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Big bass in dams
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Guide to hooking Moreton Bay jewfish
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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 1
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Page 2 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
TOWNSVILLE B & M Outboard Repairs 35 Civil Rd, Garbutt 07 4779 6569
Inside this month Pelagic fish
cies like tailor and trevally are also a chance of eating your lures and baits. Prawns will be available in most systems and
RYAN MELLOR recently bought his first kayak. He headed to Ewen Maddock Dam to fish with surface lures and landed this 48cm bass on an Atomic 50mm popper at 6.30am hard up against the reeds. For more big bass action, check out CALLUM MUNRO’S article, Page 64.
Ben Collins Daniel Tomlinson Ben Collins, Gabi McCaig Jo Hendley
Phone (07) 3286 1833 Fax (07) 3821 2637 Email: email@example.com Internet: www.bnbfishing.com.au PO Box 387, Cleveland, Qld 4163 Unit 2, 39 Enterprise Street, Cleveland, Qld 4163 AFTA PRINTER: Rural Press DISTRIBUTION BY: Fairfax Max. recommended retail price $4.50 (includes GST). CORRESPONDENTS: Editorial contributions are welcome, as is news from clubs, associations, or individuals; and new product news from manufacturers. Entire contents copyright. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. It is the responsibility of advertisers to ensure the correctness of their claims and statements. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. G IN
FISH ING ’S
E TUR FU
* continued P4
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JUNE edition will be on sale in newsagents from May 24. See subscription form on Page 68 to go in the draw to win one of four outdoor Gear Aid packs valued at $84.80 each.
in Moreton Bay, but the numbers might not be as good as previous months. The Caboolture and Pine rivers have been good this year, but both are copping a lot of pressure. Getting out during the week will give you a better chance of finding a spot to yourself. Remember to always be aware of the nasty critters encountered while cast netting. Bullrout are common in the local rivers and the occasional stonefish also turns up. Catfish can also cause a very painful sting, so make sure you have a good look at what is in the net before running your hands down it. Crabs have been in good numbers after the rain we received in March, with reasonable numbers of rusty bucks turning up. Mud crabs can be caught all year round, so there’s no need to put away the pots during winter. Muddies captured in winter are generally good quality, and the by-catch in the pots is a lot less than during the warmer months. This means the bait doesn’t get eaten as quickly and you don’t have to get as many females and smaller crabs out of the pots for release. Jewfish May can be a fantastic month for jewfish in the rivers and creeks around Brisbane. It can be one of the best
by KEITH STRATFORD
The water temperature drops considerably, firing up a number of species. Flathead will show up in better numbers and spe-
AY can be an excellent month in the rivers and creeks around southeast Queensland.
Activity around Brisbane...........by Keith Stratford.................................P3 Guide to jewfish...........................by Brian Webb......................................P7 Northern Moreton Bay...............by Mark Templeton.............................P9 Finding fish from the shore.......by Sean ‘Skip’ Thompson................P11 Game fishing methods................by Barry Alty.......................................P13 Whiting in the Nerang................by Leeann Payne...............................P15 Is it autumn or summer?............by Scott Van Burck...........................P17 Inshore and offshore fishing........by Wayne ‘Youngy’ Young...............P18 Pelagics in the shallows...........by Heath Zygnerski...........................P19 Guide to finding flathead...........by Brad Smith.....................................P20 Ripper month on Gold Coast.....by Darren Rama.................................P21 Tweed to Byron Bay....................by Gavin Dobson................................P22 Trying new areas.........................by Peter Herbst...................................P23 Bountiful Ballina.............................. by Brett Hyde............................................P24 Evans Head....................................by Gary ‘Squidgie’ Palmer..............P25 Land-based game fishing..........by Tye Porter.......................................P26 Sunshine Coast.............................by Grant Budd.....................................P28 Solid session on reef..................by Craig Tomkinson..........................P29 How to handle fish......................by Tri Ton..............................................P30 Hectic Hervey Bay.......................by Lachie Baker.................................P31 PBA raid off 1770..........................by Mick Clutterbuck.........................P33 Bundaberg Region.......................by Brad Young....................................P34 Lunacy.............................................by Peter Layton...................................P36 Tin Can Bay....................................by Rick Waugh...................................P37 A match made in camo..............by Paul ‘Chief’ Graveson.................P38 Boating & Marine..................................................................................P40-44 Boat Review..................................by Ben Collins....................................P40 Insights into boat insurance.....by Nautilus Marine...........................P44 Kayak fishing................................by Joel Johnson.................................P45 Charter Directory.................................................................................. P46,47 Readers Forum..............................................................................................P48 Puzzle page....................................................................................................P48 Gladstone Region........................by Gary Churchward.........................P49 Gearing up for offshore..............by John Boon......................................P50 St Lawrence Wetlands...............by Pee Wee.........................................P51 Inshore Fishing Mackay............by Jason Kidd.....................................P52 Hinchinbrook News....................by Todd Eveleigh...............................P53 The big wet on the Cape............by ‘Billabong’ Bazz Lyon..................P54 Going wide of Cape York...........by Matt Potter.....................................P55 Recipe.............................................by Melissa Frohloff...........................P56 LandCruiser build.........................by Greg Bell........................................P57 A mechanical mystery................by Craig Tomkinson..........................P58 Camping..........................................................................................................P59 Monduran Dam.............................by Les Gane.........................................P61 Meeting Murray cod...................by Dave Donald..................................P62 Freshwater Impoundments.......by Matthew Langford.......................P63 Basstasstic at Borumba.............by Callum Munro...............................P64 Inland fishing................................by Neil Schultz...................................P65 Glenlyon Dam................................by Brian Dare......................................P66 Trading Post..................................................................................................P67 Subscription form.......................................................................................P68
May a month full of activity around Brisbane
PRO TE CT
Brodie Benfer went prawning with his dad and uncle for his birthday and came home with a good feed.
NE of the best things about living in Queensland or northern NSW is the fact we can experience awesome yearround fishing and boating.
HIN G T R A D E
Yes, we do have to deal with rubbish weather at times, but that can also help the fishing. If it has been too windy to get offshore, into the wider parts of Moreton Bay or other areas, this gives the fish a bit of a break from seeing lures and baits. While not a true closed season, it can have the same effect and improve the quality of fishing. Similarly, decent rainfall will make fishing hard at the time, but the downpours will often bring areas back to life as baitfish are pushed downstream and become more active. This has been the case in Brisbane for several years, with solid rain subsequently producing good fishing in the rivers and bay months after. Once again we had late rain in summer, which sparked the prawns into action and now the snapper, jewfish and threadies are starting to fire. However, even though they may be firing, that doesn’t mean fish are being caught all the time. What it does mean is by understanding peak bite periods, moon phases and certain parts of the tides, you are more likely to have a cracker session. So, when you are reading an article in the mag or on our website, pay attention to these key points to best work out when you should be on the water. It is also worth seeing where pictures were taken during the day or night. These little pieces of information and the tips in the article all add up to a solid plan of action. However, there is no substitute for time on the water, so when you do get out, make sure you try to take note of patterns of fish and bait activity, when increased bites and hook-ups occur and how fast the tide is running. Putting all these factors together will make it easier the next time you are planning to hit the water. I know this is easier said than done, and I’m often guilty of just getting on the water when I can due to a mix of commitments, but my expectations for these times are different to when I’m actively fishing and targeting fish. By making this distinction, you can enjoy a mix of fun times on the water when fishing and boating and most importantly have fun and enjoy this awesome recreation. Another way to get some tips is to sign up to our weekly e-news, which is usually mailed out every Friday in time for the weekend. The e-news is designed to give you a few last-minute tips before hitting the water, so combined with the more detailed reports in the mag, you have a good understanding of what is biting and where. Depending on what the crew has been up to, in the e-news you can often find links to recent boats tests (which can also be seen on our BNBFTV YouTube channel), competitions to enter and subscription offers. To sign up to this free e-news, simply jump onto bnbfishing.com.au and enter your email address in the pop-up window. We also send out special offers from time to time, so it is well worth signing up. Ben Collins
Congratulations to Luke Fairminer, Hervey Bay who has won an Evakool 47-litre fibreglass icebox valued at $389!
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 3
Luke Stratford got stuck into nice whiting with his dad recently.
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Mark Mealing landed this nice trevally.
Ben Monro hooked this eagle ray while chasing flathead in Pumicestone Passage.
May a month full of activity around Brisbane * from P3
20/42 Burnside Rd, Yatala QLD
Phone 07 3382 7883 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
months of the year for numbers of fish caught, with good-quality fish among them. They can be really active at times and turn up just about anywhere. The most important thing is to find the bait. They aren’t fussy about where they feed, so keeping an open mind and an eye on the water and your sounder is important. I’ve caught jewies cruising right in tight against the edges in only a couple of feet of water at this time of year. They can cover a lot of ground when they are feeding. Finding them on the sounder can be the easy part sometimes. Keeping up with them and getting a lure in their face isn’t quite so easy when they are on the hunt. I have had good success staying in the one area and continually casting a variety of lures waiting for the fish to pass through.
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This can work really well on occasion, but it can be a waiting game. The deep holes on the bends of rivers are good areas to look for jewfish this month. These holes are the most consistent place to find them. Bait and prawn schools hang around in these areas and the fish are never too far away. Fishing deep water allows you to position the boat over the top of the fish and vertically jig vibes and plastics in front of their noses. This is a deadly technique on a lot of fish. Threadfin salmon hang in the same areas as jewies and respond well to vertical jigging. A variety of other species like to feed in these holes as well. Flathead are the most common, but others including trevally, tailor, grunter, jacks and cod are also encountered. Last winter saw a good run of threadfin salmon and trevally in the local rivers. Some anglers turn their noses up at trevally, but they’re great fun to catch on lures and always put on a good show. Hopefully they appear again this year. Mangrove jack will still be active this month. They slow as the water temperature drops and can be very difficult to tempt with a lure.
Live baits fished tight to structure will entice plenty of jacks in May. Small mullet, whiting, silver biddies and herring are all good baits to try for a jack. I like to target structure
that is only visible at low tide or by using a sounder. This type of timber or rock doesn’t get the same amount of attention the obvious structure receives. A lightly weighted live
bait drifted into these snags rarely gets turned down by a jack or cod. That’s it from me this month. Enjoy the last month of autumn and I hope to see you out on the water.
That’s what you want to see when you’re looking for prawns on the sounder.
Flathead respond well to a soft vibe jigged through the deep holes at this time of year.
1/25 Smith St, 07 3390 1543 Unit Capalaba
Page 4 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
Large bullrout can cause a lot of pain. Handle them carefully.
Rusty bucks like this one will be around in May.
Cleveland Upholsterers & Marine Trimmers Grant Street Business Centre Unit 4, 7-9 Grant St, Cleveland Q 4163
Lure Show moves to Beenleigh Showgrounds
HE popular Lure Show (as Garry Fitzgerald’s Australian Lure, Fly and Outdoors Expo is affectionately known) isn’t a stranger to moving location.
From its birthplace in Fernvale in the Brisbane River Valley, it first migrated downstream to Ipswich after a couple of years of seam-bursting crowds. From there, Ipswich seemed to be a great fit for the show, which attracts about 2000 keen anglers and lure collectors each year. The trouble is, a multimillion dollar renovation was granted to the Ipswich venue, and the show needed to move again. There are a few things the show needs to work.
First, camping for exhibitors is a highlight for the tight-knit community of creators. Free parking ticks the boxes for attendees who want to maximise their spend at the show, and a fair gate price (around half the cost of a national boat show ticket) of $10 keeps the gig accessible to nearly everyone – especially kids, who enter for free. After several months of searching, the show landed midway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It will be held at the Beenleigh Showgrounds on June 1 and 2, 2019. The good news is there’s plenty of free parking, camping is available and it still costs the same as it did back when it started – $10 for adults and kids
Tackle Tactics acquires Platypus Fishing Lines
ACKLE Tactics is proud to announce it has acquired iconic Australian brand Platypus Fishing Lines.
Platypus products have been proudly Australian made and owned for over 120 years and it is Tackle Tactics’ intention to carry on this tradition of manufacturing these quality products in Australia. Platypus Fishing was started by George Ross, a Scottish rope maker, in 1898. The business thrived as it was passed down through four generations of the McPherson family, with Stewart McPherson managing the business in recent years. Stewart will continue to work with TT as a consultant to ensure the transition is seamless. Everyone involved is excited about the acquisition, which in-
cludes good levels of current stock lines, raw materials and production equipment, along with a selection of key team members who have decades of experience with both the products and the manufacturing process. TT would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support of this iconic Australian brand and the company looks forward to continuing to supply anglers with a selection of quality, trusted fishing lines. Platypus joins Tackle Tactics’ stable of highly regarded and popular brands including TT Lures, Z-Man, Okuma, Mepps, Fish Inc., Pro-Cure, Bagley and more. Distribution of Platypus products through Tackle Tactics commenced on April 1, 2019. www.tackletactics. com.au
under 16 get in for free. Varied display areas The Beenleigh arena is a little different from Ipswich – there’s less indoor space but better outdoor space. At the time of printing, all the indoor stands were sold and the outdoor sites were filling fast. Being a little more open than Ipswich, there’s now room for a fly casting demonstration and trial area, outdoor carving and sanding demos, and even some boats at the Social Media Hub and Presenter area. One of the highlights of the show is the extensive collector displays and collector trading area. This year, that’s the whole of the upstairs mezzanine floor. You can be guaranteed there’ll be some deals flying around that space for the show’s duration. Want to bring in your old Australian timber lures and have them valued? No problem – there will be people there who can let you know exactly how much that old gem you have in your tackle box is really worth. Lure test tank Always popular is the lure test tank. Available to all exhibitors so they can show you how their creations swim, it adds that extra dimension to your purchase. I mean, how many times do you get to see how the lure behaves in real life before you part with your
hard-earned cash? Just quietly, getting instruction from the person who created it is probably worth as much as the lure. There’s nobody who knows how a lure behaves better than the person who made it. Social Media Hub Want to catch up with some of the guys and girls you usually only get to see on social media? The Social Media Hub will again feature presenters like Rod Harrison, John Costello, Jake Newmarch, Liam Fitzpatrick and Steve Morgan. You can take this opportunity to ask questions, get a selfie and hit them up about all things fishing. Lure of the Year awards Each year, the standards seem to rise for the Lure of the Year awards. Voted on by fellow exhibitors, the awards reward clever design and amazing execution of concepts, with a trophy and the accolades of your peers. You’ll be able to see a full collection of nominated lures in the display cases inside the main entry to the show building. On-site catering You don’t need to go offsite to eat and drink, with Gabby and her team dishing you up all the food and drink you need. With both outdoor and indoor seating options, you’ll be able to rest and recharge before getting back into the action. Note that a couple of
ATMs will be on site as well. The Lure Show team definitely encourages spending beyond your means! Lots of parking Beenleigh Showgrounds is surrounded by plenty of free street parking, but on the Saturday of the show, the markets area (just to the west of the show) is available to park in and is an easy walking distance from the gate. On Sunday, the Beenleigh Markets will be in full swing, so parking will be limited to the street, but there’s still plenty of it. If you’re getting there via public transport, the Beenleigh train station is an 11-minute walk away. Sneaky early entry tickets Last year the Lure Show trialled an early entry ticket for collectors and visitors who wanted to spend up big in a less crowded environment. The 100 tickets sold out pretty quickly. There’s a version of the early entry ticket on offer again this year – $25 to get you in an hour early. These tickets are only available online and are limited in quantity. For these tickets and all online ticket sales, visit lureshow.com.au with your credit card. Print the tickets after you buy them and bring them with you to the gate. We look forward to seeing you all at Beenleigh!
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Page 6 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
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This jewie came from a rock wall at Clara Rock.
Guide to ticking jewfish off your bucket list E VERYONE wants to catch a big mulloway but it isn’t easy.
These fish present a real challenge. Catching jewies, as they are colloquially known, takes patience and time. Lots of fishos have a bucket list of fish they are gradually ticking off, and for many, getting a big jewie is often one of the hardest to achieve. In my earlier days when I first started chasing jewies and they were more plentiful than they are now, a big jewie was a fish over 20kg, which equates to a length of 125-130cm. These days I’d rate one around 90-100cm a big fish. Some places constantly produce big fish, but in estuaries a fish over a metre is a whopper. So your size goals will depend on where you are fishing, but it has to be at least a metre in length. While some crack it quickly, for most it takes a fair bit of work and potentially years. The key to catching a big jewie is to concentrate your efforts at night, fish tide changes and in general use live baits. The next point is you have to target jewies, which means a concerted effort on one species. There is a jewie culture in most coastal towns these fish frequent. These fishos don’t talk much. They just kind of appear in the middle of the night as the tidal push slows and quietly go about their business.
by BRIAN WEBB
They don’t get on the internet and plaster photos of jewies on Facebook for all to see, because in the jewie circle, loose lips sink ships. I’ve met great jewie fishos over the years, from crusty old bastards holding their wooden Alveys to line fishing professionals who have made a living catching these great fish. There is a sameness about all of them – they don’t give away a good fishing spot. Four areas consistently produce big jewies, and in no particular order they are rock walls, river entrances, surf
beaches, offshore reefs and deep holes inside river mouths. Your boat size will determine where you target these fish, but they are the one big fish that is consistently caught from the shore in a wide range of places. They present the beach angler’s best opportunity to land a big fish and in the years I chased them off the beaches I certainly learnt a lot about how big fish work a surf gutter at night. I remember fishing with Dave Downie on the bottom of South * continued P8
Snapper and a couple of jewies from Mud Island.
A typical Mud Island jewfish.
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 7
Guide to ticking jewfish off your bucket list * from P7
Dead bait rigs and pike.
Stradbroke Island where we would go across by boat and then walk over the sand hills to the gutter forming on the bottom end. For every big jewie caught in daylight hours, you will catch more at night for the same effort. This isn’t rocket science, it just so happens that jewies are mainly nocturnal and do most of their roaming and feeding under the cover of darkness. Jewies are opportunistic feeders well adapted to hunting in minimal light. Time of year is another important factor. In southern Queensland, most of the bigger fish turn up in winter.
This jewfish was hooked at Potts Point.
A pair of jewies from Buckleys Hole in the Pumicestone Passage.
Local advice about the right time of year to target them is generally easy to suss out and during fishing chat you may find a few pearls of wisdom from those rare few who tell all. Big jewies can be found in every river mouth from the Pumicestone Passage to the Brisbane River, South Passage Bar, Jumpinpin and the Tweed River. All these areas hold good populations of jewies but they only tend to be caught when conditions are right. River mouths see a lot of fish traffic, particularly when fish move out to spawn at sea or are migrating along the beaches. Big jewies hunt mullet and tailor in these places when they are schooling to spawn. To find good jewie spots, search for where the mullet are thickest. Look for back-eddies that let the mullet get out of the current. Mullet are easy to capture with a cast net in Queensland and simple to find most nights. When targeting big jewies, you need bait 2030cm long. If you can’t get mullet, live tailor and pike are also good, and don’t be afraid to use big baits. I have a few good spots that look remarkably unattractive during the day due to boat traffic, but, on a quiet and cold winter’s night, are very productive. Fish your live bait so it swims freely. Some use only one hook, others two. I find a two-hook rig best and free swim the bait in the current using a long 20kg trace to the bait connected with a pair of 7/0 octopus hooks. Most of the bites come within the first hour of the tide change.
Jewies always seem to hold in the first deep section of a river mouth and if you work the tide change with big live baits you should get results in the first hour of your trip. If you cannot find livies, try fresh tailor fillets or dead mullet or cast big plastics of 5”-6”. Fishing walls at the mouths of rivers offers a lot of opportunities to catch big jewies. Most of the fish hold where the rocks meet the sand, especially if deep ravines are among the rocks. Near the top of the tide they will roam more freely. If you are uncertain where to fish, go for a walk at low tide and pinpoint the area that would hold fish when the water covers it. If land-based fishing, you also need to look for spots where you can use a gaff. When fishing from a boat don’t anchor too far from these spots and don’t cast too far, as most fish will usually be sitting not far away or under your boat. Once again, tide changes are often the key to success. When the water slows, the fishing gets better. In general, I prefer high tide changes but in some areas the change of the low produces more big fish. We all have our favourite places to go fishing, whether it is because you always catch fish there, because it’s local and easy to get to or maybe you just enjoy the scenery. I have always been intrigued by Moreton Bay. It’s right on my doorstep and provides amazing angling opportunities, but it wasn’t until recently that I experienced a taste of how awesome it can truly be. I have been enjoying
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good success with snapper and jewfish in the bay. They have been schooling in numbers and it has made chasing them a lot of fun. A few months ago we were out fishing and catching a few here and there but nothing to write home about. After a bumpy ride looking for fish and struggling, we decided to head back closer to the ramp to do a few drifts on top of some structure before calling it quits. When we arrived, the water had glassed out, the wind died off and the sounder lit up like I have never seen before. First drop over the side saw a double hook-up on jew, which was the start of one of the best fishing sessions I have ever experienced. Over the next few hours we lost count of the number of snapper and jew we caught. It just became a matter of finding the schools on the sounder, dropping in our lines and hanging on. We were using 3/8oz or 1/2oz TT HeadlockZ HD jig heads rigged with an assortment of Z-Man plastics (we tried a heap of colours). The standouts were the 4” StreakZ and 3” MinnowZ in Mood Ring.
We also added Pro-Cure scent. When the fishing went quiet it was because we hadn’t used the scent. For this sort of fishing, having a good-quality sounder is paramount because it helps locate the schools of fish and then lets you focus on getting them to bite. This is my favourite part because you know they are there and it just becomes a matter of switching through your lures and baits and changing technique until you can coax one into biting. When it all works out it’s a great feeling. Chasing jew in the bay has been a real challenge over the years and being able to catch them consistently has been hard work. Glimpses of success every now and then keep me keen to stick at it. Learning to read your sounder and having confidence that your bait or lure can get them to bite is a big part of catching these fish. Get out there, spend a bit of time searching, throw a few plastics and get those live baits out. You may be surprised with the results. The photos are from the past two years and a variety of places, both in a boat and from the shore.
A pigeon pair from the Rainbow Channel.
Photo courtesy of Australian Master Marine
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Models to suit • Outboards • Inboards • Sterndrives • Jets and cats Mullet bait and rigs for jewies.
Wide range of species caught around Moreton Bay
PRIL was a month to remember, with a large number of species caught in the Moreton Bay area.
we would have brained them”. Over the years, I have learnt you can’t take everything, but you can cover most of your bases with smaller amounts of gear. A couple of things I try to have with me for those unexpected moments are small Halco Twistys, a few small slugs, several squid jigs and a packet of bait jigs. This is just like carrying a roll of duct tape and fencing wire to make MacGyver proud! Many times I have been out chasing whiting, only to have my bait followed up by squid. I missed a lot until I started packing squid jigs. They were not the flashest jigs but they caught the attention of a few hungry squid, which added to the day’s catch. It is amazing how many baitfish are attracted to your area when using berley. Break out the old bait jig and you will have fresh bait before you know it. Flick out a fresh livie
and it is amazing how quickly your day can turn around, as Tyler found out on the Shorncliffe Pier when a mackerel decided to say hello. The old faithful Halco Twisty really comes into its own when the random school of tailor, mackerel or tuna appears from nowhere, and with a quick change of gear you can be among them. You might only be using
* continued P10
A lovely little queenfish for Tyler.
It goes to show how healthy our rivers, creeks and beaches are at the moment. The incredible amount of bait around the jetties and in Moreton Bay tell us we are in for good times! I am looking forward to a great tailor season this year. We started to see tailor being caught from Bribie Island to the bottom end of South Stradbroke Island from about midApril and this caught a few people unprepared, with the loss of some good lures. As the months grow colder, we know the bigger tailor are on their way. If you are venturing out into the bay chasing winter whiting, it may well be worth throwing a few light slugs in the tackle box just in case the razor gang turns up without notice. We hear stories all the time from fishos saying “we should have taken this”, or “we forgot that” and “if we’d had this,
Northern Moreton Bay by MARK TEMPLETON
light gear, but the challenge can be intense! So have a think about all those times you were out for a session and were missing that key bit of gear. From that, put together a small go-to box, but remember to keep it simple. Codey Stonier had a crack at chasing a few tailor at Shorncliffe, landing a 47cm specimen on a live herring. Codey was also bricked a couple of times by a larger fish, and not necessarily a tailor! We have seen flathead
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Tyler used a live bait to entice this mackerel.
A feisty tailor for Codey.
Wide range of species caught around Moreton Bay * from P9
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come back into the Moreton Bay area after being a little elusive during the heat. We hope to see more quality catches recorded over the next few months. Asher took his nephew out for a day on the water and ended up with some quality fish including healthy flathead. When I chase flathead my go-to bait would be whitebait on a set of size 4 gangs and a pea sinker. They just can’t resist a
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well-presented bait. My second bait choice would be a small gar fillet on the same rig. This setup works everywhere, be it rock walls, piers, in the bay or up the creeks. So, for May I think I will be focusing on a good feed of tailor and a few flathead as well. If you want to try live baiting, Tyler has been having a lot of fun chasing mackerel and queenfish around the Moreton Bay area and has jotted down a few things he has learnt. Tyler’s tips – by Tyler Browne When it comes to chasing toothy pelagics including mackerel and queenfish, people get caught up thinking they need wire trace, heavy gear and tight drags, but this is not the case. Yes, I know these are required in some situations but when live baiting it’s not always necessary to use such heavy gear. These fish are normally found in areas with some current running through and bait schools hanging about. Therefore the best bait is whatever the fish are feeding on, whether little hardyheads or humble herring. Realistically, the smaller the live bait, the easier
it is for the pelagics to eat, which will result in more successful hook-ups because the fish will eat the bait whole, which would normally mean the hook is in the fish’s mouth. The other key things to remember when setting livies are to make sure the live baits aren’t swimming back into the bank or structure you are fishing, and you have your reel in free spool so
the fish can take the bait freely, then after the fish has taken the bait wait a second or two, close the bail arm and set the hooks. But most importantly, the rig must be right, otherwise you’ll find you lose a lot more hooks than usual. I run 8lb Tuf-Line braid for an easier cast and 10lb leader to make the leader knot slimmer, which
is connected to a barrel swivel and on the other side about a metre of 20lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook. With all this info, it is important to make sure you keep it simple, keep trying different ideas, techniques and most importantly keep your mind open to new ideas. I hope this helps you get some tight lines and good times.
A solid bream from the pier for Jonty.
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Finding fish from the shore F OR anglers without a boat, I am sure it can be very frustrating to see constant Instagram and Facebook posts of big fish and great captures by boat-based anglers.
It can also be at least an hour to the beach for many anglers, so short sessions can turn into a half-day excursion, which is time they might not have. As a consequence, landbased fishos in Brisbane occasionally ask me where they can catch fish around their local area. With these requests in mind, I thought I’d put together an article on types of locations where beginners, kids and other landbased saltwater anglers can target. Boat ramps Boat ramps can be productive places to fish for species including bream, flathead and trevally, especially when located next to cleaning facilities. Add in some lighting at night and even better! The benefit of the lights is not so much for the convenience of seeing your way around (though this certainly is of great benefit), but the permanent light source thrown on the water, which attracts baitfish. So with a regular supply of baitfish and a constant stream of offal and fish frames from fillet-
by SEAN ‘SKIP’ THOMPSON
ing being thrown into the surrounding water, why wouldn’t bigger fish come in for a feed? They do, and switchedon anglers using naturally presented bait (such as cubes of lightly weighted fish flesh on long traces that waft naturally in the current) will do very well. Such spots also attract squid in late autumn and winter and prawns when they’re on. Bridges While bridges over smaller creeks and rivers will often see anglers fishing from them (legally or not), it is underneath these structures you can often find fish. Anglers can usually find easy land-based access under many bridges and some waterways are shallow enough that you can wade out to pylon platforms that drop into deeper water. Like boat ramps, permanent light sources at night will make these locations all the more productive to attract bait and fish, with deeper water bridges in bigger rivers attracting larger fish including tailor, jacks, mulloway and even the odd snapper. Bridges can be great places for lure casters
throwing exploratory casts around the oysterencrusted pylons and eddies (calmer water) where the big angry fish will sit. Current flow around these bridges is important for better results because water flow will bring prawns, crabs and baitfish past. The predators hold in these spots (such as the eddies in front of and behind the pylons) waiting to bolt out and snatch their meal and then return to their homes. Accurate casts and tight drags are a prerequisite. For lure trollers, keep your lures a short length behind the boat and get those lures close to the pylons. As an added bonus, if you troll lures deep enough to get to the bottom, flathead also reside in these shady spots due to the regularity of meals coming past. Jetties and wharves These locations are very similar to bridges, except you often can’t get underneath them. The trick here isn’t to cast as far as you can away from the structure, it’s to fish under the structure. The fish are under these
locations for a few reasons. Shade and shelter from bigger predators, bait, a smorgasbord of food growing in the pylons and plenty of spots to rest out of the main current flow. Where possible, shorebased anglers should use berley and the direction of the current to float unweighted or lightly weighted baits such as live prawns, yabbies and fish flesh under the structure with a tight drag. Floats are another good option when fishing here. Lure fishing with light soft plastics and metal and
* continued P12
Marinas are a fish attractant for species like this nice bream the author’s son Josh caught on a soft plastic.
Long jetties give anglers access to multiple water depths and thus different species to target.
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 11
Deeper holes along creek beds are a prime land-based location.
Drains in estuary sand flats at low tide are a top spot for kids to catch flathead
Finding fish from the shore * from P11
Trevally can be found around rocky areas mixed with sand.
Riverbanks are relaxing places to fish, but it’s also possible to catch bigger fish including sharks in places like the Brisbane River.
Calling all Queenslanders
T is time to wave the greenback flag for the Sunshine State and stand up for our fishing mates!
A Queenslander knows what it is like to bleed maroon, so fish in your Queensland hot spot and bring those big fish to Pottsville and take home the shield. Game on! Enter the 32nd annual Lions charity Pottsville Beach Sports Greenback Fishing Comp from June 8-9, 2019. Register online at lionsgreenback.com and sign on in Queensland at the Gold Coast (card only, no cash at the Mad Keen tent at The Bait Shop Gold Coast located at 22 Kendor St Arundel), Pottsville (at
Pottsville Beach Sports Club; card or cash) or Ballina (card only, at three shop locations). The first State of Origin game is the Wednesday before Greenback weekend, which is a great lead-in to the Greenback Fowler State Shield. Fish Queensland and NSW tidal waters and be part of the NSW v Queensland challenge. Weigh-in is 9am sharp on Sunday, June 9 at Pottsville (30 minutes south of the border). Try your luck with the $1000 Mad Keen prize for the secret fish. Enter to go in the draw to win over $37,000 in cash and fishing/camping prizes including signed Alvey reels, with
Page 12 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
48 categories. Entry includes the Sunday breakfast, heaps of lucky draws, a charity fish auction and a ticket in a charity raffle where the prize is a choice between a $6000 Tweed Coast Marine boat package or $5000 cash. Buy a Team Queensland fishing shirt ($59.99) or T-shirt ($34.99) and don’t forget to grab your $5 raffle tickets online. And if you decide to fish in NSW, don’t forget to buy a NSW fishing licence from dpi. nsw.gov.au/fishing/rec reational/recreationalfishing-fee For any more information, head to lions greenback.com
soft vibes can also be effective. For those chasing bigger fish off jetties dropping into deep water (such as Urangan Pier at Hervey Bay), a bait jig or a cast net can secure you bait such as small mullet and herring, which can then be fished under a float or balloon with the current to catch pelagics. Creek banks Creek banks present one of my favourite places to wade or walk to fish, whether in fresh or salt water. In saltwater environments, walking the banks can allow you to toss your baits or lures into and around fallen timber, steep bank drop-offs and rocky bars. Having a pair of quality polarised glasses to spot the structure under the water is critical. For those less energetic or just after a relaxing place to fish, river banks at or around high tide can be a good choice to put you in with a chance of catching a feed. Bring some berley and set your rods low and parallel to the water to reduce the resistance for any fish taking your bait and you can have good fun. Likewise, sandbanks at low tide in the middle of a creek or estuary can be productive for sit-and-wait anglers, especially if you are using live yabbies or worms you have pumped or dug at that spot. However, being mobile will always catch you more fish and also means you get to explore and find new spots and fish ‘just around that next corner’. Seeking out fish by casting and retrieving lightly weighted soft plastics is perfect for explorers. When I say lightly weighted, I mean 1/20oz to say 1/12oz with small 2” plastics (or hard-body lures) among or against heavy structure, or 1/8oz to 1/4oz along sand flats for flathead. Rock walls Rock wall fishing can be quite diverse and includes long fingers of man-made rock walls at the entrances to creeks, rivers and marinas. Alternatively, it can include foreshores such as Wynnum-Manly and
Cleveland on Brisbane’s bayside. The former are top spots for a variety of fish. In southeast Queensland and northern NSW these long rock walls can be found along a bunch of the bigger rivers and will be great from May through winter for tailor, luderick, bream and the occasional mulloway and flathead. Pilchards on 4/0 gang hooks are great for tailor. These are best fished with only small sinkers running down to the hooks and cast and retrieved mid-water. Metal lures are another good option. Pilchard pieces and cubes of bonito and mullet on 1/0 suicide or circle hooks are good for bream and flathead, while luderick require more specialist floats and rigs with tiny hooks and green weed for bait. Mulloway are often chased with live bait or very fresh squid, or alternatively big bibbed minnow lures. The rock walls along esplanades such as those along Moreton Bay’s foreshores are generally a high tide-only option due to the expansive sand and mud flats at low tide. As the tide rises, the fish come in to feed over the flats and mud banks. These banks are a good place to fish as the tide rises and falls while the rock wall itself is a good spot about an hour and a half each side of the top of the tide. Such locations are great spots for casual anglers who want to soak a bait and wait. Baits like yabbies and live worms will catch whiting, bream and flathead. Once again, berley such as tuna oil-soaked chicken pellets will help bring the fish to you. Time of day will also improve catches along these esplanade rock walls, with low-light periods the best. This time coincides with increased bait and fish activity and the fish are less spooked to be up in the shallows where they are susceptible to being spotted in daylight by birds of prey. Marinas and pontoons These areas are great
fish-attracting locations, with surprisingly big and unusual catches turning up. Anything from snapper to mulloway and the occasional tuna can pay a visit to the deeper marinas, while fish like various species of trevally and monster bream are a mainstay. If fishing is permitted in your local marina, landbased anglers can have great fun but be sure to respect the property of boat owners and never leave a mess of any description behind. Unfortunately, it is the pigs among our fishing fraternity who have left behind fishing line, bait bags and fish blood and remains, which gets the rest of us banned from some top marina locations. Lure fishing with small hard-bodies and very lightly weighted soft plastics is productive, as is bait fishing with unweighted baits and small 0 ball sinkers. Target the areas where good current flow is present rather than the still backwaters because more bait activity and food will be washed with the current to these areas, and thus more predatory fish will be present. Look too for the pylons with the most growth on them at low tide and, if obvious, look for signs of the boats that have been moored there the longest and have more growth on them. Sand and mud flats Of course, last but not least and my favourite spot to fish land-based are estuary and bay sand- and mud flats. I have written a lot about these in this magazine and on my Ontour Fishing Australia Facebook page, so will just summarise the key points here.
