different models from the 449 to the 589, there is a size

to suit every family unit and a suite of options to appease every lifestyle. First, let’s get to the fishing aspects of the boat. The layout consists of the popular side console setup, featuring a large casting deck at the front. A live bait tank, inbuilt rod holders and a bowmount thruster plate are included as standard to heighten your fishing experience. A cutting board can be mounted on the back of the boat for those who like to fillet their fish on the spot. For the more luxurious aspects of the boat, the front casting deck is available for upgrade to a cushion-covered bow lounge area, with additional padding on the inner sides of the boat for a passenger’s back. Couple this with a bi-

mini option and boom – you have an instant bow rider for cruising the waterways. Finally, for the adrenaline junkies, a ski pole can be added on for all manner of skiing, tubing and boarding shenanigans. To make these decisions even easier, Stacer offers distinct option packs to suit your lifestyle and preferences.

The angler pack for the fishing-focused, the entertainment pack for those who love to cruise with some tunes, the travel pack for those who are all about the driving experience and the SE for those who want it all! The Crossfire Side Consoles all feature Stacer’s Revolution Hull, which includes a concave bottom sheet to slice through the water

with ease and a raised chine to deflect spray from inside the boat. All models also include safety rails along the boat and rubber gunnels to give added protection when docking. To find out more information on the Crossfire Side Console range, head to iumboat-range/crossfires or head into your local Stacer dealership.

The front casting deck is available for upgrade to a cushion-covered bow lounge area, with additional padding on the inner sides of the boat for a passenger’s back. Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 65

C AMPING & outdoors

One of 28 cod Violet caught and released over the weekend and author ‘Pop’ enjoyed guiding duties.

First outing after gap year


Tony managed to get on to a few fish, though he was pipped for ‘fish of the trip’ on this occasion. Page 66 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

OLLOW I NG an unintentional but necessary gap year from fishing, the planets aligned and saw me engaged in one of my favourite forms of fishing. A rare few days off work that coincided with number-two son Tony having leave was the window of opportunity needed to throw some gear together and head bush. We were fortunate to have my grand-daughter Violet along with us on this trip, as we’ve enjoyed fishing outings together since she was old enough to hold a rod. During those out-

Fishing for sport by NEIL SCHULTZ

ings, our target species were usually either golden perch or bass, with a foray or two on silver perch lakes. For Violet’s fifth birthday, I built a fishing rod with images of an Australian bass and a Murray cod in the bindings and three years on, the cod had eluded her, so remedying that was our mission. Being summer, the lakes on the western side of the range were understandably crowded with anglers and

skiers, so we opted for a secluded stretch of river where Tony and I had both enjoyed success in years past. An unhurried drive had us rolling into camp about five hours after leaving home and as soon as we’d unpacked, Violet was keen to fish. Here in the high-country headwaters, the stream was a series of fairly shallow stony pools and as such, in spite of the midday hour, we had * continued P67 au

C AMPING & outdoors

First outing after gap year * from P66

a chance of teasing a cod into action. We chose one of the larger pools because it had some deeper water and more importantly, shade from a couple of large black peppermint trees on the western bank. Tony and I stood back to watch while Violet lobbed a lure that I had made some years ago, specifically designed for these shallow cod waters. Seeing the lure ‘boofed’ by a cod on the first cast had all three of us quite enthusiastic and primed for the next throw. Only two casts later Violet hooked up and, with a little coaching, was able to tire the fish and steer it away from rocks to Tony’s waiting lip gripper. Mission accomplished! The pressure was off, so Tony joined in casting while I acted as Violet’s personal guide for the afternoon. Numbers of cod released were steadily added to the tally sheet, with Violet being given first crack at likely looking spots as we progressed downstream. After the sun had dipped below the hills to the west, the fishing heated up and in a flurry of activity, it was a strike per cast. Risking a walk back to the car in the dark,

we persisted until Violet’s tally reached 20 cod released for the afternoon – exceeding our expectations. After lunch on day two, following a morning spent exploring and bird watching, we headed back to the river for another session. Once again, I acted as Violet’s guide, unhooking fish for her as they came to hand. As expected, the bright sunlight of early afternoon had the fishing action quite slow but there was enough activity to keep everyone interested. After we travelled to a large shaded pool further downstream, the strikes became more frequent. The highlight of the afternoon session was Violet hooking the fish of the trip – a solid cod comfortably in excess of 80cm that – as for most of her fish on the trip – took a lure made by ‘Pop’. Being positioned on a high bank made landing this whopper quite awkward and Tony had to drop down to water level and perch on a tiny clay ledge to get within reach. He secured the fish with a lip gripper and lifted it with his free hand under its belly for support to pass it up for a quick photo. At that moment, the fish kicked from his grasp, slipped its jaw from the gripper and

dropped back into the drink – without the lure attached. Tony and I were understandably gutted, however Violet was very nonchalant about the episode and was happy to have caught the fish, even without a photo. After losing her ‘lucky’ lure to a snag, Violet decided to take a break and generously loaned me her rod so that I could have a few throws. I’ve always been lucky and, even after a year without putting a lure in the water, my luck hadn’t deserted me. Within a few minutes of casting, I was on to a nice fish and without any fanfare, landed a handsomely marked fish in the 60cm range for a happy snap. Satisfied, we called an end to our session, headed back to camp for a feed and spent the evening driving the tracks, showing Violet the rabbits and possums. We headed for home the following morning, wondering how we were going to top this trip with Violet’s tally of cod sitting at 28. Chatting on the way home, we were hopeful that with the lacklustre past few years behind us, we might enjoy a pandemic-free year with no natural disasters during 2023.

