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Features •

Impoundment bass in winter • Score more mulloway • Nutting out Lake Proserpine

Boating & Kayaking Saved by stinkers • Storage in small boats • Fish fighting tips with the boat •

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From the Editor’s Desk... This magazine hits the press on election day and in the lead-up, it looked like a close race. The major parties’ policies came down to this – LNP keeping the status-quo on federal marine parks, and Labor (read: Tony Burke) hell bent on tying up your access to more areas. It was a bit of a shame that plenty of anglers swallowed the spin that the ALP put on it, making out that it was a great thing for recreational fishing. Remember that the industry has been fighting for a workable solution for years, and there will be plenty of face-palm moments if all of that ground is lost. We do know that the whole fishing and boating industry was very ready for the politics to be over and to get back to business. People not spending money in the lead-up to elections is a real thing. The

uncertainty created makes people defer purchases and there are plenty of boat yard and tackle shops waiting for the post-election catch-up. And we are sure that you’re over the bombardment of political ads as well! Personally, I was amazed by the amount of money that was spent on social media and digital advertising. Millions of dollars were exported overseas (with bugger all tax paid on it) right there. With our monthly publication cycle, we see zero dollars in political advertising. I’ll claim that we’re trying to provide you a sanctuary from it, but it would be nice to get a tiny piece of the pie! BOAT TEST FRENZY It’s been a busy year for the boat test team at Fishing Monthly. We have racked up over 30 tests already this year for the magazines, and the appetite for them isn’t slowing down any time soon.

Over the upcoming months these boat tests will all be published in these pages, but in the meantime, there’s a great way to get a sneak peek of what we’ve been up to. By subscribing to the Fishing Monthly Magazines YouTube Channel (and then clicking the little bell) you’ll be sent notifications of when our video boat tests are released. These are often up and running only days after the test, rather than months. SUPER SUBSCRIPTION OFFER ON THE WAY And a heads-up for next month, we’ll have a great subscription offer that can be accessed from all readers in Australia. Keep an eye on the July magazine for more details. SEND US YOUR READER PICS! Want to be famous for more than 30 minutes? We know that social media fame



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Playing it cool with bass

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Playing it cool with impoundment bass BRISBANE

Bob Thornton

South East Queenslanders truly are blessed during winter. We’ve got options for both land-based and boat-based anglers, the weather is usually quite pleasant, and you can often get away with later starts than usual.

during the cooler months, and in certain dams they will also get the urge to breed. It sounds like a bad time to be fishing, but the reality is that winter brings conditions that see bass congregating in regular areas, making them very easy to find. Bear in mind that while they’re eating less, they do still have to eat. These fish will usually only eat if it’s easy for them

Braden Schuch loves getting into the big bony bream eaters when the mercury drops, and the beauty of this type of fishing is there’s no early starts required! Photo courtesy of Matt Braithwaite.

The author loves fishing the edges during winter, and this Maroon fish, typically smaller than its bony bream eating cousins, started a hot bite with jerkbaits. You can see the anticipation on Elliot’s face in the background… If you’ve never tried fishing one of our many stocked impoundments during winter, now’s a great time to get yourself set up. Impoundment bass will bite well all through winter, and although this can sometimes demand some unorthodox tactics, there’s no better time to go after some of the bigger bass our dams are famous for! WINTER IS COMING Like many fish, a bass’s metabolism will slow down

though. In other words, they don’t want to expend huge amounts of energy chasing down a meal. The answer is simple: go slow. If you can locate fish on the sounder or find a shallower area where they’re known to be, a slow presentation put right in front of their noses should get a response. There are a few factors to consider when chasing winter bass, and adding to this challenge is the fact

that all impoundments are different. With that said, there are loose rules that bass anglers use to find success in winter. I say loose because bass are a fish that will never cease to surprise even the most seasoned anglers, however having a grasp of the basics will see you one step closer to sussing the bass in your local pond. Let’s take a look at some different impoundment types! IMPOUNDMENT TYPES Knowing a little about your chosen impoundment before getting on the water is a huge help, and there are two things I always try to find out well in advance when heading to a new dam. Firstly, you want to know what type of structure exists in the dam, and that may be rock, weed, timber, or a mixture. Secondly – and this is probably the most important – find out what the main food source for the


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dams such as Wivenhoe, Somerset, Moogerah, Cressbrook, Borumba, Samsonvale, BjelkePetersen, Boondooma and more, and because of the bass’s fixation on this over-abundant food supply, they can grow to exceptional sizes. By-catch of yellowbelly is not uncommon when fishing for bass in these places, and they can certainly add a bit of flavour to your bass sessions. Having a sounder is extremely handy when fishing around bony bream schools for bass, and bony schools will often show up as a cloud; a slightly weaker return than a solid object. If they’re being predated on, the usual strong, telltale arches signal the presence of bass.

This small Atomic Vib 60 Rattle in the colour ‘tristos proton pill’ is a perfect bony bream imitation. bass is. Food sources vary from small shrimp, gudgeon and aquatic invertebrates, to larger forage such as bony bream and gar. What bass eat has a heavy influence on where there’ll be, and how they’ll be behaving, and this is particularly true in winter. For this reason, I am going to categorise impoundments based on the main forages in the dam. Bony bream Most of us have heard of bony bream, but if you haven’t, they are a relatively small herring species common throughout most of northern Australia. In dams, these guys are well known to congregate in huge schools out in open water, and this behaviour is more common for bony bream in winter and spring. Winter bass fishing in a dam full of bony bream is quite often done in deep water, with presentations that imitate these small silver fish often outperforming anything else. Bony bream make up the main food supply in

Double ups around the weed can be common when fishing with jerkbaits. Needless to say, they weren’t fussy on this day!

BASS Searching in water between 20-40ft is a good area to start, however this is not a hard and fast rule. If you’re in a kayak or just don’t have a sounder on your boat, trolling diving lures that reach around 15-25ft until you find some action works well too! Obviously, choosing a baitfish colour, such as white or silver, will help tip the odds in your favour. Once you have located

your feeding fish, it’s time to figure out exactly what they want. At times, you can sit on the school and drop almost anything, and the school will continue eating your offerings all day. On the other hand, sometimes they won’t eat unless you move the boat off the school and throw in tiny presentations and work them super slow. A logical plan is to have multiple people on

board using different presentations, as this will fast track the process of finding out what they want. If the bass school appears to be thrashing through bony bream gorging themselves, a spoon or heavy jighead-rigged soft plastic is a great way to go. These two presentations can be cast or dropped, and the retrieve can also be varied to pinpoint the bass’s preference. At times they

Plastics are a staple during winter because of how versatile they are. They can be used around weed, timber and rocks in the shallows, or amongst schooled fish like this one was. Photo courtesy of Matt Braithwaite.

Bass will eat larger baits when it’s cold, but only if they’re worked super slowly. This 95mm Daiwa Double Clutch is considered pretty big for bass, but Andrew Thornton has plenty of patience and has even been known to make cups of coffee with his free hand between twitches…

will happily chase down a spoon or plastic ripped off the bottom and allowed to sink between rips, and other times they will prefer a super slow-roll from a cast lure. A school quietly sitting

on the bottom, without any bony bream present, will usually require a slightly different touch. These fish clearly aren’t eating, but that’s not to say they won’t, particularly if something edible is presented just

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BASS From page 11

from lazy and timid fish. When sitting directly on top of a school, ice jigs, blades and micro jigs are deadly. These presentations allow the bait to be sat at a chosen depth, where the slightest movements

had been sitting in the rod holder for several minutes! If dropping things down to the fish isn’t working, it’s easy enough to move away from the school and cast small and subtle offerings back into them. Small paddle-tail

A blade’s catchability can be greatly enhanced with the addition of small assist hooks, as bass have a habit of ‘pecking’ at a lot of lures, but particularly blades. In fact, assist hooks are a great idea for any lure that’s attracting hits and bumps,

Small slow-sinking flies have their place in a bass angler’s arsenal. The author noticed fish coughing up small aquatic insects on the deck, and quickly made the switch.

Yellowbelly are a common by-catch around the bony bream schools. Just like the bass, their metabolism slows down as it cools, but they still have to eat! of the rod tip will impart an erratic, injured looking movement on the lure end. Oddly enough, a lot of ice jigs and micro jigs are eaten when they’re simply dead-sticked. I’ve even seen one eaten when the rod


JUNE 2019

plastics rigged on 1/8-1/4oz jigheads are perfect for slow rolling through timid schools. If the fish are really tight to the bottom, a small blade or vibe hopped gently off the bottom will often bring results.

but no eats. With this kind of fishing, be sure to give each showing of fish enough time for the anglers aboard to try a variety of presentations. If they show no interest in

anything, remember where that school is, or mark the location on your sounder and look for another school – they may fire up later! Shrimp, gudgeon and aquatic insects These little critters can be grouped together, because very often they exist naturally in places not deliberately stocked with a forage species. They are commonly found in structure, usually weed, timber or rocks. During the summer,

these dams reliably harbour an abundance of airborne insects, which provide the bass with a staple food source, however in winter this hive of activity above the water all but disappears. Replacing it is small forage species of the underwater variety, and they usually seek shelter in any shallow structure; their bodies slow down as well. If bass don’t have luxuries of an open waterdwelling food source,

they will usually head for the edges to seek out these naturally occurring delicacies. Catching bass in these environments is often much simpler, and in my opinion, a lot more fun! Fishing tight to cover with slow, subtle presentations is highly rewarding in dams without bony bream, and while these edge-dwelling fish aren’t as big on average, catching them is highly entertaining, and often visual!

BASS Impoundments such as Maroon, Wyaralong, Hinze, Clarrie Hall, Toonumbar, MacDonald, Gregory and more offer fantastic edge fishing in winter. Small waterways some of them may be, but with the right knowledge you can experience fantastic fishing on a regular basis. Even though the temperature at these waterways can drop below zero on some mornings, it’s worth getting there as early as possible – even before sun up! Fishing tight to cover is usually the ticket to finding fish, but the topwater baits that work so well in the warmer months seldom draw much interest. Presentations like suspending jerkbaits, sinking stick minnows, small crankbaits, small wet flies and lightly-weighted plastics are dynamite, even if they are only fished a foot or so under the surface! Early in the morning and late in the afternoon, bass will move into these shallow zones and hunt for these morsels that are only there

Something I’ve learnt with these edge-dwelling bass is that they will hit something that is moving continuously, but only if it is small; under about 60mm. I have caught them on jerkbaits up to 10cm long before, but only when fished very slow, with gentle jerks and pauses of 20 seconds or more! Basically, the bass will only eat big if it’s easy for them, which highlights the importance of finding where the fish are and getting a lure right in front of them. When the sun comes up, the story can be a bit different. Bass aren’t usually comfortable in shallow water while the sun is up. Just like the morsels they hunt, they too are food for predators, such as eagles and pelicans. Moving to deeper water around 15-20ft, with structure nearby, and using deeper versions of the same profiles can be a viable tactic all day. In more overcast conditions, however, you may find that the bass will stay up shallow all day, and what could be better than that?

can be frustrating fishing sometimes. Garfish Snub-nosed garfish generally exist alongside other main forage species, however if fish are found to be chasing them, there can be some very exciting fishing on offer. Garfish are generally put there deliberately by stocking groups as a forage species for larger predators, such as bass. Gar generally stick to the edges of a waterway, and spend most of their time in the top of the water column. Wivenhoe, Samsonvale, Cressbrook and Cania are well-known gar fisheries, and realistically, there’s one lure type that stands above the rest when it comes to imitating a garfish. The ubiquitous jerkbait, especially one that suspends, will be your best friend when bass are chewing garfish, and like I said before, never be afraid to go large and work them super slow! Bass won’t always be chasing gar, but if you are after an edge gar bite, stick


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Spoons can be used in just about any dam to great effect, and Braden fished a spoon around the point in the background to land this chunky bass. Photo courtesy of Matt Braithwaite.

to soak up whatever warmth Of course, fish aren’t they can get, or to cling to always eating, and quite often the last of the sun’s rays ofNEW an bassRELEASE in these dams will school afternoon. Using the cover up deeper water during the of lowlight, bass will slowly day where the temperature is cruise these margins to find more consistent. Points are the sluggish critters. excellent places to find bass When working your in this state, as they allow the lures, it’s important to fish bass ready access to deeper slowly. If you’re using lures or shallower water with only that suspend, be sure to give a few kicks of the tail. These them plenty of pauses. A bass can be targeted like deep jerkbait can be allowed to sit fish in the bony bream dams, for up to a minute before it however with presentations gets hit sometimes, so it pays that imitate the small to slow down, and be patient. gudgeons and crustaceans Slow rolling plastics, they feed on. Small soft vibes and crankbaits around plastics, ice jigs, blades and shallow structure is a great spoons are effective on these VELOCITY way to find an area with fish, but it SPORTS is important to fish. Once you land a few move these lures slowly, and fish or register a few hits, keep them in the strike zone. slowing things right down These fish might find it too with a suspending jerkbait hard to resist a easy meal is absolutely deadly, and in and will fire up for a few my opinion, the pinnacle of minutes, or they could ignore winter bass fishing. everything completely; it

to the lowlight hours. RUG UP That covers an impoundment bass’s main food sources during winter – at least in South East Queensland and Northern NSW anyway! The only real way to suss the bass in your local is to make a plan, and it all starts with research; find out what they’re eating! SEQ isn’t known as a cold climate, but some of the more upland dams can drop to zero (and even under) on some mornings, so wearing multiple layers that you can gradually take off as the day warms isCRUSADER a good idea. You’re always going to have more fun if you’re comfortable, but let me tell you, nothing warms you up like the bonejarring hit of a bass as you attempt to work a jerkbait with numb hands!


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Knot knowledge 102 NSW STH COAST

Steve Starling

The two most important keys to successful fishing are a strong knot and a sharp hook. Here’s how to make sure every knot you tie is as secure as you can possibly make it. Last month in this column, I stressed the importance of tying strong, reliable knots, and explained that most knot failures occur for two reasons. Firstly, knots will let go if they slip under load. Secondly, those critical connections can fail if one strand of line cuts across another within the knot. In this concluding instalment of my two part examination of good knot tying practices, I want to focus on what makes a strong knot, and set out some simple knot tying habits that should dramatically reduce your incidence of mystery bust-offs and lost fish. Any good knot — whether it’s tied in a multifilament line like braid, or a single strand such as nylon or fluorocarbon — must have sufficient turns or wraps to prevent slippage, and also to help spread the strain. The very best connections work like mini shock absorbers

When you’re hooked up tight to a strong fish, the last thing you need to be worrying about is the integrity of your knots!

