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Boating & Kayaking Kayaking Cania Dam • Get on top of props • A double christening in the kayak

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Features Fraser Island fishing tips • Maroochy’s elbow-slappers • New Queensland fishing regulations •

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HVF Nanoplus blank construction Next Gen. X45 for extreme casting distance 3DX for added durability and lifting power Fuji DPS reel seat with locking nut Fuji MNSG and KWSG SiC Guides Tapered Foregrip - more comfortable and high grip Technique specific actions 6 Jigging and 9 Casting models in the range

Crafted with an extreme attention to detail to achieve the perfect lifelike swimming action, the Storm Arashi™ Glide Bait allows anglers to take advantage of one of the hottest, most effective techniques for targeting trophy flathead, mulloway, barra and murray cod. Incredibly responsive, the Storm Arashi Glide Bait offers an exaggerated swimming action that flows from side to side with every turn of the handle and every twitch of the tip. Incredibly stable and engineered with a super slow sink rate (.4ft/sec), the Storm Arashi™ Glide Bait can

be fished effectively at all speeds, allowing anglers to speed up or slow down match the attitude and activity of fish. Made to target the largest and hungriest predators, the Storm Arashi™ Glide Bait is built with a durable triple-pin construction and swiveling hook hangers that prevent fish from gaining leverage during a fight. Included with a snap and an extra tail that will keep your bait in running order, even after vicious strikes, the Storm Arashi Glide Bait offers a high-quality alternative to overpriced, hard-to-find glide baits.

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Ballina 22



REGULAR FEATURES Back to Basics 14 Car Review 72 Cooking 78 Dam Levels 66 Freshwater 66 Fun Page 94 Sheik of the Creek 70 Tech Tricks 16 Tournament News 79 Track my fish 90 Trades and Services 92 What’s New Boating 101 SPECIAL FEATURES Fishing on Fraser Island Maroochy’s elbow-slappers New Queensland fishing regulations Barra facts: fish feelings Christmas gift ideas

10 24 45 57 74


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Sammy Hitzke nailed this solid yellowfin tuna casting a stickbait. That’s a lot of sashimi right there!

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A Sammy Hitzke image.


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We’ll all be away for those two weeks, so if you’re after a gift subscription for Christmas or a Carl Jocumsen jersey, get your orders in by 12 December. Kym and Marie in the front of house will be happy to get you hooked up with what you want. If you’ve left it too late, you can still buy gift subscriptions on iSubscribe right through the holidays. Just look at the most popular magazines on the Boating and Fishing section – you’ll find us at the top! From all of us at the Fishing Monthly offices, thank you for your business throughout the year and for keeping a small, independent local publisher that prints in Australia going. We still love doing it – even if it’s a heavier workload than before.


TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND Whitsundays 58 Ayr 59 Townsville 60 Cairns 61 Port Douglas 61 Hinchinbrook 62 Cairns NFZ 62 Lucinda 63 Cooktown 63

as a brick and just about as clever as one, my kids (10 and 11) love nothing more than a stick, line, #14 hook and bread sight-casting to toadfish. I reckon that it comes down to the visual aspect. I’m a dead set sight-fishing addict. It doesn’t matter if it’s a carp or a tuna, if I can see it eat, I throw at it. The kids are the same. If they can walk along and see the prey and then try to catch it, it triggers something primal in all of us. They’re definitely not a big or prestigious fish, but I see them learning lessons about how to stalk and present to a fish and be patient enough to catch it. So that’s what we may well do lots of in the two week break where we shut the office down over Christmas. Watching cricket and chasing the ultimate river toadfish bite.



Mackay 56

things include events, video content, websites and web stores. And by default we need to volunteer to help the industry in other ways. Currently I serve on the Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) and Australian Recreational Fishing Federation (ARFF) boards. All voluntary. Sometimes it leaves little time for fishing and little time for family. With a hefty away-from-home calendar each year, it’s sometimes great to get the time to spend simple times with the kids on a riverbank. And with mulloway, threadfin salmon, bream, bull sharks and catfish in my local, do you know what the kids want to catch most? Toadfish… Those little brown toadies – the ones that swim around the shore looking to mop up whatever has dropped in. As hydronamic


CENTRAL QUEENSLAND Hervey Bay 46 Rainbow Beach 47 Gladstone 48 Lake Monduran 48 Bundaberg 50 Rockhampton 50 Stanage Bay 52 Yeppoon 52

Every year, it seems as though we become more busy. Fishing Monthly is no exception. We all seem to be working harder for the same rewards. There’s thirteen employees at the Fishing Monthly head office who work hard to put out 48 monthly magazines each year – the Qld, NSW, Vic/Tas and WA Fishing Monthlies are the biggest state-based monthly magazines in their respective regions. But modern magazine publishing has its challenges. It’s not like it was 20 years ago when there was a stream of companies wanting to spend their marketing budgets with you. The modern publisher has had to become multi-skilled. Nowadays, we don’t just make magazines, we make magazines and other things. The other


Noosa 43

From the Editor’s Desk...


SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND The Tweed 28 Southern Gold Coast 30 Jumpinpin 32 Gold Coast Canals 33 Gold Coast 34 Southern Bay 36 Brisbane 38 Brisbane Offshore 40 Northern Bay 42










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Fishing Fraser Island BRISBANE

Justin Willmer Find me on Facebook at Yaks On

Whether you call it ‘Fraser Island’, ‘K’gari’ or simply ‘paradise’, this natural wonder draws tourists and anglers from around the

Heritage listed Fraser Island is located approximately 250km north of Brisbane. It’s accessible by vehicle barge from River Heads (east of Maryborough) to Kingfisher Bay and Wanggoolba Creek, or alternatively via Inskip Point, 15 minutes drive

Paddle-tail soft plastics produced the bite when other styles of lures went untouched. world, visiting both the island itself and the fishing Mecca that is Hervey Bay and the Great Sandy Straits. Hervey Bay is just one of the popular mainland fishing destinations inside Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world – over 120km long.

mix of camping, rental houses and units, and quality resorts. Ecotourism is a massive drawcard, with natural wonders that include Lake McKenzie with its clear blue water and white sands, along with many other lakes; the 72 different coloured sands that make up The Cathedrals, The Pinnacles, Rainbow Gorge and Red Canyon; and the crystalclear waters of Eli Creek. The many other visitor highlights include the Champagne Pools, Indian Head, Waddy Point, Wathumba Creek, miles of beaches and walking tracks. Fraser Island is the only place in the world where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes… it really is a spectacular location. My family and I have been visiting Fraser Island for over 30 years, and I am a little ashamed to say that I have seen very few of these visitor hotspots up close. I enjoy the spectacular natural

Looking south toward Indian Head from the Champagne Pools. sure the serenity, beauty and remoteness of many sections of the island are an important component of my overall experience, because although I can catch fish in many other

from Rainbow Beach at the southern end. Driving on the island consists of beach and sand tracks that are recommended for experienced 4x4 drivers only. There are also many tours that operate on the island, including 4WD buses and light aircraft. Accommodation is a

multiple trevally species, queenfish, mackerel, tuna, kingfish and more. As is often the case, if there are schools of bait around they will attract other species, such as tailor, that in turn attract top level predatory species. Let’s have a look at a few of the main target species that are available, and discuss how you can target them on your adventures. WHITING An excellent table fish and a species that pulls hard on light gear, whiting can be caught virtually anywhere around the island. These fish favour smaller gutters

beach worms’ videos on You Tube so that you’re ready for action. When it comes to catching beach worms, you should select the bottom half of a dropping tide, and look for an area where the water washes up over a large area and then falls back into the gutter. This will give you time to spot the tell-tale ‘V’ in the receding water, created by the worm’s head as it looks for food. Get your ‘stink bag’ of fish frames washing in the water to attract them, and try to keep your footsteps light as you move around on the sand. Worms are more wary and harder to catch when you’re

Jude getting stuck into a few whiting.

All loaded up after a great week on the beach.

beauty of the island, however it’s the fishing that is the primary focus of my visit. I’m


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places, Fraser Island keeps drawing me back. The fishing on offer includes sheltered beach fishing on the western side of the island, along with a few creeks, more exposed surf fishing on the eastern beaches, and rock fishing from a selection of headlands and coffee rock outcrops. For the keen and more experienced boat operators, you can cartop tinnies or tow larger boats up the island, launching through the surf to target reef and pelagic species. We launched tinnies from Sandy Cape on the northern tip for many years, but these days we prefer to focus on the safety and simplicity of beach fishing. For many visitors, the main attraction is the annual run of tailor. These fish school in large numbers during the winter months. For other anglers it’s the whiting and swallowtail dart fishing that keep them coming back. For me it’s the multitude of other species that can be encountered, including

Catching beachworms. where they can escape larger predators, and are often caught from deeper holes at the ends of these gutters. Freshly caught beach worms are the go-to bait, so check out the ‘how to catch

stomping around, or when there are large numbers of people. I often tie a fish frame around my ankle and move away from the crowds. Windy conditions make worms harder to catch, too.

Working a patch of tailor (on the righthand side of the photo).

Pipi is the best bait for catching worms as it is nice and firm, making it difficult for the worms to pull pieces off, encouraging them to grip

sand. If you miss the timing, the worm will lock all of its little leg like fibres down its body into the sand, and you won’t be able to pull it out.

A handful of trevally spun up on a Fish Inc. Lures Flanker sinking stickbait. on firmly. As they grab the pipi, slide your fingers in to replace the sand being washed away by the wave. You will feel your fingers replace the sand around the worm, most importantly below the sensitive white section of the head. Once you are holding the worm gently, as the sand would, you will feel it push up through your fingers ready to pull the bait back down into the sand. As the worm ‘arches up’, you should push up, simply squeeze them tighter and keep the momentum going to pull them out of the

Other popular baits for whiting include pipis gathered on the beaches, along with squid and saltwater yabbies brought from the mainland. In terms of rigging for whiting, we fish 7’-10’ rods, depending on the size of the surf being fished, loaded with 8-10lb monofilament line, with a running 2-4 ball sinker, small black rolling swivel, 30-50cm of 8-10lb mono trace, an inch of red plastic tube and a #4 Mustad Bloodworm longshank hook. Once cast, we slowly retrieve the bait so that we can stay in contact with it and wait for the bites of a whiting – hopefully that slow, sucking weight that is often the calling card of a larger whiting – and then set the hook. Handy accessories when

Spinning a point with light gear.

Nkgala Rocks can be an interesting proposition at times, with many visitors opting to stick to Waddy Point South. you are beach fishing include a wading bag for carrying your fish, a ruler, small tackle tray of basic terminal tackle, and a belt with a bait bucket for carrying your beach worms or other bait. If you are using beach worms, keep a couple in your bait bucket and the remainder in a bucket of water, changing the water a couple of times a day and keeping it in the shade. Finally, always remember to check your local rules and regulations on both bait and fish species landed. SWALLOWTAIL DART You should keep an eye out when you’re fishing the surf gutters as dart can often be spotted surfing in the waves. Dart are another hard-

pulling fish on light gear and they are a reasonable quality eating fish if they’re bled immediately on capture and iced down. Like tailor, they smoke well too, so it may be worth including a fish smoker with your gear. Better quality dart are generally found in the larger surf gutters, so we fish with light to medium rods around 9-12’, 12-15lb monofilament line, a running size 4-6 ball sinker, small black rolling swivel and a 40-50cm trace of 15-20lb mono, finished off with a slightly larger Mustad Bloodworm longshank hook than we use for the whiting, or alternatively a Mustad Long Baitholder hook, because the small bait holder barbs

on the shank of the hook are ideal for securing softer baits such as pipis. Pipis are my go-to bait for dart, and these can be gathered on the lower stages of the tide, along the water’s edge. Vehicle traffic along the beach can reveal their location, as each pipi creates a small lump protruding from the sand. Dig down below the lump, often a few inches, and you will find the pipi. Another way to find pipis is to head to the water and bury your feet into the sand, moving your hips and doing ‘the pipi shuffle’ twist, to locate pipis in the sand. When it comes to opening pipis, I always warn people away from using knives To page 12

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because Fraser Island is remote and we don’t want any slips that could cause serious injury. Simply hold a pipi in each hand and bang them together to open them, or use the tow ball on your vehicle to open the last one. Thread the hook through the pipi multiple times to create a neat ball. Try to avoid strands hanging from the bait, as fish will tend to bite and drag on these, making a mess of the bait and missing the hook. Other effective baits for dart include beach worms, squid and small pieces of fish flesh, such as mullet, gar, bonito or pilchard. Dart will also take lures, with small 10-15g metal slugs doing the job when they are fired up. Replacing your bait with a 2.5” curl-tail plastic can also be effective; keep the sinker, swivel and trace and

spin rods and 2500-4000 size spinning reels spooled with 10-15lb braid and 40lb leader for casting 20, 30 and 40g slugs, stepping up to 10-13’6” surf rods and 6000-8000 size reels loaded with 20lb braid

Spinning lures in the magic afternoon light. then attach a 1/8oz jighead in place of the hook to keel the plastic on the retrieve and stop it spinning. My go-to plastic for this technique is a ZMan 2.5” GrubZ in chartreuse sparkle colour.


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TAILOR The main target for many anglers, tailor can turn up anywhere along the beach, however a large surf gutter with an entry and exit point is a solid starting option to begin your search. Tailor numbers increase throughout the cooler half of the year, peaking around August-September. Areas such as the wreck of the Maheno, Cathedral Beach, Indian Head, Waddy Point and Ngkala Rocks are popular starting points, and they are all marked on the map that comes with your camping and vehicle landing permits. When we are specifically chasing tailor, we step up to 12’-13’6” medium/heavy rods

and 20-30lb monofilament line, rigged with a running 6-10 ball sinker, black rolling swivel, 50-70cm of 40-60lb leader and a gang of four hooks to suit the size of the pilchards that we are fishing, generally 3/0, 4/0 or 5/0 hooks. These gang hooks ensure that there is hook coverage the full length of the pilchard, which is important because tailor are aggressive and messy feeders that will often destroy a pilchard and miss the hooks. Gang hooks also reduce the chance of a bite-off from the tailor’s razor-

Sheri was stoked with this tailor, which she caught on a soft plastic during a beach cart session. and 40-80lb leader for casting 60-85g slugs in heavy surf. Most of the time we can get away with the smaller rods, which is a much more fun

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beaches and harassing the tailor schools, who in turn are being harassed by other predators such as queenfish, mackerel and trevally, and there’s no doubt that at times it can be tougher to get the

sharp teeth. Gangs can be purchased pre-made, or you can purchase bulk hooks and make your own. When fishing for tailor you will sometimes see the school of fish in the waves, appearing as a grey or black patch. Quality polarised sunglasses are your best fishing tool on the beach, cutting glare to assist you when locating cruising and schooling fish, bait and changes in bottom structure, while also protecting your eyes from objects and the elements. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve cast a pilchard on a gang rig for a tailor though, with lures proving an economical, stink-free, simple and effective option. My go-to lures for tailor consist of metal slugs, stickbaits and soft plastics. Metal slugs come in a variety of shapes, sizes and weights, and the most effective for our crew are ones with silver finishes with a black, blue or green back. We use 7’ 3-6kg and 5-12kg

way to fish, and an awesome challenge when a trevally or queenfish eats your 20g slug. More recently the Fish Inc. Flanker 85mm and 115mm sinking stickbaits have also

school to bite. So switch from a slug to a plastic and fish on! I have stood side-by-side with anglers throwing slugs as we follow a patch of tailor along the beach, and I’ve landed 10 fish to their one… if they can get the tailor to eat the slug at all. My go-to plastic at the moment is a ZMan 3” MinnowZ in a natural baitfish colour, rigged on a TT Lures HeadlockZ HD jighead in 1/2oz 3/0, or 3/4oz 5/0 when more distance is required. There are a few techniques that will see you catch more fish. 1. Try to work out in which direction the school is moving, and make your casts in front of the school, as this often produces more aggressive strikes and larger fish. Casting to the middle can break up the school or spook them, while casting to the tail of the school can spook them and speed them up, making them harder

Not a bad view from camp. proven themselves on the tailor, trevally, queenfish, tuna and more, when cast long and retrieved at speed. Plastics have dominated for us though in recent years. As Fraser Island gets busier, there are more people driving the

to chase down the beach effectively. 2. If they stop biting, mix up your retrieves. We have followed a school along the beach, switching from a slow roll (slow wind) to a burnand-kill (wind and pause),

then a hopping or shaking retrieve, and repeated the process. This approach has kept them biting until we’ve caught as many as we’ve wanted to catch, or the school has been chased by the slug casters or a larger predator.

OTHER SPECIES The techniques used for tailor will often work on other species, however I find that I catch the other species mostly where the tailor are not schooling, or around the tailor when they are eating

A dingo visited the camp but didn’t cause any issues. 3. The retrieve that worked most effectively for me on our recent trip was to cast to the school and then retrieve as if I didn’t want the fish to eat it. An aggressive rip, wind and pause, rip, wind and pause. It makes sense because the baitfish (plastic) doesn’t want to be eaten, and the best way I could describe it to my fellow fishos is to rip it away from the tailor like you don’t want them to eat it. This retrieve produced 20+ fish for multiple sessions, and we left them biting.

them! While fishing the beaches and rocks at Fraser Island I have landed longtail tuna, mackerel, queenfish, yellowtail tuna and giant trevally over a metre long, along with a mixed bag of other species. You may not find yourself hooked up to fish like this every trip, however if you’re rigged and ready and the opportunity arises, you are in with a chance. I am always on the lookout for big fish cruising in the waves or harassing schools of tailor,

whiting and other species that we are fishing for. I am also always on the lookout for bait or fish being busted up, and birds working. Quite a few of the larger fish I have caught have been spotted and cast to, or I have cast to the mayhem that they have been producing. The other option is to put the time in and blind cast in areas that should hold big fish. I have walked the best beach gutters that I could find for hours, taking 10 steps and throwing a cast, 10 steps throwing a cast, and then finally a big queenfish would eat the slug at my feet and within seconds would be doing acrobatic leaps at the back of the gutter, before a sustained battle in the swell and sweep. When you land

Sandy Cape sunsets are spectacular. and photograph a fish like that, it makes all the time and effort worthwhile. When blind casting, target the entry and exit points to gutters (where larger

The wreck of the Maheno is a popular tourist attraction.

predators can easily duck in for a feed and head back out again), points and areas that create current breaks and eddies, rocky headlands and rocky outcrops, bait schools, and areas where birds are concentrated. I like to walk the beach following a school of bait, and it often doesn’t take long for a predator to find the bait and, in turn, your lure. The angling options don’t end there, with bream and tarwhine often targeted around the rocky outcrops, and a multitude of other species that you may come across including mullet, gar, stargazers and many more. For the boat anglers there’s red emperor, snapper, sweetlip, red throat emperor, tuskfish, jobfish and a multitude of reef and pelagic species.

That’s just a taste of the fishing that is available on the island, with slide baiting (slider rigs) also becoming a popular technique for chasing larger species from the sand. You can find out more about this technique online (go to wp.fishingmonthly. and search for ‘slide baiting’), or from your local tackle store. Fraser Island is one of those truly amazing locations where the environment is breathtakingly beautiful, there is a plethora of wildlife on show, including dingos, birdlife, turtles, dolphins, whales and more, there is a tourist attraction at almost every turn, excellent 4WDing and some incredible fishing on offer. As more people discover this gem it is getting busier, and I would urge everyone visiting Fraser to respect your fellow visitors, educate yourself about the island and respect the environment, following the rules and guidelines in the booklets and brochures provided. If we look after this incredible resource, all of us will be able to enjoy continued access to the island for generations to come. For more information on planning an adventure to Fraser Island, a great starting point is www. parks.des. See you on the beach!




Mix it up for more strikes NSW STH COAST

Steve Starling

Sometimes, even subtle variations in the way you work or present a lure or fly can radically improve your catch rate. Little things can and do make a huge difference to your fishing results. Things like dropping your leader diameter by a few fractions of a millimetre, changing you hook size, or varying your boat speed while trolling. On occasions, these seemingly small shifts can spell the difference between success and failure; between a donut day and a blinder. I’ll never forget my very first experiences with impoundment golden perch or yellowbelly, at Copeton Dam in northern NSW during the early 1980s. I was fishing there with Rob Smith, chasing yellas on the edge of a full dam by casting-andcranking hardbodied deep divers. We were doing reasonably well, but Rob was kicking my butt… until I accidentally discovered a subtle retrieve trick that turned it around for me.

before turning and suddenly climbing out of the depths. A lot of our strikes were coming at that moment, when the lure turned back on itself and began to rise. However, on one retrieve

retrieve, just prior to the lure’s turn-around point, and that’s exactly how, when and where I hooked most of my fish for the rest of that trip. Interestingly, it has

go-to method for working these sinking vibration lures consisted of short hops off the bottom, interspersed with brief pauses. I hate to think how many goldens have been brought undone

Soft vibes like the Jackall Mask are deadly. Nowadays, lots of anglers prefer to retro-fit them with small assist hooks when chasing yellowbelly.

Jo Starling took this trophy yellowbelly on an Ecogear ZX40 fished with the more conventional ‘slow hop’ presentation. However, that once-deadly retrieve is ‘so yesterday’ now! — just a few cranks before my lure reached that critical flip-around point — a fly managed to crawl in behind the lens of my sunglasses. I stopped cranking and

also been yellowbelly that have prompted my latest ponderings on the impact of subtle variations in lure retrieves. I’ve been fishing Lake Windamere in Central Western NSW for this species since 1989, and the invitational tournament I kicked off there in 1992 is still going strong as it approaches its 30th year. It’s amazing to look back and observe the changes in tackle, tactics, techniques and lures across those three decades. Today, you’re not seriously in the game at Windamere unless your either grubbing the trees with a plastic or chucking a metal blade like an Ecogear ZX or a soft vibe such as a Jackall Mask, a Transam or a Zerek Fish Trap; ideally a black one fitted with small, sticky-sharp assist hooks. For several years, the



raised my hand to deal with the sticky little intruder… and the rod was almost ripped from my grasp by a fired-up golden! From that moment, I began incorporating a deliberate pause into every

than ‘hopping’. I’m sure the end result is very reminiscent of a foraging yabby. Bream anglers familiar with working crab imitations like the Cranka Crab will immediately relate, I’m sure. The take-away message is that today’s ‘hot’ techniques, lures and retrieves won’t necessarily be the best ones next season, next month or even next week. If your results begin to slip, it really pays to mix it up and try some new

The author with a solid Lake Windamere golden perch. Lure fishing techniques for this species (and many others) are constantly evolving. It pays to experiment.

Ecogear’s ZX blades are a cracker of a lure that will catch a whole range of species using retrieves ranging from the ‘shake-and-bake’ or ‘shuffle’ to the gentle hop, the slow roll and an even fast burn… Mix it up! Those lures dove deeper and deeper as we pulled them away from the bank until they reached an area directly under the boat. Here they would actually swim past a point where the line was perpendicular

by that exact retrieve, at Windamere and right across the geographic range of this hardy inland native. However, most fish eventually seem to ‘wise up’ to specific lures and popular presentations, especially land-locked populations in confined waterways like dams. Just as surely, switched-on anglers are constantly looking for new twists to boost their strike rates. For the past few seasons, at Windamere

Baitcaster, spin or fly, it really pays to vary your retrieve and constantly try new things until you discover what’s working on the day.

and elsewhere, savvy anglers like Jamie Hardman, Murray and Glen Stewart, Jakko Davis and several others have been adapting and mixing up their presentations of these go-to lures, often producing results on days when everyone else is struggling while doing the same old things as they did in the past. Space precludes me from detailing all of the subtle twists these innovators have come up with, but suffice to say that many of them involve various forms of shake and shuffle that see these sinking lures staying in almost constant contact with the lake bed, rather

twists. Sticking to the same old patterns that worked for you in the past — especially in the face of diminishing returns — really isn’t all that smart. Remember, it was the scientific genius Albert Einstein who famously said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Maybe Albert was also a yellowbelly fisherman! If you’d like to learn more, Google ‘how to shake soft vibes for golden perch’, or go to Rhys Creed’s excellent podcast series at www.socialfishing. and listen to his wonderful interview featuring Murray ‘The Fish Whisperer’ Stewart.






Tech Tricks

How to make your own rod and reel tube BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald

Most anglers take great pride in their fishing tackle and want to look after it to ensure its longevity.

Regardless of the price of the tackle, getting it to and from your fishing destination safely is a necessity. The last thing you need after driving a distance to your destination is to take your rod out of the car and find that you have a dislodged guide

insert or, even worse, a broken blank. There are plenty of rod tubes available that will protect your rod, however most require that you take the reel off. Therefore, being able to transport a rod ready rigged will maximise your fishing time.

Many anglers enjoy various forms of land-based fishing using lures and baits targeted at an array of species. Sometimes anglers may try several locations during an outing, especially when casting egi for squid, popping for whiting, fishing

the shallows for flathead or probing lighted areas of the Brisbane River for threadfin. Unrigging your rod to store it securely in a tube between each location can be rather tiresome. Being able to store your rod ready rigged with a lure or terminal tackle still

attached will protect your rod and also eliminate the chance of a hook penetrating the car’s upholstery or another passenger. After trying several options, I have come up with a rod and reel storage tube that works a treat and is simple and cheap to make.



The tools required to complete this project are fairly basic: a drill and an assortment of drill bits from 4-13mm, a hacksaw, coarse sandpaper, file, marker pen, a screwdriver and a spanner to suit the M4 screws and nuts. If you don’t have a drill and drill bits, a sturdy pair of snips will do a sufficient, yet cruder, job. The tools are so simple that this project could even be attempted by younger anglers, with adult supervision.

Materials required are a length of PVC pipe (50mm in this case), two end caps and a relevant sized PVC connector. These can all be purchased at a hardware or plumbing supply shop. The PVC pipe can usually be purchased in a 1m length (only suitable for 2 piece rods of 1.95m or less in length) or a 3m length, which will allow you to make at least two tubes for rods to 2.4m. You will also need a bungee strap, button and two screws, which can be purchased at a chandlery outlet. I used M4 (5/32”) 316 stainless bolts with M4 Nyloc nuts, which were just long enough to get the nuts on after attaching the bungee loop and button to the pipe.



The size of PVC pipe will be dictated by the size of the lowest (stripper) guide on your rod. Obviously the tube must be wider than the guide so the rod can be slid in. For this rod I used 50mm PVC pipe, you may need to use the 65, 80 or 100mm. A 3m length of the 50mm PVC cost around $18 but I was able to make two tubes with this. End caps, connectors and other bits needed to completely make two tubes brought the cost to around $40 total, $20 per tube.


Place the connector beside the rod so that the lower edge of it is level with the reel foot (stem). Mark the position on your PVC pipe that coincides with the middle of this connector. This will be the second cut. 16


This rod is 7ft (2.12m) total length, or around 1.1m long when separated. I made my tube around 1.2m long so I could use it for other rods that may have different length butts to this one. Rod wraps can be used to hold the two sections of your rod securely together. Lay your rod beside the pipe and mark the overall length you want the tube to be. This will be the first cut.


Cut the pipe all the way through with your hacksaw at these two marks. Use sandpaper to smooth off and slightly taper the lip of the PVC where you cut the pipe.

Tech Tricks


Put the connector onto the shorter section of PVC (which will encase the rod butt) and mark on the pipe where the end of the connector will be. About 10mm below this line, drill a hole with your smallest drill bit. Widen the hole more using the next sized drill bit.


Take the connector off and use your largest drill bit (13mm in this case) to enlarge the hole further. This hole needs to be a fraction wider than the reel foot – you may need to use a file to widen it if you don’t have a large enough drill bit.

10 9

Use a hacksaw or cutters to cut a slot from the edge of the PVC pipe down to each side of the drill hole. Check to ensure it is large enough to accommodate the reel foot as shown. Use the file and sandpaper to smooth the edges of the slot.


Secure the bungy and button in place using your M4 screws and Nyloc nuts. Ensure the screws do not protrude from the nuts or they may scratch your rod as you are putting it in and out. If they are too long, then either use shorter ones or remove, cut to length and re-insert. Your rod can be inserted into the tube (even with a lure on) before the rear section is slid on with the reel stem positioned in the slot. As you slide the two ends of the tube over your rod, ensure there is a little slack in the line because it needs to come back against the reel stem.

Put the end caps on both pieces of pipe and the connector onto the longer section. Tap these firmly down into position. Use some PVC pipe glue to secure them if you wish. Position the bungy strap and button as shown so that the bungy will stretch slightly to secure over the button. Drill the two holes where these will be affixed with your 4mm bit. I prefer to put the clasp on the side of the tube at 90º to the reel foot slot so the small nuts inside will not rub the rod blank.


Once the two sections are slotted together and the bungy clipped over the button, you can add a quality reel bag to further protect your reel. This particular one will go around the rod tube and fasten. The neoprene flap also covers the bungy and button. You can paint the tube if you wish or attach a few stickers. Once at your destination, you only need to take the rod out of the tube, connect the two sections together and you are ready to fish. This tube is not only convenient but, more importantly, it will protect your ready-rigged rod from mishaps while in transit. DECEMBER 2019






Going after the big bites While I love all styles of fishing, I have to admit these days I’m a trophy hunter and really enjoy honing in on the larger models of a particular species.

to fish this way then it’s important that when that fish of a lifetime does come along you’re ready for it. Everything needs to be covered from your bait presentation to your tackle.

apply, I’m just going to concentrate on a few of the more popular species LARGE PELAGICS Probably the best way to catch XOS pelagics like kings, cobia and Spanish mackerel is to troll live baits bigger then your typical slimy mackerel or yellowtail. Slow trolling a live bonito up to 1.5kg is a gun way to get connected to the real jumbo class models of these three species. If you’re serious about it I would run these on at least 24kg tackle with a 100lb Black Magic fluorocarbon leader. The fluorocarbon Black Magic makes is the best out there, providing unparalleled abrasion resistance, making it perfect for this style of fishing.

Big reds, like this 11kg specimen, love large butterflied baits. It’s then a matter of bridle rigging the live bonito onto a Black Magic GZ 9/0 live bait hook and slow trolling around the shallow reefs holding baitfish. When doing this to target

big Spanish mackerel, make sure you run a 60cm length of at least 80lb single strand wire from the hook to a swivel on your 100lb leader. A stinger hook should also be used by attaching

Butterflied baits work great on big snapper and mulloway, and the Black Magic C Point hooks are the perfect match for them. Doing this usually comes at the cost of less fishing action and takes a pigheaded attitude too not get disheartened by sometimes many fishless trips. If you are going

This typically means running bigger baits on heavier outfits and upsizing everything from the typical gear associated with that particular species. While there are many trophy fish fish out there where the above principals

This is a perfect bait for a monster kingfish, cobia or Spanish mackerel.

A trophy Spanish mackerel that ate a whole live bonito on the troll. 18


another short length of single strand wire from the eye of the GZ hook to another smaller hook or treble that will go in near the rear of the bonito. SNAPPER When bait fishing for trophy reds I like to run at least 30lb braid to a 40lb fluorocarbon leader and again use much bigger baits then normally associated with snapper. The Black Magic fluorocarbon is going to be your best defence against a rampaging red dragging you over the ledge as its abrasion resistance is second to none Butterflied baits like large yellowtail or slimy mackerel are my favourite to use. To do this, simply fillet the fish from the tail up on both sides and remove the backbone, leaving the head with two fillets still attached. I simply run a single 8/0

Black Magic C Point hook on this, which is fed through the nose an out the gill plate of the fish. For smaller yellowtail, slimy mackerel or squid around the 20cm hood size, I prefer to rig them whole on a snelled rig. Again, it’s very hard to go past Black Magic C Point hooks for snapper fishing and two 7/0 hooks snelled together through a whole bait won’t often miss the mark MULLOWAY While live baits are without a doubt your best chance to find that dream mulloway, the above described baits for big snapper are also adequate big mulloway dead baits. If you are using live baits, big is best and things like tailor, luderick or mullet to 1kg are awesome big fish baits. When fishing out of a boat straight up and down, I prefer to use a single circle Black Magic KLT 8/0 circle hook and pin the bait gently behind the head. If I’m fishing from the beach or rock walls I like to snell rig my live baits with two large 10/0 C Point hooks, one protruding from just behind the head and the other just before the tail. Big mulloway are not as dirty fighters as snapper and kings, and for most situations 30lb braid with a 40lb Black Magic leader is fine, even on the biggest models. The exception to this is when fishing around structure like rock walls and bridges. Here mulloway can become a totally differently animal, so upping braid size to around 50lb and leader size to 60lb Black Magic fluorocarbon is a better option.


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Joy to the pearled, good tides have come YAMBA

Dave Gaden

Summer is finally here, bringing with it the expectation of warm currents pushing down from the north. For the offshore fishers in this part of the world, this is the time of anticipation that the pelagic fish will be on their way to our lures and live baits. Mahimahi are usually the first of the surface fish to arrive, and they should be in full swing this month. Our FAD, located 12nm southeast of the mouth of the Clarence River, has fired well every year since we moved it from the old waverider wreck. If you have never fished one of these FADs before, there are a few basic things you can do to improve your chances of a good feed of mahimahi. Start by trolling past the FAD with a couple

December will produce good mixed bags like this trio of snapper, mulloway and cobia.

Big Shane Sails scored a thumping pearl perch.

Young Kurtis Smith from Toowoomba with a tasty snapper.

of small skirted lures well back from the boat at around 8-9 knots. Have a pile of roughly-chopped pillies on the bait board, and when your boat passes the FAD throw a handful of them at it. You are in with a really good chance of picking up a fish with the first couple of times you troll past the FAD, and by throwing the pillies out you will get others in a mood to feed as well. Next, rig a couple of light spin outfits with a metre or so of 30lb leader and a single 6/0 hook with half a pilly. If you have some small livies, put one of them on as well. Avoid putting two livies out at a time; I find we get a lot more fish by having one livey and one bait out. It’s important to note that some of the bigger fish will be well away from the FAD and quite often very deep, out of sight. Throw berley at the FAD every time you approach it. Every December we get the first show of mackerel,

Amy was happy with this solid snapper.

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although these fish tend to be very patchy at this time of year. The high ground in the middle of Shark Bay just north of Woody Head will be the spot to look for them. They will frustrate you by being in huge numbers one day and none the next, but you shouldn’t die wondering – just head out at daybreak and have a look. Trolling 6” pink squid lures reasonably quickly a long way behind the boat is all you need to see if they have arrived. I typically get a lot of stud cobia this month on the north grounds near South Evans Reef. Fishing for these fish this month is a bit edgy as I don’t like to use anything but a 50lb fluorocarbon leader around 2m long under a bobby cork with a live slimy or yakka. However, being December you have to remember that so mackerel and sharks are a real possibility. Sharp teeth and FC leader are not good bedfellows, so a bite-off is always on the cards. However, the cobia you do catch will be well worth the effort. As with last month, there will still be a few good mulloway and trag on the north grounds. This will work to your advantage as you can literally anchor up over the bait shoals

most of the other species, and surface lures (poppers or small stickbaits) on a windy afternoon will get you a feed. Those anglers chasing flathead might find the back channel behind Goodwood Island or upstream to the Broadwater

the most productive. If you are heading this way for the Christmas holidays, call into my shop at Yamba Marina and we will do all we can to put you on the fish. Please drive safely and have a Merry Christmas!

This month you can expect to catch cobia on the north grounds. with the predominant northeasterly, catch livies for cobia on the surface and swim the rest down for mulloway and trag. If you are fishing south this month, go just a little further. The reef from Angourie to Shelly will still have a few fish, but the grounds from Red Cliff to Sandon will produce a much more consistent catch of snapper, pearl perch and tuskfish. In the shallower water, just out the front of Brooms Heads on the

cranky, sharp reef will be good for Moses perch and Maori cod. You will lose some sinkers but the fish will be worth it. ESTUARY FISHING In the estuary, it will be time to chase blue swimmer crabs. These tasty morsels will be everywhere! Just remember that in NSW the crab regulations are a little different from QLD. Here you measure the crab front to back, you can use witches’ hats, and you are permitted to keep

female crabs. Like the rest of the country, we have had no significant rain and the river is very clear, with saltwater all the way up to the falls west of Grafton. The estuary fish are spread pretty thin. Clear, blue water is really pretty to look at and makes a magnificent photo, but unfortunately it doesn’t make for consistent fishing. On the plus side, whiting won’t mind the clean water as much as

Tommy Ge had a great time trolling for spotties offshore from Fraser Island.



Topwater taking off BALLINA

Joe Allan

Bass are on the chew and are spread out all over the system. With the balmy evenings ahead, the surface bite will really heat up towards Christmas time and should last all the way through January. If you haven’t tried this style of fishing for our aggressive freshwater natives, get some poppers and have a

crack. You might be surprised how much fun and how addictive it can be. Look for any overhanging trees that have cicadas making an awful racket. Unlike fishing with spinnerbaits or crankbaits, you don’t need to be accurate with your casting. This is because when the cicadas fall, they’re generally out from the bank, not right up the back in the shadows. Most poppers and walkthe-dog style lures also work well, such as the Atomic Hardz

Nicole Bower with a nice bream caught off the top on a Bassday Sugapen 70mm.

K9 Bulldog in rock crab colour as well as the Bassday Backfire 65 popper. The whiting have shown interest in surface lures in recent weeks, and that’s not surprising as the water temperatures are up and perfect for these guys to get active, especially in some of the shallow areas such as North Creek and Mobbs Bay. Each day has been different, with the level of aggression towards the lures changing constantly. This can be due to a range of variables, such as water temperature, sunlight, water clarity, and (probably the biggest variable) wind strength and direction. Bassday Sugapens have been producing the goods, and these can be retrofitted with assist hooks for better hook-up rates (we use Atomic Trick Bitz assist hooks or Gamakatsu Treble Wide Gap hooks). Atomic Hardz in pearl chartreuse and prawn tiger have also been catching their share. Offshore species have been in that transition period from winter to summer, and only recently have we seen the latter really come through. A few snapper, big mulloway and trag have been haunting the close ground such as Lennox and Riordans reefs and happily taking soft plastics, micro-jigs

Jamie Stratford caught a beautiful snapper out from Evans Heads on an Atomic Jerk Minnow. and live baits. As the warm current starts rolling down the hill we will see some mahimahi hanging around the FAD, and may even get a few early season mackerel showing up around Christmas. From all reports, fishos are

Angels beaches, the numbers of fish produced has been fairly low. Some of the better action has come from Boulders and Seven Mile beaches, with quality dart and bream taking pipis and beach worms during the run-in tide. At this time of year we

Christian Booker offshore from Ballina with a snapper caught on a 7” Atomic Plazo Jerk Minnow.