Violet with her first-ever Murray cod – guess her shirt is correct, she is the ‘fish whisperer’.

Lip gripper tips


HILE a net can provide an immediate end to a battle with a fish in one quick scoop, lip grippers can also make handling and landing fish short work, so it’s a good idea to have both tools handy. Mainly for controlling and handling fish, lip grippers are not necessarily used for landing your catch. Grippers have the benefit of giving you full control of the fish’s mouth, hooks don’t get caught up in the net and the fish’s slime coat isn’t compromised from lying on the boat deck. Used properly, grip-

pers make handling average-sized fish easier. Once the angler has lifted the fish from the water, the lip grippers control the fish while a companion fisho removes the hook for a quick release. Remember, do not hang the fish vertically with lip grippers. Hold the fish horizontally, with a hand under the belly to alleviate pressure on the fish’s lower jaw, and support its internal organs. There are many lip grippers on the market, so do your research, stick to your budget and enjoy catching and releasing.

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 67

C AMPING & outdoors

The flat grassy sites were great places to set up camp.

Tin Can Bay Tourist Park

I Bikes and items for other activities were available to hire.

F you feel like escaping the hustle and bustle of city life and need a break that’s laid back and won’t break the budget, I think I may have found the perfect place! Only a four-hour drive from the Gold Coast – or about three hours from Brisbane – is the beautiful Tin Can Bay. This area is well known for its great fishing and crabbing,

Reception to the park is open all day and the Tin Can Bay Tourist Park staff help out with plenty of handy information. Page 68 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

Touring TCB by BEN SMITH

with several ramps for those who are thinking of towing the boat up. Tin Can Bay Tourist Park is located right in town and accommodates anything – from tents and caravans to motorhomes. Powered sites are there for those wishing to plug in for longer stays, with unpowered sites as well for those who want to simply pitch a tent and enjoy the outdoors. The level grassy sites combined with wide roadways are well laid out, so there’s room to reverse big caravans with no trouble. Onsite facilities are very nice, with a big camp kitchen hosting a gas stove, loads of

stainless-steel benchtops, two big sinks and two barbecues, as well as jugs, pots, pans and a shared fridge freezer, of course. It’s all undercover and has generous seating for the whole family. The swimming pool is beautiful on a hot day and once again, there’s plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the water. The pool tapers down gradually, so that kids feel safe getting in while their adults relax on a sunlounge under the sail shade. The toilets and showers are modern and very clean, even with the park at full capacity when we stayed over * continued P69 au

C AMPING & outdoors

Taking in TCB Tourist Park * from P68

the Christmas break, and there was never a wait. The park does allow pets too, for those travelling with their furry friends, plus there are many walking tracks close by for a nice stroll. If you don’t feel like walking, bikes are onsite – which can be hired for a very reasonable fee – as well as balls and games for general public use. On the main street of town is a service station to fuel up, a bottle shop and a grocery store for all the essentials. Snaking its way along the full length of the waterfront is a concreted walking and cycling track that extends from Crab Creek all the way up to the public pool and boat ramp at the

northern end of town. From 6:30am each morning, dolphins come in for feeding and, for a small fee, you can line up to handfeed them and get some awesome photos of the magical experience. And there’s a café handy for breakfast and a coffee once you’re done. At the other end of town is Crab Creek Park, which has a public boat ramp too – from here you can access the creek to drown a few crab pots and bag a nice feed of mud crab. Another nice café up from the ramp does breakfast wraps and smoothies, as well as a mean bacon and eggs dish. Remember to take a yabby pump because

there are acres of yabby flats to work at low tide, plus whiting are there all year – just off the beach near the park. Rainbow Beach and Inskip Point are only a 20–30 minute drive away for those looking for a day trip from the bay, and don’t forget to stop in at Seary’s Creek on the road to Rainbow. There are so many other things to mention – such as the marina, the skate park, the golf club, the offshore fishing charters… I could go on, but I’ll leave that up to you to research. It’s a great place in every way and the rates are easy on the pocket, so if you’re looking to stay, give Sharlene a call on 07 5486 4411 or visit them on the website at tincanbaytourist

The relaxing tropical swimming pool is a great way to cool off after a big day.

At work washing up after dinner at the TCB Tourist Park camp kitchen.

Crab Creek Park


RING a picnic basket, fishing gear, your swimmers and prepare for a day of fun. Crab Creek Park in Tin Can Bay has a playground, barbecue facilities, a toilet block and even a public boat ramp. And there are numerous tracks that are perfect for cycling or a stroll. Crab Creek Park provides you with ample opportunities for fun and enjoyment. Tin Can Bay is ideal for young families and adventurers looking for unique expe-

riences, particularly on water – the entire region is famous for world-class fishing. A major highlight is the wild dolphins, and each year many people come in the morning to see the resident dolphins of Norman Point feeding. These intelligent and charming creatures are a major draw to the area, and visitors can enjoy the opportunity of learning about them while they are in their natural habitat. The best time to see the dolphins is between 6.30am and 8am.