Crimps may be a better option than knots in really heavy leaders. There are plenty of good knots for attaching hooks, lures and other items of tackle to both braided and single filament lines. Most tend to fall into one of two distinct knot ‘families’ or systems, being based on either the Blood Knot or the Uni Knot (also called a Clinch Knot in some literature). These two core systems are well covered on the internet and in most

into the realm of specialised connections. This is where knots like the Albright, Slim Beauty, Duck Nose and FG really come into their own. Again, you’ll find all of these demonstrated on-line if you simply type their names into a search engine. Regardless of the knots you choose to use, it’s important to practice them and to have absolute

Even relatively small fish will quickly show up poor knots — especially hard fighters like this skipjack or striped tuna. or springs. Reliable knots also steer well clear of incorporating single strands crossing each other at acute angles, especially at that part of the knot where load levels will peak under strain (this is why an overhand or Granny Knot is so weak). It’s fascinating to watch any knot under extreme load through a magnifying lens. Even well tied-knots tend to slip or creep marginally as they tighten and elongate under intense strain. The best connections tend to be those that change appearance the least under stress. Those are usually knots with multiple turns or wraps that have been correctly tightened and firmly snugged down before use. 14

JUNE 2019

how-to books. Both basic knots also form the basis of strong connections for joining two strands of line together, especially when those strands are fairly similar in thickness (the Full Blood and the Double Uni). Things become a little more complex when joining lines with radically different diameters and characteristics, as is often the case when connecting nylon or fluorocarbon monofilament leaders to braided main lines. Throw in the need for such critical connections to belt smoothly in a out through a set of rod runners hundreds of times a day (often at high speed or under load) and it’s obvious that we’re moving

confidence in all your connections. It’s also vital to follow a handful of simple rules whenever tying knots. RULE 1 Thoroughly lubricate every knot before pulling it tight. You can use water, various oils or other lubricants, but good old-fashioned saliva is just as effective, and always handy! Simply lick or spit on the turns of line as you draw the knot tight. This greatly reduces friction as the knot tightens, saving the line from potential damage. RULE 2 Give yourself plenty of line to work with. Trying to tie a knot with a limited length of line or leader cramps your style and can lead to skipping wraps or turns, as well as ending up with a tag that’s too short and may slip during the tightening/testing phase… or on a fish! RULE 3 Tighten the knot with slow, steady pressure (after lubricating it with saliva, of course). Make sure all of the turns and wraps snug down firmly and neatly. With some knots, it can pay to pull on the tag end as well as the main line, but the greatest pressure should always be applied to the main line. RULE 4 Once the knot is snugged down, give it a serious test by

Every knot needs to be well tied and properly tightened when you hook a decent fish. The author pulled this snapper from reefy offshore waters on a Lucanus octa-jig. really pulling on it. If a knot’s going to fail, now’s the time to find out! Only after this testing process should you

When you’re deep-dropping heavy, complicated and expensive rigs beyond the edge of the continental shelf, you need to know that all your knots are trustworthy!

trim the tag end of the knot. Even then, leave at least a couple of millimetres of tag for safety on most knots (this may not be practical on linejoining connections). RULE 5 Every now and then, test one of your knots to destruction. In other words, keep pulling until it breaks! Doing this teaches us a lot about the real strength (or weakness) of our knots. Destruction testing of different knots is an interesting and highly illuminating activity for a rainy or blown-out day, and it’s something not enough anglers do. If you use proven knots, are able to tie them well under all conditions and follow the five simple rules above, I guarantee you’ll have less ‘one that got away’ stories to tell in future years. Tight lines (and knots)!


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Tech Tricks

Catch some tailor with your ganged flasher rig BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald

With the tailor season well and truly upon us, I thought I would show you how simple it is to make your own ganged hook flasher rigs. This combination of bait, and artificial material to give it some more action and appeal, goes back a long way. I remember watching Mal Florence videos back in the ‘70s and ‘80s where he would drop baits on

a bucktail jig over the reef. Mal was one of the pioneers of sportfishing in this country at the time and fished baits like this because it gave the bait some increased appeal and movement. Additionally, it gave him a better chance of landing a big coral trout or cod after the pickers had been attacking the bait profusely and decimated it. Addition of materials to the hook helps the bait look more lifelike because flash material wafts and reflects light enticingly. The splash of

colour also helps the bait to be noticed and initially makes it standout in the marine environment. Many materials even have glow in the dark or UV properties that help it standout in low light conditions or enhance the lifelike appeal under natural UV light. For anglers targeting tailor on ganged hook flasher rigs, the addition of the material also doubles your chances. If you miss the strike and your pilchard is ripped off the hooks, you still have a chance of hooking it or its mates as

you crank in your baitless rig. The ganged hook flasher rig now acts like

a lure or fly and tailor will slash at it as it goes through the water. Let’s

have a look at making some tricked up tailor rigs for yourself.

Hooks for your ganged rigs can be a personal choice, however, I like the VMC 9255 (as used here), Tru Turn 711 and the Gamakatsu Straight-Eye ganging hooks. There are quite a few other options including the Mustad 4202D and 4200D and VMC 8755. I have found the Shogun Rolling Swivels to be reliable and readily available, although you may prefer to use another type or brand. Your main concerns should be that it is strong enough for the task and has an eyelet large enough to go over the shank yet small enough so it can’t pass over the hook barb. Check out the chart for some hook to swivel size recommendations.

You will not need a lot of materials to complete this task. Some thread (preferably flat-waxed nylon) and bobbin will make the task a lot easier. Side cutters or similar will be required to open the hook eyes and scissors plus a selection of streamer materials. Some form of fly tying head cement or other glue is desirable to increase longevity for these rigs. Hooks and relevant sized swivels will depend on the bait choice and preference.


If you visit your local fly tying supplier you will notice a huge array of flash and streamer materials available. While most of these look enticing, not all are desirable for this application. Many are too crinkled, tangling easily and subsequently meshing with the hook points or tangling around the leader. Slightly stiffer, straight materials such as Krystal Flash, Fish Scale, Streamer Hair, Flashabou and Firetail are some of the better options. Firetail is by far the toughest and stiffest of these and is made locally by Platypus Lines. 16

JUNE 2019


Use your sidecutters to open the hook eye by positioning the jaws over the gap where the eye turns back around to meet the shank. Squeeze down firmly with your pliers and then lever your hand outwards to pry open the eye just enough so that the swivel can be put onto the shank.

For a basic three-hook ganged-rig, open the eye of all three hooks and place a swivel on the shank of only two of them. When making longer rigs all hooks will have a swivel on them except one, which will be the tail hook in the rig.

Tech Tricks


Having a fly vice to hold your hook will make the task easier, however, you can hold it by hand with a pair of locking pliers or in a vice. For this rig we will attach the flash to the leading hook (one of the ones with a swivel on it). Attach the thread with a basic knot or by overwrapping the tag end roughly halfway along the shank. Cut a dozen or more strands of Krystal Flash that are roughly as long as two of your hooks and affix at this point with a series of thread wraps. Having a bobbin will aid in this task but is not essential. Do a couple of half hitches of thread around the hook shank with the thread.


Your completed rig will look somewhat like this. The combination of material type and the colour of it is not imperative – you can assemble any combination that you like. As flash materials give the impression of volume, you do not need to use a massive amount to create great effect.


Next, cut a portion of another material. This time I am using a pink glow-in-the-dark Flashabou and will cut a good portion around three hook lengths long. Having the strands staggered in length will create greater movement in the fibres. Other colours can be added if you like, you don’t have to limit it to two.


Another option when making these rigs is to use a shorter length and decorate every hook or every second hook. This is a better option in turbulent water as it eliminates tangling of the material around the leader or hook points.


Do several half hitches of thread around the hook shank and then trim away the remaining tag end. I finish the tie in point by adding some head cement (a fly tying adhesive) but you can coat the thread in any decent glue that prevents the whole lot unwrapping if one strand of thread gets nicked by a tooth.


Then assemble your rig by linking the hooks with the swivels. Use a sturdy pair of pliers to close the eyes of the two lower hooks over the swivels and also the front hook where the leader will be tied.


When inserted into the bait, the ganged hook flasher rig really adds some appeal. Popular offerings for those chasing tailor will include pilchards, garfish and bonito strips and all can be fished on the ganged hook flasher rig. While these rigs are not imperative for success, they can be an advantage in many situations. Many anglers swear by their effectiveness. JUNE 2019


Some fantastic offshore fishing in winter and continually catch fish, so the older I get the longer I spend in there. Moving to the 40m-deep section of the reef as the wind drops away and temperature rises will quite


Dave Gaden

Winter has arrived once again, and with it comes those cold mornings with the predominant southwest wind blowing off the top of the frosts up in the tablelands. The cold and I are not good friends. I hate being cold, but winter fishing is just so good that it almost takes your mind off the fact that you can’t feel eight out of your 10 fingers. It’s time to target snapper this month, and an early start in the very shallow water is the preferred approach for us. The southern grounds all the way from One-Man to Brooms Head are where you will find some nice fish. Around 8-12m of water on the edge of the kelp will be a good start, and if the breeze is light you should

ever recorded on our charter boats from the South Evans Reef. Many days we bagged out on nice fish between 12-16kg. We would anchor over the shoals of yellowtail and slimies that sit high off

Andrew Symons from Emmaville with a big 16.2kg wahoo.

The late mackerel run worked out well for the kids onboard.

drift over the ground with two or three floaters out the back on very light drags. A lot of the time the cold morning wind will be fairly stiff for the first hour or so of daylight, so anchor on the edge and berley hard with the floaters following the berley down. You will be amazed at what you will catch in this shallow water. Obviously snapper are the target species, but trag, pearl perch, Moses perch, Maori cod and even some squid will all hit your floaters. I usually move wider as the sun gets higher in the sky, using the theory that the light penetrating the water puts the fish off or they move into deeper water to feed. As I’ve mentioned before, I have mates who fish these shallows all day

Father and son Brian and Trevor from Dalby with a pair of mulloway from the northern grounds. often result in a lot of pearlies this month. I do like to drift fish for these guys using the good old paternoster rig with mullet fillet or squid baits, always having that floater out the back. The north ground from Black Rock up into South Evans reef will still have all the fish mentioned above, but will have the added bonus of a big mulloway this month. Last June we had the best run of mulloway we’ve

the bottom, jigging fresh ones up and sending them back down just one at a time while bottom fishing. They don’t last long, with the really big trag taking them in between the mulloway strikes. Wide offshore this month will be red hot. Anything from 45 to 50 fathoms will be pearl perch heaven for those anglers who are prepared to travel out. This month I like the

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wide ground to the north of Yamba; there is a fair bit of reef up there and it gives you more opportunities to move around to find a bigger patch of fish. The fish do show well on the sounder even in this depth, as they will be there in reasonable numbers. Quite often a drift will start with everyone on

snapper. Then, as everybody drops again, it’s all pearlies and then blue morwong and pigfish. Not that any of that is a problem of course! ESTUARY In the estuary this month there should be plenty of luderick (blackfish) building up in numbers for their winter spawn. The famous

setting up is important, because you need to be in the spot while it’s still light and have all the lights you need for the night fish turned on, so there is no change as it gets dark. Try to resist the urge to fish before it is dark and you will cut out all the rubbish

fish. Remember to put a teaspoon of berley over for every bait you put over and you will have a blast. If you are heading here this winter, call into my shop, Marina Boat & Tackle, at the marina and let’s get you set up with gear, bait and advice.

Fishing Monthly’s own Peter Jung hasn’t been fishing Yamba long, but his tricks for the Pine River in Brisbane have translated perfectly to the lower Clarence.

Brett with a couple of good bream.

Middle Wall is as good a spot as anywhere this month. If you can get a spot near the tide gauge on the Iluka side of the wall you are in with more than a slight chance of catching a bag of these hardfighting and tasty fish. Flathead will be around in the shallower parts of the river in June. The entrance to Lake Wooloweyah, Romiaka Channel, Turkey Island and even upstream in the Broadwater should all produce good fish. With the colder weather a lot of these fish will move into the shallows, sunning their backs, so casting plastics up in the shallow water

and working them off the edge will be worth a go. Alternatively, slow trolling small bibbed lures like the Zerek Tango Shad on the edge of the channel as slow as you can go will bring them unstuck. Bream (like the luderick) will be building in numbers ready for the winter spawn this month. I’ve mentioned this before but I love night fishing for these guys on the Middle Wall. There are some nights when you stop fishing because your hands are too sore to take another fish off the line! Getting there in the daylight and

Geoff with a double of pearlies from the 50 fathom line.

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Joe Allan

The fishing offshore from Ballina and Evans has been pretty good lately, although we are coming

and the winter currents coming in. There have been decent catches of snapper off the close in reefs like Riordons and also up towards Lennox Point. When the tide isn’t pumping, try fishing with

1/6-1/4oz jighead isn’t too light. The snapper will come off the bottom and hit the plastic on the drop most of the time. As late as May, there were still some good mackerel caught both trolling live baits and also

Nicole Bower found this cracker flame tail snapper off Evans Head.

Rick Jones shows off a beautiful bar cod caught way out wide. into a transition period with the warmer water of summer cooling off

really light jighead rigged soft plastics up on the top of Riordons Reef. A



larger hardbody lures, but they have most likely all gone now.












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JUNE 2019

The beaches north and south of Ballina have been fishing well over the last month, with good reports of tailor, whiting, bream and dart being caught. Try fresh baits like blue pilchards rigged on three-hook gang rig in 4/0 for best results. If you’re into throwing slugs, try something around 20, 30 or 40g, depending on the size of the swell and run in the tide. The last half hour before the sun sets in the evening is really the perfect time to be trying this, and there have been quality numbers caught in this short period. The flathead have been pushing up past the ferry and into the lower reaches of Emigrant Creek, although this time of year isn’t the time the big girls come out to play. You will get some nice fish as by-catch, however, as the mulloway start to become more active. The deeper holes along the town stretch and past the ferry will provide the best chance for a big mulloway, with live mullet being the best bait on either of the slack tides. Most of the bream are still hugging the rock walls, but the odd one is out on some of the sand flats during the run-in tides. There do seem to be some good quality fish among them, and with the water starting to drop in temperature, the big snowies, as they’re known around here, can’t be far off. Fresh prawns and nippers can be really productive for these guys, and can be fun for kids. You are always pretty much guaranteed to catch some nice fish with fresh baits and quality hooks. If you’re into lure fishing, give small crankbaits a go and get them tight into the rocks. With light line, these fish can give you some stick and provide some great sport. The run-in tide has also produced some luderick along the walls on cabbage

during the incoming tide and peeled prawns or yabbies on the run-out. If you can find any weed flies it’s worth giving them a crack too, either under a float or fished on a very light weight like you would float an unweighted soft plastic down a wall. A lot

of old timers will swear by long soft rods for this type of fishing, which are tried and tested. Don’t be afraid to give your normal bream rods a go though; they don’t have the same reach when landing a fish on the rock, but they still work just fine.

Harrison Clements scored some quality bass from the upper reaches of the Richmond River before the bass season closed.


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Slowing currents are bringing new species mirco jigs, drift baits, paternoster rigs, live baits and even trolled deep diving small hardbodies will see good hauls of mixed reefies. I recommend a downrigger for trolling hardbodies, and you want to run your lures about 1-3m off bottom. It just depends on the ground you’re trolling and how much it varies. All various tactics are catching fish this month, just be sure to work the right style for the depth you’re fishing. The more finesse the better, and the more finesse you go, the more hook-ups you will tend to get. When fishing


Anthony Coughran

As the currents come to a grinding halt, the gentle giants are slowly make their way up the coast, and this means one thing, snapper time! Lots of mixed reefies are moving in on close reefs to feed up on the schools of bait. Cobia are slowly trailing behind the migrating whales, often feeding on the afterbirth of new born calves, scraps from the feeding whales, faecal matter and any small fish that lose their way. Mulloway will start sitting on close reefs, isolated wrecks and bommies, and they are also schooling up in the rivers this month as well. Rock walls and deep holes are the go for a nice soapy. Bream are really starting to school up and chew and the flathead are starting to push up into the skinny water as the cooler waters grace our part of the world. Tailor are starting to run along the beaches and are shadowing the sea mullet on their runs up the coast to

• D E TA I L I N G

for anglers. Unweighted live baits and trolled live baits are fishing very well, but remember to bring the heavy gear or you will be faced with disappointment. Packs of tuna are starting to get the bait moving around, so if you want tuna, look for birds diving, bait showering and barrel tuna flying. Metals, stickbaits, poppers and skirts are getting good results. ESTUARY The cooler water is starting to spill into our estuaries and the winter species are following it. Mulloway are starting to school up on most rock walls

Leon McClymont with a nice reef mulloway taken off Tweed. their spawning grounds off Fraser Island. OFFSHORE The currents have slowed, the water temperatures have dropped, and whales are

• R E PA I R S

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Andy Dutton holds up young Sonny Dutton’s monster Tweed flathead. It was nearly as big as Sonny! light, watch out for the larger models, as they will brick you pretty quick. I like to run 1/4-1oz jigheads on plastics on any reefs out to the 36s. For jigs, I like 20-160g slow pitch style jigs on those same reefs, and a small pea sinker for live and drift baits if bait fishing. Again, it all depends on current, wind and depth. Kingies are starting to show up and wreak havoc

around the river mouths and in the deeper holes. Working blades, vibes, plastics, hardbodies and live baits down to these schooling fish will tempt even the fussiest fish into a reaction bite. Live baits of a night in these same areas will work really well. Live pike are the choice for most anglers and are irresistible to most mulloway. Flathead are starting to

push up into the skinny water and are in good numbers. Bouncing 2-5” plastics off the bottom in 0.5-3m of water with 1/16-1/4oz jigheads – depending on wind, depth and current – is the preferred method. I like to give them 2-4 jigs before following them to fall back down to the bottom. As the first jig normally kicks the sand up and lifts it into the water column, the second, third and fourth jigs will get it darting left and right, while also lifting it in the water column. Always allow for your plastics to reach the bottom again. The general rule is 1-3 seconds to fall. Again, this depends on the weight and buoyancy of the plastics you’re using. Blades, vibes, trolled hardbodies, drifted yabbies and whitebait are also catching a few nice flathead. The bream are schooling up and are nearly in plague proportions around the rock walls, holes, filleting stations, jetties, docks, pontoons, trawlers and boat ramps. Basically, anywhere there is any structure and food, the bream will be there. Baits such as mullet gut, mullet strips, whitebait, half pilchards, prawns, yabbies, chicken strips, chicken gut, worms, bread and hot chips are all killer on bream. Most small artificals work well too, but running 4-8lb leaders is a must to get some of these finicky biters to engage. Crab lures, small plastics, chubby hardbodies, stickbaits, bent minnow styles and vibes work well. The odd tailor is starting to show up in the rivers now. This time of year they love to sit in current lines and around submerged rocks. Small metals and plastics are getting results, but so is drifting unweighted baits. Smallish 60mm hardbodies trolled over rocks is also deadly on these toothy terrors.