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having a cracking mackerel run to the north, so it should be another good mackerel season here. And with reports of mahimahi from Tweed Heads to Byron Bay, they can’t be too far away from hitting our reefs around Ballina and Evans Head. The odd pearl perch is still hanging around the 42 and 48-fathom lines. Live baits have accounted for several of the larger models, but some of the heavier micro-jigs and brightly-coloured plastics have also tempted plenty of the smaller fish. Good numbers of small kingfish have been hammering live baits and knife jigs on the wider grounds. Most of the fish have been between 60-90cm, but the odd larger fish has also shown up. A few snapper and small amberjack have also been mixed in among the kingfish, so it has been a bit of a lottery at times to see what you are going to pull up next. While the odd gutter is visible on South Ballina and

usually see a few straggling tailor make their way up the coast. Late in the afternoon it will be worth throwing a pilchard, mullet fillet or bonito strip out in a likely looking gutter. You may not see large numbers of these razor-toothed eating machines but the ones that do come into the gutters at night are generally quality fish, so be ready and have wire traces handy because these larger fish can do serious damage to your rigs. Some of the better-quality whiting have been coming from the beaches rather than the Richmond River of

late. As with the dart, pipis and beachworms have been the gun baits for these tasty little critters. However, if you can’t get your hands on either of those baits, you could try strips of squid or peeled prawns. Just remember that when fishing the beach for whiting they do not need a lot of water, so don’t be obsessed with finding the deepest gutter you can because quite often they are right at your feet in some of the skinniest water imaginable, particularly at night. We have still seen quality flathead from Pimlico Island to the mouth of the Richmond. Most of the larger fish have taken live herring, and the smaller fish have fallen to dark-coloured soft plastics, prawns and white pilchards. One fish species that has been surprisingly numerous this season is mangrove jack. Some good reports have been coming in of quality fish caught on both hardbody lures and live baits. The Atomic Shiner 75, Lucky Craft Pointer in 100mm or 78mm size and ZMan 4” SwimmerZ have all been good options. Most of the rock walls from Wardell Bridge to the mouth of the river have produced at least a couple of fish in the past month, especially on the run-out tide in the afternoons. I’m not sure if more of these awesome fighting fish are around this year or more people are targeting them, but either way it’s great to see them in our river system. The best part about most of the jack reports I am getting is that the majority of fish are being released to fight another day.

Adrian Melchior with an Aussie brawler from close to Lismore in the Wilson Rover arm of the river.

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Catching mega whiting in the Maroochy SUNSHINE COAST

Mal McKinlay

The Maroochy River is centrally located on the Sunshine Coast, one of Australia’s premier holiday destinations. It meanders from its northern headwaters in the Blackall ranges south through hinterlands, agriculture and urban subdivisions where it swings in a west to east direction meeting the ocean at Maroochydore. Most East Australian estuary fish species are well established in these waters. I have been fishing the Maroochy for 12 years and during this period I have seen a huge improvement in the ecology systems of the river. This does not mean there has been a great increase in the numbers of fish living there, rather there has been a vast recovery in the bait resources of the river. I put this down to the demise of the sugar cane farms (pesticide and fertilizer run-off) that used to line the banks of the Maroochy but have now been replaced by urban developments. The

That’s what you call a real elbow-slapper! The author with an impressive 40cm whiting. yabby banks have increased three-fold in this period and the soldier crab population is abundant and flourishing. These are a popular and favourite food of all estuary species and most offshore

The 6 knot sign on the western side of Goat Island is an ideal place to gather yabbies and soldier crabs.

juvenile species as well. I divide my fishing time on the river into two seasons – summer and winter – with a crossover period for both. Last winter (2019) was one of the best seasons I have experienced for yellowfin bream in both size and quantity. The most exciting time to fish the Maroochy is in summer when the sand whiting, also called yellowfin or summer whiting, return to the river after their winter sojourn in the ocean. You will always catch the odd whiting even in the middle of winter, but the ‘elbow-slappers’ can be targeted from the September full moon right through to March/April full moon the following year. Okay, so what is classed as an elbow-slapping whiting? I regularly catch fish between 35-40cm in the Maroochy River. When you hold a fish of this magnitude in the palm of your hand, its tail will most certainly be slapping close to your elbow.

Of course, smaller fish down to legal size (23cm) are always in the mix but with the right tackle, bait and the correct approach, your chances of catching bigger fish are increased dramatically. PREPARATION When planning an outing I always check the weather, tide and moon forecasts. I recommend the Willy Weather reading at Maroochy River-Picnic Point, as their predictions have proven most accurate. I plan my trip so I gather yabbies or soldier crabs from the sand banks on the falling tides, fish to the bottom of the tide, then fish the first two hours of the run-in. Alternatively, I will gather my bait the day before and keep it alive overnight to fish the run-in tide right up to the top. TACKLE For most of my whiting fishing, I have used long, one-piece whippy 12ft fibreglass rod with an Alvey side cast reel and 6lb mono. There is nothing better than watching that rod tip dip

reel, and from 6lb mono/ nylon to a 6lb braid with 4-6lb fluorocarbon leaders. My strike rate remains the same, if not better, because

Soldier crabs ready on the hook with 3cm of red tubing that acts as a fish attractant. of the direct feel to the fish that braid line can give. Once you switch to braid, you’ll be hooked for life! However, I did talk one

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as a whiting takes the bait. However, since moving to the Sunshine Coast I have switched my tackle to short boat rods, as they are simpler to store on board and make the task of landing a large whiting much easier. There are lots of 7-8ft rods on the market that are fantastic for handling big whiting – check in with your local tackle store for recommendations. I also switched from a side cast to a thread line

the new 8 strand-weave braids that are strong with a round, smooth profile. They are quite soft compared to some of the original 4 strand

of the old guys, who has been fishing the river longer than I have, into trying braid. I think he lasted one trip before he went back to nylon! I have seen him land some monster whiting using his old, one-piece fibreglass rods and trusty Alvey reels. So, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? There are many good brands of braid on the market today that will meet your requirements. I prefer

braids. To my 6lb braid main line, I splice in about 3m of 6lb fluorocarbon leader, then slide a No.3 running sinker on to the leader and attach it to a rolling swivel. Connecting about 1m of 4lb fluorocarbon trace to the swivel, I place 2-3cm of red tubing on it to act as a fish attractant, then finish off with a Mustad Size 4 Ex-Long Shank Bloodworm hook (see Fig.1). In faster flowing water, I increase the sinker size to suit so I can maintain the bait in the whiting’s feeding zone. BAIT To catch big whiting you must use live bait, and the number one bait for sand whiting in just about every estuary and river in Australia is bloodworms. Beachworms will work in the rivers close to the mouth but cannot be compared to the impact bloodworms have on whiting. Unfortunately, bloodworms are very hard to come by on the Sunshine Coast. Some tackle shops do sell them here, but they will cost you an arm and a leg. Nevertheless, Mother Nature has given us a bountiful supply of alternative bait on the Maroochy – yabbies and soldier crabs. Yabbies (or nippers, as they are called south of the border) can be pumped at just about any sand or mud bank that is exposed at low tide on the river. The best way to find them is to go over the banks when the tide is in and search for the holes where they live. In the lower reaches you will find them around Chambers Island and along the Picnic Point esplanade foreshore. Channel and Goat islands are joined in

WHITING the middle of the river by mangrove tidal flats and the sand flats of these islands are home to the healthiest yabby banks in Queensland. The downside of using yabbies is that they tend to attract lots of little pickers and pest fish. Therefore, my favourite bait for elbowslappers on the Maroochy is the humble little soldier crab. Soldier crabs are prolific in the river on just about any

incoming or out-going tide is best? When I first started fishing the Maroochy I only ever fished the incoming tide for whiting. I soon realised that there are just as many opportunities, if not more, on the outgoing. When the tide is making, the whiting come out of the deeper channels and work their way across the sand flats as the water starts to cover them, searching for

Dark ripples on the water are the washouts or undulations where big whiting hold up on the run-out tide. mud or sand bank. From half tide to the bottom they pop out of the ground and team over the banks, churning up the sand’s surface as they feed on the millions of microbes and bacteria that live here. On a nice sunny day they stay out until the bottom of the tide then disappear as if someone waved a magic wand. Elbow-slapper whiting are absolute suckers for small soldier crabs. Why would you pay $20 for a handful of worms when you have an unlimited supply of the next best thing running around at your feet for free? WHEN TO FISH I always try to plan my fishing trips around the full moon or the new moon. At these times, the tides are biggest at high water and smallest at low water. This means that a greater volume of water is moving in and out of the river during the tidal period. Over the years, I have found that the faster the water is running, the more active whiting are on the bite. I have fished the neap tides that occur in between the full and new moon and the pace of the water is very lazy, and so are the whiting. My simple fishing rule is ‘slow water, slow bite…fast water, hold on tight!’ I get asked a lot whether

yabbies and soldier crabs. Working exactly in reverse on the outgoing tide, they come off the banks, and fall back into the deeper gutters and channels waiting to ambush a tasty morsel being swept along in the current. The Maroochy River becomes extremely clear when it doesn’t rain for a month or so. All species in the river, including big whiting, become very shy in crystal clear water. One of the reasons I like the run-out tide is that from half tide down, the receding current stirs the sand up giving these big cautious fish a little bit

is the amount of traffic on the river from holidaymakers. This is when night fishing comes into its own, as the river is quiet. I know several fishos who only fish for whiting at night and regularly catch fish to 40cm. A great time to plan a whiting trip to the Maroochy is immediately after a severe rain event when 300ml or more has fallen in a short period. The fresh run-off from connecting creeks and storm water outlets flushes all the big whiting down to the lower reaches where they congregate in great numbers looking for clean saltwater and food. You can always pick which fish are from upstream because they are a very dark colour. Some of my most successful trips have been when the river is a deep chocolate brown colour and the water is fresh enough to use on the garden. WHERE TO FISH I divide the Maroochy river into two parts, upstream from the motorway bridge and downstream from the bridge to the bar mouth at Cotton Tree. There are good whiting banks upstream in the Bli Bli reaches of the river and big whiting are caught here. I have never fished for them anywhere except in the downstream section where there are unlimited places to fish. Look for whiting in the same places you look for their bait. As you travel downstream from the motorway bridge, the river is at its widest. If you look over to the left-hand side you will see the mangroves of the north shore. There are plenty of sand banks and undulations along this side of the river suitable for whiting. On the right-hand side is Chambers Island, which is surrounded by channels and sand banks. On the same side of the river you have the esplanade foreshore of Picnic Point, a kilometre stretch that lends itself well to land-based fishos. Proceeding further down, is the joined islands of Channel and Goat islands.

A double-header for the author, with two 38cm whiting. of cover. Another problem on the river during peak whiting season in December-January

These islands act as a large natural buffer from the ocean waves that come through the To page 26



WHITING From page 25

mouth of the river at Cotton Tree. This whole region of river is the home to many different species of fish, and is where I catch all my elbow slapper whiting. TECHNIQUE I fish with two rods at once resting on a padded cross bar across the back of my boat. When I am searching for a patch of fish I will start off with three rods, but it doesn’t take long for a decent size whiting to tie the three lines together on the retrieve. So after 20 minutes of sorting out a tangled mess of braid and fluoro leaders, I go back to two rods. I load my hook up with small soldier crabs, preferably no bigger than your little fingernail. When I’m fishing the outgoing tide I look for washouts or undulations caused by the force of the water as it washes over the sand. Big whiting are very shy and cautious (probably the reason why they’re big) and they seek these deeper sections below the current, waiting in ambush. I anchor upstream from the washouts far enough not to spook them, then cast my bait so it will settle right into the target zone. Fishing with soldier crabs is different to using other baits. With worms,

This is typical country for hunting whiting. whiting will grab the bait and quaff it down in one gulp. Similarly, they will attack a yabby and swim off with the bait. Whiting tend to nuzzle your presented bait and pick the crabs off the hook

one-by-one, crunching them up like a child eating lollies. Their bite is very sensitive, so you must observe your rod tip all the time. This is one of the reasons I have never tried fishing for whiting with

soldier crabs at night. When you see that tip twitching ever so slightly you know there is a fish at the other end. If you leave it, 9 times out of 10 you will retrieve an empty hook. You must anticipate when the hook is in its mouth and set it by lifting or retrieving the line in a fast action. Sometimes you will set the hook, sometimes you won’t. I reckon my strike rate is about 65%. There are times when they will just slam the bait and swallow the whole lot. You never know, but once you connect you are instantly locked into a great fight for their size. On the incoming tide, I work my way along the channels waiting for the water to start covering the banks. As soon as the water is deep enough for them to swim in, whiting will forage right up in the shallows looking for food. Once again, I anchor well away from the strike zone so as not to disturb them and cast my bait of soldier crabs into the shallows. Another bit of advice given to me for big whiting was: on the run-in tide, fish shallower water…on the run-out tide fish deeper. SUMMARY We are fortunate to have a such a beautiful, pristine river like the Maroochy on

our back doorstep. Fishing for big summer whiting in this river has become more than a fishing pastime for me, it is my addiction. I hope some of the information I have given you will be helpful you on your next trip

to this spectacular part of Queensland. • The author is a regular online weekly contributor on the new Fishing Monthly website. To see Mal’s reports head to and click on Reports link.

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Get a piece of summer action THE TWEED

Anthony Coughran

The silly season is upon us, meaning we can expect pelagics offshore, as well as mangrove jack, whiting and bass. As the temperature soars, so do the appetites of summer species.

that hold yabbies having good packs of them. Bass have been getting more active, especially in the back creeks and upper river systems. With the insects starting to wake up and visit our shores, bass are taking full advantage. OFFSHORE It’s been a good start to

started to show themselves on close reefs out to the 200m line. Live baits set on downriggers have been fishing the best, with the occasional capture on stickbaits around the bommies. The odd mackerel has been showing up near the trenches and ledges of the close Tweed reefs. Trolling hardbodied lures, troll baits, pilly rigs, skipping gar and bibless minnows has been effective. Wahoo have occasionally been caught out on the 24s and 36s on hardbodies and skirts. There have been mixed reefies on most reefs out to the 50-fathoms. Drift baits, plastics, micro jigs and octo jigs have all produced a feed of pannies. There is still a lot of bait available at Kirra, Snapper Rocks, Tweed bait grounds, the yellow marker and 10-Minute Reef. Jacks have been feeding

up hard. Live baits and strip baits have been fishing best at night, producing some great fish. During the day, hardbodies, surface lures, plastics, vibes and swimbaits have been productive around the pontoons, bridges, rock walls, drains, pylons and pillars. A 4” plastic with a chin lock slow rolled past these structures has proved too much for even the more timid fish. The best way to get live bait in NSW is to set mullet traps. If you combine a few different methods, you should get enough to fish the whole night! For gar and mullet, use floats with bread and dough over weed. Jig around the bridges for herring and fish worms over the skinny water for whiting. Please remember size and bag limits apply for bait too. Whiting have pushed up into the skinny water and have thickened up in numbers.

Joel Graham caught this jack slow rolling a plastic past a drain. been caught on the Bassday Sugapen and MMD Splash Prawn. A very addictive way to fish for whiting is to put

Dylan Power with a solid mahimahi from the FADs. Pelagics such as black and blue marlin will come on the bite, as will mahimahi, mackerel and wahoo on the offshore reefs. The high water temperatures have seen jacks really fire up and they are smashing just about anything to get their fat reserves up. Whiting are starting to fill the skinny water, with most sand banks

the summer pelagic season with good numbers of decent size billfish, mahimahi and yellowfin out wide. Try the 50m, 100m and 200m lines out to the shelf. Look for birds bombing, current lines and floating debris. Black/purple and lumo/ pink 5-9” skirts have been working well. Some big kingies have


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Fishing yabbies, beach and bloodworms while drifting over the skinny water has been effective. Some better models around 40cm have

long casts into the skinny water with a quick skipping retrieve across the top, which will get the fish fighting over each other to get to your lure.

Some big flathead have been sitting up in the skinny water feeding up on any whiting that ventures into their ambush position, so fishing whiting profile lures and plastics around the skinny water will be the go to score some big females this month. Please remember all flathead over 60cm should be returned to the water to keep the population as high as possible so future generations can enjoy these fish too. There have been a few big-eye, small GT, brassies and small AJs around the mouth. Working small micro jigs, metals, hardbodies, vibes and plastics will see you connected to one of these speedy brutes. Muddies have been on the move. Pots in the back creeks, drains, around the weed beds, mangrove lines and around bridges and rock walls will see you with a big can opener. BEACHES Mulloway have moved out of the beach gutters now and dart, tailor, whiting, bream, trevally and flathead have moved in. The gutters between Kingy and Caba,


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from Hastings Point to Wooyung and Brunswick River rock wall and mouth fishing really well. Ganged up pillies, half pillies,

Squish pillies into the sand at wave wash height so each wave slowly releases it into the gutter you’re fishing. This will bring the worms

spinnerbaits, hardbodies, plastics, swimbaits, vibes and blades have all been more productive once the sun is up.

creeks, as private properties surround them and farmers don’t take you accessing their land lightly. Plus, if you’re polite, they might let you in on some nice honey holes on their land. NEXT MONTH Summer pelagics will thicken up and move in closer. Mackerel and kingies will thicken up on close reefs. Spotties should start to rock up too. There will still be the odd mixed reefies on close reefs, but

these will thin out as the macks and kingies move in. Jacks will start to dominate the river and creeks as they feed up for their spawning season. Whiting will show up more in the skinny water as flathead start to drop off in numbers. Look to the bigger tides around the full moon for crabs. They will run harder as the rains approach and on the bigger tides. The southern beaches

will fish well with the northerlies. Find those deeper draining gutters for best results. Bass will get super hungry as they push their way down to the salt to spawn. Look to the brackish water, weirs, dam walls, overflows and drains. Everyone likes to get out on the water at this time of year, so please be courteous, be patient, and look out for one another when out or around the water and ramps these holidays.

Lachlan Hohnberg caught a 53cm jack on live bait at night. whitebait, beachworms, pipis and small strip baits have been fishing very well. Plastics and small metals have been productive around the headlands and rock walls. Using berley bags and cubing pillies will hold fish in the gutter in front of you.

up to feed as well, which also acts as a fish attractant. SWEETWATER It’s been so good to see all the cicadas and insects out and about this year, and they have really fired up bass lately. Surface lures have been effective at dusk and dawn, whereas jig spins,

The secluded back creeks and upper rivers have been fishing the best recently, especially at dusk and dawn. Whether in a yak, boat or land-based, do your research first before you head out and you will be rewarded. You may need to get permission to access some of these

Brad King took this whiting off the top.



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Silent nights are the Holy Grail SOUTHERN GOLD COAST

Mark Ward

December madness is here. The hot weather and holidays bring tourists and make our busy waterways even busier. It always amazes me how many fish

Beating the heat and the harmful rays of the sun is the way to go. With so many good fish available after dark, the techniques used to catch them may vary but the fish are often more active. Bait fishing at night in the Nerang and Tweed rivers is a great way to catch whiting. The Nerang has a massive

Try to get the bait moving in the current by keeping it very lightly weighted and you will do well. Using lures at night is another great option. I work poppers very slow for mangrove jack and trevally. Having a fish bust up on a popper in the still of the night always gives me a fright but it’s a fun way to catch them. Fish the walls and rocks where baitfish are being smashed. My son and I have learnt that if we head out and there are no bait nervously showering across the surface, then we will be home very early. Find the bait and the predators are always close by. Bait that is very nervous and running from predators is almost a

sure thing. Fishing in the lakes of the central Gold Coast over summer can turn up a lot of surprises. This is for the early riser who is up well before the tourists and jet skiers. There are always good trevally and mangrove jack around, but tarpon and giant herring can mix it up a little. Flathead generally lay low during the heat of summer; however, early mornings will often see them up in the shallows, hunting before it gets too hot. Targeting them on the surface is a great way of catching them. I have been having a lot of luck with a bent minnow style jerked down under the surface and allowed to rise. Flathead will hit the lure as it breaks the surface. Some Flathead will move into the canals and creeks but will often head for deeper cool water during the day.

Big bass can be found hunting the edges during times of low light. can be caught in the middle of jet skis, big cruisers, kids in tinnies and ski boats doing loops of the rivers. The best bet for a fish is to avoid some of the busier areas and get away from the crowds. The fish are usually doing the same thing so this month I will discuss a few options to get away from it all. ESTUARY Nights are a great time to get on the water in summer.

population of whiting that love to take a fresh worm or yabby baits after dark. The shallow edges of the river around the Council Chambers have always been the best spots. On a nice summer night, you will see a dozen boats out all doing the same thing so the locations will soon be obvious. Bream will also be around to pinch the odd bait or two and flathead will not shy away from a yabby either.

Flathead can be found in the shallows at first light this month. Targeting them on surface lures is an exciting way of fishing.

fish have come clean out of the water when they attack to these lures. BEACHES It doesn’t matter how crowded the beaches are, there is always an opportunity for that late afternoon or early morning fish. South towards Kingscliff and Pottsville will always have less crowds and more fish. Bream, dart, whiting and flathead are the main species this time of year, and the gutters don’t have to be that deep either. I prefer to fish shallow gutters close to the shore. I stand back and lob my baits just behind where the waves break onshore. Dart will be in the gutters and they love a little whitewater over their heads to keep them safe from the birds. Fresh worms or pipis will be the best baits. FRESHWATER Hinze and Clarrie Hall will have bass working

the edges at low light. The weed will have a lot of fish cruising it for bait early and late in the day. These fish often school up and get lockjaw during the day but feed ferociously later. Rolling paddle- and curly-tail soft plastics works well and beetle spins in Clarrie Hall have been accounting for a lot of fish. Spoons worked through the schools have been catching fish in Hinze, so work them at various speeds and pauses until you find what works best. The Tweed, Nerang and Coomera rivers all have good populations of bass in the fresh, so push up as far as you can to get away from the crowds and you may just be surprised. There’s nothing better than catching bream and bass from the same bank on a beautiful summer morning.

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Presents from the ’Pin JUMPINPIN

Mick Morris

Another year has flown past in record time and it is great to know that you can still head out to the ’Pin and catch quality fish all year round. December is one of the best months of the year to score a feed in Jumpinpin. Everyone will be out chasing crabs, so be sure to mark your pots clearly. Some popular spots for crabbing are around Rocky Point, Mosquito Island, the upper reaches of the Logan River, Tabby Tabby and along Woogoompah Island. Try to look for areas with

The author watched this lizard hit the lure in 30cm of water about 3m from the boat.



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drains or small entrances in the mangroves and you should be able to pot a couple of keepers. For sandies, the main channel from Macleay to Russell and Canaipa Passage are usually good at this time of year so try along the edges and holes around there. Whiting will be at the top of most people’s lists and can be found in areas with a sandy/muddy bottom and good tidal flow. Water clarity doesn’t seem to bother them too much and they can be caught in murky brown to crystal clear water. However, the bigger whiting I’ve caught have all been in murky water. B l o o d w o r m s , beachworms and yabbies are the best live baits by far. You can also try prawn, squid or pipis as they work well. Make sure your bait

These school-sized flatties have been around in good numbers recently. is on the bottom and it is always a great idea to set a berley trail and bring the fish closer to your baits. The best spots for a feed of whiting this month are the Junction, Ageston Sands and Marks Rocks in the Logan, the Powerlines, Fishermans

part of the tide, but I tend to get more fish from half tide down to the bottom. The best baits for bait fishers are live mullet, gar or herring. Pilchards, whitebait or even a decent banana prawn should also land you a few. Some good


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Muddies should be out in force this festive season. Channel, Slipping Sands, Tabby Tabby, the Green and Gold banks, Whalleys Gutter, around Tipplers Island and out from Couran Cove. There should be plenty of good flathead about as the lizard stocks continue to grow. Trolling the shallows, flicking plastics or drifting is a great way to learn where the fish hold and on what part of the tide they bite. You can catch them on any

spots to try are the mouth of the Logan River to the entrance to Browns Bay, Whalleys Gutter, Green Bank, Slipping Sands, the bottom of Kangaroo Island and Kalinga Bank to Swan Bay in deep water using big plastics. It’s the perfect time of year to chase jacks and cod around the mangroves and structures of the ’Pin. They are both hard-fighting fish

that become more active in hot, humid weather. Live mullet, herring, pike, and gar have been productive baits. Trolling lures along rock walls or past snags works well late in the afternoon around dusk. Night is a great time to fish for them with livies. Try for a mulloway at the slack of the tide when the current slows down out from Swan Bay in deep water with big 6-9”plastics, livies or big baits like whole mullet or bonito fillets. Giants Grave, Marks Rocks or Flat Rock are good spots to target mulloway as well. Outside the ’Pin Bar, there should be pelagics starting to run along the coastline, chasing the warmer currents and schools of baitfish. Spanish and spotted mackerel will be heavily targeted this month and according to reports, they should be in good numbers. Keep an eye out for fish busting up and birds diving or work the dirty waterline as it heads out from the ’Pin. Trolling is a great way to chase pelagics, as it allows you to cover a lot of ground to find fish. There is also the bonus of potentially picking up another species like tuna, mahimahi, wahoo or even black or blue marlin. • Thank you for your reports and feedback. If you have any questions, pop in and see me at Gem Bait & Tackle, call us on 3287 3868 or email gembait@ I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy new year with plenty of fishing for all!

Get in early for top summer stakes GOLD COAST CANALS

Josh Dunn Instagram: @josh__dunn__

Summer has officially kicked in. I’m not complaining though, fish are on the bite and it’s somewhat easier to get

out of bed with the early morning sunrise – if that doesn’t get you up, the heat will. It’s been very hard to get onto flathead. I fished a flathead competition last month and struggled to get my hands on any goodsized fish. Deep water, the

flats, shallows, rock walls – you name it, we fished it. Hopefully this month fishes better than the last. Mangrove jack have been getting about and with even hotter weather on the way, numbers should continue to rise. I love white and natural mullet

Mangrove jack are on the chew, and not just around the pontoons.

looking colours rigged up on a 1/4oz or 3/8oz jighead. There have been people on the water every time I’m fishing pontoons for jacks, so hit them as early as possible to ensure your lure is the first out there! Decent whiting have been caught in good numbers on the Gold Coast of late, in areas like the sand banks in the Broadwater and Nerang River. Look for sand flats where bait could be pushed up on high tide and predators such as whiting, flathead and bream could lie on the deeper edges, waiting for the run-out to attack. A couple of hours before the bottom of the tide will be your best shot. Surface lures, small and light plastics and worms will be the go. A great number of bream have been getting around. Larger bridge pylons with a good amount of water flow are a good bet. Sundale Bridge is one of them, as well as most bridges in the Nerang River. The run-out tide seems to fish best for these situations, but I don’t think you need perfect timing to get onto a few bream

Fishing natural snags this month is key. these days. Within the next month or two we should see some really hot weather come through, so be sure to stay hydrated while out on the water. The heat will also bring afternoon thunderstorms and it

wouldn’t surprise me if we had more storms than in recent years. December is set to be a great month on the weather and fishing fronts. My main tip is hit the water super early – the early bird gets the worm!

Wishing you a safe and Merry Christmas on the water


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The warm glow of a new season GOLD COAST

David Green

December sees the East Australian Current start to push a big blanket of warm water in close to the coast and the pelagic fish arrive off the Gold Coast. Every season is different, and it is a waiting game to see which species will dominate.

OFFSHORE GROUNDS Juvenile black marlin should start to show up on the inshore grounds such as Sullies, Cotton Reef and the Paddock. If there are big schools of pilchards and slimy mackerel, marlin shouldn’t be too far away. In spring, there were good numbers of small marlin just off Fraser Island and hopefully these fish will arrive in our local waters in December. As well as marlin,

mahimahi, wahoo and striped tuna should start to turn up in numbers this month and spotted mackerel often show on Palm Beach and Mermaid Reef. If you can’t find a bait ball, lure trolling is a good option. I like to troll a spread of skirted lures roughly 15-20cm on 100lb mono leader, 10-15kg line and a Halco Laser Pro. The Laser Pro is rigged with single hooks and while it is

Ross McCubbin with a decent feed of flathead and whiting he caught on unweighted yabbies.

in the spread to catch wahoo and stop them chewing up expensive skirted lures, it catches a surprising number of marlin as well. Troll speed is generally around 7 knots and I also use a mirrored teaser just in front of the lure positioned in the short corner spot. Before going out, I generally look at sea surface temperature charts and look for areas where the water temperature is over 25°C. In December, mahimahi are generally the most common capture and most of these are between 6-8kg. They are superb eating and need to be handled with great care at the boat, as they are one of the wildest things with fins when you get them aboard. If you find a school of slimy mackerel or pilchards it is important to work the area closely, slowly trolling live baits. When marlin are focused on bait schools, they often ignore lures completely. I like to troll a pair of baits from the outriggers at around 1-2 knots. Out on the wider grounds, blue marlin should be available in depths between 150-400m. Using large lures on 37kg tackle is the most effective method. Blue marlin

Jac Green with a great juvenile black marlin. They should start showing up on the inshore grounds this month. average around 140kg and take roughly an hour to land on a standard fish from a small boat. December can be a tough month for bottom fishing

on the 36 and 50-Fathom reefs, as the current tends to run hard to the south. If the current slows down, there are still plenty of pearl perch, amberjacks, pigfish and rosy

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jobfish to be caught. Closer to shore, there should be a few mulloway on the inshore reefs at night and teraglin and tailor should be around, as well as a few early season mackerel. However, December is usually a much better month

to chase pelagics rather than bottom fish. ESTUARIES December sees the water in the estuaries warm up and whiting, mud and sand crabs and mangrove jacks become a lot more active. There are

The author with a heap of tasty crabs.

still a few big flathead around on the sand and mud flats and mulloway in the deeper parts of the estuaries. If you like a challenge, it can be a good month to chase the elusive barramundi, particularly after periods of heavy rain. Each year, more and more barra are turning up on the Gold Coast. Whiting bite best on a run in-tide when fishing the central part of the Broadwater. As the water pushes up onto the yabby flats, big schools move up to feed. Casting unweighted yabbies is a very effective method and by casting down wind and using very light line, good numbers can be caught most days. Some of these whiting are over 40cm long and are superb eating. If there are small prawns around, surface poppers and small clear stickbaits are also effective. The key is to wind quickly and don’t pause the retrieve at all. Small assist hooks are often more effective than trebles. My favourite whiting lure is the Bassday Sugapen in a clear colour. Translucent, clear or pale colours tend to work best when chasing whiting on the flats. Mangrove jack will be active this month. The floating pontoons in the south arm of the Coomera have been fishing well for jacks and as the water warms, the

fish become more active. Working minnows and shadtailed plastics close to the edge of pontoons works well, and there is often a fair bit of action on surface poppers in December. There are a lot of trophy jacks in this area and fish over 50cm are relatively common. While December usually marks the end of flathead season, there should still be quite a few big fish up on the shallow sand and mud

banks around the Seaway and Jumpinpin. Large shallow running hardbodies and big soft plastic stickbaits are worth trying this month. The last of the run-in tide is generally the best time to fish these spots, and most of the bigger fish should be over 80cm long. December is a good time to chase mud and sand crabs. There have been plenty of decent sand crabs in the Broadwater

throughout spring and these should continue to be in good numbers this month. Work around weed beds in 3-5m of water. Good spots to try for mud crabs include the Pimpama River and Coombabah Creek. Chicken frames are a very reliable bait. Overall, December is generally a very productive month on Gold Coast waters. It is a busy time, so stay safe on the water.

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Mulloway, macks and mayhem SOUTHERN BAY

Nick Whyte

Mangrove jack have been firing lately. Plenty of fish have being caught on lures and live bait in the canals at Raby Bay. The smaller creeks, like Tingalpa and Eprapah, have also been fishing well. Logan River anglers have been doing well at the moment, with some nice jacks reported on live baits around all the rock bars. There has also been plenty of good cod and Queensland groper as by-catch. Make sure you look after these fish as the Queensland groper are



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protected and need to be released unharmed. The Jumpinpin Bar has produced some nice fish over the last month. There have been a few mulloway and

decent-sized flathead coming from the deeper water. Fishing the hour each side of the tide change will usually see the best results. There are also some good

Richie Lucker has been tackling a few decent southern Moreton Bay mulloway of late.

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There are still a few nice flathead in the deeper water around the ’Pin. The ZMan 5” StreakZ Curly TailZ did the job on this one. flathead coming from the areas around Tipplers some of the fish have been up super shallow so don’t be scared to cast up to 100mm of water. The bay shallows are firing at the moment. Plenty of pan size snapper, grass sweetlip and big bream are being caught around the shallow roof edges. Small plastics or small hardbodies have been doing all the damage. Larger topwater lures have also been accounting for fish. Topwater fishing the reef edges is so much fun as you will see a lot of the fish bow wave your lure before hitting it. Early mornings on dawn or late afternoons will see the most action. There have been quite a few reports of some nice school mackerel up through the Rainbow and Rous channels. Look for the birds

working this area to find where the fish are lurking. The mackerel are feeding on small bait, so try to match the hatch and use small slugs or small plastics. Threadfin salmon have been caught in numbers throughout the Brisbane River in the last month. Lots of fish have been coming from the middle reaches with the better quality coming from around the mouth. Fishing at night around the lights with shallow diving hardbodies is a great way to target these fish. During the daylight hours you’re more likely to find them closer to the bottom using vibes like the TT Switchblade 1/2oz or the 95mm Zerek Fish Trap. If you are thinking about targeting these magnificent sports fish and looking to release them, you should always have a release weight with you.

Threadies will suffer from barotrauma when pulled from deep water and if you want to release them in good condition this is a must for anglers. Summer whiting are in great numbers throughout the Logan River and sand banks close to the ’Pin Bar. Up in the super shallow water you can target these big fish using long skinny poppers. This is an awesome visual technique that really gets the heart pumping and these little guys punch above their weight. It’s great to hop out of the boat and walk the bank and fish the shallow water near the top part of the tide on the last of the run-in over the yabby banks. • If you have a great capture from the Southern Bay you would like to share email them through to nick@techfishing. Until next month, Tech-it-easy.

Time to deck the halls with fishy bounties BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald

With many anglers due for a welcomed break during December and the youngsters on school holidays, there should be plenty of opportunities for anglers to wet a line. Warm water temperatures will promote baitfish activity throughout Moreton Bay and the estuaries. This will result in increased pelagic activity and anglers should regularly see surface busting schools of pelagics such as mackerels, tunas and bonito. Throughout the rivers and estuarine systems, threadfin salmon, mangrove jack, bream, flathead, trevally, cod and a host of other species will be available. Crabs

low or even in the water will enable you to wind that little bit faster to entice a strike without the lure jumping out of the water. Surface busting mayhem could be either school or spotted mackerel over the coming months, however spotties are usually more common late December and January. Both species will surface feed in a slightly different manner and an experienced angler will be able to tell the difference, even from a distance. Spotted mackerel will feed in a more organised manner, slashing at the bait, which sprays up water in a straight line. A couple of spotties commonly slash into the bait being herded by the majority. School mackerel are less organised and attack the bait in unison, with spray going

mackerel won’t be that obvious. On a calm day you may only see V-shaped wakes, as they cruise just under the surface searching for prey. A cast in the general direction and a flat-stick retrieve should soon see your reel scream. As the month progresses, we should notice greater numbers of spotted mackerel around. PRAWNS Throughout the cooler months and into spring, keen prawners were getting banana prawns in the Brisbane River regularly. This often meant late night or midnight to dawn sessions with a lot of sounding required to find them. However, effort commonly produced results and even if you could only get a few prawns, there was a decent chance that you would be able to turn these

Justin Harding caught an awesome mangrove jack – an uncommon capture from the Brisbane River. will be a serious target for those setting safety pots and prawns should also be around in the northern rivers. With so much on offer this month, I am sure plenty of anglers will secure their seafood feast from the bounty on offer throughout the Moreton Bay region. MACKEREL School mackerel numbers have been fairly good for most of the year if you know where to look and how to target them. However, as baitfish species become more abundant, anglers will see more surface busting activity, which greatly increases the odds of locating and catching these scrumptious silver speedsters. In this situation, casting a metal lure or even a jighead rigged jerkshad plastic will almost guarantee a hookup. High speed retrieves are essential – you cannot wind too fast. Keeping the rod tip 38


in all directions. It pays to cast your offering to the side of the school and begin winding just before the lure lands to avoid getting bitten off. A little wire added to your rig may sound like a wise investment, however this greatly decrease (or will totally halt) the strike rate. Mackerel will slash at the tail of the lure (where the hooks are) as they are used to immobilising fast moving prey by removing the tail. If your lure is not moving at break neck speed, they are likely to swallow the entire thing, which will often result in a bite-off. Surface busting mackerel can show up almost anywhere throughout the bay, however beginning your search in the shipping channels, Measured Mile area, northern side of The Paddock green zone, small ships channel and the surrounds of the bay islands is a good ploy. Sometimes

into a threadfin salmon or mulloway if you decided to use them for bait. With a few decent downpours over recent months, there is a good chance prawns will begin to show in the northern rivers. Commonly the Caboolture river is the first to produce and then the Pine River soon after. However, prawns can be very sporadic and can be here one day and gone the next. Early in the season, most banana prawns taken will average less than 15cm yet will provide a decent feed or function as some prime baits. The less common larger black tiger prawns are a real prize, as they can reach lengths over 30cm. Rainfall will greatly dictate the quality over the next few months, but those who put in the time should be rewarded. CRABS The warmer months will greatly improve crabbing

While wire might seem like a necessity when chasing toothy creatures like mackerel, adding it in front of your lure will often lower the strike rate. in Moreton Bay and the rivers and estuarine systems attached to it. Rainfall will also play a big part in the availability and prevalence of mud crabs. Rain lowers the salinity in the shallows and upper reaches of the creeks and rivers, and this will force the mud crabs further down these waterways and out into the open waters or larger rivers, where they are a lot easier to target. Setting a few pots along the edges of the mangrove banks or in the deeper holes should be productive. Dryer weather will see the mud crabs well up into the mangrove expanses and crabbers will often need to venture high into the systems to secure some muddies. Scoring several big bucks in your pot will make the effort worthwhile. Sand crabs can be caught all year in Moreton Bay, however there is no denying that the warmer months produce better numbers of quality specimens. Setting a few safety pots along the contours surrounding the bay islands, the prominent channels and the mouths of gutters and channels leading off the sand banks will generally reward. You do not necessarily need to travel that far to score sandies and some fishers set pots by paddling a kayak a few hundred metres from shore to drop their pots. Sandies can also be caught well inside the mouth of river and estuarine systems and occasionally you will get both mud and sand crabs in the pots. Good baits to attract all manner of crabs include chicken carcasses, fish frames and heads, chicken necks, whole mullet and fish offcuts. Putting your baits in a mesh bag will slow down the crabs’ feeding abilities and keep them occupied longer so they are less likely to get their fill in a short

time and try and get out of the pot. Additionally, smaller baits such as a handful of pillies, chicken necks and small offcuts from your last filleting job will need to be in a fine mesh envelope, which should then be tied into the centre of the pot to avoid the crabs having their fill without entering the pot. A few crabs for a Christmas or New Year’s feast will go down a treat and you will avoid that long wait at the seafood shop. BRISBANE RIVER With so many anglers

on annual holidays, plenty will be venturing out onto the water with the family in small craft. The Brisbane River is a heavily fished area at any time, but especially so over the coming month. Still, there is plenty on offer with threadfin salmon, snapper, flathead, bream, mulloway, estuary cod, sharks, shovelnose and others to be caught. Threadfin are a prized target in this waterway and can be taken on a variety of methods. Live baits are very effective and offer a more

Billy Calogerakis recently caught and released this solid shovelnose by live baiting in the Brisbane River.

relaxed approach than lure fishing. Live mullet, prawns, herring and biddies can be caught in a cast net at places such as the sewerage chute, Boggy Creek, Colmslie Ramp, Boat Passage Ramp, Aquarium Passage (Doboy Creek) and many other areas. Jigging a bait jig around structure will likely produce a few pike. Keep these alive and present close to the bottom using minimal lead and you are in with a great chance. Prime areas include declines into the main river bed (especially out from the oil pipeline), along the retaining wall at the mouth, the dredge holes near the mouth and the submerged wall just upriver from the sewerage chute. Quite an array of species can be caught at these locations and you just never know what will take your bait next. Lures can also work well in these zones and allow you to probe larger areas of water during a fishing session. Soft vibes, soft plastics, blades, micro jigs and several other offerings will produce. These can be hopped or slow rolled and it pays to alter retrieves regularly to see what they are responding to on any given day. Casting lures along the fronts of any jetties (adhere to distance restrictions) or other current altering structure is also

likely to produce. Soft vibes and jighead rigged plastics are ideal for this area. Flathead anglers can get quality fish in the Brisbane River with the flats at the mouth of Boggy Creek, Boat Passage, Clara Rocks and Aquarium Passage all good spots to try. Clara Rocks also produces some quality snapper, bream and cod. The deeper water around the Gateway Bridge can produce a mixed bag and is a good place to anchor at night and live bait for threadfin. LONGTAIL TUNA In addition to mackerel tuna, bullet tuna and bonito, Moreton Bay will produce some quality longtail tuna during December. Try the edges of the shipping channels, surrounds of the bay islands, Rainbow Channel, along the front of Bribie and the Kianga Channel. Longtails can pop up anywhere at any time so having a rod ready rigged with a chromed slug, stickbait or pencil popper will heighten your chances of getting a few casts in while they are in a feeding mood. Fly fishers can also achieve good results and have a better chance when the baitfish they are feeding on is rather small and hard to copy with any other artificials. Live

Mick Taylor scored this quality flathead on a hardbodied lure in Tingalpa Creek. baiting around shipping channel beacons will likely reward patient anglers. Yakkas, slimy mackerel, cowanyoung, herring and

pike are all good live bait options for longtails. Other possibilities around the beacons and Curtin Artificial include

snapper, yellowtail kingfish, mackerel, trevally, sharks and sweetlip. SHARKS Many anglers are keen to catch sharks, as they can be a lot of fun and decent table fare. You are only permitted to keep sharks under 1.5m and there is a bag limit of one per person or two per boat. Sharks are very plentiful along Australia’s East Coast and it isn’t too hard to hook and land one. Any decent size whole fish bait (yakka, gar, mullet, pike etc.) drifted into a berley trail or tuna oil slick will soon get eaten around the bay island fringes, artificial reefs or the foul grounds. Drifting and allowing the bait to drag aft with no or minimal weight will work a treat. Baits should be presented on a snelled hook rig made using nylon coated wire between 90-250lb. You don’t need to fish heavy in this open water situation when targeting sharks, as they are not dirty fighters. However, they do fight hard and are an ideal way to teach young anglers the methods for fighting fish. The majority of sharks hooked in these areas will be under 1.2m and can be handled on line as light as 4kg (however 8-10kg is ideal). In the Brisbane River,

live bait is your best option. While a decent sized live mullet will work, catfish are a major food source for sharks and are easier to catch. Sharks will usually only bite off the tail so ensure hook placement is in this area. I like to use circle hooks for sharks, as they commonly set in the corner of the mouth and are easier and safer to remove. Allow the shark to run with the bait before putting the reel in gear and allowing the tension to take up to set the hook. Do not strike in the conventional manner or you are likely to pull the bait from their mouth. For this reason, I recommend using lever drag overheads or baitrunner reels for targeting sharks. CONCLUSION December is a month where the angling possibilities are endless. Moreton Bay has plenty of pelagic and demersal species and the estuaries have a great array of quality sport and table species. Add crabs and prawns to quality fish and you have the makings of a seafood feast for Christmas, New Year’s Day or any other day of the month, and there is a lot of pride to be taken in securing your own seafood bounty. Ho, ho, hope you enjoy your feast and have a safe and enjoyable festive season.