Look for sand flats that have soft darker sand and are interspersed with melon holes and drains and keep an eye out for signs of fish activity. These signs can be either flathead lies or small holes dug by whiting and bream foraging for worms and yabbies. Banks filled with yabby holes are another prime location. These areas are great for whiting and bream on both the rising and falling tide. The fishing will, however, slow in the hour or so at the top or bottom of the tide due to a lack of water movement. The only exception I’ve seen to this rule is when it coincides with dusk in the period of bigger tides around the new and full moon. Bait fishing with live worms and yabbies fished with a slow retrieve is the best technique, or for the lure fisher, topwater lures are prime for bream or whiting. If these banks have some deeper (metre-plus) drains and weed beds, these are excellent spots for flathead fishing. Soft plastics on light 1/12oz to 1/4oz jig heads are the go, with jig head size depending on the wind and how far you need to cast to reach the drop-off or main target areas. Summary So there you have a whole variety of fishing locations land-based anglers can target with good success if using the right gear and technique. Always tread or wade slowly and quietly in most of these spots to avoid spooking the fish. For more tips and reports, be sure to jump on my Ontour Fishing Australia Facebook and Instagram pages. Until next time, tight lines!
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Game fishing methods – part one I HAVE already written a considerable amount about trolling lures, so in this article I will address other proven and common game fishing methods.
Kite fishing is an extremely productive method of fishing for sailfish and would work just as effectively on little black marlin. It is the most common method used for catching sails in Florida (from Miami right down through the Florida Keys). My experience of it was fishing from Islamorada on Relentless with captain Paul Ross trying to catch the Atlantic sailfish to complete my International Game Fishing Association Royal Slam, which is awarded to members who have caught all nine billfish species. I was astounded at how hard this fishing method was for a deckhand and I will explain. As the name suggests, we are fishing with kites. Theses kites are specifically designed for game fishing and are available from virtually every American tackle shop. Two kites are run off specially designed kite rods in gunwale rod holders. They are generally run 60-80m behind the boat, which is maintaining a controlled drift, or just
by BARRY ALTY
enough speed to keep the kites airborne. There are normally three release clips on each kite line. On Relentless they were using Blacks clips but others would work just as well. Each line is placed free running through a Blacks clip and allowed to slide up the kite line to its desired distance. Thus, run three livies on each kite line at various distances. At the top of the leader on each line is a small red float. This gives you an indication of where the fishing line is and how deep the bait is. However, the wind varies, so the kite increases and decreases elevation all the time. The deckhand stands beside the ‘rocket launcher’ (a multiple rod holder assembly on its own stanchion or attached to the back of a game chair) and adjusts each rod all day long. If the bait comes out of the water, let line out. If it is too deep, wind in. The advantages of this method are obvious: your baits are well away from the boat, and there is very
little leader in the water. When the sail eats the bait, there is already a considerable drop-back inherent in the connection between the rod and release clip, so it is just a simple matter of the angler winding slowly to take up the slack and set the hook, which is invariably a circle hook because the hook-up rate is better than with J hooks. The disadvantages of this fishing method are also obvious. The deckhand has to be on the ball and altering line distances all day. It would be nearly impossible to use in crowded Gold Coast fishing locations like Spot X, where all the boats are trying to get onto the same bait balls. Imagine the cut-offs you would experience as other boats ran through your kite lines and the abuse you would suffer from taking up too much space! Kite lines are also used in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to keep one bait on the surface and away from the boat when fishing for giant Atlantic bluefin tuna. Bait and switch Bait and switch is a very effective method of catch-
ing blues and stripes. A number of well-credentialled boats in Australia use this method. Among them are David McMaster on Pole Dancer, Perry James on Commocean and James Holt on French Look 111. This method entails using hookless lures or teasers to entice the marlin, and then when it appears, winding these in just ahead of the now-excited marlin. The marlin will follow a
teaser right to the back of the boat. Now with all the teasers out of the water, something with a hook in it is presented to the fish; usually a live or dead bait, but a lure with hooks also works. Blue and striped marlin tease really well and will follow right to the boat. Black marlin not so much. They seem to lose interest. * continued P14
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Game fishing methods – part one * from P13
Enormous Johnson teaser perfect for the bait and switch method.
As I mentioned in a previous article, we use Enormous Johnson bridge teasers on Mistress and when they are retracted they are left hanging off the riggers.
Striped tuna make ideal marlin baits. Photo: fishingnoosa.com.au
Marlin love chasing down and inhaling tuna baits. Don’t worry too much about the size of your bait either, they’ll readily eat solid tuna.
The blues usually follow them all the way in and may even swim under the teaser still hoping to get it. Bait and switch achieves a very high hook-up rate and is the best method of fishing for those chasing marlin records. The reason for the latter is after the fish has been sighted and you have gauged its likely weight, you can pitch a bait on the most appropriate line class to have a chance at the relevant record. The negative with this method is it requires a great deal of vigilance and concentration on the part of skipper, crew and anglers. You can’t let the fish get a strong hold on a teaser and you can’t let it fixate on the teaser or it won’t switch properly. The crew member who has the best view needs to be watching the teasers closely all day, and the rest of the crew needs to be ready to start winding teasers in immediately a marlin appears behind one. An angler also needs to be close by and alert so he or she can select the best line class to pitch. Live baiting for blues and stripes First catch live striped or yellowfin tuna. If you are among or see a school, get one or more bait rods out while you are still trolling lures. Usually you can run them fairly close to the boat so you don’t tangle your lures. You can of course pull all your big lures in and fish specifically for the bait. Use small bullet-head lures with skirts that give an overall length of 3” or at most 4”. I have found red, pink, green and white very successful. If you are among the school and not getting hits, vary your trolling speed and distances. I have caught striped
tuna pulling these small lures at up to 14 knots. Have your live bait rig ready to go. Once you have your tuna in the boat, hold it upside down (when you do this they don’t struggle too much) and attach your bridle rig. If you have a saltwater deck hose, you can direct the flow to the tuna’s mouth so you are continuing to aerate it and keep it in good condition. If you have Tuna Tubes, you may want to put the tuna in them until you have two or three and start trolling a livie. Put your rods in the rod holders and set the drag to free running, which is just enough to prevent on overrun on a hot strike. Now pull off a dropback of say 10-15m. You can either put the line into a rigger clip or hold onto it. The latter is really exciting when you get a bite. If it is relatively calm, you can also stand on the cover boards, supporting yourself on the boat’s superstructure. This gives you some elevation and you will probably be able to see the bite, which is very exciting.
When marlin are on the tuna school, live baiting is the preferred and most productive method of catching them. However, you can only troll livies at 1-1.5 knots, so if the tuna school is moving too quickly and you can’t keep up, you are basically wasting your time because you are fishing in a desert. All the marlin are following and keeping pace with the tuna. When we first started fishing out of Perth in my previous boat Gold Strike in 1993, I think our first six or seven blues were caught on livies, and from memory about the longest time we had a bait in the water was 10 minutes. Don’t be overly concerned by the size of your bait. Marlin can eat a bait a big proportion of their own size. A slightly different example but indicative. I was once trolling a mid-sized striped tuna that got eaten. I was sure it was a marlin, but no, it was a sailfish weighing all of 17kg. The bait was about 9 percent of its body weight. Just a little snack.
Tuna tubes are ideal for keeping your tuna baits alive.
KITE FISHING ON THE TROLL WIND
When holding the line, hold it between your fingers, nowhere else. When the marlin strikes you won’t be able to hold the line. It will be ripped out from between your fingers. You can tell when a marlin is eyeing your bait because the bait will become obviously agitated. You may feel it quivering or pulling strongly, often in different directions. If the bait is in a rigger clip and you see it getting agitated as a consequence of movement in the clip, it is a good idea to bring the clip down and hold the line in your hand. Once the marlin strikes, the angler goes immediately to the rod with at least one thumb on the spool of the reel, not the line, to control any potential overrun when the drop-back is taken up. When you think you have given the fish enough time to eat the bait, slowly increase the drag until there is tension on the line. If the fish has swum towards you, there will be a necessity to wind slowly or even move the boat ahead to get tension and set the hook.
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Tolling live or dead baits while using a kite can be extremely effective in attracting strikes from sailfish, tuna, dolphinfish and any other bluewater gamefish prone to crashing a bait at the surface. When kite fishing while trolling, it is crucial to motor into the wind to keep the kite from stalling. For maximum surface coverage, anglers may position two kites out of the outriggers and then arrange a full spread of flat lines as well.
Wily whiting at night in the Nerang A COUPLE of recent trips to the Nerang River to target whiting reminded us just how important it is to have a variety of spots up your sleeve when fishing.
Rob and I have been fishing the Nerang River for almost three decades and that experience has shown us most of our ‘goto’ spots will produce fish
by LEEANN PAYNE
but sometimes you have to move either up or downriver to get onto the better numbers. We’ve done exceptionally well just upriver from the Council Chambers lately, with whiting
Though the author has caught a few over the years, 40cm-plus whiting are still something to get excited about.
A good size whiting hooked by Mitch Calcutt at night.
Mitch and John Payne with Nerang River whiting.
caught consistently during the tide (but slowing at the change of tide). Most of our fishing has been at night with less boat traffic on the water, and as it has been quite hot, the conditions are a lot more comfortable for the kids. I also prefer fishing in the Nerang in the evening because other rivers and creeks can be awful with mosquitoes and sand flies wreaking havoc on what should be a pleasurable time on the water. Don’t forget to use the lights required by law at night and we also use a few extras so we can be seen better by other boat users. Rob’s most recent trip with the boys showed just how important having a large repertoire of spots is when he decided to go further upriver where he thought the fish would have moved to. Picking up ones and twos at each location he anchored, he finally made his way downriver to our little honey hole where finally, better numbers of fish were found. With good numbers have come some lovely sized fish including quality 38cm and 39cm whiting. On the 4lb and 6lb line we use, these fish pull quite hard and a steady, light approach is required. If you pull too hard and don’t let the fish run, the chances of breaking the line are quite high. Five-year-old John is starting to become an old hand and is really becoming adept in the art of angling using light line. There’s still room for improvement but it’s good to see he loves his fishing enough to listen and learn. We fish for fun but also throw in a bit of tackle testing to check out some of the latest gear on the market. With whiting, one of the most important aspects of getting it right is to use the correct hook for the job. We have been using Mustad Fine Worm hooks in size 4 and 6, which have bait keepers on the shank of the hook near the eye. As we use worms (both blood and mud worms),
these hooks have been ideal for keeping the worms on the hook. When baiting up, don’t scrimp; use a good amount of worm on the hook to make it worthwhile for a fish to come up and have a bite. We have been given other hooks to trial but the hook-up rate on some of them is atrocious. Whiting can be caught over the course of the year and this month is still a great time to be hitting the water and targeting them. If you are unable to dig your own worms due to lack of time or the tide not being right, we usually pop into the Gem Bait & Tackle store on Stapylton Jacobs Well Road at Alberton not far off the M1 at Yatala. Give them a call in advance on 07 3287 3868 to ensure they have mud worms in stock. Fishing over the recent school holiday period and during the long weekends and public holidays has seen plenty of boats on the water and long queues at boat ramps. This is really not the ideal time to be heading out but early starts can reduce wait times and you may even be lucky enough to get a park close by. Usually we don’t go out during the day in the holidays but recently we put in at Victoria Point midmorning to have a run across to Peel Island with the kids for a bit of a swim and some time out. On the way we checked out a few of our marks
along one of the ledges and picked up some small squire on the Zerek 65mm Fish Trap in Min Min colour, which is one of my favourites. The fish were caught by both slowly jigging as well as casting and retrieving using a slow lift of the rod before winding up the slack line. Rob landed a nice eating-sized estuary cod and we kept one of the squire for dinner. Note to self… bring the landing net, especially when using light line! We didn’t brain them and didn’t expect to at midday with loads of boat traffic but this sort of fishing will definitely be a great proposition over coming months.
Cleaning the catch and taking note of the stomach contents gives a good insight into feeding habits.
A small snapper caught from the Coochiemudlo Island region.
A pan-sized estuary cod taken from a ledge to the south of Peel Island.
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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 15
Wynnum Fishing Classic a fishing competition with a difference
HIS May will see the 2019 OzFish Unlimited Wynnum Fishing Classic come to Moreton Bay.
It is the only competition of its kind for Moreton Bay, with all proceeds from the event being directly invested back into the region to support habitat restoration and in turn, raise fish populations in the bay. OzFish Unlimited Moreton Bay Chapter president Robbie Porter said, “Current shellfish reef numbers in Moreton Bay are down to an alarming 2 percent of historical levels and our group wants to help fix that and improve our fishery.” In keeping with the sustainable fishing theme and the raising of fish stocks, the competition will be ‘catch and release’, with the winners being judged by photograph. Prizes will be awarded to both junior and senior competitors for longest bream, whiting, flathead, snapper, mulloway
and threadfin salmon as well as a combined length champion prize. Australian-owned outdoor supply company BCF is the official major partner for OzFish Unlimited nationally and is proud to be sponsoring an event that not only provides the Labour Day long weekend out on the water but will go a long way to support the future of recreational fishing in the bay. “We are just a bunch of fishers who love the bay and love fishing,” Mr Porter said. “We are keen to do what we can to improve our backyard and ensure its enjoyment for generations to come.” The competition will be held over the Labour Day weekend from 4pm Friday, May 3 through to 2pm Monday, May 6. Entrants will have the chance to win an array of exciting prizes, including two boat packages donated to the
event by co-sponsor Bluefin Boats. The senior prize is a Bluefin 4.2m Rogue on a registered trailer and the junior prize is a Bluefin 3m Catfish. Both boats are powered by Parsun engines. Festival and photo entry submission begins at 11am Monday, May 6 at George Clayton Park, Manly Foreshore, with food, drinks and festivities running until 5pm. This year the Wynnum Seafood Festival will be hosted at the weigh-in. You can have a great meal by the bay and a beer if you like while you pick up your prizes. There will be rides, games, live music, raffles and so much more. All proceeds go to restoring shellfish reef levels in Moreton Bay. For tickets, rules and more information, please go to ozfish moretonbay.org/wfc
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H O R I Z O N B O AT S . C O M . A U Page 16 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
Is it autumn or summer?
EEING as I haven’t written an article in a little while, let’s start at the beginning.
Summer kicked off with a bang and from Christmas until the end of January the weather was perfect. Our fishing clientele expanded their catches with the ones that didn’t get away. It was a very hot summer but perfect fishing conditions with sunny days and no wind – what a dream! February arrived and it was time to ‘catch our breath’, or so we thought. Instead we battened down the hatches and put all movable furniture away as cyclone Oma travelled down the coastline.
Fish the Deep by SCOTT VAN BURCK
The dream barrel seas for the local surfing community rolled in for a week, along with extremely high seas. Though the Gold Coast was expecting loads of rain, it just endured the wrath of very strong wind, 15m seas off Point Lookout and devastation to the Gold Coast beaches. February became a lost month with fishing and we only crossed the Gold Coast Seaway six times. There was no lack of interest in fishing; the seas were just not fishable. Most trips only acquired small quantities and not
Leo landed a chunky mulloway.
quality fish. Saying goodbye to summer was wasting your breath because the hot and humid days have continued. Seas settled and the winds calmed to ideal fishing conditions, so the marlin rigs were readied for action. Bucket lists were filled by the dozen, with many a customer informing Fish the Deep of a dream come true. The marlin were slower than usual to enter the Gold Coast waters but the rewards for patience have been great. Fish the Deep has operated several marlin-specific trips for fishing clubs as well as holiday anglers. These trips have proved prolific but exhausting as some marlin have taken two hours to land. Most have been returned to fight another day while others are now gracing barbecue luncheons. The best catch of the season was during a halfday buck’s party. The father of the groom was in total glory as he fought the 100kg marlin for two hours and finally boated it as the sun was sinking into the western horizon. There was no problem
feeding the extra guests arriving to partake in wedding celebrations. Our regular and visiting Chinese customers kept the charters flowing through the early weeks of March and were not disappointed, snaring marlin, mahi mahi, amberjack, kingfish, snapper, pearl perch and rosy jobfish. Mackerel were a bit light on, with positive and negative days. School mackerel were the more prominent species bagged. Most sessions with our regular Chinese customers also saw one or more big mulloway captured. All catches were taken on either lure, live bait, pilchards or squid. The most interesting day at sea proved to be spinetingling when a 4m great white shark decided to circle the boat. Caught on video, this predator was doing the rounds looking for a meal. Fresh fish was thrown over to try to appease the great white, but it appeared uninterested and allowed the free lunch to sink to the many species patiently waiting in Davy Jones’ Locker. After a few circles of the boat, the crew decided it was time to move to safer grounds. Another charter had the pleasure of a leopard shark swimming up to the boat and thrilling all on board.
Many videos and happy snaps were taken. School holidays are upon us at the time of writing, with charters at capacity and fingers crossed the fine weather and flat seas continue. January was kind to all with perfect conditions – hopefully this can be repeated over the next few weeks. The hot weather is still holding on and the water temperature is about 23C. May the weather be on the side of the charter industry and holiday visitors. ‘Til next edition, enjoy the days on the water and exciting fishing.
An early season snapper for Trent.
Tom Pursiheimo, Jason Fok and Masami Ishida with an epic black marlin.
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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 17
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Page 18 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
Inshore and offshore fishing improves
I everyone, well it had to happen, we finally had decent rainfall at the end of March.
This was just what we needed to make sure we have a good run of fish this winter. Both inshore and offshore fishing will be much better for it, with the small flush we had pushing the baitfish back downstream and just offshore. In fact, there was an immediate increase in bait school and predator numbers just outside the Gold Coast Seaway. Mack tuna, bonito, yellowfin tuna and longtail tuna were all caught feeding on these bait schools. On the outgoing tide, the water from the Seaway heads north up the coast, taking the food with it, which brings in the predators. It is hard to pinpoint exactly where they will be on any given day but normally no more than 1km offshore and sometimes very close to shore. As always, finding bird activity is a great way of locating fish. Trolling small metal lures can fill in time while searching for fish activity. Once found, casting the metal lures or medium size soft plastics on a 1/4oz or 1/2oz jig head would be the best ways of catching these fish. I recommend 20lb braid and leader because while you may only catch small mack tuna or bonito, you also might hook a 15kgplus longtail tuna. If you do you will be glad you had 20lb and probably wishing you had 30lb. Longtail tuna fight as hard as any fish out there. Just be aware there is a small green zone on the northern section offshore from South Stradbroke Island. It should be marked on your GPS, so just be careful. Reef fishing offshore has seen a bit of everything but not big numbers of any species. However, a feed is a feed and they have been good eating fish. As we get closer to winter, bottom fishing will get better and better, with the close reefs 30-40m deep well worth trying. It is extremely important to be on the water early and crossing the bar at first light. The two hours before and after sun-up offer the best fishing by far. Once it gets past 8am, it usually takes a tide change to stimulate another good bite period. On most trips we are back at the dock by 9-10am. While pillies and squid are always good baits to have on board, we’ve been having better luck with freshly caught yakka fillets.
Broadwater Region by WAYNE ‘YOUNGY’ YOUNG
Back inshore, bream and tailor numbers are improving and the quality should get a little better this month as well. The best bream fishing has been around Sovereign Island. Anchoring and berleying will increase your chances of catching quality fish. A good thing about bream fishing is they aren’t fussy when it comes to bait, with yabbies and prawns always worth trying but flesh baits like mullet and tailor better for quality fish. Tackle always depends on where you’re fishing. If it’s a clean sandy bottom, then 6-8lb mono is fine but if fishing rocky structure then 9lb or even 12lb would be best. I usually don’t recommend brands too much as I leave those choices up to you. We all have our favourites and most are as good as each other. However, if you fish heavy structure there is only one brand of monofilament to use and that is Schneider. It is as tough as they come and won’t let you down. Night-time and early mornings are always the best times to fish for bream because they are very timid fish that spook easily in heavy boat traffic. It’s too early to say but hopefully we will get a good inshore tailor season. The early signs are encouraging, with solid schools of bait in the Broadwater. I am lucky to live in a unit high above the Broadwater and have a good view of any bird activity that usually shows where the tailor schools are. Most activity is in the main channel behind Sea World, the channel in front of the mouth of Biggera Creek and the main channel in front of North Currigee. While anchoring and berleying will bring the tailor to you, I prefer to troll lures to cover a bigger area and increase our chances of finding schools of fish. We will use a couple of lures that dive to different depths (normally 2-4m). Once we find the depth the tailor are feeding at we can change the other lure out for one that runs at the optimal depth. Trolling in the early evening just after dark is extremely productive. Normally the fish will be a little bigger and holding closer to the surface after dark. The main channel from Marina Mirage down to
the Sundale Bridge is a good area for evening trolling because lots of lights on the water attract baitfish and predators. This month sees us starting our daytime whiting fishing. The gear, techniques and baits are the same as we use at night over summer, the only difference is the locations. In the Nerang River we start fishing from Sorrento to Carrara. A good boat ramp is at Carrara if you’re coming from Brisbane. If you’ve never fished
this area before, fishing near channel markers and looking for a corrugated bottom in the straighter parts of the river will see you onto the whiting. These fish will not be as large as the spawning fish we get during summer
but good eating size fish up to 35cm. In the Coomera River, the Hope Harbour to Sanctuary Cove section is best. Until next month, enjoy your time on the water and fish for the future.
Warrick was very pleased with his large whiting from the Nerang River.
Young Tyler just loves his whiting fishing.
A big offshore jewfish caught by Greg on a pillie.
The author with part of a mixed species catch from the close reefs.
Mitch came home with the goods by towing a hard-body.
Pelagics in the shallows W HEN is this great fishing going to stop?
Hopefully never! With the water temperature holding steady at 25C, pelagics such as mackerel, marlin and mahi mahi have been caught in great numbers right along the coast as baitfish hold on all the local reefs. So much so that mackerel are regularly being caught on the grounds traditionally used for bait gathering. While it would make sense to target bigger fish on a bait ground, generally the shallow areas don’t hold predatory fish in big numbers. It’s a different story once you head a bit wider and come across a bait school, as you’d be mad not to target predatory fish that would no doubt be sniffing around. They are usually given away by showing up clearly on your sounder. Spanish and spotted mackerel are still being caught in good numbers and you can throw in some extra-oversize doggies as-well. The doggies have increased in size and frequency over the past month, which signals to me the cooler water isn’t far away. We’ve traditionally caught doggies as the mackerel season comes to a close and the water temperature has dropped to 22C or less, so them hanging around in 25C water is unusual for the Gold Coast. The spotties have been hit
FEEL LIKE GLASSOUT
by HEATH ZYGNERSKI
and miss but we should get a few more good runs of them from ANZAC Day onwards into May. Spinners have traditionally been the go in the later part of the season, so stock up now. Don’t leave it until they are on, otherwise you might miss out of getting your hands on some. The spaniards at this time of year tend to be extra-oversized brutes, so ensure your entire rig is in perfect shape. If you aren’t happy with any aspect of it, change it. Be aware with the big spaniards that they can carry ciguatera. Out on the wide grounds, good numbers of marlin are being caught, especially with livies dropped down to a waiting target hanging off a bait school. In the estuaries, flatties have started to come on the chew. When the water gets a bit cooler we will see the bigger lizards being caught. Great catches of whiting have been taken off the sandbanks using yabbies and worms. For those chasing mangrove jack, the fishing has been great. All the local haunts that have structure are worth a hit using your favourite weapon of choice, be it bait, soft plastic or hard-bodies. The bit of fresh we got re-
ally brought the crabs on, with muddies and blue swimmers taken in good numbers. Make sure you change your bait regularly though, as the warm water turns it off quickly and once your bait is off you won’t catch too many crabs. The local bars are in really bad shape. Tweed River Bar is getting badly silted up inside the walls and that bank out wide is now around 3m deep, which will catch the swell. Currumbin Creek Bar is a right mess. Your challenge starts about 100m from the mouth where the whole channel is silted up. More than a few tinnies have had to be pulled across the shallow sand pan to get to the bar. It is only passable at half tide or more and even then you have to be careful. If we get a rain event, Currumbin Creek is a very real chance of bursting its banks. Tallebudgera Creek Bar is also very shallow and the bar is hairy, with no real gutter and nowhere to run if you mistime your run. The Seaway is the pick of the bunch. You just need to be cautious if some swell is about. ‘Til next month, smoking drags to you all.
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The early bird catches the worm, with this fish caught just on sunrise.
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 19
Guide to finding flathead G ’DAY everyone, in this month’s article I will pass on a few tips on how to find flathead.
Finding the right location can result in capturing a quality fish like this one.
Baitfish schools holding close to the bottom of deep holes are bound to attract flathead.
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From now through to August the water temperature in our local rivers and creeks will fluctuate between 19C to 23C, which is perfect for flathead fishing. It is often said that summer is the time to target them in our local waterways, but I have always found our cooler months the time to get big numbers of these fish. It is also a common mindset of many anglers that flatties are lazy and will just take up residence in a set spot and wait for food, which is far from what I have found in countless years of fishing locally. I have found they migrate en masse up and down the rivers, just like most other species. The key to locating what I call a biomass of flatties is to find a biomass of bait, which can take some time and exploration. Having a good sounder and of course knowing how to read it is key. The bait you are looking for on your sounder could be prawns or balls of small baitfish that will show up in concentrated clouds on the screen. You will also need the bait schools to be holding close to the bottom. Flathead do not show up on your sounder because they lay partially submerged on the bottom and travel along the seabed following the biomass of baitfish.
Gold Coast Guide by BRAD SMITH
The holes will often hold more bait on the last few hours of the runout tide as the critters are forced into the hole due to spots along the edges of the riverbanks draining dry and leaving no choice but to retreat to deeper water. I use a few methods to find the bait on the bottom, with the first being commuting upstream until I find dirty or discoloured water, as bait prefers to hide in dirty water. For our poor unsuspecting bait this is a false sense of security because the dirty water also provides a fantastic ambush area for the already stealthy and highly predatorial flathead. Another place to find these bait schools is along the bottom of the deepest holes in the rivers. Once again, the bait falls into a false sense of security by hiding along the bottom of the holes. The holes will often hold more bait on the last few hours of the run-out tide as the critters are forced into the hole due to spots along the edges of the riverbanks draining dry and leaving no choice but to retreat to deeper water. What we have discussed so far is the ultimate way to find great numbers of schooling flatties. Bait including herring and prawns spawn in massive numbers and grow fast but have a short lifespan. This means bait can at times be almost impossible to find, so what is the plan when this happens? You need to locate areas that have a permanent supply of bait, with some examples being yabby banks and grounds with a mass area of seagrass with channels running
through and across it. The yabby banks attract foraging fish including whiting, which rate highly on the flatties’ diet, even though they are not fussy and will devour anything that comes their way. So try fishing over the yabby banks at high tide and the deeper edges of the banks on falling tides as the flathead wait for the fish retreating into deeper water.
Flatties love to lay along the bottom of the deeper channels that meander through areas with seagrass beds because the seagrass provides a great place for prawns, small fish and crustaceans to hide. The best time to fish these channels is on the run-out tides as some of the bait is once again forced to retreat to the channels due to the receding water. Another area where flathead will wait in ambush is the sandy edges of natural reefs and rock bars some of our rivers contain. The sandy edges of the reefs are like a highway for bait to travel along and provide the perfect ambush point for the camouflaged flathead to lay in wait. Well I hope I may have helped you locate this highly sought-after species and in next month’s article I will discuss some techniques for targeting them.
Young Lucas had a great smile on his face after catching his first flatty.
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This flathead took a deep-diving lure trolled along the edge of a rock bar.
May a ripper month on Gold Coast
EY guys and girls, I hope the fishing has been productive for you.
Let’s consider the types of fishing that have excelled lately and more importantly what’s to come. Inshore and freshwater fishing will definitely play a bigger part than offshore fishing, with on and off patterns for mackerel as the temps slowly drop. But with this comes the excitement of snapper beginning to show up further down the water column, so by all means it is worth getting out and giving it a crack. Inshore, it’s the time of year when our winter and summer species are mixed together, meaning some trips have a few surprise species in the mix. Mangrove jack are still around and active, though deeper water techniques
Nerang Rooster Report by DARREN RAMA
will work better, such as fishing deeper rock walls by either hopping soft plastics or vibes down them or trolling deep divers. With the lack of rain over the summer break, many bigger fish pushed right up into our canal systems because they were not affected by any fresh water coming down, but now with the water temps dropping you should see a few schools of fish starting to stack up in the Broadwater. Trevally really enjoy this month, with GTs, big-eye trevally and lately even some golden trevally around. Fishing high-current areas with small prawn imitations has been
quite successful. Flathead are starting to show a bit more as the weather cools, pushing up onto the flats early and dropping back into deeper water at midday. Fishing a run-out tide has been most productive of late. In the clean water that’s been around, squid have moved in a little earlier. Wherever the weed is thick, squid use it for cover before darting out and attacking their prey. Casting 2.5 and 3.5 size squid jigs works well, especially if a squid is hot on the trail and you let it
slowly free fall. In the fresh water, creek fishing has been going well because the fish are getting a bit more active as this year’s spawning season approaches. This means we are not too far away from our Queensland bass closed season in tidal waters (June 1 to August 31), which is in place to help the fish repopulate. Hinze Dam has started to pick up too, with a great edge bite for anglers using weedless plastics slowly rolled through the timber. Scattered schools, when found, can be stirred into action using lipless crankbaits. Get out there and give it a crack because May should be a ripper month for fishing.
The author landed this lovely jack fishing deeper rock walls.
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This nice golden trevally was caught from a school.
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A bass hooked exploring a new creek.
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A canal-dwelling flathead.
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Things looking fishy south of the Tweed
E’VE had some pretty good weather over the past month but unfortunately after a great start to the mackerel season they just kept heading south and we’ve been left with nothing.