These intelligent and charming creatures are a major draw. Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 69

TOURING & exploring

Simon the trout whisperer with a solid common trout.

The author and a nice trout.

Quick trip to Cooktown

L Simon caught a lovely barcheek coral trout.

Crystal-clear water and amazing coral life. Page 70 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

ATE November and early December bring glassy and extremely humid conditions to far north Queensland. The transition period into the wet season – known as the doldrums – sees the strong southeasterly wind completely drop out. It can be one of the most exciting times to visit Cape York. Most travellers have headed south to avoid the onset of the wet and therefore miss some of the best weather windows to explore the reef and fish offshore. Having previously lived in the Torres Strait for 12 years, annually we would plan long-range fishing trips at the end of the year, as early December provided an opportunity to fish remote areas in dead flat seas. So, when planning a trip to Cooktown to visit friends, I booked flights for the beginning of December in the hope of

Touring Cooktown by MATT POTTER

scoring excellent weather, and I wasn’t disappointed. With the wet approaching, flying is a far better and easier option than driving. From Cairns, you can fly to Cooktown with Hinterland Aviation on a Cessna 208, which seats 12 people. The flight on this small aircraft is a scenic one and only takes 45 minutes. Cooktown is a place of pristine and diverse landscapes, strong indigenous culture and historic significance. Located at the mouth of the Endeavour River, it is where Captain James Cook beached his ship the HM Bark Endeavour for repairs in 1770. Upon arrival, I was greeted by friend Reece

and his partner Eva, who gave me a tour of the stunning foreshore, beaches and lookout, before a quick stop at the Lure Shop Tackle World Cooktown to grab a few supplies and seek a bit of local knowledge. The staff were extremely helpful and passed on loads of information, which was invaluable. The first day, we dropped a couple of crab pots in a land-based creek and went for a drive to cool off at a little roadside waterfall in the dense rainforest. There are so many hidden creeks and stunning waterfalls to cool off in around this part of the world, though make sure you know which ones you can and can’t swim in. * continued P71 au

TOURING & exploring

Quick trip to Cooktown * from P70

We checked the pots for a couple of nice mud crabs and spent the afternoon preparing Reece’s boat for our upcoming on-water adventures. The boat was a little 4.2m Stessco Mtune Craft Catcher with a 40hp Yamaha. Not your typical offshore vessel but with the weather forecast we had of 0-5 knots, it would be a pleasant run out to the reef. We headed out for a morning of fishing and diving, with the water crystal clear and the coral spectacular. The diving certainly made me miss the tropics. A few tasty species came aboard, including trout, longnose emperor and blue bone. The next day, Reece had to work, so I borrowed his tinnie, fuelled up as many drums as I could find, hit up his neighbour Simon to join me and headed even wider – about 35NM – to fish a reef system with some interesting contours I’d been studying on the charts. As we pulled up, a dark shadow approached the boat – we couldn’t believe it when a lit-up sailfish came up to the prop wash. I threw a handful of pilchard overboard and it happily swam around with its sail raised out of the water, engulfing the bait as I raced to tie on a circle hook. Unfortunately, it soon disappeared. It was a great way to start the day and get the

heart pumping, nonetheless. We threw the lures out while I sounded around in 25-35m for country that would hold trout. I’d marked a number of impressive bommies but was particularly looking for those with heaps of bait present. I anchored the Stessco in 28m of water on an impressive show and dropped down whole pilchard and squid on paternoster rigs, as there was a bit of run. It didn’t take long before we had solid trout coming aboard one after the other. There is nothing like that initial hit from a solid trout. We repeated this process of sounding about, locating the bait and dropping bait throughout the day. We continued to pull in quality trout and an assortment of other species, including spangled, longnose and sweetlip emperor and a number of trevally species. The fishing was red hot and we ended up with a range of coral trout varieties coming over the side that included common, barcheek and passionfruit trout between 60-76cm. We topped the day off by cooling down in the crystal-clear water at a sand cay on the way home. Back at the ramp, we had a hair-raising experience with a large crocodile, which approached – possibly stalked – us as we retrieved the boat. It certainly pays to not be complacent in croc country because they are

always there, whether you can see them or not. The next day, I was invited aboard the boat of keen spearofisho Jo Carpenter, who was heading wide for a dive. With an ear infection still giving me a little grief, I was happy to be boatie and drive. Joe had an impressive breath hold and speared some quality trout and tuskfish. A nice spanish mackerel on the troll topped off another great day on the water. It was fair to say that I’d made the most of the great weather window. On the final day, I met up with good friends from Thursday Island – Chris and Jaz – who now live in Cooktown. They took me on a guided tour to some amazing sites and waterfalls, and we had a delicious lunch in the air-conditioning at the Cooktown Bowls Club before I jumped on my flight to head home. It had been a quick but action-packed trip to this tropical paradise and, with so many fishing options, it’s fair to say that Cooktown is indeed a fishing mecca.

A passionfruit trout was a surprise addition.

The landscapes and waterfalls around Cooktown are stunning.

A magnificent vista of the Cooktown coastline. Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 71

TOURING & exploring The Starlink satellite issue was sorted with a new inverter that would run off an Anderson plug wired to the battery.