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No more windy wipeouts BRISBANE OFFSHORE

John Gooding

Last month saw mostly breezy conditions and opportunities to get offshore were few and far between, so hopefully

but during the day it was still 2-3 knots, making fishing out wide nearly impossible. On those charters with the current up, we worked the 29, 33 and 35-Fathom reefs float lining for snapper and although we didn’t break any records, we landed

continue to be available out around the 90m line, and there are still some decent snapper on the closer reefs, if you have the patience. Mahimahi numbers are increasing as water temperatures rise even higher. From all reports, there have been plenty caught out around the Point Lookout Wave buoy, but you need to get there early before it becomes a parking lot. The first 10 FADs from the state government’s commitment to a million dollars’ worth in the South East corner should be in place by early this month, so keep an eye on the Fisheries

website for their locations. Hopefully they will ease the burden on snapper and pearl perch stocks. Several years ago, the Moreton Bay Game Fish Club put several FADs out from Moreton Island. The ones out in 50-90m of water were a great success but any placed in close didn’t always hold fish. With the majority of these new FADS being placed in deeper water, we should see good numbers of mahimahi on them most of the year along with the odd wahoo and marlin. Around the Point Lookout area, there should be an increase in pelagic A quality snapper put a smile on this angler’s face.

This group bagged out on school-sized amberjack. things settle down. When we did get a few charters in, the fishing was solid with amberjack and trag making up most catches. In early November, the current was raging south for a couple of weeks. The Point Lookout buoy was registering speeds of between 3-4 knots at night,

reasonable fish up to 3kg. East of the South Passage Bar this month should see amberjack, samsonfish, yellowtail kingfish and trag active on the wider grounds with live baiting being very productive. Amberjack and kings are also responding to jigs. Juvenile snapper will

A solid catch of trag jew from the wider grounds.

activity this month and it could be worth dragging a few high-speed lures around the Sevens for a wahoo or rat yellowfin tuna. Down closer to the point, slow trolling a swimming gar or a live bait around the Group might result in a Spanish mackerel. The school holidays, especially around Christmas and New Year, are always a busy time on the waterways, so please take extra care and

ensure your boat and safety gear is up to scratch. I hope everyone has a happy and safe festive season and you get that new piece of gear you asked Santa for! • Until next month, enjoy your fishing, take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on charter (max. 8 persons) give me a call on 07 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750 or visit my new website www.

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Blissful fishing in the bay NORTHERN BAY

Grayson Fong

After a hectic and sometimes arduous working year, we can all now look forward to spending some time hitting the water over the holiday period. With summer really heating up and the easterly winds in full swing, the northern bay has been a bit of a fishing haven over the last month and is set to continue with rising air and sea temperatures. Sweeping warmer currents from the southern bay have increased solid bait activity with the SE winds topping off the piscatorial dessert for anglers in the northern waters. This has seen a marked increased activity of bream, juvenile

It’s a great time of year to chase sand whiting on the beaches. snapper, mulloway and even threadfin salmon in local estuarine areas, with sand

Braden Schuch hit a good patch of bream in Deception Bay.

whiting keeping the eastfacing beaches somewhat interesting. BREAM This is one of my favourite times of the year to chase these feisty feeders with surface and subsurface approaches high on the agenda. Whether fishing the mangrove-lined edges of Deception Bay or over the countless bommies of Redcliffe, you would be hard to please if you didn’t find some entertainment in watching bream chase a surface lure with gusto. Many topwater lures work effectively this time of year, including the OSP Bent Minnow, Daiwa Slippery Dog, Lucky Craft Sammy and Megabass Dog-X Jr, with an extra attracting scent making these lures delectable to many bream. Rubble bottom flats holding water around 2-4ft is an ideal starting place, with areas like this in the Pumicestone Passage; Ningi, Donnybrook, Glasshouse and Elimbah creeks, and

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Cooks and Tiger rocks. The Redcliffe has a gaggle of these areas both north and south of the peninsula and the Pine fishes well along the mangrove edges north of the highway bridge. Mid and deep diving cranks have also been working well in these areas, with many solid bream around the 27-28cm fork length making a regular appearance in the landing net. SAND WHITING Numbers of sand whiting have been up since the mercury started rising, with the usual hotspots on fire in the northern bay. The southern beaches of Bribie and the mouth of the Caboolture River have been producing decent numbers, with many locals finding the calmer morning waters to be the most fruitful. Bloodworms have been the pick of the baits and fresh yabbies with squid have also proven effective at times. Some anglers have decided to run lighter leaders off their swivels to increase their bite rate. Margate foreshore and the lower reaches of the Pine River, especially around Hays Inlet, have been working well, particularly during the last half of the ebbing tide with bloodworms proving their weight in gold. FLATHEAD Flathead numbers have been a little hit-and-miss over the past month, with anglers having a good session only to be disappointed over the next few. White Patch, Pebble Beach and Sylvan Beach flats have been the best spots in Pumicestone, with the mouth of Cabbage Tree Creek and Clontarf foreshore the pick of the southern spots.

Local bream have loved Jackall Chubbies lately. Large jerkbaits like Daiwa Double Clutches and Duo Tide minnows have been successful with many anglers and a twitch-twitchpause retrieve has counted for many catches in shallow sub 2ft waters. SAND CRABS Good numbers of sand crabs have been coming out of Bramble Bay recently with size being an occasional issue. Sifting through numbers of undersize crabs has still left patient anglers with a good catch, so it’s worth the effort. Pumicestone Passage has also been on fire with heaps of sand crabs caught throughout the system.

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Good hauls have been reported from Caboolture River concentrated towards the lower reaches. TIP OF THE MONTH With the festive holidays within arm’s reach, boat traffic on and off the water will increase and patience is often tested. Allowing yourself time to launch and retrieve your craft is a good approach to ensure you are not rushed and flustered, leaving leeway to stop and lend a helping hand to others if needed. Everyone is out there to enjoy the same thing at the end of the day. Merry Christmas and may all your knots be perfect!

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Bright outlook for Sunny Coast NOOSA

Peter Wells

Plenty of people holiday on the Sunshine Coast over the Christmas break, so the key to getting away from the crowds and amongst the fish is to be out on the water early. The rivers tend to get overrun with holidaymakers who create plenty of boat traffic on the waters. The low light periods are by far the most productive anyway and, if you can time this with a high tide, you will be in with a chance of catching a good feed. Maroochy and Noosa rivers have seen a great influx for prawns over the last month, so soft plastic like the Chasebaits Live Shrimp and the ZMan ShrimpZ have been working a treat. Try a drift near the bridges working

forget to put some scent on these plastics, it can really help with the strike rate. Some of the lesser-known waterways fish well in the warmer months and are worth having a cast or two. Weyba Creek has been fishing well for those wanting to catch whiting, bream and some large flathead. Fishing baits like yabbies, peeled prawns and live worm are good for the whiting, while whole prawns and small fish baits, like hardiheads and frogged mouth pilchards are great for the bream and flathead. The canals around Noosa Sound will be firing with trevally in the early mornings and late afternoons with small surface walkers and poppers attracting plenty of exciting surface action. A couple of my favourites are the G Splash from Lucky Craft for the popper and the Bassday

the Coast Guard station. This is the ideal spot for mulloway and mangrove jack to take up residence, these ambush predators are feeding on the bait as it rolls in and out with the tide. Fishing deeper diving hardbody lures and heavily weighted 5” soft plastics has been fairly successful. Another great option for jack anglers is to work the many jetty and pylons that line the river at night. Any jetty that has light over the water will attract the smaller baitfish and, in turn, bring more predatory fish in for a feed. Keeping the noise and torch light on board to a minimum is key, so you won’t spook the fish. Paddle vibes are perfect for this style of fishing, with the big thump that comes from their broad tails, they have been great at attracting the jacks. In the Maroochy River, fishing the river mouth and

A trip up to the reefs is always worth it for a decent pearl perch, as Dave Clark found out. your lures close to the pylons and you should see mangrove jack, school mulloway and trevally all taking a liking to a well presented plastic. Don’t

Sugapens as a surface walker. The Noosa River has some deeper holes at the moment, one down near the Dog Beach and the other near

along the black banks area is a great spot to fish for whiting and flathead. Tailor and bream will be on the prowl here too, especially when the high

tide coincides with the lower light periods in the morning and evening. The cod hole has been fishing well for mulloway and trevally and should continue throughout the month. Live baits fished around the gravel area at the start of the hole just down river from the bridge, seems to be where most of the action happens. Crabbing in the rivers is at its best in December and January and a trip up river with the pots could prove worthwhile. Remember the more rain we get the better the deeper holes will fish, as the crabs will look for more saline water. Best baits are fresh mullet or chook frames. With a bit of luck we will see plenty of good offshore weather over the DecemberJanuary break and hopefully get offshore. Sunshine Reef is one of the favourite spots in summer, as it’s a shorter journey with an impressive list of species available. Coral trout is at the top of the list when you get to Sunshine Reef in the early morning, and as the sun comes up hopefully the Spanish mackerel and tuna will also come out to play. Trolling in this area can be very rewarding, try a Davo’s Spanish special for solid results. North Reef has been a haven for big cobia and there have been plenty of big fish hooked over the last couple of weeks. Having a floater out the back is a great way to target these fish, as cobia tend to swim mid water and pick up those floaters. Large pilchard, slimy mackerel or garfish are all perfect baits.

This is what we can expect coming into summer. Nick Swan with a decent GT. Trips up to the Reef off Double Island or out to the Barwon Banks is always well worth the effort. Big red emperor is the target fish up here, along with snapper, pearl perch, mulloway, trout and cobia. Spanner crab season is about to open in mid-December so if you are after a feed you should make sure you get your traps out. Setting your traps around that 35m depth should see you with some nice fish. Off the beaches, plenty of good sized flathead, bream and whiting are coming from the Noosa North Shore with the area north of Teewah even more productive. They respond well to Whiting Wacker rigs presented with small baits including worm, prawn and squid. There are nice gutters opening up so fishing whole pilchards around the rips may see you tangle with a larger tailor or mulloway.

On the southern beaches, areas south of Peregian have been responsible for good whiting with most fish taken on the run-out tide. Worms and peeled prawns have produced better responses. Dart are in good numbers with the bigger fish around the top of the tide. Pipis and mullet flesh have been the better baits while displayed on a bait keeper hook giving the bait longevity while being washed around. We quite often see some good tailor at this time of year around Pin Cushion Island area. Fishing the bigger night tides seems to get the better fish. • Don’t forget to check in to for all the latest up to date 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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Don’t get caught by changes to Fisheries regulations BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

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Long discussed, and now finally legislated into law, Queensland’s Fisheries rules have been modified in a way that covers a substantial number of bread and butter catches up and down our coastline, and into inland waterways as well. Why the big change? Well, there’s been no significant change since the Fisheries Regulation 2008 and Fisheries Act 1994. Yes, a quarter of a century! These days we have the Fisheries (General) Regulation of 2019, which came into effect in September this year. It followed extensive consultations in 2016, which resulted in 11,800 submissions to a Government Green Paper on fisheries management. After reading the responses, the government formulated a Sustainable Fisheries Strategy, setting out a reform agenda for the next 10 years. It involves $20 million expenditure over three years just to start the ball rolling. All changes are aimed at maintaining a sustainable fishery, and I can’t see much wrong with that when I consider the drop in catches I have seen in the last couple of decades. One thing of interest was the decision to not introduce a fishing license. The panel considered that the $5 million contributed per year from commercial fishing licenses, SIPs (stocked impoundment permits), and recreational use fees on boat licenses was sufficient. SOME CHANGES TO SIZE AND POSSESSION Changes to snapper and pearl perch catches are significant. Both species now have a closed season between 15 July and 15 August each year. Size limits for pearlies have increased from 35cm to 38cm, and the possession limit has changed from five to four. Both species must also be kept whole while on the boat. This provision also applies to mulloway and scaly jewfish, so make sure you have enough ice on board! The minimum size for king threadfin salmon has increased from 60cm to 65cm. Murray and Mary River cod now have a minimum size of 60cm (Mary River cod can be targeted only in specific designated waterways). The Murray cod maximum size of 110cm has been removed. The possession limit for blue swimmer crabs (sand

crabs) has changed from no limit to 20. Mud crab limits have been reduced from 10 per person to seven. Molluscs and gastropods (including pipis) have dropped from 50 to 30. Boat limits are now a new feature. ‘Two times possession limits’ now apply to those species regarded as ‘black market’ species, so if you have three people aboard you can’t keep more than a 2-person limit. Species affected include mud crabs, prawns, black jewfish, barramundi, shark, Spanish mackerel, sea cucumber and tropical rock lobster. The operator of the boat is held accountable for ensuring the limit is not exceeded. The rules are different for charter boats. There’s also a general ‘in possession’ limit for all species without a prescribed possession limit, excluding some bait species. Garfish, for instance, have a 50 fish limit. FURTHER CHANGES Spanner crab traps have increased with two people aboard, and they now have a closed season. All crab traps

sea and freshwater mullet) cuttlefish or squid (excludes tiger squid ) smooth clawed rock crab yellowtail pike and Cribb Island worms. FRESHWATER: BASS AND COD The impoundment bass possession limit has been increased from two to five. Mary River cod and Murray cod stocked impoundments have been expanded to include Wyaralong Dam, Ewen Maddock Dam, Caboolture River Weir, Robina lakes, Lake Kurwongbah and Enoggera Reservoir and Lake Manchester, with one fish takeable. Closures Tinana Creek and tributaries upstream of Teddington Weir are closed to all forms of fishing. Murray cod have a closed season from 1 August to 31 October each year in the Murray Darling river systems, and the same closure also applies to the following waters in respect to areas upstream from notified defined boundaries: the Coomera River, the Albert River and Stanley River. Also closed at this time

The minimum size for threadfin salmon has increased from 60cm to 65cm. This one is well above the limit. and freshwater traps must be marked with the name and address of the person using them. Black jewfish will become a no take species for both recreational and commercial fishers when the set total commercial allowable catch is reached. Also, black jewfish are off limits within 200m of the Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal terminals. Certain bait species are still fine. No limits apply for silver herring, hardiheads, silver biddy, saltwater yabby, soldier crabs and mangrove worms. A possession limit of 50 applies for mullet (excluding diamond scale,

will be Running Creek, Christmas Creek and the Mary River upstream of a defined boundary excluding Baroon Pocket Dam, Borumba Dam and Lake MacDonald. OVERVIEW Even though enforcement officers have been increased by 20 members, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol will not immediately issue fines for non-compliance, as the current focus remains on education and awareness. Nonetheless, it pays to be aware of how any of these changes might impact on your fishing plans. Catch the fish; don’t get caught yourself. DECEMBER 2019


Hot bites of black and blue HERVEY BAY

Dane Radosevic

It is no secret now that we have one of the most productive and diverse billfish fisheries in Australia, from sight fishing juvenile black marlin in less than a few metres of water to trolling heavy tackle out on the shelf for blue marlin. There is even the potential to catch black and striped marlin in the one day! Skippers and anglers have been coming to fish Hervey Bay from far and wide.

200-400lb, with rumours of a few larger fish amongst them exceeding 600-700lb. Crews have been focusing their efforts trolling the steep ledges and canyons that run along the shelf line, fishing in anywhere from 150-1000m of water as they try to locate the warmer currents the fish often hang in. Trolling lures has been an extremely effective method for raising and drawing bites, with skirted lures proving their worth. A few of the more experienced and switched on crews have been switching the fish off the teasers, which has given them

The author took this 90cm Monduran barra on a slow rolled swimbait tight to the bottom during a slow bite. With a hot bite lasting throughout the previous month, there should still be plenty of opportunities to get out and experience what all the fuss is about! This incredible fishery is not just limited to the experienced large marlin boats, with many trailer boats also achieving good results. Blue marlin are the main species hot on everybody’s mind and have been in incredible numbers, with crews reporting up to 10 bites per day. With good numbers of striped and black marlin in the mix, some crews are managing to achieve the sought-after slam, tagging all three species in one day. The majority of fish being tagged have been averaging around

a much higher conversion rate. Fingers crossed that this red-hot bite continues throughout December and into the New Year. A few crews have been taking advantage of the excellent reef fishing on the wider grounds, taking a break from trolling to get the electric reels out. They’ve scored decent feeds deep dropping, with captures of quality bar cod, flametail, rosy jobfish, pearl perch and snapper amongst the mix. Pilchards, pencil squid and tuna fillets are all great offerings that can be salted down to create tougher, more potent baits for fishing deeper waters. The addition of a few glowsticks or a flashing strobe light to

your rig will also increase your chances. The shallower shoals and reef country from the 13 Mile and all the way down south should provide a mixed bag of demersals and pelagics on a variety of baits and lure offerings. With potentially strong currents, jigging is a fantastic technique and will capture a large variety of species like kingfish, amberjack, green jobfish, coronation trout, pearlies and lipper, just to name a few. Finding the weather window is often the hardest task this time of year. Light tackle crews have been getting stuck into sailfish and juvenile black marlin up off the 13 Mile by targeting bait balls. Trolling lures has been very effective, with the more experienced crews choosing to switch with baits and managing a much better conversion rate. Down off the Zero Mile due east of the cape, good numbers of juvenile blacks have also been caught by following the bait balls around, with the morning bite providing the best action. From the Wathumba region north to Rooney Point, inshore fishing has been a little hit-and-miss, with varying reports from different crews. One of the key pieces of equipment has definitely been a good quality teaser, helping to raise fish into your spread and encouraging them to hopefully switch onto and bite a skirt or bait. Platypus Bay has been teeming with bait in areas of the Pocket and in front of Station Hill. Mac tuna schools have been prolifically feeding in large schools on tiny rainbait, which has made them a little tricky to draw out. Smaller profile metal slugs in green/silver and blue/silver patterns retrieved extremely quick have drawn most of the bites. Fly anglers presenting tiny eye flies and surf candies have also had good results, as these fly patterns match the size of the

bait perfectly. Longtail tuna have been mixed in with the macs, however in all the commotion they can be a little harder to target. Smaller patches of birds working an area often indicate a patch of searching fish down below, as the birds watch and wait as tuna try to herd and push the bait to the surface. Fire up the smoker box – spotties are another popular target this time of year, with big schools of fish often found wide of the bay throughout the early part of the season out to the west of the Gutters and 25-Fathom Hole, before making their way into the 6 Mile Arch Cliff area right throughout Platypus and up to Rooney. Their movements are dictated by the bait supply, so be prepared to move around to find them on any given day. Spinning metal slugs is by far the most effective method. Using slice profiles and switching the treble out for a single hook can improve results. Inshore waters can expect a spike in productivity with quality table fish like sweetlip, blueys and coral trout numbers increasing as the water temperatures continue to rise. Sweetlip love run-in tides and are best targeted over the building tides of an early morning,

Cameron Pratt caught a Fraser Island blue on a well presented skirted lure. choosing to fish soft plastics, either casting and retrieving across the reef flats or tea bagging down deeper over the artificial arterial wrecks, with good results using prawn imitations. Live bait fishing is also very effective, especially if you can get onto some pike and anchor up over the gnarlier reef and ledge country on the turn of the tide. Don’t go anywhere without a squid jig this time of year, as pencil squid have started to show up throughout

prolific throughout the Susan and Mary river systems. Having a quality sounder with side scanning is key to locating these large schools of fish out in the open water and main river runs. Live bait fishers using herring, poddy mullet or prawns will find the fishing quite easy on either stage of the tide whereas for lure anglers, the last few hours of the run-out and the first of the flood tide will produce the best results, especially for those hopping soft vibes.

Mahimahi can be found in prolific numbers along the shelf line this time of year and love crashing the party when anglers troll for billfish. Fortunately, they taste great.

59 Torquay Rd, Hervey Bay QLD 4655 Ph: (07) 4128 1022 46


late afternoon or into the evening. Don’t be hesitant to fish right up into the shallows and float lightlyweighted banana prawn, squid and strip baits in less than 2-3m of water. Blueys have been best targeted by those prepared with live crab and handlines on many ledges, coffee rock patches and wrecks scattered throughout the bay and down the straits. For trout, many are

the main shipping channel, across the arti and the main channel from the end of the pier. During the day, fishing smaller 1.5-2.0 jigs rigged on a paternoster rig dropped to the bottom will be productive whereas at night, with the aid of a light you can tease them right up to the back of the boat and pick them off. With salty barra off the cards, anglers will have to focus their efforts towards threadfin salmon, which are

Keen river fishos are hoping for some rain to flush the rivers and kick jelly prawns into gear, in turn creating a fantastic flats and drain fishery to which you can often sight cast to mooching fish in less than 30cm of water. However, drawing a bite can sometimes prove quite tough. One of the go-to lures for targeting threadies when they’re keyed in on jelly prawns has been To page 47

Red strikes at Rainbow RAINBOW BEACH

Ed Falconer

There has been another cracking run of weather, which has produced some good fishing around Rainbow Beach.

OFFSHORE Snapper are still going strong and it’s been pretty easy to round up a good feed. Slowly floating down pilchards has been the best method for catching these guys at the moment. We’ve also been having

a lot of fun on the amberjack. High peak bommies are holding good numbers and live yakkas are the best bait, 100g knife jigs are also working well. Other fish on the bite include plenty of tusk fish, hussar, Moses

Dennis with a great snapper caught while floatlining.

Brian with a beautiful red on a recent trip on the Keely Rose. From page 46

the Jackson Bottom Magic Vibe. Simply switch out the double hooks and run a single treble on the rear and you have a super effective lure for hopping quickly through the shallow drains and over the flats. Mangrove jack have been quite active and are a likely target for anglers fishing the Burrum River, creeks and ledges that run parallel to the western side of Fraser. Drifting baits across rock bars and tight into the bases of snags has been a very productive method, with fresh mullet slabs and live mullet or herring tempting bites. Lure anglers have also been getting in on

the action, using a variety of soft plastics fished tight to structure. Hardbodies are another great option with offerings that dive deep into the strike zone within the first few winds working best. The Lucky Craft Pointer 78XD, Jackall Squirrel 79 Hank Tune and the Jackson Divitis are all great retrieved relatively quick to draw a reaction bite. Impoundment barra fishing is back in SEQ! It is fantastic to see Lake Awoonga and Monduran firing again. The average size of the fish has increased this season with fish 90cm+ being caught and many fish averaging the mid to high 80s. With daily catch rates in the double digits, why

perch and some big red emperor and cod. ON THE BEACH Some nice quality whiting are being caught down towards Double Island Point. Fishing at dusk with live yabbies has produced the best results. GREAT SANDY STRAITS It’s shaping up to be an

While enjoying fantastic conditions, Rob Junker managed to score some quality longtail tuna for his efforts.

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awesome mangrove jack season. Everyone I talk to that chase jacks are doing extremely well. Live potty mullet and herring are working the best, but cut mullet has also got the job done. Flathead fishing has been good. There have been some great fish landed on soft plastics around Carlo Point.

December can be a very exciting month if the mackerel turn up on time and, in the past, pearl perch and snapper have also had a good run. • To enjoy a day on the water with Keely Rose Fishing Charters phone Ed Falconer 0407 146 151 or visit www. keelyrosefishingcharters

wouldn’t you get amongst it? Both lakes are quite clear at the moment with patches of weed growth in certain areas. Fishing to consistent wind patterns and targeting the windblown points and bays has been producing the better bites, especially into the afternoon and late into the evening. Hardbodies have been an extremely effective lure option, either slow rolled with a few twitches or twitched and stalled for short periods of time. Lures of choice have been the Jackall Squirrel 79 Hank Tune, Lucky Craft Pointer 100SP, Duo Realis Jerkbait 100DR and Rapala XR12 in natural colour patterns to imitate garfish and bony bream. Slow rolled soft plastics

and swimbaits have also been accounting for their fair share of fish, especially when fished in the right scenario like open bays and flats as you can cover a lot of ground. As the bug activity increases at night, topwater will become a viable technique and makes for exciting fishing. ‘Walk the dog’ style stickbaits, poppers and frogs all have their place when chasing barra on topwater and will allow you to change to suit the scenario on the day. I wish you all a very safe and enjoyable Christmas period, hopefully consisting of bent rods, a few too many prawn cocktails and the odd frothy. Until next year, tight lines!

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Break for offshore GLADSTONE

Liam Jones

Warm weather, warm water, storms, glass outs and 30+ knots – November had it all. The wind has been extremely inconsistent, making it hard for anyone to get offshore. Small windows throughout the weekdays were mostly what was on offer last month. Those that did manage to sneak out

time to get up on the reef flats and throw some stickbaits and poppers. It can be one of the most exciting and visual styles of fishing around and red-throat, spangled emperor and trout love getting up on top of the reef flats to look for an easy feed. Pack attacks of all species will not be uncommon this month. Some of the best areas to fish locally are the bottom side of Wistari Reef (the top half has a green zone), Heron Island (also has a

Cameron Gillett caught this healthy jack on a recent trip. during the week had some cracking sessions. Red-throat lipper will be big, thick and aggressive at this time of year. Trout have been grouping for spawning season and pelagics have been getting active and aggressive. There’s no better

green zone), Sykes Reef and the top side of Broomfield Reef. Broomfield is a lot flatter than the other reefs mentioned, however it holds massive schools of spangles and some XOS trout on the northern ledge. Heron has an awesome lagoon that can

hold some big numbers of red-throat, however be aware of getting stuck inside, as the water drops very fast. Wistari is a more consistent reef. It has some great structure and always seems to hold good trout. For reef fish, I prefer a smaller slow sinking stickbait around 100-150mm. Working in big sweeping action in depths from 1-3m tends to produce the most fish. The Nomad Madscad, Zerek Zappelin and Rapala X-Rap Magnum Prey have all been standouts with big action even on a slow roll. Remember to check the fin fish closures if heading offshore this month! With barra season well and truly closed, a lot of focus has gone towards mangrove jack. The top of the Calliope is fishing well with some bigger than average fish turning up. Launching up topside of the highway bridge and working up towards the fresh has been accounting for most fish. Prawn imitations and the standard 4 and 5” paddletail have been doing the damage. With the lack of fresh water coming down, this system should continue to fish well until we get some decent rain. Turkey Beach and Colosseum have been fishing well. They’re probably the pick of the systems if you’re specifically targeting jack over the coming month. Be careful if you haven’t fished these systems before, as they are very shallow with some nasty rock bars not easily visible. In the harbour, big golden snapper have been turning up in numbers. The coming months are often the best time to target

Any red on a jig is a bonus, especially one caught on a little PE1-3 jig stick and 3500 size reel with 30lb braid. them. For lure fishing, big paddle-tails around the rock bars and bigger soft vibes in deeper structure country are my go-to. If you’re bait fishing, the trusty old live mullet is pretty hard to beat. Look for areas with decent flow, reasonable depth and structure. If you can find such spots in the harbour, you will typically find golden snapper. Out a little further, schooled grunter have turned up ready for spawning. Targeting gravel beds in 10-15m of water combined with a decent sounder makes them a pretty easy capture at this time of year. In this depth, the best method is slow pitch jigging with 40-80g jigs, vibes if the run allows and jerkshads or jigging grubs. Remember that these are schooling fish and can be caught in big numbers in quick succession. They don’t typically release too well in anything over 10m so once you’ve got enough for a feed, move on to something else

like the masses of school mackerel floating around. All the typical haunts like the shipping channel, Tripods, North Entrance and Sable Chief Rocks are loaded with doggy mackerel at the moment. They can be good fun on light spinning gear and are not bad fresh on the barbeque. Crabs should start to fire a little this month. A little more rain would be ideal but even without it we should see a small run come. Tooloola Bends, Grahams Creek and the Narrows should be the top picks for a decent feed. Please be aware of the new bag limit on mud crabs. It’d be terrible for someone’s Christmas to be ruined because they thought they were doing the right thing and kept the old bag limit of 10 per person. The new limits are 7 male crabs per person and a maximum of 14 for the boat. Awoonga is still going off! Although more boats have been fishing the lake every day, it is still

continuing to produce good numbers. The fish are slowly getting bigger as the water temperature heats up. Suspending hardbodies have been consistently productive. As the average size increases, lure size will probably increase to match. However, what’s working one week might be a dud the next, so if you’re not fishing the lake week in week out make sure you drop into a local tackle store and find out what’s working that week. Merry Christmas from all the staff at LJ’s Compleat Angler Gladstone. We hope you manage to get out for a fish or crab and enjoy some much needed time off! • For more information on what’s biting, or to stock up with all the tackle and bait you need, drop into LJ’s Compleat Angler Gladstone at the Gladstone Marina on Bryan Jordan Drive. You can also check out the latest news, photos and specials at Facebook Compleat Angler Gladstone.

Bumper barra bounty at Mondy LAKE MONDURAN

Rob Howell







• Hot water • Sleeps 8, licensed for 10 • Self contained • DVD player • BBQ • Fridge/freezer 07 4157 3881 or email



Northerly winds have dominated at Lake Monduran over the last few months. Windward points and bays throughout SDA, Bird, Insane, Heart, Jacks, and Cow bays and the south arm of B are great starting points and have produced the majority of barra being caught. Barra around 70-85cm have been a common catch lately with plenty of 50-60cm rats mixed in amongst them. At the top end of the scale, we have seen barra caught just under the metre mark with the biggest being 98cm. It’s not uncommon to be sitting

there tied up to a tree or on spot lock with your electric motor watching your sidescan to see big

numbers of 1m+ barra move through in waves. This is so encouraging as it proves not all the big barra

Despite some excellent barra catches, the search is still on for the Golden Barra worth $150,000 in prizes.

have gone as a result of the flood in October 2017. I have no doubt that these bigger barra will come out to play over the Christmas period, so get yourself and your gear ready for the summer months ahead. LURES A combination of hardbodied lures, like Rapala X-Raps, Shadow Raps, Jackall Squirrels and Lucky Craft Pointers have been very successful over the past few months. In the soft plastic range the Jackall Rythm Waves, 6” ZMan SwimmerZ and the Zerek Flat Shads have also been working well. Soft Vibes have been very productive when barra are moving through under the To page 49

Anglers are all in on Awoonga GLADSTONE

Dylan Christie

The days are getting longer and that only means one thing: more time on the

proven and is so versatile you can do it in almost any depth of water as well as any structure, provided you are running weedless and vary the weight of your jighead to suit the situation.

freshwater fishing. It’s not uncommon to find schools of 50+ barramundi throughout the lake but you won’t be the only one that has found them, so a more subtle approach

sitting on a deep structure. Head up onto the top of the shoal you’re fishing or up to the edge of the reef and you will be very surprised with what you can find in the shallower water. The build up to the moon is always a great time to fish the tops of the shoals, especially at night. Red-throat seem to be really fired up lately. If you’re out throughout the day, coral trout will be on the cards with early morning the best time. As most anglers know, stickbaiting the flats has become very popular over the past few years and if you’re looking for a fishing style that gets the heart pumping but you still get to take home a feed at the end of the day, it’s the technique for you. Larger tides push the bait around a bit more and concentrate them to pressure edges of the reef, and if you find the bait, you’ll find the fish. It’s still worth putting your lure through sandy gutters, as you will often find schools of fish awaiting an easy feed. However, this is not for the faint hearted – you

Mangrove jack will be out in force during the summer months. will need to set hooks and go hard because these fish still know where their home is. In the estuaries of CQ there are many fishing options at the moment, whether it

Bryan with a quality trout he caught from out wide. water. With the amount of fishing options in Central Queensland, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The main talk around town is that the mighty Lake Awoonga is back! There has already been a huge spike in people from as far south as Victoria coming to fish arguably the best barramundi impoundment there is. Awoonga is a very large lake with three main arms, the Boyne, Iveragh and Riverstone. At any given time, there will be concentrated fish in all areas, as well as in the main basin. One of the techniques anglers use to target barra is the simple rolled paddletail. This method is tried and From page 48

boat. Vibes work really well when vertically jigged up off the bottom with one or two sharp upward motions. BUNDABERG TOYOTA GOLDEN BARRA COMP The last month at Lake Monduran has been exciting to say the least! Hundreds of anglers from all over the East Coast of Australia have come to visit this impoundment for their chance to win a share in over $190,000 worth of cash and prizes in the Bundaberg Toyota Golden Barra

Anyone that is keen on barramundi fishing usually has a swag of surface lures in their kit, as it is such an exhilarating way to chase these big animals. From anglers’ reports, the last moment in the afternoon right through the night and into the early stages of daylight is your best bet for throwing surface lures, and don’t be afraid that your lure is too big. Long rods and long casts will increase your chances, as when the fish are up in really shallow water they are easily spooked and even something as small as closing the hatch on your casting deck can shut them down. That goes with most fishing, although it seems to be more of a thing with

can produce results. Hopping prawn imitations through the schools has been very effective of late, with some anglers choosing to rig them weedless and add more vibration with an Owner Flashy Swimmer. If you haven’t felt the power of a barramundi inhaling a suspending jerkbait on the pause, it’s highly addictive. Choose the best depth lure for the area you are fishing and you’re away! It pays to run a very heavy leader, as most of the time the hook-ups are deep. Offshore fishing has been exceptional when the weather has allowed anglers to make the trip out. Tropical species love warm water temperatures so don’t just go

Competition. Ten tagged barra were released in late October with individual prizes attached to them – the biggest prize is the Golden Barra, which could win you a Bundaberg Toyota Dual Cab GXL Landcruiser and Seajay Boat Motor and Trailer package from Bundaberg Marineland worth a staggering $150k. While no tagged barra have been caught as yet, the Rapala guaranteed monthly prize for the biggest barra caught (tagged or untagged) on a Rapala lure will win $1,500 of Rapala lures, gear and equipment. Check the details at www. for details on how to win. • We look forward to seeing you over the Xmas period as these are awesome months to target barra at Monduran. We also have a huge range of kid’s activities on offer over the school holidays so please visit our website for all details and don’t forget to register for the Golden Barra Comp. For more info you can call us on 07 4157 3881 or email us at info@ or contact me on 0410 599 147 or visit my Facebook page Lake Monduran Guidelines Fishing Charters.

Dan’s pigeon pair of solid estuary grunter.

be the simple drowning of a prawn chasing the bread and butter species to casting lures at a snag-lined bank, waiting for a mangrove jack to come and play. Mangrove jack are well and truly on the chew with livies and lures effective in landing these estuary brawlers. If you prefer live baiting, a making tide over your favourite rock bar is always a good start. Soft plastics, hardbodies and even surface lures have worked well in luring jacks away from their homes. Grunter are still thick throughout most systems, especially South Trees. It seems everyone has been catching them and it has not been uncommon to find schools of 20+ fish at a time. The making tide is a great time to target them, as they often push up onto the flats to feed.