Hook-up! This was the exciting part. Discovering a mack tuna on the other end was a bit of a letdown for Strat.
The spotties and spanish are all further down the coast at the time of writing. I’ve heard of several big days on the Coffs Coast but around here it’s just day after day of dreaming about it. The good news is the fish are below us and in theory they have to come back past us on their migration north. Sounds good in theory
With the weather settling and the current backing off this month, it’s time to head a bit wider and look for good-eating reefies like this parrotfish.
running hard on the wide grounds but traditionally it eases some time in May and we once again get access to the deep where a mixed bag of table fish is on offer. I love the deep but I also love mackerel, so whenever a sniff of mackerel is around,I’ll save fuel and stay in close, and I’m hopeful that’s exactly what will happen this month. There has been no end to the awesome mangrove jack season and May is a great month to get them around the walls in both the Tweed and Brunswick rivers. I was throwing longtail tuna scraps in the river recently and enjoying watching heaps of bream pulling them around. Next thing the bream scattered and a big jack came through and ate a strip of pin bones about a foot long. I saw the fish a couple more times, along with a smaller one of about a kilo. The bream sure gave the big jack the respect it deserved and I was left with a grin from ear to ear.
Tweed to Byron Bay by GAVIN DOBSON
but I’ve seen plenty of years where they just disappear from down south never to be seen until next mackerel season. There’s plenty of bait here for them and if the water stays warm surely we’ll get another go at them. A bloke can dream, can’t he? With the spotties and spanish gone, the little doggies have been trying to fill the void. Some days there are heaps of them and while they aren’t as exciting as their bigger relatives some mackerel are better than none at all and I’m quite partial to a feed of doggy mackerel as a consolation prize. They are pretty good at chopping up bait jigs and baits meant for bigger and better things but at least once this happens you know they are around and can target them. They love a pilchard either whole or halved, and a slimy mackerel fillet is always on their menu. Some days they are voracious, so don’t be surprised when they tackle a large pike or even a trolled tailor or bonito. Jewfish haven’t been thick lately, but there are
Brunswick Heads had a good start to the mackerel season, so here’s hoping for a strong finish.
enough to have a dedicated fish for them. We’ve been getting the odd one while mackerel fishing but the next few months are usually best for them. We didn’t get a run of little longtail tuna earlier this year but right on cue the bigger models turned up and for the next couple of months will only get bigger. At present they are around the 10-15kg mark but during May and June expect that to jump to 20kg with the odd monster thrown in. They are dogged fighters and when one jumps on your snapper gear, expect to be tied up for a good hour or more. Treated right, they can be top-notch eating. Bleed the fish and submerge it in an ice slurry. The flesh of a longtail loses its red colour quickly after filleting and becomes a fairly unappetising shade of brown. To overcome this, I cut the fillets into portions and Cryovac them and after three days in the fridge they look as good as when they were first filleted. They aren’t first-rate sashimi but are a solid second and are also tasty marinated in lime juice with a few herbs and spices. They are also decent straight on the barbecue and any leftovers are prime for making fish cakes. With the longtails are plenty of mack tuna and I’ll tell you what to do with them. First, you carefully take out the hooks and then you spear them straight back into the ocean. Some people eat them but I’m yet to find a way of turning them into anything more than bait, so I let the vast majority go. Our inshore reefs often produce a hit of snapper in May, so they are worth a look too. As I write, the current is
They are still my favourite fish. Speaking of bream, heaps are around now, so if this is any indication of bream season it’s going to be a bumper. Mullet season starts this month too, and a good mullet season means a good predator season. This means jewfish to a lot of people, but to others it means sharks and even longtails to those fishing from rocks and walls. Over the years I’ve even seen spanish mackerel tear into mullet schools off Norries Headland, Hastings Point and the Cudgen close bommies. Mullet are food for everything, so let’s hope for heaps of them this year. As far as fishing is concerned, I reckon May is one of the best months of the year. I haven’t even mentioned that if the current is running you should look for big wahoo on Nine Mile and Windarra Banks, or that mud crabs are at their peak and full too. Couple that with the usual late-autumn stable weather and it all sounds pretty fishy, really!
Longtails will be on the close reefs and headlands this month. Lewan with a chunky specimen caught recently.
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The author had to lean on his gear to put the brakes on this solid Queensland groper, which was quickly released.
Finding huge giant herring in a new location was super-rewarding. Molix 3.5” RT Shads accounted for the majority landed.
Trying new areas and tasting success
THINK most anglers do a lot of the same style of fishing over and over because they know it and most times have success doing what they are familiar with.
Having success with something different can be a real buzz, whether it’s a new lure, style of fishing or in the case of this article, new location. When fishing a new area, it’s worth doing some homework before heading off. Thinking about simple things like wind direction, tide direction and depth changes will help when travelling around as well as finding fish. These days we have it pretty easy with things like satellite maps to give us an idea of where we are going before leaving, and modern sounders to help navigate on the water and of course find the fish. Recently I did a bit of homework and headed off to a new area to try to find fish that are not common in Brisbane. The plan was to fish some ledges and creek
Fishing Trip by PETER HERBST
mouths up north for a day and a half in the hope of finding larger estuary species such as threadfin and barra as well as pelagics like trevally and queenfish. We headed off around 6am on the first morning and were greeted by a stiff south to southwesterly wind, which was supposed to be a southeasterly. This would prove to be a pain and spoil most areas that would have been protected if the forecast was correct, so that side of the planning was thrown out the window. I pulled up on the first location and in no time at all a solid school of pelagic-type fish were found on the Simrad sounder. Unfortunately, this area was very hard to fish because the wind and tide were going in opposite directions and the fish were moving around, so despite the showing of big fish,
Damien’s first-ever diamond trevally.
we had to leave to find protection. It was one of those days where the wind was up and down as rain moved through, which isn’t a heap of fun but when you travel a long way to fish, you just have to deal with what you have been dealt. The next location was a really nice ledge where the depth dropped off very quickly, which is a great structure for fish to travel along. We fished this ledge with soft vibes (Jackall Transams and Zerek Fish Traps) on heavy baitcast tackle, casting the lures up on the shallow part and hopping them down to the deep. The first fish ate the lure as it fell down the face of the ledge, and it was a cracker, taking massive, super-fast runs. Eventually a massive blue salmon came to the boat and it would have measured a metre or more but the lure got hooked on the outside of the net and the fish didn’t make it into the boat for a photo. The next fish ate the lure in a similar fashion and was clearly a different species because it was determined to get back into the ledge. I put the wood on it with my Dobyns 10-20lb rod and was able to turn and steer a 70cm Queensland groper into the net. These fish are protected,
Diamond trevally are a special fish. The author was surprised to land double figures on the second day.
so we swiftly removed the lure from inside its mouth and got a quick picture before releasing it back to its ledge. This was a great start to the trip but the brake went on from there and we did it tough for a long time. We tried creek mouths and more ledges but could only manage a few small fish like cod. On the way back I decided to have a look at the first spot we stopped at because the current was running the opposite way, so the wind was going with it and as a result it wasn’t as rough. I pulled up a long way short of where I marked fish earlier, and we would have sounded for 20m before my Simrad showed good numbers of big fish close to the bottom. The first fish hooked revealed itself quickly as a donkey-sized giant herring, clearing the water with Damien’s Fish Trap in its mouth. He was pretty keen on landing this one because it would easily be a PB and his first fish for the day. After an epic battle from this crazy, fast-running acrobatic fish, a 116cm specimen was netted. From here we both caught a number of big herring, all easily over 1m, on Molix RT Shad plastics fished on heavy leaders of 30-40lb Sunline FC 100, as these fish can rub through leader easily with their hard mouths and gill-shaking jumps. I did manage a big lone golden trevally in between the herring, which added to the great bag of sportfish encountered in a day’s exploring. The next day we fished an area we had targeted many times before and though not as rewarding as fishing something new, it was good enjoying some easy fishing. Excellent numbers of sizeable diamond trevally and queenfish were caught with Molix RT Shads cast to fish located on the sounder. Both species are excellent fighters and prized sportfishing captures in this part of the country. Fishing new areas can be productive and when they are, it is very rewarding!
The biggest herring was this cracker 116cm model.
A big golden trevally among the giant herring was a nice surprise.
The second day saw half a dozen of these lovely queenfish landed on Molix plastics.
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 23
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quality tuna have been there. Most have taken live baits intended for mackerel, but a few have also shown interest in lures being trolled around and surface lures cast at surface activity from bait schools. Quality snapper have also been hitting the decks of boats of late. They have been taken from the close reefs and most have managed to beat any mackerel or tuna in the area and smacked a live bait or lure being trolled for the pelagic speedsters. This is a little unusual because the water temperature at this time of year is normally a little too warm for snapper, but I’m sure those anglers who have managed to catch a few will not be complaining. Out at the fish-aggregating device, mahi mahi have been inconsistent this month. They don’t seem to have kicked into full swing this year, but I guess it can’t be a record year every time. If mackerel are not your cup of tea, then it will still be worth taking a few live baits out to see if you can tempt a mahi mahi or two. Most of the fish have been between 60cm and 80cm, but I think you may be able to find a few XL models if you are willing to spend the time trolling skirted lures around out wider on the current and temperature lines. Speaking of current, this seems to have settled rather nicely, with one to two knots most days. This has made fishing from the 42-fathom line and beyond a much easier and more enjoyable experience. It has also meant a few boats have been able to get out and target bottom species such as amberjack, kingfish, bar cod and pearl perch on some of the extra-wide grounds. The current will probably continue to fluctuate a little over the next month or so as we get closer to winter, but it should settle nicely once those westerly winds start and the temperature
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enjoy slightly cooler days, lighter wind and pretty good fishing to go with it. Finally the spotted and spanish mackerel have showed up in numbers on the close reefs. Lennox Point, Black Head and Riordans Reef have all produced fish over the past couple of weeks. Some boats have picked them up by slow trolling live baits, while others have enjoyed better success putting the anchor out and sitting still. Live slimy mackerel have been the best baits but plenty of spotties have taken pilchards and even the occasional yakka. The spanish mackerel definitely seem to have a preference for slimies at present but it would not hurt to try your luck with a legal-size tailor or pike if the slimies are hard to track down. While the mackerel have caused havoc on the close reefs, a number of good-
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Ballina Bait & Tackle by BRETT HYDE
begins to drop off. Back on the beaches, we seem to have kicked into winter mode a little early. Good numbers of tailor are already starting to arrive and are showing plenty of interest in baits such as pilchards, bonito and mullet. Most fish are in the chopper range, with the odd larger fish mixed in. As is usually the case, some reasonable bream are cruising around with the tailor. They are normally quite happy to grab similar baits to the tailor, but it might pay to have smaller hooks ready to go in case a school of bream moves into the gutter you are fishing and you want to specifically target bream. South Ballina and Seven Mile Beaches at Lennox Head have been the pick of the beaches, but low tide has certainly been the best time to hit the beaches because the high tide gutters are still trying to reform after the powerful storm surge last month. In the rivers, we are still seeing good numbers of mud crabs in both the creeks and main Richmond River. The bonus of the long dry spells we have had this summer is the water quality in the lower reaches of the river is quite good, which has lead to reasonable numbers of blue swimmer crabs. It has been a number of years now since we have seen any numbers of these tasty little crustaceans, so
get out and grab a feed while you can. Please remember you are only permitted to use witches’ hats or dillies from the Burns Point Ferry to the mouth of the river, and a maximum of four dillies is allowed per person. Bream are showing up in really good numbers in the lower reaches of the river and seem to be moving in during the larger run-up tides at night. Baits such as prawns, mullets and pilchards have all been good bait options, and lightly weighted soft plastics and Cranka Crab lures have been the pick of the artificial bunch to try. With bream moving into the bottom end of the river, flathead have continued to make their way up the river ready for winter, and while you can still catch a flatty or two down the bottom, I would be starting at the Burns Point Ferry and working up the river if you really want to catch a feed of flathead for dinner. White and blue pilchards have been the best baits and metal blades and soft vibes have accounted for plenty of fish over the sand flats during the runout tides. With a few cooler mornings around, some of the summer species such as whiting, trevally and mangrove jack have dropped off a little. However, if you are keen and put in the effort, a few are able to be caught before the beanies have to come out of the bottom drawer for this year. That’s all from me for this month. ‘Til next time, tight lines!
Adrian captured a quality bass on a Bassman Football Jig.
Fish really fire in the cool n Beaches n Headlands n River n Fresh water
EE, I’m not a happy camper.
One minute I’m running around in shorts, the next I’ve got to rug up to go outdoors. Winter is coming but is not here yet. This means it’s time to break out the bream gear. I love bream fishing on the beach but a lot of the time tailor will come into the suds and bust you off. I can just see the tailor fishers’ eyes light up as they get their rods ready to battle the elements. We will have cold nights and even colder mornings as these intrepid anglers hunt for the big greenback tailor. To me, this weather means sleeping in and having an early night by the fire. I’m of the age now that I’ve been there and done that and I hate cold weather, it’s as simple as that. But for those who love being out in the elements, the fish are there, you just have to get out and pick the gutters that hold them. Many a time I have said start at the surf club and carry a shoulder bag and bait bucket with either lures or bait and work the gutters all the way up to the coffee rock. You will find fish in some of the gutters, be it bream or tailor. A number of gutters will hold jewfish as well.
Evans Head by GARY ‘SQUIDGIE’ PALMER
I would take blue pillies and herring fillets. You could take a whole mullet up and cut fillets or pieces off. I say take a whole mullet instead of fillets because the fillets go mushy during storage. I don’t do enough beach fishing these days, but when I do the trusty 12’ Wilson rod comes out. It was near-on 26 years ago that I bought this rod. Alan Hale had the tackle shop in Evans Head then and Keven Hetherington and I bought one each and it has paid for itself many times over. That rod sits in the pride and joy spot in my shed and just looking at it brings back so many memories of fish caught and lost. I recall battles with big jewfish and very large tailor. My 2kg bream was caught on it and in the same week Allan Patch landed a 2.6kg bream, which is still the biggest I’ve heard of. On the headlands, as long as it’s warm you need to keep an eye out for snakes. Fishing wise, take two rods, one for big tailor and
jew and one for blackfish and bream. I would head to Piano Head first to gather weed and cabbage for blackfish and have a cast into the suds for bream and school jew. You can catch a lot of rubbish fish here as well, so I don’t linger. I get my bait and then head to 40 Foot and fish for tailor, bream, jewfish and sometimes school sharks and even the odd mackerel.
Always fish with a friend here as it is very dangerous if you don’t know it. I also like to fish Red Hill because you have the beach as well as the higher spots to fish, but it is quite dangerous, especially if it has rained because the hill can turn into red mud and you can slip and slide all over the place. If you start fishing from Piano and work your way around to Red Hill you should have caught a good feed. You have so many spots to fish in between it’s not funny. On the last big tide we had at Evans Head the river was so clean.
Without any rain, the fish will be way upriver. If boating, head up from Black Hole and cast your arm off chasing flathead and bream. Keep an eye out for fallen trees and any runoff areas you can find as these should have flathead all around them. I don’t know how many times I have seen just a small run-off area and caught well over my bag in flathead, though I only ever take three because that’s enough for me and the Minister of Finance. On the bass scene, some very big fish have been * continued P26
A bass caught in skinny water on a home-made jig by Damon Andrews.
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Doing a bit of thinking and coming up with a homemade lure could see fish coming to investigate it. All you need is for them to eat it. They say if you would not eat it, why would the fish?
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Fish really fire in the cool * from P25
caught and released. The best spots have been in the Lismore arm. From Coraki, work your way up and cast at any downed tree, runoff area and undercut bank. My favourite lure is the Bassman Spinnerbait in colour 7. I have also asked Glenn from Bassman to make me white spinners because these are brilliant in the Lismore arm. But don’t tell Glenn as I promised not to tell anyone. Remember the bass and estuary perch season closes on May 1 in NSW. You can still fish for them but all must be released unharmed. I just don’t go fishing for them during the closed season but you’ll
still encounter them as incidental catches in the lower reaches of river as they come down to breed. I’m still hearing a lot of hoo-ha from the Greens about what they are going to do to the Richmond River. This mob is out to close down everything we hold dear. The fish are now called sea kittens and we bad fishers are putting big ugly hooks in their mouths and hurting them. At the same time these idiots are walking into fish mongers and buying fish for their plates for tea. How the hell do they think these sea kittens get into fish mongers’ shops? Just walking in and laying on the ice so we can buy them for dinner?
These people are so far removed from reality it’s not funny. I can remember being out of reality a few times in the ‘70s but I had some substances in my body that put me there… maybe they are on the same trip I was on? That’s it for this month. My health has not been the best and I’ve had three trips to hospital. You’d think I like the food there considering the number of times I’ve visited. The nurses and doctors are brilliant. They have kept me above ground at least. Well ‘til next month, I hope you remember to limit your kill, don’t kill your limit. Tight lines and smelly fingers.
This bass was hooked by Damon while fishing back-waters where some fish have never seen a lure.
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Gulmarrad angler John Dowsett kicked off the winter run of jewfish inside the Clarence River by taking this fish on live mullet at the T-Piece, Yamba.
Land-based game gurus return
S I predicted last month, April saw longtail tuna, jewfish and tailor dominate catches along the Iluka/Yamba breakwalls and most of the headlands here on the mighty Clarence Coast of Northern NSW.
Catches of spanish mackerel from the walls have come to a grinding halt, however given the large numbers of tuna about, they would have to be quicker than normal to get a bait. Sydney anglers Moozy, Mkay, Milly and Hank Crimpy made a recent trip chasing tuna after getting a few tips from Sydney landbased gamefishing guru HT who must have given them the good oil because all the lads managed to snare a tuna on their trip. Milly and Mkay got their fish on the first day, with Hank hooking up in the middle of the worst storm we have had this year, while Moozy lost fish in every way imaginable but came good on the final day, eventually snaring a tuna on live gar after missing and dropping four fish earlier in
Just Jew by TYE PORTER
the day. To top the trip off, Mkay got bored fishing for tuna and decided to have a go for jew on the river side of the wall in the middle of the day and was rewarded with a nice fish. I am trying to get the lads back up here in winter to fish for jewfish so I can show them what really happens on the Clarence River after dark, as I am sure they would not see it around Sydney. The downside to the hot tuna bite is the bogans that masquerade as fishers that gaff a tuna, spend a lifetime taking pics and then spear the fish back into the water, only for it to surely die due to fatigue and blood loss or be dinner for a shark, then leave all their rubbish among the rocks. If you want to release a pelagic, either net it or tape a knife to the end of your gaff and cut the line close to the mouth, instead of impaling it with a gaff for ego’s sake.
Actually, bogan is not the right word for these losers, I reckon wanker is much more fitting and as the saying goes: “all the gear but no idea”. Talking of jewfish,
young Gulmarrad angler John Dowsett hit the scoreboard early with an early season jew on live mullet from the T-Piece on the Yamba wall. May will see the winter run in full swing, not only here on the Clarence River but all the rivers north to the border, with
* continued P27
The only downside to catching fish is carrying them off the 1.2km Iluka wall.
Bored of watching his tuna float all day, Sydney angler Mkay decided to use a soft plastic on the river side of the Iluka wall and snared this nice jew.
Land-based game gurus return * from P26
the trick to success finding out where the flat-tail mullet hold up in each river, then fishing those spots on the slack high tide after dark. The top three spots here on the Clarence River are the green lights on the bottom end of the Collis Wall
and the Turkeys Nest wall for those with a boat, while the T-Piece on the Yamba breakwall is the spot for the shore-based anglers as large schools of mullet hold here all winter. The southern end of the Iluka Bluff has been the pick of the local headlands for smaller school-
ies around the 8kg mark, with the odd bigger fish to 20kg being taken in the middle of the day during the low water and the first couple of hours of the making tide. Good jew fishing will be had spinning at night, however, I would much prefer fishing the daylight
Sydney angler Hank (don’t backchat me I know crimps) with a jellybean longtail taken on spin gear at Iluka.
tides on the rocks, then snooping around the rivers at night. Using soft plastics off the headlands will see you get plenty of schoolies and the odd bigger fish, but if you want to consistently catch large to huge jewfish, use any shallowrunning (1m maximum) 14cm hard-bodied minnow-style lure and you will see the difference. Tailor are still around in big numbers, with Danny Wicks and Rhyan Buckley of Yamba having a ball at the Bluff and landing top fish to about 3kg, with double hook-ups very common. Tailor of a similar size are also coming from Main Beach, Back Beach and Shark Bay here at Iluka on bonito strips and whole garfish, while over on the southern side of the river Lovers Point and Plumbego have both seen top fish taken on lures. Offshore catches are being dominated by mackerel and tuna, with most boats trolling for these fish, however this month boats will begin anchoring and laying out a good berley trail that will in turn see numbers of solid snapper begin to be reported. Catches of big bream will also begin to improve as the fish move into the lower reaches of the river systems to spawn. All in all, May is look-
ing to be a cracker month and I will be hitting the headlands during the day when the swell is running, then snooping around the river after dark for a jew. ‘Til next month, safe fishin.’
A 14cm shallow-running hard-body is a huge jewfish magnet.
After catching his jew, Mkay refocused on tuna fishing and nailed a quality longtail tuna on a live gar.
WHEN LIFE DEPENDS ON SEEING EVERYTHING
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 27
Water temp change brings on the snapper
ITH May on our doorstep and almost half a year gone, it has been an interesting ride so far.
Craig Mullet scored a mixed bag off the Sunshine Coast. Photos: fishingnoosa.com.au
Consistent swells and wind kept a lot of anglers off the water early in the year but March gave all the chance to get out on glassy days. We will begin to see water temperatures dropping a few degrees and this is often a great sign of things to come. All areas on the Sunshine Coast will benefit, with offshore the first to see positive results in the form of bigger snapper in good numbers, with most fishers bagging out. The popular areas for snapper have been the bottom end of the Barwon Banks, Murphys Reef,
A cracking pelagic double for Scott Parker.
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Sunshine Coast by GRANT BUDD
Another good tip is to soak your mullet in tuna oil overnight before going crabbing because this will enhance the scent trail and therefore greatly improve your catch. Mooloolaba Nine Mile, North Reef and Sunshine Reef. The best method is slowly floating baits to the bottom using three 5/0 TruTurn gangs with either a pilchard or whole squid for bait. To mix things up, why not put a pilchard inside the squid mantle and send it down because these two baits are high on a snapper’s hit list. If you find the current a little strong, place a small ball sinker above the gang hooks to ensure the presentation slowly sinks through the water column. Berley is a must when snapper fishing. Try using cubed leftover bait such as pillies, or you can buy bags of pellet berley including Berkley Stimulate or similar. One method I have had luck with of late is dropping micro jigs in the 30-60g range, with my favourite being the Palms Slow Blatt Oval. This jig has a wide fluttering action irresistible to reef fish. Just be sure to upgrade the hooks for the bigger fish. This lure is best presented during lighter current days and using PE2-3 gear. Spanish mackerel have been caught off Double Island Point and Sunshine and Halls reefs and the bigger fish love slowtrolled dead baits including bonito, garfish and sauries. One of the best lures
this season has been the Spaniard Special, which continues to thrive when trolled slowly with a big slimy attached. If it’s sizeable jew you love to catch, Chardons Reef off Noosa is the spot, with fish averaging 15kg caught on live yakkas. Coral trout are still in good numbers around Sunshine Reef, Coolum Reef and Arkwright Shoal. These fish are suckers for live yakkas about 4” long on a snelled rig with a running ball sinker. The other great thing about May is mud crabs are on the move and this year has produced strong results so far in the Noosa and Maroochy rivers. To be successful, ensure your pots are heavily baited. Another good tip is to soak your mullet in tuna oil overnight before going crabbing because this will enhance the scent trail and therefore greatly improve your catch. Tailor have started biting in the lower stretches of the Noosa River, with most fish taking surface lures including Bassday Sugapens, Storm Chug Bugs and even Halco Twisties. The larger tailor are loving live baits fished after dark on the run-in tide, so be sure to get your cast nets and aerators out. Trevally are in good numbers, with golden, giant and tea-leaf all biting in the lower-light periods. The hot spots have been
Woods Bays, Munna Point and the back of Noosa Sound. Lucky Craft G-Splash poppers and Rapala XRap Pop lures will do the job because they are designed to take punishment and come pre-rigged with quality treble hooks. The stretch between Lake Cootharaba and Tewantin is producing breeding-sized flathead, trevally, school jew and the occasional mangrove jack. Fishing in the deeper sections with live bait will land you a nice jack or jew, so be sure to go appropriately equipped. The Maroochy River has seen the quality of bream on the increase, with bigger fish taken after dark. The secret to good bream fishing in this river is to berley. A great range of premade berleys are available, and add tuna oil to create a good scent trail. The best baits have been mullet fillets, live yabbies, small pillies and fowl gut. Just remember when using berley to only use enough to keep the fish interested and not feed them. Upriver from the motorway bridge to Bli Bli, anglers are catching school jew and trevally on soft plastics. Popular models include the Z-Man 4” SwimmerZ and Keitech Easy Shiner 4”. Most jew are coming from the deeper holes and drop-offs, so take your time to have a good sound around when chasing these beauties, and when you get the bite, strike hard! On the beaches, a few chopper tailor have been turning up from Pincushion to Marcoola. The higher-water gutters first thing in the morning or during the low light at the end of the day are delivering better fish. The best baits have been smaller pillies rigged on three 4/0 hooks on a fluorocarbon leader. If the sweep is a little strong, try using a surfstyle sinker that slows the
sweep and reduces line twist. Grassy sweetlip, squire and jewies have been taken from the rocks at Yaroomba. The famous mullet strip bait rig is preferred when chasing these fish. It’s made from two TruTurn hooks in sizes 5/0 and 3/0 and joined with a swivel. Teewah Beach is dart central, with good catches taken on the run-out tide. The trick is to fish lower-water gutters while using pipis and worms for bait on a long baitholderstyle hook. This will secure the bait while giving it longevity against smaller picker fish. The northern beach entrance has its usual start of season high-water gutter, which always produces tailor in May at first light and after dark. In the fresh water, bass have been schooling in the main basin of Lake Macdonald. Most fish are falling for vibes and blades slowly lifted from the bottom. Spinnerbaits have also produced quality fish in cooler water when allowed to sink before starting your retrieve. Borumba Dam’s bass have been striking 3” Keitech soft plastics combined with TT DemonZ jig heads fished close to timber structure. Saratoga are still out and about, with early mornings the better time to target these fish. This is mainly due to traffic from other users spooking the bigger fish deep into the snags and out of sight. Don’t forget to check in to fishingnoosa.com.au for all the latest up-todate info on fishing and bar crossings. The knowledgeable teams at Davo’s Tackle World Noosa and Davo’s Northshore Bait & Tackle at Marcoola can provide you with the right equipment, bait and advice to ensure success!
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The author was stoked with this big saratoga.
The author landed a chinaman fish.
Solid session on Sunny Coast reefs
I, it’s Craig Tomkinson here.
With early April being so wet and windy on the Sunshine Coast, my mate Dave and I only did one fishing trip off Noosa in my tinnie. We launched at Tewantin boat ramp around 4.30am, but a word of warning, the toilet block there is not open at that time of day, which is a real pain. As you would know, you get up, have breaky and a coffee or tea, drive to the ramp and you are busting to go to the toilet. Here’s a tip Dave and I discovered by accident – the toilet block near the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club in the Lion’s Park gets cleaned early and is open, so you can nudge the boat up on the sandy beach on the river mouth side of the yacht club and go there. This is now part of the fishing trip for Dave and me. We crossed the bar just on daylight and headed to Chardons Reef. It was a bit rough in my tinnie, so the trip out took a while, which worked out great because other boats were already there. We stayed away from them and fished a few spots I had found when skippering charter boats out of Noosa.
Noosa to Fraser Coast by CRAIG TOMKINSON
I found nice shows and we anchored. Man it was slow. I think we had two fish in the boat by midday and had shifted and found four or five goodlooking spots. I made the call to pull the pin on Chardons and come in a bit to check out Massouds Reef, a few kilometres to the northwest. Well, thank goodness we did because the fish were on the chew from the first drop, with nice grass sweetlip coming in one after the other before they slowed to a fish every now and then. I love catching sweeties. Dave and I both use my old 12,000 baitrunner Shimano Thunnus reels loaded with 30lb mono main line and 60cm of 45lb mono trace with a swivel between the 30lb and 45lb lines. A 10 ball sinker and glow bead sit right down on the two snooded 4/0 hooks. For bait, we were using a three-quarter length of cut pillie and chopping the head up a bit more and tossing it over the side as berley. The fish shut down after a
few hours, so we headed to Sunshine Reef and anchored. After a while I hooked a good fish that fought hard and I ended up boating a nice trout. On the next drop I hooked a better fish and thought it was another trout but it was a chinaman fish, which was released (they are known carriers of ciguatera). The fish went quiet but we came home with a good feed. Plenty of boats were trolling for mackerel but we never saw one hooked or landed, however a few must be around. I have not been crabbing because where I crab it’s just not happening this year, however it may be a fantastic year next year. You have to take the good with the bad when crabbing the Noosa River. I may do some crabbing at Tin Can Bay in late-May if I get a chance to go camping at Inskip Point. It just depends what happens with our sons and work. The weather will get colder and calmer and it’s a great time of year to plan fishing somewhere in fantastic Queensland.
Dave Anderson with some nice grass sweetlip.
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A lovely coral trout hooked around Sunshine Reef.
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Muri with a solid queenfish caught on a topwater lure.
Anina and her first yellowfin tuna.
How to handle fish M UCH of April has been quite windy at Hervey Bay, but hopefully the week of ANZAC Day will see things settle a bit.
Jacob and a big longtail tuna.
Anina with another first: a GT on an Explorer jig.
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Despite the weather, fishing around here has been quite steady. We’ve seen plenty of tuna, a few queenfish and trevally to mix things up. Most days we boat at least some tuna. It’s usually a day with difficult weather where we struggle to get a run or two from a mack or longtail tuna. As usual, the small chrome lures and heavy soft plastic have done the deed. On certain days, a skipping topwater lure has given us the distance on the cast and hence the bite. Queenfish have mostly been hooked on soft plastics but a few have taken topwater lures when you persist. We’ve been rewarded with some good size fish too, but mostly they’ve measured from 90-100cm. Queenfish are great fun if they are somewhere that won’t be full of sharks. I find 20lb main line and 30lb leader will subdue these fish in good condition for release. I like a rod that is about 4-8kg, especially when throwing lures 20g and under. Pretty much a snapper plastics rod, but one with a bit of strength in the bottom end. Trevs, on the other hand, are often around the tuna. Trevally have taken plastics and jigs, and usually will eat whatever lure you have tied on at the time. Sometimes you get lucky and can even pin them on stickbaits very low in the water column. Stickbaits that sink fast such as the Maria Rerise can be effectively used to target deep schooling trevally. Trevally fight deep, so it
Fraser Guided Fishing by TRI TON
can be havoc if sharks are around. I leave them alone if we lose a fish to shark. Of late there has been much media coverage regarding animal welfare activists. I know their focus has been on us for years. It would be advisable to try to get some level of best practice for fish handling and dispatch. I urge anyone reading this to watch videos and keep improving this part of your craft. It may be more important than those tricky flip casts or that next beautiful reel you buy, yet many of us don’t give it much thought. Some fishers care so little that a fish drifting upside down to the bottom barely triggers any emotion – #catchandrelease. Yes I’m sure they get a warm fuzzy feeling when they see the mounting number of likes. But I often see these fish in videos and truly wonder how the fish will survive. I guarantee that once released the fish would have suffered more than it should have. You might see queenfish and tuna with hooks in and around the gill area and blood everywhere, or hands in the gills for pictures. This is a common sight for tuna pictures. Once the tuna tremor starts, that grip is going to start tearing what are essentially lungs. Breathing membranes are attached to vital blood vessels, and once damaged will cause death. As fun as fishing is, we must remember this is still an animal. Sure, occasionally a catch and release angler will cause a fish death, even with best practices in place.