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Brandon Wakefield with a giant Tweed flathead taken at night.

BEACHES The beach gutters, headlands and rock walls are all starting to produce tailor. Dusk and dawn are your best bets at the moment, with metals, stickbaits, poppers, shallow divers and ganged pillies all producing, but the windows are really small. Being on the right rock or in

these things are weighed up and you sussed, your catch rates will sky rocket. If all that fails, any time is a great time to go fishing! FRESHWATER It’s currently closed season on the bass in rivers, however, the bass are schooling up in the dams and impoundments this month.

grip on the Tweed, winter species will come into their own. Specialising your tactics to suit the species you are targeting will increase your catch rates. Do the research on what techniques work best on what species you want. If you would like any additional info on anything fishy, the latest techniques

Another large grandma Tweed flatty. This one smashed James Walker’s live mullet. the right gutter is crucial. A few mulloway are starting to push into those deeper gutters to feed up on the annual run of mullet. Live bait such as a mullet, pike, tailor or whole beachworm is the go for a big beach mulloway this month. Fishing the low tide gutters with small plastics and metals is also producing a few nice fish such as, tailor, bream, flathead, whiting and the odd dart. If the artificials aren’t working, try casting a whitebait or a half pilly onto the back breakers and allow it to slowly drop into the gutter and you should get results. If bait fishing, try cubing up some pillies then using your foot to grind it into the sand in front of you. This will get a small berley trail washing into the gutter, and this will hold the fish in front of you. If fishing bare foot, keep moving your feet after you crush the pilly, as the beachworms will probably try and have a chew on your toe! Most of the Tweed’s southern beaches have beachworms and pipis, you just need to work the right beach for the right baits, and this means searching. I like to go down a full day before fishing a gutter and see what’s there. Once I have done all that I then look at weather to see if dusk and dawn coincides with a tide change, desirable moon phase or weather pattern. Once all

Find the schools and drop your jigspins, spinnerbaits and mirco jigs on their heads for best results. Small 20g jigs, especially slow pitch jigs, are working really well on schooled up fish in 8-15m of water. Working tree lines will be your best bet for a big fat impoundment bass. As winter tightens its

and tactics, or just up-to-date weekly fishing and weather reports, head over to my Facebook page ‘Fishing Fun Gold Coast’ and drop me a line. I’ll be glad to answer any questions. Send us your pictures and we will post them up and add them to the weekly reports! Have fun, stay safe and tight lines!

Marlee McAndrew managed to find this big sand whiting on a warmer winter day. JUNE 2019


Dominating on the beaches of them broke the 100 fish mark in just two fishing sessions. Every single fish went back into the water and because they were caught on lures, they were hooked in the mouth and released with little harm. I push that point because if you are going to catch a ridiculous amount of fish, it’s vital that you be responsible. I bet if I spoke to Summer and Cody about that two-day trip and I asked them how cold it was they wouldn’t be able to recall. That’s why I love living


Mark Ward

We are blessed in Queensland. It gets cold, but not anywhere near cold enough to keep us off the water. I’ve visited plenty of places where the fishing gear is packed away for winter but it’s the opposite at my house. My kids and I love chasing flathead on lures and this is the time of year when the flathead fishing can really fire.

the fishing was. ESTUARY I hope that has got you motivated to put a jacket on and get onto the water. If you are keen to jig or troll up a few flathead yourself, look for shallow water with weed or yabby holes and most importantly… current. Current flow brings baitfish and food to the flathead who lay in wait. They don’t actively go and hunt like a tuna would so we need to find locations where the food can come to them. Locations such as

Using deep diving lures in winter that get down to where the fish are holding will work well. Last winter, my two youngest, Summer and Cody, started counting the flathead we caught over a two-day fishing trip to South Stradbroke Island. The two

and fishing in Southern Queensland. I have photos from that trip and Summer is in her Mickey Mouse beanie and all rugged up, but all we can remember is how good

Terranora, Ukerebagh passage and the shallows around Banora Point in the Tweed are good spots to start. The sand bar in the mouth of Oyster Creek in

Tallebudgera can also fire as the tide rises and the baitfish move over the sand bar. This is a great location for landbased fishing. Wading out on the shallows and casting bait or lures to the edges can be very productive. Bream will be a lot more active this month. These fish spawn in winter around the river mouths so they begin to move downstream. You’ll still catch a lot of fish around the canals. The sandy canals of Mermaid Waters, Miami Keys and Broad Beach Waters will fish well all throughout winter but the upper reaches of the Tweed and bigger systems will see the bigger fish moving downstream. Trevally will still be very active in winter and can be caught throughout the canals, rivers and creeks. They love some current and lots of baitfish so locations such as Monaco Street bridge in Florida Gardens or Little Tallebudgera Creek are perfect. Soft plastics are the best option in this fast moving water, as getting a bait to stay put in the current is a little tricky. Tailor and mulloway are worth targeting in the deep water and rock walls in the mouths of the creeks and rivers. Live bait works well, but there’s been a lot of mulloway landed on big plastics and big sinking vibration baits such as the Zerek Fish Trap. Mulloway are one of the only fish that like the tide change and slack water, so they can be a good fish to target when the tide slows and the other fish

Getting good at catching beach worms is the secret to catching mulloway on the beaches. go off the chew. Tailor will be moving through in schools as they travel north this month. They can be a little hit and miss, but most sunrises and sunsets will see them move into the river mouths and rock walls chasing a feed. BEACHES Tailor will dominate the beaches this month. Most anglers will be there chasing tailor on pilchards or metal lures. Read the beach and locate gutters with deep rips moving lots of water and the fish will be there more



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Summer Ward all rugged up and catching plenty of flathead to keep her warm.

often than not. Dart, flathead and bream will also be on the beaches this month. Gutters and holes that are close to shore work well for these fish. The bream and flathead can be massive and there is nothing better than a big chrome bream or a blonde coloured flathead coming in on a wave. Mulloway can also be targeted on the beaches this month. The better beaches seem to be down south on the Tweed Coast. Some of the anglers who target mulloway on the beach have been using big beachworm baits instead of livies. There is a couple of benefits to this; firstly and most importantly, mulloway love beachworms, but secondly, they cast a whole lot better than a live bait and are just so much easier to use. You will want to be good at catching worms though, because you’ll need a whole small worm or half of a big worm for each bait. FRESHWATER Bass will be found schooled up off the points and in the timber in Hinze Dam. They can be very shut down but if the schooled fish are not biting, try fishing for the smaller fish on the weed edges – these fish always seem active. Clarrie Hall Dam will have fish feeding on the weed and lily edges as well but unlike the fish in summer, these fish will respond to a hardbody or soft plastic lure worked at the depth that fish are holding at. They don’t seem to be as keen to rise for a lure in winter as they are in the warmer months though.

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Persist with your techniques through June the cheapest sounder you can get) is birds. Keep a close eye in the sky and on the horizon for birds as they will find the baitfish after the tailor have pushed them to the surface. Casting metal slugs and surface lures will definitely result in some fish on board. Bream and flathead are also two species on


Josh Dunn Instagram: @josh__dunn__

The typical cold weather of winter has arrived. This means the winter woollies should already be in good use, otherwise have fun fishing while shivering your butt off! Winter brings cold weather, but it brings some quality fishing with it. There’s nothing better than warming up in the morning with a hot spool from a running GT or mulloway! Mulloway will be in full swing this month, found throughout the deeper parts the Broadwater, especially the Seaway and Jumpinpin. A sounder is vital on these predators and when you do find one fish be sure to mark the spot, as mulloway are a schooling species. They hit just about anything from 2” plastics up to 10” and will engulf vibes, hardbodies and live bait in a heartbeat. The key to catching mulloway is definitely persistence and practise. Once you start catching a

the hit list this month. Flathead have been a little slow, but there are some quality fish getting around. Working the normal areas – such as rock walls with a drop-off, sand flats and natural structure – is your best bet. I’ve found the darker, silhouette colours are working really well. Winter is prime time for bream, as they come into a time of spawning,

which in turn makes for some bulk fish! It’s clear they go deeper when spawning, so a sounder will help immensely. In conclusion, I am very excited for the month ahead, with mulloway and tailor on the hit list. Like I mentioned earlier, persist and if you aren’t confident in what you’re doing then change it up.

The author has been having a ball with the GTs of late. This one measured 60cm. few you’ll get the trick to how they work, and plenty of rewarding by-catch come with them. Be sure to do your best to get them up as quickly as possible, as the shark population love mulloway just as much as we do! I’ve seen plenty of half fish get brought up, which can’t be helped at the best of times. Along with mulloway, tailor are also a dominant species during these cooler months and plenty are getting caught. I feel

like they took a long time coming through, but once a few were getting caught they were in full swing. Tailor can be caught in a number of areas including the Seaway, Jumpinpin, Broadwater, most canal systems and most areas where there’s a bit of water flow. Although, in saying that, I have caught tailor deep in some unlikely canal systems. But, if there’s bait there, the tailor won’t be too far behind. Your biggest key (and

Dylan was stoked to land this quality mulloway on the pipeline recently. Now is the time to target these fish.

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Cold weather heats up fishing opportunities JUMPINPIN

Mick Morris

This is one of the best times of year to fish Jumpinpin waterways, as traditionally the westerly winds kick in bringing cool clear days and great fishing. This time of year we start heading into flathead season and the big females start feeding up to breed. All flathead over 75cm need to be released, and this is the time of year where your chances of catching these magnificent fish greatly improve. The deep drop-offs



Big flatties will be on the bite leading up to their breeding season later this year.


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along the bottom of North Straddie will usually hold fish along Kalinga Bank, but you could also try Cobby Passage, the Stockyards, the bottom of Kangaroo Island, Long Island and in the Logan River near Redbill Island. Some fishos have been telling me that the bigger fish are being caught in the deeper water; so try jigging bigger plastics in the deeper holes to score yourself a monster lizard. Just remember the bag limit of five flatties each, as you can catch heaps in one session and it is important to only take what you need. For the bait fishers, try drifting over the dropoffs and deeper holes with small pillies, froggies and whitebait, making sure the bait is well presented and on the bottom. The bream fishers love this time of year, as the westerlies keep the water temperature low, which the big bream love. I always seem to get better quality fish in June and they seem to smash




the tide as the run slows with live pike, mullet or herring, or if you prefer fishing with plastics, big pink or white plastics have been working the best recently. If you love chasing whiting try along Fishermans Channel, Ageston Sands in the river, Slipping Sands, the Pig Styes and Tipplers Island with beach or bloodworms on tides when the water is running hard. • Thanks for all your reports and fish weighed in. Feel free to drop us a line at Gem Bait and Tackle on 3287 3868 or email for any up-to-date info and I’ll catch you next month.

Be sure to support the fish’s weight when releasing the big ones.

baits rather than just picking at them. So when the bream start to feed in this way it would be a great time to test your skills at luring Visit our website: with either small plastics or vibes around good structure like rocks, jetties • Twin console or snags. If you’re looking • 5 metres for a feed of bream, try • Front & rear casting decks • Huge storage lockers around the Powerlines, Flat • Mercury 115 Pro XS Rock, the bottom of North Straddie, the Stockyards or the structures of Steglietz and Rudy Maas. Tailor should turn up in good numbers along the beaches of South and North CAN QR CO Straddie as they make their S – way up the coast. Fishing LOGO DESIGN bassco boats the gutters of these beaches at low tide late in the arvo and into the night has LOGO proved fruitful with pillies, DESIGN bassco boats gar and bonito flesh as bait. You can also pick up some good dart, bream and whiting out of these gutters if the tailor bite is slow. • Centre console ALSO • Centre console • Large front casting deck Some small schools AVAILABLE: • Small front casting deck • Large centre rod locker are coming inside the bar chasing whitebait and can Contact Michael Boag Full pricing & specifications be easily seen chopping on the surface with birds Bassco Boats circling above. They are

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mainly choppers with the odd green back to 2kg showing up as well. Try using small metal slugs or any lure that looks like whitebait and troll or retrieve the lure quickly where you see the tailor working. They can show up anywhere and have been seen schooling up as far in as Ageston Sands in the Logan River, so try to have a lure handy or float the odd pilly out when bait fishing. Large mulloway should be on the bite this month in the deeper water off Swan Bay, Marks Rocks, Pitts Rocks, Giants Grave and the eastern tip of Short Island. Try to hit the turn of


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You name it, winter has it GOLD COAST

David Green

The fishing throughout late April and May has generally been quite disappointing, with

mackerel catches erratic at best, blue marlin fishing quite poor, with only a few wahoo showing up on the 36-fathom grounds and the Nine Mile. In June the water temperatures and current should drop a

little and this may improve fishing conditions on the offshore grounds. GOLD COAST OFFSHORE In most seasons some of the biggest wahoo and Spanish mackerel turn

A quality pearl perch, just one of the many species on offer this month.


JUNE 2019

up in June, with fish over 20kg being relatively common. Blue marlin are also around in reasonable numbers with some big fish encountered most years. It is hard to predict what the fishing will be like out wide of the continental shelf this month, but with a slight drop in water temperature and current there is also the possibility of striped marlin and yellowfin tuna. Some of the blue marlin caught in June in previous years have been caught in shallow water between 100-200m. It is a good idea to look at the sea surface temperature charts in June as the current is quite fickle. When the bottom of the 23ºC temperature band is eddying wide of the continental shelf off the Gold Coast and the water to the south is cooler, there is often quite good fishing on the wider grounds as this eddy marks the southern limit of the warmer water. I’ve found I tend to do better in the swirling eddy currents than in the straight north-south current. In June the East Australian Current considerably weakens and a lot of fish that migrated south for the summer are returning north on the last bands of warm water.

Snapper will be firing as we head into the cooler months. As the current drops the bottom fishing on the 36 and 50 fathom line markedly improves. Good numbers of pearl perch, snapper, amberjacks,

samsonfish and yellowtail kingfish start to show on the deeper reefs. Fishing even wider pinnacles in 150-300m, generally using electric reels, produces

blue eye trevalla, Bass groper, flame snapper and other tasty species. In closer to shore the 18 and 24 fathom lines will start to produce good numbers of snapper, teraglin and the occasional mulloway. There will still be the odd Spanish and spotted mackerel around and there should be a few cobia present as well. Plenty of berley and live bait is the key to good catches, and dawn and dusk are generally the best times to fish. If you are specifically targeting mulloway the period from dusk to the first two hours of darkness generally produces the most fish. It is often hard to get a single bite on a live bait

RIVERS AND ESTUARIES In June the westerly winds start to blow and a lot of fish start to move into the openings in preparation for spawning. There is generally a lot of baitfish activity in the open parts of the estuary with schools of white pilchards and anchovies moving into the central broadwater. These will attract tailor, queenfish and trevally. At times there are also quite a few big yellowtail kingfish in the area around Wave Break Island, and these can be targeted on live pike. If the tide is running in hard in the early morning it is worth having a spin for tailor and trevally in the area from Wave Break

best and the luminous eyes seem to add to the effectiveness of this great lure. Trolling is another alternative method that can be very effective up on the flats at high tide. June days are very pleasant out on the broadwater. Mulloway are another good target in June. As the schools of tiger mullet start to build up in the Seaway entrance and around Jumpinpin, plenty of mulloway start to track them on the run-in tides, often moving inside the estuary from the inshore reefs and beaches. A live mullet fished at night can be a deadly bait when cast unweighted into the back eddies on the change of tide. At the end of June and


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Whitsunday Outboard Centre 1 William Murray Drive Cannonvale QLD 4802 Phone 07 4946 7286 Kane Barclay with a nice mulloway taken from a night session. Mulloway activity peaks during June and July. with the sun in the sky, but as soon as it sets the rod tips start to rattle and the bites come quickly. I use a pair of circle hooks at the end of my rig, and don’t pick the rod up until it is crackling out line. The advantage of this rig is if the fish steals the bait it will not feel the hooks, and a second bait sent down will often catch the same fish. As the westerlies start to blow it is worth looking for tailor along the beaches at the back of the surf line. Spinning with metal lures and poppers often produces big tailor up to 4kg in June. A good area to try is just to the south of Jumpinpin Bar.