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End of the angling year BUNDABERG

Jason Medcalf

December is the time when holidaying casual anglers put some time in on the water and for those that are more addicted, we get to put in more than two consecutive days. This means we can get more of a feel of what’s happening in our favourite spots. When we’re back to weekends, all we’ve learnt will come in handy. If you’re going to be spending some extended time on the water, spend it wisely, as putting in the extra effort to look for new ground or even new locations will help throughout the next year. BURNETT RIVER As locals know, the state government has decided to release 105,000ML of water from Paradise Dam. The

reason given by the state government is to bring down the capacity of the dam to a level they feel is safer for the current condition of the dam and its spillway. The spillway did suffer some damage in the 2011 and 2013 floods and during the repairs they have found issues with the structure. No official report has been released yet but there has obviously been enough evidence found to indicate the dam may not handle another huge flooding event like in 2013. Because of this, anglers are experiencing an artificially extended wet season, which means the river will be flowing with fresh for sometime. This has already got the river firing and either by luck or good management the barramundi season closed just in time, as the fresh really got barra moving. As it is closed season,

the other target in the river enjoying this flush of fresh is mangrove jack. Most rock bars and holes will be worth a look and getting down to them with sinking vibes and blades is key. There have been some quality grunter in the town reaches and soft plastics and live baits will get you the bigger models. There are still good numbers of flathead hitting trolled lures, mostly down around the ferry crossing area. OFFSHORE Hopefully anglers will get a look offshore this break, as smaller weather windows have been providing some exciting mackerel fishing with big schools all along the coast. On the bottom, most of the good eating white flesh species like sweetlip, tuskfish and coral trout should be on the chew. Try larger baits if you’re looking for better quality fish; the pickers will still be there, but

their feeding will attract the better fish. BAFFLE CREEK It seems the river is doing its thing at the moment, with big stretches barren of fish life and then small pockets teeming. This happens this time of year if we haven’t had a big fresh, it just means you must go looking for baitfish. We did get some rain lately but at the time of writing, we are still waiting for some decent downfalls. I put some time in on the creek and had a couple of excellent sessions, with several fish going 50cm. I found jacks were sitting off the bigger snags on the smaller tides and really liked fast moving plastics. The key was lots of looking and plenty of casts at anything laying in the water, including small sticks in a foot of water over the sand bars. Enjoy your Christmas break and boat safely.

Simon Medcalf caught a great eating size flathead.

Fishing the silly season ROCKHAMPTON

Clayton Nicholls

King threadfin salmon are still hanging around, and grunter and golden snapper have been caught in big numbers around the headlands and rock bars. The barramundi closed season is in place, so if you happen to get one as by-catch you should unhook it while it is still in the water.

them while they are schooled up on the mud, you’ll score some prime bait or a great feed. Targeting the creek entrances, gutters and drains has yielded good results for most anglers. The rock bars around the port and out the front of Curtis have also produced great fish. Smaller lures like ZMan StreakZ Curly TailZ or Berkley Gulp 3” shrimps have enticed fish. If fish have been short striking, work the lure slower. Some of the best fish

Trent Deen pulled this nice cod from some tight structure. FITZROY AND THE NARROWS The Net Free Zone has been producing some incredible catches of late. There have been some excellent salmon and the size of the grunter around is outstanding. There have been a huge amount of prawns in the system over the past few months. If you time it right and get onto 50


for the month have come from a barely moving curl tail just up off the bottom. All the species in the river can be fished for on standard barra gear, so don’t pack it away for the season. RIVERS, CREEKS AND BEACHES As we move into the holiday period, the main fishing areas like Coorooman, Corio, Causeway and the

Fitzroy will begin to see more pressure so it is important to get every advantage you can. This means early starts or a camp out the night before to make sure you are on the water before all the heavy boating traffic begins. An early start also means you will be there as the water temperature is cooling from the night before, which can result in great fishing. A great spot for families to fish easily with a chance of big fish is the run-through at the Causeway Lake. Any tide over 3.7m results in enough water flowing over the concrete base to create a good amount of flow in the lake. Tides around 4.4m are the best, especially for hanging back from the crowd near the toilet block and fishing right over the deeper channel. The baitfish in these waters at the moment are mullet, prawns and small whitebait. Cast netting these or matching your lures to the style and size of the bait in the estuary will greatly improve catch rates. Effective lures have been the Berkley Gulp 3” Prawn, Castaic Jerky J and Keitech Easy Shiner along with ZMan StreakZ 4” Curly TailZ, and anglers have gotten the best results when changing the colours of these lures daily depending on the conditions. FRESHWATER LAGOONS We have yet to see rain filling the lagoons and waterways, however out west a few hours the water has finally cleared up enough to chase saratoga consistently. Great lures for them include 50-70mm poppers and 50-80mm surface walkers.

This giant herring went for gold on Trent Deen’s light baitcast set-up. From time to time, shallow fat cranks and lightly-weighted plastics can do the damage, but surface baits seem to consistently produce. It has now been a few seasons without good rainfall over local freshwater areas, so here’s hoping that it all fills up this year and provides some excellent fishing for everyone. CRABBING There have been large numbers of crabs in the river and estuaries of late. Setting pots in deeper gutters and drains coming out of mangrove flats has provided great results. For bait, your typical mullet head pack will do, however leftover frames from reef and estuary fish work well and mean that nothing goes to waste. You really only need to sit the pot for an hour or so for crab to move into it – think about if you are bait fishing, how long it is before you can feel a crab sometimes. I generally let them sit overnight, drop them in Friday after work and run them

Saturday morning, fishing for a bit before collecting them. It’s important to note

the change in bag limit for mud crabs has come down to seven.

The author got a monster estuary cod slow rolling a plastic through some still water next to a line of flow.


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’Tis the season to be jolly STANAGE BAY

Pee Wee

Christmas is upon us with the rain, the muddies and the fish we have been given! Showers and storms have stirred up mud crabs and they have started coming out of hiding just in time for a Christmas feast. Choices are varied for where you can place pots so if you don’t have a boat, try for the banks off Porters Creek or if you’re out boating, head for the creeks within Quail Island. Barramundi season is currently closed so you can take this species off

your target list and focus on a selection of other great fish in the area. Usually jewfish are a great source of entertainment, but these also are off limits due to recent changes introduced by Fisheries. The quota of fish that are able to be taken has been met, so jewfish are on the no-take list until the New Year. This quota rolls over from the commercial fishing industry so once they are at their final numbers, recreational fishers can no longer catch these species either. Notices are regularly posted to the Fisheries Facebook page, but if you’re not technologically savvy it may pay to give them a call on 13 25 23 to

confirm and save a world of hurt in fines. Instead, bream, salmon, cod and whiting are easily accessible within the bay and all are great tasting. Calm weather hotspots have brought out some beautiful coral trout around the Percy Isles. Hexham Island has a few smaller species of stripies, rock cod, small trout and baitfish to keep you occupied. The Marbles always have good opportunities for catching a variety of species. With so many places to choose from, you’re bound to get enough for a decent feed. The dirt road is in pretty good nick. The first half from the highway is pristine and

the second half is slightly corrugated but still perfectly functioning. The Stanage Bay boat ramp project is complete. A big thank you to all those involved in making this place just that little bit more spectacular. Summertime storms have started rolling in. Please be ready for these if camping so your belongings and family are kept safe and sound. It’s time to start writing out those Christmas wish list, so whether it be a new boat, rod, reel or a few new pots I hope you make Stanage Bay the place to test them out. Enjoy your holidays, stay safe and be sure to have a very merry Christmas!

Fantastic coral trout have been caught around the Percy Isles. • Don’t miss out on the amazing fishing and crabbing at Stanage Bay! Call us at Stanage Bay Marine & Accommodation

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Festive bags for one and all YEPPOON

Scott Lynch

With school holidays here already and the kids looking for something to do, the fishing side of things is looking promising. We had an exceptionally dry mid-year, which determines fish movements in the estuaries, the Fitzroy and Keppel Bay. Fish push further upstream searching for a feed, such as prawns and new growth molluscs.

Coorooman Creek have cockle beds and holes where you can get quality grunter in slightly lesser numbers than the river. All the better spots have very similar features in the local systems. The offshore grunter should be in good form at many of the local wrecks and patches around the bay heading north. Grunter will take prawns or flesh baits, but yabbies are the top bait. I use a long trace bream rig with as much weight as needed to hold the bottom. Plastics have been working when the current slows around low or high.

Luke Keating caught this Fitzroy king thready. We have been getting 75cm grunter in the town reaches of Rockhampton. More boats have been hanging around Devils Elbow lately, indicating that grunter are about in some numbers. The bends downstream from Nerimbera have been holding grunter between all the bottom undulations. The delta area and Connors Creek is doing fairly well and like the other spots, they perform better around the full and new moons. Corio Bay and 52


Large threadfin have moved back up into the Gavial area where they can move in and out of town with the tides. They have been resting along the channel drop edges over the low before moving and spreading on the rise. The town fishing platforms, jetties and the high banks are prime spots to soak livies. Vibes and paddletails worked slowly through the schools have been most successful recently. I still like to troll hardbodies along the drops in around

5m of water either side of low tide. The Capricorn Coast beaches and right up to Corio Bay have turned out plenty of dart and decent whiting in the past few weeks. The Coorooman Creek mouth has a vast area of sand banks and channels that flathead and schools of whiting inhabit for most of the year. Rundles and Long beaches have been whiting hotspots. The schools of whiting move along the beach with the tide and some of the fish taken lately are well worth the effort and the walk. I have noticed more people worming on Farnborough Beach than I have seen for years. Worms have always been there, they just tend to slow on flood years with the lower salinity in the bay and pick back up in drought years. The best local areas to worm are north of Big Dune, Nine Mile Beach and Five Rocks. Bream, flathead and queenies can also show along any of the beaches this month. Rosslyn Bay has been outstanding in recent weeks as the number of Spanish mackerel, doggies and jew have increased. If you don’t have a boat, the harbour and outside walls are great spots to take the kids. There is a real chance of catching queenfish, golden snapper, flathead, bream and cod too. The inside wall from the Harbourmaster’s Hut to the trawler wharves has some serious fish at times. It can be a good spot even when the wind is howling and making other areas unfishable. It also has lights so evening fishing is a great option. Catches of blue salmon have increased locally, as they finished their breeding journey and have

settled back in their home estuaries. Coorooman Creek and Corio Bay have the biggest numbers in CQ. Blues can be taken on a variety of easy-to-get baits. Whiting fillets are the best bait if you like salmon more than whiting. Prawns or yabbies are up there too, although pilchards, herring and hardihead all work well. They will also take hardbodies, plastics, vibes and metals. I have caught several blues on the troll lately while doing exploratory runs looking for new spots on the sounder. Mangrove jack seem to be a bit of an enigma for most of CQ’s locals. They appear when you don’t expect them and can be hard to find when you do expect them. The best local spot is the Causeway Lake. It has many branches and rock bars with very little current and a fairly constant depth over the tides. Anglers who target them regularly all seem to prefer a structure that stays in the water all the time so the jacks don’t have to move much at all. In a recent run we found jacks on nearly every mangrove that had plenty of roots and shade. The Fitzroy River, Coorooman Creek and Corio have small populations of jack but they’re hard to get regularly. Jacks can be put off very easily and the days when there is lots of boat traffic nearby are almost a waste of time. However, on a late afternoon when all the commotion has died down and everyone has gone home, jacks can fire. They go equally as well on bait or lures if you fish as light as you dare. Weightless strips of mullet flicked right into structure is almost as good as it gets. Unweighted weedless prawn imitations are exceptional when you find the trigger for that

Mitch Dowling landed a fine barcheek trout off Emu Park. session. Some days you can skip the lure hard under the branches and it gets nailed on the drop and other days it takes a quick splash with a fast retrieve to provoke a reaction strike. Live prawns and poddy mullet also shine when they are available and dropped in the right spot. Barramundi off season isn’t really an off season, with the nearby impoundments all in their prime. I can’t say catching barra is as easy as finding them though. If you’re a barra addict like I am, it is worth a run to any of the major dams. We had a great trip to Awoonga just recently. If you can afford it get a guide for a session, as their advice on how to land your dream fish is invaluable. Local tackle shops can also be great for tips on gear and location. Queenies and trevally have been giving the beaches of the Keppels a work over. The schools of hardihead and gar have been

drawing the predators into very shallow water around the headlands and beach gutters. Corio Heads and Little Corio are prime sportfishing locations over December with queenies, giant trevally and mackerel all possible, particularly with an early morning high tide. The Christmas mackerel run is starting and there have been some quality Spanish taken in the past week. Doggies, greys and even a spotty or two were landed out around the islands and that means we could have some fine shows over the holidays. Keppel Bay to Manifold and Cape Capricorn are full of mackerel spots and they all could fire, depending on the weather. The only thing that might dampen the macky run is rain, but we need rain more than a few fish. Merry Christmas to you all.

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Teemburra is teeming with bait MACKAY


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Summer is well and truly here as we close out 2019! December will be either dry and hot, or wet and hot. Whatever the rain situation, the temperatures will be high in the 30s, which is good for anglers. Barra are now getting really fired up in the three dams and MAFSA Inc. members have topped up Eungella with a whisker under 10,000 barra so far this summer. More barra fingerlings are on the way with stocks to be replenished in Kinchant and Teemburra dams, hopefully by the year’s end. That will give the fingerlings a good 5-6 months of rapid growth before next winter. MAFSA members will also be stocking a few thousand barra fingerlings in each of the weirs on the Pioneer River in early December. The fingerlings were bought at 25mm long and have grown out in the hatchery to between 100-150mm, thanks to the care of the members. They were bought with funds generated by the INDT World Sooty Championship 2019. The freshwater barra scene is looking pretty solid at the moment, and water levels

While chasing pelagics offshore, it’s always a good idea to drop a vibe to the bottom. Troy Taylor came up trumps with this long nose emperor. surface lures work just as well here as anywhere else. Teemburra and Eungella are both fishing well, with Teemburra currently teeming with bait. Expect to have barra smacking lures all over the dam during December, with any point near deeper water worth a go. I prefer the challenge of targeting them in and around the timbered areas but there are far more fish out in the main basin of the dam. In the timber accurate casting is the go and it is a great way to sharpen up the casting skills. Good barra have been coming from the flats in Middle Creek, and up near the old homestead in Teemburra Creek and the main basin. Unless you are trolling, the

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There are plenty of barra around 60-70cm in the dams at the moment and a flashy profile fly cast around some sticks brought this one undone. are staying fairly high, which is good news. Unfortunately, the closure of the Kinchant Waters business has just happened and we are not too sure just what the future situation will be as far as camping is concerned. It will still be a great fishery and one of the best spots to tangle with a monster barra. Kinchant fishery is a weed bed dominated barra dam and the stable water levels have seen good growth of weeds. Big plastics rigged weedless are probably the most reliable lures for this dam, and don’t be afraid to tie on one 200mm or longer. Trolling hardbodies is also a proven big barra catcher in Kinchant, while large bulky flies are the go on the long wand. Naturally,

open basin areas usually mean anchoring and continual casting until the fish move from the deep into the shallows. Use the big paddle-tails, fish traps, vibes or big hardbodies that run 1-2m deep. The fly angler needs a flashy offering that pushes plenty of water and is probably best worked off an intermediate line. Sooties in Eungella Dam are biting their heads off and should keep on doing so during December. However, around Christmas the dam gets really popular with skiers and holiday-makers and the increased boat traffic can make them a bit harder to locate. Head to the upper reaches of the river and into the shallow bays with lay down timber – there is plenty of food and

not much disturbance for the sooties. Down in the saltwater creeks and estuaries our phenomenal run of flathead should continue through the summer, although if we get lots of rain and muddy water, they will be hard to find. Flathead like clean clear water and prefer sandy areas, but they will move up onto mud banks. Bream, whiting, small trevally and grunter will all be around in the lower parts of the creeks and estuaries and can be caught using baits or artificials. The humble yabby is a great all round bait that will catch almost anything and they can be pumped at plenty of spots around Mackay. Check into the local tackle shops for the latest info on what’s biting where and on what. The really stinking hot still days are the time to be chasing jacks in our creeks and they can be caught off rock bars, snags, and narrow gullies and gutters. A few jacks can also be picked up around the rocky headlands and along the trainer walls in the Pioneer River. Live baits of prawns or poddy mullet work well and weedless rigged plastics also account for plenty, however, their teeth make a mess of most plastics. Vibes also work well but given the country jacks live in, the lure losses can mount up quickly. Close inshore, the small macks and tuna will still be around right to the end of the year, as long as we don’t get flooding rains (which is unlikely) and we keep getting

the N-NE winds. Good schools of herring and hardiheads are still around the harbour areas and will keep the macks and tuna around. Pilchards on gang hooked rigs continue to account for plenty of small macks and any number and type of lure will also work. Again check with the local tackle shop staff for the good oil on this scene. Likely spots for the small macks are around Slade Island and Slade Rock, out from the harbour, and around Flat and Round Top Islands out from the mouth of the river. But with so much bait around they are likely to pop up anywhere, so as always keep an eye out for working birds as they are a dead giveaway that there is action going on below them. If there is surface splashing and birds wheeling and diving, then 100% there will be macks and/or tuna on a bait school. Fishing in the NFZ centred on Seaforth has been continuing to improve but expect the area to get plenty of attention during the holiday period and the campground will likely be pretty well patronised too. The big improvers in numbers and quality of fish have been the barra and grunter, now that they don’t have to run the gauntlet of nets. Grunters are regularly being caught well over 60cm in numbers that haven’t been seen for donkeys years. They are being caught from around the close islands, the estuaries, and well up the creeks that drain into the NFZ. Crabs are definitely on the move with the summer weather and a couple of pots in before Christmas should snare a few for the festive period. Commercial crabbers are really hammering the NFZ to the point that almost every gully has anything up to a dozen pots per 100m, so the poor old muddie is doing it tough. Watch your legal sizes and only keep a couple for the pot and make sure the jennies go back, as the patrol officers are out and about. Finally have a very safe and happy Christmas, get out on the water and enjoy our piece of Paradise here in the Tropical North. See you at the ramp.

Hot weather and jacks go hand-in-hand. This one was pulled from a small snag at the mouth of the gully in the background.


Barra can feel too! PART I SE QLD

Ron Jenkins

The barramundi season is now closed, which gives us time to learn more about these incredible creatures. Over the next few issues we will be looking at some important knowledge on barramundi themselves, as it can go a long way toward landing you more fish ready for the open season. Rather than focussing what we can see by simple observing with the naked eye, let’s take a look at a barramundi through a more scientific eye, and focus on some characteristics that are often overlooked, or not known at all! In this three-part series, we will examine the barramundi’s sense of feel, hearing and sight, and how we can use this information

In respect of these lateral lines in fish, you can liken lateral line operation to that of a sounder transducer. The main difference is that the fish does not generate pulses of energy. It simply ‘listens’ for energy waves sent into the water by the movement of other underwater creatures and processes those energy waves (vibrations) to gain information. It’s called ‘passive sonar’. We’ve got active sonar in our boats but barramundi have (and always have had) passive sonar built in. However, our active sonar is nowhere near as sophisticated as their passive sonar. The lateral lines actually consist of a line of special receptors called neuromasts on the barramundi’s skin. These neuromasts look a bit like very small pimples, which have very fine hairs

Fig 1. A picture is worth a thousand words. Look at diagram sections A and B. C (phase) doesn’t interest us. to catch us more of these trophy fish! This month, let’s have a look at the barramundi’s primary tool for finding sources of food, the sense of feel. Barramundi have the ability to feel vibrations in the water. Not with their fins, but with something much more advanced than anything humans possess. They feel with a line of sensors running lengthwise on each side of the body.

embedded in them. Vibrations in the water cause the upper half of the ‘pimple’ to bend at the same rate as the vibration. Sensors attached to the fine embedded hairs transfer the collected data to the fish’s nerve centre for processing to provide location information of the source. So what happens if the fish is sitting in a current flow? Obviously, the neuromast will be bent over

by the constant current flow. If the current flow is high, then the neuromast may be bent half over most of the time. That means that incoming vibrations from another fish may not be as easily detected by the neuromasts. Basically, the current flow is interfering background noise. It’s like trying to listen to TV news while the neighbour is mowing. To better detect potential food, the barra simply moves to an area of less flow. An area with less lateral line background stimulation. That could be to a position shielded from the current’s negative effect on its lateral line (a rock bar, snag or simply to the edge of the run). The principle being that if you can’t ‘hear’ your potential meal moving around then it’s going to be a lot harder to get a feed. So where does that leave the often-quoted statement in popular magazines and websites that ‘barramundi hide in snags, rock bars and other structure because they are an ambush predator’ come from? They are no more a skulking predator than you or I. They’re not finding a place in which to conceal themselves at all. They’re just finding a place with less interfering current flow so that they can ‘hear’ the dinner bell better. It also means that they expend less energy in low flow rate areas, maintaining their basic stationary position by fanning their three big ‘rudders’ (caudal, anal and rear dorsal fin). Conservation of energy is a very basic and essential activity for barramundi. So, on big tides with lots of current run, look for them in areas of reduced tidal flow. These can be edges, backwaters, tight into rock bars or substantial snags, the tidal lee side of a point etc. If close to the estuary entrance, then on the headlands and backwaters where the tidal flow is less. Those with sidescan sounders will tell of schools of barramundi ‘sitting on the bottom’ and not feeding. I believe that activity is simply another way of conserving energy. Tidal velocity is reuced on the bottom, so barramundi are simply conserving energy. As the run eases, the need to sit on the bottom in order to conserve energy diminishes, plus they can detect vibrations with less background interference. There is a one very important characteristic associated with these

A single neuromast. A barramundi’s lateral line is made up of many of these pimple-like receptors. Image courtesy of The Scientist 2016. lateral lines and that is the type of vibration that the neuromasts best respond to. The answer from scientific research is very low frequency vibrations. In luring circles, that translates to types of lure action. How good is the lure at creating vibrations that the fish can best detect with its lateral line neuromasts? How well can the lure action emit those ‘dinner bell’ vibrations? In technical circles, sound frequencies are measured in hertz (cycles per second). Human hearing ranges from about 50 hertz to about 15,000 hertz (15khz) when young. We can’t hear sounds below 50hz and we can’t hear sounds above 15 khz. In respect of fish, their lateral line ‘hearing’ is excellent up to 10hz but drops off quickly above that. That’s why fish can’t detect sounder frequencies if left on. Common sounder frequencies of 50khz, 80khz, 200khz, 455khz, 800khz and 1200khz are simply well beyond a fish’s detection range. So our lures need to generate vibrations at the peak of what a fish’s lateral line has evolved to work best at. That frequency is under 10 hertz. Now that’s really low and is associated with slow speed. Maybe that’s the reason barramundi seem to prefer a slower retrieve. It may be nothing to do with being lazy or slow. They can be really fast when they want or have to be. It’s simply that slow retrieves generate the lower lure vibration frequencies, which the barramundi lateral lines can best detect. Section A of figure 1 shows how a neuromast bends backwards and

forwards at the same rate as an incoming vibration with section B showing how much of that incoming vibration is sent on to the fish’s nerve centre. Follow the top red line. It’s horizontal and then drops off sharply. At the green point on B marked ‘cut-off frequency’, that marks the point at which the fish’s lateral line response drops off. If you follow down vertically from that point, you’ll come to the bottom axis ,which reads ‘Frequency Hz’. That vertical line coincides with 10hz. That’s the top frequency of the range of vibrations that fish can detect best with their lateral line. The lower frequency response starts at approx. 1hz. 10hz = 10 cycles per second = 600 cycles per minute = 600 revs per minute = 600rpm = the maximum peak range to which a barramundi’s lateral line is tuned. 1hz = 1 cycle per second = 60 cycles per minute = 60 revs per minute = 60rpm = the lower peak range to which a barramundi’s lateral line is tuned. So, barra can easily detect vibrations in the water between the range 60rpm to 600rpm. What rpm range do electric trolling motors operate in at slow speed? Between 60rpm to 600rpm, depending on the tidal run characteristics. Now, what’s this about electric motors being ‘stealth mode’ operation for sneaking up on barramundi? Their lateral line is perfectly tuned to pick up the vibrations of the electric motor’s propeller rotating up to 600rpm. More like stealth mode accompanied by a

brass band! Yet, it doesn’t seem to faze barra a great deal, but they’re aware of the presence of ‘something’ generating the vibrations. With a vibration generator (the electric propeller) belting away, the lures being cast to nearby snags/ rocks will want to generate lots of low frequency action to be heard over the underwater din. Having determined the best frequency to be heard by the lateral line (10hz or less), the only thing left to do is generate enough vibration from our lure to be distinguishable above all the other vibration noises generated underwater! That’s where our knowledge of lure shapes, sizes and bibs needs to come to the fore. Now we’re getting into an area where lure makers have had undisputed boasting rights about action. Its okay if we simple anglers know as well, but we won’t possess the knowledge that years of lure making brings to the ‘black art’. Tail kick, bib surface area, lure shape, bib angle of attack, hydrodynamics are subjects that all effect action (vibrations into the water) of lures. You often see claims by lure manufactures about tight action, wide action, slow action, inaction etc. But not one will nominate the design frequency of the lure vibration. I’ve never seen a lure described in that way, even though the lateral line is the prime tool used by barramundi to find food. Why is that? Is it because many don’t know how lateral lines actually operate and what their lures need to do to capitalise on that particular barramundi characteristic? DECEMBER 2019


Dashing through a Whitsundays wonderland WHITSUNDAYS

Mick Underwood

It’s not just the weather that has been heating up around the Whitsundays; the fishing has as well. Whether you’re a creek,

but the ones that are around are decently sized. The days we’ve been able to venture offshore have been limited due to consistently blustery conditions and as a result, I have spent most of the last few weeks fishing inshore around any mainland

again, which has been nice to see as they were a tough target through winter. There should be plenty of piscatorial delights to enjoy in December. We are now moving into the most unstable period of the year in regards to the weather and I will be calling out to the weather gods to be nice this summer. Last year was a shocker; we had a long run of rubbish nor’westers and then it turned around to the southeast and blew the oysters off the rocks for weeks on end. Hopefully we’re not that unlucky two years in a row. On the days when you can get out there, the shoals and outer reef will see plenty of activity. At the outer reef, coral trout are at the top of most anglers’ wish

Tara Hilet enjoyed getting into some light tackle action, catching this nice little barrel of a mac tuna. of my favourite techniques but it is by no means the only effective option. Soft plastics and vibes claim plenty of fish and if the fish are up shallow enough, small to mid-sized poppers can drive them mad. As with surface fishing for any type of fish, the visual aspect of it takes the excitement to a different level.

Alex Savage tussled with this giant trevally on 12lb string. beach or reef angler, there has been something on offer for all fishing enthusiasts. Shore-based fishos have been getting into whiting, which are pretty much everywhere lately and in massive schools to boot. Some days walking the beaches, the whiting schools have been so dense they look like cloud shadows moving around. The size of the average specimen has been right up there. As always, they are extremely cagey and a stealthy approach with finesse tackle is required. Good numbers of flathead have been in amongst whiting and they are still biting well considering that water temperatures have increased. As a bonus, the beaches have been holding some quality squid. There haven’t been massive numbers of them

headlands and inshore islands. Apart from enduring some nor’westers, inshore fishing hasn’t been too bad. Coral trout have been the star performers on the inshore fringing reefs, with the big models obliging and biting well. They have been eating almost anything thrown at them but the best ploy for the larger fish has been setting big live baits down deep just a metre or two off the bottom. Pelagic fishing has waned a little for most species. The inshore pelagic bite we had through July, August and September was right up there with the best that I have ever seen and so many incredible fish were caught. It couldn’t stay red-hot forever, but there has still been pelagic fun on offer. Solid schools of tuna have been around and giant trevally have reappeared

An unusual algal bloom on the foreshore at Hydeaway Bay turned the colour of the water blood red. 58


this will continue for a while yet. Giant trevally action has already started to pick up. Tackling these tackledestroying brutes in any situation is fun enough but when you can catch 20kg+ models in 3m of water or less, it takes things to a whole new dimension. They can’t go down so the only place that they can run to is

Bigger trout are coming on the bite. This solid fish was caught by William Yuan on a live stripey. lists, along with red-throat emperor. Unfortunately, I always hear sad stories of anglers losing fish after fish to sharks. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that there is currently a major imbalance in the ecosystem, as there are just too many sharks causing carnage to the tourism industry and fish stocks. It’s frustrating that politicians haven’t taken action on this and anglers have to fish with one hand tied behind their back. As anglers, we can all do one simple thing to minimise any damage to our fish stocks. If sharks are pestering you, don’t persist; move location. Don’t move by just a couple of hundred metres either; if it’s necessary, make it several miles. It is ludicrous to sit in one spot and lose quality fish after quality fish to sharks in the hope that you might wind up getting one or two for the icebox. By engaging in this practice, you deplete our valued fish stocks and tilt the already out of balance scales further in favour of the sharks. Keep the damage to a minimum by moving on. Over the coming weeks, most of my fishing will be right on the doorstep and close to home. At this time

of year, the shallow fringing reefs in Edgecumbe Bay and out in front of Dingo Beach and Hydeaway Bay come to life with plenty of options for all anglers. Coral trout, gold-spot cod and sweetlip are the predominant reef species that will be on the chew and there is a myriad of ways to target them. Fresh baits as always are a simple and effective ploy but through this period of the year, they’ll smash a lure just as readily. Casting or trolling hardbodies is one

Kasey Gardner caught her biggest jewfish to date with a chatterbait. There should be some pelagic options up in the shallow country as well. Tuna activity has been consistent and I am hoping

the horizon – it’s a blast! Best wishes for your angling endeavours this month and I hope Santa fills

Steve Ford pulled this solid coral trout up off a shallow reef.

To page 59

Relive the thrill of the fight AYR

Steve Farmer

This might sound more like a weather report than a fishing roundup, but the fact is Burdekin anglers have copped a hammering over much of the past month from unseasonal, persistent and exceptionally strong southeast winds.

catches at best. All tactics produced some barra, but live prawns fished either under a float or on the bottom, tempted the most fish. Fortunately, catches of mangrove jack and bream helped ease fishers’ disappointment at the poor barra action. One of the few Burdekin barra highlights over the past month continues to be

the beginning of 1 November 2019, until immediately before midnight at the end of 1 February 2020”. As I understand it, that means that instead of casting your lines at one second after midday on 1 February (opening day) you’ll have to wait until just after midnight on 1 February. But don’t take my word for it - check with DAF if your interpretation is

Calm summer weather will allow anglers to fish the rocky headlands, bommies and drop-offs along the seaward side of Cape Upstart during December. Bluewater fishers are, sensibly, holed up at home, but with the start of the barramundi closed season just days away at the time of writing, keen estuary anglers have been making a last-minute effort to score a barra or two from their favourite creeks. I live on a road leading to two of the district’s many estuaries and lately I often hear tow vehicles and tinny trailers bumping and rattling along the road at all hours of the day and night, headed for what can be some of the best estuary fishing in the delta. Unfortunately, the rewards haven’t been as forthcoming as most anglers would like, with most fishers heading home with limited From page 58

your stocking with piles of cool fish-catching pressies for the new year. Have fun and stay safe on the water! • Reel Addiction Sport Fishing Charters specialises in light tackle fishing for all tropical sportfishing species on fly, lures and bait. Reel Addiction operates from the beautiful Cape Gloucester Beach Resort, 40 minutes’ drive north of Airlie Beach. Combined fishing charter and accommodation packages are available. For more information, contact Mick Underwood on 0413 882 153 or email

the freshwater reaches of the Burdekin River, with a surprising number of fish of all sizes being taken from late winter through to now. Large, light-coloured, soft plastics have accounted for a large number of the fish caught. Barra are now well and truly off the menu. In fact, the closed season will be a third of the way through and the really keen anglers will already be making plans for the opening day. However, note that opening time has been changed slightly this year. According to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries media release on 4 October 2019, the closed season will run “from immediately after midnight at

different. The cost of doing the wrong thing can range from on-the-spot fines of $533 to a maximum penalty of $133,450. The DAF website explained that the reason for the change to the closing and opening times was to standardise start and end times for the majority of fishery closures, simplifying compliance with closures. An often-debated point worth keeping in mind during the closed season is that it is prohibited for anglers to target barramundi for catch and release. “The stress of capture may actually prevent the fish from spawning”, said Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol District Manager, Tony Loader.

au. Resort enquiries can be directed to Julie Houston on (07) 4945 7242 or at To stay

in touch with what’s biting, check out the Reel Addiction Sport Fishing Whitsundays page on Facebook.

Sean Gilham did well to fight this jewfish up to the surface while nursing injured ribs.

DECEMBER OUTLOOK While estuarine barramundi might be well off the menu until after midnight on February 1, Burdekin anglers can still enjoy the thrill of that style of fishing on a smaller scale, by downsizing and targeting mangrove jack, fingermark and other snagdwelling species. With a little refinement, barra-luring tactics (such as casting or trolling hardbodies or soft plastics) will work equally well on many species in our mangrove-lined estuaries. I wouldn’t suggest downsizing the rod, reel and line you use, but rather the lures you flick. Jacks especially, react well to small minnows (6-10cm in length). If you do catch a barra unintentionally, land and unhook it as quickly as possible. Handle it by holding its jaw with one hand and supporting its body weight with the other and return it to the water. Better still is to not remove it from the water at all, unhooking and releasing it beside the boat. Other estuary species worth targeting during December include grunter, salmon and flathead. Some Burdekin creeks may

Provided the estuaries aren’t washed out by floodwaters, Burdekin Delta creeks should still produce modest catches of flathead during December. also produce trevally, the occasional queenfish and the small species of mackerel, especially close to the creek mouths and on big tides. Sportfishers frequenting inshore waters around Camp Island, Cape Upstart and the Alva Shoals should be ready to tangle with tuna, school and doggie mackerel, trevally, queenfish and the

occasional cobia. Upstart anglers who might fancy a break from the fishing and the heat can enjoy a freshwater dip free of jellyfish in one of the creeks that run out of Upstart’s rugged ranges. That is provided we’ve had some decent rain to get these normally-dry streams flowing. We can only hope!














Make sure you’re fishing for success this wet TOWNSVILLE

Dave Hodge

We live in an incredibly diverse environment. As I write this, the clouds are starting to build in the afternoons and the humidity is increasing. Hopefully we can expect a ‘normal’ wet season, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a bit earlier than usual this year. Last February’s rain event was life changing and devastating for many people. Fishers whose homes weren’t under threat were the only ones who had the chance to enjoy the seemingly relentless phenomenon that lasted for more than a week, and the memories of the insane fishing that followed for the next couple of months will last longer than the memory of the flood itself. The long-term benefits of last February should continue for several years. Mass spawning happened soon after the floods and many small barra have been making their presence known, so the next few years should be great for recreational barra fishers.

Mick Rennie has the required experience and practice to land exactly on the mark, as this jack is just one of many he has caught. fishing year round. Some stonking big girls have been caught in the fresh, and the weir action will only increase until wild fish are back on the cards. There have been a few changes in the freshwater reaches of the Ross since the floods, and the main one has been the elimination of expansive weed beds. The

cast and retrieve techniques. Since the flush, they have dispersed throughout the system and have been caught in all weirs with standard gear. Repeat active casting and retrieving of paddletail plastics from 4-12” will catch fish. Slower twitching retrieves should entice an arm-jarring strike eventually, and if you’re an adrenalin junkie, chuck a popper, fizzer or other surface presentation and hang on! Bigger ‘walk the dog’ style surface stickbaits and poppers in 80-105mm cast long distances are worth the effort. While plenty of anglers have been trolling up big fish on deep divers, casting hardbodies will get you the numbers. With the weed having been cleaned out to a large degree, 30lb braid and 40-50lb leader will land most fish. In the open water areas, 20lb braid should suffice.

MANGROVE JACK Last month, jacks were not particularly active. Thankfully they’re back into the swing of things and wherever they’ve been, they’ve been growing. The build-up to the wet has got jacks extra cranky, and the hottest, most uncomfortable days are often the best time for these aggressive lure smashers. Small to medium profiled diving lures are a good option, but check the trebles before you throw it at your first snag. You should also check leader damage after an encounter in the sticks, because a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude will cost you fish and lures. The riskiest drains that could see you potentially stranded for hours will reward you the most. If your timing’s not perfect, wait for the tide to rescue you. Expect every now and then to damage an expensive prop on your motor as you negotiate these tiny drains and shallow creeks, bump into a nest of nasty mangrove wasps, and have the odd close call with a croc launching from above, trying to escape the threat of a heard but unseen intruder! More jack fishers have become proficient at skipping soft plastics, as it’s now an important aspect of casting the NQ rivers and creeks. What lures you skip depend on what the main food source is at the time, as matching imitations will work best. On those golden days when they’re eating absolutely anything, surface stuff is the go. You just can’t beat that red flash as you hear that cracking bite and the line springs tight. Short, sharp bursts of only a few inches at a time get them angry and a 65mm popper is perfect, but I upgrade the trebles for the

The last weekend of barra season produced spectacular action, like this solid barra caught on a lumo Halco Paddle Prawn. BARRA The season is closed until February but thanks to a handful of dedicated volunteers in the local community known as the Townsville Barramundi Restocking Group there are plenty of stocked fish in the Ross River. If you purchase a Stocked Impoundment Permit, you can enjoy barra

thick aquatic weed growth required a very specialised type of fishing where the right lures and rigging had to be used to fish effectively. Apart from a small percentage of barra sitting out in the open where the sounder could pick them up or the odd one down in the deep holes, many were tucked up tight in the weed and only catchable by persistent



The last of the run-out tide will force jacks to retreat to the mangrove-lined edges to wait for bait to try and escape. Rig up weedless to get the best results.


Every Saturday 5.00pm on 60


timber when a bit of thumb may be needed on the spool. It’s common for anglers to go to a spin rod when using smaller lures and it’s a very relevant consideration given that smaller lures don’t weigh much. I prefer a soft tipped baitcasting rod whenever

If we get any sort of significant run-off, it’s worth keeping an eye open for unpredictable tripletail next to the floating debris, channel markers and weed pushed out from the Ross to surrounding creeks and rivers. Thankfully the weed hasn’t become too

An incredible weekend of fishing to end the barra season. possible, but when any reasonable distance is needed, like when fish are easily spooked, the only real option is a spin rod. Spin rods made with a soft tip allow for casting smaller lures. While the average jack size in this neck of the woods isn’t that of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast areas, the numbers more than make up for that. A 50cm jack in these parts is a cracking fish and I’ve only landed a few over that mark since I moved here seven or so years ago, with 56cm being the biggest. They tend to average 41-44cm so 20lb braid 30lb fluorocarbon leader works well. You do get railroaded every now and then, but most of the jacks get landed. If you’re using surface lures, use a mono leader to save sinking the face of the lure too deep and dampening the action. THE BAY It’s not until the wet season kicks in properly that species like grunter and golden snapper push out a bit further to escape the fresh, and they’re a great option for small lures and bait fishos with smaller boats that need an option while barra are off limits. Fresh slab baits are also an option with gar and mullet the top choices, but beware the sharks.

plentiful this year since the floods wiped much of the weed out, so the floating stuff may be a bit down on the last couple of years. Some anglers use soft vibes and you should have one always rigged on a rod ready to go as soon as you see anything floating on the surface. I’ve caught them on a variety of hardbodies and soft plastics, but smaller lures almost always seem to work better. Try and spot them from as far away as possible, as they can be quite spooky at times. If you’ve never caught one before, they’ll surprise you how hard they pull and how high they jump. Trout are always on the cards on the shallow reefs and in warmer months I prefer fluoro coloured lures for them. They can be caught on cast hardbodied divers, trolled divers, soft plastics and soft vibes. If you find a patch of big fish, soft plastics will be the most cost effective way to fish for them if you’re getting busted up. I hope Santa brings you that shiny new baitcaster ready for barra season, or maybe a new rod that fits the bill for next year’s pursuits. Luckily, fishos are the easiest people in the world to choose presents for!