If so, take the fish home and eat it. If you can’t eat it, give it to someone or feed your pets. Don’t waste a life. As I write, I’m thinking I will carry on talking about this in the next issue. So perhaps step one is to learn how to best preserve life and how to end it. You can find plenty of videos on YouTube with killing and bleeding techniques. Watch them, especially you catch and release fishos. Why? Because you learn how you may be inadvertently killing those fish you love to release so much. I chose to stop using two hooks on surface lures and I chose to stop using vibes on certain species (like queenfish and giant herring) even if they were dynamite techniques. There are obvious areas such as the gills that if seriously damaged will cause death. Other places such as where the pectoral fin meets the body is very soft and has blood vessels just under the skin. This one has caught me out a few times with trevally being held for a photo and a thumb is accidently pushed into that area, suddenly gushing blood. If you watch tuna bleeding techniques, often a cut is made to that area and the blood jets out. A lure hook into that area will do the same damage. On fish like tuna, a stickbait will often have the right distance between the two hooks to lodge one in the mouth and the other into the soft pectoral area or gills, or under the ‘chin’, which is another area with blood vessels. You can see where this is heading. www.bnbfishing.com. au
Hectic Hervey Bay fishing action H I all, I hope everyone has been getting stuck into a few fish since last month’s edition of BNB.
I have been taking full advantage of the Easter school holidays, enjoying fishing in both local and out of town destinations. I recently had my first experience of the bluewater fishing options at Hervey Bay with good mates Mitch and Josh. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to head to Hervey Bay in search of pelagic and bottom fishing action, and after seeing all the photos popping up on social media of red-hot action in the area, I knew I had to check it out for myself. We departed Brisbane early on a Monday morning with our 4.8m Sea Jay in tow behind my Toyota HiLux and enough gear to open our own tackle store. We were filled with excitement and anticipation. The weather forecast was looking awesome and we made plans to venture up into the northern bay in search of longtail tuna, golden trevally, mackerel species and anything else we might encounter. However, for the first afternoon we stuck close to Urangan and scooted out to the nearby islands.
by LACHIE BAKER
First cast of the trip saw Josh bag a nice trout, which completely spun me out. It was like we had left from Cleveland Point and were fishing at Peel Island catching tropical reef fish. He followed it up with another just-legal model soon after. Both were tagged and released. We continued fishing our way around Big Woody Island and kept popping tags into all kinds of fish species including grass sweetlip, trevally and juvenile coral trout. The afternoon progressed and the sun was setting, and satisfied with the start to our trip we headed in. Plans were put in place to leave from Burrum Heads the following morning and make the big run out to the infamous ‘Gutters’ off the top end of Fraser Island. We planned to make a few stops on the way at some marks, and possibly have a cast for any surface pelagics we spotted on the way out. I hardly slept a wink
that night because I was so excited. Our alarms went off at 4am and we were on the road not long after. The boat was in the water just on sunrise and we headed for the close reef off Burrum because some wind chop was still left over from the previous night. We marked good shows on the new Humminbird Helix 12 G3 and sent down plastics and Zerek Fish Trap vibes. It wasn’t long before I connected to a good fish. My Wilson Venom baitcaster was buckling
over and line was getting ripped off at a rapid rate of knots. The fish began coming to the surface and I knew it was a big golden trevally. Unfortunately, the hook pulled only a few metres from the net, but I wasn’t too fazed because we were about to run north to further ground. About 15km from the grounds we saw a massive flock of diving birds and just couldn’t resist stopping for a cast. Within seconds, Josh and I had a double hookup on large mack tuna, and while these weren’t exactly our target species, it was great to get the ball rolling. What followed was two
hours of chaos. At one stage we had longtail and mack tuna, mackerel and all manner of other critters busting up 360 degrees around the boat. We were having double and triple hook-ups, making for serious carnage. Mitch and I even had a double surface hook-up on big spanish mackerel but we were both unluckily bitten off after a few minutes of fighting. It was great to see Josh land his first longy, and it was also good to be able to relax and have a laugh while catching these often frustratingly flighty fish. We decided we’d had enough fun with the tuna after boating a few longies * continued P32
This longy charged down the author’s 115mm Zerek Zappelin stickbait.
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Josh scored a nice trout on the first afternoon.
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Mitch held a smaller queenie from a double hook-up with the author, who lost his near the boat.
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Josh with a new PB longy.
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 31
The author’s first longtail for the trip.
Mitch and a cracking golden taken wide of Wathumba Creek.
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Mitch held a beast of a queenfish.
Hectic Hervey Bay fishing action * from P31
each and countless mack tuna weighing about 5kg. I aimed the bow towards the mark we had for the Gutters and began the long run out. We were in glassy calm conditions but the forecast said the wind would pick up mid to late-afternoon, so I was wary of
that while running further from the ramp. I had a general mark for a ledge, so upon arrival I started sounding around, employing the same technique I use offshore. I could not, for the life of me, find what we were looking for. However, I did find a small 2m-high rise on the
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bottom that appeared to be stacked with fish. I sent down a pillie on a gang and it didn’t even touch the bottom before getting nailed. I got absolutely towelled up on 50lb gear and a locked drag. We had a few more bites and hits but apart from that it went very quiet. I could feel the northerly sea breeze starting to puff, so we didn’t hang around much longer. We ran back to the ramp pretty stoked with how the day went as we all caught a load of fish and had a barrel of laughs while doing it. The next day we tossed up whether we would fish the Fraser side of the bay or head back to where we were the day before. The weather didn’t look great and we thought Fraser would offer some protection, so we decided to travel that way as I hadn’t been there before. It wasn’t long before we had our drags smoking again. Josh and I started the day with a double hook-up on cracking longtail tuna. They gave us an awesome fight on 20lb gear, which was a lot lighter than the 60lb stickbait rod I was swinging the day before. Mitch followed it up with a belter of a queenie measuring over 1m. A seemingly endless supply of spotty mackerel was around, which made
for great fun on plastics and slugs. Mitch and Josh were both lucky enough to land big broad-barred mackerel without being snipped off, whereas I was unlucky multiple times and donated a lot of tackle to the toothy critters. We’d had enough fun playing with the speedsters, so decided to make the big run up to Wathumba Creek to chase golden trevally. It was definitely a long trip and the rewards were minimal, but Mitch did manage to pluck a golden off a bait school marked on the sounder while travelling at speed. Having quality electronics and correct transducer placement can be the make or break of catching fish at times. I was glad the big Humminbird Helix doesn’t miss much, as we had potentially run over 60km for no reward, but this one fish made it worthwhile
as we had ticked our final species off the list for the trip. We were stoked! On the way home we stopped at Moon Point and jumped out for a walk along the beach on beautiful Fraser Island. A massive southerly change was coming, and we stupidly overstayed our welcome, getting caught out and nearly flogged to death on the way home. Once the boat was back on the trailer, the realisation kicked in that our trip had sadly come to an end. Weeks of planning and preparation had paid off and we had enjoyed an absolute ball of a trip. It won’t be long until I visit this location again because I have barely scratched the surface of what’s available in the amazing waters of Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast. Until next month, smoking drags and sore arms.
The author and Mitch with the result of an epic double hook-up.
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Page 32 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
Josh hooked a nice broad-barred mackerel on a plastic.
Power Boat Anglers raid off 1770 I T seems for some, 1770 is becoming the new Rainbow Beach when it comes to sly midweek fishing trips, with a couple of crews doing just that recently when favourable conditions presented.
Leaving Wednesday at 5.30am tied in well with the bar tides. Recently the bar has changed significantly and the crossing now needs to be done with a good bit of water over it, so the aim was to be there and cross around midday at the top of the tide. Helaine and Rob were on the water first and after a bit of a delay were finally joined by John and Barry. Turned out John’s trailer brakes had suffered a hydraulic haemorrhage and he’d been on the phone organising repairs to take place while they were on the water. The crews headed out and briefly stopped to log on with marine rescue. We strongly recommend everyone who fishes up that way to log on with
Power Boat Anglers
by MICK CLUTTERBUCK
VMR Round Hill so the number of boats using the area can be recorded and a case put forward to get priority dredging done on the bar. Before hitting the bar they were paid a visit by the boys in blue and after a quick chat and inspection were finally on their way. John opted to head straight to Fitzroy and try for an afternoon bite in the shallows, while Helaine and Rob opted to hit their usual haunts on the way out, trying to bag a decent red. Drawing a blank, they decided to head to the lagoon and set up for the first night. The wind was blowing about 15 knots and Helaine was a bit nervous about rafting up to the big cat. Turns out the fears were unfounded, with probably one of the easiest raft-ups ever.
Kicking back with a couple of coldies, they swapped a few stories of the day and watched the beautiful sunset. Just on dusk the police boat arrived and set about checking all the boats except theirs. They did get a big friendly wave though, and probably had the others wondering why the supposed special treatment. Waking the next morning, conditions were perfect and after a quick bite and a coffee they were on the hunt. Being flat as a tack, the trip to the first destination only took 20 minutes. First drop they were onto good size redthroat emperor in the 45-50cm range with very healthy appetites. They were so hungry that the crew couldn’t get away from them and after releasing another dozen each on top of their bags,
Day’s end in the lagoon.
Helaine Wilesmith picked up a beautiful redthroat.
the decision was made to head off and find some tuskfish. Once on the tusky spot it was pretty much the same deal as before, just a different model fish, with both Helaine and Rob bagging out in quick time. Next plan of attack was to move to the shallows and target coral trout. They hooked plenty in various locations but only managed to land two. Seems the sharks love them just as much as we do. Still desperate to add to the trout count, the next move was off to Boult Reef to try their fortunes because it’s always produced in the past, but once again the redthroat were in good numbers and try as they might they just couldn’t get a bait past them. Finally it was time to call it quits and head back to the lagoon for the night. Arriving later than planned saw them miss a mooring buoy, with 17 boats already in there. The wind blew up after sunset to a solid 15-20 knots, making the lines whistle all night. Helaine got up around midnight to check the surrounds and make sure they weren’t dragging the pick and noticed a black line of clouds off to the west mixed with a generous amount of lightning. Not being a lover of storms, Helaine lay awake preparing for it to hit, but it never made it as far as the lagoon, so a sleepless night was had for nothing. She did finally doze off, only to have the deckie wake her for an early start. After pleasantries were exchanged, they headed out of the lagoon. Rob had prepared a coffee as well as brekkie and
after dispatching that, Helaine was ready to take on the day. They headed over to John and shared plans for the day and agreed to meet in the paddock at 2pm. The day progressed steadily, with grassies and a nice cod coming on board, but the sharks were again a real pest and persisted until it was time to head home. Coming home in the usual following sea slop with the inshore wind was a change from the beautiful conditions experienced out wide over the couple of days, giving a fair indication they had got the best of the weather. Back at the ramp, Fisheries Queensland officers were there doing their job and checking boats as they came in, which was good to see. Helaine popped a tyre while being retrieved from the water, so that kept them busy for 20 minutes and would make for a nervous trip home, hoping not to do another one. John had the trailer guy drop down and talk him through the repairs that had been done on his boat trailer and both crews were under way half an hour after getting back to the ramp. The road trip home was mentally challenging as huge thunderstorms that ripped through from Maryborough to the Gold Coast were in full flight. At one stage they could only travel about 60km/h along the highway due to torrential rain and lightning. Thankfully, they rolled home safely around 11pm with little will or strength to do anything but hit the sack. The fish were well iced, so cleaning and filleting could wait. All up the trip was quite successful, with good bags of various species. Helaine and Rob burnt 220 litres of fuel over 300km on the three-day trip. Helaine was more than pleased with the 100 Series turbo diesel LandCruiser as it towed the boat beautifully with its new shockies and airbag suspension. The boat too didn’t move a muscle from behind the Cruiser and they had no issues with it wandering in the storm. I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last raid for the year. Next meetings The next club meeting will be held on Monday, May 6, followed by Monday, June 3 at The Club Manly (bowls club) located at 26 Faine St, Manly. All interested parties are more than welcome to attend. Until next month, safe boating.
Rob Schomberg with nice 1770 coral trout.
This coral trout was short on one end.
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Offshore reef fishing fanatics WANTED One of Brisbane’s oldest deep-sea ﬁshing clubs with a 100 percent safety record has vacancies for new members. Owners of suitable vessels encouraged. All levels of experience. Those without own vessels also invited to apply. Approximately 15 deep sea trips per year. One week-long ﬁshing holiday to Town of 1770. Monthly meetings, video shows, guest speakers and free nibbles. 4WD beach ﬁshing and camping. Inshore ﬁshing also on the agenda. Interested? Then call Darryl (0407 596 822) or Robin (3269 5013). POWER BOAT ANGLERS REEF FISHING CLUB INC Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 33
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AUSTRALIA EAST COAST - BRISBANE BAR
Tony was proud of his solid spanish.
Offshore and estuary opportunities G OOD weather just prior to the Easter break gave offshore boaties the chance to hit their spots for some fish.
WADDY POINT - FRASER ISLAND
Page 34 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
If you are a keen offshore angler, you would certainly be aware that opportunities to fish offshore have been few and far between, and this goes as far back as September 2018. You could count the number of good days on the fingers of two hands, if not one! Offshore opportunity Daniel took the opportunity to head up around the Bunker Group with Doug and was able to score nice fish, including red emperor and a pair of trout. He usually moves around a fair bit, searching each of his spots and looking for a fish or two before moving on to the next. The best baits in this area include squid/cuttlefish, pilchards and flesh baits including mullet and hussar. I also headed out with son Lachlan and mates, Rod and Tony. We stayed a little closer to Bundaberg and caught a nice bag of fish, but as is usually the case, not of the same quality and size as those from further north. Leaving home around 4am, we arrived at the ramp and were under way with the bow pointing towards the horizon by 4.45am. The trip out was relatively smooth as we were travelling along the swell with only a small crosschop. We were able to travel comfortably at 28-30km/h. This saw us arrive around daylight, which gave us the chance to set out a couple of Rapala Magnum lures to see if we could arouse the interest of a mackerel or two. A pro fisher was already slow trolling either live or fresh baits around my cluster of marks, so we joined in with the lures but at a higher speed. He landed quite a few spanish, so we were feeling keen and positive about our chances. It wasn’t long before Lachlan’s rod went off and we boated a small spanish
Bundaberg Region by BRAD YOUNG
mackerel that had found the Ghost-coloured Rapala too enticing to ignore. After sedating the fish, we quickly bled it and placed it in the live bait tank to bleed while we again set two lures out the back of the boat and commenced our fast troll (9-12km/h). It was Rod’s rod that took off next, with the tip bouncing around, a signal that the lure had been hit by a fish. This proved to be a false alarm because the fish was not properly hooked and broke free of the trebles. After a quick reset, Rod’s reel again screamed as the drag signalled a good hit and hook-up on the lure. A couple of strong runs saw the line appear to go slack… hopefully not another lost fish. Rod continued to wind as fast as he could in case the fish was simply swimming towards the boat, which it was. The line soon became tight and another strong run ensued. This was the last as the fish then appeared to surrender and came alongside the boat where I was able to gaff it and bring it aboard safely. Again, after sedating it we bled it and added it to the live bait tank to bleed. Bleeding all fish improves the quality of their flesh. The two lures were set again and I recommenced my figure-eight trolling pattern across the cluster of marks holding bait. We were hoping to see Tony land a mackerel as well before we started bait fishing the bottom. It wasn’t long before one of the rods started bucking in the rod holder and Tony grabbed the chance to fight this fish with two hands. An early run seemed to indicate the fish was a larger specimen but things went quiet, with the pressure appearing to drop off the line. Again, we encouraged Tony to keep winding in
case the fish was swimming towards the boat. Not long after, we saw colour as the fish swam straight towards the boat. Without a single tell-tale spanish mackerel run, I was able to gaff it and add it to the box. Three fish was enough for us and the sun was starting to rise higher in the sky and the change in tide was also upon us. It was time to leave the mackerel and start targeting bottom species. I spent a little time searching in the area for a mark showing fish and eventually settled on a nice show. This process was repeated several times during the morning. As a spot went quiet, we headed to another to see if there was any action before moving on again. We were using flesh baits, pilchards and squid for bait, with squid probably most popular and flesh baits a close second in terms of producing fish.
We were all employing paternoster rigs with an 8oz or 10oz snapper lead to get to the bottom quickly. It was not long before the fishing slowed right up and we decided to call it quits and head home with a good box of reefies and three nice mackerel. With the weather cooling (finally!) we might see more regular opportunities to head offshore.
Estuaries still producing Good reports have come from the Burnett River and Baffle Creek as well as Kolan River recently. Joel has been targeting the area around the mouth of the Kolan River and landed his PB mangrove jack recently. While he was a little skinny with 15lb main line, his 20lb leader probably saved the day, seeing * continued P35
A lovely pair of trout.
Joel landed his PB 54cm jack in the Kolan this month. Great fish!
Offshore and estuary opportunities * from P34
him land a healthy 54cm specimen. Jacks are great sportfish and usually hit their prey after they have turned and begun heading for their home among the rocks and roots. The background of Joel’s photo shows the type
of country these fish like. Spider also had a successful trip in his area of speciality, the Burnett River, bringing home a nice bag of 14 bream. He usually employs fresh yabbies for bait, which he normally collects prior to the night of the fishing trip. With bream season not
really upon us, usually recognised as Bundaberg Show time, things should continue to improve. With some small falls of rain around, a bit of fresh in our systems can only help keep the fishing going well. Let’s hope we continue to see weather windows providing the chance to
head offshore as well as fresh runs in our estuaries to keep things healthy. As always, I can be contacted via the Bush ‘n Beach website, by email at email@example.com or post at PO Box 5812 Bundaberg West Queensland 4670. Until next month…
COMPETITION DATES COMPETITION Spider had a great night in the Burnett, bagging 14 bream.
Tuskies featured in the author’s bag of mixed reef fish including hussar, banana hussar, grass sweetlip and moses perch.
Doug showed off his red.
A nice bag from the Bunker Group.
Great prize pool at VMR Bundaberg’s 2019 Classic
MR Bundaberg is holding its 14th Family Fishing Classic from June 28-30, 2019.
The prize pool for lucky draws includes three Quintrex 420 Busta boats with outboards. All boats are on trailers and the packages include registrations, insurance and safety gear. The boat packages are valued at $12,000 each and are made possible thanks to the generous support of Boats Galore Bundaberg and Suzuki Marine. The total prize pool for the Classic lucky draws and fishing category prizes usually exceeds $70,000. The Classic runs from Burnett Heads over the three days, with an open offshore category as well as senior and junior estuary categories. The estuary fishing section allows for catch and release as well as dead weigh-ins.
The program, registration form and rules are available from vmrbundabergfishingclassic. com.au Registrations are $35 for adults, $10 for children and $80 for a family of two adults and three children. A strong list of category prizes and the early bird prize will again be on offer. Burnett Heads is a great central venue for excellent beach and estuarine fishing, with Baffle Creek and the Kolan, Burnett and Elliott rivers all fishing well. The three-lane ramp at the Burnett Heads Boat Harbour is a good facility for those who want to chase pelagics and reef fish at the many reefs and gutters in northern Hervey Bay. VMR spokesman Graham Kingston noted a friendly but serious competition has occurred in recent years
between some of the offshore specialists. In the estuaries, the live fish category included about 30 percent of the total estuary weigh-in at recent Classics. “We have an excellent live fish viewing tank that is very popular with the kids,” Graham said. “All fish are tagged and returned to the harbour at the end of the comp.” The very popular lucky draw sessions will be extended to include Friday evening this year, with a boat drawn each day. Times are shown on the program, which is available on the Classic website. The junior lucky draw prize is a kayak. This is an exciting family event with many prizes for both junior and senior participants. You only have to register to participate in the lucky draws – the fishing provides extra fun.
The three Quintrex Busta 420s for the 2019 VMR Bundaberg Fishing Classic.
This great event is only possible thanks to the fantastic support of VMR’s sponsors. Boats Galore and Suzuki Marine have combined to support the boating packages, while long-term sponsor Tackle World Bundaberg has continued to contribute with quality fishing tackle prizes for both seniors and juniors. Harvey Norman Bundaberg is on board as a major sponsor with thousands of dollars in gift vouchers, The Bolt Place will again provide access to its great range of products, while Rum City Locks and Security will help with financial support for prize purchases. Koastal Kayaks will provide an impressive fleet of kayak prizes. Many other local sponsors allow VMR to keep the prizes rolling. The excellent media coverage provided by the WIN Network, Grant Broadcasters and Bush ‘n Beach Fishing magazine ensures extensive promotion of the event. TAYCO Billboards has boosted the promotion of the Classic with a large road-side billboard. Plenty of great food stalls will be manned by supporting service clubs and a licensed bar will keep spirits high.
2019 Wynnum Fishing May 3-6 Wynnum – George Clayton Park Classic ozfishmoretonbay.org ABBT* X-Factor May 4-5 Wuruma Dam – Russell Nowland Teams R2 07 4167 8183 Gold Coast Tilapia May 4 Robina – Stadium Drive Busters Tournament FB @goldcoastfishingfanatics Fitzroy River Barra May 23-25 Rockhampton – Bash fitzroyriverbarrabash.com.au ABBT* Bass Jun 1-2 Boondooma Dam – Russell Nowland Round 3 07 4167 8183 Pottsville Beach Jun 8-9 Pottsville Beach – Stephen Sports Greenback Duffield 0421 052 135 Fishing Comp lionsgreenback.com Taroom Fishing Jun 8-9 Glebe Weir – Taroom Competition Harry Johnson 0427 361 631 VMR Bundaberg Family Jun 28-30 Burnett Heads Fishing Classic vmrbundabergfishingclassic.com.au ABBT* X-Factor Jun 29-30 Cania Dam – Russell Nowland Teams R3 07 4167 8183 The Cod Hole Fishing Jul 4-7 Maroochy River – Competition FB @maroochyriverpark Evans Head Fishing Jul 13-19 Evans Head – 02 6681 3988 Classic evansheadfishingclassic.com.au ABBT* X-Factor Jul 27-28 Somerset Dam – Russell Nowland Teams R4 07 4167 8183 Borumba Bassmaster Jul 27 Borumba Dam – FB @noosafishheadz ABBT* X-Factor Aug 17-18 Dam TBA – Russell Nowland Teams Grand Final 07 4167 8183 Reel Wivenhoe Aug 17-18 Lake Wivenhoe – Classic reelwivenhoeclassic.com.au ARB Moreton Island Aug 27-31 Moreton Island Fishing Classic moretonislandadventures.com.au Women that Fish Sep 6-7 Rockhampton – Shara VanHaeren Barra Classic 0429 923 243 Sunshine Coast Fishing Sep 13 Maroochydore – Research & FB @scfaustralia Sustainability Competition Saratoga Oct 5-6 Bedford Weir, Blackwater – Spectacular Dennis 0438 635 840 Monduran Family Oct 19-20 Lake Monduran – Gin Gin Fishing Classic masa-fishstocking.org.au Rocky Barra Oct 21-23 Rockhampton Bounty rockybarrabounty.com Lake Moondarra Oct 25-27 Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic lakemoondarrafishingclassic.com.au *Australian Basstasstic Bass Tournament To have your competition listed in the calendar please phone (07) 3286 1833, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (07) 3821 2637
More than 2000 people lined up for the lucky draws in 2018.
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 35
Bobbing up and down on the lunar waves I
WAS talking to a doctor friend the other day, Fred, when he told me about one of his patients who had caught seven trumpeter a couple of days before his appointment.
by PETER LAYTON
They also fed his extended family for the next couple of days. Word got out in the community and people would come into his store to ask when the next best days would be. He took a while to realise he shouldn’t be giving the information away, he should be selling the books. He finally started ordering stock from us. The moral, Fred, is you don’t need to have good weather to have good fishing. And any day fishing is better than none. Just don’t wind in and walk away for the day an hour or so before the book predicts the start of a peak time, even on a white day. While the moon can tell us when the fishing should be good, it can also tell us much more. Remember when we talked in the last issue about how someone in the northern hemisphere looking at the moon during the first quarter would see it differently to someone observing it from the southern hemisphere, but someone near the equator might see it both ways as the moon moved from its southern declination into its northern, and vice versa crossing the equator twice in a month? I suggested the moon moves up and down as well as towards and away from Earth. That’s not quite true, Fred. That bobbing up and down over the equator is sort of an optical illusion. This next bit is a bit hard for a lot of people to get their heads around, Fred, but stay with me anyway. The moon, like our Earth, has a tilted axis. In other words, if you were to draw a straight line through the North Pole and South Pole, it would not be straight up and down. It would lean over to one side. Don’t worry, Fred. You’re not about to fall off. As the Earth rotates around our sun, that angle of axis stays the same, which means that at one stage of an entire orbit around the sun, which is one year, the top of the line will be leaning towards the sun. That will give Earth’s northern hemisphere its summer and we Australians in the southern hemisphere our winter. And Kiwis, South Americans, South Africans and so on. OK? As the Earth continues its orbit, halfway to between when we will have our summer and Europe its win-
leased and try to get him to stock them. He reckoned everyone in his community was a pensioner and none of them would buy the books, so he never stocked them. We always left him a complimentary one in case he changed his mind. One December, his extended family came to visit for a seaside Christmas reunion. After a week, he found all the joy they had brought with them had gone up the chimney not long after Santa had come down. A few more days, and he was looking for any excuse to get out of the house. The wind had got up and was blowing hard from the southeast. The visiting terrors were confined indoors. That wind coincided with an Almanac black day. He decided to try surf fishing at the book’s suggested time, sheltering from the worst of the wind behind the rocks of a small headland. He reckoned the whistling wind that Hughie was offering made sweeter music than the whistles, harmonicas, tin guitars and other kids’ racket-makers inside the house, and was decidedly more musical than high-pitched squabbling voices. Not long later, after he had found a spot where he could cast almost with the wind into a gutter behind the rocks, he landed his first big mulloway. By the time he had brought in the second, the wind and surf were still raging but his Christmas joy had returned. Those two fish had symbolically plugged his ears.
He told the doc he had thrown five back because two were enough for his immediate needs and he couldn’t be bothered filleting the other five. The doc told him he would happily have accepted the other five as payment in lieu. Trumpeter, Fred, are known officially in Queensland as silver javelin and are identified in the Angler’s Almanac as such. They’re very good eating. Never confuse them with an undersized spotted javelin in Queensland or you will be facing a very hefty fine when caught. This bloke who catches trumpeter whenever he needs them told the doc he doesn’t use the Angler’s Almanac because he reckons that if the weather’s beaut, he’s going fishing regardless of what sort of fishing the book says the day will give him. You might think this weird of me, Fred, but I agree with him. Any day out on the water is a great day. Even when the wind is blowing its guts out between 30 and 35 knots and gusting above 40. When the rigging is singing and the sea is full of white horses racing neck and neck to god knows where, all the time flicking foam in front of them and salt water into your eyes. That’s sailing, Fred, not fishing. A great day to be testing your boat and skills. Not your usual fishing weather. Still, I know of one bloke who went surf fishing on such a day. He had a small general store down Port Macquarie way. We used to visit him when the new Angler’s Almanacs had just been re-
Not much chance of feeling the rise and fall of the tide here in Pumicestone Passage in the 1930s. You could always pick up a flathead when trolling by hand behind such a rowboat from the mainland Military Jetty at Golden Beach to the Bribie Island Military Jetty. You were assured of another on your way back, as you rowed quietly over the seagrass beds and watched the sand crabs and rays try to hide from you in the clear, undisturbed water.
May 4-10, 2006 THURSDAY 4-5-2006
West Australian Standard Time
9 12 3
Sunrise: 6.51am Sunset: 5.37pm Moonrise: 12.58pm Moonset: 11.11pm
9 12 3
Sunrise: 6.51am Sunset: 5.36pm Moonrise: 1.33pm
Week’s highest: 1.09m, Thursday 12.05pm
9 12 3
9 12 3
Sunrise: 6.52am Sunset: 5.35pm Moonrise: 2.02pm Moonset: 12.10am
Sunrise: Sunset: Moonrise: Moonset:
6.53am 5.34pm 2.29pm 1.07am
C O2005 NSW Dept Commerce
0.72m 0.88m Sunrise: Sunset: Moonrise: Moonset:
1.41am 2.18pm 6.53am 5.33pm 2.54pm 2.02am
9 12 3
0.74m 0.81m Sunrise: Sunset: Moonrise: Moonset:
9 12 3
m 1.2 1.1 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2
ter, the sun will ‘cross’ the Equator as the line of the tilted axis points neither towards nor away from the sun. That is called the equinox. Earth experiences two equinoxes a year, when day and night are of equal length. We’ve just had one, on March 21. It’s listed on Page 75 of your 2019 Angler’s Almanac as the autumn equinox for the southern hemisphere, as the months move into autumn. Those people living in the northern hemisphere would call it their spring equinox as they transition out of winter into spring. Pretty simple, Fred? Good. Now comes the ticklish bit. While the Earth experiences two equinoxes a year, the moon gives us two lunar versions a month, but we don’t call them equinoxes. Yet they are exactly the same thing – a tilted axis giving the effect of the moon crossing the equator twice as it orbits our Earth. But which way are they all going? If you have ever sat on the beach on the east coast of your country, or cast a line at dusk beyond the surf break and settled in for a bite while you watched the full moon rise out of the Pacific Ocean, you would swear the moon is going east to west around our Earth. Another optical illusion, Fred. Open your imagination for a minute and take a ride with me way, way up into space above the North Pole, where we can look down on both our Earth and moon. Plonk a time-lapse camera in place and set it to photograph the two at daily intervals over the lunar month. From this angle, you won’t be able to see the moon crossing Earth’s equator but you will see it orbit clockwise from west to east around Earth. You can see pretty much the same thing on any page of the Angler’s Almanac, where the moon’s phases throughout each month are depicted to the left of the predictions. Have a look at April (Pages 76-77) and you will see the new moon shown between the sun and Earth on Friday, April 5. As you progress through the month, you can see the moon rotate clockwise around our Earth in the different phases. Keeping in mind the moon’s gravitational pull has far greater effect on Earth than the sun because it is so much closer, and the fact that the gravitational forces wax and wane as the alignments vary during the lunar and solar equinoxes and the elliptical orbits of Earth and moon, you begin to realise this is a subject with greater complexity and effect than most people realise. Those effects, Fred, extend well be-
1.15am 3.00pm 6.54am 5.33pm 3.18pm 2.56am
9 12 3
0.76m 0.75m Sunrise: Sunset: Moonrise: Moonset:
1.07am 3.40pm 6.55am 5.32pm 3.43pm 3.51am
Week’s lowest : 0.58m, Thursday 1.08am
Here’s an extract from a charted tidal prediction that used to be published for Fremantle, Western Australia. Take a close look at Sunday, where the two high tides of 10.32am and 3.58pm are almost the same, and the ‘low’ tide of 11.43am is the same water level as the ‘high’ tide of 10.32am – 0.93m. You could stand on that beach all day and you wouldn’t see any change in water level, but the computer registered several.
Page 36 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
yond the tides, which are the easy ones to understand because we can see them. Well, most of us can, but the rise and fall of tides in some parts of Australia is not obvious. You can look at the water’s edge at, say, 10am, mark it with a stick and come back at 4pm and the water line won’t seem to have shifted a bit. Another optical illusion, Fred, because the tidal prediction software will show conclusively that the tide has risen and fallen in that time by a miniscule amount. What that means is that just because you can’t see it happening, just because you can’t feel it happening, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Feel it happening, Fred? Absolutely. Imagine you are sitting out in your dinghy fishing in the ocean on the weather side of a reef. Every time a wave passes under your boat, you will feel it rise and fall. If you sit out there long enough, say for six hours in a stretch, you would also experience the tide rising and/ or falling. But because that ‘wave’ is over a longer period, you can’t feel its effect as obviously as you would if the same rise and/or fall occurred within a minute. Which is not to say you don’t feel it. It’s just you don’t register it in your mind. The tides are the easiest way to see how the moon affects us but they are not the only effect of the moon on Earth. Did you feel the Earth move? Steady, Fred. We’re talking gravity, not hanky panky. No, you didn’t feel it, but it did move. The same tidal effect that is so readily apparent at most beaches is also happening on the land. Obviously, the effect is not as pronounced. And in the same way that tidal rise and fall creates currents in the ocean in conjunction with temperature, so too does that gravitational pull of the moon create currents in our atmosphere. That’s part of our weather, Fred. Still mighty unpredictable when compared to tides, but undeniably linked. Now, if you really want to make your head spin, Fred, come along with me way out in space to the other side of our Earth to where that imaginary line is poking down from the North Pole through the South Pole and out into infinity. If we sit on that line and look down (or up, depending on how you look at things) at our Earth and moon from this perspective, the moon will seem to be orbiting in the opposite direction to what we had just seen from above the North Pole. Just like water going down the gurgler, Fred. Imagine if the first clockmaker had been based in the southern hemisphere when he built his first timepiece, and not in the north. And all those who followed him had done the same. In all probability, they would have made the clockwork mechanism replicate what they had seen happening in the sky, which is what time is all about, and how we measure it. In all probability, our analogue clocks today would have the second, minute and hour hands rotating in the opposite direction of what they do now. That’s anticlockwise. And the hour 1 would be where the hour 11 is now, and so on. Except, if that had happened, we would call that clockwise and the existing movement anticlockwise. Crazy, isn’t it? That sort of thinking tips you right on your head, doesn’t it? Absolute lunacy, Fred. Except it’s true. Peter Layton is the publisher of the Tide Guide and the Angler’s Almanac. www.bnbfishing.com. au
A little scarlet sea perch or large-mouth nannygai. These fish get well over 10kg and fight as well as a big red any day.