Mount Ferguson is definitely worth the walk. It has spectacular 360-degree views.

Solid circuit start at Stanthorpe

T Stanthorpe has a host of activities to keep the kids entertained, including mini golf and a maze.

The Foxbar Falls walk is very steep, but worth doing with the correct footwear and gear. Page 72 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

RADITIONALLY, our summer holidays are either spent basking by a beach or in the boat chasing spotted mackerel and a feed of crabs. This year, we decided to try something a little different and headed west – destination Stanthorpe. With windy weather forecasted, the boat wasn’t going to get too much use and a trip to Foxbar Falls, just out of Stanthorpe, would be a good test run for the Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series and JB caravan before we departed on our six-month adventure around Australia. For this trip, our camping companions were the Bock family, who we regularly try to go away with. Unfortunately, on this excursion, the wind followed us out west, which made swimming in the lakes a more exhilarat-

Family Adventures by BEN COLLINS

ing experience than was originally expected. The windy weather didn’t stop the kids from paddling in kayaks or on the stand-up paddle board, though travelling on in one direction was much easier than the other. Plus, we couldn’t complain too much as the cool nights meant the fire was the centre attraction for either cooking food (thanks Nick) or as the focal point when we relaxed with a few beverages. I had planned to try to get a little fishing in while in the area, with either a cod, yellowbelly or silver perch on the list, but time did not allow because there were a few more things to finalise before heading off on our lap.

One of those was sorting out the Starlink satellite. It had worked perfectly when tested at the office but struggled when surrounded by trees, which we were camped beneath. However, this problem was fixed after a quick discussion and a trip to the local Repco shop. A few refreshments later and I soon had a new inverter that would run off an Anderson plug that had been wired to the battery. The 200 Series LandCruiser does have a 100W plug in the back and I’ve heard a few people say it works with their Starlink, however I wanted to make sure we had enough power to run it * continued P73 au

TOURING & exploring Solid circuit start at Stanthorpe * from P72

without shorting it out. Interestingly enough, when plugged in, the initial search saw the wattage reached 140W, which would have been getting very close to the maximum the factory fitted plug on the LandCruiser would handle. Hence, I was happy with the decision to have the 600W inverter set up and ready for the trip – it also meant we could leave the van and still have internet when travelling with only the car. Even with some final preparations, we did have the opportunity to explore a few of the sights around Stanthorpe too. Initially the wives had planned to do a few wine tours, but they seemed to be lacking – possibly closed while we were there because it was the Christmas New Year period. Despite that, we still managed to visit a couple of the local attractions, including Castle Glen, which is a magnificent looking building filled with a selection of wines, spirits and a heap of different alcohol available for purchase. Inside was a grand fireplace that would be awesome to sit beside on a cool winter night – though you can only sample the drinks here and not actually sit at a bar or order any food. Another place that caught our eyes was the Granite Belt Brewery, which made its own beer on site. Situated next to a small dam, the back deck provided a nice backdrop

for testing some of the local produce. Attractions While there is a strong focus on wine and beer in the area, Stanthorpe offers plenty more to do and see. One shop that was very interesting was the Kent Saddlery shop, located slightly out of town. If you are into leather or anything to do with horses, you will be impressed. Even though we didn’t buy anything, the prices were quite reasonable. We also visited Sam’s Fresh Fruit and Veg on the way in, where we stocked up on a heap of local produce, including a new variety of apples that are grown locally. Foxbar Falls Foxbar Falls has a mix of powered and non-powered sites scattered around several dams. The dams are used as water supply for the farm you drive through to access the camping areas. While there are both power and water, you may need a long lead and hose, as was the case for our camp. I would classify it more as bush camping

with a few modern conveniences. In addition to the lake to keep the kids busy, there were a couple of walks that I strongly recommend. One in particular was the walk up to Mount Ferguson, which meanders up the back of one of the camps. It was a little steep but manageable if you took your time and the view at the top was awesome. From there, you can either follow the path back down or further explore the area and check out the falls. Unfortunately, they were not flowing while we were there, though this did allow us to walk down them. This part of the walk was very steep – so you need to take care. The Sow and Pigs Rock is another climb that can be done when you’re in the area. Overall, the camping area was relatively basic but that was what we were after, and there’s plenty to do, if so inclined. Alternatively, it’s a nice place to simply relax, unwind and watch the magnificent sunsets.

A few beautiful walks on offer around Foxbar Falls.

Castle Glen is a magnificent looking building filled with a mix of wines, spirits and a heap of different alcohol.

Vineyards can be fun for both kids and adults.

If you are into anything to do with horses, then you will need to visit The Kent Saddlery shop. Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 73

TOURING & exploring

The flora and fauna of South and Western Australia was epic. A new Holland honeyeater perched on a scarlet banksia.

Our camp at the magnificent Point Labatt overlooked the Great Australian Bight.

Eyre Peninsula and beyond


Seeing endangered Australian sea lions in their natural habitat was a real highlight.