Island through to Crab Island. Look for the birds diving on baitfish. The tailor won’t be too far away. Flathead become much more active this month as the water cools down. Most of these will be in the 40-50cm bracket and when it is cool and clear it is often possible to catch more than 20 fish in a session in June. Keep the lures small and the leader light. The smallest Zerek Prawn is a deadly lure to use in June, and can catch surprisingly big fish. Work it close to the bottom with small twitches and hops. The more natural coloured models seem to work the

into July, mulloway activity is at its peak and fishing the changes of high tide between 7pm and midnight can be very productive. Live pike also work well at night. Most of the mulloway caught at night are well over a metre in length and there is the occasional monster approaching 25kg. There should still be a few sand crabs around this month and whiting are still worthy chasing on warmer days. Bream should be around in big numbers. Overall, June is a good month to fish the Gold Coast with calm warm days and generally plenty of fish.

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JUNE 2019


Fish around and your catch will astound SOUTHERN BAY

Nick Whyte

Snapper numbers are starting to increase and have been all the talk of late. Decent pan-sized fish have been common around the reef edges. The better quality fish have

been coming from deeper waters around Mud and Peel. Using your sounder to locate these bigger sized school fish will see the best results. Fishing low light periods with light lines while keeping boat noise to a minimum should see you with a few fish coming over the side.

Mud, Bird and Goat islands, southwest rocks at Peel, the sunken reefs at Peel and Potts Point are all consistent producers this time of year. Small soft plastics like the 2.5” ZMan GrubZ fished light or even rolling small cranks like the 69mm Zerek Tango shad will be killer along the edges.

Richie Lucker with a quality bay snapper that was caught on a Zerek Fish Trap.


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Flathead have been quite consistent with plenty of good-sized fish showing up. There has been plenty of quality fish around the mouth of the Logan. Good numbers of fish have been caught on the weed beds in front of Victoria Point and in between Garden and Macleay islands. Small trolled lures or small soft plastics worked around the drain mouths will see some action. Flathead aren’t really picky with colours, but try and keep them natural in the clean water and a little brighter when it muds up a bit. Motor oil 3” MinnowZ from ZMan have been working well in the dirtier water. It’s also worth having a look in Canaipa Passage around the top and bottom of Russel Island. Bream will start to become the most common captures over the coming month. The fish will be schooling up for their spawning run and will dominate. Best places to start looking are down around the Jumpinpin area, the mouth of the Logan River and around the Amity rock wall. Some of the fish will school up over the sand flats around the back of Short Island, the western mouth of Duck Creek and down around Tiger Mullet Channel. Find any sunken timber in a little deeper water and you should find a bream. There will be big catches on offer with cricket scores not uncommon. Just make sure you limit your catch, don’t catch you limit. Tailor have started showing up down around the Pin. Plenty in the chopper size range but bigger slab baits or larger surface poppers will give you a better opportunity over bigger greenback. The schools have been moving in with the tide and pushing back out with the bait. It’s worth having a small slug or plastic rigged ready to cast at the schools that pop up. Early mornings around some of the shallow rocky bay island points with 80-100mm poppers will also see some action. Once again the winter whiting have been in



good numbers when the schools have been located. Move around until you find them and then work the area over. These little fellas are tasty morsels, but don’t take more then you need for a feed. The best areas have been up the Rous, Navel and the Pelican banks. Fresh bait is best with squid and worms doing the job. There should be some quality mulloway getting around the southern bay this month. Areas like Marks Rocks in the Logan,

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deeper water around the power lines, the southern end of Goat Island, the Peel artificial reefs or any isolated wrecks you know about will be worth a look. Pin Bar and Amity rock walls are also worth the time around the turn of the tides. Look for areas holding lots of bait and the fish shouldn’t be too far away. • If you have a great capture from the Southern Bay you would like to share, email them through to nick@

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Sport and table species on offer through winter BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald

In case you haven’t already noticed, winter is here and it’s cold. Early morning and night sessions have been very productive, but not comfortable unless you rug up to protect against the elements. Whether fishing the bay rivers or estuaries, there has been a good array of species on offer to satisfy all anglers. Species such as mulloway, snapper, tailor, squid, blackfish and many others are prime targets during June. Let’s look at a few of the more promising angling targets you can expect to encounter. LUDERICK With decent rainfall during April, nutrient levels heightened in the estuaries, creeks and rivers. This increased growth of aquatic plants including the numerous types of weeds that species such as luderick like to eat, which in turn increased the number of luderick. Due to their diet of mainly waterweeds, many anglers never encounter luderick, as you need to use specific targeting techniques to tangle with this species. Although occasionally

caught on baits such as prawns and yabbies, plus the occasional lure, luderick respond best to weeds such as cabbage, string and a few other black and purple weeds in certain areas. These weeds grow on rocks, pontoons, beacons and most objects that are in the water permanently. Where you find the weed you will generally find luderick. Rock walls are especially prominent areas with the boat passage rock wall, Sunken Wall and the retaining wall at the mouth being prime areas in the Brisbane River. The rock walls at most of the canals and harbours are also prime spots to target. Weed baits are generally presented on a strong no. 6-10 hook and suspended beneath a near neutral buoyancy float. How deep the bait needs to be will depend on the location and stage of the tide. I recommend you use a float stopper used above the float, this allows you to alter the depth of the bait until you discover what depth luderick are feeding at. Baits are commonly allowed to drift along adjacent to the wall until the float dips or rises, which indicates that a luderick is mouthing the bait. A brisk lift of the rod will set the hook. Long, slow actioned rods are ideal as they absorb the lunges of

James has put many mates onto numerous quality threadfin and still has time to score a few solid ones himself. The Brisbane River will hold good numbers throughout the colder months, but anglers will find the better action further upriver. the luderick, decreasing the chance of popping the 6-12lb fluorocarbon leaders. Luderick fishing can be rewarding and a lot of fun and the fillets are extremely tasty. Luderick are best kept alive until you are going to process them otherwise the black gut lining can taint the flesh. Once filleted and skinned, I like to soak the fillets in some

Snapper are the prime target for many bay anglers during winter due to their availability and how good they taste. They respond favourably to an array of lures and quality baits at a host of bay locations, plus the Brisbane River.




Every Saturday 4.30pm on 34

JUNE 2019

salty water for an hour or so. When processed properly, luderick fillets are one of the tastiest inshore table fish. SNAPPER Quality snapper have been taken from the Moreton Bay region over the last few months. Specimens to over 80cm have smashed lures and engulfed quality baits around the bay islands, artificial reefs, wrecks and isolated patches of rubble and reef. Even in the Brisbane River there have been specimens over 70cm caught. In addition, a lot of quality table fish in the 40-60cm range have made some anglers’ days. Anchoring in prominent areas and deploying quality baits (see the last two issues of QFM for my article on bait options) is a tried and proven method. Getting away from the crowds will greatly increase your chances – you don’t need to be on any particular spot because snapper, especially the better quality specimens, will roam a wide area as they feed. Often they will be very close to the surface as they hunt down garfish and hardiheads. Deploy baits as lightly-weighted as conditions allow. Cast up current and allow baits to drift back down with the current and settle aft of the boat. For large snapper,

big baits are often a good idea as they allow the pickers and small snapper time to have a munch before the more wary, large specimens lurking on the fringe decide to move in and engulf the lot. A broad array of offerings including banana prawns, pilchards, squid, numerous fillet baits, yakkas and slimy mackerel will all produce. Catching snapper on artificial offerings such as soft plastics, vibration baits, micro jigs and even trolled deep diving lures are now common approaches. Drifting your chosen grounds while casting these offerings up current and then retrieving them back with the current can be highly rewarding. Early morning rising tides are favoured by many and definitely produce, however, I prefer periods when there is less boat traffic, regardless of tidal phase. Often during the colder months I prefer to fish the afternoon session when there is commonly less boat traffic. This also means I don’t have to get up and venture out in the cold of the morning. The afternoons can be just as productive and at times better than mornings. Often there is a flurry of activity and a hot bite session just as the sun is setting, just like there is as the sun is rising in the mornings. Boat traffic is the

main factor that decreases productivity on the shallow bay island margins and artificial reefs, therefore fishing during periods of lower boating activity will generally reward. If drifting, try and skirt wide of your chosen fishing grounds when repositioning. It only takes one person driving over a shallow area with the 2-stroke chugging away while they try and sound out some fish to totally shut the area down for a few hours. TAILOR Tailor are a popular target during the cooler months. These are commonly caught from numerous land-based locations such as Red Beach, Amity Rock Wall, Dunwich Jetty, Hornibrook Bridge, Woody Point Jetty, Manly Rock Wall, Scarborough Jetty and a host of other places. Most are taken on pilchard baits suspended under a float or cast out and retrieved slowly. Whitebait, small garfish, frogmouths and hardiheads will also produce. Casting soft plastics, small minnow lures and chromed slugs or slices will also reap rewards on tailor and the occasional school mackerel that may still be lurking in these areas. Early morning and evening rising tides offer prime tailor fishing but they can show up any time at a host of locations. Further out into the bay, try around the shallows of the bay islands (northern end of Mud is usually fairly reliable), around the artificial reefs (Bill Turner, Harry Atkinson, Peel and Coochie) and Jeays Reef buoy. Numbers are also often found in the Rous and Small Ships channels and around the shallows of the Redcliffe Peninsula. The Brisbane River will often produce quality tailor and they are commonly found around lit up areas at night and structures such as jetty pylons, bridge pylons and rock walls. Many anglers casting small lures for bream will get bitten off when a quality tailor engulfs their offering. The eastern facing beaches of Stradbroke and Moreton commonly produce tailor during the cooler months. Sometimes you can see the schools from the beach or spot tailor in the waves,


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however, finding a good gutter and deploying baits such as pilchards, gar or bonito strips will generally get you hooked up if there are any around. SQUID June is usually a great month for targeting squid. Westerly winds create clear conditions inshore and heightened numbers of squid enter these waters to breed. Tiger and arrow squid are the most common, however, a few other cephalopod species are also about. Inshore anglers have great opportunity to target squid during the cooler months. While squid can be caught at any time of the day, there is definitely better opportunity at night during the higher tidal stags when squid are more commonly found close to shore feeding on baitfish, prawns and even small crabs. Lit up areas commonly attract their prey species and therefore squid are commonly found in these areas. Walking the bank at night and using a high-powered LED headlamp to locate these squid before casting an egi (prawn profiled squid jig) is a very successful technique. In some heavily fished areas the squid will become rather wary and often you’ll need to try several different egi before the squid either grabs it or retreats back into the darkness. The rock wall, harbour wall and T jetty at Manly, the Wellington Point Jetty, numerous rock groins and the foreshore of Redcliffe and Scarborough, Amity Rock Wall, Cleveland Point and most of the canal systems will produce squid over the next few months. Further out into the bay there are a lot of locations where you will be able to find squid. The shallows of the bay islands, weed beds on the western side

of Moreton and Stradbroke Islands and numerous areas where clear water flows over reef, rock, rubble or weed will all produce. Drifting an egi behind the boat around the bay island shallows, or the edges of the Rous while chasing whiting will often add some calamari to your fish feast. MULLOWAY One of the favoured targets for anglers fishing the Brisbane, Logan and other river systems is mulloway. They are readily available out in Moreton Bay, especially around the artificial reefs and wrecks. Mulloway generally respond best to larger baits, especially live offerings such as mullet, slimy mackerel, squid, yakkas and herring. However, they are also taken on many smaller baits aimed at other species in these areas. Those who understand their habits and specifically target them will generally achieve the best results. Quality sounders will allow you to locate them and then present a lure or bait. If you do not have quality electronics or the skills to drive them effectively, old school instinct of working likely areas will still put you in good stead. Deeper channels, holes and ledges around the mouths of rivers and estuaries are prime places to look. Areas adjacent prominent structure around the artificial reefs would also be worth targeting, especially for those who like to anchor and deploy live baits. Casting lures such as vibration baits, soft plastic shads and micro jigs can be very productive. Lit up areas at night are worth trying in the Brisbane River, the creeks that flow into the river and in the canals and harbours. THREADFIN Although the lower reaches of the Brisbane River still hold schools of threadfin, there is no denying that their numbers are less than

during the warmer months. As conditions get cooler, threadfin tend to move further up the system. Anglers fishing the city reaches and further upriver, are more likely to get amongst the threadies during the cooler months. Many target them around lit up areas at night, throughout the city reaches and further afield. Live baiting is also extremely productive with fishing from numerous landbased locations allowing you to secure a threadfin on live mullet, herring and banana prawns. Boating anglers have a greater scope of locations and many are able to use their electronics to locate fish sitting along the ledges and deeper sections of the river. These fish can be targeted with vibration baits, numerous plastics and even flies. The lower reaches will still hold a few threadfin over the coming months, however, the large schools that were present during the warmer months will have dispersed. CONCLUSION Cold weather fishing can be exceptional and anglers willing to brave the elements will be regularly rewarded. A broad array of quality sport and table species are on offer throughout the area, with a variety of techniques being used to target them. Whether you prefer the more sedate pursuit of targeting luderick on drifted weed baits, the excitement of tempting mulloway, threadfin or snapper on plastics or adrenalin charged high-speed spinning for tailor, June has plenty of opportunity for you. Land-based and bay anglers have more opportunities to target squid in addition to plenty of other species. Rug up, fill the flask with a warm beverage and get out and explore some of the best cold weather species that June has to offer.



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64 Kortum Drive, Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, QLD, 4220 Phone: (07) 5576 7388

Whitsunday Outboard Centre

Bribie Boat Sales

1 William Murray Drive, Cannovale, QLD, 4802 Phone: (07) 4946 7286

BlueFin Sports

57-59 Musgrave Street, Rockhampton Nth, QLD, 4701 Phone: (07) 4922 2211

143 First Ave, Bongaree, QLD, 4507 Phone: (07) 3408 4621

Precision Marine NT

30 Deviney Road, Pinelands, Darwin, NT, 0829 Phone: (08) 8931 1140

Holt Marine

25 Queens Rd, Everton Hills, Brisbane, QLD, 4053 Phone: (07) 3353 1928

Luderick are not on the bucket list for all of the inshore anglers, possibly because they require special techniques to catch. They fight hard and taste great, so they are definitely on the author’s winter target list.

For more information visit JUNE 2019


Slip on the uggs and get casting NORTHERN BAY

Grayson Fong

What’s that sound? Yes, it’s my teeth chattering! Call me dramatic, but you could easily mistake South East Queensland as country Victoria, with the onset of cold weather

really good lately, with anglers being rewarded in shallow and deeper waters. Numbers have become less widespread but more concentrated, as bream start to look at spawning times in these cooler months. Bream quality has been exceptional over the past month, with the increase in bait schools fattening the

been the recipe for a good time for the lure fanatics, with lures worth a throw being Atomic Crank 38 (in the clearer colours), Cranka Crabs, Daiwa Spikes 53SP, Pontoon 21 Crack Jack 48SP and OSP Power Dunks 48SP. For the plastics throwers, ProLure Grub Tails, ZMan GrubZ and Slim SwimZ on light jigheads have been the right formula. FLATHEAD Flathead numbers are definitely on the rise as the onset of cooler weather has started to bring the larger spawners into our rivers. These are closely accompanied by smaller

males giving anglers a field day when fishing tide lines, run-offs and creek mouths, as often 3-4 flathead are pulled from one area. Anglers are having equal success with both baits and soft plastics. Those choosing to anchor up at river mouths are finding baits are working well, however anglers drifting or moving with an electric motor are finding soft plastics are more effective. Good reports lately have come Nudgee Beach, Clontarf foreshore near the boat ramp, the mouth of the Brisbane River, the lower reaches

Redcliffe juvenile snapper are on the bite with the dropping temperatures.