Ian with his big cobia and arms still pumped from the fight.
The Fraser offshore fishing scene in May
HAT a great time of year for offshore fishing along the Fraser Coast, with the swell settling, the sharks moving back north and the closer reefs starting to shine.
First, I would like to talk about fishing for red emperor. You’d best be prepared because these brutes have serious horsepower when they get over 10kg. At this size and age their lips start to change colour to a black tinge over the white. They are bold and heavy handed on livies and bait. If they want it, they smash it and the more pressure you put on them, the more they will hammer for the reef. Here’s a tip when using 30lb or 50lb line: when the big reds feel the hook and line pressure, it’s on, so give them line. Set the hook but as they try a big run, giving them a little line confuses the fish and they relax, which allows you to get them up off the bottom a little before the next run. I have seen quite a few reds over 10kg caught on 30lb line using this method with a perfectly set drag, hands kept on the rod and handle, and a clean lift and wind back down, keeping in
Tin Can Bay by RICK WAUGH
constant contact with the fish. I have fished with 100lb mono line on a big overhead M10 rod and been brutally pulled into the reef. The great thing is there are all sizes for all sorts of fishing expertise and a 6-8kg red is a fantastic size fish to catch and eat. Black kingfish (cobia) are another excellent fish to hunt down. They readily come up on the berley trail and smack livies. A second and third hearty run will be taken before you can get them into the boat. I have attached a pic of Ian with a big cobia. On that day we got hammered by sharks. I moved around but they were everywhere. Checking out a trawler wreck about 15km away from the sharks, it was well worth the stop with a big snapper and three javelin fish (grunter). I had seen plenty of these in Weipa but not so many offshore here. Ian had a big day, and with a previous ankle injury giving him trouble he got smashed by this big cobia, so it was
all lines up, lift the outboards and tuck in for the show. This fish did a few laps and Ian had the rod right over the side and under the boat at one point, hanging on with a big grin. I could see he was getting worn out, so I offered assistance and was promptly taken on another couple of laps. Finally, I wore it down enough for a gaff shot. I always gaff my own fish. About 22 years ago I was fishing a fair way northeast of Wide Bay Bar early in the morning with half a big grinner on two snooded 13/0 hooks. I decided to grab something to eat, leaving the deck winch loaded. As I walked away, a brute hit and the whole deck winch started heaving as the drag hummed a few times. I jumped onto it, working hard not to push the 120lb line past its limit, when a red emperor hit the surface and both myself and the bloke holding the gaff beside me were in shock at the sight of 18kg of red and white. It seemed like three days passed as we gazed
at the fish and the fish just gazed back at us. Then the hook in its stretched lip just fell out. We looked at the pretty big 18kg red and white fish as it turned over and gave us a classic back-end view of a trophy Red. I have gaffed every fish myself since then. But getting back to Ian’s big cobia… I got it chilled enough for a gaff shot but the rubber grip handle came off as I connected with the fish. I tightened my grip and heaved. As a horse cobia head came into view, I heard “wooowwws” behind me from Ian and the others. Then I dropped the gaff and fish. “Arrrrr nooooo!” they all cried. Well boy did I move. I frantically grabbed a hold and into the boat it rolled. That was a great black kingfish Ian. We’ll see how far I can stretch your arms this season. Are you ready for some epic fishing action? I am.
This box contained some serious eating quality.
Tiger sharks like eating fresh red emperor.
Join in on the fishing fun • Full-day and extended evening trips, specially catering for smaller groups of four. • Depart from Tin Can Bay and Carlo Point at Rainbow Beach.
A nice box of reds. Note the black starting to show on the lips.
Big Dolphin Fishing Charters
• Get on board and catch a few yourself! • 18ft Shark Cat Cuddy Cabin with twin Yamaha 80hp 4-strokes • Offshore Fraser Island and Double Island Point Call Rick 0497 112 753 Facebook: Big Dolphin Fishing Charters www.bigdolphin-fishing.business.site Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 37
Nicky found the mark on this pig.
Jamie with a fallow deer taken with a bow.
A match made in camo
I all, I’ve really enjoyed introducing you to a few of the characters unique to our Aussie outdoors and this month I’m chuffed to share a story about a couple from Guyra in NSW who live, love, fish and hunt together in camo bliss.
Jamie and Nicky’s dam-busting rig.
Nicky just showing off.
Jamie captured a nice cod.
Page 38 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
How many times have you heard the line: “Happy wife, happy life”? So what happens when your partner is a serious angler and bowhunter? Of course it’s your duty to do the right thing and keep her happy. Yee ha! You’ve just hit the jackpot! My son Garrett and I first met Jamie Jones on a bowhunting property in Guyra where he was employed as a guide. Jamie’s job was to give you the run-down on the property such as boundaries and landscape features, recent pig, goat and deer activity and also point out areas to target game and generally help you achieve success on a hunt. Our accommodation at the property displayed various photographs of trophy pigs and goats taken on previous hunts and Jamie proudly pointed out a female bowhunter he described as his girlfriend Nicky. We hit it off with Jamie
Classic Characters by PAUL ‘CHIEF’ GRAVESON
and over the years have kept in contact. Jamie was introduced to Nicky about 23 years ago through mutual hunting friends and they’ve been sharing their love of the outdoors ever since. The couple lives in the rural NSW town of Guyra, which is situated in the New England high country just north of Armidale. It’s an area well known for its trout fishing and very, very cold winters. In fact, the last time Garrett and I hunted there we had a fire going trying to keep warm during the evening of Boxing Day in the middle of summer. It is a beautiful place to spend time and has a variety of game from rabbits to foxes, goats pigs and deer. Probably an ideal location for a couple like Jamie and Nicky because the area has a freshwater sportfishing reputation as well. You could only imagine the conversations floating around this couple’s home on subjects diverse as broadheads to lures and fishing rods to bows. Nicky told me living life in the bush while hunting and fishing is their passion and being together to see each other’s achievements is what makes it special. Both are very accomplished bowhunters as well as anglers and the pictures alongside this story speak for themselves. Jamie has put a lot of time into setting up feeders and using game cameras and technology to help target areas that produce sizeable boars. It’s the couple’s attention to detail and patience that allows them to put in those nights waiting for a particular trophy animal to present and reap the rewards. There’s some tough ground in the high country and I remember watching in envy when they bought their CFMoto 800 sideby-side all-terrain vehicle to access those hard-toreach areas.
This is a great asset and gives them a specialist compact four-wheel-drive utility capable of getting around properties and squeezing between scrub and trees not accessible to larger fourbies. Being on the same page in life allows the couple to happily make these types of purchases and I admire the passion they both have for hunting and fishing adventures. When it comes to the fishing (predominantly fresh water), the couple bought a 4.25m Ally Craft with a 40hp tillersteer Yamaha, Minn Kota i-Pilot electric bow mount and Lowrance HDS-10 sounder. A great little rig for towing around those country roads on the way to Copeton Dam near Inverell. You’ll notice the massive cod proudly displayed in the pictures. These two had a fantastic run last year with mindblowing captures and believe me they deserve the success, especially after braving freezing conditions on the water. The time they spend casting lures in anticipation of being smacked by one of these monsters is character building at its best. I often see Jamie’s posts on Facebook and see the couple sharing their knowledge and help-
ing new hunters achieve personal bests through education and encouragement. These two are a perfect example of not just living in the country, but living with it. It was only a couple of weeks ago I noticed they were having trouble with something busting up the chook pen and creating havoc. Jamie set up a game camera and soon the culprit was identified and dealt with. Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to find a pesky black squealer. I truly believe Jamie and Nicky are a match made in camo and I applaud their approach to life as a couple. They’re just two characters loving the outdoors and sharing their dreams with others. Of course, when it’s only a short trip to the country music capital of Tamworth, you would expect these two to love country music, and that they do. Crank the Toby Keith, raise a beer and I hope you guys get the rain you need. Thanks for letting me share a little about your lives. Meanwhile in the Mary Valley, Easter holiday camping is in full swing and our red deer roar is under way. I hope to see you around the valley and look forward to sharing another story about some of our outdoor characters. Cheers, Chief.
The couple’s all-terrain CFMoto 800.
Deakin-led blue carbon mapping to help fight to save Great Barrier Reef
ment scenarios.” The project is led by Assoc Prof Macreadie as director of the Blue Carbon Lab in close partnership with academics, project developers and industry. The multi-sector collaboration includes the University of Queensland, James Cook University, CSIRO, the Federal Department of the Environment and Energy (International Partnership for Blue Carbon), GreenCollar Group, North Queensland Dry Tropics, Qantas, HSBC and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
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Deakin Associate Professor in Marine Science Peter Macreadie, Director of the University’s Blue Carbon Lab, said the project, funded by the Queensland Government’s Land Restoration Fund, will reveal for the first time the full scale of the state’s blue carbon farming opportunities. “The project will identify how many tonnes of CO2 could be offset each year by coastal blue carbon systems and where along the Great Barrier Reef catchment area those opportunities exist,” Assoc Prof Macreadie said. “A key output of the project will be the ‘Blue Carbon Restoration Heat Map 1.0’, a user-friendly map of Queensland’s land area that shows where carbon farming opportunities are located.” Blue carbon is the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. When protected or restored, blue carbon ecosystems can offset carbon emissions and fight climate change by capturing and storing carbon. When degraded or destroyed, these ecosystems emit the carbon stored for centuries back into the atmosphere and oceans, becoming sources of greenhouse gasses. “As well as helping mitigate climate change, coastal wetlands such as mangrove forests and tidal marshes are champions when it comes to catching sediment run-off and improving water quality
for the Reef itself,” Assoc Prof Macreadie said. Deakin’s Blue Carbon Lab is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary research team focused on understanding and responding to impacts of global change on freshwater, coastal and ocean ecosystems. Assoc Prof Macreadie said the new project would work to build understanding of Queensland’s blue carbon future, feeding into a much larger, multi-year series of programs that will help expand carbon farming in Queensland through the development of a blue carbon market. “This project will help put Queensland at the forefront of international efforts to incorporate coastal carbon within CO2 mitigation strategies, helping to mitigate climate change, while improving water quality, enhancing natural capital and contributing to jobs and economic growth,” he said. “Importantly, it will provide new societal and financial impetus for restoration and protection of Queensland’s coasts, seeding new environmental markets and ensuring a legacy of optimal management of coastal ecosystems. “The work is timely given Queensland’s blue carbon ecosystems have declined dramatically as a result of coastal development, and face added pressures with future climate change, including sea levels rising. “Resea rch out puts will help Queensland better protect and manage threatened coastal systems by providing predictive models of how much Blue Carbon could exist in the future under different manage-
GROU N D BREAKING project led by Deakin University will soon begin mapping Queensland’s blue carbon resources to provide scientists with a new weapon in the fight to help save the Great Barrier Reef.
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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 39
BOATING & marine Check out the footage by searching for BNBFTV
This picture gives you a good idea of the room between the helm and the stern.
The 40hp Suzuki and 420 Aquamaster are, as Greg Evans would say, “a perfect match”.
Aquamaster 420 Runabout an ideal entry-level boat T The 3mm hull and top decks give you a solid feel when darting across the bay.
HOUGH I had seen plenty of Aquamaster boats over the years at ramps and boat shows, I had not had the pleasure of testing one out, so when Rod from Australian Marine Centre asked the ques-
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Not only did a boat test allow me to get out of the office, but we decided to launch from Cleveland and duck over to glorious Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island, which is an absolutely beautiful place. As luck would have it, we were met by a 10-knot northwester at the ramp as we launched the Aquamaster 420 Runabout fitted with a 40hp Suzuki four-stroke. Like other Aquamasters I’ve seen, first impressions were good as the fully welded top deck and gunwales look clean and straight, which was easily identifiable with a coat of white paint contrasting the blue side sheets. As we launched and kicked the Suzuki into gear, I was reminded how quiet these engines are, with the 4.2m Aquamaster jumping easily onto the plane with two people on board and sit-
by BEN COLLINS
ting at the helm. It is important to remember this is only a 4.2m boat and we were heading out through the often-average part of Moreton Bay between Cleveland Point and Peel Island. While this boat is probably better suited to the southern bay, it was going to be a good test. Initial thoughts as we
met the beam-on chop were the 3mm bottom and topsides really give this boat a solid feeling, which was reinforced by the number of ribs used during construction of the hull. Yes, we did get a little spray from the odd bigger wave, but the windscreen protected us and left us dry. * continued P41
Storage is important in small boats.
V T F B N B
Check out in-depth video coverage of the latest boat and product reviews plus fishing action and handy tips. Page 40 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
tion, I jumped at the opportunity.
The helm had room for big-screen electronics. Note the area under the dash where you could put life jackets.
BOATING & marine
Aquamaster 420 an ideal entry-level boat * from P40
In terms of seating, the 420 Aquamaster has two seats at the helm and two at the rear, which rounds out the seating capacity of four. As for storage, which is always important in a smaller boat, two good-sized side pockets are complemented by an area forward of the helm that would be ideal for life jackets, and room under the rear seats for tackle bags, soft-style Eskies and the like. The glovebox would be a top spot for your phone and wallet, and is fitted with two drink holders. With all the essentials
safely stowed, what feels like a lot of floor space can be used for crab pots, a tube for towing the kids or an Esky. This feeling of space was probably aided by the decent beam, which stretched 1.95m, and the depth of a whopping 1m. These measurements combined with a full carpeted floor gave you a large, stable platform to walk around or fish from. It is also worth noting that a full transom has become standard for Aquamaster boats, which adds to the feeling of safety and is ideal when young children are on board.
Two seats at the stern are comfortable due to all the padding.
While we didn’t back up on any fish, this full transom was tested as I stood at the back of the boat while a good-sized wash from another boat I was photographing pushed up against the back of the Aquamaster. Another feature I liked was the centrally opening windscreen, which allowed easy access to the anchor well. In terms of performance, the 40hp Suzuki had plenty of get up and go, with the boat almost instantaneously jumping on the plane with two people at the front. With one person at the front and one at the back, it did take a fraction longer, but was still exceptionally quick getting onto the plane and to that sweet cruising speed, which for this rig was in the 45005000rpm range. To put this in perspective, at 4500rpm we were travelling along at about 33km/h and achieving an outstanding 4.9km per litre fuel consumption figure. At about 5000rpm we hit 38km/h and returned
4.7km per litre. These are top numbers and I’d suggest conditions would dictate your range more than fuel consumption. As we headed for the ramp and the wind increased, I found the Aquamaster liked a bit of speed to slice and punch through the waves. Overall, the Aquamaster 420 Runabout was a neat and tidy boat that performed well. And given a basic model starts from $22,500 ($22,990) as tested, for an affordable price you have a well-built boat that will give you and your family plenty of enjoyable days on the water. You also have the know-
ledge your boat has been built in Australia by a company delivering quality boats for over 30 years. For more information on this or other Aquamaster boats, give the team at Australian Marine Centre a call on 07 3808 7333, check out amcboats.com.au or visit aquamaster.com.au You can also find a video review on the BNBFTV YouTube channel, which shows just how well this boat performs and handles.
A bimini is a must in Queensland.
4000 27 4500 33 5000 37 5500 41 5950 46
The helm was neat and well laid out. Even at 6’2” the author found a comfortable driving position.
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07 3808 7333 amcboats.com.au Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 41
BOATING & marine First looks aplenty as 40’-plus segment promises a world of choice at SCIBS
HE hugely popular 40’-plus power segment is set to shine at the 2019 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, with a multi-
tude of international debuts, Australian launches and Queensland firsts.
High-profile marques such as Riviera, Palm Beach, Clipper, Maritimo, Horizon, Whitehaven, Ocean Alexander, Galeon, Fleming and Leigh-Smith Yachts will impress both aficionados and newcomers to the boating lifestyle via an array of local and imported motor yachts, sports boats and more. The SCIBS team is preparing to host more than 45,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors at the event from May 23-26. SCIBS general manager Johan Hasser said, “The 40’-plus segment offers an extremely diverse and versatile selection of boats.” “We are confident visitors will be impressed with the amazing choice and innovations from Australian and international boat brands. “Exhibitors tell us they are planning to display their latest feature-packed motor yachts at SCIBS, knowing the market is well-educated and eager to get the most out of their family boating.” Among the exhibitors will be internationally renowned Australian brand Palm Beach Motor Yachts, which will display the elegant PB50 and
PB65 Flybridge models. Both boats display the hallmark features of Palm Beach in their sleek lines, handcrafted teak joinery, impeccable finishes, powerful performance and all the luxuries of home. Leading the Clipper Motor Yachts’ line-up is the world premiere of the Hudson Bay 470 sedan, a semi-displacement motor yacht ideal for the Australian lifestyle courtesy of its two-cabin, twobathroom layout, hopper windows and spacious shaded cockpit for easy indoor-outdoor entertaining. Clipper Motor Yachts director Brett Thurley said: “Our heritage is in traditional, solid, trawlerstyle, long-range cruisers, but we have now modernised and taken that style of vessel to a completely new level of design and finish.” Maritimo will unveil the much-anticipated X50, following on from the X60 in 2018 – the company’s most successful firstrelease model to date that resulted in record sales last year. The Maritimo X50 incorporates an innovative aft accommodation space accessible from saloon and swim platform deck, while the customisable aft
TR Marine World retains crown as Australian Dealer of the Year
ERCU RY Marine is proud to announce that TR Marine World has been named Mercury Marine’s Australian Dealer of the Year for the second year in a row.
Located in the Sydney suburb of McGraths Hill, TR Marine World has beaten the best dealerships from across the country to win the 2018 crown. General Manager of Mercury (Australia, New Zealand, Pacific) Will Sangster said, “The fact that Ian Tricker and his team have gone back to back says it all, really.” “Winning once is hard because it involves so many facets of the business. “Winning it twice in a row is quite special. “I sincerely congratulate everyone involved.” Mercury’s dealership awards are based on a range of objective cri-
teria, including year-onyear growth, the way dealers support Mercury products and programs, their promotions and customer events, customer service and the general presentation of the dealership. For the first time, the 2018 awards included recognition for the Regional Dealer of the Year. Regional dealers provide outstanding support for all Mercury products, so their contribution deserves to be recognised through a specific award. The inaugural Regional Dealer of the Year award was taken out by Sugar City Marine in Mackay, Queensland. The New Zealand Dealer of 2018 was Gulfland Marine on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. The other 2018 winners are listed in the table.
Page 42 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
NSW Dealer of the Year
WA Dealer of the Year
Vic / Tas Dealer of the Year
South Aust. Dealer of the Year
Christies Beach Marine
Qld / NT Dealer of the Year
MerCruiser Dealer of the Year
Shannon OB Service
MerCruiser Sterndrive OEM of the Year
MerCruiser Towsport OEM of the Year
Parts and Accessories Dealer of the Year
MotorGuide Dealer of the Year
South Pacific Mercury Distributor of the Year
Sin Tung Hing Marine
South Pacific Mariner Distributor of the Year
ETS Emile Vongue & FILS SA
Mercury Finance National Dealer of the Year
cabin can be optioned and utilised as a beach club with ensuite, twin single stateroom with ensuite or 3.2m tender garage. Also based at Sanctuary Cove, Horizon Motor Yachts Australia will display the latest Horizon RP115, the E75 and the world premiere of the ‘pocket superyacht’ – the FD77 Skyline. The Horizon RP115 will be the largest Horizon to hit Australian shores for a third-time owner and, at 122’, will be the largest vessel on show at SCIBS 2019. The brand-new 77’ (24.54m) FD77 with its distinctive 23’ beam, available as an open flybridge or enclosed bridge, was designed by esteemed Dutch design studio Cor D. Rover and is designed to appeal to the owneroperator. Horizon Motor Yachts Australia director Mark Western said: “Our clientele loves the atmosphere and excitement of SCIBS. We find this show offers everything for everyone and it’s definitely our biggest event of the year.” Whitehaven Motor Yachts will present the much-anticipated Harbour Classic 40 and the all-new Whitehaven 6100 Coupe with its incredible superyacht-inspired Euro Edition styling package. Whitehaven Motor Yachts managing director Bruce Scott said: “These vessels represent close to two years of R&D and production, and we are very proud to bring them to SCIBS.” The Harbour Classic 40 concept was drawn by highly respected New Zealand yacht designerbuilder Bill Upfold, with Australian naval architect Misha Merzliakov reimagining her for discerning Australian day boaters. The Harbour Classic 40 is a sophisticated and supremely comfortable 40’ dayboat, which combines the aesthetic and timeless appeal of a gentleman’s cruiser with the benefits of high-tech design and engineering, constructed with an expertly designed hull for a quieter ride. In another SCIBS coup, Fleming Yachts Australia will have Rapture, its exceptional Fleming 58, on show. Created to fill the gap between the 55 and 65 models, the 58 was designed by Norman R Wright & Sons in Brisbane, whose expertise in designing semi-displace-
ment motor cruiser hulls is unrivalled in Australia. With a full-width master cabin below the pilot house and an engine room boasting full headroom, Rapture comes complete with digital switching, a full array of the latest Raymarine navigational equipment and Twin Disc Joystick Control with the popular Position Hold feature in addition to traditional electronic throttle and gear levers. Meanwhile, Alexander Marine, representing Ocean Alexander with the 70’ and brand-new 88 Skylounge models on show, will launch the award-winning, European-built Galeon brand of boats into Australia with the Galeon 460 Fly and 510 Skydeck models. Established in Poland in 1982, Galeon’s more than 800 staff deliver about 100 vessels each year with hand-crafted excellence and unparalleled attention to detail. While the yacht builder may be new to Australia, it has received acclaim in Europe including at last year’s Cannes Yachting Festival where the Galeon 640 Fly was named ‘Most Innovative Yacht’ in the 60’-80’ category. Dealer principal Todd Holzapfel said, “The Galeon shipyard has been building boats for more than 30 years and its model range spans 30’ to 78’.” “Galeon is the most exciting motor yacht brand to arrive on our shores for a long time.” Sanctuary Cove-based Leigh-Smith Yachts will display the British-built Fairline Targa 48 GT. With three cabins, this dynamic sports cruiser features an Australianfriendly ‘galley up’ layout and retains its full decklevel saloon, aft sliding doors and opening hardtop that opens the interior to sunshine and sea breezes. The cockpit features a J-shaped seating area with a table and can offer the option of a sunbed conversion. Tickets to SCIBS 2019 are now on sale, with a number of ticket and transport options available including free Park ‘n’ Ride from Warner Bros Movie World. For more, visit sanctuar ycoveboatshow.com.au www.bnbfishing.com. au
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 43
BOATING & marine Insights into boat insurance
USH ‘n Beach has brought Nautilus Marine Insurance on board to expand the fine print and provide readers with clear, easy-to-understand and helpful tips on protecting their boating assets.
The scenario A $20 million state program is currently under way aimed at removing wrecked and derelict vessels from Queensland waterways. According to Maritime Queensland, nearly 100 wrecks have been removed so far, with plans in place to deal with 225 more vessels. While the history of many of these vessels is unclear and the chances of tracing owners and holding them liable for reimbursement of removal costs is very remote, it’s an entirely different scenario should some misadventure befall your currently registered,
recreational craft. Should Flinders Reef north of Moreton Island suddenly rise up out of the water at a place you didn’t expect it to be, you’re going to need a marine specialist insurer like Nautilus to take care of what might be your biggest problem – removal of the destroyed hull from the reef. Make no mistake, you will be held responsible for removal of your vessel and be warned, there is no such thing as an ‘economy deal’ when it comes to undertaking that removal. So, there are two obvious issues here: the first is the insurance payout figure on your vessel and the second relates to organising and meeting the clean-up costs. If you are with Nautilus, it’s a straight-forward process – they will handle it. But if you are with one of many other insurance companies, you will very
quickly learn that not all insurance companies are the same. You will painfully learn that there might be a third consideration. And that is a clause in the insurance that allows the insurer to deduct the clean-up cost from your payout. How does that work? Say your vessel is insured for $50,000 when it comes unstuck at Flinders. The cost to remove your wrecked hull comes to $20,000. You are expecting a $50,000 payout for the loss of your vessel, right? Wrong! Some companies will deduct the $20,000 clean-up cost from your $50,000 coverage, meaning you will receive a payout of only $30,000 to replace your $50,000 boat. But with Nautilus, you would have received the $50,000 settlement for your boat and the com-
pany would also pay an additional $20,000 to the entity that undertook the removal of the wreck. It therefore is imperative you know exactly what you are covered for and the best way to do that is to ask your insurance company to explain to you where the matter is dealt with in the insurance policy’s product disclosure statement. Remember, this scenario doesn’t have to involve a vessel being totally wrecked. You also have obligations to report and remediate environmental damage caused by incidents such as fuel and oil spills. It seems no one ever suffers a misadventure these days without another party recording the event on a smartphone, sports camera or dashcam. Therefore at some stage you probably can expect a phone call or a knock
on the door as some departmental representative contacts you to investigate the mishap. If you are insured with a specialist like Nautilus, just be sure to tell them about the incident immediately after it happens and let them handle the parts that require their attention and insurance coverage. You, on the other hand, might be in for an interesting discussion about why you thought that
Flinders Reef had somehow managed to relocate itself. As always, any special conditions and excesses should always be explained clearly in your insurance policy’s PDS. Always check your PDS and if you have a query, ask for clarification. If you need further information, you can contact Nautilus Marine Insurance on 1300 780 533 for any boat insurance requirements.
Win a Nautilus Prize Package Nautilus will also be answering your boat insurance questions of a general nature and will be offering a great bimonthly prize to the best questions received. The prize is a Nautilus Marine merchandising pack comprising a collapsible chiller bag, handy marine sports bag and cap. Just email your questions to qld@nautilusin surance.com.au
Any advice contained in this article is of a general nature only and may not apply or be right for you as it does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice provided in this article, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.
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See your authorised Mercury Marine Dealer today. AIRLIE BEACH | Whitsunday Outboard Centre 17 William Murray Dr, Cannonvale Q 4802 P: 07 4946 7286 E: email@example.com W: whitsundayoutboardcentre.com.au
BRISBANE | Manly Harbour Marine 570 Royal Esplanade, Manly Q 4179 P: 07 3893 2199 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: manlyharbourmarine.com.au
BRISBANE | Holt Marine 25 Queens Rd, Everton Park Q 4053 P: 07 3353 1928 E: email@example.com W: holtmarine.com.au
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Page 44 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
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K AYAKING & canoeing Bundy barra still biting as water cools
S the months of autumn have finally started bringing air temperatures down, it’s a stunning time of year to be out on the water.
Most people think that as soon as the temperature cools, barramundi go off the chew for their prolonged winter shut-down, but believe me, there’s still time! For my girlfriend Leeah and I, our kayak fishing adventures essentially revolve around going the extra mile, driving that bit further off the beaten track or paddling through the almost impassable sections of river. We’re adventure addicts and when it comes to finding secluded fishing spots with minimal fishing pressure, we’ll jump through hoops to get there. Around the Bundaberg region, barramundi are far from abundant but decent numbers of fish are around if you know where to look, making it all the more rewarding when you do find one. Many people think that when the temperature is anything other than boiling hot, barramundi will go off the bite. Though these fish can be sensitive to temperature drops, I hardly think you should give up on trying altogether – not until winter really sets in anyway. Some time ago we came across a new destination and had been itching to fish it ever since, so we threw the kayak on the roof and hit the road. We drove for about an hour and a half, much of that off the beaten track, before finally arriving at a beautiful section of river. Being fresh water, vegetation was thriving right to the water’s edge, creating plenty of prime overhanging shelter and structure. We fished for less than half an hour before hooking up to our first barra. The mighty Cultiva Zip ‘n Ziggy slowly worked across the lily pad edge did the damage, but after a powerful jump the fish was gone due to my treble hook straightening. All we could do was upgrade the hooks (what I should’ve done earlier) and keep fishing. We fished on, getting numerous inquiries and hook-ups only to have everything from line failure to pure bad luck leaving us with a very disappointing end to the day. Devastated we’d had so many losses, we headed home with nothing to show for our day but the urge to try again. www.bnbfishing.com. au
Kayak Fishing by JOEL JOHNSON
So the very next day we decided to head to a river system not far off the beaten track that we had done well at in the past. Coming along for the paddle were a couple of our good friends Zane and Kirstin, who were itching to get out in their recently bought tandem kayak to give kayak fishing a solid crack. We set out around midmorning, hoping to work our way upstream until the river narrowed to very tight snaggy water we have had success in. Fishing our way up, we noticed the water temperature was quite cool and the water was the clearest I’d seen in this spot, so we were interested to see the impact it had on the fishing. On top of this, the water level was slightly higher than on previous trips, meaning the gentle flow of water would be creating different pressure points and rapids to what we knew. We only had a few inquiries before making it into the narrow, snag-riddled creek sections I was most looking forward to. The afternoon sun was creating an ideal scenario for fishing action to come, creating shadows beneath overhanging trees that just spelled fish! We were fishing with small 3” soft plastics rigged on snagless hooks to enable us to cast deep into structure without getting snagged. When fishing for freshwater ambush predators such as bass and barramundi, especially in areas with current flow, it’s rare to find fish sitting in the full flow because that would require excessive amounts of energy. To hunt efficiently, they use structure to sit out of the current in prime position to ambush a baitfish or shrimp moving past in the current. This means when fishing in this type of scenario it is very important to get your bait or lure as close to the structure as possible, and using snagless hooks makes soft plastic fishing far more effective than conventional jig heads. As we pushed further upstream, we saw more and more baitfish and consequently got more hits from fish. Finally we reached a point where trees completely blocked the river and the only way past was
to drag the kayaks along the riverbank. Leeah and I were first over, and coming upon a very deep, snag-riddled hole fed by rapidly running water it was too hard to resist a cast, so I cast my lure upstream and let it waft into the hole naturally as a baitfish would and bang, I was on! Before the others had even got the chance to make it over the blockage, I was yelling out that I was hooked up to a barramundi! I was pushing my gear to the limits as the fish dragged me deep into the snags. Feeling my line rubbing, I frantically waded into nearly chest-deep water to try to pull the fish free when it took an almighty jump, showing us how big it really was. The fish came free of the snag but the fight was by no means over as it powered off towards more structure. I was trying my absolute best to keep it free of the snags but in such a confined space I had my work cut out. Finally the fish appeared to tire and as it surfaced, Zane got our severely undersized landing net under the fish just as my hook straightened! It was one of the most epic fights I’ve ever had and a fish I won’t forget any time soon. Measuring in the high80cm range, it was my new PB barra and I was beyond words. After a few quick photos we let the fish go free to grow into a goliath metreplus beast to catch in the future. After recovering from the extreme adrenalin rush, we continued upstream in the hope we’d find more fish. Finally we reached another funnel point where the current was pushing through a very defined section of rapids. The flowing water combined with structure just had to equal fish. Almost as quickly as we came within casting range, Leeah sent her lure into the zone and hooked up. This fish played a similar game to mine, heading straight under the snags, but luck was again on our side and the beauty came free. After steering it into open water we got it in the net, and measuring in the mid-70cm range Leeah was chuffed!
The fish were on fire at this spot, proving funnel points are a fish magnet, and for good reason. Having never caught a barramundi, Zane was itching for a crack at one, so not long after lending a hand with landing Leeah’s fish, he was back into the action and hooked up. After another nervewracking battle on very light tackle, Zane had the fish beaten and was over the moon when it was landed. At a similar size to Leeah’s fish, it was a fantastic first barra and will be a hard PB to beat! Once again we let the fish on its way after some photos to prove it happened. With the light quickly fading, we started the fairly long paddle back to our launching destination after a great day on the water. Even though the seasons have changed and temperatures are on the decline, the fish are still firing and this trip was proof of that, so don’t be deterred by the cool change. Get out there and get your rod bent!
Leeah Bahr with a beautiful freshwater barramundi.
Zane Read captured a good-sized wild Australian bass.
Zane landed his first barramundi.
A cracking barramundi caught on a 3” soft plastic.
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 45
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Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 47
Hubby Grant caught this golden trevally off the jetty at Scarness at Hervey Bay on the run-out tide with a $49 rod from BCF and a prawn as bait. What an unexpected catch and delicious to eat! V M Lackey
Jonathon Roberts caught this chunky yellowbelly in Hinze Dam on a home-made jig.