ELL, I didn’t get much fishing on the magnificent Cape York in last year because my wife Shelley and I did what we called a ‘gap lap’ around this fabulous country. So named as, for the most part, we travelled straight through Queensland and NSW – having already toured fairly

Banjo enjoyed the great outdoors of this stunning country. Page 74 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

The Gap Lap - Part 1 by BARRY ‘BILLABONG BAZ’ LYON

widely thereabouts – to South Australia. As well, we wanted to maximise our time further west. We travelled in our 2011 Land Rover Discovery 4 and towed a 12’ X-Scape off-road caravan made by The Little Caravan Company. Both performed brilliantly over 23,000km, without even a flat tyre. We had the Discovery serviced in Geraldton in Western Australia and its only hiccup on the road was a loose battery terminal, which caused the car’s computer to have a hissy fit. But it was easily fixed. The highlights of our gap lap? Well, there were so many! Despite some wild wet weather, South Australia really impressed. Fabulously rugged coastlines with Austral-

ian sea lions on Eyre Peninsula, squid caught off jetties, and the wineries, of course! Being heavily into nature, the Naracoorte Caves with all the incredible fossils was wonderful too. We took one of the ranger guided tours, which was very informative. Over many thousands of years, animals have fallen through holes in the limestone landscape and into the caves below. The fossils that remain give a remarkable history of Australia’s extinct megafauna – such as the marsupial lion thylacaleao, thylacines and huge kangaroos. And yes, you can still see the original fossils in situ. Fowlers Bay on the Eyre Peninsula held great appeal as some* continued P75 au

TOURING & exploring Eyre Peninsula and beyond * from P74

thing completely different. Huge sand dunes overlook this little scenic coastal settlement, and apparently the fishing can be excellent. Unfortunately, strong wind had brought in a huge amount of seaweed, so fishing was out! The most amazing campsite of the entire trip was undoubtedly Point Labatt, to the east of the start of the Nullarbor Plain. Here, we camped beside the Great Australian Bight and the amazing views of the sheer cliffs and great Southern Ocean were truly unforgettable! Another amazing experience was seeing the southern right whales at the Head of the Bight. They had recently arrived to breed and were easily seen from the extensive boardwalk and viewing platform swimming around. The colour of the wa-

ter was something else – a feature that was fairly commonplace in the south and west. The Nullarbor Plain is a remarkable stretch of country – and proper long! Our most expensive fuel price was at the Nullarbor Roadhouse at $3 a litre. Though carrying two jerry cans of diesel, I was keen to keep the Discovery topped up because roadhouses at that time – June and July – were frequently running out of fuel, due to the high number of travellers on the road. Being stranded somewhere waiting for a fuel truck was not our idea of fun. Once across the Nullarbor, we diverted down to Bremer Bay in Western Australia. Yet another spectacular area, where we spent quite a few days exploring the magnificence coastline and hinterland. Western Australia is

of course famous for its wildflowers, and Bremer Bay is one of the hotspots. A place called Tozer’s Bush Camp had great reviews, so we headed in for a look around. This beautiful set up featured a camp kitchen, huge amenities block and sites set among the stunning flora. Tozer the owner had a sign at the front of the camp buildings that read, “This camp only has one rule – common sense.” “If you don’t have any, I’ll let you know!” It was a remarkable place to explore via a series of walking tracks, and Tozer himself was a great character. A former farmer, he had turned to tourism based on the world-famous flora of the area and appeared to be doing very well. From there, we headed further west to explore more populated areas. More in the next issue.

The spectacular coastal scenery of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

Signs at Tozer’s Bush Camp near Bremer Bay.

The amazing coastline at Head of the Bight.

Australian sea lions


UNTED to the verge of extinction, the endangered Australian sea lion takes refuge in the waters of the Great Australian Bight, with about 80 percent of the population found there. To feed, the Australian sea lion dives deep, descending to the seafloor to prey on bottom-dwelling fish, squid, rock lobster and even small sharks and rays. The waters here support important feeding grounds and sea lions travel hundreds of kilometres and swim up to five days without rest to get the marine park. Back on the coast, they seek broad flat areas to rest, give birth and raise their young. Some of these colonies can be found at the base of the Bunda Cliffs and seasonal

breeding surveys have been undertaken by South Australian Research and Development Institute to track their population health since the 1990s. Until recently, these surveys relied on binoculars, cameras and a lot of patience. However, in 2017 drones were introduced and inconveniences such as 100m sheer cliff faces and rock ledges that obscured even the most eagle eyed researcher suddenly disappeared – replaced by increased accuracy and a much bigger survey capacity. Parks Australia is working in partnership with the South Australian Department of Environment and Water to monitor Australia sea lion populations using this innovative technology.

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 75

Barramundi find it hard to resist the action, noise and bubble trail of a Z-Man Goat ToadZ buzzed across the surface.

Vinnie Versfeld with a quality barramundi that ate a Z-Man HerculeZ pre-rigged swimbait fished along a weed edge.

Barra tips and techniques


Jason Milne with a quality barramundi landed fishing a Z-Man HerculeZ pre-rigged swimbait in among the timber.

Reece Thomas with a quality barramundi pinned on a Z-Man HerculeZ pre-rigged swimbait.