A nice trevally caught by Will Lee at Donnybrook. leaving Brisbanites diving into cupboards for their winter woollies. But for us diehard anglers, we see the sunshine amongst the clouds, knowing that this cool weather is brought on by brisk westerly winds, letting anglers who like to fish inshore and estuaries to get out to their favourite spots. During westerlies, the land acts as a good buffer for the wind, keeping areas like the mouth of the Pine River, Redcliffe Peninsula, Cooks Rocks and Red Beach accessible for anglers even in smaller boats. This time of year there is definitely no excuse not to be on the water! BREAM Bream activity has been


JUNE 2019

bream up and giving them a good lead into their annual spawn. There have been good reports coming from all corners of the bay, with fishing being more active on the high tides at dusk and dawn. Pumicestone Passage has reported good healthy bream around the Ningi Flats, the mouth of Poverty and Glasshouse creeks, and Cooks and Tiger rocks, with anglers finding the higher tides during the moon phases producing the better fish. At the Peninsula, try Drury and Osbourne points, The Wells on the ebb, North Reef, the pylons of the Ted Smout Bridge, and the eastern side of Woody Point jetty. Crankbaits have

Mick with a healthy 61cm lizard taken in the northern bay.

of the Caboolture River and the mouth of Ningi and Glasshouse creeks. SQUID Squid have started to appear in our northern bay lately, with catches being reported around Redcliffe and Woody Point jetties. Daiwa Emeraldas Stream Rattle 2.5 and Megabass Caiyen 2.9 squid jigs have been doing the damage, but be sure to keep your jig moving, as the sink rate on these lures are quite quick. This constant moment also keeps aggressive squid interested, especially in shallower waters. SNAPPER Good juvenile snapper are still being caught through Scarborough and the Redcliffe Peninsula, with areas resembling Chermside shopping centre carpark on the weekends, as boaties and

kayakers are wanting to get their slice of the pie. Bait and soft plastics have both been working well, with bait fishers finding fresh, lightlyweighted baits working really well. For the lure rats, not getting your hands dirty and choosing the soft plastic option has also worked well, with popularity swinging towards shad and minnow style plastics. Plastics like the new Pro Lure 80mm Prey Minnow, ZMan 5” StreakZ, Castaic 5” Jerky J Swimmers and Fish Arrow 4” J Splits have been topping the popularity ranks, with the old faithfuls like Atomic 4” Prongs and Gulp 4” Minnows also hard to pass. TIP OF THE MONTH Ugg Boots… There are no fashion police in the northern bay, so you can wear them fishing!

Colder currents bringing in solid catches BRISBANE OFFSHORE

John Gooding

Snapper numbers should increase further as we get into the winter months and the water temperature cools a little more. At the end of May the water temperature off the South Passage Bar has still been hanging up around 24°C, but hopefully this month sees it drop to about 20°C and was we get into the midst of winter, down to around 19.5°C. Last winter we saw the water temperature on the 29 and 33-fathom reefs down around that 19°C and the water was blue with plenty of current flow. We also saw snapper in good numbers and catching your limit was fairly easy. Whether we are going to have a good snapper season east of the South Passage Bar simply comes down to what current lines push in close to Moreton and North Stradbroke islands. The years we get the cooler blue water push in close we have very productive snapper seasons, and the years we don’t see these cooler current lines we

A group of anglers with a bag out of school-sized amberjack with a few solid trag tossed in. still get fish, but numbers are down and we have to work a lot harder for our fish. It’s the same with the Spanish mackerel fishery. Our local fisheries off Moreton and North Stradbroke islands and the Gold Coast haven’t had a good run to date this year. But, further south in northern NSW, areas such as Evans Head, Wooli and Coffs Harbour have seen some good consistent catches of Spaniards. Warmer current lines have pushed further down the coast, taking the bait schools and mackerel along with them.

The return run off Point Lookout last winter saw good numbers of Spanish mackerel caught in the area through to around August. I did hear they were quite thick on occasions and anglers throwing stickbaits and poppers had some red hot sessions. With Spanish mackerel, don’t keep fishing for sport once you’ve got your limit. Stressed and tired Spanish mackerel are shark fodder when released, especially in the Point Lookout area. Before the cyclones off the Queensland coast in

This 12kg amberjack gave this happy angler a solid workout.

This group bagged out on amberjack, and also brought in some small snapper.

February, the bait had been hard to find on the closer reefs. Since then, bait has been more consistent and so has the fishing. On charter lately, we’ve still been mainly chasing amberjack. They’ve been in really good numbers and we’ve had some red hot sessions. Depths between 70-85m have been productive for us, but we have had a couple of good sessions on the wider wrecks.

With the way things are going, we will probably see amberjack continue to get caught into winter, and this will give us an option besides snapper over the coming months. • 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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Cold water species on the chew NOOSA

Peter Wells

We are all looking forward to those cooler winter mornings that seem to bring nice stable conditions, which of course are great for getting offshore! There have been some great reports from the Barwon Banks, with good pearl perch, snapper, tuskies, amberjack and Moses perch amongst them.

The reefs off Double Island have also been firing with plenty of pelagic, red emperor and pearl perch action. Up on North Reef, snapper, cobia, mulloway and mackerel have also been hitting the decks in good numbers as well as quality longtail tuna. In Laguna Bay tuna are still feeding hard on bait schools with mac tuna the most predominate. There has been the odd longtail amongst them taking anglers by surprise.

Metal slugs such as the TT Hard-core up to 40g have been working very well on the pelagics. Another great option that has worked well has been the Nomad Madscad in the 95mm size with a fast and erratic retrieve. There have been good coral trout still on Sunshine Reef – fishing hard to the reef is the best way to come into contact so a running sinker rig with the sinker all the way to the hook should see results. Make sure

Milan Milne with his first ever tuna at 6.5kg, taken off Coolum Reef.


A FISHO’S DREAM For bookings or enquiries contact: Cliff Andreassen 0428 712 283 or 07 5449 9346 •


JUNE 2019

you use a lumo bead just above the hook to protect the hook knot. For those chasing snapper the floater rig in a well-maintained berley trail has been getting the best results. Due to the start of the whales’ migration over the coming weeks, cobia will become more abundant. Numbers of these fish always seem to improve as the whales move through.

For those fishing out from Mooloolaba, areas that are firing include the Gneerings and Currimundi Reefs where snapper, grass sweetlip and tusk fish are on the chew. Try quality baits like pilchards and local squid to ensure better catches. Up to the north off Coolum saw pelagics on fire with quality tuna on the menu. Caloundra’s 12 mile is showing snapper sizes are on the increase along with some nice pearlies. All species are responding well to local squid, pilchards and live baits. In the Noosa River the Gympie Terrace stretch has been fishing well for the kids. Try using worms yabbies or prawns, as there has been plenty of quality whiting over 30cm as well as good-sized bream. A little further upriver the Tewantin stretch and the first ski run have been producing mulloway in the low light periods. Vibes like the Samaki Thumper Tails have been dynamite on the mulloway as well as trevally. Lake Cooroibah has seen good numbers of pan-sized flathead. Fishing shallowdiving hardbodies in the shallow waters has been the way to go. Zerek Tango Shads are perfect for the job and have a great range of colours and diving depths. Up between the lakes mangrove jack are still on the chew with live baits claiming most of the fish. Amazingly, crab numbers are still quite good, with plenty of anglers reporting good bucks amongst the jennies. Remember to mark both your pots and your floats. Dog Beach has offered good numbers of quality bream, whiting and flathead

Liam Fromyhr with a nice mulloway from the Maroochy River. This is the time to get amongst mulloway. taken on both live and dead baits. Live herring and live worms have been the stand out baits, whereas small pilchards, white bait and cured worms have been the preferred dead baits. Big schools of bait have been predominate in the river and this in turn brings in the trevally and tailor with them. Woods Bay and Noosa

Sound showcase the prime areas for this activity. They have been responding well to surface poppers and surface walkers. Surface poppers like the Nomad Chug Norris and Dart Wings have been working well along with smaller micro jigs that have been hopped and retrieved with speed. In the Maroochy River

there has been some nice crabs taken, with the areas upriver from the Bli Bli Bridge to Coolum Creek producing results. Heavily baiting your pots with fresh mullet has been the key to

soldier crabs to give you that little extra chance of a great catch. On the beaches the tailor are starting to show up. The schools are small and a little spread out, so if

getting a good feed. The stretch of beach from Peregian to Mudjimba is holding dart and whiting, with the bigger dart at the rear of the gutter when it’s at its fullest.

Craig Mullet with a nice snapper from the Gneerings off Mooloolaba. bigger crabs. Flathead are loving soft plastics around the back of Goat Island and the stretch along the ski run, with bloodworm and motor oil the winning colours. If you’re using bait try the mouth of Eudlo Creek with small pilchards on a small ganged rig on the run-out tide. If you are fishing the run-in tide stick to the shallows along Chambers Island and Picnic Point for some decent whiting. Quality whiting are really enjoying live bait at the moment, so try pumping some yabbies or catching

you are on the North Shore it may pay to keep moving to locate a school. Best results have come from north of Teewah. Goodsized bream and dart are in the close gutters with the top of the tide the best time to target them. Prawns, small fish baits and worms cast to the back of the gutters and rolled under the white water has seen some good results. Whiting are also about with the southern beaches around Marcus and Peregian fishing well on the run-out tide. Live worms have been the favoured baits with plenty of anglers

Fishing the new moon will be worth the effort with plenty of mulloway reported over the last month or so. The prime baits have been fresh mullet, local squid, clumps of worms and their favourite… tailor fillet! • Don’t forget to check in to au 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!


DISTRIBUTED IN AUSTRALASIA BY Brett Cleary has always wanted to catch a queenfish, and on a recent trip to Darwin his dream came true. This 95cm beauty was caught on a paddle-tail soft plastic on high tide off Stokes Hill Wharf.

(02) 4441 8400

powerpoleasiapacific JUNE 2019


New Release

Yellowfin re-launched as Yellowfin Plate Boats Big news in the plate aluminium boat market is that Yellowfin Boats, launched by Telwater 35 years ago, has just re-launched as Yellowfin Plate boats. Constructed by a team of 17 handpicked welders at their factory on the Gold Coast in Queensland, the re-launch coincides with the increase in range, from the 10 models available previously to 24 boats available now.

Early in May, Australia’s marine journalists got to experience first-hand these new Yellowfin Plate boats, but before that, Fishing Monthly grabbed Yellowfin dealers for a test and preview day. Influenced by commercial captains, Yellowfin Plate boats are equipped with necessities for fishing. But for those who prefer the comforts of boating can option up to a Platinum pack with the options that are favoured by most customers. The team at YF believe the finer details are what matter most. Through detailed market research, Yellowfin Plate has

identified an extensive list of ‘one percenters’ that elevate the finish and seriously enhance fishability. Hand built by the best, for the best anglers, Yellowfin Plate boats are manufactured in a purposebuilt plate boat factory with over 100 hours of welding in each boat by 17 skilled specialists. Far from mass-produced. Tested tough by eight full time naval research and development professionals,

these boats are designed for serious anglers. But what did some of our dealers think? “Once you’ve had a few boats you can really appreciate top end quality,” Sean Savage said after his first ride in the Yellowfin Plate, “and with an eye for detail, you can really see what they have put into these boats.” On the water, the quietness on the ride was apparent. “I’ve been a Yellowfin dealer for over 10 years now. Originally I had 10 models to choose from but now I have 24 models to choose from, starting with the rear console, the centre console, the new centre

cab, folding hard top, Southerner and soft top range,” added Mark Stav, “and there’s definitely going to be a model to suit you.” With so many versions of the boats available, the chances that there’s a model to suit your needs is vastly improved. “One thing that stands out is their Marine Core construction. When you look at how these hulls are built and over engineered, you can understand why they ride so soft, with full foam filled flotation, nice and safe, you really can’t beat it,” said Savage. With their dedicated Yellowfin Plate team, over 100 hours of welding goes into each craft and the YF

Fishing Monthly Magazines

Scan the QR code to watch

National Sales Manager Drew Jackson takes Steve Morgan through the new Yellowfin Plate range.


JUNE 2019

team take real pride in their work. “Yellowfin Plate have an Offshore HD hull. The smaller model has a 4mm (aluminium plate) bottom and a 4mm side, while the four larger models have a 6mm bottom and a 4mm side, giving you a soft, stable and dry ride in all offshore conditions,” said Mark. Of course, what most purchasers ask about their plate aluminium boat, what’s the thickness of the materials? There’s not much that’ll hurt a 4mm hull, let alone a 6mm. “The thing that sets Yellowfin Plate boats apart from its competitors are the one percenters. They do things that are a little bit special and unique to

their boats. They way their paint is done, the way that everywhere you look in the boat, you can see that there’s been a lot of thought put in. You can really appreciate the craftsmanship that’s gone

really concentrated on this segment of the market, we’ve spoken to our dealer customers and also end users at boat shows to pinpoint key areas, like quality of finish, the one percenters

into it,” Savage concluded. Yellowfin Plate National Sales Manager Drew Jackson agreed. “We’ve done a lot of research over the last 12-18 months and we have

that we call them that make a difference,” he said. The hulls range in length from 5.8-7.8m. You can see the full range at www.yellowfinplate


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JUNE 2019




New Release

The new Hobie kayak Introducing the all new Mirage Passport, the newest member of the Hobie pedal kayak family. Equipped with Hobie’s tried and true

the right number of features to be versatile, yet with a pure simplicity: • Colours: two great options, Seagrass or Slate Decks,

simplified adaptation of our Twist ‘n’ Stow® rudder. The Passport rudder is manually raised and lowered and held in those positions automatically by an in-line shock-cord. If the rudder encounters an underwater object, it will kick up and after it has cleared the obstacle, the bungee will

MirageDrive Classic, the pedal drive that started it all. You will be cruising through the water in no time. Built for adventure, a simplified rudder that kicks up on impact and a replaceable rudder skeg prepares the Passport for even the most rugged adventures. Bow bungees stand ready for securing gear or a dry bag, even the Hobie Soft Cooler (small) will fit. Also included is the Forward Accessory Mount, perfect for rigging the Hobie Bimini or a Sail Kit.

on a Light Grey Hull for stunning contrast. • Hull Design provides a stable platform that tracks well and stacks like a dream for storage and car-topping. • Injection-moulded MirageDrive®. The MirageDrive Classic is standard equipment. The Classic Drive is our non-GT drive with ST fins. Both of our newer MirageDrive versions, the GT and the MD180, fit in the well if you want to upgrade, and of course the Classic Drive can also be

automatically lower the rudder back into position. • Steering: all-new push-pull rod for a simple and easyto-use steering system. BUILT-IN STORAGE • Bow storage well with crisscross bungees. • Rear cargo well with cart scuppers and crisscross bungees can be easily customised with the all-new pad eye/hook combo fittings. • 8” centre hatch • Accessory mount for great accessorizing opportunities from the Bimini to the Sail

Outfitted for kayak fishing, the Hobie Mirage Passport features two molded-in rod holders, two H-Track accessory mounts and plenty of cargo space to stash all your gear. Compact yet stable, this kayak can easily be car-topped while still being steady enough to stand on. Make it your own. Plenty of accessories help you build your dream boat: Sail Kits, Bimini sunshades, dry bags and coolers. CREATE YOUR ULTIMATE SETUP WITH THE MIRAGE PASSPORT The new Passport has just

upgraded with Turbo Fins. • Seat: aluminium frame with suspended-mesh seating area. The Passport seat is easy to install, breathable, comfortable, and is a fullyfunctional beach chair on land! • Rudder system features a