This is Blayke – he’s eight years old, loves fishing and spends every weekend out on the bay with his stepdad. We wanted to share with you one of his favourite catches this month. Thanks! Roxy Quirk
Jack Green captured a nice GT on the Gold Coast. Andrew Green
This is my son Rhett with his first barra in his yak from Lake Lenthall. The 77cm barra hit a spinnerbait and Rhett’s still got the grin on his face. Kerry Randall
This thready was caught by my best mate Reece in the Logan River and went 1.16m. It could not resist a live herring rigged on a Daiwa 3-6kg rod, 10kg Fins braid, 50lb Black Magic leader and a 6/0 octopus circle hook. Jarryd Parkinson
To have a photo of your catch featured in Readers Forum, simply email email@example.com with a good-quality picture, your name and details or hop onto our Facebook page and send us a message.
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Phil nailed a nice trevally on a slow-pitch jig on the outside of Curtis Island. Blue salmon numbers will be on the rise. This one took a small 65mm vibe after bigger lures were refused.
Techniques change as year progresses
AY has arrived, the temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter and we can expect longer periods of good weather.
By now the water temperature will have dropped a few degrees and will continue to fall as we get further into May. This will affect the fish that prefer warmer water such as barramundi and mangrove jack. They will still be a viable target, though your techniques may need to change to successfully target them. Barra will spend more time moving through the shallows chasing warmer water, especially on high tide. Slowing your retrieve and throwing repeated casts into the same locations might get the bite, or maybe you’ll need to change to a live bait. Bite times will shorten because they don’t need to feed as often in the colder water as their metabolism slows. Awoonga Dam will still fish OK for barra through winter. Fishing points the wind has pushed warmer water and bait onto will give you the best chance of finding numbers. Mangrove jack can still be caught, though again it will be a case of finding snags or rock bars and throwing repeated casts into the same spot to get a reaction bite, or be prepared for a long soak time with a live bait. I would target these fish in the afternoon, with a slight rise of water temperature during the day helping to trigger them to feed. Blue salmon numbers will increase as they school and move into their spawning season. They can be seen feeding over shallow flats as the tide rises but I find my best results come from targeting schooled fish in deeper water. Finding them on the sounder can be the easy part as some days they move quickly through the systems chasing herring schools. A good side-scan sounder will help you stay on the schools longer but on some days they will be moving too fast to effecwww.bnbfishing.com. au
Gladstone Region by GARY CHURCHWARD
I am not sure of too many places where you can be fishing for queenfish and tuna and then within 30 minutes be up a river chasing barra and jacks, all in a little 4m boat. tively target with lures or baits. If you can track which way they are heading, you can often get in front of them and catch a few as they move past. Matching the size of herring in the area with your bait or lure can help you snare more fish. I recently found a school feeding on small herring and I was using a 95mm soft vibe for the odd halfhearted tap. As soon as I downsized to a smaller 65mm vibe, we started catching fish. These fish were not actively feeding but just moving with the school of bait. If you find feeding fish, normally they will take just about anything. Bait wise, good size live gar have tended to be the best bait over the years. Alternatively, live mullet, prawns and bigger herring will all catch fish, as will a fresh cut bait and pillies. Fingermark will be a common capture this month. If you find schools of salmon in deeper holes, often you will pull a fingermark from under them. Commonly, targeting deeper sections of water that have a rocky bottom or some sort of structure will result in more fish. Using a mixture of vibes and soft plastics will get good results. A trolled deep-diving hard-body will also work well, depending on water depth.
Go-to baits are large live herring and mullet. Neither will last long if a few fingermark are around. Hopefully black jewfish will become more common with the colder weather. Gladstone Harbour gives up a few during winter but for consistent results, the rocky outcrops and headlands on the outside of Curtis Island present a better option. Grunter have been biting extremely well and their numbers will only increase over the next few months. Smaller lures like 5070mm vibes and plastics will see you get among them. If you’re getting a lot of smaller fish, upsize your lures to something around 100mm. Fresh cut baits such as mullet and gar or a butterflied herring work well. A live prawn also won’t last long before it’s taken. Most gravel and rock patches attract a bit of bait and the fish won’t be far behind. Large fish typically come from deeper water and the pylons in the harbour hold good-sized fish at times. The barrages in the Fitzroy River have been open for a while now, which has seen the river running dirty. The city reach is still giving up a few barra, mainly on live baits, but some keen anglers are
getting them on hard-bodies with a good vibration or rattle. Most fish have come from downstream and into Port Alma because the water coming down hasn’t really affected these areas. As the flow stops, the clean water will begin to push back up and the schools of threadfin salmon will move with it. It will still be worth fishing the Fitzroy as the temperature drops because since the introduction of the net-free zone it fishes well year-round. Queenfish are going strong around the entrance to Gladstone Harbour. Look for good current lines and colour changes as starting locations. If you find birds working or a bait school, you’re in with a chance of catching just about anything, with tuna, mackerel and trevally all possible. On a recent early morning leaving from the Boyne River I spent a couple of hours chasing queenfish in the harbour and then raced up the Boyne chasing jacks. I pulled the hooks on a couple of queenies and when I went up the river could only find smaller fish, but plenty to keep me busy. I am not sure of too many places where you can be fishing for queenfish and tuna and then within 30 minutes be up a river chasing barra and jacks, all in a little 4m boat. We are truly lucky to have the diversity of fishing we do in the Gladstone region. From barra in Lake Awoonga to reef fish and pelagic fish in the harbour, with plenty of rivers and creeks in between, there’s just about anything you want to chase right on our doorstep. The Boyne Tannum HookUp is being held over the May long weekend (May 3-5), running from the Friday to Sunday. If you’re around or looking for something to do, drop down in the afternoon, grab a feed and a drink and wander around to see what’s on. Cheers and happy fishing from Gladdy.
Bream will be on the chew. This fish ate a 4”plastic fished over a rock bar while chasing fingermark.
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What’s better than one fingermark, two of course! Coby Pascoe and Jay Stockley captured a couple of thumpers fishing with local gun Chris Nash.
Dan Baker with a beaut large-mouth nannygai taken on a slow-pitch jig.
Gearing up for offshore
F I had to pick a favourite month of the year to head offshore, it would be May.
Dave Evans scored a nice fingermark. It’s great to see the inshore fingers around in good numbers.
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Whenever I go back through old diaries of past trips, May seems to be a winner on the offshore scene. I’m very pleased to report the weather has been pretty kind of late here on the Capricorn Coast. We went about four months over the warmer months with very few opportunities to head wide. That has all been forgotten, with excellent weather windows presenting themselves. All the reports coming through have been about red fish. More so large-mouth nannygai than red emperor but either is a welcome addition to the Esky. Targeting nannygai Nannies can be a real pain in the backside to crack the code on if you’re new to the offshore fishing scene. I remember years ago when I was wanting to put decent nannygai footage together the buggers just seemed to fall off the face of the earth, for a few trips anyway. All my usual nanny haunts were turning up empty. I ended up heading eastsoutheast to the old Fitzroy River bed to try my luck. To my surprise, largemouth nannygai were in good numbers around this area and I was able to get all the video required in only a few short hours. So where and what are you supposed to be looking for? Where to find them I love flatter ground when chasing largemouth nannygai. It’s the kind of ground that doesn’t hold much structure. Fern ground, wonky holes and isolated rocks are my go-to areas for good numbers and size of nannies. Unfortunately, these areas can be hard to find. They aren’t generally just lying around in some
Capricorn Coast by JOHN BOON
list of marks you got off the internet or from a mate. Finding these marks requires an understanding of the electronics being used, of what the sounder screen is showing you and of where to begin looking. It would take an entire publication to go into the nitty-gritty, so for now we shall keep it short and simple. How many times have you read the words ‘sounding at speed’ in an article or heard them mentioned in videos? It’s because this is the number-one rule for finding new ground. It’s amazing how many people still haven’t grasped the concept. Getting the transducer to read at speed will turn travel time into search time. Keeping a keen eye on the sounder will reveal hidden gems. Some of the minor changes in bottom or bait patches we turn back around on and search
through would be overlooked by the untrained eye. Attention to detail is important. Baits My absolute favourite bait for targeting largemouth nannygai is live yakkas (yellowtail scad). They can be hard to locate but it’s worth putting in the effort. A simple bait jig is all you need when sitting on top of yakka schools. Generally, yakkas are easiest to catch through winter but we have caught them all year round. Dead yakkas can be just as effective if you can’t keep them alive. Don’t forget to butterfly them if the whole yakkas aren’t getting results. Fresh squid would be my next choice. If you can’t catch your own squid, then the Lund’s squid found in tackle shops is always reliable. I like to run a set of gangs so I can have hooks running through the entire bait and down to-
wards the bottom. I’ve lost count of the number of nannies that have come to the surface just hanging off the bottom hook. When they aren’t in proper feeding mode, this can be the difference. Gear If you’re not fishing harsh structure, I like a medium spin combo with a bit of flex in the tip matched to a Shimano 6000-size reel such as a Saragosa. I find I pull way fewer hooks when using this type of gear because nannygai have soft mouths that tear easily. If fishing wrecks and other nasty places, you might not have much choice but to pull out the trusty old broomstick to get them clear of the bottom quickly. The same goes if the sharks are really bad. You won’t bulldog a 10kg-plus nanny to the boat, so if the sharks want a feed you’re in big trouble. Simple tactics Once a school of nannygai has been located, my best advice is to anchor up on them. * continued P51
Local barra guru Ben Gilbertson with a metre-plus barra. This was the second metrey to hit the deck in a short bite window.
Gearing up for offshore on Capricorn Coast * from P50
Jacks are still on the chew. Elliot Bradshaw landed a quality jack on a picture-perfect Cap Coast afternoon.
If you’re successful getting the spot right, you can have some redhot sessions. Drifting through these schools often spreads them out and you will only get a few drifts before they disappear. If you’ve got a midsized boat that has a bow-mount electric, then you’re ahead of the game. Electronic anchoring is king on the reef, with no anchor hitting the bottom and no chain rattling over the side. Cap Coast report Over the past few months the barrage gates on the Fitzroy River have been opening and shutting pretty frequently. Just when we get some consistency with barra captures, the gates open again. The anglers live baiting seem to be doing best.
It will be interesting to see what the conditions will be like for this month’s Frenchville Sports Club Barra Bash, held from May 23-26. Over $20,000 in cash and prizes is on offer and it’s set to be bigger and better than last year. If you’re chasing any more info, you can jump onto the Frenchville Barra Bash Facebook page or give the club a ring. Fingermark have been biting well and should continue to do so right into June. Vibration-style lures have worked well in the estuaries and the slowpitch jigs have been the pick for inshore anglers. Thready reports have definitely dropped off as the river has been running dirty and fresh. At the time of writing we are expecting another decent run in the river from rain out in the Central Highlands.
Port Alma has been fishing well for threadies if you are in need of a fix. Mud crabs are a bit sporadic but it’s still worth soaking a pot if heading out on the water for the day. Bream have been around in good numbers. We were surprised by the number of bream on offer during a recent trip to Coorooman Creek. They were hitting vibes and bigger plastics meant for barra. They are cranky little buggers. During the good weather periods we had a decent run of school mackerel right in close at places like Iron Pot and Ritamada. Even the Keppel Bay Marina has been producing. School-sized spanish have been caught in good numbers around the outer islands such as Barren, Man and Wife
and Outer rocks. Keep an eye on the sounder for bait balls and thin fish arches. Big spanish mackerel have been caught on occasion. Some have been up over the 30kg mark, which is very impressive. The most reliable spots for those horses are up around Manifold and Perforated islands.
Trolled ribbon fish have been the go-to baits. That’s it from me this month. I’m off to prepare for the Frenchy Barra Bash. With the river conditions up in the air and the not-so-favourable tides I think we are in for a tough comp. Stand by for a report on the other side.
The holy grail of slow-pitch and reef fishing in general. Matthew Baker picked up a solid red emperor on a jig.
St Lawrence Wetlands a wonderland
I everyone, I hope your Easter was fantastic and you’re ready to tackle May head-on.
We’re almost halfway through the year already! Fishing around Stanage Bay has been a little on the quiet side, even though we’ve had some great windows of opportunity to get to the reef. The reports of huge fish just aren’t there. Barra are still being caught in the creeks, which is fantastic to see. Mud crabs are in great numbers. They seem to be going week on, week off but when they’re on their sizes are great! With the fishing around here still a bit slow, I thought I would bring your attention to something a little different this month.
Stanage Bay by PEE WEE
St Lawrence A small fishing and crabbing town 177km north of Rockhampton by road, St Lawrence is also accessible by water through Thirsty Sound from Stanage Bay boat ramp in as little as an hour. St Lawrence may not be quite as picturesque as Stanage Bay but do not take this away from the township’s great character and potential. The area produces excellent quality mud crabs, barramundi and salmon throughout its estuaries. To promote the local area and highlight the local attractions, I introduce to you the St Lawrence Wetlands Weekend being held from June 7-9, 2019.
I’ve given you plenty of notice because it’s definitely an event worth checking out. More information can be found on the St Lawrence Wetlands Weekend Facebook page. The event will showcase all the local produce, seafood and sites around the township. Demonstrations run all weekend with a little something for every family member. You’ll see cooking demonstrations, wetland tours, birdlife spotting, gardening, wildlife encounters, crafts and market stalls followed by a night-time bushman’s dinner and entertainment. The wetland tour is exceptional.
Here, you would learn about the breeding system that supports our barramundi and the waterway design that enables our barra to adapt to fresh and salt water. It’s a great learning experience. Camp sites are available for a small fee or you can chase up a great-priced room at the local St Lawrence Hotel and end the day with a few coldies. Access to St Lawrence is all bitumen straight off the Bruce Highway. Bring the boat and try your hand at catching some of the beautiful fish on offer. You have two boat ramps to choose from – one concrete ramp leading into Waverley Creek and the other a makeshift mud track leading straight into St Lawrence Creek. Please be mindful of
our tidal system, as the tides are quite large and strong. Both ramps run dry, so allow a three-hour window either side of high tide to get back safely. Fishing without a boat is no hassle. A great spot to try is under the St Lawrence railway bridge at low tide. Whiting, salmon and barra are among the regular selection. If you’ve not stopped in at this little gem, I highly recommend a stayover. Locals are friendly and if you’re keen to get out on a boat for a look, just ask one of the locals. The locals are approachable and most are happy to take visitors out on the water. Please be mindful if you’re unfamiliar with the area that crocodiles are around, so please exercise caution and keep your family and pets safe. Hopefully I’ve given a good-enough wrap for you to come and visit this great little area. See you all next month!
Nudge scored a solid mud crab.
A ripper land-based barra.
Stanage Bay Marine
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A promo pic for the St Lawrence Wetlands Weekend.
stanagebay.com Call 07 4937 3145 Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 51
Young Ettiene struggled to hold his 123cm jewfish captured on a soft plastic.
A Z-Man Curly TailZ plastic on a 2oz jig head was this 25kg-plus GT’s undoing.
The author with a 71cm grunter caught on a micro jig.
Temperatures cooling but fishing still hot n Barra and salmon in estuaries n Offshore reefs on fire
ISHING in the Mackay region has continued firing, with awesome numbers of big barra and king salmon caught in the estuaries.
Rudy with a cracker fingermark measuring 65cm enticed on a micro jig.
Reports of king salmon catches increasing in both quantity and size are really exciting for local anglers. I believe this is a result of the net-free zone established between St Helens and Cape Hillsborough a few years back paying dividends for the fishery and recreational fishers in the area. The offshore action has been equally good for those lucky enough to get
Inshore Fishing Mackay by JASON KIDD
out when the weather allows. Red emperor, coral trout, nannygai and spanish mackerel are on the bite for those willing to venture wider. The inshore shoals and islands have produced great fish over the past few weeks. On a couple of recent trips to a little patch 1011km off the coast, working 40-60g micro jigs and 2oz-weighted soft plastics got the interest of a variety of good fish.
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We fished two hours either side of the turn of the tide to avoid the strongest current and give us the best chance of keeping the lures on the bottom. In the first 10 casts a 65cm fingermark smashed one of our jigs and put up an awesome fight trying to get back into structure. After catching another two of about the same size, things went a bit quiet and only a few spotty mackerel were taking the lures. Then as the tide turned and started running out, grunter began taking the jigs. The best of the four we boated went 71cm, which was my best in years. Once the current got too strong for our lures, it was time to pack up and head for home. The next day, the forecast was pretty good, so I went back to the patch with a different crew. The action was just as good but with no sign of the fingermark and grunter from the day before. On this day, monster jewfish and trevally had us stretched out. Both boys up the front of the boat got a 123cm jewfish and my 25-30kg GT at the end of the session made for sore backs but great stories. All fish were caught using 4000-size spin reels and 8-10kg rods. A memorable couple of days on the water. After the seemingly endless and hotter than normal weather, things have finally begun to ease. The daylight hours are getting shorter and we are starting to enjoy cooler nights. It’s also a little more comfortable on the water. As the cooler months creep closer and the water temperature begins to drop, target species for the estuary anglers in the
Mackay region begin to shift. Winter whiting start turning up in greater numbers, and those who have made an early start to the season are reporting fantastic sizes and reasonable numbers already, with some fish reaching the 40cm mark. Using freshly caught beach worms and yabbies has provided the best results for anglers. The prolific blue salmon that inhabit our estuaries in the cooler months have not yet appeared but could only be a few cool nights away. They will take strip baits, live baits and just about anything presented to them during this time. When you find them in numbers, especially in June and July, any vibrating hard-bodies and soft plastics moving in their vicinity will be chased and engulfed. They put up a fantastic fight on light gear, often going aerial while trying to free the hook. When they get into a real frenzied state you will see multiple fish following your hooked fish and trying to steal the lure from its mouth. Often they are successful and the battle starts all over with a second fish. The entrances to most creeks on the making tide will have big schools of blue salmon following and feeding on the bait schools. As the bait moves into the shallow waters with the tide, the salmon will too. Any lure hitting the
water in this situation is often smashed before you start to retrieve it. Night fishing from the beaches is another productive way of catching blue salmon, especially if you can time your fishing to coincide with a waxing gibbous moon and an incoming tide. The fishing diversity in the Mackay region is incredible, with all the species of the warmer waters up north on offer nearly all year round. We have barra, king salmon, mangrove jack, fingermark and more in the estuaries as well as the endless species available on the reefs, not to mention our world-class impoundment fisheries such as Kinchant, Teemburra and Eungella dams. If that is not enough, in winter for a short window we get cooler water species like snapper and winter whiting. It was only five to 10 years ago that catches of snapper had become a rarity in the Mackay region and it was thought to be as far north as they would travel. Now with reduced pressures on the fishery in southern waters, big numbers are making their way up the east coast again and last year snapper were reported above the Whitsundays. Along with many others, I look forward to the water temp dropping below 20C and getting out to chase a few of these southern fish. If you would like to join me on a charter around Mackay, give me a call on 0457 254 740.
Tackle box Inshore shoals: • 8-10kg rod • 4000 size spin reel • 40-60g micro jig • 2oz jig head and soft plastic www.bnbfishing.com. au
Closing out a cracking charter chapter
HE time has come for us to close the book on our chapter of life with Crackajack Sportfishing Adventures.
We have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of guiding around Hinchinbrook Island, from the rainforest creeks chasing jungle perch and sooty grunter to guiding for barramundi, mangrove jack and fingermark through the mazes of creeks that make up the Hinchinbrook Channel, and of course fishing the coral flats, wrecks and islands of the Great Barrier Reef and adjacent to the beautiful, picturesque, prehistoric Hinchinbrook Island. And that’s not to mention going into hand-tohand combat with the beasts that live around the Lucinda sugar loader, which is the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere. Boy, what a place! The scenery and the fishing here are both simply amazing. We would like to say a big thankyou to all our readers as well as our amazing clients from the past seven years, especially those who came back year after year and even multiple times a year. You guys and girls have been fantastic and almost like family! I will definitely miss my time on the water with all our amazing clients. Whether it be someone casting a lure for the first time and seeing a big barra eat a lure right in front of their eyes or
Hinchinbrook News by TODD EVELEIGH
We would like to say a big thankyou to all our readers as well as our amazing clients from the past seven years, especially those who came back year after year and even multiple times a year. a seasoned angler getting absolutely stretched by a massive GT around the coral edges, so many moments are etched in my memory and I’m sure etched in theirs too! We have thoroughly enjoyed tailoring fishing packages for our clients to tick those fish off their bucket list and have made fantastic friends along the way. We have enjoyed all aspects of the business but are going to take some gap years now to enjoy our children growing up and spend quality time with them while they still think we’re cool and want to hang around with us. I don’t think this is going to last too much longer! Our plans are to hook up the caravan, put the tinnie on the roof of the LandCruiser and fish and hunt our way around Aus-
tralia to really get off the grid and into those remote areas. We look forward to continuing to write articles for Bush ‘n Beach from different locations around Australia and hopefully catch amazing fish and share our experiences with you. As for Crackajack Sportfishing Adventures, it will continue operating in the same way it always has, offering a personalised experience, great customer service and amazing fishing opportunities. The new owners are Jude and Robert Overton and Damien Paterson, or as I like to call the boys, Robbo and Damo. They will continue to uphold the great reputation we have worked so hard for over the years. Robbo and Damo have been fishing their whole
lives and are real fishos. Their love and passion for fishing comes out in their guiding and they have the drive to push the boundaries to achieve customers’ goals. And they are top blokes to boot. They will offer similar types and styles of fishing as we did and will be fishing the same areas. As the boys will be out on the boats every day, if you ring or email you will more than likely speak to Judith, who is absolutely lovely and will give you all the information required to make your trip easy and enjoyable. Robbo and Damo will be writing articles about fishing techniques and Hinchinbrook news on behalf of Crackajack Sportfishing Adventures, and stay tuned for our stories about caravanning and fishing Australia with our two ratbags! Have I done the right thing? Time will tell! On behalf of Raylene and I, we would like to say thank you so much to everyone. PS, I couldn’t have done any of it without my wonderful wife, so thank you too Raylene.
Raylene, the author, Bridie and Dustin with a baby feral pig.
New Crackajack guide Damien Paterson caught a sooty grunter.
This big queenfish was landed by new Crackajack guide Robert Overton.
Two full-time local guides!
Full-day inshore or offshore charters Come on a Hinchinbrook wilderness fishing holiday and tick some of those trophy fish off your bucket list – barra, mangrove jack, coral trout, GTs, sooty grunter, spanish mackerel, black marlin, queenies, nannygai and more!
• Two boats available catering for groups of 2-8 • 3 to 7-day packages including accommodation T: 07 4777 2968 M: 0417 192 318 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Dustin and Raylene with a nice little boar.
CheCk out our website >>> CraCkfish.Com Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 53
The big wet on the Cape
HE big monsoon season continued over most of the Cape through a soggy March and into April.
Remember to bring a cast net as prawns should be about. Josh Lyon with one cast’s worth near Weipa.
After the drenching from cyclone Trevor in late-March, another monsoon trough formed in early April, watering much of the region again. At our place just out of Cooktown, we’ve now recorded just over 3200mm since November – 126” in the old scale.
Cape York by ‘BILLABONG’ BAZZ LYON
So much rain means delays in roads opening across the Cape this year, apart from the Cooktown area, which has bitumen access. Once it does begin to dry properly, the road crews will do their best to get things back up to
Many unmarked washouts will be on Cape York roads until road crews can repair them.
The Peninsula Development Road in late-March.
scratch quickly. However, always check the RACQ and Cook Shire road condition websites for updates before travelling. And always be mindful that even the Peninsula Development Road will have unmarked washouts and holes until repaired – there are just too many to mark individually. On the upside, this has been an absolute cracker of a breeding season for barramundi, and the ‘runoff’ fishing should be seriously good and prolonged this year. Fishing the Cape – early dry season As the dry season develops over Cape York, so do the southeasterly trade winds. For newcomers to the area, the strength and persistence of these trade winds can be a real eyeopener, especially along the east coast. Reef fishing opportunities might be blown away for lengthy periods. However, the news is not all bad, as you can still enjoy coastal and inshore reef fishing in the shelter of many bays and headlands. For example, you can mix it with a great range of tropical toughies and tasties along the eastern Cape on the lee sides of Archer Point and Cape Bedford near Cooktown. Barramundi, mangrove jack and fingermark, estuary cod, tuskfish, maori seaperch, estuary cod, queenfish and a variety of trevally species inhabit such places and the fishing can sometimes be exceptional. Similar fishing can be experienced at Ninian and Bathurst bays further north, however because of
Tuskfish are a prime target, especially on Gulf reefs, but also occur along the east coast.
Page 54 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
the wet conditions, these places are unlikely to be accessible until about July. Spanish mackerel also patrol sheltered bays, and though more commonly trolled up by boat, can at times be taken from headlands. By the way, such lee waters will not be necessarily calm in a trade wind burst, but they will be much, much better than open water. Sheltered beaches adjacent to all these places can produce blue salmon in particular, with threadfin salmon, grunter and flathead in the mix. The coastal and inshore waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria offer a great spread of fishing country during the windy parts of the dry season. Threadfin salmon, barramundi, fingermark and even coral trout inhabit many of the rocky headlands. When the wind does ‘ease’ a little, you can also duck out to any inshore reefs to troll, jig and bait fish. Fingermark, tuskfish, coral trout and the usual stripies and sweetlip make up most of the captures here. Baits, soft plastics and hard-bodied lures all work well across the Gulf reefs. Casting slugs and slices at any bait balls you encounter can result in adrenalin-pumping action with longtail tuna too. Early morning usually sees the lightest wind on the Gulf coastline at this time of year. Otherwise, rivers and estuaries offer a great reprieve during windy periods, being mindful of broader waters where a substantial chop can build, especially when the wind opposes the tide. May is good for river fishing because water temperatures are yet to drop by any great degree, and this year at least, plenty of run-off should still be happening. Cooktown offers good river fishing in the Endeavour and Annan rivers, while Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park to the northwest boasts a wealth of river and estuarine fishing. While barramundi are a major focus here, the estuarine reaches are also home to good populations of jewfish, fingermark and jacks, and both species of salmon. And let’s not forget the crabbing, which can be excellent! At this time of year, just downstream from the wedge where the fresh meets the salt water typically offers the best crabbing. Again, with the big wet, predicting when the park will open is fairly difficult. On past experience, southern parts may be
opened in late-May/early June. One of the rangers told me that the Normanby River ran nearly 2m deep through the Kalpowar Crossing campground earlier this year. If you know the place, you will know how much water would have been involved! Port Stewart on the east coast near Coen is a seriously fishy place and well worth trying. Just remember the insect repellent because the mozzies and sandflies can get pretty serious at times. The wealth of estuary country available around Weipa is fairly well known. The trouble here is with so much water to fish – where do you start? Sounding the wide-open spaces can reveal rubble and other structure where fingermark in particular may be present. Otherwise, it’s worthwhile targeting some of the creeks and definitely the gutter mouths at the lowest part of the tide, moving up if possible as the tide rises. On the high tide, luring the mangrove edges and rocky outcrops can be very productive, particularly for barra and jacks. Just be prepared to hook the occasional mangrove root! Sometime with this type of fishing you’ll score nothing for a fair distance, then hit the money. It’s just a matter of being patient. Places where wave action is stirring up and muddying the water are well worth targeting for barramundi lying in ambush positions. The next easily accessible rivers to the north are in the Northern Peninsula area around Bamaga. Jackey Jackey Creek and Escape River offer excellent and extensive fishing for the usual prime tropical suspects. You’ll also encounter great fishing for jewfish at Mutee Head (you’ll need a boat but can camp and beach launch there) and lucky dip fishing off the Seisia wharf. Huge giant trevally sometimes test the endurance and strength of anglers here. Well that’s a wrap of what fishing options may be available during May on the Cape. Make sure you pack a cast net too, as apart from catching baitfish, good prawn numbers should be around. The other worthwhile options are of course the Normanton and Karumba areas in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, fishing especially for barramundi, grunter, salmon and the ever-popular muddies. Good luck, and remember to take care on the Cape York roads! www.bnbfishing.com. au
Ready to put in some miles exploring remote reef systems.
Matt Arkell landed a solid trout on a fillet of spanish flag (stripy).
What’s involved in going wide
HE southeasterly trade winds kicked in at the beginning of April, signalling the start of the dry season.
Upon reflection, the wet season once again provided very memorable fishing and spearing adventures here in the far north. Each year I try to ex-
Cape York & Torres Strait by MATT POTTER
plore new areas because I love the challenge of hunting fish in remote locations, generally covering up to 400km when the weather allows. Sometimes it all comes together and other times
Reece and Jimmy took a double of nannygai and fingermark.
Ritchie with a monster dogtooth tuna speared at the continental shelf.
we struggle for hours, but generally, with a well thought-out plan, we get to experience some mind-blowing fishing in an awesome part of the world. As unpredictable as the weather can be during the wet, this year we once again managed to avoid any wild storm cells out on the water, which can brew quickly and pack a punch. Several low-pressure systems gave Cape York and Torres Strait communities a battering. However, as these systems moved out into the Gulf of Carpentaria they sucked the wind away and we were left with great weather windows to head east to reefs that see little fishing pressure. As the Bureau of Meteorology weather forecasts seem to change every couple of hours during the wet, I will usually wait until Thursday afternoon before confirming if a big trip is going ahead. The race is then on to pack the boat. I will fuel up and the rest of the crew will generally sort food, bait and ice. With a bit of delegating, it doesn’t take long to have the boat sorted. Launching after work on Friday afternoon, spirits are high as I point the nose of the boat in an easterly direction. It is usually a threehour run as I travel about 60 nautical miles to a remote reef or sand cay off Cape York or the Torres Strait. On last light I will mark several anchorages because while the wind generally comes from the northwest during the wet, it can also be unpredictable. I will then set off sounding around for the next
few hours in the hope of finding structure to drop baits on. This season we managed to find some legal reds in just 20m of water. Sharks are in massive numbers up here and those who disagree haven’t fished far north Queensland. It is so frustrating to finally find good ground, only to bring up the head of a red or fingermark. Locked drags are a must. Even still, any fish that puts up a half-decent fight and can’t be skull dragged to the boat is taken by the taxman. Often the only choice is to move on. By around midnight I anchor up for a few hours’ sleep. Not that I ever sleep well. First light is about topping up fuel and then chasing a few mackerel. We use Rapala X-Rap Magnum 30 hard-bodies, which are dynamite on spanish mackerel when trolled at six to seven knots. I will then go looking for more ground. Generally I have half a dozen or so starter marks
to search around. These are usually high points where there is a depth change of several metres. The Navionics app is brilliant for locating these areas. I have found so much ground in the past seven years by sitting on the couch with this app and marking areas and then transferring them to my GPS. * continued P56
Matt with a school red pulled from just 18m.
Dean and Adrian scored a nice double on large-mouth nannygai.
Gary Jones picked up a solid golden trevally on first light.
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 55
This tough fingermark put up a great fight despite missing its gill plate and tail (old injuries).
The holy grail of spearfishing. A monster dogtooth tuna.
What’s involved in going wide * from P55
by MELISSA FROHLOFF
Rosemary, lamb and kidney pie Ingredients • 600g lamb shoulder, boned • 300g lamb kidney, diced • 1 tbsp tomato paste • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce • 3 garlic chives, finely chopped • 2 spring onions, finely chopped • 20g fresh rosemary, finely chopped • 4 cloves garlic, crushed • 1 carrot, finely chopped • 4 tbsp plain flour • 330ml dark beer • 1/4 cup olive oil • 1 cup beef stock • 1 sheet puff pastry • 1 sheet shortcrust pastry • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten Method • Dice lamb shoulder in 2cm pieces, removing excess fat. • Dust the lamb and kidney in plain flour. Heat 1tbsp oil over medium/high heat in 11” camp oven or six-litre oven-proof dish, add half the lamb and brown, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with
remaining lamb and kidney. • Add remaining oil to camp oven and lightly fry garlic, carrot, garlic chives and spring onion. • Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, black beer and stock to camp oven and stir. • Return lamb to the camp oven, stir in rosemary, increase heat and bring to the boil. • Place camp oven in the oven on 140C and slowly simmer for an hour with the lid on. • Remove lid from camp oven and cook for another hour, stirring occasionally until liquid reduces to a thick gravy and the meat is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from oven and cool slightly. • Line a deep pie dish with shortcrust pastry and fill with lamb stew. Use a sheet of puff pastry for the lid, pinch edges together with your fingers to seal. Brush beaten egg wash on top of the pie and cut in an air hole. • Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until pie is dark and golden and cooked through. • Serve with mashed sweet potato and steamed broccolini.