Vinnie Versfeld with a Z-Man Goat ToadZ rigged weedless for fishing topwater on a TT Fishing ChinlockZ jig head. Page 76 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

ITH barramundi season opening in Queensland from February 1 and the northern impoundments firing, many anglers are planning or setting off on a northern fishing adventure. I thought this would be a great time to take a closer look at three techniques that have proven successful for friends and I when we’re targeting barra, along with the presentation that gets the bites for us when using each technique. Including these three techniques in your arsenal is sure to increase your chances of hooking up to some memorable fish on your adventure. Fish on! Topwater frogging Presentation – Z-Man 4” Goat ToadZ on a 6/0 TT Fishing ChinlockZ or 1/8oz 6/0 ChinlockZ SWS. Buzzing frogs across the surface can attract fish from afar and draw some brutal surface strikes, making for some adrenaline-filled fishing. Prime areas to target include pockets in the weed beds, water behind the hard line of weed edges and over the top of shallow weed beds, where barramundi cruise through the breaks in the

Tackle Tactics by JUSTIN WILLMER

weed bed and lay in the weed pockets waiting to ambush bait. Frogs can also be effective, working shallower edges and points. In the salt, they are also deadly when skipped under mangroves and into drains, then buzzed back out. Cast long and use any available breeze to increase casting distance. Keep your rod tip up and wind fast enough that the paddle feet on the frog start to bubble and gurgle, creating an irresistible sound, bubble trail and action that drives barra crazy. The unweighted ChinlockZ is ideal for buoyancy, paired with the naturally buoyant Goat ToadZ, while the belly weighted ChinlockZ SWS will increase cast-

ing distance, especially if you are battling a little in the wind. A continual steady retrieve generally attracts the bites, however if the bites aren’t coming, don’t be afraid to mix things up with a few pauses or a pulse and pause around structure. This technique is a great way to cover water and find actively feeding fish. Soft plastic swimbaits Presentation – Z-Man HerculeZ 4”, 5” or 6”. One of the most popular ways to fish for impoundment barramundi – and a technique that is also effective when fishing deeper in the salt – is slow rolling soft plastic swimbaits. This technique is ideal for beginners and dead* continued P77

A pre-rigged paddle tail such as the Z-Man HerculeZ is a simple way for anglers to get into barramundi. au

Barra tips and techniques * from P76

ly for experienced anglers, as straight out of the packet, the Z-Man HerculeZ is ready to go – rigged with a strong hook and being a paddle tail, there’s loads of action to attract fish and trigger strikes. It’s a perfect mullet imitation – a favourite food of barramundi. An integrated stainless-steel attachment point on the belly allows the addition of a treble or assist hooks to increase the hookup rate, especially when fishing more open water. You can roll a swimbait almost anywhere, however proven areas to target include weed edges, points, timber, channels in the weed and over the top of weed flats. You can regulate the depth at which your swimbait runs by speeding up the retrieve (shallower) or slowing the retrieve (deeper) or by adjusting the rod angle higher (shallower) or lower (deeper). A constant slow retrieve is generally preferred, however if the bite is tough, you may wish to mix things up by varying the retrieve speed or adding the occasional pause.

Weedless rigged plastics Presentation – Z-Man MinnowZ, DieZel MinnowZ or SwimmerZ on a TT Fishing SnakelockZ, Snake EyeZ or ChinlockZ SpinZ. One of the most effective ways to target barramundi, especially when fishing around structure, is to cast and retrieve weedless rigged paddle tail plastics. Weedless rigging sees the hook point and barb concealed within or sitting hard against the back of the paddle tail, allowing you to fish weed, timber, lilies and other structure with minimal chance of snagging or fouling. This technique also allows you to reduce tackle losses when gearing up and heading north on a barra adventure. The ability to interchange TT Fishing SnakelockZ and Snake EyeZ head weights and hook sizes also allows you more rigging options, while reducing the amount of gear you need to purchase and carry with you. In freshwater impoundments, the larger plastics are more popular – such as the Z-Man 5” DieZel MinnowZ and 6” SwimmerZ, rigged on 6/0 and

Reece Thomas with a quality barramundi pinned on a Z-Man HerculeZ pre-rigged swimbait.

8/0 weedless jig heads. While in the salt, where the average fish size will be smaller, these will still get a run, however Z-Man 3” MinnowZ on a 3/0 and 4” SwimmerZ or DieZel MinnowZ on a 4/0 will dominate the catches. Again, a slow roll is generally the preferred retrieve technique, varying the speed or adding a few pauses if you’re not getting the bites. I generally prefer to keep the plastic moving and keep the pauses short when rigging weedless because this helps to ensure a positive hook set when fish strike. Rigging weedless gives you the ability to fish the ugliest structure you can find, from laydown timber to timber snag piles, mangrove edges to weed beds and those fishy looking drains that are often riddled with snags. It will also see you spending less time unhooking lures out of the mangroves or timber if your casting accuracy is a little off – meaning less fish spooked and more time with your lure in the water. So, there you go, if you’re planning a barramundi adventure and looking for a few methods to try that have proven themselves time and again, these three techniques and presentations are a great starting point. Remember to keep your eyes and ears open for bait, prime structure and fish activity. And rig a variety of lures if you’re fishing with friends, so you can more effectively crack a pattern, and vary your retrieves until you find what draws the strikes on the day. Most importantly, enjoy the journey, the places fishing takes you and all the cool stuff you encounter along the way. See you on the water.

Vinnie Versfeld and a cracker barramundi that ate a weedless rigged paddle tail fished sub-surface on a TT Fishgin ChinlockZ SpinZ jig head.