Listen on 5am-6am Every Saturday

Expecting a dry December CAIRNS

Garry Smith

Last December saw near record rainfall of over 800mm, but that’s far from the norm for Cairns. The two previous years didn’t come close to 100mm, with the December average being 182mm. Looking back over rainfall data, there are very few consecutive Decembers of above average rainfall, so my money is on a drier than average end to the year. That should mean that fishing will tick along nicely, without any major weather influences. Water temperature will

be the main factor with a month of dry, still weather usually pushing the water temperature up around the 30ºC mark. Fishing early, late and at night will be the key. If there are patches of rain, fishing before and after downpours can be productive as the fish become more active, especially if the rain comes from electrical storms. Generally there are plenty of chances to get to the reef this month. The best time being the build up to full and new moons. The only downside is this usually coincides with increased shark activity. Few boats have managed shark free trips this year but there have been a couple of glimmers of hope.

Max Bomben from Canberra caught the first black jew along the headlands north of Cairns in over 20 years.

Retired reef charter skipper, Peter Todd, has found over the years that anchoring up, turning the motors off and sitting for 15 minutes or so before dropping a line seems to give sharks that have been following/honing in on the boat, time to disperse. Another regular reef fisho, John Wedrat, has noticed, in the very deep water at least, that sharks seem to be less of a problem on the neap tides. Other boaties are experimenting with electronic shark repellents but I haven’t heard of any sure-fire method yet that keeps the mongrels at bay! If you can get a few fish past the razor gang, you can expect a mixed bag of trout, spangled emperor, stripies, Moses perch and trevally in the shallows and large and small mouth nannygai, along with red emperor in the deep water. Generally the higher the water temperature, the deeper you need to fish, unless there has been an upwelling and cooler water has been brought to the surface. This is not a regular occurrence, so only on the water monitoring when you get out wide will let you know it’s happening. Be prepared to move around a fair bit, until you locate feeding fish but be sure to be

on good country at the turn of the tide and moon-based bite times. Trolling for pelagics can be both productive and a good way to reduce the sweltering heat on those hot, still days at the reef. Mahimahi, yellowfin tuna, trevally, wahoo and Spanish mackerel should be lurking around the current lines, bait balls and pressure points, along with the odd sailfish and black marlin for those that like a bit more adrenalin with their fishing. Inshore wrecks, reefs, pinnacles, isolated rocks and islands should be holding a few trevally, mackerel and cobia midwater and large mouth nannygai and golden snapper near the bottom. Jigs, slices, vibes, soft plastics and live bait are all worth a go, most anglers have a favourite method. The variety of approaches is nearly as varied as the anglers, with no particular approach holding sway. It tends to be more a fad that changes with the seasons, depending on the latest tackle available and what is getting the most coverage on social media. The one constant is live bait, which is hard to beat but often scorned by the modern angler. In the lure department, vibes seem to be the flavour of choice.

Golden snapper numbers are on the increase with good numbers of smaller fish being taken this year. Most of the charter operators seem to stick with live bait as their main approach. It certainly makes sense from a financial perspective as well as productivity. Golden snapper have probably been the most consistent inshore/estuary fish this year. Their numbers seem to be on the increase with good numbers of smaller fish being taken by anglers, especially along the headlands and in Cairns Inlet. With barra off the target list for three months, mangrove jack, grunter and salmon round out the

preferred catches. One species that is either making a serious come back or a periodic return is black jew. Reports from many areas along the East Coast have indicated an increase in black jew numbers this year. I have even seen them caught along the headlands north of Cairns for the first time in over 20 years. Trinity Inlet has also seen quite a few captures this year. Those looking for a feed of crabs for Christmas will need to rely on rain, as without a good flush in the streams they are hard to come by this month.

Fishing the low light PORT DOUGLAS

Lynton Heffer

Water temperatures took their time to rise this year, but are now set to peak. Fishing during the low light periods of the day will be key to success, with the middle of the day becoming slightly tougher. Black marlin started to appear late October along the shelf and big fish have continued to be caught on a regular basis. The initial cooler currents made for a slow start to the season, which might hopefully equate to a longer season on the billfish. Some are predicting the bite to continue right up until Christmas this year. Besides being the most productive black marlin ground in the world, the outside reef is also holding a healthy supply of great sporting pelagics, including yellowfin tuna, wahoo, mahimahi and bonus sailfish. The weather generally remains quite flat during December, so even the smaller boat brigade will have the opportunity to get amongst the spoils

on the shelf. On the reef itself, as to be expected, the reef fin species have become a little bit more challenging to pin down in solid numbers. The best way to claim a decent haul has been to make multiple shifts during a trip. Turn of the tide have been a critical time and night time trips can see a lot more activity, especially on the nannygai. Just be careful of predicted forecasts as storms can build up in the blink of the eye and be quite nasty. If bad weather from the west is forecasted, simply don’t go, they are the worst. Being caught at sea from a sudden cell formation is extremely frightening. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of opportunity to hit the reef this coming month. Generally you’ll come across a mixed bag of species, including coral trout, nannygai, emperor and sweetlip. There will be a few big rogue Spanish mackerel doing their solitary nomadic runs and the trevally can really turn up the heat at this time of year. The likes of gold spot, tea-leaf and bludger trevally can turn a session into a manic one, pulling your arms out their sockets.

Sharks will continue to be an issue at times with a huge appetite for nailing prized fish. All you can do is vacate the area. Inshore, the beaches will see a lot of small shark activity. Spinner, black tip and lemon sharks have just dropped a lot of new born pups in the shallows along the coastline. They are good fun for a while but hopefully you can nail some nice blue salmon, trevally or queenfish in between. In the rivers and creeks, fishing early morning or late afternoon is paramount, and coinciding with a tide change is even better. In recent times we’ve seen some really handy golden snapper (fingermark) taken in deeper sections holding structure. Mangrove jack and estuary cod have been super busy along the mangrove edges, especially an outgoing tide. Incoming tides have seen some good-sized trevally coming through and the tarpon have been gathering in the deeper pools en masse. Remember to keep hydrated at this time of year, avoid the middle of the day if possible, and if you play your cards right you can really do well both inshore and offshore.

The marlin run has continued to produce big fish this season. DECEMBER 2019


Net Free Zone keeps on giving CAIRNS

Dan Kaggelis

It’s the month for giving, and the Trinity Net Free Zone has certainly been giving anglers plenty of joy. The creeks have been absolutely firing lately with plenty on offer for both bait and lure fishers. With the barramundi

closure still in full force until 1 February, Net Free Zone anglers have been turning their attention to the mighty mangrove jack. It’s a great time of year to target jacks as the hot humid days really fire them up and get them feeding hard. The Trinity Inlet has been producing some thumper red fish for those casting 3-4” paddle-tail plastics close to snags on the

last of the run-out and first of the incoming tide. The pick of the lures have been the ZMan DieZel MinnowZ, Molix RT Shads and Biwaa Shads. Getting your lures as close to the structure as possible has been the key, so rigging weedless is the best option. The beauty about fishing weedless for jacks is that you rarely get a missed bite because these fish crunch a lure so hard and

Big jacks have been burning drags in the Trinity Net Free Zone.

with so much force that the hook always finds the mark. With the hot weather also comes the rain. When the run-off affects the creeks, lure fishing can be tough so it can pay to switch to bait when the water is dirty. Fresh or dead herring are lollies for jacks and if you can’t throw a cast net I’d highly recommend stopping into one of the local tackle stores and getting some Chris Bolton herring bait. This is locally sourced and as close to fresh frozen bait that you can get. The trick to fishing herring is using a lightlyweighted running sinker rig or, if the tide allows, no sinker at all. Cast your herring into or around the snags and let it sink slowly. If there is a jack there it’s going to get nailed, so get ready for that strike. On the slower, neaper tides the other top option is golden snapper in the deeper water. Look for deeper water around the bends of creeks or in the main channel, especially up the Inlet. When using lures, vibes are the best option in the deeper water while herring or mullet strips will bring results on the bait. While the Inlet has been firing, the open beaches have had excellent reports. Salmon, both blue and king threadfin, have come from Machans, Holloways and Yorkeys Knob beaches in the

December and neap tides spell golden snapper. Net Free Zone. The calm northerly winds really fire the beaches up and it’s a great way to fish. Head down for the afternoon with a couple of rods and sink a few fresh baits on the incoming tide. It’s a great way to fish and relax. While the fishing has been great, so has the promotion of the Net Free Zone. On 7 November the

Cairns Regional Council Recreational Fishing Working Group held its first annual Net Free Zone Forum in Cairns. I had the pleasure of presenting at the event and it was a great day to meet others from Rockhampton and Mackay NFZs. There are some big things on the horizon and we are all very excited to continue with this net free opportunity.

Time for a red Christmas HINCHINBROOK

Ian Moody

As December is in the middle of closed barra season, I have been sneaking every opportunity to get out the front and chase largemouth nannygai on deepwater wonky holes. Building tides leading up to the full moons are the

best time to target this species inshore, provided you get a good weather window to do so. With the heat becoming oppressive this time of year, it can be a good idea to leave very early morning and return earlier than usual for a better chance at calmer weather and less heat. Even better, fish through the night. I have been using large live greenback herring collected before leaving inshore and Quickcatch

SS150 vibes. Most wonky holes will have good bait schools on them, so you can also take a bait jig with you and collect livies while you fish. Please check that if you’re fishing in a yellow zone, a bait jig of no more than six hooks sized between no. 1 and no. 12 (both inclusive) can be used. Bait jigs with hooks sized 1/0 and larger cannot be used. On a recent charter near Lucinda, getting too

Mick caught this 10kg largemouth nannygai. 62


close to the moon periods was a little tough. Most wonky holes I fish on were showing no signs of life or very little on the depth sounder. However, I found that sometimes it pays to pull up and give them a crack anyway, as sometimes the school of nannygai can be quite wide of the wonky and end up circling back around to the wonky itself. Within five minutes, my client had hooked up a nice 8kg model and while playing the fish, I noticed another 40 or so fish on the sounder had moved in with it. Sometimes they will hang around and you can hook a few more, other times they can move off just as quick as they appeared. Often wonky holes holding large goldspot cod are the ones that produce quality nannygai. Last month, average to plump-sized mangrove jack from about 44-48cm were found in among rocky headlands and detached timber snags. They can’t resist a small live mullet placed in close range to structure. One exciting way to target them is using a weedless unweighted Keitech

Neil Simpson nailed a gold-spot cod weighing 15kg. Noisy Flapper Frog cast up into underlying mangroves at about half tide. On those hot days with around 31°C water temperatures, they are usually very aggressive and will eat them off the surface. December should be a good month chasing coral trout out on the reefs. Dropping pilchards or even mac tuna strips on a paternoster rig usually does the job. The smaller ones above the minimum size of 38cm are better for eating and also minimise the chance of ciguatera. Unfortunately for me,

this month I’ll be pulling my charter boat out of service for a much needed quick refit. Four years of constant charters has seen many battle scars and one worn out engine. I’m looking forward to new electronics and some much needed improvements. • Now is the time to get in and secure your spot for the 2020 barramundi season starting in February. To book a charter, you can email us at info@ or phone 0402 339 459 with your enquiry.

Good weather and bent rods for Christmas LUCINDA

Jeff Wilton

Once again another year has seemed to fly by and we now prepare for the crazy festive season that is December. It has been a great year here at Lucinda with consistent fishing up the channel being the highlight.

I hope everyone has their wish list sorted for Christmas fishing goodies. Let’s see what should be bending our rods around this time of year. HINCHINBROOK CHANNEL It’s about now that the dry heat normally makes its presence felt, which can make fishing rather uncomfortable through the middle of the day. Hopefully we will start

The best areas to find grunter normally have a bottom of patchy sand, mud and shells. A combination of a couple of good wet seasons meant that there has been great numbers of school size fish in the 60-75cm mark. There seemed to be less numbers of larger fish or conditions didn’t suit them to show up before the closed season. The weather allowed the odd window to head out towards the reef but those windows were normally short, but any day out on the reef is a good day!

to see some storms and rain build up to cool things down but normally we get nothing substantial until around February. With barramundi off limits it is all about chasing mangrove jack, golden snapper (fingermark) and grunter. These three fish are by far the most popular targets and, even better, it is also the best time of year to target all of them. Fingermark and grunter can be caught in similar areas

and the best spots will be deeper water in the channel or deeper holes in the creeks. Smaller tides and night time sessions with quality bait will help improve catch rates of bigger fish with better numbers. There are plenty of spots littered throughout the channel with its 60km+ of waterway. A good sounder will assist you in finding those areas that hopefully see less boat traffic. Smaller areas of rubble or a rock ledge that is away from anything major is a great spot to prospect, you will be quite surprised at the size of some fish that will come from spots that seem not very exciting on your sounder. Fishing live baits is the secret to getting a shot at trophy fish and all gun fishos chasing fingermark will put in the time getting a live bait tank full of sardines and squid. Grunter can be caught in the same areas as fingermark but the best areas are normally spots that have a bottom of patchy sand, mud and shells. Some of my favourite areas for catching grunter have been spots that seem very plain on the sounder but when you pull the anchor up the prongs will be covered in mud with shells mixed through it. Grunter can also be caught in shallow water and are normally by-catch when chasing barramundi. They will normally hang just off the edge of the dirty water line

in the clearer water. A great technique to catch them in these shallower areas is to use lighter gear and make long casts parallel with the bank, smaller profile soft plastics and small blades or vibes will get attention. For best results use lighter braid and lighter leader so your presentation is as realistic as possible. JETTY, ISLANDS AND REEF It will be no surprise if the weather is terrible over December as there will be plenty of people around down the beaches with a few weeks off work. The beachside communities are packed over Christmas and front yards normally resemble a boat show with boats of all sizes and styles. Hopefully the weather is kind and we have light winds and clear skies so everyone can get out and enjoy our magical part of the world. There have been a few good golden snapper (fingermark) caught off the sugar loader jetty over the last few months. Most of these fish have been caught by anglers fishing live squid all night and if you’re prepared to put in a few hours you should be rewarded with possibly a trophy fish. Fingermark fight hard and it can be a crazy battle, especially when fishing tight to the jetty structure. If we have had some rain and the water is a bit dirtier then trying for some golden

grunter back towards the start of the jetty will be worth a few hour’s effort. Fresh sardines or prawn fished on the bottom around dark is the best chance of tangling with these fish. Island fishing will

this in mind as no matter how perfect the forecast is you will come back from the reef over perfect flat seas to be greeted with around 20 knots of northerly wind that starts around the 30m

Now is the best time to target the big jacks. be tougher over summer as the fish will normally move deeper and into more secluded spots. There are some great coral trout out there if you are lucky enough to find yourself a good spot that doesn’t see much boat traffic. Once again quality fresh bait is key to getting better fish in the boat. On top of most anglers’ wish list will be good weather and no wind so we can all head out to the reef. It can get stinking hot in the middle of the day when there is no breeze so fishing early morning and coming home in the middle of the day is a great idea. This way the boat is on the trailer before the horrid northerly sea breeze whips up a very ugly sea. For those that are visiting, keep

contour line all the way to the ramp. This sea breeze hitting a big outgoing tide becomes extremely messy and can be somewhat dangerous if you’re not confident in these conditions. Care must also be taken on those overnight trips as summer is when some very nasty storms can brew up out of nowhere and if you have ever had to ride through one in the pitch black you will know it isn’t much fun. Make sure your boat is always prepared and a quality anchor with lots of rope is very important. That’s it from me for 2019 I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year. I look forward to informing you all about what will be happening in 2020 around my local waters here in Lucinda.

Festive feast of lovely seafood COOKTOWN

Justin Coventry

The weather is great at this time of the year. In Cooktown the wind never seems to stop but as Christmas approaches the expectation there will be countless opportunities to get out to the reef to stock up for a seafood feast for the festive season.

and coral trout, and local mud crabs to finish it off. You have to love the selection of seafood on offer at this time of the year. The weather heats up but so does the fishing. Coral trout have been on the chew, with large numbers caught on recent reef trips. At one stage we had five trout on board before we even saw another species. They can be very

Coral trout have been on the chew with large numbers caught on recent reef trips. ‘Prawns on the BBQ’ can be upgraded here in the north, with crayfish

aggressive and are usually the first to bite, so if you start catching other fish then

it’s probably time to look for another spot. There will always be more trout that will eventually show up but they have travelled along the bait berley from another part of the reef. Sometimes it is better to move more frequently if they are biting well, as you will catch more in less time. The water can be so clear at this time of the year, as the wet season hasn’t arrived yet. The rivers are clear and clarity on the reef can be astounding. Most times you can see your bait on the bottom and even see the fish coming. I’m not a fan of fishing in deep water where this occurs, as it can be distracting and frustrating seeing everything. With the waters so clear, I’m also keen on spearfishing, which is my other obsession. I love to swim around on one of the most beautiful places on our earth and choose what I would like to have for dinner. It’s the only way crayfish end up on the BBQ! However, the northern crayfish is a plant eater and doesn’t have as great

a flavour as the southern cray, but it’s nice cooked up in dishes that add extra flavour – my favourite is in a red curry. Mud crabs are a little harder to find this time of the year as they are still spread up the river. As there is less fresh following down the river systems they venture further upstream, so putting pots upstream can produce good results. It’s always a little trial and error when crabbing. Having a few pots out and moving them to where you are catching them in the river system will produce. Always use fresh bait each day, and reef fish frames work the best. Everyone will be watching the weather as the coming wet season causes the mud crabs to move quickly out of the river systems. The freshwater increases and the mud crabs look for the more salty waters out at the river mouths. Crabbing can be very productive as the floods wash them down and out of the river systems. Barramundi are off the menu but hopefully the numbers are getting

The reef will produce plenty of reds this December. replenished as the breeding females head down to the river mouths and headlands. On the closing day, I took the kids down to the local wharf and the action was intense, with two large barramundi hooked but not landed. Both put on an impressive aerial display and one looked about 80cm and other well over a metre. Although they weren’t landed, it was great to see these large fish heading

down the river system to breed as you never know what could have happened during the fight – resident groper were in attendance and could easily of had a nice meal. The large barra would have been returned anyway so just seeing it was good enough for me. Until next time, have a great December and hope there is lots of seafood caught at Christmas for your family. DECEMBER 2019


Top reef action predicted before the wet the best chance for a hot bite. It will also mean any breeze floating about will help cool your sweat. Standing on a sandy creek mouth as clean water pushes


Tim O’Reilly

Even though both the East and West coasts of Cape York are closed to barramundi fishing, December still remains a fantastic month for fishing across the board. One of the world’s most remarkable fish migrations of 1000lb+ black marlin starts around the Ribbon Reefs before pushing south towards Cairns, and all manner of blue water species will be hungry for action.

Hooked up at the beautiful reef lagoons on fly.

This decent trevally was taken at a creek mouth. Around the outer reefs and shoals of the Great Barrier Reef, anglers can push wider out than at other times of year due to the settled wind patterns. Squalls will be a regular occurrence, however, the actual wind velocity will normally be well down compared to the winter months. This means trailer boats and smaller game boats normally restricted in range can get amongst some mind-blowing fishing this time of year. Coral reef species quite often move into shallow water during late spring and early summer to commence

spawning type behaviour. Despite the spawning activity, some lovely tasting and fighting reef dwellers will be in shallow shoals and inshore areas chasing the plentiful baitfish congregations. Each December, some great images stream through media channels of golden snapper and coral trout taken in remarkably shallow and clear water. Others, such as tuskfish, emperors and sweetlip, Maori sea perch and mangrove jack can all be taken under these conditions. The shallow reef lagoons turn up surprisingly good fish. Up the creeks, things can

be productive, but usually under increasingly warm conditions. With barra off the menu due to the closed season, any accidental captures must be returned to the water immediately unharmed. These are tough fish and anyone who has seen battle scars on barra from sharks and the like will realise that a quick tussle and resulting lip-piercing will do little harm. Mangrove jack, grunter, golden snapper, cod, bream, flathead, queenfish, numerous trevally species, threadfin and bluefin salmon will all be fired up on the making tides and the last of the run-out. Being somewhere near a tiny Cape York creek mouth in low light conditions will provide

Eva with a lovely green jobfish taken on the outer reef. back into a tiny creek system is a very Cape York way to fish. Little or no fishing pressure at many spots makes them prime position to target all manner of hungry critters as they make their way back into an estuary. Camped in a tinny or besides one of these creeks next to


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Location: NSW

Location: VIC




time of the year when male crocodiles are moving around more within their territory, which increases their territorial nature. Make use of early December to get your fishing kicks in before the next wet season swings into gear around Christmas time.

Ian False with a typical Cape York creek mouth hook-up.


a flickering campfire, you quickly realise the murderous intent of predatory fish during the night. As usual, be crocodile vigilant, especially at this

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It’s a top time to troll in impoundments TOOWOOMBA

Jason Ehrlich

Water temperatures should really start to soar this month. Even I would brave the temperature for a quick dip at this time of year! This rise in temperature changes the way the fish behave. Shallow holding fish will be forced a little deeper and those that like the depths may actually rise with the thermocline. Warmer water encourages fish movement during this time, so the fish tend to suspend and move around a lot. This makes it

the perfect time for trolling. Trolling lures is a great way to target most of our freshwater species. Diving hardbodies are usually the go-to lure but fish can also be fooled by a trolling sinking lure. If it can be cast and retrieved, it can be trolled. Working out how deep your lure will track by altering the amount of line out and the speed of the boat takes a bit of time but it is certainly worth the effort. The ability to offer different lure styles while trolling can make a huge difference. Just like casting, choosing the right type of lure to troll can soon turn

SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND CRESSBROOK CLOSEST TOWN: CROWS NEST There are still some quality bass being caught,

but they have been a bit tricky. Trollers are having plenty of success on the deep fish suspending way out in the old creek beds. Extra

a bad day into a good one. The most important thing to keep in mind is placing the lure right in front of as many fish as possible. Work out your lure’s running depth by noting the depth it starts to bump the bottom, you will improve your chances way more than using just guesswork. The bearded man in red and white will be on his way later this month so rather than unwrapping undies and sock, I suggest leaving a few hints around the house. You can’t beat a few new fishing toys on Christmas Day. Until next year, buckled rods from The Colonel!




14 31








1 Tinaroo Falls Dam 2 Peter Faust Dam 3 Burdekin Falls Dam 4 Eungella Dam 5 Teemburra Dam 6 Kinchant Dam 7 Cania Dam 8 Lake Monduran 9 Isis Balancing Storage 10 Wuruma Dam 11 Lenthalls Dam 12 Boondooma Dam 13 Bjelke-Petersen Dam 14 Lake MacDonald 15 Gordonbrook Dam 16 Borumba Dam 17 Somerset Dam 18 Wivenhoe Dam 19 Pindari Dam 20 Copeton Dam 21 Moogerah Dam 22 Maroon Dam 23 Leslie Dam 24 Connolly Dam 25 Coolmunda Dam 26 Clarrie Hall Dam (NSW) 27 Hinze Dam 28 Lake Cressbrook 29 Callide Dam 30 Lake Awoonga 31 Lake Samsonvale 32 Fairbairn Dam 33 Koombooloomba Dam 34 Cooby Dam

need to run 4-8lb braid and fish the lures well back. Trolling with the outboard is fine as the extra speed pushes the lures a bit deeper. Adding a few stop/ starts to the regular trolling routine can also make a big difference. A lot of the fish have been taken when stopping to wind in lures or during tighter turns when the lure speed changes. Casting has been hard work when the fish are scattered. When you sit in a spot for a while they will

Gold Coast






deep divers were the way to go last month but the fish may start to rise a bit more in the water column. Lures that dive to 10m are perfect. To achieve this depth with smaller profile lures you will

Bass have scattered at Somerset. Trolling hardbodies has worked a treat. The Spectre and HD Vibration jigs are another great option for lure casters.




Cairns 1





Townsville 2

3 4

Proserpine 6 Mackay




Emerald 29 7


Highlighted dams are covered in this issue


30 8

Bundaberg 9




tend to come and go from the boat as they school up a bit below you and then move on. Flicking G2 Gang Bangers and soft plastics has been a good way to get bites from these fish. Take advantage of them when the action is hot. Often a few fish can be caught before they get lockjaw. On the good days, they will return and chew again but when it is tough, move on, rest them and return later. There were quite a few golden perch caught casting


around the edges of the lake with lipless crankbaits a bit over a month ago. This is always worth a quick try early and late in the day. Goldens do tend to hold in the shallower areas of this lake while the bass have been preferring deeper water. • For all your fishing supplies and the latest reports on the surrounding dams, call in to see Fish’n’Bits in Alderley Street. They have a great To page 67

QLD AND NORTHERN NSW DAM LEVELS Dam............................ % Full

        

DAMS Atkinson Awoonga Bjelke-Petersen Boondooma Borumba Burdekin Falls Callide Cania Clarendon Cooby Coolmunda

SEP OCT NOV 5 5 5 68 66 64 5 4 4 25 24 23 92 88 83 92 86 80 41 39 37 66 64 63 0 0 0 33 30 28 4 3 2

Dam............................ % Full           

Copeton Cressbrook Dyer/Bill Gunn Eungella Fairbairn Glenlyon Hinze Julius Kinchant Koombooloomba Leslie Macdonald

9 8 7 38 38 38 3 3 3 100 99 97 16 14 12 8 3 3 90 89 87 85 82 78 93 86 76 55 40 34 4 4 3 97 93 86

Dam............................ % Full           

Maroon Monduran/Fred Haigh Moogerah North Pine/Samsonvale Peter Faust/Proserpine Pindari Somerset Teemburra Tinaroo Toonumbar Wivenhoe Wuruma

70 64 63 73 71 69 47 45 41 65 63 61 77 75 74 5 5 5 71 69 68 99 98 97 87 81 76 55 48 39 52 50 48 78 75 71

For fortnightly updates on Sunwater dams visit This symbol indicates that a Stocked Impoundment Permit is required to fish these dams. All figures are % readings Current as of 14/11/19

(All levels correct at time of going to press. Dam levels can change at any time, so please check with local authorities to ensure safe boating and fishing.) 66


From page 65

range of lures and fishing gear. The boys can sort you out with the right gear and give you some tips on where to find them. The gates to the boat ramp are now open from 6am to 8pm. SOMERSET CLOSEST TOWNS: ESK, KILCOY Trolling has started to dominate a lot of catches and it is great to see so many different boats out on the lake enjoying the action. One thing to keep in mind is to give everybody their space. Try to fit in with the patterns other guys are trolling and give the lure casters working schools of fish the chance to fish them. There are plenty of fish around to share between the crowds. On the trolling front, deep diving lures have been ideal. Recently, Somerset Tackle added a lot of quality Aussie-made timber lures to their range. Timber lures hold a special place in my heart as I know how effective they can be. With a great range of Dave’s Lures, Voodoo Timber, Kezzas and AC Lures along with many others you will be spoilt for choice. Last year, casting got tough but when the wind was blowing, we were able to wind drift over the schools of bass and catch heaps. Blade baits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits seem to perform well over the summer months but you need to keep the boat moving so the fish don’t follow you around. If it isn’t windy, we use the electric to move the boat along at 1.5km/h and fish the lures with a few winds before dropping them back to the bottom. Chatterbaits should come into their own using this approach. If you find the fish suspending high off the bottom, burn your lures faster through them to get the bites. Tail spinners and soft plastics are ideal for this. You really need to pinpoint the tighter concentrations to be successful. Move the boat a cast away and work them for a few casts. If I have no success I move on, as often the fish will be on the move and are no longer where you are casting. Pelican Point has been holding less fish this year, but I expect it to produce again soon. There have been schools of smaller bass around Kirkleigh and Queen Street flats. Bigger models have been found around The Spit and up to the start of Pelican Point. Golden perch numbers started to pick up last month and there will be plenty around now as well. Casters and trollers are getting quite a

few. You can target them by hopping ZX blades around the drowned timber. Finding laydowns near the drop-offs or in 7-10m of water can really pay off. Spend a few minutes hopping and jigging the blades around each one, then try another. • Somerset Fishing has their store based at the area above the day-use boat ramp. The store is open over holidays and otherwise from Friday to Sunday. Orders can also be made online via the website au. They have an excellent range of gear suited to fishing for bass and golden perch.

Bait and Tackle at Redbank are the boys to see about Wivenhoe, Moogerah and Maroon. Their impressive wall of lures is enough to make any freshwater angler drool. Call in, stock up and get a few tips on where to head before your next trip to the lakes. MOOGERAH CLOSEST TOWNS: BOONAH, RATHDOWNEY Trolling will be a good option at Moogerah Dam. The Spit and flats out from The Palms will be holding less fish now as they scatter through the lake.

Cressbrook Dam bass will be keen on trolled lures. You can also fool a few with spoons by fishing wide on the points. WIVENHOE CLOSEST TOWNS: FERNVALE, ESK A lot of anglers have started to give up on the lake. Fork-tailed catfish numbers increase and this scares away some of those more focused on the bass and golden perch. December is usually the last chance to tangle with the big numbers of bass that can be found on the flats out from Billies Bay. Searching the drop-offs, where the flats are around 10m deep before falling away into the old riverbed, and creeks is the way to go. For bass fishers, there are good spots straight out from the Billies Bay boat ramp and then out in the middle to the north. The fish here can be mobile and in years past it seems like they migrate to the buoy line closer to the dam wall. There are a couple of humps here on the eastern side of the lake, which can hold good numbers of fish. Golden perch don’t mind the deeper water in this lake. If you can find rocky or timber structure along a drop-off ledge then you are in with an excellent chance. We have found a lot of goldens just by winding spoons vertically up and down below the boat. If they are in good numbers, you can switch to blade baits and hop them on the bottom. Catfish do tend to hold together with goldens and bass so they can be a nuisance when fishing lures hard on the bottom. • The guys at Charltons

Trolling through the start of the timber will be a good option. Keep a close eye on the sounder as the warmer water temperature seems to make the fish suspend off the bottom. The depth the fish are holding will dictate lure selection. Lures like the 3m diving 50mm Poltergeist will be ideal. On light gear, these lures dive way deeper than

their rating but you can lift the rod tip high or shorten the line up to keep them up higher in the water column. When the fish are only 3-4m down, trolling lipless crankbaits with an electric motor is a great way to get them to bite. MAROON CLOSEST TOWNS: BEAUDESERT, BOONAH The surface action will be at its best early and late in the day. You will need to be up well before the sparrows to be in with a chance of a morning topwater bass. As soon as the sun peaks its head over the horizon, the bite will slow and the fish will go deeper. In the afternoon the reverse is the case. As the sun sets, the action will improve and be at its best just before dark. Some keen anglers will continue flicking into the night and get a few fish to bite. The warmer water will see the fish holding tight to the weed beds and around the base of them in smaller schools. The fish tucked into the weed are often of better quality. To get the bites, try working reaction style lures. Spinnerbaits and beetle spins have always been my go-to offerings over the warmer months in this lake. I am yet to throw a chatterbait in these waters but believe they will excel. When the water is clear, try a chatterbait. • For all your fishing needs call in to see the team at Charltons at Redbank. Drew heads out to the lakes regularly and keeps fish fingers on the pulse. The store has a great range of lures for freshwater species.

NORTH PINE (LAKE SAMSONVALE) CLOSEST TOWN: BRISBANE, LAWNTON, PETRIE The edge bite has started at North Pine Dam. From the kayak area, bass have been common around the edges when flicking 1/2oz and 3/8oz spinnerbaits. The deeper schools will be more scattered so dragging a trolled lure while on the move and watching the sounder can help you find them. Once found, switch over to spoons and you should produce good numbers. Those lucky enough to have boating access through the permit area have been scoring fish from the edges and in schools – the trick is finding them! Once found, these fish don’t seem too fussy about what they will eat. Of course, this is fishing and they are never predictable. If you strike them on a tough day, rotate through lures until you find what they want to eat.

• Tackleworld Lawnton is an ideal port of call for all your fishing needs if fishing the lakes on the north side of Brisbane. The guys can point you in the right direction and help you experience some awesome fishing close to the heart of Brisbane and even further afield. KURWONGBAH CLOSEST TOWN: BRISBANE, LAWNTON The bass fishing has been a bit steady. Weekends can be busy with skiers but if you venture out early you may get some peace. When paddling across the dam keep a close eye on your sounder for any signs of schooling bass on the flats. While the bass have been a bit quiet, the saratoga have been willing. These fish can be found further up the lake at the end of the ski run where there are heaps of lilies around the edges. Flicking spinnerbaits, plastics, small, shallow hardbodies or even surface lures early can tempt them.

SUNSHINE COAST REGION BORUMBA CLOSEST TOWNS: IMBIL, NOOSA The bass schools will be found on the points through the basin. Sometimes these fish can be a bit smaller than those holding a bit further up the lake. Look around The Junction for the better quality fish. You will find a few flats areas outside the old creek bed where the fish hold in around 7-11m of water. If these better schools are found, try working spoons, blade baits and plastics through them. Up the creeks on the

edges of the lake, bass, golden perch and saratoga will be encountered when tossing lipless cranks, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. The early morning will be the prime time before the bright sun and heat drives the fish into the deeper shadows. • Davos at Noosaville has all the gear you’ll need to tackle the fish at Borumba and Lake MacDonald. The store caters well for fresh and saltwater anglers. They can be found in the Homemaker Centre on the corner of Mary and Thomas Streets. To page 68

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DARLING DOWNS GRANITE BELT REGION LESLIE CLOSEST TOWN: WARWICK The fishing has picked up at Leslie. The water continues to drop but if you take care you can still enjoy the action. A lot of the best fishing has been around the rocky structure. Finding deeper rocks on your sounder will become more

important as the fish, which were up shallow on the edges on visible structure, drop back to more comfortable temperatures. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and lipless crankbaits are the way to go when targeting the lake’s Murray cod. You can cast these lures but a lot more fish will be taken on the troll due to the warmer

surface temperature. Golden perch are also plentiful with fish taking trolled hardbodies and lipless crankbaits. Hopping soft vibes and blade baits on top of timber and rock structure is another popular way of getting them to bite. The days will start to get quite hot so focus your efforts on the mornings and afternoons. • Along with getting a fishing report, stock up on all your gear while at Warwick

Outdoor and Sports at 115 Palmerin Street Warwick. For a small store, it carries a great range at a very competitive price. Warwick is only a 10 minute drive from the dam and you can pick up any supplies you might need. COOLMUNDA CLOSEST TOWN: INGLEWOOD If you are after a good bait fishing session, this could be the spot to try.

WIDE BAY AND SOUTH BURNETT REGION BOONDOOMA CLOSEST TOWNS: PROSTON, KINGAROY The fish have spread out more in the lake making trolling a very good option. Deep diving lures were best last month but keep an eye on the fish and their movements through the water column. If they lift higher, you will need to adjust your lures to suit. The middle reaches of the lake heading down to The Junction have been the best spot for lure trolling. Quality golden perch and bass can be caught here. Further up the lake, there have been a few smaller bass around on the edges with the golden perch in the early mornings when casting spinnerbaits. Bait anglers can try their luck on the

basin points or up through The Narrows or in the start of the Boyne timber. Lure casting in the deep water is tougher at this time of year due to the fish spreading out. If you find a good patch of fish, they can be persuaded by working blade baits, plastics or spoons through them. • Boondooma is a great place to camp right near the water and sit by the fire while enjoying the view. The kiosk at the main office does hot food and other basic items including an excellent range of proven fishing tackle. For campsites, cabins and bunkhouse rooms call (07) 4168 9694. For the latest information jump onto Facebook and check out Matthew Mott Sport Fishing for Motty’s latest fishing reports.

CAPRICORN REGION AWOONGA: CLOSEST TOWNS BENARABY, GLADSTONE The warmer water will encourage the fish to hold a little deeper. Look in the trees in 4-8m of water to find schooling fish. Here they can be hard to tempt. Hardbodies have been effective on them but with the fish holding a little deeper, consider lipless vibes

and soft plastics as well as these sinking lures are more versatile when trying to work different depths. Later in the day the fish can be found moving around the windblown points and bays. If the wind has created a dirty water line, there is a good chance barra will move through looking for food. Keep an eye on the sounder to see if they are around and just


“ Right on Awoonga’s doorstep. All set up for fishos, with tranquil surroundings. “

Golden perch will step it up a notch. The warmer water will provide ideal conditions for trolling.

Golden perch have been active in the dirty water of the lake and are happily feeding on worms and shrimp. There isn’t a lot of water so this makes finding the fish a lot easier. Take care when launching into the creek below the high and dry boat ramp. You don’t need to go too far to find fish as there are plenty in the launching area, which can also be fished from the bank. • The Coolmunda Caravan

Park is only around one kilometre away from the lake. It offers camping sites, cabins, caravan facilities, tennis courts, a swimming pool, BBQ shelter and a camp kitchen. Camping is also available near the boat ramp with toilets and hot showers to make your stay more comfortable. To take advantage of this and the great fishing opportunities in the lake, give the park a call on (07) 4652 4171.

BJELKE CLOSEST TOWNS: MURGON, GOOMERI The dam is now only around 5%. The fishing however has been good, with fish being caught from boats and off the banks. With the low water level, it is ideal for bank fishing around The Quarry area. Casting blades, lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits from here you are able work the lures through the deeper water of the old creek. Golden perch and bass should be common and it is a great opportunity for those without a boat to have some fun casting lures. It is also a good opportunity for kids to learn how to cast with a good chance of catching a fish. You would be surprised how long they can amuse themselves by casting and winding instead of sitting still

with a bait in the water. From boats you will be able to cast the areas holding fish. Look for the drop-off to the old creek and the schooling fish shouldn’t be too far away. If the fish appear to be scattered, try trolling lures along the drop-off instead. • For help catching Bjelke and Boondooma fish, call into Bass 2 Barra. You’ll find the stores at 119 Youngman Street Kingaroy. Matthew Mott also runs fishing charters on the dams and you can reach him through the store for bookings and enquiries on (07) 41627555. • The Yallakool kiosk is all set up with a great range of tackle if you don’t happen to have the right lure or lose one. Be sure to call in and check it out. Give them a call for accommodation and camping bookings on (07)4168 4746.

keep casting. Soft plastics and shallower running hardbodies are ideal for this style of fishing. You can spot-lock with an electric motor or, even better still, go for the more silent approach and drop the anchor or tie off to a tree. Like the other southern barra lakes, the size of the fish just keeps getting better. There are heaps of 80-90cm fish on offer. Of course there are plenty either side of this range

k pin a a rr ch Cat ed Ba 00! g tag in $20 to w

Using your sounder to locate barra is critical at Callide Dam. Matt Taylor witnessed just how much the fish move around.