It is also a great backup GPS on the water because recently my GPS decided to pack it in and we used the Navionics app on the iPhone to mark fish, track our drift, provide other useful data such as speed and fuel consumption and of course find our way home. We will usually wrap up these big trips by jumping in the water and spearing a few trout and crayfish. This depends on the water visibility but usually the wider we head, the clearer the water gets and the coral of the northern Great Barrier Reef is something else. You learn a lot about the way fish behave by throwing on a mask and snorkel. Coral trout are certainly curious and if you can ignore them and avoid eye contact they will come right in to check you out, which is certainly their undoing. Fusiliers hanging around a bommie provide a good indication coral trout are around. Parrotfish are much more skittish but can brought in by throwing up a little sand or using a bit of crayfish as berley. Big reef jacks will school up with slatey bream and generally you
only get one opportunity to shoot them because they wise up and head into any nearby cracks and crevices. Recently, a mate managed to get out to the continental shelf while I was working – damnit. He speared some jawdropping dogtooth tuna and the guys lost many more to the sharks, which in his words were “insane”. This sort of diving requires real teamwork to land any fish. This year it has been rewarding to find new ground that has produced quality large-mouth nannygai and fingermark, which are favourites of ours to target. Whole squid and slabs of mackerel are two great baits for targeting these tasty fish on paternoster rigs with 10/0 Mustad Big Gun hooks, 80lb Black Magic leader and 10oz snapper leads. Large Z-Man soft plastics like the 8” StreakZ XL and GrubZ also do the damage. These fish often school together as they prefer similar structure, that being wrecks, overhangs and deeper bommies. Recently, I’ve been finding these fish in depths between 17m and 24m. Remember both species
suffer from barotrauma, so once you get a few, move on and save your spot for another day because the fish will not survive release. Fingermark in particular suffer fatal barotrauma when caught in depths as shallow as 10m, as highlighted in the research video from the Northern Territory Government. They are also slow growing and late maturing, only able to reproduce from six to eight
years of age and 50cmplus. Now the southeasterly trade winds have kicked in there will be few opportunities to venture east to these remote reefs. We will once again look to fish the west coast of the Cape, which is somewhat protected from these 20-25 knot winds that will blow through until November. Check out the Fishing Missions- Northern Australia Facebook page to follow our adventures.
Impressive colours and great eating: tropical rock lobster (ornate cray).
Tips This is a dish where I love using the camp oven inside the oven. The flavours are captured in the pot while preparing this gorgeous dish. Camp ovens hold even heat and are a great pot to have in the kitchen when reducing liquid to make a thick gravy.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 3 hours | Serves 4 Page 56 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
Minced meat. Ritchie held a big doggy that fell victim to the sharks.
4WDING & off - road
80 Series Cruiser build continues T HE past month has been a massive rollercoaster of emotions.
From pure excitement when we heard our Cruiser purring along to the devastation of finding out we are facing a delay we could have avoided very easily. Before we get into our silly mistake, let’s talk about the exciting news. Last month we finished up our article with a photo of the 80 Series LandCruiser sitting pretty on the back of a tow truck. This photo was taken on the morning of what we thought would be the final major hurdle to get the big rig on the road – an injector pump overhaul and the fixing of a cringe-worthy sound coming from the motor. When we initially inspected the Cruiser we were very close to turning around and walking away. Not only was the car sitting in pieces and completely undriveable, the motor rattled like a fiveyear-old’s money box! Listening to the car running, it was evident the rattle was coming from the top end and somewhat knowing our way around a motor we figured the rattle was caused by worn valve shims. In typical Greg style, I bought the car anyway. Eventually I got around to pulling off the rocker cover and measuring the shims. This process is fairly
by GREG BELL
straight-forward, with the only specialist tools being a set of feeler gauges (a gauge consisting of a number of thin blades for measuring narrow gaps or clearances), a valve bucket compressor (a Toyota specialty tool designed to hook onto the camshaft and push the valve bucket down) and a micrometer calliper (a calliper for making precise measurements). After measuring only three shims, I quickly noticed I had a bigger problem than I originally envisaged and it was clear I was in over my head. I had three exhaust valve shims with play ranging from 0.6mm to 1.06mm – this was without a doubt my issue but I had no idea why there was so much play. After recognising this issue, I immediately created a group chat with a bunch of my mechanically minded mates, including Ben (owner of the Hulk 105) and Dean Asser (owner of Lorian Automotive). After some in-depth conversation, I was faced with gut-wrenching news: this motor may have a bent valve… or it may be something else that had seriously failed. This news stopped me in my tracks.
The new injector pump was fitted and is running like a dream.
I wasn’t expecting to have to replace the motor. With the only logical next move being a compression test, I went out and bought a compression tester and got on with it. The old girl passed, meaning it was highly unlikely I had a bent valve. Confused with what the problem could have been, I began referring to the Gregory’s Manual and completed a bunch of research online. Soon enough, I recognised there was likely wear to the bottom side of the valve buckets. I knew I didn’t have the experience to fix this alone because it required removing the timing belt and camshaft, so I started calling around to the local shops. Every single diesel mechanic I spoke to advised that I likely had a bent valve and they wouldn’t listen to me when I explained this shouldn’t be the case due to the strong compression. Eventually I got a hold of East Coast Diesel Specialists in Cleveland who laughed at the others who declined the work and immediately knew the issue I had was worn valve buckets. This is where the tow truck photo comes into our story. After spending some time gathering the funds, we sent the old girl off to get repaired. Knowing our injector pump was also leaking, we asked East Coast Diesel Specialists to pull it off and see if it was worth rebuilding. Sadly, we got a phone call later that day advising they were unable to repair the pump and recommended fitting a refurbished pump. Next thing we knew, we were picking up the Cruiser and it was idling along without an issue. We were ecstatic because this meant the Cruiser was ready for a roadworthy certificate, modification plates and registration!
Knowing the Cruiser was ready to go, we opted to pay for day registration (day registration is a form of registration that allows you to drive your car to and from a destination legally, provided you have deemed it road worthy and you’re confident in saying so). Driving the Cruiser home was an absolute ball, and I had a grin from ear to ear the whole way home. This drive well and truly made all the hours and money spent on this rig worth it. We got home without a hitch, though I feel we need a dyno tune to match the large turbo to the rest of the setup, and a few pesky oil leaks that showed up during the drive need to be sorted out before we get rego. Lining up our finances with Easter showed that even with the additional costs from the injector pump, we would be able to have the car on the road for Easter and this momentarily became our one and only goal. We found someone who could do our modification plates and roadworthy for a great price and started looking into the process of how to transfer VINs. Long story short, we did a lot of reading and still struggled to get a clear and concise answer on the matter. Eventually we called through to the Department of Transport and Main Roads who transferred me through to the modifications department. Eventually I was told the process, which goes a little like this: attend DOT and request a referral to Queensland police for a surrogate VIN application; travel to a local large station (small stations generally don’t know the process); and complete
a surrogate VIN application, which gets sent back to DOT and Queensland Major Crimes squad. Once approved, the new VIN gets sent to the police station for collection and after being fitted to the car, the car must be taken to DOT for verification of fitment. This is where our mistake was. Instead of this process taking a day or two (as I had envisaged), I was informed it usually takes four to five weeks at a minimum. Annoyingly, this meant the Cruiser wouldn’t make it to Levuka 4x4 Park for Easter! Resigned to the fact we wouldn’t be driving our new rig as soon as we wanted, we figured we may as well spend some time finishing off the Cruiser’s rear bar and prepping the Milk Carton. Our boilermaker mate popped over for a day and we cranked out the rest of the bar – check out the photos! Hopefully next time you hear from us we will have the Cruiser on the road and we’ll likely have some stories from our Easter trip. Until then, keep safe and enjoy your Easter holidays!
A boilermaker doing what boilermakers do!
The bar began to take shape.
The rear bar was prepped and ready for paint.
TOUGH GEAR FOR TOUGH TRUCKS
Suspension - Recovery Gear - Electrical - Snorkels - Accessories
Call today for a quote! Find us on Facebook The rear bar all finished and ready to be fitted to the Cruiser.
0401 221 596 Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 57
4WDING & off - road
Solving a mechanical mystery
A new viscous hub and near-new all-alloy radiator will keep this 1HZ motor running cooler than ever.
ERE’S a little story for you.
Even great mechanics get stumped sometimes. My mate Rob has a 79 Series trayback 1HZ LandCruiser four-wheeldrive that had not been driven for about two years because the main shaft going into the gearbox had broken. Rob took it to one of the better 4WD shops in the area and they rebuilt the gearbox and refitted it with a new pressure plate and clutch and did a great job. But now the vehicle was getting hot on big hills and up the highway once he got over 95km/h. He took it back to the mechanics who rebuilt the gearbox, flushed the radiator, fitted a new thermostat and said it was fine, but it was still getting hot going up big hills. They said they did not know what was wrong and recommended he take it to another specialist mechanic to get the motor checked out. So Rob took his 4WD to the other mechanic and
4WD Repairs by CRAIG TOMKINSON
they tested the 1HZ for a cracked head, did a compression test and a few other things that cost him a load of money and told him it was fine and they could find nothing wrong with it. Rob picked up his 4WD and on the way home it got hotter than ever. Rob was so pissed off that he rang me as I have worked on lots of 1HZ motors over the years, including my own old girl that was previously getting hot, so he thought I might be able to help. I said to drop it round and I would have a look. I popped the bonnet and saw Rob had already fitted an all alloy radiator off eBay, so I knew it was not the radiator causing the issue. Next I dropped the water out and checked the thermostat was opening, which it was. I flushed the block and
radiator again and it was all fine. I checked the water pump and it was OK but the fan belts were stuffed so I fitted a new matched pair of Gates belts, which are great gear. I checked the radiator hoses and they were new, so I filled the radiator with coolant and water and took the car for a drive. Yep, it was getting hot, so I drove back to my house, popped the bonnet and switched off the motor and the fan just kept spinning, which meant the viscous hub his fan is bolted to was buggered. Once the motor gets to a certain temperature the fan kicks in and sucks heaps more air through the radiator, which cools the motor. Another way to test your viscous hub is working properly is to park your car on flat ground, chock
the wheels and put the hand brake on, start the car in neutral and pop the bonnet, bring the engine revs up to halfway with the throttle until the motor starts getting hot. The viscous hub should eventually kick in and drive the fan lots faster and blow the hat off your head. If it’s not blowing heaps more air, the viscous hub is stuffed. I drove down to Slips Auto Parts in Cooroy and bought a new Dayco viscous hub, fitted it to Rob’s 4WD and took it for a drive up the highway. I sat on 110km/h and the temperature gauge never moved, she was like new again. Rob had spent thousands on his 4WD over the past month and everything was great again, but two good mechanics could not find out why it was getting hot and a $150 part was the fix. If your 1HZ is getting hot, check your viscous hub first. ‘Til next month, be safe on the water and our roads.
Big adventures, small car W HEN you hear “Jimny”, what comes to mind?
Is it Suzuki’s miniroamer sitting in a parking lot all alone feeling sorry for itself? Or is it a nicely designed compact off-road superstar climbing difficult terrain with smiles on the faces of driver and passenger alike? Yeah, the second op-
tion for sure. Front Runner Outfitters’ Slimline II Rack Kit for the new Jimny helps take the adventure to the next level by giving you the one thing the Jimny can admittedly use more of – cargo space. It’s always better to drive without bags, bikes, surfboards and fishing rods overflowing into the driver’s seat and
Page 58 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
poking you in the eye. All those items and many more can now be safely and securely stowed on the roof rack. Mount a rooftop tent and 55+ Front Runner accessories to the top and choose your own adventure. No drilling or superspecialised tools are needed to fit the rack – it’s a simple guttermount installation completed in about an hour, depending on how many times you stop to check the weather or surf report. As with all Front Runner racks, the Slimline II for the Jimny is off-road tough and all aluminium (that means lightweight), so you’ll still have enough horsepower to carry you up that mountain to get those epic views. With modular slats you can create a full platform to dance like no one is watching or make room for unobstructed sunroof views. The Front Runner Roof Rack Kit and new Suzuki Jimny are a perfect match. While the new Jimny provides more comfort and power with improved off-road capabilities, the Front Runner rack provides the best off-road tough solution
for extra storage and the ability to go from overlanding and camping to sports mounts for surfing, fishing and cycling. Together, the Jimny and Front Runner gear create the perfect recipe for having a fun time on or off the road.” About Front Runner Outfitters Front Runner Outfitters began with a handful of friends from South Africa with backgrounds in engineering, design, manufacturing and offroad racing. After numerous equipment failures on their expeditions around the world, they decided to take their passion for vehicle-based adventure and dream up new, smart gear. Today, Front Runner’s products have a welldeserved reputation for quality, intelligent design and durability. Front Runner’s roof racks, water tanks, tents, awnings, drawer systems and camping accessories are enjoyed, used and abused around the world by casual campers, overlanders, the UN, NGOs, outdoor enthusiasts and extreme athletes. For more information, please visit frontrunner outfitters.com/en/au www.bnbfishing.com. au
C AMPING & outdoors How to get your kids excited about a week without WiFi
ETTING the whole family excited about a week out in the bush for an off-road trip is one thing, but keeping the kids entertained and happy around the campsite without WiFi is another artform.
It’s one that Jase Andrews, father of two and host of Australia’s number-one outdoor adventure TV show All 4 Adventure knows all too well. Include them in the planning process Involve the kids in the planning process and discuss with them the places you could go and why. Are there any unique landmarks, flora and fauna to be seen and experienced? Waterfalls, mountains to climb, rapids to surf or even dangers to navigate? On top of this, get them excited about the upcoming activities: be it fishing rapids, quad biking, horse riding, discovering caves or the like.
The important thing is: make it an all-inclusive decision-making process. This will help them feel like they have ownership and thus your kids will be more invested in the trip. Packing Now you have the blueprint in place, it’s time to get them involved in the “what do we need specifically for this trip” discussion. Sit down as a family and brainstorm the essentials such as food, water and warm clothes, as well as a few luxury items. Then, when it comes time to load up the rig and set off, they’ll head into the trip less of a passenger and more of a co-pilot on the road. Hitting the road Before you hit the road, load the car up with snacks, drinks, neck pillows and things to keep the kids busy. Technology provides a lot of engagement and can do for hours on end, but balancing this out with
real time, real people and places is important for a child’s social development. Try to go device free for the full nature experience, but if you’re staring down the barrel of a long drive and potentially very bored kids, consider an offline gaming device like the Nintendo Switch, but only in the car, and let them know that once they get there, it’s time for a break from the screen. On location Once you’re on location, you’re going to need to keep your kids busy. And we mean busy. So make sure you jampack their days with exciting and fun activities, especially on the first leg of the trip while they are weaning themselves off technology. That means planning out a full itinerary for each day. Start with the fun stuff. Try planning a scavenger hunt (make sure you keep safety in mind) but
be sure to let them figure things out: counting the rocks that line the creek crossing, types of trees to be identified and spotting native animals. Have a competition like who can be the first to spot a kangaroo or wallaby or find a specific plant or bush tucker. But the fun activities won’t fill up their day. The next step is giving your kids, like I do mine, daily tasks. Rather than calling them chores, let them know their tasks are integral to the running of the campsite – this works especially well with the younger crowd. Teenagers might be tougher to motivate. Nonetheless, jobs, like gathering firewood, starting the evening fire and prepping for breakfast, lunch and dinner, are essential day-to-day tasks. As time goes on, they won’t even be thinking about the internet. Be sure to point out why
being in nature is a wonderful thing, whenever you can. Let them know they can be as loud as they like and teach them the joy of exploring. This really helps them appreciate they are no longer in suburbia. Lastly, get them up early on the first couple of days to ensure they are tired at night and can actually sleep without longing for WiFi and the usual prebed browse. Whether it’s paddling down the creek, going fishing, hunting for bush tucker or quad biking through the bush, the key is for activities and games to overrule technology. With a bit of luck, your kids will be running and climbing all over the place, just like you used to do. For more information, please visit all4adventure. com Happy WiFi-free camping. Jase Andrews
Evakool offers a fridge for every application
V A K O O L proudly offers an extensive selection of both portable and upright 12V refrigeration.
Can you fix it? Yes, you can
H ET H E R your adventure is climbing a mountain, fishing in the rain, day hiking in your local national park or camping in your backyard, a lot of gear that comes with the territory.
When used for long durations in hard conditions, even the most durable (and expensive) gear can start to deteriorate. Thankfully, the gear-fixing gurus, Gear Aid have a host of handy products to easily repair and reuse your well-worn gear to not only save you money but reduce your impact on our beloved environment. Gear Aid products will restore all your favourite outdoor gear to ‘as good as new’, increase longevity and ensure your equipment always performs to its maximum. So even when you’ve gone and ripped a hole in your tent… don’t throw it away – fix it! Seam Grip WP Seam Grip WP is an allin-one-tube repair kit that adheres to any fabric or www.bnbfishing.com. au
surface you can imagine. Whether it be seam sealing a leaky tent fly or patching up that hole in your sleeping mat, Seam Grip WP is the perfect choice for repairing your gear both in the field and at home. While on adventures, quick but effective fixes are a must because not all of us have sewing skills! Tenacious Tape Tenacious Tape is a waterproof repair tape that quickly fixes tents, ski pants or your favourite puffy coat. The ultra-aggressive adhesive means this tape won’t peel off when applied to technical fabrics like nylon and vinyl. Just peel and stick the ingenious Tenacious Tape next time you tear. Revivex Over time, durable water repellency on technical gear wears off. Once this happens, the fabric becomes prone to getting dirty and absorbing water. Regularly re-proofing treatments on rainwear,
soft shells, ski pants and GORE-TEX jackets will extend your gear’s life tenfold. Just pre-clean the garment with Gear Aid’s Revivex Pro Cleaner, spray on Revivex Durable Water Repellent and let it air dry. The Revivex Durable Water Repellent resists abrasion and repels water, oil and stains. Gear Aid is designed to rejuvenate your adventure gear’s performance, save you money, and help you consume less in the process. Make your gear last by repairing and reusing with Gear Aid. Tenacious Tape Repair Tape has a RRP of $14.95, Seam Grip WP Waterproof Sealant and Adhesive is valued at $16.95 RRP, Revivex Durable Water Repellent’s RRP is $32.95 and Revivex Pro Cleaner retails for $19.95. For further information about Gear Aid and to find your nearest stockist, visit outdooragencies. com.au
If you are looking for something different, Evakool, as a local manufacturer, can also design and custom build a 12V fridge solution for you. Camping fridge/ freezers The principal models comprise: • Evakool Dual Zone Fridge/Freezer. These units utilise the legendary Evakool fully insulated fibreglass cabinet and are purpose-designed and built in Australia to offer maximum performance with a cooling capacity up to -25C. Available in 10 sizes, these units can
also be customised to suit most applications. • TravelMate TMDZ Dual Zone. This newly released range is available in five sizes (42.596 litres), with three single and two twin-lid models, all powered by Secop compressors offering multi-voltage DC and AC operation. Twin compartments are fitted for either fridge or freezer operation, for which the temperature can be independently set. Unique design enables the lid to be opened from either side or removed, all in one easy action. • TravelMate TMX Single Zone. Available in two styles and six sizes ranging from 38 to 80 litres, all powered by Secop compressors offering multi-voltage
DC and AC operation. Unique design enables the lid to be opened from either side or removed all in one easy action. • Glacier. The very popular Glacier G 75 has a white powdercoated metal cabinet, twin lids and offers two separately controlled refrigerated compartments. Caravan and RV fridge/freezers • Platinum range. The Platinum range comprises four models from a single-door 110-litre model to a twin-door 210-litre model. Platinum fridges offer quiet, reliable and efficient cooling performance throughout Australia. Secop compressors with automatic speed selection ensure maximum efficiency while minimising power draw and offering whisper-quiet operation. A stylish modern cabinet and internal fittings are standard fit. • Elite range. The Elite range is available in three models sized from 81 to 208 litres and ideal for use in caravans, RVs, boats and homes relying on 12V and solargenerated power. These units comprise a fridge at the top with a separate pull-out freezer drawer below, allowing ease of access to the freezer, particularly in confined areas. The two larger models (EL 145 and EL 208) are both powered
by two Secop compressors. One operates the fridge and the other the freezer, ensuring maximum performance in both compartments at all times. • Evakool 40-litre drawer fridge/freezer. The all-new Evakool DC 40 Drawer Fridge is the only unit in this class that operates as either a fridge or a freezer. Measuring only 325mm in height, the DC 40 is purposely designed so unused areas of a caravan or RV (such as under the beds) can be converted into a fridge or freezer. Enjoy the convenience of a fridge accessible from the outside of the caravan or RV, thereby reducing the need to continually enter the van to access the main fridge. The DC 40 is not limited for use in caravans but also ideal for fitment in camper trailers as well as the back of the family fourwheel-drive, avoiding the cost of a fridge slide. Warranty and after sales Importantly, for your total peace of mind all Evakool products are supported by a dedicated service and aftersales team based in Caloundra as well as a nationwide service network. For more information, visit evakool.com, call Evakool on 07 5492 7777 or email sales@ evakool.com
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 59
Mercury sale now on – save up to $1500 on 75-150hp FourStrokes
E RC U RY’S amazing sale event has just gotten bigger and better, with savings of up to $1500 now available on a selected range of outstanding 75-150hp FourStroke outboards.
Following the positive nationwide reaction to this summer’s 40-60hp FourStroke sale, Mercury has now decided to go further by offering higher horsepower and higher savings. That means customers who already own a boat or are shopping for a new one have the opportunity to secure a great deal on a brand-new Mercury 75150hp FourStroke outboard. Even better, this offer is open to both recreational and SeaPro commercial customers. Mercury FourStrokes lead the market with worldclass, cutting-edge engines that deliver reliable starting, fantastic fuel efficiency, smooth operation, electron-
ic fuel injection, tougher components, a total commitment to corrosion protection and the availability of SmartCraft digital monitoring on selected models. Mercury has been perfecting its unique FourStroke technology for decades, always leading the way by making its outboards lighter, stronger and more reliable yet still able to produce the power and performance Mercury is famous for. To further assist boaties in securing this opportunity, Mercury Finance is offering deals at just 4.99 percent, with easy weekly repayments for customers upgrading an existing 40150hp FourStroke engine. Terms and conditions apply. Deals this good can’t last forever, so to take advantage of this offer you have to act before May 31, 2019. To learn more or find your nearest Mercury dealer, visit the Mercury website at mercurymarine.com.au
Boaties warned of hidden dangers at lakes as water levels drop
ITH water levels falling at some of southeast Queensland’s most popular recreation lakes, swimmers and boaties are being warned of the hidden dangers below the surface. After an unseasonably dry wet season, Seqwater has warned that lower water levels
at some of their lakes have increased the danger of submerged and semi-submerged hazards in the water, such as trees, rocks and fence posts. Seqwater principal compliance officer Amber Blake urged lake users on the water to follow signage and operate their vessels in a cautious and sensible manner to avoid any hazards. “Some of our popular lakes such as Lake Somerset and Lake Moogerah have gazetted six-knot speed limits to improve public safety in the heavily timbered areas of the lake,” Ms Blake said.
“However, outside these areas, people should not get complacent and continue to be wary of hidden underwater hazards, especially while lake levels are decreasing. “If you hit a submerged object at speed it can result in injury to those aboard the vessel or skiers, not to mention damage to the vessel itself. “Lakes can be deceptively dangerous. “If you’re unsure, play it safe and slow down.” Seqwater has been working with the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol, Maritime
Safety Queensland and other leading agencies to enforce safe and responsible behaviour on and off the water. Ms Blake said the drop in lake levels has already resulted in the closure of some boat ramps and restrictions placed on certain recreation activities at lakes. “Before heading to one of our lakes, we advise people to plan ahead and visit the Seqwater website to confirm what activities are available at each lake,” Ms Blake said. For more information, visit seqwater.com.au/playitsafe
Okuma SLV fly reels
QUALITY, stylish, lightweight and feature-packed fly reel that offers anglers excellent value for money, the SLV Series of fly reels feature ALC: Alumilite diecast aluminium frame, precision-machined stainless steel spool shaft and brass bushing drive system, one-way roller bearing with the ability to quickly and easily switch from right to left-hand retrieve and a multi-disc
Page 60 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
cork and stainless steel drag system for smooth drag control.
SLV fly reels feature a large arbour design for rapid line retrieval when dealing with fast-running species. Features include: Multi-disk cork and stainless steel drag washers; Roller bearing allows the drag to engage in one direction only; Precision-machined brass bushing drive system; Precision-machined stain-
less steel spool shaft; ALC: Alumilite diecast aluminium frame; Diecast super-large arbour spool design; Non-slip positive grip rubberised handle knobs; and Easy to change left to righthand retrieval conversion. Available in five sizes to cover trout to bluewater applications, with a SRP of $119.90 (4/5 and 5/6), $129.90 (7/8 and 8/9) and $139.90 (10/11). www.okuma.com.au
A beautiful bronze barra.
at Lake MonDuran
This barra was one of about 30 caught by a group during a recent trip to Monduran.
These Brisbane-based anglers had a ball chasing barramundi of all sizes.
Bountiful benefits of eating fish I T is so nice to live in one of the most enjoyable climates in Queensland here in Gin Gin.
We do get heatwaves, we do get frosts, we do have droughts and we do have floods, but generally we have sunny days and temperatures in the 20s. This is a big influence for southern holiday-makers and anglers to make the trip north to thaw out over winter. Do take note that our barramundi in Lake Mon-
Monduran Dam by LES GANE
duran don’t hitch hike to Cape York for winter, rather they are still here waiting to challenge visiting anglers. Techniques and lures are different from summer but some of the bigger fish can become more aggressive towards certain lures and soft plastics. Give me a call and
Check out those barra on the side scan!
A cracking Monduran barra in pristine condition.
see what is biting where or call in for a five to 10-minute run-down on technique and location. In this article I am going to talk about something a little out of the ordinary. Yes it’s about fish but not fishing. It’s the benefits of eating them. First, I must express that if you are going to eat the fish you capture, please take particular note of the way to humanely kill and store your catch. The best way to euthanise your fish and store it is simple, easy and a onestep method. Take your legal size catch and place it into an Esky full of ice. It’s simple and quick and the fish will have a painless death, while your future meal is kept fresh and free from harmful bacteria. Now, that wasn’t hard or painful for you or the fish, so let’s move on to some of the benefits of eating that well-earned catch. Fish is among the healthiest food on the planet and it contains the best source
of omega-3 fatty acids, which is important for our brain and body. Other properties include high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals and iodine. Some fish are more packed with nutrients than others, in particular the fatty types such as salmon, trout, sardines, tuna and mackerel. Catfish, however, are not regarded as fatty fish and are eaten all over the world. Regardless of the type of catfish, they are considered omnivores with a wide-ranging diet including plants, insects, shellfish, reptiles, other fish and even small land animals. Catfish are packed with more than a dozen vitamins and a similar number of minerals as well as omega-3 and 6 and an array of nutrients. Having such a natural multivitamin within their body, eating catfish can greatly assist with the healthy function of the brain, eyes, heart, bones and immune system, with catfish listed as one of the best choices of fish to consume. If you catch a catfish and accidently get stung by the spines, the slime secreted by the catfish has 60 different proteins to
Using the sounder was key to success for this group of anglers.
help the healing of the wound in humans and other animals. Now for the benefits of eating fish: • Healthy brain and eye development for expecting and nursing mothers; • Slower rate of cognitive decline of the brain, like Alzheimer’s disease; • Improves grey matter that regulates emotion and memory; • Makes you happier and less likely to suffer depression; • Reduces autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes; • Lowers the risk of developing asthma in children; • Protects vision, especially against macular degeneration; • Improves sleep, which is paramount to the body’s functions; and • Not a health benefit – but it is delicious and extremely easy to prepare. I could go on but I think you have the idea: eating fish and shellfish can remarkably improve our health and give us better quality of life from prebirth all the way to our last days. On a personal note, I was in hospital for four days in the Philippines a few months ago and every meal while I was in there contained fish, so I can see why my recovery was so rapid thanks to natural nutrients in addition to the medicines. Remember when out fishing for some of these culinary delicacies that you abide by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries regulations. Check the fisheries.qld. gov.au website before you go, as it’s better to be sure than broke. Any further information I can help you with, please call in to Barra Havoc located at 26 Mulgrave St Gin Gin, between the fire station and Tyrepower, or visit our website bar ratackle.com.au Enjoy these cooler months for pleasurable fishing. Go wet a line!
LAKE MONDURAN “BARRA” CHARTERS All fishing geAr supplied
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Barra Havoc TACKL E
HOME OF WORLD RECORD BARRA
Dennis Harold with his world record 44.62kg, 134cm long, 107cm girth barra caught from his kayak at Lake Monduran in 2010.
NEW LOCATION Pop in on your way to Monduran Dam for all your tackle needs – easy parking with boats! 26 Mulgrave St, Gin Gin (next to fire station)
0427 880 826
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 61
Meeting the mighty Murray cod P
ERHAPS the greatest benefits of being a keen fisher are the new waters to fish, new techniques to try and new species to catch!
Supposed public access to a TSR blocked by a new barbed wire fence. Large parts of our country are at risk of being ‘stolen’ by greedy governments.
Debbie held a couple of hand-made gems from the extensive range at the Glenlyon Dam Tourist Park. Her private collection of Aussie-made timber lures numbers in the thousands!
In my threescore and 10 years, I’d never had the pleasure of catching Australia’s most iconic freshwater inhabitant, and while it wasn’t right at the top of my bucket list, the urge to one day make Murray’s acquaintance was always lurking somewhere in my mental list of potential milestones. My good mate Warren Steptoe and I have been fishing together for a very long time. Since his ‘retirement’ to the northern NSW haven of Iluka over four years ago, I’ve managed to visit annually and this year was no exception. Due to my arrival at the Steptoe household traditionally being accompanied by wild weather and significant rain events, I have become somewhat infamous as a ‘drought breaker’ among the Iluka regulars. It was even worse this year! When I ended up having to bail out of Weipa a day early with a cyclone almost on my doorstep to
This spectacular yellowbelly grabbed Brian Dare’s hand-made lure and gave him quite a tussle before coming aboard.
The author met Murray for the first time! The fish may have been small but that didn’t diminish its significance as a major milestone.