Weedless rigged paddle tails allowed Reece Thomas to fish deep in the structure for barramundi.

Weedless rigged paddle tails allow you to fish deep in the structure for barramundi – caught by Reece Thomas.

Weedless rigged frogs and paddle tails are a great option when fishing pockets and drains in the weed.

When the arena looks like this, weedless rigged plastics are the go – topwater or sub-surface. Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 77

The author took a 91cm barramundi on a Shads 6” in Silver Flash.

Full moon, new moon or somewhere in between

n Moon phases for warmer months

Clay Litherland scored a monster 96cm barramundi on a Molix Shad 140mm in Perch.

Lake Monduran

Charter Guidelines Fishing s

e latest update

cebook for th

Find us on Fa





licence required


• Hot water • Sleeps 8, licensed for 10 • Self-contained • DVD player • BBQ • Fridge/freezer


07 4157 3881 or email Page 78 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023


T’S a fairly widely held consensus among most impoundment barramundi anglers that the lead up to and, in particular, the few days before a full moon are the best times to chase barra. Now, there may be some truth to this, but the moon cannot be relied on entirely when choosing the best time to book a trip to Lake Monduran. Water temperature, wind and other environmental factors are much better indicators of a good bite, in my opinion. The following information is more relevant to the hottest months of the year – generally October to March – as, for me, the moon has less of an influence on fish behaviour over colder months.

Lake Monduran by SAM ROWLEY

Full moon The full moon is a great time to fish Lake Monduran, particularly on warm summer nights. The hotter the weather, generally the better the fishing will be at night. Barramundi have excellent vision in low light and can feed on the darkest of nights. Though the full moon is so effective at night because it gives barra the perfect amount of light to ambush their prey. However, the question of what makes before the moon better than after still remains. This can be easily explained – it’s much easier to fish into the night

before the full moon because the moon has already risen prior to darkness setting in. Every night after the full moon, you can expect it to rise about an hour later – meaning you are virtually blind fishing for a period of time. The fishing can still be great after the full moon, given the right conditions – though you must be willing to put in later nights. One error I see many people make is that they plan a trip on the full moon because they’ve read it’s the best time to go. They launch the boat in the morning and are out trying to tempt * continued P79 au

Full moon, new moon or somewhere in between * from P78

fish that have spent the overnight hours feeding. The fishos soon give up, after enduring scorching temperatures, and are off the water by mid-afternoon. If you are going to come up on a full moon between October and March, you need to plan to fish from mid-afternoon into the night. If night fishing, it is important to have the correct navigation lights fitted to your boat, as well as a spotlight or light bar to help you navigate the lake safely. A sounder with quality mapping technology is also very helpful, but should never be relied upon solely. New moon The new moon is a great time for anyone who loves daylight fishing. Though fish can still

be caught at night on the new moon, particularly through the hottest part of summer. The key with daylight fishing during these months is to work out at what point during the day the fish are feeding. This has a lot to do with water temperature. The hotter the water temperature gets, the more likely the fish will be to feed in cooler low-light periods. Generally, this is once the water temperature reaches about 27-28C first thing in the morning. A mistake many people make is that they completely rule out the potential for barramundi to be feeding through the middle of the day. These feeding habits are particularly noticeable during cooler months, however can often be relevant during periods of cooler weather in late spring and summer too.

Bait restrictions – aquacultured or farmed fish


OME fishers may not be aware that aquacultured or farmed fish can’t be used as bait – alive or dead. It can negatively affect our native fisheries resources through disease transmission and translocation of species outside their natural range. This is a legal re-

quirement under section 91 of the Fisheries Act 1994. You need to hold the relevant aquaculture approvals to release aquaculture fisheries resources. Only freshwater shrimp, bloodworms and sand wriggle worms can be sold by aquaculture operators for use as bait.

Bruno Merlini with a 86cm barramundi on a Jackall DD Squirrel Hank Tune 79mm in Uroko Vision Wakasagi.

Lake Monduran Fishing Charters What’s the mission? Catch more fish!

0432 420 034 Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 79

Getting back to normal


ITH another year tucked under the belt, we head into 2023 and the fishing to be had within the headwaters of the upper Murray Darling systems, which is looking great.

Jordy McCall from Goondiwindi caught a decent yellowbelly from Glenlyon Dam.

Cooper Kelly of Tenterfield with a 75cm cod caught while enjoying a trip on the Mole River with his grandfather.




JAN 96 64 98 96 100 122 24 36 85 98 110 42 97 97 101 93 95 95 100 100 97 65 71 80 109 88 100 79 92 98 For updates on dams, visit or *This symbol indicates that a Stocked Impoundment Permit is required to fish these dams.