• Pet friendly • BBQ areas • Saltwater pool



as well so be ready for some serious fun when you hook up. • Justin Nye from Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing runs fishing charters on the lake. It is hard to beat time on the water and this is a great way to learn more about this lake and its fish. You can contact him on 0429 223 550 or visit the website

gladstoneflyandsport • Mark from Awoonga Gateway Lodge always has a few productive secret spots to share. The Gateway lodge is on the way in to the dam after turning off at Benaraby. The accommodation is great with plenty of boat parking space right beside the comfortable

air conditioned, selfcontained cabins each with its own veranda. To book in a stay give Mark or Lyn a call on (07) 49750033. CALLIDE CLOSEST TOWN: BILOELA For the past two years, December and January have been the best months To page 69

SUNFISH From page 68

for chasing Callide’s big barramundi. The fish drop back a bit deeper and can be hard to find during the day but they come out in force to play late in the afternoon and into the night. Staking out a spot on a wind-blown point is a proven way to target them. Big plastics of at least 6” long work well but you just need to be patient enough to keep casting until the fish arrive. The heavier prerigged swimbaits are ideal for this approach. It can also pay to have a lighter offering rigged up if working shallower water. The average size fish is slowly increasing with most now well into the 80cm range, with some 90cm and usually there are encounters with metre-plus fish every few sessions. The camping area at the dam has undergone some big improvements recently. With a new lease holder in place, an amenities block has been added to the park. It is situated in the powered camping area and has toilets and showers and will soon have a laundry as well. A camp kitchen right next to the fire pit should also be fully functional as you read this. With these additions, the camping experience will be much more enjoyable and it will draw in more guests to the lake. If camping or caravanning isn’t your thing, there are 5 fully self-contained cabins. • You can contact the Callide Retreat on (07) 4993 9010 for bookings and more information. PROSERPINE CLOSEST TOWNS: PROSERPINE, AIRLIE BEACH With the warmer weather, the barra have moved deeper. This makes it a good time for

trolling the open water of the basin. The dam wall run is very popular and working along the buoy line, below the picnic huts and out along the old riverbed drop-offs is effective. This area is productive late in the afternoon once the sea breeze picks up as it is quite protected and well suited to smaller boats. Deep diving lures excel here with the 125mm RMG scorpion Crazy Deep a real standout. The schools of barra can be unpredictable and turn up anywhere through the basin of the lake. Always keep a close eye on the sounder when trolling. If you spot a school of fish, it’s worth stopping to hop a vibe or roll a big soft plastic through them. Through the timber, the deeper water can also hold numbers of fish. Without today’s sounders, we would be lost as they play a key role in locating these fish. Again vibes and plastics will get the bites. As darkness falls, the fish get more active and move from their staging locations to go on the prowl and feed. Positioning the boat on windblown points in the timber and out in the basin will ensure you are in with a chance. If the fish turn up, you can expect them to be a little more active than during the day. Winding 5” plussized plastics back to the boat from the points will put you in with a good chance of catching fish. The bigger barra are now scarcer but the new metre-plus models coming through are in great condition and fighting hard. • For all your fishing supplies or a guided trip on the lake call Lindsay at Barra World on (07) 49454641. The store is right on the highway in Proserpine and specializes in barra fishing tackle. You can also keep up to date by visiting their Barra World Facebook page. Camping

Sustainable Fisheries Strategy needs to show results Queensland recreational fishers have contributed to the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy in good faith right from its inception with the MRAG Review. We will continue to do so, however, we have grave concerns that the directional changes envisaged are no closer now than they were 40 years ago. Once again, we see the major restrictions being applied to the recreational sector with only the promise of some future commercial arrangements to support sustainable fisheries. The top three concerns raised regularly have consistently been: • Localized depletion along large stretches of beaches – Instead of reducing the impacts of gutter raking and gill netting, new net trials are making the process so much easier and faster that netters are taking more than they can manage and profitably market. Publicly witnessed by an ABC Producer. • Complexity of recreational fishing rules – the recommendations are to now place possession limits on almost everything, even though the commercial sector have no such limitations. To add a boat limit on top of possession limits and more seasonal closures is ridiculous. We were promised that recreational is now available for a 72hour period right at the lake with more big plans to upgrade the new facilities in the future.

governance would be simpler to administer and understand. • Improved science around decision-making – Recreational allocation of mud crabs reduced by 30%, commercial reduction about 10% - if the logbook data is to be believed. There is no evidence that reducing recreational possession limits will reduce black marketing opportunities. Furthermore, changing the possession limit is highly unlikely to change behaviour. No evidence has been presented to expect that reduced possession limits will be effective in combating black marketing. If the recreational allocation is reduced by 30 percent, the commercial allocation should also be reduced by 30 percent. WORKING GROUP The August Communique from the East Coast Inshore Fishery Working Group has raised many startling concerns across the state. At the top of page 6 “The working group reviewed the harvest strategy and recommended consistent rules for building and maintaining biomass towards 60% as well as decision rules for when biomass falls below 50%, 40%, 30% and below 20%.” To a reasonably informed person this would suggest that these percentage biomass triggers would effect a corresponding restriction on the take of the species relative to the falling biomass level. In the table depicting the summary of the discussions


and recommendations from page 2 onwards there are several species of significant concern. Priority recreational species of whiting, bream and flathead have been listed as at 29%, 34% and 36% (Moreton Bay) so how on earth can they expect the stocks to rebuild by increasing the TACC for these species. • Whiting (29%) the TACC is proposed to be reduced by only 1.68% • Bream (34%) the TACC is proposed to be INCREASED by 20.9% • Flathead (36% Moreton Bay) the TACC is proposed to be INCREASED by 48.8% If current catches and stock assessments of these priority recreational species have the stocks of such productive species at such low levels, then increasing the commercial take seems ludicrous. Surely, we would expect at bare minimum that there is no increase in TACC. If the bream and flathead TACC’s increase is warranted, then the recreational possession limits should similarly increase to 36 for bream and 7 for flathead. CHANGES TO FISHING RULES Sadly, the weight of déjà vu is suffocating. East Coast Inshore Finfish Review in 2008-9 was supposed to be in two stages. Stage one saw recreational fishers receive significant possession limits and size limits. Stage two was to see significant management controls on the commercial

fishing sector. We are still waiting for Stage two… Fast forward ten years and we have a new raft of size and possession limit changes – only this time there has been no discussion around complementary commercial fisheries management. Commercial effort under a harvest strategy is managed with TACC’s and the recreational sector managed with possession limits. Therefore, any species with a recreational possession limit should automatically have a TACC. Black marketing will not be stopped by the current regulation changes and needs targeted enforcement. It should be treated the same as any other illegal activity with very strict penalties. This biased treatment by Fisheries, forces the Recreational sector to become more political, more fractionalised and more desperate as we see further disproportionate controls being introduced. The only successful resort left available to recreational fishers is a direct political approach that has been successful with the Net Free Zones. It also discourages recreational fisher from engaging in a Fisheries consultative process, which continually provides no benefit to the recreational fishery. – Sunfish Queensland




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This barramundi was tempted by a Laser Pro 120 that was silenced and rigged to suspend. We are almost back to the days of regular Awoonga metries!

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217 Pine Mountain Road, BRASSALL DECEMBER 2019


Barramundi on the Tinaroo Christmas wish list LAKE TINAROO

Warwick Lyndon

Another silly season is almost upon us! This month I’ll give you a couple of Tinaroo tips so that you can try to bag yourself a chrome beast as a bonus Christmas present. So, what should brace your Tinaroo Christmas

wish list? If Santa has had a good year and is feeling generous, the best thing to ask for would be a side scan sounder. The difference this makes when locating fish in a large impoundment like Tinaroo is immense. Likewise, good quality fishing gear will also have a positive impact on your fishing. Adding a decent rod or reel to the list will help

The author with a healthy mid-sized fish that is tagged and ready for release.

you have the confidence to land your next Tinaroo barra. A quality fishing rod will last for years if you take care of it properly, and will enhance your ability to cast, work lures and apply constant, even pressure when fighting a fish. It is the same with a good reel, the advantage of a nice smooth drag should not be under estimated when you consider the power of some of these fish! Lastly, there are a plethora of lures that most anglers should add to their Tinaroo Christmas wish list. Anything that imitates a bony bream is a good start, and should put you in contention with most big barra that swim past looking for an easy meal. This is also true for floating and suspending hardbodies, soft plastics, swimbaits, vibration baits and surface walkers or poppers. I have been experimenting with a range of weird and wacky lures lately, and have even landed a barra on a Bidjiwong (which is a lizard imitation designed for Murray cod). So don’t be afraid to try something different! The lake has been firing recently with a number of very good fish landed by a range of anglers over various locations throughout the lake. In the warmer summer months, the barra tend to feed well

Putting some good quality barra gear on your Christmas wish list is always a good idea! at the peak bite times, and are usually quite willing to attack most offerings, if you put them in the right spot. If you want to escape the heat, fish the late afternoon and into the early evening as it is one of the most comfortable and productive times to wet a line. Similarly, the early morning period can usually be quite productive. Going the extra mile and looking into the rise and set times of both the sun and moon, as well as the tide changes, will give you an edge over most other anglers. The December full moon period is usually red-hot, so make the most of this and get yourself out to the lake to catch a barra or two. Merry Christmas!

Match the hatch! Anything that imitates a bony bream will put you in with a good chance this month. • If you want to keep up with more of my FNQ adventures, you can like

‘Wazza’s Fishing Page’ on Facebook or ‘Wazza’s Fishing’ on Youtube.

Oh Dear Santa, just give me what I want! BRISBANE

The Sheik of the Creek

Dear Santa, Isn’t it about time you began to pay some attention to what I ask you for, rather than the things you’ve got hanging around the back end of your sack? I mean, for a number of years now it’s been pretty one way traffic as far as this relationship is concerned, and I’m just wondering how long this particular dynamic is going to last. Our relationship seems to be built on me doing things for you, but I don’t see too many things coming the other way Santa! Any number of people through the years of my life have threatened me with punitive action if my responses don’t conform to what YOU suggest is appropriate behaviour. And this sort of bribery and materialistic coercion has been at the centre of, 70


and possibly even the sole reason for, the development of my performance anxiety around the festive season every year. Ever since I was a little tacker I get nagged at by someone bleating in my ear, “Santa doesn’t like boys that throw stones at their friends” and “Santa doesn’t bring presents for boys that throw their fishing gear into the water when someone else gets a bigger fish than them” and “Santa doesn’t give presents to boys who put superglue into their friends reels”. Well ok, those things did all happened this year but the principle is the same. I’m sure you’ve been following the Israel Folau case, but in case you haven’t I wanted to bring it to your attention as it is highly likely that this little disagreement between friends will have a high degree of relevance to the status of the relationship between you and me. I mean, there could be some little tweets and messages

being sent out to children and grandchildren and nephews and nieces about what happens to those little, or not so little, people that don’t do what they’re supposed to do, or do what they they’re not supposed to do, or don’t do what they’re not don’t...Anyway, I’d hate to be forced to discuss the alliance between you and me in front of the Supreme Court, or even the High Court of Australia. So just be a good fellow Santa not a fat…well, you’ve heard the song. Give me the boat. Give me the four-stroke. It doesn’t have to be this hard! Then you can go back to what you do best, flogging your reindeer across the globe, and I can go back to what I do best: breaking those things I get from you every year. And the things my children and grandchildren and nephews and nieces get from you as well. It’s a win-win big man. With great affection, Sheik.

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Car Review

Hyundai G80 Sedan BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

Just when it seems that it’s necessary to own a decent sized 4x4 or large SUV to turn heads in the car park, Hyundai have re-released their discontinued Genesis sedan in the form of the new Genesis G80.

responsive and quick off the mark. Fuel consumption on a mix of city and country driving returned at 11.2L per 100km, which quite good for a larger sedan. It has a 77L fuel tank and uses standard unleaded petrol. THE RIDE Hyundai’s locally tuned suspension has done its magic, as the ride never varies from butter smooth,

radio, aux/USB audio input with iPod computability, Bluetooth phone connectivity, VOD (video on demand) and DVD player. ON THE ROAD Along with effortless and smooth power, plus a magic carpet ride, there were some smaller features that were the icing on the cake. The High Beam Assist system, automatically adjusting headlights range from high to low beam on the approach of other cars, was a great blessing for night driving, especially on longer stints at the wheel. Equally useful was the Smart Cruise Control set up which always maintained a safe, pre-determined distance behind the vehicle ahead when Cruise was engaged. The luxurious leather seats featured infinite

Svelte, flowing lines, creating an appearance of smooth motion even when stationary, are part of the G80’s head-turning design. electric positioning for driver and front passenger, incorporating side bolster and lumbar support adjustment for optimal

The leather seats have infinite electric positioning to get the seating position just right. The G80 will turn a lot of heads as it’s a great looking car, and it’s set to become a very serious contender against prestige and top shelf European makes, given G80’s sheer driveability and comprehensive standard luxury features. As a standalone premium brand, the G80 will have its own dealerships, as we see with the likes of Toyota’s Lexus and Nissan’s Infiniti. The best way to describe the G80 would be to designate it as a top shelf four door luxury sedan – styled to look fast even when standing still – with ride, handling and easy performance to

no matter how irregular the surface is, thanks to multilink independent front and rear suspension systems. There is negligible noise intrusion, and the seamless, slick, 8-speed automatic changer keeps the drive mode in the sweet spot no matter how challenging the surface under the wheels. Safety is a big feature; Blind Spot Collision warning is standard, Forward Collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection is also part of the suite, as are Lane Departure Warning (depart the lane without a turn signal and a steering vibration alert

Understated luxury is what the G80 is about.

Rear seat travellers can adjust their climate zone and sound.

comfort and support. To select the mode of drive, you just touch the 3-position, console-mounted gear selector, which will automatically disengage the park brake. On the move, the G80’s adaptive cruise control soon picked up the subtle nuances that identified me as a fresh driver. The driver’s seating position reverted to my individual settings each time I eased behind the wheel, yet as I turned the engine off (via push button of course) the steering wheel moved up out of the way for me and the seat retracted as well. All this assures that your time behind the leather-bound wheel is nothing short of a rare pleasure. The seats are also heated, which is great

The dash controls are easy to identify and manage. In this photo you can see the surround view camera in use. ensure that owners will revel in driving it. The quality of fit and finish can’t be faulted, and as soon as you get behind the wheel you can sense the luxury. Available in auto only (8 speed) linked to a 3.8L petrol Euro 5 compliant V6 turning the rear wheels, the G80 has 232kW of power plus 397Nm of torque. This equates to a totally silent engine which lopes along gently, and which is 72


occurs) Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning, Parking Distance Warning and a tyre pressure monitoring system. I particularly liked the Surround View Monitor displayed in the 9.2” multimedia monitor, which provided a constant view all around the vehicle in busy car parks and other high density traffic areas. The big colour monitor also had a host of other functions, including AM/FM

The G80’s up-to-the minute styling creates strong road presence.

for winter driving. INTUITIVE DASH LAYOUT The full-width cabin dash layout was simple, with some faux wood treatment that was reasonable but not attention-grabbing. That said, all controls were easy to identify and use. Centrally within the upper dash section was a very clear 9.2 screen catering for all infotainment, navigation, and access to the all-round camera observations, along with linkage to the 17 speaker sound system. The rear seat’s central armrest featured controls for the multimedia system, along with temperature controls so that rear seat travellers can input their own music and enjoy the temperature they fancy. SUMMING UP Hyundai have put a lot of research into getting the G80 just right for our conditions, and the research shows. This premium vehicle is smooth, powerful and a sheer pleasure to drive. If you have a need for a very roomy, 5 person, competitively-priced luxury sedan with plenty of class, the G80 is going to impress with a test drive. And that boot! Almost 500L of space! Along with a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty and five years’ roadside assistance, servicing is free for the first 5 years or 75,000km. So yes, maybe there is something free in the motoring world!

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Pink leader has been popular for some time amongst serious anglers, as it is viewed as being less visible in certain water conditions. Although fluorocarbon options are common, Black Magic’s Pink Shock Leader is produced as a copolymer trace, which provides great value for money while still giving robust performance under stress. The recently released range has now expanded to include a 30lb line weight. This will be popular as it’s suited to a wide range of fishing applications. Whether you’re lure fishing, surfcasting, or general bait fishing, it’s sure to be a popular addition. This leader is ideal to use in murky water, deep water or when being viewed from below looking up at the line near the surface. It also retains the excellent abrasion resistance and knot strength seen in Black Magic Tough Trace and, like the name states, it gives excellent shock absorption as well. And of course, it’s a more affordable and more supple option than fluorocarbon. Keep an eye out for it at your favourite tackle store.

Senshi has released a range of boxed hooks after demand from anglers for bigger quantities in its most popular models. Senshi hooks are produced using the finest quality raw materials, and are made to the highest standard. The range of hooks have chemically sharpened needle points, use high grade carbon steel and are all a black nickel finish. The boxed hooks are available in the following models: octopus/beak, long shank, baitholder and finesse, and are in the most popular six sizes in each model. One of Senshi’s latest releases is the G-Point hook – the next generation of high quality chemically-sharpened hooks. The G-Point Iseama Pro series hooks are extremely strong and offer no extra coating over the hook point itself, creating an extremely sharp hook point. The Senshi G-Point Iseama Pro hooks are a 2X Strong, straight eye with straight beak hook that are available in pre-packs of 10 hooks in sizes 2 through to 12. They are suitable for many fish species. To find out more about the Senshi hook range visit the Juro Oz Pro Tackle website.




Beauty and brawn blends with quality and performance in the new Lexa HD baitcaster. A sleek and stylish ergonomic profiled aluminium body sits comfortably in the hand, and combines with the Lexa’s advanced technologies and designs to create a mid priced heavy-duty reel that’s unmatched in style and strength. Featuring many of Daiwa’s best technologies and innovations including Magforce, UTD, Infinite Anti-Reverse, Power Handle, EVA knobs and CRBB bearings, the Lexa HD has left nothing on the table when it comes to strength, with a stainless steel gearing system ensuring ultimate power cranking power and precision. An amalgamation of strength, looks, and performance the Lexa HD is the heavy-duty baitcaster for those on a budget and those looking for power and strength in a reel. Whether it’s muscling kingies down south, barra in the north or samsonfish in the west, the Lexa HD is the reel that does it all, and has it all.



Over the past 12 months, Australian company Pro Lure has been working on some modifications to the popular Fishtail soft bait. Looking to increase the versatility and make the Fishtail easier to rig, the designer has made several changes. A shallow split belly has been added to aid weedless rigging with worm hooks, and the dorsal fin has been removed, replaced with a shallow groove along the back. This makes it easier to rig straight and align jigheads, as well as having a protecting channel for weedless worm hook points to sit snugly. The final change is a slight narrowing up the front of the Fishtail, so that standard jigheads will sit cleaner. The addition of a white albino colour to the range and more rigging options will provide more possibilities. The Pro Lure Fishtail is available in three sizes, 80mm, 105mm, and 130mm. Trade enquiries can be directed to sales@ 74





Never before has there been such a highend and comprehensive range as the 2019 release of the Giant Killing Jigging rods. These are the ultimate in Majorcraft jigging rods, with overhead and spin models for light, standard and slow jigging tasks. As the name suggests, the design principles are focused around large predatory trophy fish. There are 15 rods in the series with varying lengths from 6’2” up to 6’6”, and they all feature updated cosmetics. The Fuji SiC Slim ring material makes the rods even lighter than before. The rods come with PE ratings starting at 0.6 for the Light Jigging all the way up to the Jigging models with a PE of 4.0 at the upper end of the range. For more information on this and other rods in the range, visit the Major Craft Australia website or look them up on Facebook ( majorcraftaus).



4 5


Samson handmade lures are long casting and virtually indestructible made for Australian fishing. With five separate lure designs, all wired through and ranging from 15g to 150g, Samson lures cover everything from lighter tackle fishing right through to chasing big pelagics like tuna. The range includes various surface and subsurface lures, all with the capability of casting long distances and covering as much ground as possible. Samson fishing has successfully established its lures range on the UK market, where they have been very effective in catching sea bass. Of course, the lures are effective for a wide variety of Australian fish species – everything from tailor, Australian salmon and kingfish right through to Spanish mackerel and tuna. All Samson lures are wired through and are virtually indestructible, making them an ideal choice when up against the razor sharp teeth of mackerel or against hard fighting kingfish. The Samson lure range is available from tackle retailers and online. For more information visit or visit the website. Price: SRP $13.99-$59.99


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Transporting fishing rods is often fraught with danger. Bundles of rods are hard to carry, often arranged more like a game of ‘pick up sticks’ than an easy-to-carry group of fish-catching devices. They splay all over the place and invariably get damaged. The Samurai Rod Belts are made of high quality neoprene and Velcro and are designed to make it easy to transport multiple rods without the hassle of trying to carry multiple individual outfits. They are slightly stretchy and come in two sizes, small and medium. Simply wrap one around your group of rods near the butt end and another up near the tip and voila – neat and tidy. While transporting rods, even in neatly arranged groups, you wouldn’t be the first angler who has smashed the tip of your favourite rod into something and ruined it. The Samurai rod tip protector is designed to protect your rod tip from damage during transportation. Made from the same material as wetsuits, the tip protector is easy to slip on and protects the sensitive part of your rod. To see more information on these and other Samurai accessories, visit the Samurai Australia website or check them out on Facebook (




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Requests from anglers chasing a big 10X Tough swimbait have seen the release of the ZMan 7” DieZel MinnowZ, a beast of a paddle tail plastic. Featuring the same realistic and proven profile and action as the 4” and 5” models, the 7” takes things up a notch in terms of bulk, water movement and big fish attracting qualities. Whether you’re chasing barramundi, Murray cod, mulloway or kingfish, searching the depths or slow trolling for bluewater bruisers, the 7” DieZel MinnowZ has you covered, teamed up with a brutally strong TT Lures HeadlockZ Extreme, SwimlockZ or ChinlockZ jighead. Other features include a belly slot for easy rigging and adding scent, along with a split top fin for simple and effective weedless rigging. The increased softness and flexibility of ZMan’s 10X Tough ElaZtech material dramatically improves hook set when weedless rigging when compared with standard soft plastics. If big fish are on your to-do list, check out these mega paddle tails at your local ZMan dealer. ZMan 7” DieZel MinnowZ are available in 12 colours, with three per pack. Price: SRP $17.95



Daiwa’s new light tackle workhorse has arrived with the introduction of the Phantom Hyper LT. This new reel blends design and leading edge technologies with excellent value to deliver anglers one of the most feature-packed mid-range spin reels for some time. Daiwa’s LT Concept provides strength and weightlessness, quality and performance, while a machine cut forged Tough Digigear delivers class-leading gear strength and smoothness. A metal alloy body enhances reel sensitivity and strength while Air Rotor provides balance and support for ultimate reel performance. A Long Cast ABS spool, Air Bail and ATD technologies combine for untouchable line control, while a machine cut handle keeps weight down. The Phantom Hyper LT is available now in four deep spool sizes, ranging from 3000D-6000D.



Specifically designed for the soft lure enthusiast, the new Squidgies rods are a cunning combination of performance and value. Featuring T45 blank construction and quality Fuji K guides, this series of rods are light and sensitive yet strong and reliable for anglers who demand a lot from their gear. All Shimano Squidgies series rods have been carefully designed to ensure their actions and lengths complement a range of lure weights and fishing techniques, catering for a wide range of applications and fish species. With eight performance spin and two sturdy baitcast models, these rods may find you in the remote wild gorges chasing cod and trout, to the hard-running rivers of the country’s tropical north. No matter your chosen style of fishing there’s a rod in the range to suit. Featuring comfortable full-length camo EVA grips and varying actions across the series, nine of the 10 models are two-piece construction, so you’ll always be able to pack a Squidgies rod on your next adventure. Look for them in your nearest tackle store now. Price: SRP $159.95



Black Magic is expanding the range of their popular Snapper Snack rigs to include a NEW 7/0 version. These will be available at all good tackle stores soon. As with all Black Magic rigs, confidence in the components is not in question. In this case they are rigged on the premium PTFE coated 7/0 hooks and 80lb Tough Trace. The natural swimming action of the Snapper Snack skirts, coupled with the scent of your bait is hard to beat when it comes to catching snapper and other NZ fish species. Now with the bigger size you’ll be able to target an even wider range of fish from XOS snapper to hapuku, kingfish and more. Features include: twin lure rig incorporating high UV luminous skirts; cast, bottom bounce, or just drop and wait - versatile and simple; best fished with bait, but will still catch without; most hook-ups are in the corner of the mouth, and; available in six enticing colours. You can browse all the sizes and colours at the Black Magic Tackle website.



The Hero Darter is a soft, multi-function vibration lure that has a number of awesome features. There are three tow points on top of the Darter that provide three slightly different actions, and there is another tow point on the nose, which gives the lure a cast and retrieve option. This essentially gives anglers four lure fishing options in the one lure! However, the big thing with the Darter is that when the lure is in the jigging/vibration mode, a chin weight can be attached to the front nose eyelet that will allow this lure to be sent on deeper missions or fished in faster currents. The real beauty of this option is that the action of the lure is unaltered – in fact, while testing, the nose weight increased catches! The Hero Darter is a beautiful fishmunching 90mm long lure that is initially available in eight colours.

Please email contributions to: DECEMBER 2019




The mako shark is impulsive, aggressive, agile, and every shark-lover’s dream! The blue green details of Samaki’s new Mako Shirt are enhanced from the background through to the underbelly of the sharks. With not just one but two mako sharks attacking at speed, the yellowfin has no chance! The lightweight fabric of this shirt is perfect for all outdoor elements, protecting you from the harsh sun with Samaki’s UPF50+ resistant technology. The soft touch 100% polyester material is comfortable on the body, and has the added feature of being breathable, keeping you cool and dry. Samaki designs are brought to you by Australian anglers who love to design Australian species. The shirts are available in adult, youth and kids sizes from a size 2 through to a 5XL allowing the whole family to get in on the action and out onto the water. For more information and stockists visit the Samaki website, or like them on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date. Price: SRP $59.95 (adults), SRP $49.95 (kids)



Designed for shallow water jigging,Trevala rods feature lightweight C4S blanks and parabolic actions specially designed for slow fall and flutter jigs like the new Tiger Baku Baku. The fine diameter one-piece C4S blanks are extremely strong and lessen the respective rods’ overall weight, which allows the angler to focus on fighting the fish and not the tackle. Fuji Alconite guides and reel seats are complemented by shaped EVA grips that are specifically intended for jigging work. The slow tuned actions are very precise, and allow the angler to effectively work the jig with minimal effort. Shimano recommends matching these rods with the Shimano Tranx series of 300 and 400 sized baitcaster reels, for an outfit that is super balanced and ideal for getting the most action out of your jigs. Available in power ratings from XL to MH, there are five spin models in 6’ 3” and 6’ 6” sizes, and a 6’ 3” overhead model. They are available in-store now. Price: SRP: $229.95

OBSESSION 17 BASS SERIES 14 Australian-made Obsession Spinnerbaits

Samaki’s extensive range of sunglasses just got bigger. The Slick is here to stay, and alongside the current range are two awesome new colours: brown tort with an amber lenses and matt black with a copper lenses. Each model is designed for your target species and most loved fishing environments. The square-shaped Slick is so comfortable that you won’t want to take it off. Each one of the Samaki-designed frames gives you great coverage from the elements and provides you with the polarised lenses you need when you’re out on the water. Slick colour options are available in matt black/green revo, matt black/blue revo, matt black/grey, brown tort/amber and matt black/ copper, giving you multiple options to suit all anglers and fishing scenarios. For more information and stockists visit the Samaki website and like them on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date. Price: SRP $49.95

have a strong following amongst Murray cod and golden perch anglers. Owner and designer Raymond Parry was keen to expand his horizons, and with the assistance of some keen bass anglers he has produced a range of spinnerbaits focused on Australian bass. This new series is called the ‘Bass Six Pack’, and Obsession Spinnerbaits is releasing six new colours (WB, BG, DONC, GM, GOAT and PBJ). They will be available in 1/4oz, 1/2oz and 5/8oz through your local Obsession Spinnerbait stockist. Head to the Obsession Spinnerbait website to view their complete product range, which includes single, twin, triple and quadbladed spinnerbaits, mumblers and buzz baits. Jigheads are also available from 1/8oz3.5oz, and there’s an extensive range of skirt colours, as well as soft plastic curl-tails in 4”, 5” and 8” sizes. The product range can be customised to your requirements or you can design your spinnerbait from scratch.




Two of Strike Pro’s latest lure releases are the Bass Beetle and the Hunch Walker. The Bass Beetle is an ultra-shallow running Beetle imitation. This lure is perfect when the Christmas beetles and cicadas are buzzing around. The Bass Beetle offers extreme realism in its shape, and this shallow running lure has an enticing body roll and dives to approx. 1ft. The Bass Beetle is 4cm long, weighs 5.7g and comes in six fish-catching colours. It’s sure to be a hit with anglers targeting bass, estuary perch, bream, trout and jungle perch. The new Hunch Walker is a wakebait version of Strike Pro’s popular Hunchback range of lures. The Hunch Walker works on the surface and sub-surface, just under the surface in the scum line. When it is retrieved across the surface it creates a commotion and paddles, looking just like a frog or cicada kicking across the top, with a head-down, tailup, wide swaying action. The Hunch Walker is 5.5cm long, weighs 6.5g and comes in six proven colours. It is irresistible to bass, estuary perch, Murray cod, sooty grunter and more. 76




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New to the ATC range of reels is the Virtuous – a range of reels with a host of features that combine to make them tough, dependable and affordable. An aluminium body and rotor ensure these reels are built to last, and the 9+1 stainless steel ball bearings give these reels a smooth feel that doesn’t wear the angler down. Add into this an ergonomic handle for the ultimate in comfort when fighting large fish, and the Virtuous is one of those reels that will stand the test of time. All of these comforts are backed up by a brilliant and exceptionally smooth dual drag system. This system is built to provide two drag surfaces on the top and underneath the spool, allowing for ultra-fine adjustments and exceptional smoothness. The dual drag system also means that when you need to wind up the drag, the ability is there to give you some real stopping power. Sizes range from the 2000 light line special all the way up to a 10,000 that swallows almost 500m of PE4 line and has a max drag of 20kg!


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HOBIE MIRAGEDRIVE 360 AND PRO ANGLER 2020 Truly the Ultimate Fishing Machine, the 2020 Pro Angler with the MirageDrive 360 and Kick-Up Fins delivers power in every direction for unprecedented manoeuvrability and control. Two decades ago, Hobie revolutionized kayak fishing with the invention of the original MirageDrive. The radical engineering was met with worldwide acclaim and leg-propulsion became the new standard for kayak fishing locomotion. Imitators eventually arrived on the scene, but Hobie remains the industry benchmark. Hobie knew improving on its revolutionary MirageDrive wouldn’t be easy, but they weren’t deterred. Six years in the making, for 2020, Hobie is proud to announce the greatest achievement to date in the form of an astonishing 360-degree rotating pedal drive—an all new paradigm in kayak fishing boat control, complete with a nearly 100-page

SPECIFICATIONS Pro Angler 12 Length Width Height Capacity Vantage seat capacity Fitted hull weight Fully rigged weight Pro Angler 14 Length Width Height Capacity Vantage seat capacity Fitted hull weight Fully rigged weight

366cm 91cm 51cm 227kg 159kg 49.7kg 60.1kg 417cm 97cm 51cm 272kg 159kg 56.5kg 67.4kg

patent registration. Put simply, the remarkable new Hobie MirageDrive 360 propulsion system is a 360-degree rotating pedal drive that allows anglers to easily manoeuvre their 2020 Mirage Pro Angler 360 12 and 14 fishing kayaks in every direction—backwards, forward, sideways, diagonally—or even effortlessly spin on its own axis. Upping the ante with all-new Kick-Up Fins, which automatically retract upon impact, the new MirageDrive 360 delivers precision boat control and closequarter manoeuvrability that’s unrivalled by any other human-powered watercraft. With the MirageDrive 360, anglers go where they want and fish how they want with total control and complete confidence. The MirageDrive 360 is designed for versatility on the water and to help anglers catch more fish. Infinitely more manoeuvrable, anglers will immediately discover they spend less time positioning their boat, and more time catching fish. Boat control is brought to an entirely new level, affording anglers the ability to surgically position themselves to make the best cast and presentation to the fish, as well as staying right on top of fish once found, shallow or deep or anywhere in between. The MirageDrive 360 allows access to tighter quarters and more fishing scenarios. Imagine being able to turn on a dime in every direction. It also allows you to follow shorelines or underwater structure in a way kayak anglers have never experienced. “The MirageDrive 360 completely changes how you engage with your boat and the environment,” says Philip Dow, Lead Design Engineer for Hobie. “For example, if you’re fishing along a shoreline or highly contoured underwater structure, you can follow those nuances exactly with boat placement. Similarly, with the Kick-Up Fins, shallow and structurefilled waters become far more manageable. Hobie’s MirageDrive 360 completely

redefines boat control.” “In the same way a trolling motor can hold an exact point, you can do that with the MirageDrive 360. You can hold an exact location and direction against wind or current, too. Previously, when you drifted out of position, you had to pedal in a circle to point the hull in the right direction between casts. Now, when you’re sitting idle,

additional angling equipment. “In every environment there’s the need for better control in order to position yourself to present your bait to the fish in the most natural way possible,” says Morgan Promnitz, Hobie’s Senior Fishing Brand Manager. “Whether you’re fishing offshore, inshore, or freshwater, the benefits are numerous. We’ve tested the


if you turn the drive and start to pedal you’re immediately turning. It’s extremely effective for place-holding in an exact location. You feel like a sniper. If you want to swing the bow past a rock, you can do it exactly and make your next cast without any unnecessary boat movement.” Designed to accept Hobie’s vast array of accessories, the Pro Angler 360 fishing kayaks can be easily outfitted with

boats in a multitude of fishing environments and our test team’s response has all been the same—the MirageDrive 360 gives anglers a huge advantage that results in more fish caught, period.” “The Kick-Up Fins add peace of mind to anglers exploring waters with submerged objects such as rocks or tree stumps because the fins will automatically retract upon impacting an object. This greatly reduces any chance or damaging the propulsion system and allows anglers to explore with confidence—no more damaged props or bent fins.” – Hobie Fishing Asia Pacific

and durable Thermoform construction, the Passport is a well-rounded kayak that truly offers something for everyone, from novice to experienced kayakers alike. It is the ideal kayak for casual recreation and family outings, but is ready for all kinds of adventures on the water. Designed to accept most of Hobie’s vast array of accessories, the Passport can be easily outfitted with additional equipment. Powered by Hobie’s first-of-its-kind Classic MirageDrive pedal system, the Passport makes kayaking smooth and efficient, cruising seamlessly through the water. The shorter hull length and wider body provide great stability, while the

intuitive steering system and stowable rudder enable easy manoeuvring. Standard equipment on the Passport includes a suspended mesh-back, aluminium-frame seat, two-piece aluminium paddle, two rod holders, accessory mounting tracks, Lowrance ready, Power-Pole Micro bracket indent and an accessory mount that accepts the kayak sail and new bimini. Kayakers will also enjoy moulded-in, cross-bungee cargo areas on the bow and stern, as well as Hobie’s ‘twist-n-seal’ hatch. You can create your ultimate setup from weekend fishing to a family day sailing on the open water. – Hobie Fishing Asia Pacific

HOBIE MIRAGE PASSPORT 12 Hobie is proud to announce the latest addition to its renowned line-up of pedal kayaks, powered by the brand’s signature MirageDrive – the original pedal propulsion system for kayaking. The Passport was built

with simplicity in mind, delivering efficiency, ease of use, versatility and comfort in a highly accessible package. The Passport has been designed to help break down those barriers of entry that may be keeping people off the water and make pedal kayaking more accessible and affordable. The goal of the Passport is to be able to bring the experience that Hobie’s MirageDrive technology has delivered for more than 20 years to a broader audience. With its excellent value, transportability, simple and sleek design




Family favourite: traditional seafood paella BRISBANE

Ingredients • 4 tbsp olive oil • 1kg mixed seafood • 1 small onion, peeled and diced • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated • 400g tin chopped tomatoes • 400g short grain rice • 1 tsp paprika (smoked if possible) • A pinch of saffron threads • Freshly ground pepper • 1L fish or vegetable stock


Heat the oil over a medium heat in a double-handed paella pan or a wide frypan. Add the onion and fry until it softens. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic becomes fragrant.



Add the diced tomatoes to the mixture and stir while cooking for a couple of minutes.


Reduce the heat before adding the remaining seafood. Cook for a further ten minutes to reduce the liquid and allow the rice base to crust. 78


Paella is a traditional Spanish rice and meat/ seafood dish. It is characterised by a layer of crusty rice (the socoratt) on the bottom of the pan with a scattering of the meats/seafood cooked on top. The types of seafood that you could use in this paella recipe are only limited by what you have to hand. Morsels of


fish, pieces of crab meat, medallions of crayfish (or lobster) tails or bug tails, green prawns of any type (shell on and/or shell off), calamari tentacles and rings, as well as some purchased baby octopus, mussels and scallops are all on the list of possible ingredients to include in your seafood paella. The following seafood quantities shown in the ingredients list is only a suggestion. Feel free to add extra and more variety if available.

Sprinkle the rice over the base of the pan.


Pour the stock into the pan.

Add the paprika, saffron and ground pepper and stir well. Do not stir again once the ingredients have been mixed.


Lynn Bain

Add the uncooked seafood. Crayfish/ lobster medallions and baby octopus require more time to cook so need to be added now. Other uncooked seafood, such as fish and scallops, can be added a little later. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, occasionally turning the crayfish/lobster in the liquid.


Turn the heat off and cover the pan and the contents with either a clean tea towel or aluminium foil. Leave the paella to stand for at least ten minutes before serving. The grains of rice may initially seem a little firm on the surface but they will plump up during the standing time. If, at the end of the standing time, the rice is still a little firm for your liking, return the pan to the heat, add an additional few tablespoons of stock and continue to cook for a couple of minutes longer.


Serve the paella in the pan in the middle of the table, allowing your guests to serve themselves.

Another successful Tinaroo Barra Bash! Tinaroo Barra Bash 2019 was run over the weekend of 8-10 November, with well over 950 registered anglers competing for a range of amazing prizes. Glorious weather greeted fishers for the entirety of the weekend

out the coveted Champion Angler title by catching an amazing 22 barramundi over the duration of the weekend, with a total combined length of 13.67m. Liam put many hours of practice into fishing Lake Tinaroo, and it was

and serious sportfishers alike. Interestingly, this year’s event saw a large increase in smaller barramundi being caught, with 65% of the total catch being

event will contribute to future stocking so Tinaroo fishes well for many years to come. For full results and more information about the Barra

This is what the Barra Bash is all about – family fun.

Liam Casella took out Champion Angler by catching 22 barramundi for a total length of 13.67m. and the building tides, rising temperature and full moon all combined to make the fishing red-hot. Throughout the competition, hundreds of barra and many redclaw crayfish and sooty grunter were entered via the Track My Fish app, with nearly 1000 catfish and over 130 tilapia also caught. It was great to see so many families getting into the spirit of the event and helping to rid the dam of these undesirable species. Cooper Tunsted took out the catfish category by culling a whopping 92, while Bree Taylor won the tilapia prize by eradicating 19. Liam Casella took

While the average size of barramundi were slightly down in comparison to typical Tinaroo fish, Rod Smith took out the men’s barramundi category by snaring a 121cm beast and Sarah Cummings

Darryl Panigas won the $10,000 cash prize just for entering! great to see his hard work and persistence pay off. He won a boat and several other prizes for his outstanding effort.

won the women’s category with her cracking 114cm specimen. In the junior girls category, Arianny Moros came

first with a 102cm barra, while Anthony Simonati won the junior boys prize for his 118cm fish. Noah Bradford caught the largest sooty grunter at 52cm. This competition also has random draw and mystery length prizes given out to entrants. The major prize of $10,000 cash is always a massive drawcard and this year Darryl Panigas of Mareeba was the lucky entrant who walked away with the cash. To enter, he simply had to buy adult entry and be present on the Sunday to claim the money. The Tableland Fish Stocking Society, major partner Tableland Hardware, local businesses and all of the anglers who support the Barra Bash should be commended on the work they do to make this annual event a great success every year. The TFSS stock several species into the dam to ensure Lake Tinaroo continues to be a fantastic fishing destination for families

Sarah Cummings came first in the women’s barra category with an 114cm beauty. barra under a metre in length, suggesting that the stocking in recent years has been a huge success. As always, the money raised from this year’s

Bash and fishing on Lake Tinaroo, make sure you visit www.tinaroobarrabash. Bring on 2020! - Warwick Lyndon

Rod Smith won the men’s barramundi prize with a 121cm fish.