Kit and more. • Side-mounted rail tracks provide plenty of additional accessorizing and personalisation opportunities for anglers and recreational kayakers alike. • Two rod holders! – Hobie

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BRISBANE (NORTH) NORTHSIDE MARINE 2294 Sandgate Road, Boondall P: (07) 3265 8000

BRISBANE (SOUTH) STONES CORNER MARINE 117 Old Cleveland Road, Stones Corner P: (07) 3397 9766

BUNDABERG BUNDABERG MARINELAND 95 Targo Street, Bundaberg P: (07) 4130 0500

CAIRNS BILLS MARINE 136-138 Lyons Street, Cairns P: (07) 4051 6733

GLADSTONE CURTIS COAST MARINE 40 Chapple St, Gladstone P: (07) 4972 0135

GOLD COAST (SOUTH) GOLD COAST BOATING CENTRE 64 Kortum Drive, Burleigh Heads P: (07) 5576 7388

HERVEY BAY BUCCANEERS 19 Islander Road, Pialba, Hervey Bay P: (07) 4124 6988 DISCOVER MORE


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JUNE 2019


Good weather to get out HERVEY BAY

Dane Radosevic

I love this time of year. Gentleman’s hours starts and afternoon glass outs produce some of the most spectacular sunsets over the Fraser Coast, and after what was a pretty average start to the year weather-wise, it’s fingers crossed for conditions to start to improve. If it does, we all can enjoy the fantastic fishing options to be had this time of year! There is some exceptional fishing on offer

and more effective. Fishing the shelf waters will produce quality pearlies, snapper and rosy job fish, with quite sizable kingfish and amberjacks often a by-catch and serious battle from depths exceeding 100m. If you wish to do battle with one, drop a slow fall or knife jig down and buckle up! The shallower shoals have been producing a mixed bag of quality reefies, including hussar, sweetlip, tuskfish, red throat, gold spot, coronation trout and the odd red during the daylight

reef jacks, with floatlining techniques scoring some absolute horses, with a near definite by-catch of snapper at the time of year. Just a quick reminder that humpback whales are migrating north outside of Fraser at present and it is not uncommon to see many pods in a day’s fishing out there. In a month or so their cousins that headed north earlier will be making their way back south and entering Hervey Bay for a spell. So, for the next few months it will pay to keep a keen eye out for these majestic giants and enjoy

Jamie Lineburg with a solid bream caught walking a Jackson Ebi-Panic across a sand flat on Fraser Island. east and north east of Fraser and beyond, especially at this time of year, with reduced intensity in the south pushing currents and making drift fishing easier

period. Fishing larger baits is paying dividends to withstand the pickers. Nighttime fishing will often negate this issue and produce some sensational

one of the true bonuses of the Hervey Bay winter fishing experience. On the opposite end of the scale, the fishing down off Double Island Point

59 Torquay Rd, Hervey Bay QLD 4655 Ph: (07) 4128 1022 44

JUNE 2019

Brendan Blackburn with a ‘diamond of the sea’ caught while hopping a ZMan soft plastic in Platypus Bay. These fish pull like freight trains! and the Wide Bay Bar has been fishing exceptionally well, with great catches of reds, snapper, pearlies, sweetlip, moses perch and coronation trout out wide, and some great mulloway, snapper and cod coming from grounds closer. These closer grounds will often hold large aggregations of yakka, attracting the attention of big cobia and Spanish mackerel, making for great sport. Back inside, on the gutters cobia typically turn up this time of year and are more then willing to smash a live bait, large bait or a lure. The cobes can be found in schools in their smaller size class, with the bigger 30kg+ models more often loners or swimming with a couple of mates of a similar size. They are great sport no matter the size, and are a great catch and release candidate due to their general all round toughness. Expect a few cobia to turn up off Rooney Point as well, and keep an eye out for them in coming weeks as they filter further down into the bay. Spanish and school mackerel are another pelagic that will be active at the gutters and respond well to trolled lures, swimming gar or livies and can often be a nuisance to reef fishers. The trout have been copping a hiding not only from fishers, but also the sharks, and aren’t at their usual numbers in some parts. Improved results have come from crews fishing more isolated and less pressured patches of reef and ledge to the east or west, but never the less there are plenty of sweetlip and a mix of other reefies such as scarlets, spangled emperor, tuskfish, hussar and cod for variety to gather a feed. Snapper should start to increase in numbers, particularly over bigger tide phases early in the morning and into the evening. Fishing the evening tide

will often produce quality mangrove jack while float lining fresh or live baits down a berley trail. The Rooney Point area will be worth a look for a snapper for those overnighting up that way. A few good knobbies have been reported starting to make their way onto the isolated reefs and in the central bay, with evening sessions producing the goods for bait fishos. Working the same areas during daylight with plastics and micro jigs is worth a try, but be prepared to sound around a bit wider of the actual reefs looking for schools of fish roaming the area. As always, if there isn’t any bait in the area, then chances are there won’t be any predators. Squire, scarlets, moses perch, sweetlip and grunter will also be active day and night, with some great reef jacks possible from the right country. Golden trevally

continue to haunt many of these similar reefs and are often a by-catch while chasing snapper, taking a range of artificials including micro jigs, plastics and vibes. A whole variety of trevally species will start showing up throughout the bay as winter rolls on, with species such as diamond, brassy, long-nosed and bludger trevally dominating catches in some areas. The tuna numbers will start to dwindle up that way and feeding fish on the surface may be few and far between, although small pods of larger fish can often be found feeding sub-surface around the bait schools. Take the full armoury of metal slugs, soft plastics and sinking stickbaits so that you can cover all situations and match the hatch. Back inshore, there have been some large schools of mac tuna and the odd longtail found

Local LBG fisher Simon Day with a doubleheader of solid longtail tuna caught live baiting the Urangan Pier.

working in the shipping channels and further down the Straits. These fish are fussy, flighty, nervous and downright spooky, making them almost a fly-only target at times, although stealth, persistence and tiny lures can win out if you’ve got the perseverance. Mackerel numbers continue to increase in some areas, with good schoolies and broadies turning up around the beacons, wrecks, out wide of River Heads and down the Straits. There is a good chance of tangling with schools of queenies around the bay islands if your timing is right around the building tides, and tailor should start to move up through the channels around Kingfisher and the Picnics. Don’t forget to carry a few 2.5 size squid jigs in the box while fishing the shallow reefs and around the inshore islands, as local squid will start to turn up in considerable numbers. Bait fishos can expect some great action over the inshore reefs and wrecks, with snapper starting to show up in better numbers. Well known reefs such as the Roy Rufus Artificial and Moon Ledge will be popular areas, as well as the Burrum 8 Mile and the outer banks. Bait fishers

will need to time their assault around the turn of tide and be prepared to anchor well up current of their target area to floatline back to the snapper. A little berley can be quite effective, but only for a short period around the slack water. For lure anglers, you can fish throughout the run of the tide, with smaller 3-4” curly-tail or paddle-tail offerings being favoured when fished on a light jighead. Don’t

neglect prawn or squid presentations fished close to the bottom, especially once the sun is high in the sky. Sweetlip, blackall, cod and the odd scarlet will be likely species to cross paths with while bait fishing the areas mentioned above, and the occasional coral trout will take a live bait if fishing the gnarly structures on the turn of the tide. Those chasing winter whiting have mainly been concentrating their efforts

along the coastline from Gatakers Bay to Toogoom. Catch rates are still varying depending on who you talk to, although it seems the whiting are moving about, so be prepared to check different areas each time you head out. Again, as is so often the case, those who get their quota of larger fish quickest are those who find their own little patch of fish away from the other boats. Bream have and will continue to be a major

Ash Blackburn scored this solid winter snapper while working a bait ball on the ZMan 5” Jerk Shad in the old faithful electric chicken colour.

draw cards from areas around River Heads, the western flats on Fraser and down the Straits. Finesse tackle junkies have been getting amongst the action fishing soft plastics, with a favoured profile being the ZMan 2.5” GrubZ. Small walk-the-dog and popper presentations in translucent colours have been providing plenty of actions, especially over the shallower flats and rocky outcrops. Flathead numbers are also on the increase, and the drains and creek mouths of the Straits are the places to flick a lure during the run out and early flood tides. The River Heads pontoon is still getting plenty of attention, especially at night, with live bait fishers scoring some quality size mulloway, cod and the odd over size flathead. Don’t forget a few 1.5 Yamashita squid jigs, as last year the pencil squid were in good numbers, attracted by the lights, and they make ideal baits. There have been a few reports of decent surf fishing from Fraser’s legendary beaches, however after severe weather conditions not so long ago the beaches were left in quite a mess. Bream, whiting and dart will be viable targets in the

deeper gutters on worm and pipi baits, with the odd mulloway being caught at night while soaking larger baits. Back on the western side of Fraser, Kingfisher Bay Resort’s jetty has been producing bream, flathead and squid, with a few mulloway, mackerel and mac tuna nearby for boaties. Bream continue to be the main target for the light line brigade out at the Urangan Pier, although having said that, don’t go too light, as it takes a bit of a haul to swing (or lift) a kilo plus bream 10m into the air and onto the pier. Herring cube baits have been working best alongside the lure fishers dead sticking Cranka Crabs between the pylons around the slack water. Keep your eyes peeled for flatties in the shallows and around the pylon bases, and if spotted then catch a herring or pike and present that to them live. Longtail and mac tuna have also been a major draw card, with some quality fish to 18kg being caught. Flick baiting with unweighted baits or ballooning live herring right off the very end of the pier has been producing fish.


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Winter species are appearing in a big way GLADSTONE SURROUNDS

Dylan Christie

Well, here it is, the change of season! The warm water species start to slow down and the winter species really fire up. The cooler weather usually brings more stable conditions, with light westerly winds during the mornings are making it quite easy to poke your nose out the front of Facing and Curtis islands. It seems that everyone in the Gladstone region goes mackerel crazy, so I thought this month I would go through some top locations, best tides and what baits and lures to use to boat yourself a few Spanish this winter. Most people use a lever drag overhead reel spooled with 30-50lb monofilament line and a rod anywhere from 5’6”-7’ in length. However, I believe longer rods are better, with a reasonably soft tip acting as a shock absorber for when they are making their powerful runs. Spanish mackerel can be caught on most tides, but majority of anglers prefer to chase them on the larger tide sets, as it focuses them towards current lines created by reef edges, headlands and shoals creating turbulence where the bait becomes disorientated. The neap tides can have them more spread out, so it might take a bit more time to find them. The big debate has been should you use bait or lures? There is no correct answer for this as they both have their days, however, as a rule of thumb big baits capture big fish. Wolf herring, along with school mackerel and juvenile Spanish (making sure they are of legal size)

are up there with the most popular of baits, and the best way to rig these is with gang hooks and weighting the front of the fish to get to the desired depth. When they are very active you can also use baits such as skipped garfish, so it pays to mix it up on the day to see what they like. You should always try and match the hatch, so if you know they are feeding on something in particular, then using that will increase your chances of getting the hook-up. When it comes to lures you are better off running a spread with lures at different depths to optimise your chances of finding where they are sitting. Working in a tackle shop I see many lures come and go and there is a new popular mackerel lure almost every week, but in the last few seasons the most popular lures have been Samaki Pacemaker and the Yo-Zuri Hydro Magnum in dorado and purple colours. These lures can be trolled at high speeds without blowing out of the water and their tight actions really fire the mackies up. I have saved the best for last, as chasing Spanish on surface is visual, exhilarating, frustrating and dangerous all in one, but it has to be the most fun way to target them. When casting for Spanish on surface lures don’t use wire because it seems to shy them away. There is no water too deep – at wider shoals such as Innamincka you can have them launching out of the water to eat you lures anywhere up to 50m deep. If you have two people on board, it’s always good to have one person running a popper and one running a stickbait until you find what works and if its is glassy

calm use two stickbaits as they seem to like a more subtle approach. Offshore opportunities are becoming more regular and the reports are showing that it’s fishing very well. Rock Cod Shoals and Tullaook are continuing to produce quality red throat, some nice Spanish and even the odd big red emperor. The larger vessels that are heading wider are also being rewarded for their efforts with big numbers of coral trout, plenty of reds and red throat, not to mention some of the biggest Venus tuskfish I have seen for a very long time. Northern areas up around Cape Capricorn and the Gutters are always an option on the neaps for targeting large-mouth nannies, cobia, grassy sweetlip, red emperor and snapper, with some of the more inshore areas holding large grunter. The neap tides have been a great time to hit the wrecks. There are plenty of wrecks to choose from in our area, such as the Barge, Red Dolphin, Moreton Star, Bindaree and Nautilus just to name a few. Wrecks offer a host of different fishing opportunities from jigging for pelagics to bottom bashing for offshore species. Slow pitch jigging around wrecks is a great way to cover both, as you will typically find large schools of trevally and cobia suspended off the top of the structure. There is also the chance of nannygai, hussar, grunter, snapper and black jewfish plus many more. The harbour is also fishing very well with some large barramundi being caught around the rock walls and rocky outcrops around the islands along with the wharfs, keep in mind that

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exclusion zones apply. Plenty of people are targeting black jew and at the moment they are quite prevalent, so it’s worth getting yourself some quality squid and mullet fillet and rigging yourself up to get a few. Be sure to check the new laws around bag limits as well as they have had a change recently and you don’t want to get caught out. Golden snapper are becoming another popular target species around the harbour and for good reason. They tick all the boxes: they look good, fight well and taste even better. Golden snapper and black jew are difficult to catch and release as they both suffer from barotrauma when being pulled from depths greater than 8m, however, with the correct methods it can be done. If you’re after more information in regards to releasing these fish come down to the shop and have a chat to the team. On the flats there are some good numbers of blue salmon pushing up on the bigger tides along with some monster flatties. These species both love shallow water with plenty of ambush points, so the larger tides around the full and new moon are always a good time. Around this time you will

find them feeding around gravel bars, rock walls and mud flats, whereas the neaps have them in slightly deeper water usually more easily targeted on vibes and prawn imitations. Blue salmon are also making a move into The Narrows and most estuary systems in the region, which offers a great target species for either lure casting or just relaxing and soaking a bait. Over the last few months the grunter have been everywhere throughout the area and the monsters that Toolooa Bends system is known for are turning up. It’s also worth fishing the Calliope in the upper reaches near Beecher Bar along with The Narrows around Ramseys Crossing and Boat Creek. Big winter bream have already started to make a move into the Boyne River, especially around the mouth and can be taken on fresh yabbies, prawns and herring. We have had a few people coming through chasing the whiting and seem to be getting some good numbers from the Lillies, Farmers Point and Yellow Patch, so grab your kids and take them out to get into a few bread and butter species. Lake Awoonga is continuing to produce

Settle into good fishing RAINBOW BEACH

Ed Falconer

Winter has arrived. We have some cooler weather, which leads to a drop in water temperature. This month we’ve finally got some settled weather and red-hot fishing. OFFSHORE A late run of spotted mackerel has come through and what a run it was. There have been schools of thousands

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JUNE 2019

barramundi, however, they’re found out on the deeper points in the main basin seeking more stable water temperature. It’s worth having a good quality sounder when targeting these fish as it makes it easier to find them. Vibes are great for this style of fishing. Another great way to target these fish when they’re suspended in the deeper water is with prawn imitation lures. This is a more subtle approach than a vibe, especially if you’re fishing a school that has been previously pressured. This time of year is a great time to be fishing in the Gladstone region, so grab your gear and get out and enjoy what our beautiful region has to offer. • For all the latest info on what’s biting and where, drop into Pat’s Tackle World at 23 Lord Street, Gladstone or give them a call on (07) 4972 3692. The team have their finger to the pulse to what is happening in the area, and are sure to point you in the right direction. You can also find news, catch photos and special deals on their Facebook page ( PatsTackleworldGladstone) or check them out on Instagram (@ patstackleworld).