Atkinson * Awoonga Bjelke-Petersen * Boondooma * Borumba * Burdekin Falls * Callide * Cania * Coolmunda * Dyer/Bill Gunn * Eungella * Fairbairn * Glenlyon * Hinze* Julius * Kinchant * Leslie * Macdonald* Maroon * Monduran/Fred Haigh * Moogerah * North Pine/Samsonvale * Peter Faust/Proserpine * Somerset * Teemburra * Tinaroo* Toonumbar Wivenhoe * Wuruma * Wyaralong*





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Page 80 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

Glenlyon Dam by BRIAN DARE

With fish restocking now in full swing, to date about 100,000 golden perch have been let into Glenlyon, with a further 130,000 golden perch to go in soon. Our stocking group team would like to thank all our special visitors, who stopped in at Glenlyon during the year and saw fit to donate items for our auction on New Year’s Eve. This year we raised over $7500, along with a donation of $1000 from Pat Gay of Craigie Station. So, in total, 7500 Murray cod, 15,000 silver perch and about 230,000 golden perch are to be stocked in Glenlyon Dam for the 2023 season. Those lure makers who come to the dam for the ‘fish and meet’ competitions twice a year, donate lures for auction and raffles, an act that is greatly appreciated by our stocking group. The fun the little ones had putting fingerlings in this year was good to see, with small buckets of water flying around everywhere and fish put to bed to grow. The rivers are, as you know, flowing again and fish are returning to the locations they once knew, which are somewhat changed. Along with this, changes to the legal size of 35cm for golden perch (also known as yellowbelly) and 35cm for silver perch

– for both species on rivers and water storages – have been requested. As was the possession limit on storages for silver perch – from two back to five. Having both perch lengths lifted to 35cm will give both species time to grow to a better breeding size in both storages and streams. A lot can be said about our Darling Murray perch – to see them move upstream from a storage to major barriers and not being able to go further, so drop their eggs. Meaning masses of eggs move back downstream into grass and weeds – like frogs’ eggs. It’s something to remember and is recruitment at its best. My good friend Mal Brown sent me a copy of a letter he’d received from Dan McIntyre, with regard to the 35cm size limit recommended for golden perch to be put forward, along with an increase to five as a possession limit for silver perch. It was noted though that there was no mention by Dan McIntyre of also increasing the size limit for silver perch to 35cm on storages, as well as rivers and streams. I can accept no take on rivers for silver perch, leaving storages at a five take, but the 35cm in length is still in question.

* continued P81 au

Getting back to normal * from P80

I hope the 35cm silver perch length is also brought in. Anglers and locals have been having a ball on rivers recently because the fishing has improved out of sight since the floods. Speaking with local farmers shed light on the questions of where and how so many fish returned so quickly – there are fish galore! We need to do further studies on the changed conditions of our rivers. With over 14 months of constant river flow, a great deal of movement

has taken place. I will be talking to some of our previous team members and will look at doing a study into what has occurred. One of these changes could well be the access upstream and movement over old weirs in our region, which need to be removed, giving connectivity for the whole Dumaresq River system – more on this later. Meanwhile, I can see Murray cod starting to show up in our local storages and being caught as they look for new sites, with the storages now full and ready to fire.

Bucket list trip catches cash and a great big fish


FISHING holiday targeting bucket list species has netted a $20,000 cash catch for a Maleny fisho who jagged first prize in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Fish’n’SIP$ tagged fishing competition. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said Billy Perske claimed the cash after landing his dream catch of a 1m barramundi when fishing on Lake Tinaroo near Cairns on Wednesday December 14, 2022. “Landing the fish that topped your bucket list to win a competition is a dream come true, and

I congratulate Billy who now has 20,000 reasons to smile, not to mention a terrific story about the fish that didn’t get away,” Minister Furner said. SIPS permits are available for purchase online, through the QLD Fishing 2.0 smartphone app, at 585 Australia Post outlets throughout Queensland and northern NSW or by phoning 1300 575 359. Revenue from SIPS

permits supports volunteer groups to stock impoundments with native fish species including golden perch, Australian bass and barramundi specifically for recreational fishing. Visit reation/activities/boat ing-fishing/rec-fishing/ dams to find the nearest stocked waterway and buy a permit, or call 13 25 23 for more information.

SIPS competition winner Billy Perske.

GLENLYON DAM TOURIST PARK A great place to fish! • Powered and Unpowered Sites • No Domestic Pets or Generators • Kiosk • Ice • Gas • Petrol • Amenities Blocks and Laundry • BBQs • Hire Boats • EFTPOS • Fishing Permits

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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: Visit our new website at Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 81

TRADING POST Crawford Marine, Queensland’s Used Boat Specialists since 1964 – Call Matthew or Jim on 07 3890 2322.

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Page 82 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023

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The biggest whiting seen by all bystanders – landed a monster 42cm whiting at Eastern Beach on Moreton Island on December 15, with fresh A cracker 90cm flathead caught in beachworm on the hook. Ballina. Janie Collins Serena Sullivan

We were on a trip to Fiji and caught some beautiful fish, including a 150cm spanish mackerel. Lachie Russell

A few pests out of the system from Wyaralong Dam and the Gold Coast. Jas Murdoch

My name is Mick and I love the mag. Here is a mangrove jack from the Jacobs Well area taken on Holt Productions gear and a flathead that took a Munroe’s soft plastic. Mick Richter

Scored a mega Moreton Bay mangrove jack on very light gear in less than 2m of water. Dom G

To have a photo of your catch featured in Readers’ Forum, simply email with a good quality picture, your name and details or hop onto our Facebook page and send us a message.

Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 – Page 83

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Page 84 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, February 2023 au

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Page 88 – BushIpswich ’n Beach Fishing, FebruaryRocklea 2023 1743 Road, | Call 07 3875 1600 | Formerly Karee Marine au

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