Page 62 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
Freshwater Excursion by DAVE DONALD
avoid the looming closure of the airport, the banter ultimately went along the lines that the twister would probably follow me south. A couple of days later, the Bureau of Meteorology was predicting exactly that, but the system ended up stalling somewhere just south of Longreach. Still, Iluka did get a couple of days of good rain following my arrival. Our first priority once I dump my bag has always involved loading the crab pots and catching a feed, a somewhat enjoyable chore we accomplished successfully after giving the pots an overnight soak. There was also time for a couple of popping sessions for whiting that ended up providing a pile of tasty fillets as a bonus. Bream also loved the skating lures, with about 30 coming along in one busy episode. While lots of fun, they were released in favour of their tastier cousins. Once the fishing itch had been scratched, it was time to consider options for the remainder of my stay. The long-range weather predictions looked excellent for a trip to Glenlyon Dam about four hours’ drive west of the coast, with the icing on the cake being the opportunity to achieve that long-awaited milestone. Making that decision was very easy in the end! Warren jumped on the blower and booked a cabin with his long-time friends Brian and Debbie Dare at the Glenlyon Dam Tourist Park. Brian suggested we bring a canoe and explore the local rivers rather than fish the dam, as this would increase our chances of finding our target species. When Warren and I lobbed up at the dam a couple of days later, Brian announced that Debbie had given him a couple of days off to join us in the fun. That sounded like the perfect plan to me! The following couple of days were something I’ll long remember – part pleasure, part pain – but immensely satisfying. I finally ‘shook fins’ with Murray on day two after changing from a hard-bodied lure to a spinnerbait at Warren’s recommendation after a day of using hards had returned just one bump. The fish was only small but it struck the lure hard and fought gamely. While lacking the ‘showy’ characteristics of the barramundi, Murray cod are certainly one of the most beautifully marked of our native fish. Holding one in your hands for the first time, it is easy to appreciate why they are so sought after and understand how legends have been born following captures of larger examples. I must admit to a feel-
ing of awe and reverence as that fish slipped from my fingers back into its watery home. Switching to a spinnerbait certainly improved my strike rate and it wasn’t long before another couple of these remarkable creatures came along. Warren and Brian, both veteran cod fishos, scored regularly, mainly among the piles of timber studded along the riverbanks. Just to add to the action, Brian managed to pull a beautiful yellowbelly off a sunken tangle of branches on one of his favourite hand-made hard-bodied lures. These fish are just another example of the spectacular array of species inhabiting our western dams and rivers. Sharing the river with these blokes was an experience to be savoured. The anecdotes just kept on coming, complemented by intermittent doses of verbal excreta. As I’ve mentioned many times, gobfuls of caustic banter, accompanied by the inevitable raucous laughter, is all part of a great day on the water. Pity the ‘politically correct’ brigade can’t understand how beneficial to the soul such interaction can be. The trip was made even more enjoyable by the high standard of amenities at the Glenlyon Dam Tourist Park. Brian and Debbie are to be congratulated on the beautifully maintained cabins and grounds as well as the squeaky clean toilet and shower blocks. They also offer a mine of information on the fishing front, backing that up by stocking bait and a wide range of hand-made lures in their park shop. It’s very easy to see why Glenlyon has become one of the most popular destinations on Queensland’s dam circuit. I’ve been an occasional visitor to our state’s dams over many years but this was the first time I’d visited real Murray cod country. It certainly opened my eyes to the vast environmental problems facing our western river systems, problems that largely appear to be ignored by those in charge of our country, be they state or federally based. Any politician who claims our countryside is in good shape is blind or deliberately lying – probably both! My column on the Menindee Lakes catastrophe (March issue) highlighted the totally irresponsible manner in which the waterways essential to the health of our country are being managed. We’ve been warned for over three decades that the problems are very dire but all efforts to halt the rot are being sabotaged by politicians and industry focused on greed rather
than our long-term future. Activists continue to be fobbed off by mealymouthed bureaucrats who have been peddling the same misinformation for years while the land and rivers continue to deteriorate at an ever-increasing rate. Meanwhile, the amount of water being extracted, either legally or illegally, from the rivers continues to be far greater than even our better rainfall years can sustain. It’s a recipe for disaster and Menindee Lakes is just the tip of the iceberg! Brian pointed out a couple of more insidious problems that were certainly new to my comprehension of the freshwater scene – Travelling Stock Reserve access and thermal pollution. TSRs have been part of Australia’s countryside since the mid-1800s when large mobs of cattle regularly traversed the outback en route to markets of new pastures. Bitumen roads and road trains have almost replaced droving these days, but another function of TSRs is under threat – their use as access points, in the fisher’s case, to waterways. Already ‘smarties’ in various state land departments have connived to sell up our TSRs so government coffers may be replenished. The fact that access to these areas by the public was originally established in perpetuity to become an integral part of our Aussie heritage is being kept under wraps so that
such a land grab can be continued by stealth. The track to one of our canoe launching sites was barred by a new barbed wire fence sporting a sign that advertised TSR ‘public access’ – how bloody hypocritical is that! Water being released from the bottom of our dams is another very serious problem. The temperature of these releases can be in the single figures, so a so-called ‘environmental’ flow can result in streams immediately below dam walls having their fish and other water life ‘sterilised’ by the frigid releases for tens of kilometres. Interestingly enough, the water bureaucrats have known of this thermal pollution for decades but as yet have failed to take any action. It’s water for farmers, not water for fish! Yes, government obviously sees our rivers as mere canals that carry water to farms and communities, not as a living, integral part of our environment. The lifeblood of our vast country is growing progressively more anaemic, its increasingly poor health threatening our heartland with cardiac arrest. Seeing what’s happening first-hand is very confronting. Will our grandchildren be able to shake hands with Murray for the first time? Not if the politicians continue on their path of greed and environmental destruction!
Retired writer and Murray cod aficionado Warren Steptoe released a beautifully marked Murray back into a border stream.
Brian with a small, healthy Murray cod, a species he loves with a passion.
Pumps like this are regular features of most river systems in our country. In spite of regulations and limits, water extraction is largely out of control in many areas.
Some great catches of bass are coming from Boondooma if you’re patient during the cooling water temps.
The yellowbelly in Boondooma are big, in good condition and ready for winter.
South Burnett sees some much-needed rain
AKE Boondooma and Lake Barambah have seen a very small influx of water from rain over the South Burnett recently.
Though it wasn’t a lot, it was very welcome and Boondooma now sits at 34 percent and Bjelke-Petersen (Barambah) 8 percent. The fishers haven’t been disappointed, with mixed reports coming from both dams. It’s great to see so many people coming to our dams, even with the lower water levels. Over the next few weeks, we should see the fishing improve considerably as the dropping temperatures stabilise. Boondooma Boondooma’s main basin has been fishing reasonably well. You have a few good options when fishing at this time of year, though it pays to be patient. The dam has grown scattered weed edges over summer months and these edges will come into play now the water is cooling. I’d start the day along these weed edges and begin by throwing lipless cranks, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits to the weed edges and begin a slow retrieve back to the boat. This presents your most likely chance of coming across big healthy bass and yellowbelly. Plenty of bass are schooled around the major dam points, particularly in areas where the wind blows past creating current eddies. Sound around areas including the points of the rock walls near the dam wall and the major rocky points at the front of the dam. The water is at its clearest here due to the recent inflows. Once you’ve located a school,
Freshwater Impoundments by MATTHEW LANGFORD
start by casting 5/8oz spinnerbaits, 20g spoons and 1/2ozrigged soft plastics and count from five to seven seconds, depending on how deep the fish are sitting. Consistent fast retrieves have worked best and it pays to put in multiple casts before you get a bite or a fish. Half-ounce-rigged plastics have been a popular choice among anglers because they present a smaller profile and can be burnt fast to initiate a strike from any hungry fish. Another great option, particularly if you have young kids, is to jig 30-40mm blades around the above points. The most consistent depth wider of these points is 6m. Dropping a blade and jigging it vertically off the bottom is a great way to catch fish and an easy technique for kids to put into practice. Trollers are catching nice bass and goldens in the main basin on 5/8oz spinnerbaits and deep-diving hard-bodies fished around the major points and tight along the big steep rock walls. Red claw have been coming in pretty thick of late and some big lobster size ones as well. Set your pots close to any rock structure or thick timber and you’re in with a good chance of a feed. Soft fruit and vegetables have been the best baits, as well as the usual dog biscuits. Bjelke-Petersen BP has been fishing a little tough for lure casters due to the cooling weather and low
Half-ounce-rigged plastics and 40mm blades have been the standout bass baits at BP.
water levels, but fish can be caught if you’re willing to put in the time. Bass and goldens have been thick in some areas and sessions in the double digits aren’t terribly uncommon, so keep working if you’ve found a good show of fish. The best areas have been wide around the Lightning Ridge area and the Quarry, fishing down the drop-offs. The deeper water from Bass Point right down the middle to the public boat ramp is also worth a drift or two. Best baits have been 1/2ozrigged plastics, 1/4oz blades, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Because BP is a shallow dam, most fish generally congregate around drop-offs. The best way to find these drop-offs is to use your sounder or look for points and banks that drop away quickly. Cast your lure into the shallows and slowly wind it down the slope, trying to keep it close to the bottom. I always imagine where my lure is sitting in relation to the bottom to keep in contact with the fish or the ‘strike zone’. I consistently let the lure touch the bottom so I know I’m always close as I wind my lure back to the boat. Using this method usually puts me onto fish. Be wary from Bass Point towards the timber because the water is very shallow through here. Trollers are getting bass and goldens over the drop-offs out from Bass Point and down the middle of the dam between Bass Point and the caravan park boat ramp. You can also try trolling over the prominent points of the dam using spinnerbaits and blades. Bait fishers are getting heaps of table fish just about anywhere in the dam that is over 3m deep and near some form of structure. Best baits have been shrimp and worms. Some red claw are still about as well, so make sure you pack the pots. Fishing charters Don’t forget you can also book a fishing charter with me on BP and Boondooma dams. If you’d like a great day out and all the info and knowledge
to catch bass and yellowbelly in our two great dams, make sure you give me a call on 0408 658 592 and I’ll be happy to take you out. I hope to see you on the water soon. Tight lines and bent rods.
Anglers young and old are still enjoying the fishing at BP. Dion walked the bank to catch this yellowbelly at BP Dam.
y Guided b g f o rd M at t L a n
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The author with his big bass from the third session.
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DAM LEVELS CURRENT AS OF 15/4/2019
NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR Atkinson 5 5 5 5 5 5 Awoonga 88 87 85 84 82 80 Bjelke-Petersen * 17 16 15 10 8 8 Boondooma * 40 39 41 37 35 34 Borumba * 100 98 99 96 94 95 Burdekin Falls * 72 66 83 114 104 105 Callide * 64 62 84 56 54 52 Cania * 87 86 60 79 77 75 Coolmunda * 28 24 28 18 14 12 Dyer/Bill Gunn * 3 3 6 4 9 4 Eungella * 88 85 86 101 100 99 Fairbairn * 19 16 15 13 12 17 Glenlyon * 42 37 43 16 12 12 Hinze 97 96 97 94 94 93 Julius 80 78 75 100 99 99 Kinchant * 59 49 70 85 87 86 Leslie * 9 9 8 8 7 7 Macdonald 101 99 100 98 96 103 Maroon * 93 91 89 82 79 79 Monduran/Fred Haigh * 93 91 90 85 82 81 Moogerah * 76 72 78 71 68 66 North Pine/Samsonvale * 80 77 76 73 73 72 Peter Faust/Proserpine * 61 59 60 81 81 81 Somerset * 77 76 77 75 76 75 Teemburra * 85 79 83 101 101 100 Tinaroo* 71 67 82 102 100 102 Toonumbar 99 96 90 79 75 73 Wivenhoe * 69 67 67 63 60 59 Wuruma * 98 98 97 94 89 88 Wyaralong 94 93 93 90 92 92 For updates on dams, visit sunwater.com.au or seqwater.com.au *This symbol indicates that a Stocked Impoundment Permit is required to fish these dams.
LAKE BORUMBA A MUST-DO EXPEDITION!
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0412 887 651 Page 64 – Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019
Basstasstic at Borumba Dam
HE past month has been a bit hit and miss for big fish at Lake Borumba, however a lot of small fish have been on the chew.
I recently fished a Basstasstic tournament at Borumba, so let me run you through what worked and what didn’t. I headed out to the dam early on the Friday morning of tournament weekend to pre-fish for the comp. Good mate Sean Kerr was fishing with me for the weekend. Sean has been fishing tournaments since he was about 10, so he definitely knows his way around a competition. During the pre-fish, we try not to catch too many fish so as not to put them off, so we targeted edge fish fishing Jackalls, Smak Smakos and Pro’s Factory jigs. We found a certain spot along the rock wall held the bigger fish and we ended up landing a couple around the 45cm mark as well as a few smaller ones. We kept hopping through spots looking for tasty areas. Confident in our game plan, we felt we would make an impact on the leader board. We also had a few sneaky spots in the main
Competition Report by CALLUM MUNRO
basin where a few smaller fish and the odd big fish were holding. With a game plan set, we headed back to Borumba Deer Park, set up camp and had a great catch-up with everybody. First session We headed up the dam and hit our first spot in the Yabba arm. We figured we were going to be doing a lot of running and gunning (moving a lot) but after fishing for the first two hours we’d hardly had a hit and had landed only one small fish. However, we weren’t too stressed because the fish tend to come on later as the sun comes up above the trees around 8am. And that’s exactly what happened. I managed to land four decent bass of about 40cm before the fish shut down. We went on the run and gun after this and only managed one more bass between us. In any case, I was stoked to come into the weigh-in with two 40cm bass. A lot of anglers caught good fish and I was in seventh place after the first session. Second session Going straight back to the bank where we had caught the four decent bass in the morning session, we struggled to get a bite. We fished this and similar areas for the first two hours without a bite. We definitely had to do something different, so a big change was in order. Moving out into the main basin, we planned to hit two sneaky spots. Casting Smak Smakos in the 5/8oz weight, we targeted schooling fish hugging the weed edges. We figured spinnerbaits presented the best way to catch legal fish because the schools had lots of little fish holding in them. Additionally, we found that as soon as we caught a fish the school would shut down and we’d have to move. So we bounced between the two spots, giving them
a 10-minute rest each. As soon as we’d get back to one spot, we managed to catch a fish first cast. Both of us bagged out, with our biggest around the 36cm mark. Not massive but conditions were very tough, so we were pumped to catch our two fish. Going back to the weighin, I managed to move up a couple of spots to now be sitting in fifth place. Third session In the final session we decided to head back to the bank where we had caught four bass in the first session. This paid off big time and I ended up hooking a massive bass around some timber. I caught this fish on a skirted jig rigged with a Berkley Jigging Grub in Pumpkinseed colour. I reckon the only reason I landed it was because of the reel I was using: Abu Garcia’s Revo Rocket. In my last article I mentioned it has a 10.1:1 gear ratio, so after hooking this
bumper fish I was able to pull it straight out of the snags fast with that massive line return. The fish didn’t even have a chance. This bass went 46cm to the fork, so about 50cm overall length. What a great way to start the session and it wasn’t over yet. I ended up casting a TN60 Brown Dog Jackall and hooked another cracking fish of the same size. I couldn’t believe it, two massive Borumba bass in half an hour. With those two fish I moved up the field and managed to take out second place. It was a great way to start off the tournament run for 2019. Lake Borumba is an amazing dam, with big saratoga and bass always around, even though the fishing has been a little tough. If you’re in the area and wanting to fish the lake, jump over to untapped fishing.com.au or call me on 0412 887 651. I’d be happy to take you out so you can learn about this amazing fishery. Until next month, tight lines!
Big Sean Kerr with a cracking 50cm fish.
Session two’s bass for the author.
Inland fishing in the drought
URING recent weeks in the Sunshine State we’ve seen flooding rain in the tropical north and the Eyre catchment along with soaking storms along most of the coastal fringe.
Throughout much of the southern half of the state, the further you venture from the ocean, the less rain has fallen. By a sad coincidence, much of that area (which is still drought declared) covers the upper catchment of the stricken Murray system. Even in my home area, we are experiencing a ‘green drought’, having had just enough rain to see a few shoots of green grass in the paddocks with bare earth in between, but not enough precipitation to run off. This lack of run-off rain means the local creeks are in a very sad state and even the groundwater streams are shrinking. Just over the hill from my little piece of paradise the streams flow westwards into the Condamine
Fishing for Sport by NEIL SCHULTZ
River, then on into the Balonne. The tributaries of the Balonne are still in bad shape, with many normally deep pools now shallow and algae choked. Ever since I got my driver’s licence (an embarrassing number of years ago) I’ve been venturing over the range to cast a lure for Murray cod in the rivers of the western watershed. My sons both continue the habit they formed in my company as little tackers, developing cod fishing into a family tradition. Most recently, eldest son Graham and his wife Kassie visited the gorge country forming the headwaters of one of our most often-visited streams. Like many good fishing spots, accessing this location is not easy, involving some serious off-road driving, guaranteed to lift the heart rate. Normally, the first view
Keeping the fish in the water while unhooking reduces stress and handling damage.
of the river fills us with anticipation, with its deep emerald water and shadowed pools. On this occasion the kids were filled with disappointment and a little sad at the sight of a stream at least a metre lower than their previous visit just a couple of months earlier. Riffles between pools had vanished, leaving dry stones to reflect the heat of the day back into the atmosphere, increasing the hot, dry feel of the valley. Just enough daylight was left for them to throw a lure around to determine if the fish would still be feeding with the dropping water level. Kassie took a strike on her surface lure on the first cast, then backed it up with a solid hook-up on her third, so the answer was a resounding yes. The fish’s lean condition was an accurate indicator of lean times due to the low water level. At first light the team was back at the water’s edge flicking surface lures around the shallows to tempt any fish still out prowling for prey. After finding a few active fish early, as the sun crept higher the fish became less enthusiastic, triggering a change to shallow-running lures. Another family tradition is the targeting of Murray cod using the large Predatek Sandviper, essentially a barramundi/blue water lure. With Sandvipers clipped onto their leaders, the kids (yes, even at 30-something they’re still our kids) wandered along the larger pools while the shadows of the high banks were still on the water. Spying movement in one of the shallow pools, Graham stalked in and fired off a cast to a visible fish. Immediately, the fish turned and grabbed the big lure, kicking up a
Kassie with the first fish of the trip, taken on a surface lure in the cool of the afternoon. Note the hollow belly of the fish.
cloud of silt to obscure it from view. There was no doubt this was a decent-sized beasty and there was little doubt to its identity; that is until it came into view in the shallows. Instead of the expected cod, the critter on the end of Graham’s line turned out to be a carp with attitude! Once the sun was on the water and the stones began to heat up, the team decided to act in the interest of the fish’s welfare and call a halt to proceedings so as not to expose them to warm water or hot stones. A late-afternoon session was embarked upon once the water’s surface temperature dropped from its midday peak. Once again, it was Kassie’s lure that attracted the attention of the resident cod time after time, while Graham got to act as chief photographer. Although all the cod were quite lean, they were still healthy, showing no signs of ulcers of parasites that are often seen in stressed fish. In the words of the farmers I spend time with in the far west: “It will rain again.” When it does, the fish will fatten up on the bloom of forage organisms and the drought will fade into a vague memory, overshadowed by the images of good times and healthy rivers.
Kassie struck again. The fish were skinny but otherwise quite healthy.
Check out the size of the ‘mud marlin’ Graham picked up on his Sandviper! Where Graham is standing would be waist deep in a normal season.
Illegal fishing network on Darling River unravelled
ONTHS of i n t el l ig e n c e gathering and high-level collaboration between NSW, Victoria and South Australia has resulted in the apprehension of a 36-year-old Pomona man for allegedly taking and illegally selling 12 tonnes of golden perch worth about $200,000.
According to NSW DPI Director Fisheries Compliance Patrick Tully Operation Weelsby was led by NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries over a 20-month period, and included the Victorian Fisheries Authority, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia and NSW Police Force. “The interstate undercover operation was established to investigate the unlawful taking of golden perch from NSW and their subsequent sale in Victoria under the guise of having been taken lawfully from South Australian waters,” Mr Tully said. “On March 13, 2019, NSW DPI officers pounced near Pomona on the Darling River, seizing the man’s boat, motor and trailer, seven illegal gill nets, a quantity of fish and a mobile phone. “NSW Fisheries officers
from Western NSW and the Statewide Operations & Investigations Group then teamed up with Victorian Fisheries Authority investigators and NSW Police to execute a search warrant at the man’s Pomona address.” As a result of the search warrant, a further 101 golden perch weighing almost 150kg in a cool room on the property, along with a further eight gill nets, fish boxes, Styrofoam boxes, scales and documentation were seized. Four firearms and a quantity of ammunition were also seized by NSW Police Force. Simultaneously, Victorian Fisheries Authority investigators obtained records from a number of businesses in Victoria
including a fish wholesaler in Melbourne where it will be alleged the fish were destined to be sold. The Pomona man has since been formally interviewed by NSW DPI Fisheries and now faces a range of serious charges carrying maximum fines of up to $110,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment, or both. Commercial fishing for native freshwater finfish, which includes golden perch, was phased out from NSW waters in 2001 due to concerns for the sustainability of native fish populations. Golden perch can be legally grown and sold through the NSW aquaculture industry, which is worth about $11.5 million for native freshwater fish annually.
“Illegal fishing like this is a real kick in the guts for a community already doing it tough because of the drought,” Mr Tully said. “Our fisheries officers do a great job protecting our native fish stocks and legitimate aquaculture industry, so this should send a clear message to anyone considering exploiting this valuable resource for personal gain that it will not be tolerated.” If anyone suspects illegal taking or selling of native freshwater finfish in NSW, they should report it to the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536 or via the online Report Illegal Activity Form at dpi.nsw.gov.au/ fishing
DPI Fisheries Officers with confiscated equipment and retrieved fish. Photo: NSW DPI Fisheries
Bush ’n Beach Fishing, May 2019 – Page 65
Shawn and Adam Carrier with yellowbelly.
The Lane family enjoyed their fishing family holiday.
Low water and fish west of the Great Divide
W Bayden Hill of Goondiwindi with his catch from the last day.
ATER storages supply water for many reasons and uses but when water leaves the dams during drought, what happens to the likes of bass, cod, yellowbelly, silver perch, catfish and our small fish under 10cm?
Glenlyon Dam by BRIAN DARE
This got me speculating, so I thought I’d get the answers from someone in the know. Dr Stuart Rowlands is a
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member of the Australian Institute of Biology and an adjunct associate professor from the graduate research college at Southern Cross University. Stuart worked with Dr John Lake on Murray cod and all the MurrayDarling species of fish and crustaceans about 35 years ago at Narrandera in NSW. At that time John was the scientist in charge at Grafton Aquaculture Centre (he retired last year). Stuart loved his freshwater fish so much that he and Dr Gavin Butler worked on getting the east coast cod back into the Clarence River and tributaries – he knows a bit! He is also writing a book that should be due out at the end of 2019 and I’m sure it will be a great read. So I asked Stuart what happens when river levels drop during droughts and the fish and other aquatic life lose their normal homes. Where do they go to survive? Stuart told me that the fish move on because it is part of their make-up to survive these events. It’s an instinct they gained and passed down over thousands of years living in this country. We will in the near future be playing a big part in getting our fish populations back to where they were through restocking. Our job is to be patient and thoughtful. You must realise the fish in our streams will be easy pickings at the moment. Any river or stream you look at will have large populations of fish in holes of stagnant water waiting for a feed and a chance to leave at the first good flow of water. With that in mind, we will no doubt see a guru or two take advantage of this situation and target these waterways. They’ll be looking for big fish for cracking social media photos and ‘likes’.
Catch and release they say, big deal! Stress occurs in the water as the fight for life takes place. Some storages will have flows leaving them and going downstream as growing season comes to an end. At Glenlyon Dam, we had 12 percent of water remaining on March 29, with 50 megalitres of water a day flowing out into the Dumaresq River. Though it’s for some final growing of crops, it could be classed as environmental flow for the river system. Some might not understand what takes place when water is released into a river from a storage. Rivers like the Dumaresq have a rock bed that is in some cases 20-40m deep. The aquifer has to remain constant to enable flows to take place as the water heads downstream to sand and clay sections. Shut the dam off and yes the river dries up below the rock layer of the riverbed. So if you wanted water to get to Texas or Yelarbon on the way to Goondiwindi it’s going to take some large flows to get it going again. Say 20,000 megalitres to
maybe get 8000 megalitres close to Yelarbon, still 40km from Goondiwindi. This region will need such water very soon. So yes, out west of the Great Divide in our freshwater section of this state it’s very dry. You the angler needs to take into account one thing, which is to fish an area that has water. In most regions this would be a water storage still holding water. I have sent in a report to the BNB crew and they have published it at bnb fishing.com.au to show what happens when a system starts to fail and you see less of a species due to putting a slot size in place. Thank goodness our Queensland biologists saw fit to have our minimum cod size of 60cm remain as it was. Cod between 45cm and 60cm are at their prime reproductive time. You don’t get kids from grandparents, folks! Maybe a couple of states south of us might have to make some changes and think about doing research and getting their hands dirty. Hands-on science is the real deal, not pushing buttons on computers and expecting results.
A report on the population structure of Murray cod. View the full report online at bnbfishing.com.au/ murray-cod-report
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FOR SALE & WANTED BAR CRUSHER 670 HT (2013) heavily optioned and sitting on an Easytow trailer. This rig is a serious workhorse ready for some serious offshore work! Suzuki 175hp four-stroke motor with stainless steel prop and only 80 hours. Trailer stone guard, live bait tank, saltwater deck wash, Fusion stereo, storm cover and so, so much more. Priced at $82,990. Call Wynnum Marine on 07 3396 9777 or visit wynnummarine.com.au BROOKER 4.1 DELUXE open tinnie in very good condition. Great starter boat that can be handled by one person and won’t break the bank. Powered by a Yamaha 30hp two-stroke that’s done very little work. This boat rides on a very good Brooker trailer and has mostly seen freshwater use. Minn Kota electric motor, bimini, spare wheel, low carpeted floor and front cast deck. Ready to go at $6990. Call Trevor at Karee Marine today on 07 3875 1600. CLARK 430 FISHMASTER SC side console in as new condition! – Warranted Honda 30Hp four stroke with only 28 hrs, Oceanic trailer, Garmin colour sounder, Brand New Bimini, 2 pedestal seats, Safety gear, Lge plumbed LB tank, 4 rod holders… a crazy $14,995 tow away – John Crawford Marine Queensland’s Used Boat Specialists since 1964 www.johncrawfordma rine.com.au Ph. 3890 2322. HAINES HUNTER V17R – Haines Hunter collectors, this is the boat you have been looking for! In excellent and still-original condition. Transom is rock solid, as is the floor. Two owners since new, with a new Mercury 175hp two-stroke fitted back in 1990 and only 89 hours on the clock. You will not find an old motor in such showroom condition. Trailer has had new crossmembers at some stage and brakes are in very good condition. Won’t last at $13,990 drive away. Call Trevor at Karee Marine today on 07 3875 1600. LATE MODEL USED ALUMINIUM BOATS WANTED from Quintrex, Stacer, Ally Craft, Stessco, Bar Crusher, Bluefin, Brooker and Clark – Make selling your boat simple and hassle free - Cash or Consign – John Crawford Marine Queensland’s Used Boat Specialists since 1964 www.johncrawfordmarine. com.au Ph. 3890 2322. MAKO CRAFT 440 ESTUARY TRACKER (2007). Wooden floor removed and replaced with alloy and carpet so it will never rot. Also features Lowrance Hook-5 colour sounder/GPS with map card, marine radio, nav lights and bilge pump, cup holders, stereo, padded seats, Mercury 40hp two-stroke XR lightning oil-injected and a good trailer. Massive price drop to $8990 drive away! Call Trevor at Karee Marine today on 07 3875 1600.
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QUINTREX 435 HORNET TROPHY TILLER STEER (2003). Very low hours on the Honda BF50 electric start four-stroke. Fully fitted up with electronics, bimini and spare wheel. Note, there is no electronics warranty; all tested as working. We are selling this package fully 12 month serviced with Queensland registration transferred. Fishing weapon for $11,990 drive away. Call Brisbane Quintrex on 07 3133 3468 or visit brisbanequin trex.com.au QUINTREX 470 FREEDOM SPORT BOW RIDER (2007) with a Yamaha F60 EFI four-stroke (632 hours). Ready for fun in the sun with the family on the water. Telwater alloy trailer with brakes (2018 built), bimini, transom boarding ladder, bait board, live bait tank, nav lights, bilge pump, bow cushions and rear lounge. Priced to go at $22,990 and ready to hit the water. Call Brisbane Yamaha on 07 3888 1727 or visit brisbaney amaha.com.au QUINTREX F390 EXPLORER – V Nose Punt, tiller steer Evinrude ETEC 30Hp DFI low hrs, Oceanic trailer, Lowrance colour sounder, Bimini top, 2 cushion top bench seats, Bow casting platform, 2 rod holders. Perfect for estuary fishing - only $9,995 tow away – John Crawford Marine Queensland’s Used Boat Specialists since 1964 www.johncrawfordmarine.com.au Ph. 3890 2322. STACER 449 BAYMASTER RUNABOUT – Evinrude 60Hp ETEC DFI low hrs, Stacer braked trailer, Lowrance Sounder, Lowrance VHF radio, Bimini top, 2 pedestal seats, Rear lounge, Painted hull, Bait board & loads more… $19,495 tow away – John Crawford Marine Queensland’s Used Boat Specialists since 1964 www.johncrawfordmarine. com.au Ph. 3890 2322.
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The game has changed… The ALL NEW Mercury 15-20hp FourStroke battery-free EFI range changes the way you will think about portable outboards. Lighter, more powerful, more efficient, more durable, more intuitive… unlike any other portable fourstroke.
See your authorised Mercury Marine Dealer today. BUNDABERG Adrians Marine Centre 28 Ritchie St, Bundaberg Q 4670 P: 07 4153 1819 E: email@example.com W: adriansmarinecentre.com.au
INNISFAIL Coastal Marine & Outdoors 178 Edith St, Innisfail Q 4870 P: 07 4061 8272 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: coastalmarine.net.au
17 William Murray Dr, Cannonvale Q 4802 P: 07 4946 7286 E: email@example.com W: whitsundayoutboardcentre.com.au
BRISBANE EAST Manly Harbour Marine 570 Royal Esplanade, Manly Q 4179 P: 07 3893 2199 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: manlyharbourmarine.com.au
CAIRNS Aussie Marine 5 Hannam St, Bungalow Q 4870 P: 07 4033 8800 E: email@example.com W: aussiemarine.com.au
IPSWICH Ipswich Marine Centre 45 Huxham St, Raceview Q 4305 P: 07 3294 3944 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: ipswichmarine.com.au
BRISBANE Coorparoo Marine 57 Cavendish Rd, Coorparoo Q 4151 P: 07 3397 4141 E: email@example.com W: coorparoomarine.com.au
BRISBANE NORTH Brisbane Marine 306 Dufﬁ ﬁeld Rd, Clontarf Q 4019 P: 07 3889 3033 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: brismarine.com.au
CAPALABA Mike’s Marine 9 Smith Street, Capalaba, Q 4157 P: 07 3390 3418 E: email@example.com W: mikesmarine.com.au
TOOWOOMBA Water Skiers Warehouse 91-93 Neil St, Toowoomba Q 4350 P: 0400 379 514 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: waterskierswarehouse.com.au
BRISBANE Karee Marine 1776 Ipswich Motorway, Rocklea Q 4106 P: 07 3875 1600 E: email@example.com W: kareemarine.com.au
BRISBANE NORTH Cunningham Marine Centre 23-25 Snook St, Redcliffe Q 4019 P: 07 3284 8805 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: cunninghammarinecentre.com.au
GOLD COAST Onshore Marine Horizon Shores Marina, Woongoolba Q 4207 P: 07 5546 2480 E: email@example.com W: onshoremarine.com.au
SENSATIONAL DRIVE-AWAY DEALS Stessco Platinum TS 440
Stessco Fisherman 449
Stessco Renegade 440
NEW! FULL PLATE CONSTRUCTION!
Mercury 60hp 4-stroke
• 4mm bottom • 4mm checker plate floor • Alloy cast deck and hatch • QLD regos
Mercury 115hp 4-stroke
Mercury 60hp 4-stroke
• Front cast deck • Live bait tank • Dunbier trailer • QLD regos • Best value boat!
• Live bait tank • Live well • front and rear cast decks • Dunbier braked trailer • QLD regos
Stessco Gulf Runner 550
Mercury 50hp 4-stroke
Stessco Gulf Runner 490
Mercury 135hp 4-stroke
Mercury 90hp 4-stroke
• Bimini and clears • Deck wash • Padded sides • Hydraulic steering • Redco trailer • Safety gear
• Bait board • Live bait tank • Redco dual-axle trailer • Front cast deck • QLD regos plus more
• Front cast deck • Kill tank • Live bait tank • Full pod transom • Painted • Stessco trailer • QLD regos
Tournament 2000 hard top
Tournament 1900 Bluewater
Tournament 1900 centre console
FREE! colour sounder
Mercury 200hp 4-stroke
• Lock-up cabin • Electric winch • Dual batteries • Deck wash • 235-litre fuel tank • Offshore safety gear
• Stainless targa • Bimini and clears • Dual batteries • Electric winch • Offshore safety gear
Mercury 150hp Pro XS 4-stroke
• 185-litre fuel tank • Plumbed live bait tank • Padded side coamings • Huge front cast deck • Deck wash
115HP CRUISE SPEED 115HP FUEL CRUISE EFFICIENCY SPEED FUEL EFFICIENCY MERCURY’S NEW 115HP VS. CURRENT FOURSTROKE AND OPTIMAX VS. CURRENT FOURSTROKE AND OPTIM FOURSTROKE g/kWh
MERCURY MERCURY 75-115HP 75-115HP FOURSTROKE FOURSTROKE RANGE RANGE
Mercury 150hp 4-stroke
FREE! colour sounder
DELIVERS UP TO 14% BETTER CRUISE SPEED ECONOMY
PREVIOUS MERCURY FOURSTROKE 1.7L
BSFC dyno testing; data is an average of 60%-80% rated PREVIOUS NEW MERCURY NEW MERCURY engine speed based MERCURY MERCURY OPTIMAX OPTIMAX on standardMERCU ICOMIA emissions test. FOURSTROKE 1.7L 2.1L 11 115hp 2.1L 115hp 115hp Photos for illustration purposes only.
Can’t make the yard? Shop online! For quality new and used boats! www.kareemarine.com.au
1776 Ipswich Motorway, Rocklea | Call 07 3875 1600
Volume 30, Number 5