There have been plenty of spotted mackerel on the bite. swarming around the boat and taking anything you threw at them, resulting in many bag outs in record time. The bottom fish have also been on fire, with big catches of pearl perch, snapper, tuskfish, coral trout and red emperor all

biting well. Soft plastics and fresh bait have been getting the job done. GREAT SANDY STRAITS Plenty of diver whiting have made an appearance. There has been some great catches around Pelican Bay and Big Mick Beacon. It’s

been a great mud crab season and there was still plenty around at the end of May. BEACH There are a couple of deep gutters around the Rainbow Shores Beach entry track that are producing dart and tailor in the late afternoon. JUNE We should see a drop in water temperature in June. The drop should see the snapper fishing go up a gear. I expect that all other reefies will also bite very well this month. • To enjoy a day on the water with Keely Rose Fishing Charters phone Ed Falconer 0407 146 151 or visit www. keelyrosefishingcharters.

Anglers are seeing red GLADSTONE

Liam Jones

May has brought us a contrast of really good weather and really bad weather. At the end of May it was howling 25-30 knots from the southeast, but luckily we had a few days of decent weather earlier

Using light gear and 90mm Yakamito soft vibes made for some extremely exciting fishing in between running crab pots. OFFSHORE Offshore they are still turning up at all the usual haunts. Typically they tend to slow down as the weather cools around this time of year, but so far they show no

The author with a spangled taken on a Yakamito stickbait in 2m of water. in the month. We were also lucky enough to get a small window during Australia’s biggest family fishing competition, the Boyne Tannum Hookup. INSHORE Inshore things have been exciting with the winter species moving in and the summer species still active and feeding. Barra are still turning up in good numbers throughout the harbour and Narrows. Finding that warmer water as temps have been dropping has been key to locating the quality fish. Dropping lure size when the water temps drop can help you entice the fish to bite when their metabolism has slowed. Smaller deep divers around 80mm, smaller vibes and 4” paddle-tails seem to be doing the trick at the moment. Jacks have started to slow a little, but the fish that have been caught have been absolute crackers. Plenty around the magic 50cm mark have been turning up over the past few weeks. For myself, I’ve had the most success on a 4.5” Molix Real Shad. Grunter have been prolific offshore and throughout the estuaries over the past month. Calliope River, Boyne River Colosseum and Turkey Beach have all been producing some absolute horse grunter. Vibes and small prawn imitations seem to be doing the damage at the moment. I myself had good little session in between running crab pots on some 600-700mm grunter hanging off the back of a small rock down Turkey Beach way a couple of weeks ago.

signs of disappearing. I find either side of the full and new moons tends to fish best for these big offshore grunter. Using vibes when the run allows and slow pitching jigs when it’s running a little harder is the most exciting way to fish for them. However, a fresh banana prawn is pretty hard to go past if soaking a bait is more your style. As with most fish, the fresher the bait the better. Offshore the fishing has been nothing short of amazing when the weather has allowed. I haven’t heard too many people coming back in saying they haven’t bagged out on some form of offshore species, whether that be red-throat, trout, nannygai or the mighty red emperor. I was lucky enough to get out twice throughout May

and both trips were absolute crackers with numbers of quality fish coming over the side. Both trips I spent majority of the time chasing red emperor and finished the day off throwing a few stickbaits over the flats. When fishing for reds I tend to not fish a particular mark for a long period of time, instead moving around pulling a few fish from a variety of marks in close proximity. I find this not only helps keep numbers on each mark but it also keeps the schools from shutting down when they’re a touch finicky. We were lucky enough on these particular trips that just about every mark I pulled onto was holding quality reds. Once the icebox was full of reds we headed over to one of the reef flats nearby to throw some stickbaits at trout, sweetlip and whatever else decided to jump on the end of our lines. Anyone who says sight casting reef fish in 2m of gin clear water with some of the most amazing coral in the world below you isn’t fun hasn’t done it! Big trout, red-throat, spangled emperor and GTs all came over the side in beautiful conditions. If only we got more days like that, then we would all be happy. Here is hoping we have an amazing winter! AWOONGA DAM The dam is still fishing well when the weather is consistent. The fish are having their last big feed before their metabolism slows right down and they begin snacking throughout winter. Afternoon sessions from 2pm onwards once the water heats up has been producing most of the fish. Happy Rock soft plastic paddle-tails and 5” Castaics have once again been doing the damage in the weed, while soft vibes like Zerek Fish Traps and Yakamito Viber vibes are getting the bite around the deeper timber.

Les Jones and Sam Roberts with a pair of big reds from a recent trip offshore. As we move into winter, don’t throw Awoonga barra into the too hard basket as some of the best sessions out there have been in winter. When conditions allow and

lures and changing up your approach can result in some great sessions. As we move into June I’d expect to see a lot more blue salmon turning up in

Steven Horvart from team Redaholics took out the offshore category at this year’s Boyne Tannum Hookup. the water temp rises in the afternoon and the weed beds hold that heat, the fish will be triggered to feed just as hard as they would on a hot summer’s day. Downsizing

Team LJ’s Compleat Angler took out the live category at this year’s Boyne Tannum Hookup.

the local waterways and grunter should remain thick in the creeks. The hot water outlet should start holding some quality barra and I’d expect the big 7-9” plastics to start getting a workout across the fast flowing outlet. Offshore the shallows will begin to slow up as the fish move a little deeper when the water temps drops. Nannygai and emperor should be on the chew around the full and new moon, providing the weather permits us to get out and have a crack at them. BOYNE TANNUM HOOKUP The Boyne Tannum Hookup was a huge success this year, with anglers in the inshore and offshore categories landing quality fish. The three day event had it all, glassouts, rain, wind and plenty of fish! A lot of the big boats braved the pretty ordinary conditions to head out

Friday. Those that did make the effort were rewarded with plenty of fish, however, there was nothing of real standout size like there has been in years passed. Saturday was also not great in the morning, but there was a lot that still made the journey out. By 10am it had well and truly glassed out all the way through until late Saturday afternoon. With weigh in closing at 4pm, the line up at the Boyne River boat ramp was something to see. Thankfully the dredging of the river mouth made for safe access at all tides. The teams event was a huge success with plenty of teams battling it out in the inshore live category and offshore dead category. Congratulations must go out to team LJ’s Compleat Angler/Salty Crew and team Redaholics for winning the two team categories. I know a lot of effort and planning goes into catching every species and upgrading sizes as the weekend went on. Both teams won an awesome prize donated by Nathan Reardon from Outside Edge Adventures. They will be accompanying him down to the Glen Innes area chasing the mighty Murray cod for a few days. Congratulations must also go out to the entire team at the Boyne Tannum Hookup. This year’s comp was run amazingly and the effort you all put in was second to none. I had the pleasure of hosting the kid’s learn to fish lessons over the Hookup weekend and had an absolute ball. Once again, my hat goes off to the youth volunteers who helped me over the three days and luckily we actually managed to catch a few fish and teach some kids how good fishing actually is. • 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. JUNE 2019


Pelagics are plentiful BUNDABERG

Jason Medcalf

We had some cold nights in May and even a cyclone, which is a bit unusual. I am sure June will see the weather patterns stabilise and we will see some cool nights and light westerly winds. June is the time of year our pelagic species come and visit and small boat owners get the opportunity to mess with some speedsters. Already the mac tuna are thick along the coast and they will be joined by bluefin and the odd yellowfin over the coming months. Tuna can be a bit tricky to temp at times, but I have

a couple of tips that should help get them to bite when they are fickle. Firstly, if you’re going to be casting metal slices at them, make sure you’re using a reel that has the highest gear ratio you can find. Reels that are higher than 6.3 will make retrieving at the speed you need much easier. What speed do you need for tuna? If you’re spinning with slices, the faster the better. My next tip is, if they are ignoring your slice when you let it sink before your retrieve then get it up on top of the water. I use a metal slug when chasing tuna and I will get my cast in out in front of the feeding fish and then as soon as it hits the water I start winding. The slug skips along the


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surface and the tuna love it, it is without a doubt the most exciting way to hook them as well. June will see an influx of many of the mackerel species including my favourite, the Spanish mackerel. They generally will come in closer around the full moon and take up station on most of our bait holding areas. The traditional floating pilchard rig is always a great way to target them while you’re soaking a bait on the bottom. This consists of a gang hook setup of around four hooks, depending on the size of your pilchards. A short length of wire trace, I use single strand between 50-70lb breaking strain. Run a length of mono leader, again 50-70lb. This is more to help not get rubbed off while fighting and also for easier handling around the boat. If there is some run I put a running ball sinker on the leader to help get it down, I now use floats as they are a little

This was one of many mac tuna that took a liking to a high speed Halco Twisty. eco-friendlier than using balloons. Probably the most effective way to get into Spanish is downrigging live

baits, being able to troll a natural looking live bait right in front of big fish at depths of 30-40m is deadly.

Hopefully you get to hook into some speedsters this month and enjoy the cooler weather.


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Sienna Pelusi having fun catching and releasing bream from the Logan River on a sunny May long weekend.

Persistence is key for anglers STANAGE BAY



Although the weather has been cooling off nicely, the calm seas have failed to follow; therefore the majority of the recent catches have been from land or in close. With this, it has made for some tough luck for Stanage Bay’s local anglers. Off the rocks in and around Alligator Bay has seen some excellent bream, parrotfish and cod caught using prawns. The Jew Hole isn’t going nuts but the odd couple are still being caught, making for a little bit of excitement if you’re out in a boat. If you’re keen on throwing a cast net then Porters Creek is well worth a try for some prawns. There’s been some great sizes and numbers being caught at the moment and that also goes for the occasional barramundi

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Pantera II 2017 Barramundi have been getting around even with the cooler weather now upon us. and jump from Stanage. June 19 is also a day many of us will hold dear to us as it will mark 1 year since the passing of our best mate, aunty, friend and fishing legend – Barra Queen Von Ireland. Never forgotten and I ask you all to have a drink for our special mate on this day and think of all the great advice she may have passed

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Rain will bring out the big mud crabs this month. that’s been getting about in that neck of the woods, so it would be worth taking some heavier gear. The weather has been chopping and changing which has been advantageous for getting a decent feed of mud crabs as the rain continue to bring them out of their holes. If you’re planning a trip to Stanage don’t forget your crab pots! Fisheries have been doing their visits and I can’t say it enough – please make sure you have the right equipment, everything is labelled and everything up to date. Don’t let your trip become costly for all the wrong reasons. The road into the Bay is

starting to get a bit ruggered, but don’t let that deter you, just take it steady and take in the great views along the way. The new boat ramp upgrade is also some exciting news for the Bay. The ramp will still be useable for the duration of works, perhaps just bring your patience as I believe it will be reduced to single lane access for a little while. I can’t wait to see the finished product and see you all up here making use of it. Given that the fishing is still a bit quiet here, if you read my previous article you would have seen the event mentioned, St Lawrence Wetland Weekend, held on June 7-9. Just a reminder for you all as it’s only a hop, skip

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Anglers prepare as cold has set in at Rocky ROCKHAMPTON

Clayton Nicholls

The cooler nights have arrived quickly this year and water temps dropped very quickly with it. The wind is still giving us some breaks but hasn’t really dropped out yet. Plenty of mackerel and tuna are already being caught around the islands. Quality catches of barra and salmon are still being taken at the port and Coorooman. There is also plenty of flathead and whiting being caught in the estuaries. THE FITZROY The river has been going well with a number of people catching large barra. Most fish are coming from the port and the mouth of the river while the town regions are still flowing

Pat Egan with a great thready from a recent trip towards the mouth of the river. RIVERS, CREEKS AND THE BEACHES Many of the local creeks and beaches have been fishing well. Coorooman has been holding many large grunter, jewies, golden

the bait once it is settled. Fishing the small tides has increased the catch rate in these estuaries. Before and after the turn of the tides has been key for targeting the channels and gravel bars, and a half tide running out has been effective for targeting the flats and gutters/drains. Vibes have been effective in the estuaries lately, along with curl-tails around 5”. The big barra will be taking the larger size vibes and big 6-8” paddle-tail plastics. FRESHWATER LAGOONS Even though our river

many of the creeks and lagoons full from rain and fishing well. Barra, toga and tarpon are on the cards out that way with some other species thrown in the mix. Swimbaits around 4” and surface lures have been very productive in the fresh, surface especially with the huge amount of bugs around at the moment. CRABBING Crabbing is pretty good at the moment with many people catching a heap of bucks at Corio Bay and Coorooman. We have done pretty well on sections of fish and frames, the

snapper and flathead, plus some good sized salmon and pretty decent bream. The system doesn’t have a heap of bait in it at the moment, however, Corio Bay and the Causeway

Matt Hildebrant with a solid toga from a recent land-based session.

While not as big as the muddies, blue swimmers have an awesome sweet flesh and are great broken into portions and cooked in a wok. fresh from the barrage gates being open. The individual fish are not biting as well as the schooled fish at the moment. The best advice would be to find where they are schooled up, work the school with a variety of lures and then move onto another school. Targeting the fish with vibes or large plastics has been working well. Picking the right tides can also play a key role, when the fish are sitting deep the smaller tides are definitely easier to fish. With the lure market full of wild and interesting lures, sometimes it pays to use something different. A few schooled small barra took a liking to some 40mm blades recently and it provided a few mornings of entertainment while targeting the schools of fish. 50

JUNE 2019

Lake is chockers with bait. A great way of live baiting with prawns and whitebait is using a wide gape hook and a small sinker – just enough that the water flow won’t move

Pat Egan with another huge specimen taken from the lower course of the river.

A school of smaller barra has provided a bit of fun recently, with this one taking a liking to an Ecogear ZX40 blade.

has been flowing fresh since January, barely any rain has fell locally to stock up the close lagoons and dams. Heading towards Mackay or out to Emerald is a different story, with

best being queenfish and flathead. Unfortunately, as the weather cools the crabbing will slow down, so get out there and get them while they are still very active.

Amazing angling options available in June MACKAY

Keith Day

June sees us moving quickly into the winter period, with chilly mornings and hopefully clear calm days. Those conditions mean baitfish schools move close inshore and that brings various predators in close and available to anglers from even small tinnies. During May we had a smattering of small mackerels off the harbour and river mouth together with some good size longtail tuna, which were all shadowing bait schools of tiny 50-70mm fish. This action will continue through June, provided the winds stay mainly in the N-NE quadrant. Winter is also Spanish mackerel time in our area,

will see plenty of big whiting, and pikey bream along with a smattering of flathead. Really calm days with small tides and clean clear water will see schools of steelbacks smacking baits in the creeks. Blue salmon can also be fairly predominant in winter and will often be found in big schools. They like yabbies, and for the lure fisher, small metal vibes are the new sensation. Fly anglers should use either clousers or prawn imitations. In the freshwater dams and creeks, sooty is king during winter with barra getting lethargic and hard to stir into action. As always though, there is no shortage of options for anglers around Mackay, so why not come and enjoy some lovely weather and great fishing.