7-8 Dec

Hobie Kayak Bream Series Round 11 Marlo



4-5 Feb

ABT BREAM Round 1 Gippsland Lakes

8-9 Feb

ABT BREAM Round 2 Mallacoota

22-23 Feb

ABT BREAM Queensland Open Moreton Bay

29 Feb-1 Mar

Hobie Kayak Bream Series Round 1 Bemm River

1 Mar

ABT BASS Electric Round 1 Richmond River

7-8 Mar

ABT BREAM Round 3 Derwent River

11-12 Mar

ABT BREAM Round 4 St Helens

21 Mar

LAFMA Carp and Tilapia Eradication Competition Wyaralong Dam

Lloyd Willmann 0429 614 892

ABT BASS Pro Round 1

21-22 Mar

St Clair

Add your tournament or competition to this list by emailing or calling 07 3387 0800 in office hours. Just supply a date, venue, tournament name and a telephone number and contact name. DECEMBER 2019


Healy a safe pair of hands at Port Stephens The final qualifier of the 2019 Costa BREAM series saw the competitors heading to a new arena, Port Stephens. While only a short drive from other great bream venues such as Sydney Harbour, the Hawkesbury River and Lake Macquarie, only a few of the competitors had fished the area for bream previously. Lake Macquarie local Mark Healy managed to take top honour in the boater division, using his very limited experience bream fishing in Port Stephens to grind out a winning bag. “I’ve fished Port Stephens a couple of times, but not for many years – probably 7-8 years ago,” he said. “I do fish the area offshore of the port fairly regularly though.” During pre-fish, Mark’s plan was to cover a lot of water and search for active fish. Doing this, he managed to find catchable fish in three spots, with two areas in the Soldiers Point area and one down at the Tea Gardens. On day one Mark’s plan was simple: hit the three spots he found on pre-fish


Mark Healy spent most of his time fishing one rock wall to grind out a much-deserved win at Port Stephens. and try to put together a decent bag of fish! The first spot he pulled up to was a timber jetty near the starting line in the Soldiers Point area, where he had been blown away three times on pre-fish. Mark had a brown

Cranka Crab in heavy tied on, and sure enough, after only a few casts he was hooked up to another decent bream. Deciding to fish slightly heavier than he did during pre-fish proved to be the right decision, and within minutes of leaving

BOATER RESULTS Place Name 1 Mark Healey 2 Vaughn Lewis 3 Tristan Taylor 4 Steve Morgan 5 Todd Riches 6 Andrew Stubbs 7 Scott Wilson 8 Brett Crowe 9 Charlie Saykao 10 Tim Vickers

Fish 10/10 10/10 10/10 10/10 8/10 9/10 10/10 7/10 8/10 6/10

Visit for entry forms. For general enquiries phone ABT on (07) 3387 0888 80


Total Weight (kg) 7.32 7.10 6.17 5.50 5.40 5.39 5.34 4.88 4.81 4.04

the start, Mark had a 35cm bream in the livewell! Mark and his non-boater then fished their way around Soldiers Point, catching nothing but one small legal for his non-boater waiting for the tide to start running in. Finally the current started running in, and the pair went to the Tea Gardens. While Mark wasn’t overly confident by this point, he decided to methodically work over one particular rock wall called The Cut. With the tide rising, the seemed to be moving in from the bay and onto the wall to feed, and Mark could see the fish he wanted to catch. Mark had been fishing with a 6lb leader but decided to drop down to 4lb. His

Shimano Zodias 701UL 1000 Shimano Stella 4-6lb braid, 4-6lb fluorocarbon Jackall Chubby 38 Deep in brown suji shrimp, Cranka Crab Heavy in brown

choice of presentation on the rock wall was a Jackall Chubby 38 Deep in brown suji shrimp. With the strong current making fishing difficult, he still managed to catch six more legals to round out a decent bag of 3.69kg, putting him in a strong position ahead of day two. On the second day Mark knew there would still be good fish to be caught from his wall down at the Tea Gardens, some decided to leave the fruitful jetty from the day before, knowing that it had been hit hard by other anglers. Mark figured that as the tide was slightly later on day two, he might get in a good half hour of fishing with the run-out tide. He executed his plan perfectly, got in there and landed a kilo fish early, and about 2-3 casts later he hooked another one that looked bigger, however the hooks pulled. To keep the hooks in Mark was using size 14 Decoy trebles on his crankbaits, because they were only getting lip hooked and were biting very timidly. The tide slowed up for about two and a half hours as the tide changed and Mark and his non-boater fished around the area, landing no keeper bream. As the tide started pumping in, he arrived back at the wall. About halfway

along, he hooked a good fish, which he estimated to be about 1.3-1.4kg. “I got it away from wall and we were drifting back with the tide,” he said. “There was nothing around for him to get me on, and I had him just out of reach of the net and the treble on lure rolled off split ring; I was spewing!” Mark said it took him a good half an hour to regroup after this setback, however soon after he landed a another fish of about 30cm, which gave him confidence to keep fishing. For the remainder of the session he ground out 3 more fish and returned nervously to the weigh-in. As it turns out, he had nothing to worry about, as he had managed to weigh the heaviest overall bag of 7.32kg. This was Mark’s first ABT BREAM qualifier win, and he couldn’t have been more stoked!

Scan the QR code to see the Day 1 highlights.

BREAM Series presented by

Tough fishing no match for Lewis Sliding in behind Healy by just over 200g was Newcastle local Vaughn Lewis, who prior to the tournament, also only had limited exposure to the arena. Vaughn used these limited experiences to rule out some areas and narrow his focus to some areas he knew would hold hungry fish. In the pre-fish Vaughn identified the bottom of the Myall River, the Kuruah River and some islands in the middle of the bay would be his primary targets. Come comp day, Vaughn had some decisions to make. “I thought on comp day that lower Myall would be the car park of spots, so I wrote it off, and focussed on the Kuruah River and some of the islands,” he said. With the early low tide on day one, Vaughn focused on structure while waiting for tide to come in. He started at some oysters racks at the bottom of the Kuruah, fishing the poles rather than the trays. Cycling between a soft plastic and a crankbait, he managed two decent keepers. He then moved to some bridges in the river itself and

“I was fishing around an island, and there was a point with tide coming around and wind blowing onto it,” he said. “Using 3lb straight through fluorocarbon and a black Jackall Chubby 38 Shallow, I was able to fish right up on the rocks and that’s where I got him.” Vaughn didn’t manage any upgrades on day two, just a solid bag of bream and many undersize fish to keep the day interesting. Returning to the

weigh-in tent on day two saw his overall weight dip to 7.10kg, relegating him to second place.


Vaughn Lewis used his limited experience at this venue to find some productive areas in this tough arena. managed two more quality fish as he waited anxiously or the tide to come in. At around 10 o’clock the flow slowed and the prime time for an edge bite came on. “I spent the rest of the day fishing rocky edges, islands, and a few other rocky edges to pick up good fish,” he said. “I also managed two upgrades.”

Vaughn returned to the weigh-in on day one with a respectable bag of 3.62kg. Vaughn decided to start in North Arm Cove on day two, once again fishing oyster racks with similar presentations. The rack fishing was slower on day two, which made Vaughn and his boater all the more anxious for the tide to come in so they could fish the edges.

Once it did, the edges really fired, and with a bit of overcast weather and wind direction change, Vaughn and his non-boater were able to fish right up in the shallows. In doing this he managed to catch the biggest bream for the tournament, a stonking 1.16kg monster, which is huge for the Port Stephens area.

Vaughn Lewis managed to wrangle a 1.16kg beast from the shallows in North Arm Cove by throwing a black Jackall Chubby 38 Shallow.

Johnson grinds it out for non-boater honours Craig Johnson is from the South Coast of NSW, however this was his first time fishing the Port Stephens area for bream, because as he puts it, “there’s just too much good water down there.” It seems that applying some of the tricks and techniques he has learned fishing further south helped him take out top honours in the non-boater division! While Craig did pre-fish with boater Tim Vickers, the pair didn’t do a whole lot of fishing. Rather, they fished very little and just looked for good-looking water to store in the memory bank. For the first day Craig found himself fishing with Jason Mayberry, and the plan was to head downstream of the starting line and fish some shallow weed beds,

edges, flats and points. Like most competitors, the pair was waiting for the tide to

come in and bring the bream on the bite. Craig only weighed one

fish on the first day, which he caught at around 10:30am throwing a Gulp Crabby on a

1/20oz jighead in Salamander Bay. Craig said he just had to cycle through baits to find something that would work. Despite fishing some amazing looking country around Garden Island and the oyster leases, Craig didn’t catch any other weighable fish on day two. The second day would prove more fruitful, however, as some favourable conditions brought the fish on the bite. Fishing with Charlie Saykao, the pair decided to head to where Craig and Jason had finished their previous day at Garden Island. With the wind now swung around to the west and southwest and some overcast weather overhead, the fish seemed to be biting better. Craig had his first fish in the boat before

8:00am. Seeing that the fish were now biting in the area, Craig and Charlie stayed in this vicinity all day. Heading to the Correebah Island area, the pair found lots of random bits of reef and oysters and noticed lots of fish cruising around. Once the tide came in they started hauling in fish one after another, and hooked lots of fish but only stuck three. Fishing these flats, Craig was cycling between various topwaters, including a Jackson Pygmy Popper and a Sugoi Splash. Returning to the weigh-in Craig was nervous but found that the rest of the field had struggled, and was pleased to see the scales dip to 2.76kg.

Non-boater Craig Johnson took out top honours in his division with only 5 fish over two days, proving just how tough the fishing was!


Scan the QR code to see the Day 2 highlights.

Place Name 1 Craig Johnson 2 Nick Penprase 3 Daniel McNeice 4 Bernard Kong 5 Gordon Pullin 6 Darren Murphy 7 Shaun Egan 8 Justin Reeves 9 Richard Wootten 10 Rebecca Fazio

Fish 5/10 3/10 2/10 2/10 2/10 2/10 2/10 1/10 1/10 1/10

Total Weight (kg) 2.76 1.63 1.10 0.99 0.97 0.89 0.80 0.76 0.58 0.56

Everyone could agree that there were worse places to start a morning! DECEMBER 2019


Ford redeems his recent Grand Final loss The Rapala BASS Australian Open has cemented its place in the Australian BASS calendar with another huge turnout of boaters in ABT’s only boateronly BASS Pro event. Using a special permit to retain five live bass for weigh-in, competitors fought for $30,000 in prize money on a hot spring Lake Glenbawn bass bite. Weighing in the biggest bag of the event on day two (5/5, 5.48kg, total 10/10 10.17kg), Ford jumped from 13th place to the top spot and earned

himself $10,000 cash to cap off a stellar year for the Narrabri boater. Trying hard to knock him off was Queensland boater Braden Schuch (10/10, 9.95kg), who fell short with his day two bag but still pocketed $5,000 for his efforts. Rounding out the top five was Tom Slater (10/10, 9.86kg for $3,000) Mark Ferguson (10/10, 9.86kg for $2,500) and Liam Carruthers (10/10, 9.75kg for $2,000). As predicted, the skirted jig bite was in full swing for the event – a pattern for which this premier bass lake is

quickly becoming famous. Most of the top-ten threw jigs for a majority of the time and each of the top 12 pocketed at least $1,000 prize money. Aberdeen Fishing and Outdoors’ Nick Price picked the winning weights before the event started. “You’re going to need 5kg a day to be up there this weekend,” he said at the event briefing, which was held at his store and full of bass angler treasure. And he was right on the money, with Ford the only angler to break the 10kg mark. But 9.24kg also got you a paycheque!

Graham Ford with his kicker 1.37kg bass that got him to first place.

Ford eyed off ignored water for final day bag Graham had been keeping his eye on a stretch of water that hadn’t seen much in the way of angler pressure over the previous two days. Finally, he decided to fish it mid way through the second day and it immediately paid off. “I caught that big bass (1.37kg) off it first up,” he said, and then several other

big fish that helped him towards victory. I didn’t see many anglers fishing it and my gut just told me to give

it a go. It was windblown on the (incredibly windy) Saturday and with the calming conditions, it was quite

fishable,” he said. Ford used the jig rig that had helped him nearly win the Grand Final just days earlier

– a black JigPro skirted jig with no hook guard fished on a Baker Custom Rods extra heavy jig rod. On it he strapped a 10:1 Abu Garcia baitcast reel with a braid and leader set-up rather than straight through fluorocarbon. Ford’s rod is typified by the fact that it hardly bends, even when a good bass is hooked. “I like to get them out of the structure and get the hook in solid,” he said when asked about the stick that most would say is more suited to barra than bass. The $10,000 Open

cheque capped off a remarkable win for the NSW basser, who actually lives hours away from his nearest bass fishery. He took out the 2019 Sufix BASS Pro Tour Angler of the Year with a string of top 10 finishes, finished second in the BASS Pro Grand Final by 40g and then came from 13th place to win the Rapala BASS Australian Open. That’s quite a year and it proves that hard work and talent can overcome obstacles, like distance, when it comes to fishing as a sport.


Scan the QR code to see day one highlights

Rod: Reel: Line: Lure: The scales never lie – Fordy weighing in his winning bag.

Visit for entry forms. For general enquiries phone ABT on (07) 3387 0888 82


Baker Custom Rods extra heavy jig rod 10:1 Abu Garcia baitcast reel Straight through fluorocarbon JigPro skirted jig in black (no hook guard)

Queensland basser ascends to second South Queensland basser, Braden Schuch, fell a little short on day two after logging a 5kg+ bag, but seemed quite happy with his $5,000 consolation prize. “Each morning I’d crankbait an early limit off the dam wall and then go searching for upgrades with skirted jigs as the session

Scan the QR code to see day two highlights

wore on,” he said. Using a deep diving OSP crankbait on exclusively Daiwa baitcast tackle, he’d pound the rock wall with the bait until the fish bit. After bagging a limit on the wall, he’d then move up the lake looking for bigger fish. On day two in particular, Schuch searched for trees that were deeper than most other anglers were fishing, from 15-25ft, to target his upgrade fish. To do this he used a ProS Factory skirted jig. “I think I cottoned on to the fact that the fish were biting a little deeper too late on the second day,” Braden said, “But crawling the jig around the structure in that deeper water is an awesome way to fish and the last couple of hours were sensational.

You can’t be too upset placing second when you take home a $5,000 cheque for your efforts.

BASS Pro Series presented by

Scan the QR code to see the Open Pre-Show

Slater sneaks into third Sydney’s Tom Slater was the instigator of the five-bag concept and helped ABT get the permit from Fisheries to get this tournament happening. And Tom

a great second-day bag and secure his cheque. Fishing 1/2oz ProS Equip Hybrid jigs on a Daiwa TD Commander 712MFB Basilisk rod, Slater described the last

It’s the only chance we get to fish an event like this on the Australian tournament calendar and to have $30,000 in the prize pool definitely turns heads.” The Rapala Australian

Braden Schuch with one of the many bass he took over the tournament.

Third place getter, Tom Slater, was instrumental in helping ABT get a special permit for a five bag bass bag. benefitted from the good Karma, taking $3,000 for third place. One of the leaders in getting jig fishing adopted as mainstream in Australia, Tom used his signature technique to bring home

couple of hours of his Sunday session as some of the most fun jig fishing he’s ever had, tournament or not. “It’s great to see so many anglers enjoying the five fish tournament limit and the boater-only format.

Open also signalled the end of the ABT BASS Calendar for 2019 – a huge year for anglers, sponsors and organisers alike. Dates for 2020 have been released on the www. website.

BOATER RESULTS Place Name 1 Graham Ford 2 Braden Schuch 3 Tom Slater 4 Mark Ferguson 5 Liam Carruthers 6 Glenn Hayter 7 Dane Pryce 8 Kristoffer Hickson 9 Jake Schwerin 10 Ben Hay

Total Fish Total Weight (kg) 10/10 10.17 10/10 9.95 10/10 9.86 10/10 9.86 10/10 9.75 10/10 9.71 10/10 9.61 10/10 9.54 10/10 9.52 10/10 9.34

A nail-biting finish! The front-runners waiting to find out who takes home the $10,000 cheque. DECEMBER 2019


Pryce pulls $15,000 for win Lake Macquarie’s Dane Pryce topped the field in the fishiest ABT BASS Pro Grand Final in history on the Hunter Valley’s Lake St Clair. With the entire field of 60 anglers weighing a five fish limit on every day of competition, it

yield better quality fish. But on the official practice day, I found that Carrow had the better fish, so that’s where I fished for the event,” Dane said. The decision proved critical, as it was quality, not quantity of fish that took Dane to a 40g win over the

timber at the base of trees to get his bites. He fished it on a Millerods SwitchFreak UL rod that was matched to a Daiwa Tatula baitcast reel, Daiwa Evo8 braid and 10lb Sunline leader. “I pre-ordered one of those rods when it came out and when it arrived, I


fish during the event,” Dane said and given the terrain he was fishing, that’s an incredibly good conversion rate. You can see some of his highlights and some of the difficult fish extractions on the embedded videos on the ABT website - go to the results page and look up the BASS Pro Grand Final. Dane’s pathway to Grand Final success is a typical one for ABT. “I first started tournament fishing in the Hobie BREAM events but Shae Ferguson got me onto the BASS events and after the first one of these, I was hooked,” Dane continued. This year Dane fished

Rod: Reel: Line: Lure:

Millerods SwitchFreak UL Daiwa Tatula baitcast Daiwa Evo8 braid and 10lb Sunline leader Black and brown Vex jig fitted with a Berkley creature bait trailer

his first season as a boater and his goal was just to make the Grand Final on his local lake. He did that and, combined with a lot of practice, it fasttracked him to BASSing’s ultimate prize. What’s Dane got planned for the biggest cash payout in ABT history? “I’m going to buy a faster boat,” he concluded. Nice one, Dane. Spoken like a true bass boater who has got the bug!

Scan the QR code to see Grand Final Pre-Show.

Dane Pryce took out top spot and a $15,000 cheque. was always going to take something special to get your hands on the $15,000 winner’s cheque. And that’s exactly what Pryce did. Here’s how he did it. “I did a lot of practice leading up to this event in both the Fal Brook and Carrow Brook arms of the lake and, to be honest, the Fal Brook arm seemed to

2019 BASS Pro Angler of the Year, Graham Ford. Ford led the event after day one but fell painfully short at the final day’s weigh-in. Pryce targeted timber most of the time, but did pull a couple of key fish off steep rock walls over the two days. He used a black and brown Vex jig fitted with a Berkley creature bait trailer and crawled it through the

immediately ordered two more. They’re perfect for jigs, chatterbaits and a lot of the techniques that I like to use on my home lakes,” he said. Winning tournaments is all about having your execution match your good decisions and Dane was blessed with a near-perfect record in that department. “I lost only one key

Visit for entry forms. For general enquiries phone ABT on (07) 3387 0888 84


It was a close call for first and second place boaters, with only 40g dividing the two scores.

Graham ‘Forty’ Ford misses by 40 grams Narrabri’s Graham Ford acquired a new nickname at the Grand Final – ‘Forty’ (rather than Fordy). Crystallising the weight that he missed out on winning $15,000. After leading the first day of competition and weighing one of the only 5kg+ five fish bags, Graham’s first day was destined to be great after the current BASS Pro Angler of the Year drew the non-boater Angler of the Year, Paul Mazzaroli. And the dream pairing didn’t disappoint, with the top reaches of the Fal Brook arm yielding a string of kilo-class bass for the pair. Weighing fish on a combination of jigs and

jerkbaits, Ford’s confidence rig consisted of a 3/8oz JigPro black gig (with no weedguard) that he fished on a super-stiff custom rod by Peter Fogarty (Baker Custom Rods). On it, he has an Abu Garcia 10:1 baitcast reel that he used to take up the slack line before driving the hook home. Gracious in defeat, Ford acknowledged that he’s had a cracker of a year - culminating in his win at the Rapala BASS Australian Open in the following days. Reports from that event are in this issue. We look forward to seeing ‘Forty’ on the BASS circuit next year.

What a team! The 2019 Angler of the Year boater, Graham Ford, randomly drew the 2019 Angler of the Year non-boater, Paul Mazzaroli, on day one.

Martin makes top spot as non-boater Taree basser Jason Martin has won ABT BASS events before, but has never taken home the sport’s ultimate prize from the back of the boat, until now.

weight bag. Later in the day, he reverted to a 3/8oz jig and had some tips for those looking to try the technique. “It’s like Cranka Crab fishing, you throw it out and drag it really slowly. Just

BASS Pro Series presented by

Scan the QR code to see day one highlights

Freams 2500 reel, 8lb Daiwa J-Braid and Sunline 10lb FC Sniper leader. Martin’s also a fan of the shared weight format. “I love working as a team with by boater each day and Scan the QR code to see day two highlights

Lake St Clair was the perfect venue for the 2019 BASS Pro Grand Final. want to become a boater, so maybe I’ll sit out a year, save for a boat and be back as a boater. But I’ll still do my

local rounds.” Martin also experienced a super topwater session with Kris Hickson on the second

day, with bass all around the boat sipping at insects and topwater cicadas doing the damage. Anytime you’re winning tournaments and using topwater baits is a day to remember!

First-time winner as a non-boater, Jason Martin scored big at the back of the boat. Fishing with eventual winner Dane Pryce on day one and fellow Taree angler, Kris Hickson on day two, Jason fished to his strengths and used a chartreuse/silver Jackall Squirrel jerkbait to contribute to the shared-

wait for the tick in the line and then you can set the hook,” Martin explained. Catching 50 fish over the weekend (between him and his boaters), Martin’s favourite outfit was a Daiwa Gen Black rod paired with a

it’s a great way to introduce new people to the sport. You get to fish with some of the best anglers in Australia,” Martin concluded. When asked whether we was going to defend his title in 2020, Jason said, “I really

BOATER RESULTS Place Name 1 Dane Pryce 2 Graham Ford 3 Luke Draper 4 Steve Chang 5 Robert Tilley 6 Jake Schwerin 7 Kyle Lewis 8 Mike Nelson 9 Keeghan Painter 10 Mick Johnson

Total Fish Total Weight (kg) 10/10 9.84 10/10 9.80 10/10 9.71 10/10 9.18 10/10 9.15 10/10 8.91 10/10 8.67 10/10 8.64 10/10 8.43 10/10 8.41

Jason Martin was teamed up with BASS Pro circuit regular Kris Hickson.

NON-BOATER RESULTS Place Name 1 Jason Martin 2 Mitchell Petty 3 Malcolm Draper 4 Tom Deer 5 John Francis 6 Mark Caneris 7 Ryan Bates 8 Darren Greenstreet 9 Ian Wratten 10 Anthony Melchior

Total Fish Total Weight (kg) 10/10 9.50 10/10 9.23 10/10 9.02 10/10 8.91 10/10 8.86 10/10 8.85 10/10 8.76 10/10 8.71 10/10 8.65 10/10 8.60 DECEMBER 2019


Schwerin strikes in first Electric Open Jake Schwerin has put his name in the history books as the first ever winner of the Valleyhill BASS Electric Australian Open. Schwerin was consistent across both days of the tournament, which saw him bring in an impressive 10/10 bass limit for 14.81kg and take home the Champion’s Trophy and a $3,000 prize cheque. All up, Jake won about $6,000 in prize money just fishing bass tournaments, so reckons bass fishing is pretty good! Prior to the tournament Jake had fished the dam twice, but still hadn’t had a proper taste of what this dam could offer. The spring

Jake Schwerin was consistent all weekend and walked away with $3,000 for his effort out on Lake Wyaralong. bite at Wyaralong is certainly a special one, and Jake weighing 10 fish for a near

1.5kg average is very telling. For the tournament, the competitors were faced with

two very different days of fishing, and therefore there were two different patterns that worked for Jake. Day one saw overcast and rainy conditions, which Schwerin believed had the fish a bit more willing to bite. For the first day he headed up the lake to a patch of timber where he had caught them last time, and decided to throw an OSP Blitz, which is a little square bill crankbait. The fish appeared to be suspending quite high in the water column in what is a relatively deep patch of timber. By cranking this bait into the timber, Jake reckons this was crucial to triggering that bite. Jake moved around very little on day one, and slowly picked apart his little patch of timber. Day two saw finer conditions, and while Jake

started off throwing his square bill crankbait that worked so well on day one, he realised that the fish had gone deeper, and had begun holding closer to the structure. With this now noted, Jake tied on a 1/2oz Smak Lures SMAKO Spinnerbait. Jake soon worked out that sinking the SMAKO down a bit further, and slowly winding them back to the boat, could draw a strike out of these more timid fish.

Bostock almost backs it up Peter Bostock came close to backing up his recent BASS Electric Grand Final win, with his 10/10 limit for 13.14kg. He took

home a $1,000 cheque for his efforts. Pete did extremely well to put together two bags that almost won him the

tournament, especially given that he rocked up to the competition sporting a foot injury that upon doctor’s order, couldn’t get wet!

Pete was grateful that competitors were there to help him launch and retrieve his boat, and said he couldn’t have managed this impressive result without the support from everyone at the competition site. A big thank you to Valleyhill for getting behind this event – ABT are looking forward to putting it on the calendar again in 2020!

Competition organiser Joey Urquhart wasn’t far out from a podium finish, and had a good weekend pulling chunky fish like this.


Edge Black Widow ISR703 Daiwa Steez 2508 Toray F4 Nage 0.8 braid and 12lb Toray Powergame leader Lures: OSP Blitz 65 in ghost minnow and Smak Lures SMAKO Spinnerbait in IB

Peter Bostock was not far behind Schwerin, and given a few setbacks he had to endure leading up to the comp, he did an amazing job to slide in second!

Scan the QR code to see day one highlights.




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Place Name 1 Jake Schwerin 2 Pete Bostock 3 Charles West 4 Adrian Wilson 5 Joseph Urquhart 6 Christian Manolea 7 Mark McKay 8 Dean Thomson 9 Nathan Swanson 10 Steve Eldred

Total Fish Total Weight (kg) 10/10 14.81 10/10 13.14 10/10 12.22 10/10 12.16 10/10 11.62 10/10 10.30 10/10 10.09 9/10 8.64 8/10 8.26 8/10 8.24

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Scan the QR code to see day two highlights.

The money-winners stand proud after the presentation.

Bostock blitzes field at Grand Final The Casino Outdoor and Disposal BASS Electric series drew to a close on the Richmond River at the 2019 BASS Electric Grand Final. On the banks of the Richmond, 29 anglers

were eager to see what the river was going to produce and more importantly, who would be crowned the champion on Sunday afternoon. It was BCF manager

Peter Bostock caught a huge amount of fish on both days, and amongst all those fish were the right ones to take out the win!

BIG BASS Day one’s Big Bass winner was Charles West, who landed a cracker on a Whiplash Noise Addict buzzbait. The Big Bass on day two was Mark Palazzi, which was the biggest bass for the entire tournament, on a beetle spin.

Peter Bostock who rose to the top, compiling a 4/4 limit for 3.85kg. For his efforts he took home a Motorguide X3 electric motor and a 24v Green Energy lithium battery package. During pre-fish, Bostock made the decision to make the one hour 40 minute trip downriver to the Swan Bay area where the larger concentrations of bass were holding. This proved to be a great decision. Upon arrival on the first day Bostock already had one small fish in the well. He made a quick stop on the way and picked up a keeper on a jig, although this fish got upgraded in a matter of casts at Swan Bay. The fish continued to bite for the entire session, with Bostock landing around 60 legal bass for the day. His technique was simply hoping blades on a small drop off and, with the bass hunting prawns, this technique proved very successful. He switched between an Ecogear ZX40 and a Savage Gear blade, but the key was making long casts across the current and brining the blade up the drop off through the schools of prawns. Returning to the weigh-in on day one, Bostock was sitting in second place, and not too far off the lead. With the amount of fish he was catching it was going to make for an exciting day two. With more favourable tides at the start of day two, the trip down to Swan Bay was a little quicker, although the bass didn’t bite until around 8am. When they did however, is was a quick flurry and the well was full in no time at all. Bostock

also managed to make some key upgrades toward the end of the session. Bostock switched up his technique on day two to a more finesse approach with a soft plastic rigged on a 1/4oz jighead, which he would simply drag along the bottom.

His choice of tackle was a 2-5kg Lox Yoshi spin rod matched with a Daiwa Certate 2500 spooled with 6lb braid and 12lb leader. Pete would like to thank all the naming sponsors as well as everyone that assisted him through the year.

Urquhart finishes strong

Event organiser Joey Urquhart slide into second behind Bostock, and also managed to take out the Angler of the Year trophy. Relegated to second place was BASS Electric event organiser and Richmond River local Joey Urquhart. Urquhart compiled his 4/4 limit for 3.56kg and also took home a Green Energy 24v lithium battery. Urquhart also made the huge run downriver to Swan Bay and fished about 15ft away from Bostock for the entire weekend. His technique was the same as Bostock’s, where he hoped blades up a drop off targeting the concentrations of prawns. Day one saw him fill his

limit before the other anglers arrived and he continued to upgrade through the day and landed around 60 bass for the session. Starting day two in third place he was ready to move up the leader board. Upon arrival at Swan Bay he filled his limit very quickly and continued to make small upgrades all session. Urquhart threw a 6g Issei GC Zari Metal when there was less flow in the tide, and a 9g when the tide picked up. His choice of tackle was a Raison Jaburo 65L matched

with a Daiwa Tierra LT 2500 spooled with 8lb Sufix Aqua and Sufix Super 21 10lb leader. Urquhart also took out the Angler of the Year trophy for his outstanding year, consisting of a first place, two second places, a third, fouth and a 12th. Joey would like to thank all of his sponsors that supported him through the year. That brings this year’s series to a close, but keep posted for the 2020 BASS Electric calendar!


Scan the QR code to see highlights from the Grand Final.

Place Name 1 Pete Bostock 2 Joseph Urquhart 3 Tom Reynolds 4 Mark Palazzi 5 Nathan Swanson 6 Matt Williams 7 Glenn Swanson 8 Felippe Gapski 9 Stephen McLean 10 Liam Dutton

Total Fish Total Weight (kg) 4/4 3.85 4/4 3.56 4/4 3.36 4/4 3.19 4/4 3.07 4/4 2.81 4/4 2.65 4/4 2.63 4/4 2.49 4/4 2.38

The banks of the Richmond River were awash with anglers ready to fish its snaggy waters.

Visit for entry forms. For general enquiries phone ABT on (07) 3387 0888 DECEMBER 2019


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Measuring biomass in shallow water SUNTAG

Stefan Sawynok

In my last article I outlined a lot of the problems associating with shallow water and looking at fish biomass. In fairness if you read that article, you might be forgiven for wondering why you would want to look at biomass, thus it’s probably a good idea to provide some background on what Biomass is and why you would want to measure it. WHAT IS BIOMASS? Biomass is the living organisms that inhabit an area. In the case of fish you will find in any given system a range of species and in general the more diverse the species

has had a deal of success at using citizen science data, mainly from fish tagging as an alternative approach but it suffers the same scalability issues as many other solutions. In other words, you need a lot of fishing trips reported in an area to get a real sense of what is going on. What we really need is a non-invasive method of looking at biomass that is scalable. That is a problem I have lost many nights sleep to in the past few years. So how do they use Echosounders to Measure Biomass in the Northern Hemisphere? Using scientific echosounders for biomass problems is not new. I have read papers dating back to the 1970s using paper sounders. The very first paper detailing the measurement of fish

Using the ability to detect length and count fish in aquaculture to monitor fish biomass growth rates over time. Setting up fixed units side facing to track numbers and sizes of species like trout and salmon moving during spawning runs in rivers. Using downscan on larger impoundments and freshwater rivers to detect numbers and sizes of fish. This uses a method of sampling smaller areas then extrapolating to total biomass. Of the three applications the last – downscan is the most applicable to southern hemisphere conditions but more on that later. So why would you measure Biomass in the Southern Hemisphere? The interesting thing about having worked with biomass intensively is I think that the inverse question is probably

Biomass assessment in aquaculture. which is the worst time to be holding an intervention. Just addressing those two problems is a lot of work even before you hit saltwater systems and the competing forces of recreational and commercial fishers. Then there are threatened species and systems in danger from climate change like the Great Barrier Reef. As it happens our inability to measure fish without killing

echosounding method used in the northern hemisphere but side facing scan comes with a lot of advantages in terms of the amount of data that is collected. A normal survey day for us will net around 100,000 tracks – ie 100,000 things of interest. It should be noted that 100,000 tracks is made up of bottom noise, structure and things other than fish – all valuable but that’s

20-40 times more data on a side facing transect for the same distance travelled. There is a reason why these large datasets are important. The larger the sample, the smaller the error when estimating the dynamics of a larger population. When using downscan to estimate populations we have had much greater volatility as you would expect, as much as

Fig 2. Fixed point installations of biosonics units. present, the more robust the ecosystem. Diversity is the measure of the range of species, Biomass is the amount of that species present. What ‘measuring biomass’ means depends on what you want as an outcome. If you are running an aquaculture pond, biomass is a measure of weight – ie what weight of fish is present? If you are talking in the wild, biomass is often a numbers game – how many fish of particular type are there, that could be based on species or size class. So how is biomass measured now? If ever you needed the definition dictionary for irony – you measure fish populations by killing them. Okay, probably a little harsh but the most common method globally is through commercial catch data. There are some other methodologies used in specific circumstances, but they lack the scalability and low cost of collection that comes with commercial catch data. As a result, for fifty years commercial catch data has been the global measurement tool. I have always believed there has to be an alternative way of measuring biomass. Over the past 20 years Infofish 90


length via echosounders dates to the late 1960s. Ignoring the problems listed in my last article, there have always been concerns around the use of echosounders particularly identifying fish species. This has in my view unnecessarily held back the development of the technology because the reality is as most fishers would know – echosounders are really good at locating fish. None the less significant progress has been made with three key applications arising in the northern hemisphere.

more relevant – why wouldn’t you? There are an endless number of instances where we make decisions about fish without much of a clue what is going on. Take stocking for instance. We know how to breed fish and release them in a system, we don’t on the whole have very much of an idea though of what an optimal stocking program looks like. Then there are our natural rivers, ever more deprived of water, we don’t really know often what is in a system until things start dying

An echogram with targets.

Fig.1. An example echogram. them hampers so many of our decision-making processes and leaves everyone relying on guesswork. SIDE FACING ECHOSOUNDERS AND THE LAW OF LARGE NUMBERS As I noted earlier, downscan is the most common

a lot of data to process when you consider each of those data points generates nearly 200 fields of data. That’s 20 million datapoints, and that’s before we start looking at individual echoes. It has to be said that downscan is much easier to manage precisely because we capture less data, which is why it’s used. For a point of comparison, we did intensive survey downscan on 40km of river near Brisbane with downscan edge to edge transects cutting across the river around every 100m plus two transects along the edge and one in the middle. That netted us around 4000 fish from 308km of transects. Doing the same area shooting from one bank to the other (typically 30-40m) using side facing we ended up with around 130,000 fish from 89km of transects. That will give a pretty good indicator on why we value side-facing echosounding. In general, we collect

100% over or underestimating on the recorded numbers from side facing. THE PROBLEMS WITH SIDE FACING DATA Having established the value of side facing data let me get back to the previous article where I listed a lot of the challenges that go with collecting side facing data. In the last article I highlighted that shallow water is an inherently complex environment, and if you are going to capture fish data then you are going to capture a lot more than fish. Anyone that has used conventional sidescan (a different technology to scientific echosounders) in shallow water will know that finding fish in structure is a lot easier when you can see them. The human eye and brain is pretty good at interpreting those kinds of images. What happens if all you get is a flat 2D image? Fig.1 is a pretty good example of what you end up with, can you see the fish amongst all that green noise?

Fortunately, we don’t have to make sense of the noise. Biosonics have done a great job of providing a tool called Autotrack, which helps pick out targets, but as you would expect there is a catch. Fig.2 2 shows Autotrack assessing the signal and providing a list of targets. The catch is, while Autotrack and all tracking systems for that matter are good at picking out targets, they suck when it comes to telling you what you are looking at, or where it is. Further, they are based on the downscan assessments, which have two inherent advantages: the fish and boat are in close proximity, and the location of the bottom is a known via bathymetry INTRODUCING AARON Aaron Dunlop joined the Infofish team to work on an unrelated project about two years ago. When he came on board he said he was looking for challenges, and I think it’s safe to say that the biosonics delivered. To be honest, he chipped me for not mentioning him in my last article, but I don’t think his part in the story of our use of Biosonics relates to the problems – he has been all solutions. After the first project it was clear we had three big problems to address: how to resolve the spatial data problem, how to tell the difference between objects, and how to optimise the survey volumes. THE SPATIAL DATA PROBLEM Solving the spatial data

Aaron with an early build of the rig. He would go on to redo the design and lay the foundations for cracking 3D representations of the beam. cameras were mounted at axes to give a complete view of the action and we mapped out the ‘strike’ zone which we knew to be about 30cm wide and place a bait (chicken) at the centre of the beam. Our intended subject was baby bream, between 4-10cm long. The goal was to lure them into the beam and capture them on the three cameras as well as the echosounder so that we could work out the position of the fish in three dimensions. I learned through this exercise that Aaron could MacGyver almost anything on the water.

a lower grade component. There was nothing elegant in solving that problem, just brute force trial and error until I managed to generate a map that matched the echogram. The results were worth it though as we can map out the fish we detect by size, depth and location. GETTING THE DATA AND TELLING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBJECTS Telling the difference between objects is something of a trade secret for us. We invested a lot of time and money on that particular problem. All the same I am

Fish mapped out by size class using QGIS. problem involved two parts, one fun and one boring. The boring part was going back to school. Youtube has been a boon for self-education because there are a lot of lectures from US universities online and that was my part in solving the problem, many hours spent learning the mathematics needed to turn the raw data we had into something useful. Aaron had the fun part that included a bunch of mythbuster style builds where we would create rigs for the unit to operate in small scale, so that we could understand what was happening on the larger scale. The first rig we built was a 3m long polypipe contraption, with the transducer at one end then a cube frame at the other. Three

The results of that work would lead to us then being able to extrapolate fish in 3D. Fig.3 shows one of the money shots we used to work out what was happening with two bream sitting perfectly in the beam. It’s less impressive than some of the balls of bream we have but in data terms – this one is the gold. A second issue in the spatial issue was understanding where everything was in terms of mapping and that in of itself was a journey. We worked out early on that we should be able to convert the data we collected into a map. Getting there proved a serious hurdle, not helped by a discovery much later that a motion sensor we were relying on was

happy to share some of the how we went about it. I had been working with Machine Learning for a range of other problems, particularly looking at fish health. Machine Learning is kind of a proto artificial Intelligence, a way of providing a computer the tools to ‘learn’ patterns in data. Image recognition is a rather popular form of this type of learning, if you have used Facebook you will have noticed it can recognise your friends from photos. Machine learning would prove to be one of the key tools we used to solve the object identification problem. In our problem though we weren’t sure what we were looking at. We didn’t have a large set of nicely labelled

data, so before we could teach the machine the difference between bottom, structure and fish we had to learn how to do that ourselves first. This is where the 3D representations became critical because they provided a good picture of how the scanner sees the world. For most of our time using the biosonics, we have only been able to use clean water, that is no bottom noise. Using only clean water meant we were losing up to 50% of the available survey area. Once we had 3D we were able to use 100% of the scan data, which was the single biggest hurdle to unlocking the power of side facing scans. As with many parts of our biosonics journey, this step became a feedback loop. Once we could survey all the

data and then work out how to cross-match. Once we had one dataset to crossmatch with, other datasets also came into play. Once again, this is where Aaron came to the fore. While I was working out the maths, Aaron was learning how to interpret the echogram. We started with the clean water, where we knew we were only dealing with fish, then gathered datasets with increasing amounts of structure. Over many, many weeks Aaron teased out the echograms and provided me sets of labelled data that I could use to train the machine learning. To be fair the early attempts sucked but eventually we got there. That mix of human expertise and mathematics has served us well. Machine Learning has been critical

On that front, I wish I had more time in the day, but we do have datasets with known species and while I am not ready to say I am there, we have managed to detect the differences between species in the signals. I won’t say that we have cracked species, but we certainly have cracked morphology (shape) and given two different shaped species we can pick the differences. In the case of two similarly shaped species we have found other datapoints that can help separate them. I have a big dataset ready to go to classify five key species from around 20,000 fish and room to expand that to seven species once we have the base set done and I can look more closely at the habitat side of things. On the list of species we

Fig.3. Two bream with their echoes. water, that led Aaron to further improve the survey techniques to ensure that we can get as much data as possible. As I said earlier, the advantage of downscan is you get bathymetry at the same time. Bathymetry is vital because it gives you a point of reference – the bottom. In most of our early surveys we had no bathymetry at all, and it wasn’t until we unlocked the 3D data we realised how big a mistake that was. It was at this point we started to deviate from traditional methods of processing the data because the current approaches treat the signal as a self-contained set of data, there is no use of external datasets. We couldn’t capture the bathymetry using the side facing echosounding so we had to get that external

in improving our processing times because increasingly clients come to us specifically for the bigger datasets. We have had datasets that have required assessment of half a million or more tracks in a single run. At our best pace that would take 11 years by hand. We can crunch that in 3-4 hours. THE NEXT STEP – DETECTING SPECIES Detecting the species of fish via the echosounder is the holy grail. There are systems to do that in downscan, using a multifrequency approach but those units are expensive and have proven unreliable. Doing so with conventional split beams would reduce the costs and make it possible to deliver a truly effective biomass assessment tool.

have classification data on we can include carp and tilapia, two species that mapping out biomass for is critical in many regions. Our biosonics journey has been a combination of hundreds of hours on the water and even more time back in the office. We have had to be single-minded, many times we have been told things can’t be done only to work out how to do it. Our journey though isn’t about us, it’s about the fish we all care so much about. Unlike terrestrial animals, they are shielded from our sight – it’s only in very recent times that technology made it possible to peak into their world. Now that we can ‘see’ the fish, a whole new world is opening up.

Fish mapped out by size class using QGIS. DECEMBER 2019


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This month’s Guess the Fish Answer: Silver Perch

The answers to Find the Daiwa Logo for October were: 11, 14, 17, 22, 29, 32, 40, 50, 56, 57, 59, 76, 78, 90, 94, 102. – QFM The Find the Daiwa Logo prize winners for October were: P Fels of Cushnie, T Hubner of Taunton, K Martin of Dalby, H McElligott of Highvale, M Goodwin of Cardwell, Z Steinhardt of Tivoli, G Hazelwood of Bundaberg South, B Barratt of Bucca, E & V Jackson of Long Flat, D McClurg of


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In the skipper’s seat 96 Kicking back at Cania Inside story...

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Steve Morgan climbs aboard Formosa’s 550 SRT with Suzuki 150hp 4-stroke out from Coffs Harbour. Check it out on page 104!

Ron Hess takes the kayak out to this fantastic mixed fishery, and demonstrates just how good it really is!

98 A double christening Christening a new craft is rewarding, but doing two in one weekend is even better, as Justin Willmer found out!

100 Get on top of props Wayne Kampe provides a layman’s look at propellers to help you better understand this important piece of equippment.

102 Yellowfin Plate 7000CC with 200hp E-Tec Steve Morgan tests this solid offshore rig out in some rough conditions and gives it a proper workout.



Kicking back at Cania Dam BRISBANE

Ron Hess

Nestled in the hills near Cania Gorge National Park lies a fishing paradise, Cania Dam. Cania Dam is 100km south of Biloela and 37km northwest of Monto. From the moment you turn off the A3 at the big Cania Gorge sign, the adventure begins.

commonly targeted, with people coming from all over to catch these marvellous fish. I fish in saltwater most of the time, so it makes an enjoyable change heading to this freshwater impoundment. Its fishing never disappoints. It’s a big dam so you will need a few days to explore. Traversing it with a kayak can be quite challenging, as it’s nearly a 9km paddle up to the back of the dam where

wall. It will only be a matter of time before your sounder comes alive and you find bass schooled up in numbers. Jigging with vibes and spoons will produce good results, or you can throw soft plastics and keep them at the same depth as the bass. If trolling isn’t getting results, flick the edges of the dam with hardbodies, soft plastics, spinnerbaits and even vibes. Some of the

result in a strike. They have hard mouths so your hooks must be in good condition and many surface lures will require hook upgrades. There are some good size golden perch in the dam as well. They are harder to come by than bass, so they provide an excellent challenge. A lot are trolled by deep diving lures along the edges of the embankments, but like bass they can be enticed to break cover from timber and chew a wellpresented lure. Yellowbelly can be ferocious fighters or very lazy, as they’ve been known to occasionally barely pull any string off the reel, but they are still a great fish to catch all the same. It pays to have an array of lures at your disposal as it may take a while to work out what fish are enticed by on the day. At times it can be a tough dam to fish in a kayak, as you don’t have the benefit of a powerboat to get around the dam quickly and try different spots, but if you put in the hours you will reap the rewards and the scenery is spectacular. Another thing to do at Cania Dam is to put redclaw pots out. The law states a maximum of four traps and

The author scored a quality yellowbelly from the dam. 40 redclaw per person. They love to eat sweet potato and rockmelon but I’ve found roast chook works best. Put it in a container with holes in it that is tied to the inside of the trap. If you haven’t tried redclaw before they are an absolute delicacy. Boil them up in water for 2-3 minutes, chill them in ice slurry, remove the shell and add a little seasoning. I like a sprinkle of salt and a bit

of lemon, whereas others like to cut them in half and cook them in butter and garlic. Either way, you will not be disappointed. During this October trip to Cania the water level was at 65%. It made traversing the dam by kayak easier as the surface area was reduced substantially. The water levels have been slowly dropping this year, which was evident from my first

The author and Roxy with a nice schooled bass. You’ll pass through the historical settlement of Moonford and then further up the road is the Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat, one of two caravan parks that service this area. Big4 Cania Gorge Holiday Park is a little closer to the dam, but I stayed at Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat because they allow Roxy, my little fishing foxy, to stay. It has cabins, powered and non-powered caravan and camping sites and a full camp kitchen.

Three Moon Creek enters. There are many bays and a lot of timber to try and catch bass. It pays to research this dam on a satellite image and plan your days. If fish are not biting in deep water, they can often be found in the heavilytimbered area in the upper reaches of the dam. Make sure you prepare yourself well, as the only phone service is in the vicinity of the boat ramp, and pack enough food, water, and first aid supplies.

banks are very deep; you can be only 3m from the edge and have 5-6m of water under you. I usually hit the water before first light and pedal to areas that have lilies or weed coverage on the edges of the bank. Cicada type surface lures and other paddlers are good for getting bites from even the fussiest of fish. Saratoga like nothing more than sitting on the edges in the morning sun. A slow rolling action with surface lures can usually turn them on and they hit fast and hard. They are a very aggressive fish and will excite the most seasoned fishers. Saratoga often have their backs out of the water in the shallows so once you spot them, take your time. A well cast lure will usually

The author caught a Cania saratoga using a green and black spinnerbait.

There’s so much beautiful water to fish at Cania Dam. Cania Dam is a part of the SIPS (Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme) so make sure you have your permit in order before you head up. The dam is regularly stocked with Australian bass, saratoga, golden perch (yellowbelly) and silver perch. Australian bass and saratoga are most 96


While fishing in the kayak I use a couple of methods. Usually I will troll for a while and see if I can find bass schooled up (in cooler months, this is more likely). If you launch at the boat ramp and head to the right, you will find yourself heading towards the dam

Monica Crichton landed a schooled bass on a metal vibe from her yak.

trip of the year in January when the levels were at 85%. Unfortunately, the drought is having an impact on all our dams. This is one of those fishing hideaways that you have to put effort in to plan a getaway. Even if the fishing is hard, while you are there you will feel relaxed and revived after a few days away being one with nature. You will often see Roxy the Foxy and I at this dam. We are hard to miss in my Hobie, so come and have a chat if you see us floating around on the water.





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It’s a double christening in one weekend little plastic to cross paths with a fish and I continued my retrieve as it tapped at the plastic, before the hook found its mark, the rod loaded and the drag screamed on the light spin combo. After a couple of earlier soft taps on the plastic, I made the call that there were a few grunter on the flats and when the soft taps turned into this screaming run, I knew it was a decent one. I am addicted to catching fish in less than half a metre of water, as the only way they can go is across the flat and it’s generally at speed. I soon had a 40cm grunter on board and we opted to keep it for a feed as we had the Friday off and hadn’t planned anything for dinner.


Justin Willmer Find me on Facebook at Yaks On

After a successful first adventure christening Sheri’s new SUP with a paddle adventure around a local mangrove island, there was much discussion and planning for a future SUP camping and fishing adventure. Firstly though, Sheri needed to get some more time in on the water, standing and fishing, while also needing to christen the SUP with its first fish. I had also just given an old kayak to a mate of mine and he’d tidied it up and was ready to take it on its maiden voyage. A quick check of the tides

A solid grunter on the SUP to kick things off.

Sheri christened her SUP with a bream that inhaled a soft plastic. and weather and it was decided that the weekend would be a double christening, hopefully putting a fish on the new SUP on the Friday and a fish in Sean’s kayak on the Sunday. Game on! SHERI’S SUP The Friday saw a slight breeze and the forecast of a morning storm around 10am, so Sheri and I opted to hit the water about 7:30am, leading up to a 9am high, use the current to carry us to some flats that we would fish until the tide turned and then paddle back with the run-out tide and be out of the water before the storm. A tight schedule, however we were confident of getting a couple of fish as they moved up onto the weed flats to feed. That was until we were on the flat and there was 98


after 40+ years of reading tide books it still happens occasionally. By this point we were on the flat though and with a limited window of time we persisted, working the deeper edges and pockets, along with the sandy patches in the weed. It was cool to see Sheri gaining confidence on the SUP, paddling around the flat with no issue when seated on her new icebox and gaining confidence when stand up paddling. By the end of the session Sheri stood up and paddled virtually the entire way home. We both had a fun session, and agreed there is something different and special about both kayak and SUP fishing. The SUP is a relaxing platform that you just step onto, the seating is raised and comfortable and standing gives you excellent vision and an entirely different experience. Anyway, we’re here for the fishing…

that the school had moved on. I continued to drift off the flat while Sheri paddled back up to work some sandy patches and was soon yelling that she had hooked up. I paddled over as quick as I could and arrived in time to see her land a bream that would have been around legal size. Her verdict was small, while my verdict was success! I was stoked that Sheri had christened the SUP and it didn’t really matter if the fish was a just legal bream or a metre flathead… it was a first for her and so we celebrated! Not long after I also managed a bream and then I saw that Sheri had paddled into a sandy area where we sometimes get out of the kayaks – this

Success! Sean christened the kayak with a bream on an inline spinner. The fish come up here to feed and I was hunting for active fish that were working across the flat. It didn’t take long for the

By the time we landed the fish we had drifted away from the area and once we returned to drift the area again it seemed

time the SUPs – to target flathead. As I approached the sandy area I slowed up and made a few casts to the edge of the weed, had

Grunter love eating plastics rolled over the weed flats and this one was great fun on the SUP. no water… It was really shallow and we later found out that I had misread the date in the tide book and we were short about 40cm of water! Yep, even

back to it! As usual I was fishing the shallows fast with the rod tip up and a 1/4oz jighead and 2.5” paddletail zipping across the flat.

Sheri was rapidly gaining confidence in her stand up game.

a rattle and then watched a flathead rise behind the plastic and nail it in front of me. Off it screamed in the shallows and I just smiled and enjoyed the fight… man I love fishing. I soon had a mid-40s flathead in the net and opted to paddle

and Sheri had christened her kayak. Time to get onto planning that lightweight SUP camping adventure… stay tuned! SECOND HAND SUCCESS FOR SEAN When Sunday rolled around Sean and I opted

I kicked things off with a bream and soon followed it up with a reasonable grunter. No pressure for Sean, Sheri had christened the SUP, and now it was his turn to christen your new yak. Sean was fishing an out of the box presentation

Sheri scenting up her soft plastic to attract fish and trigger strikes. 2ft of water. Success! Sean was happy with the bream on the spinner and I was stoked that we had a double

christening on our hands. Both Sheri and Sean had landed a fish on their new vessels in one weekend and

Sean working the flats in his reconditioned yak. in and add it to the grunter in Sheri’s icebox. We then made the most of the calm conditions and paddled home together, chatting, spotting fish and stingrays and just taking it all in. The SUP is a

for an early start and headed to the same flat hoping for similar success. Sean had done a good job of patching the cracks in the old yak and so far, so good… he was dry in the cockpit of the sit-inside.

in the salt, as he often does, running a Mepps Bug inline spinner that would more often be associated with bass or trout in the fresh. He was rolling the spinner across the flat and experimenting with pauses and retrieve speeds when I heard him say something and looked over. A quality 60+cm flathead had followed the spinner to the kayak and then he ran out of room for the retrieve and the fish sank back to the bottom. There’s definitely some potential for that presentation in the salt! It wasn’t long before I heard a “fish on” call from Sean and paddled over to see him landing a nice bream on the spinner. He had been retrieving it with a slow roll and added pauses. The bream had nailed it on the pause and gave a good account of itself in

A cast right up into a sandy pocket in the weed and this 57cm flathead nailed the author’s ZMan 2.5” Slim SwimZ.

A mid-40cm flathead landed while working a weed edge. cool vessel for exploring, fishing and getting some exercise without even realising it. We arrived home, washed down and packed away the boards and then the wind and average weather arrived. Mission successful, the plan had come together,

I was still rigged up from the Friday session and spotting a couple of flathead lies near the launch point had me fired up to catch a flatty or two. We had a little more water on the flat than on the Friday, so that would work in our favour.

A couple of quality eating fish in the box for dinner!

I think I was happier than both of them. I had made a plan and executed it! It went a bit quiet on the flat, so we moved to a large weed bed and began to work the sandy edges around the outside of it as the tide turned and dropped. These weed beds hold loads of prawns and baitfish that begin exiting as the water drops away and flathead love picking them off the edges of the weed as the dropping water forces them out. I knocked over three small flathead quickly, before Sean was onto another solid flathead on the spinner. After a short tussle the hook pulled and we were both shattered. He could have easily had

two quality flathead on the spinner for the session, however on this day it wasn’t meant to be. I pushed up on the weed a little further and began targeting any little sandy pockets that ate their way back into the weed bed. These breaks in the weed edges seem to create perfect ambush points for flathead and they will lay right up in these little sandy channels. If your casts are accurate the takes will often come as soon as the lure lands and they can be brutal. It didn’t take long for a mid-40s flathead to detect my plastic landing and swimming to the bottom, pouncing as I made the first hop, loading the rod and engaging the drag. In the net, a quick photo and I was repositioning the kayak to pick the next pocket. The next take was more serious and I let the rod and the drag do their thing, smiling as I enjoyed what had been a great weekend on the SUP and the kayak. Another stubborn run when the fish saw the kayak and then a 57cm flathead was slid into the net and into the icebox where it would make a fresh fish dinner for Sean and his girls. That was enough for us and we opted to head home in time for lunch. If you haven’t been out for a while it’s definitely time to plan an adventure. Grab a mate and explore a new area, target a new species or even hire a new vessel to fish from! There are some awesome adventures out there just waiting for you. Check your tides better than I did, keep an eye on the weather and always remember safety first. It had been an awesome weekend on the water and a double christening for Sheri’s SUP and Sean’s reconditioned kayak. I wonder what the next adventure holds? Time to start planning… See you on the water. DECEMBER 2019


A layman’s look at propellers PART I BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

For years I took my boat’s propeller for granted as little more than a big screw. The reality, however, is that a propeller is quite complex, and is designed for maximum efficiency. In this article I’ll discuss propeller components, before going into more detail next issue. Before going further I have to thank Glenn Gibson of Yamaha Motor’s Marine Division here in Brisbane for his invaluable advice on the subject. THE NITTY GRITTY A propeller consists of a hub attached to an engine’s

see that it is inscribed with two numbers. One number describes the diameter, which is the overall size measured across the circle of the tips. The other number is the pitch, which is the theoretical distance the propeller will move the boat in one revolution, as the raked blade moves through the water. Why a theoretical distance? Because there will be some slip as the prop bites into the water. But here’s the secret: the less slip there is, the more efficient the propeller! With all propellers we have two main things to consider: the diameter and then the pitch. There’s no denying that the larger the propeller’s diameter, the more power it has to push

The less the pitch, the less ‘bite’ the prop has, and the easier it is for the engine to turn the prop. However, while this means the engine might pick up revs very rapidly to provide faster acceleration and extra pulling power, it’s the norm to have reduced speed. It’s similar to gearing in cars, where lower gears provide lots of grunt but reduced

the reduced pitch, while a prop with a higher pitch might cause a reduction in engine revs but at the same time will be biting harder into the water and kicking the boat further with each engine revolution, despite the inevitable slip. The ideal situation is for the propeller to have just the right amount of size to push plenty of water with each revolution, but

Here you can see the degree of rake on the propeller blades, which is linked to the propeller’s pitch.

Every aspect of a propeller’s construction is designed to maximise efficiency.

The larger the prop’s diameter, the more water it can push. gearbox, usually with a flexible bushing, ensuring that the connection can withstand a bit of jarring from time to time. On the outside of the hub there are blades of the same length and size. These blades are manufactured to a rigidly set shape or pattern so they displace water to propel the boat. Propeller blades actually have two working surfaces. First of all, the back of the blade creates a low pressure area that moves the boat forward as it rotates. The front of the blade (the face) creates high pressure as it rotates and forces a stream of water away from the propeller, to the rear, and thus does its bit to aid forward motion. All we see is a big stream of water heading away from the engine as we push the throttle forward, but there are come interesting things occurring at the end of that gear case. DIAMETER VERSUS PITCH If you taking a close look at a propeller, you’ll 100


water behind it, which means that really heavy loads are best handled by larger diameter propellers. However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that it’s the pitch that determines efficiency in many respects.

basic knowledge isn’t enough for us to decide what’s best for the boat. The selection of a prop for any given craft will usually come from the consideration of trained experts in the field, given that engines’ outputs are very standard, and to a very large extent so are boat hulls. Whether a boat is designed with a flat

top speed. Higher pitched propellers, on the other hand, are akin to higher gears in a car because they produce more forward travel with each prop revolution, with the downside being more load on the engine, reduced low speed pulling power and acceleration, but a higher top speed. So we can see that although revving hard the boat might not gain much extra forward motion due to the lack of bite from

There’s more to propellers than meets the eye.

Here you can see the diameter (13.7/8) and pitch (15”) figures marked on this prop.

at the same time have just the right amount of pitch to ensure the engine is in its correct operating range for best efficiency. Yet that propeller should be generating as little slip as possible in each revolution. Propeller manufacturers devote a lot of R&D to achieving this balance of physics. LEAVE THE HARD STUFF TO THE EXPERTS So where does that leave you and I when it comes to selecting the right prop for a given engine and boat? The reality is that our

bottom, a slight or large degree of vee in its design, or is manufactured from fibreglass, alloy or timber, there won’t be much radical departure in design. Large or small, lightweight or behemoth, there’s a pointy end to broach the water, and a blunt section at back for an engine to be fitted. Boat design parameters from virtually any established boat maker have now been in existence long enough that when a manufacturer turns out a boat, that craft will have engine ratings specified as ideal for the size,

design, and weight of the hull pre-determined and prominently displayed on a compliance/manufacturer’s plate. Accordingly, a chosen engine (whether minimum or maximum horsepower) comes with best performing propellers (size and pitch) specified as well. When we look at any propeller we are looking at a complex bit of machinery, designed for best efficiency, with the blades having just the right amount of size and rake against the hub for a given task. SUMMING UP As you can see, there’s a whole lot more to propellers than meets the eye. And yet I’ve really only rippled the waters; created no waves at all. Next issue, we’ll look at why different propellers have two, three, or even four blades per hub, and the steps that propeller manufacturers are taking to safeguard their products against damage. We’ll also look at the choice of alloy vs stainless steel props, and also investigate the effects of cupping, ventilation and cavitation on overall propeller performance. Last but not least, I earnestly believe that the selection of the right propeller should be left to the professional to decide, after considering all relevant factors such as the maker’s recommendations for the engine, plus the proposed use and anticipated load during that use, which should be provided by the customer as accurately as possible. There’s definitely some leeway there, but it’s best left to data reference and the experience of the professional to determine the right outcome.



Innovation has always been at the core of Australian plate aluminium boat builder Bar Crusher, and the latest upgrade to its cuddy cabin ‘C Series’ is case in point. The completely-redesigned folding hard top of Bar Crusher’s popular 615C and 670C looks – and is – all business. Like the previous folding roof design (which Bar Crusher had for 20 years), this latest beefed-up version – together with the folding, toughened safety glass windscreen – reduces the on-trailer height by around a metre for easy storage in standard garages and carports. With front and extended side clears delivering all-weather protection, the folding hard top and rock-solid superstructure is a huge plus for those who want a serious offshore fishing boat but have limited storage at home. Along with the increase in strength, the new folding hard top incorporates an LED cabin light as standard, allows for easy mounting of rear-facing LED cockpit lighting and a removable shade awning, provides a solid base for a radar, and also has the option of side-mount roof-top rod storage for another six outfits, in addition to the standard rearmounted rocket launcher.

Simrad HALO20+ and HALO20 radars are compact, pulse compression radome units, ideal for smaller sportfishing vessels. Both radars provide excellent detection with unrivalled short-range performance, but HALO20+ features the fastest RPM rotation on the market, VelocityTrack, Dual Range operation and can detect targets from a greater distance. HALO20+ radar delivers a full 360° sweep every second at ranges up to 1.5nm, giving boaters an almost real-time view at close range. It has a compact dome antenna and delivers high-quality short-, mid- and longrange detection. Boaters can monitor two distance ranges at once in Dual Range mode, and beam sharpening provides enhanced separation between small or distant targets. VelocityTrack Doppler technology delivers instant feedback on whether targets are coming toward you or moving away. HALO20 is a compact, cost-effective solution for boaters to increase situational awareness and collision avoidance, detecting collision hazards and other targets nearby and up to 24nm away. Both models offer MARPA Target Tracking, InstantOn technology and Harbor, Offshore, Weather, Bird, and custom modes. Price: from SRP $2,399



The Yanmar YD42 MFD and YD25 LCD Switch Panel Display have innovative functionality and a compact style. Featuring a low-profile glass helm design and a 4.1” colour screen, the YD42 reads and displays Yanmar engine alarm and diagnostic codes. Users can also view additional info, from engine speed and load, oil pressure and coolant temperature, to speed and depth. It’s compatible with a range of NMEA 2000 devices and allows engine data to be easily transmitted to other MFDs. The water-resistant YD42 is suitable for all weather conditions, and eliminates fogging. It has a 170˚ viewing angle, superior daytime visibility, and a night-time mode. It has an easy front-mount option, requiring no access to the back of the console or panel. In addition to engine start/stop functionality, the compact YD25 LCD Switch Panel Display shows all Yanmar engine data, alarms and diagnostic codes, and integrates with MFDs and glass helm systems. The info can be viewed on four customisable screens. Ideal for boats with limited dash space, the weather-resistant YD25 has a 2.5” LCD screen with a 80˚ viewing angle.



Fusion’s new SM Series shallow mount marine speakers, are engineered to deliver high-quality acoustics ideal for installations where mounting depth is limited. The sealed enclosure design provides a truly shallow mounting solution without compromising sound quality, and protects all components from damage, making the SM Series capable of being installed in positions such as cabinets without needing rear speaker cups that often reduce sound quality and complicate installation. In addition, concealed mounting holes allow for a more uniform, cleaner look. There is also an optional two-surface corner spacer, which fits perfectly into perpendicular spaces where two walls meet, and a threesurface corner spacer, which is ideal for angling the speaker down from a ceiling corner for better acoustics. There are two colour options: fabric white and black for interior installations.




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The Haines Signature stock clearance offer is now on, with a combined value of up to $2,700 free extras with new boat purchases. These extras include: 12 months’ Nautilus Marine insurance valued up to $1,000; a $1,000 Missing at Sea voucher; and a safety bag kit (including 4 x inflatable life jackets) valued at $700. The stock clearance period lasts until 16 December 2019, and is available only on current dealer’s stock boats. This special offer can not be used in conjunction with any other offer. Refer to your local authorised Signature dealer for more information, or visit the Haines Signature website. You can also see all the latest news and photos on Haines Signature’s Facebook page (www.facebook. com/hainessignatureboats) and Instagram (@ hainessignature).






Club Marine is giving away over $260,000 in prizes to eight lucky members in its ‘Win the Dream’ member promotion. One lucky member will win the keys to a car and boat package comprising of a RAM 1500 Laramie Pickup Truck and Northbank 600C boat with a Mercury Pro XS 150 HP FourStroke engine and Easytow trailer. There is a host of other prizes on offer as well, including a Sea Doo Fish Pro, Kimberley Cruise, NT Outback Adventure and YETI prize packs. Qualifying for automatic entry is easy. To be in the running to Win the Dream simply have a Club Marine Pleasure Craft Insurance policy and a Club Marine Magazine subscription in either Australia or New Zealand at the time of each draw. Winners will be contacted directly and announced in Club Marine Magazine. To find out more about how you can be in the running, visit the Club Marine website.


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Yellowfin Plate 7000CC with Evinrude 200hp E-Tec - SC




Length................ 6.98m Beam.................. 2.40m Max hp................... 225 Bottom Sheet...... 6mm Side Sheet........... 4mm Capacity...... 7 persons Hull weight...... 1075kg Fuel...................... 320L a show in 2019, you got a 10-year warranty for your own peace of mind. At the launch, Yellowfin Plate National Sales Manager, Drew Jackson said, “Yellowfin Plate is all about the one-percenters. We’ve taken the best welders and boat makers at Telwater and 102





2019 saw the re-launch of the Yellowfin Boats brand as Yellowfin Plate by Queensland boat building giant Telwater. Subsequently, the company sold a major interest to BRP, the manufacturer of Evinrude outboards. A such, you’re likely to see plenty of Evinrude powered Yellowfin Plate boats in coming years, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As the last remaining manufacturer of 2-stroke technology outboards, these guys do 2-stroke better than ever. They deliver the famous 2-stroke acceleration and torque throughout the rev range while boasting industry-leading emissions. And if you bought at


they were nowhere near as trim responsive and as quiet as this rig. Also, the centre cab is positioned well forward on this rig – offering maximum cockpit space. You only have to look at the images to see that there’s plenty of room in this boat for you

Steve Morgan






dirty and for you to do a lot of cleaning with a hose when you get back. Additionally, a 300L+ fuel tank gives you the range to get to the most distant reefs. At optimum cruising speed, the G2 delivers 44km/h and 1.9km/L. That’s a theoretical range of around


Main: There’s a whole lot of space in this boat for you and a handful of your mates to embark on a 600km adventure to fishing paradise. Above: This iteration of Yellowfin feels 100% solid and quiet in the water. Granted, it was a choppy day and not a full blown ocean test. moved them across to the Yellowfin Plate team. You won’t find a more talented and dedicated team of boat builders anywhere,” said Drew, “and these guys have made sure that we have got everything right. These boats look and perform like nothing we’ve ever built.” That said, there’s not much change in the hulls. The Marine Core construction features over 100 hours of welding and a design that simply won’t break. It’s the top deck and the modifications where we have seen the most improvements. “The small changes we’ve made have all come about from dealer and customer feedback – there have been lots of little things that we’ve changed to make the boats look amazing and to add to the on-water experience,” Drew continued. On the water, this thing is a beast. We shared time

on it pre-launch with JV Marine owner, Mark Stav. And he was excited about the boats. You can see the full video review on the Fishing Monthly YouTube channel or by scanning the QR Code at the top of the page with your smartphone. “As a dealer, there are a couple of things I like about this boat. The first is the Offshore HD hull – it’s soft, stable and dry. The way they build these things means that they’re super solid and super quiet. That’s what a rigid hull gives you,” Mark said. “The second is that the boat and motor are made in the Yellowfin Plate factory, and so is the trailer. The Evinrude G2 is fitted there and, as a dealer, all we need to do is add a battery and we’re ready to go. It means that we can turn around a boat in a day at the yard. You get to drive it home just after we get it,” he said.

This version of the Yellowfin Plate is the best riding that I’ve driven to date. The hull is solid and quiet and it seems as though the balance is just right. I have driven Yellowfins in the past that weren’t as well balanced and

RPM....................... km/ Idle.............................. 4........................... 3.8 1000............................. 7........................... 3.4 2000............................12........................... 1.3 3000............................34........................... 1.8 3500............................44........................... 1.9 4000............................51........................... 1.5 5000............................66........................... 1.2 5600............................ 74........................... 1.1 and three of your mates out on the deep blue. On the spectrum of family comfort to serious fishing, this boat is no family cruiser. It’s designed to get out and

600km – imagine where that will take you! For more information you can contact the team at Brisbane Quintrex or visit www.

The 200hp Evinrude H.O. is a torque efficient powerplant that matches the hull perfectly.

Above top: With all of that cockpit space, the compromise is that there is just enough room to walk around the cabin. Above: It’s the small things, like the tip-down rod holders that let short people like me load them, that makes this a very fishable boat.

Above top: The starboard side transom door allows easy entry. The port livebait tank has a clear front for keeping an eye on your live baits. Above: Plenty of room to get things done at the bait station, with room for 5 rods, a couple of cans, half a block of pillies and a shelf for the popular terminal tackle.

If you bought an Evinrude at a boat show in 2019, you got a 10-year warranty!

If you’re a chequer-plate fan, the Yellowfin Plate is the boat for you. A good hose out at the end of the day and you’re well on top of maintenance.

The helm and instruments are on the starboard side of the console, with a cabin door on port side. We liked the ability to flush mount large electronic choices.

Top Left: The for’ard deck is raised a little. Watch the steps. Bottom Left: Transom mounted live bait tanks are nearly a standard feature of boats of this size. Right: The cabin is roomy enough, yet not the biggest we’ve seen in a boat of this length. The WR is all about cockpit size!

Left: There are two steps on the starboard side walkaround. Right: The huge esky under the seat is practical and big enough for extended trips. DECEMBER 2019


Formosa 550 SRT with Suzuki 150hp 4-stroke - SC




Centre Cab that Formosa make. With models extending up to 7.4m in length and the simplification of the Formosa range (these SRT hulls were

The Suzuki 150hp 4-stroke partnered perfectly with the Formosa 550 SRT.

Main: The jury is out on whether this type of shot is appealing to a boat customer or not. Rupe said that landing was “much softer than expected” after searching out some stand-up swell at the mouth of the harbour. Above: Stability at rest is where this Formosa shines, with a 2.45m beam and the Quad4 water ballast system fitted.

Suzuki’s 150hp Lean Burn engine pushed the Formosa 550 SRT up and over the swell at a good, comfortable running pace. 104


After hundreds of boat tests, we finally made it to Coffs Harbour to get some hulls wet. Hosted by Dayne Taylor and the team at North Coast Boating Centre (NCBC), it’s definitely a part of the world that offers lots – not just for fishing but also a compact array of conditions to test the abilities of hull and motor combinations. NCBC is a Formosa and Suzuki dealer and both come from South East Queensland – the hulls are manufactured there and Suzuki’s local head office is also located there. Although the quality of the main Coffs Harbour boat ramp is a bone of contention amongst locals, on the test day it coped fine with the launch and retrieval of a black and grey 5.5m Formosa



Steve Morgan





Centre Cab, loaded with features and turning heads with a new Suzuki 150 bolted to the back. “The locals here love the


Formosas and we sell plenty of them here,” said NCBC’s Dayne Taylor. “We always make sure that we order boats with the features that local anglers want.” The 550 is the smallest

released on the 2019 boat show circuit), navigating their line up has become a lot easier. There’s a surprising amount of room in the centre cab, as much as in some 7m models that I’ve tested

If you’ve ever been offshore from Coffs, you’ll know this wall. A calm wind with some leftover swell presented ideal testing conditions.

in the past; however, the flipside of that is the front deck space is compromised in this model. If front deck space is important to you, check out the longer models in the line up. Exiting the ramp, there’s a fair expanse of semisheltered water that we could use to do some speed runs

than through the swell. Add a deeper vee in the hull and you would lose stability in favour of a smoother entry to waves. It’s the perennial boating dilemma. Otherwise, the boat is well finished and definitely

shows that this rig has been designed by anglers – or at the very least, by builders who listen to their customers. Price wise, this rig is right in the ballpark for those looking to move into a plate boat and not have to sell the

SPECIFICATIONS Length................. 5.7m Beam................. 2.45m Bottom ................ 4mm Sides ................... 4mm Fuel ..................... 150L Dry hull weight . 840kg Max hp .................. 150 Transom deadrise .19° Capacity ..... 6 persons

Our first test in Coffs Harbour, but with mornings like this it won’t be our last. The dual axle Dunbier trailer provides easy towing and access when at the rigging area of the ramp.

North Coast Boating Centre’s dual-cab ute is the perfect tow and launch vehicle. in. Although the specs show economy of 2km/L, I’m sure that with more granular metering this would actually register in the low 2s. It’s no slouch either, with a flat-water test yielding 74km/h. Unfortunately, conditions didn’t allow us to run at wide open throttle on the test day – that was

a quoted reading from the team when they were prop testing in the local river. Creeping out of the harbour, the calm day belied the decent ocean swell that rolled through. Indeed, it was fun to do a few jump shots off the colourful south wall. Sneaking up along the coast, we took the opportunity to do some running and fishing shots in the slop. You can check these out on the Fishing Monthly YouTube channel or by scanning the QR code on this page. The other compromise in this boat is stability versus ride. With a near 2.5m width and the four-tube Quad4 water ballast system in play, the hull was rock solid in the water. Even with 19 degrees of transom deadrise, the hull tended to ride over rather

When they look this good it’s easy to see why NCBC have moved so many Formosa boats this year!

This is why you invest in the Quad4 option. Stability at rest makes it easy to catch a few! turns heads at the ramp. Its practical features, such as the removable underfloor kill tank, an entirely practical transom and transom door coupled with a folding bench seat that redefines simplicity

As the swell continued to build, this Formosa 550 SRT really showed off how balanced and stable it was. PERFORMANCE RPM Speed (km/h) Economy (km/L) Idle ..........................5 ...............................5 1000 .........................7 ............................3.3 2000....................... 12 ............................2.5 3000....................... 28 ............................2.0 3500 ....................... 30 ............................2.0 4000....................... 46 ............................2.0 5000....................... 59 ............................1.4 5900 ....................... 74 ............................n/a

Building seas were no problem for the newly released SRT hull.

There’s room up front and back for fishing so you’re not on top of each other and can cover more ground.

house to do it. As tested, this rig comes in at under $60,000 and if you want to drop to a 140hp outboard, you can shed another five or six grand again. QLD DEALERS Gold Coast Boating Centre 64 Kortum Drive Burleigh Heads P: 07 5576 7388 W: goldcoastboating Townsville Marine 943 Ingham Road Townsville P: (07) 4774 3777 W: The Tinnie Shack 2 Shepherd Close Mission Beach P: 07 4088 6125 W:

Even when Josh and Rupe did get the hull out of the water the landings were smooth as the beam really carried the weight. DECEMBER 2019


Above: We’ve seen plenty of kill tanks under the floor of boats, but this one is removable. Below: There’s more room than you think in the centre cab, with plenty of space to get out of the elements when things get hot and nasty.

Egress is easy on the trailer with the fold-down aluminium steps.

Above: Side pockets are short but feature room for your toes underneath them and a high gunwale to keep you in while out in the ocean. Below: The trade-off of a large centre cab is less casting deck up front. There’s plenty of room to circumnavigate the cab, but two anglers casting lures up here is a crowd.

Main: The fold-down rear bench seat is a neat and practical solution – with no fold-down legs required. Inset: The transom door folds inwards and forms a step to give access to the Active Transom.

Top Left: The helm is simple and although the throttle box initially felt a little cramped, it offered plenty of places to support the throttle hand while varying revs in lumpier water. Bottom Left: Next to the anchor box there’s an electric motor mount. Either a self or standard manualdeploy would work, as you can easily access the mounting area. Right: Although basic, there’s plenty of storage room in the seat pedestals and simple foot bars. 106


The new Suzuki 150 is an EFI double overhead cam, 2.8L inline 4-stroke that throws this centre cab up and out of the water.

The hard top offers shade for driver and passenger and accommodates a handful of rods up and out of the way. It folds down for garage storage.

Left: There’s ample room to shuffle around the centre cab and the deck remains the same level all the way around. Right: The short windscreen is in the ideal place – you can look through it while seated and over it while standing.
























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MAIL ENTRIES TO: QFM Find the ZMAN Logo Competition, PO BOX 3172, Loganholme QLD 4129 Entries must be received by 31ST DECEMBER 2019 Original entries only. No photocopies.

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REVOLUTION REVOLUTION REVOLUTION The game The game has The changed… has game changed… has The changed… ALL TheNEW ALLThe NEW Mercury ALL Mercury NEW 15-20hp Mercury 15-20hp15-20hp FourStroke FourStroke battery-free FourStroke battery-free battery-free EFI range EFI range changes EFIchanges range the changes way theyou waythe youway you will think will think about willabout portable thinkportable about outboards. portable outboards. outboards.

Lighter, Lighter, moreLighter, more powerful, powerful, more more powerful, more efficient, efficient, more more efficient, more durable, durable, more more durable, more more intuitive… intuitive… unlike intuitive… unlike any other any unlike other portable anyportable other fourstroke. portable fourstroke. fourstroke.

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Profile for Fishing Monthly

Queensland Fishing Monthly December 2019  

Complete digital version of Queensland Fishing Monthly Magazine for December 2019.

Queensland Fishing Monthly December 2019  

Complete digital version of Queensland Fishing Monthly Magazine for December 2019.