Working a Sebile 2 1/4” Vibe Machine down a rock face scored 13yo Oscar Tweddle the best sooty of the tournament at 525mm and helped him take out the Junior Champion award. although they are well offshore at the moment, but they do move in close right to the harbour areas as the bait comes in. Snapper time is also here for the offshore anglers in June, with early reports of fish around the Beverleys to the south. The local grapevine will soon have info on the movements of snapper closer in around Flat and Round Top islands. The Hay Point area south of these islands will also be fishing well this month. The creeks and estuaries

INDT WORLD SOOTY CHAMPIONSHIP GOES SOUTH Half a year has gone and the 2019 INDT World Sooty Championship has been run and won with competitors from as far afield as Mt Isa on the water at Eungella Dam for the May long weekend. Pre-fishing the week prior indicated that sooties were on the chew and in good numbers, so MAFSA members were confident of a successful event. That confidence took a fair hit with rain on the

Thursday set-up day, but by Friday morning most of the light rain had gone, although the wind was still quite strong. Anglers started to trickle in on the Friday and after camps were set-up, registration was completed; the MAFSA catering crew cooked up a heap of steak burgers, which went down well. Confidence was returning and Saturday morning dawned with light winds and only scattered cloud cover. After the briefing and breakfast, session one started on time at 08:30, with boats racing off in their allotted groups with the larger tournament style boats heading well up the dam, while the smaller ones stayed in closer proximity to the control centre. Within 20 minutes senior angler Greg Thomas was back in with two fish at 354 and 425mm and shortly after Dan Curry and Ash Simms were in with their maximum fish of two each. Their fish came from deep water using vibes, while Greg’s fish had come from shallow water. They headed off to try to get bigger fish while the MAFSA crew waited for other boats to come in. There was a steady trickle of fish coming in for measuring through the morning, with Nick Moore bringing in an outstanding 505mm sooty. By mid-morning fishing had slowed, with competing anglers presenting 18 fish and reports of many small fish under 300mm, which do not count. Session one ended at midday with a total of 46 fish measured, and Nick Moore’s 505mm fish holding onto the largest fish mantle. For the seniors, Matt Mott led the session with 6 fish for 2,213 points followed by Nick Moore with 4 fish at 1,588 points. A total 20 seniors caught eligible fish. Three juniors caught one fish each, with Thomas Cross leading on 450 points. Session two on Saturday afternoon started slowly, then later in the day things started to hot up when we had a couple of light cooling showers. An impressive 60 fish were measured during session two, with the largest being a 468mm caught by Ben

Williams. Fish were being caught around the timbers, and the rocky areas as well as on the gully flats. Peter Price had a cracker of a session with five fish for 1,833 points. Meantime Matt Mott and Nick Moore continued to fight over the lead, with Nick moving into first place when both had three good fish, but Nick’s final score was 2,454 points with Matt close behind at 2,406 points. Craig Birkett meanwhile sneaked up on the leaders with four good fish to bring his tally for the day to 2,353 points. The junior’s competition was also getting closer with four catching fish to have Oscar Tweddle leading with 820 points from Finn Gee on 712 points. Sunday morning was picture perfect with almost no breeze, clear skies and all anglers were keen to get on the water, with none keener than 13yo Oscar Tweddle who had caught a 512mm fish on the Friday morning pre-comp. Oscar fished the rocks with his Dad and younger brother Balin and in under 30 minutes he was back at the control centre with a horse sooty that measured 525mm, and boy was he stoked. I think all the MAFSA crew were almost as excited as he was. Oscar is a really keen young angler and a quick check back through the records showed that it was the largest sooty ever caught in the 14 year history of the World Sooty Championship. Three other juniors bought in fish for the final session, with Cooper Slade making a late charge with two fish, but it was going to be nearly impossible to beat Oscar’s big fish, considering he caught scoring fish in each session. Oscar’s big girl was caught working a white Sebile vibe in and around the rocks and everyone was blown away at the size of the fish. On the senior leaderboard, Matt Mott and Nick Moore continued to go fish for fish, both catching three fish while Ash Simms jumped up the board with four fish. Unfortunately for Craig Birkett he could only manage one fish for the session.

Sponsor Craig Birkett from INDT with the Junior Champion Oscar Tweddle and the 2019 INDT World Sooty Champion Matthew Mott, who won on the final session after the lead changed several times. But all eyes were on the size of the fish coming in to see if Oscar Tweddle’s record fish would be bested. While there were several fish in the high 400s, the only serious challenger was from Mt Isa angler Aubrey Cormack, who caught a ripper 508mm sooty that would have normally taken the biggest sooty for session three. But it was not to be, with Oscar’s fish taking the biggest for the session, biggest for the 2019 INDT tournament and biggest ever in the event! A great effort for a keen young angler, and well deserved. Once again the scoring system meant the lead chopped and changed as fish came in, but in the end Matt Mott’s consistent bags of good size fish won out with 12 fish for 2,601 points from Nick Moore’s 10 fish for 2,485 points with Ash Simms taking 3rd place, Craig Birkett 4th, and Dan Curry 5th. Places 3-5 scored more than 2,350 points, so all could have taken out the event with one more 300mm


fish. A close result that kept everyone checking the board after any fish that came in. For the juniors, Oscar Tweddle was champion angler with 1,345 points, followed by Finn Gee on 1,094, Cooper Slade on 719, Thomas Cross on 450, Balin Tweddle on 394, and Khadin Williams on 362 points. A total 137 fish were caught by the seniors and 11 by the juniors for a total length of 49,996mm and an average of 387mm. Good fishing and proof of the effectiveness of MAFSA’s stocking programme. Full results can be checked on MAFSA’s Facebook page. Presentation of prizes followed with INDT’s Craig Birkett, Mackay Regional Council’s Justin Englert, and Greg Camilleri from Reef Marine assisting. Following the presentations, as Tournament Director I wrapped up the event and most competitors are keen to return again next year.

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$75,000 JUNE 2019



Seafood bake takes the cake BRISBANE

Lynn Bain

Seafood pasta bake is a fantastic recipe where the combination of ingredients is the hero of a first rate seafood dish. The firmness of texture and contrasting fish flavours of the smoked fish and the salmon makes them arguably the best of options for this very delicious recipe.

Both of these fish choices are less likely to ‘crumble’ into flakes that are too small, especially during the cooking. You can choose any firm fleshed fish, however, including a smoked option really enhances the dish. This recipe has a flavoursome béchamel sauce, and the pasta and grated cheese make this dish a hearty winter meal. This recipe serves four.


Preheat your oven to 205°C. Spray your overproof dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread cooked spinach over the base of the dish. Cook the penne pasta in boiling water, then drain. Meanwhile, poach the fish fillets. Place the raw and smoked fish fillets into a pan and add water until the fish is just covered. Slowly bring the water to a simmer and continue to simmer until the fish is cooked.

Ingredients • 500g piece salmon • 500g smoked fish fillets • 250g baby spinach, cooked and drained • 100g butter • Freshly ground salt and pepper • 1 onion, finely chopped • 4 tablespoons  plain flour • 1L milk (full cream)

• 2 tablespoon fresh Parmesan • 250g cooked prawns (small), peeled and deveined • 250g scallops (optional) • 2 cups dried penne pasta • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs


Using a fish slice or egg lifter, lift the fillets from the water and place them upon a plate to cool. When the fish is just cool enough to handle, break the flesh into large chunks. Place the fish to one side in a bowl until later in the recipe.


Melt 100g of the butter in a large saucepan over a low to medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion to the pan and sauté until the onion has softened. Add the plain flour to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon to form a roux (buttery, oniony, floury mixture).



Remove the pan from the heat or turn the heat down and add the milk a little at a time, stirring vigorously until all of the milk has been added.


Gently, mix the flaked fish with the other portion of béchamel sauce. Add the cooked prawns to the fish mixture, then add the scallops. 52

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Return the pan to the heat, adding one tablespoon of the freshly grated Parmesan. Continue to cook the milk mixture until it has formed a béchamel (thick sauce consistency) and the Parmesan has melted. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Once more, remove the saucepan from the heat. Divide the sauce into two portions.


Place the cooked pasta into a bowl and add one portion of béchamel sauce. Now add the grated cheese. Stir well to combine the sauce, cheese and pasta.


In a bowl, combine the fresh breadcrumbs (or panko breadcrumbs) and the remaining grated Parmesan. Mix thoroughly. Generously sprinkle this breadcrumb mixture over the top of the pasta/ seafood mixture in the ovenproof dish. Dot the breadcrumb topping with small pieces of the remaining butter and place in the oven until the topping is golden brown. This should only take 5-10 minutes.


Your seafood pasta bake is now ready to serve.



There are 15 Logos hidden throughout the There are 15 Logos hidden throughout the pages of Fishing Monthly. pages of Fishing Monthly.

The first 40 correct entries drawn at the end of each month The first 40 correct entries drawn at the end of each month will win a Neck Scarf will win a Neck Scarf

Fill in the entry form below with the page number of each Fill in the entry form below with the page number of each logo location and go in the draw to win! logo location and go in the draw to win!

entries will Prize draw All entries will then thengo go into the Major Prize draw to win 1 of All entries will then go into the Major Prize draw to win 1 of to be bedrawn drawnon on31st [DATE]. 3 prize packs to October, 2019. 3 prize packs to be drawn on [DATE].

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RRP worth of DAIWA Products RRP worth of DAIWA Products

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MAIL MAILENTRIES ENTRIESTO: TO: MAIL ENTRIES TO: NSWFM Find the the DAIWA DAIWA Logo Logo Competition, Competition, QFM Find NSWFM Find the DAIWA Logo Competition, PO BOX 3172, Loganholme PO BOX BOX 3172, LoganholmeQLD QLD 4129 4129 PO 3172, Loganholme QLD 4129 Entries must be received by 30TH DATE 2019 Entries must be received by 30th JUNE, 2019 Entries must be received by 30TH DATE 2019 Original entriesonly. only.No Nophotocopies. photocopies. Original entries Original entries only. No photocopies.




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WHAT’S NEW FISHING LUMICA UFO DEEPWATER LIGHTS 1 Lumica Japan are the developers and inventors of the chemical light stick, and have now developed an excellent range of LED Deepwater Lights for anglers targeting fish at great depths. The UFO version is the top-of-the-range model in Lumica’s leading contingent of Deepwater Lights. The UFO is depth tested to an impressive 1200m and is pressure rated to 85kg. The UFO comes in three different versions. The first version is the Multi, which offers five different light functions. Simply turning it at the base can change it from green to blue to red to multi-strobe, in two different flash functions. The UV and Blue models offer three different light functions so you can change your colour schemes or strobe functions to your own desired effect on each of the models. The UFO requires 1 x AA alkaline battery. The Deepwater Lights will be highly effective for anglers targeting swordfish, hapuka, trevalla, Tasmanian trumpeter and all deepwater species, helping to attract their attention and bring them to your baits.

DAIWA BAITCASTER 2 BLITZ Baitcaster fans are in for treat, with three new pint-sized, hyper performance baitcasters from Daiwa: the new Steez CT SV TW, Morethan PE TW, and Alphas CT SV. The Steez and Alphas CT SV models introduce a new 70 size model to the line-ups, with the Steez featuring an Air Metal frame and gear side plate, Digigear, Zero Adjuster, Magforce Z, UTD, Swept Handle, ratcheted star drag, T-Wing, and SV G1 Duraluminium speed shaft spool. It weighs only 150g. The Alphas has finesse fishing written all over it, and weighs just 170g. It has an alloy frame, Magforce Air brake system, clicking star drag, 80mm Swept Handle, and a machined G1 aircraft grade Duraluminium spool, making it suitable for fresh and saltwater angling. The new Morethan 1000-size model provides a more compact offering with no reduction in strength, due its new low-profile alloy body and the addition of Hyper Digigear. It features Daiwa’s latest technology, including Hyper Digigear, T-Wing, Magforce Z, ATD, Air Rotation, and CRBB and MagSealed bearings, this reel punches well above its weight. It is the perfect choice for cod and barra anglers seeking a compact reel that won’t let them down.



The new Wildfish Waist Belt, distributed by JM Gillies, keeps all your frequently used gear in easy reach. This cleverly designed waist belt features zippered main and front compartments, which hold your boxes and small accessories. There is also an open front pocket for easy access. Leader loops are fitted so you can quickly and easily access your leader, and there are side pockets for added storage. For maximum comfort during a day’s fishing walking the banks, rocks, surf or flats, there’s an adjustable padded waist strap and handle. Other products in the Wildfish range include fly packs (each pack suited to different species or locations), waders (available in thigh and chest styles in seven sizes), stainless steel smokers, and smoker dust (available in apple,


JUNE 2019

PRODUCT GUIDE hickory, peach, sheoak and wine flavours). You can find more information on the range at the JM Gillies website, or for the latest news, catch photos and competitions, check them out on Facebook.





The Fin-Nor Offshore Spinning Reel is built for frontline battles with the toughest fish in the sea. Equipped with hardware and features that enable anglers to perform at the highest level in the most challenging environments, the Fin-Nor Offshore is the workhorse reel that fishing guides and dedicated anglers depend on. The Fin-Nor Offshore is packed with fishstopping features. From the tough aluminium body, side plate, rotor, and spool, to the stainless steel drive and pinion gear, these hardwearing reels redefine durability. Armed with an extra-strong bail wire, metal handle, four double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings, and an incredible 11-disc stainless and carbon fibre drag system, the Fin-Nor Offshore is built to stop serious fish. Whether you’re chasing mulloway and snapper from the rocks, dropping baits on reefs, or trolling for tuna and mackerel, the FinNor Offshore is built to help anglers across the globe land the trophy fish of a lifetime.




Halco’s new Single Strand Wire Traces are based around American Fishing Wires premium American-made stainless steel, pre-straightened wire. These new traces come in two lengths and three different breaking strains, giving you plenty of options for a quick, easy trace that you can count on at short notice. There are short 25cm traces for all your shore and boat-based casting needs and longer 50cm traces that should get the trolling crew in the water quickly and with a minimum of fuss, should the toothy brigade turn up. Available in breaking strains of 58lb, 86lb and 105lb, these packs of five individual traces also feature a premium rolling swivel at one end, and Halco’s popular cross lock snaps at the other. They are all beautifully finished with tight and precise haywire twist connections. For more information check out the new Single Strand Wire video on Halco’s YouTube channel.



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BOB (Bad Old Bloke) is an Australian brand, designed and printed in Australia, and with every purchase you’ll be donating to mental health initiatives. BOB came about through mates enjoying their spare time, knowing a place that brings them happiness away from the day to day grind. As a Bad Old Bloke you know what its like, work, life, everything but then you get those moments doing what you really love – fishing, boating, camping, surfing, or working on your car or bike. They say we get grumpier as we get older, but at BOB we just think its about getting less time doing what makes us really happy. We are all about reclaiming those times and letting everyone know our passion.


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The new TD Sol and TD Black Compact (2500S-C) spin reels are the two newest members to join the Daiwa TD reel line-up. These reels feature the LT (Light Tough) Concept, and a rap sheet of technologies that include Long Cast ABS spool, Zaion body, ATD drag, Air Bail, MagSeal, Perfect Line Stopper, aluminium Air Handle, and Air Rotor. What sets the two new TD Compact models apart from the other reels in their range is their new compact size. Light and strong, and designed with the finesse angler in mind, they feature a solid 1000 size body matched with a shallow capacity, 2500 size spool. A 5kg finesse drag further enhances their light tackle capability, while their LT Concept design ensures power, strength and precision for years to come. A welcome addition to the TD Sol and TD Black families, the shallow spool, finesse LT Compact models are destined to become a hit with Aussie light tackle anglers. For more information visit the Daiwa Australia website.

Black Magic’s continual growth and development in freshwater lures sees yet another original addition to their already strong line-up of freshwater lure options. As the name suggests, the ‘Rattle Snack’ rattles with its built in, harmonically tuned tungsten rattle. With six proven colours to suit australian fishing conditions it is sure to become a favourite for those who appreciate consistent results. There are two weights available, 7g and 14g. These lures have quality hardware ensure your target species is landed, not lost, and an aggressive shape which ensures a very enticing swimming action. Whether you are trolling from a boat or casting to your favourite lie in a river, estuary canal or lake, Black Magic’s new Rattle Snack’s superior action and harmonics will deliver results. These new lures are available now from leading tackle stores throughout Australia.


For 2019, the Stella SWC has been released with upgrades across four models – 8000HG, 8000PG, 10000PG and 14000XG. Infinity drive has been introduced to complement the existing X-Ship system to deliver light and powerful winding. Handle rotation torque is reduced by 30% when compared to the conventional system, so winding, even under extreme load, is now even easier. The Heat Sink Drag in the 10000 and 14000 sizes enhances the existing X-Tough Drag and Rigid Support Drag system, for consistent and smooth drag pressure. The X-Protect seal and labyrinth structure repels water intrusion throughout the reel. This now features in the line roller, making this mechanism ten times more durable than the previous model. The 8000 size weighs 50g less than the previous model, and its new rotor has reduced rotational inertia by 23%, making winding effortless. Features still built-in from the previous Stella SWB include Hagane Body, Hagane Gear, X-Rigid Rotor, AR-C spool, EI Surface Treatment, and 13+1 SA-RB bearings and 25kg of drag power. The HG models are designed for both casting and jigging, whereas PG is geared for jigging applications and XG for saltwater casting. Price: SRP $1559.95


The Lumica Puni Ika X-Wing Squid is an ultra-realistic soft plastic squid, designed, developed and made in Japan. The X-Wing 90 features an ultra-tough 10X material that is strong and stretchy. One of the X-Wing’s key features is that it has a secondary slot that allows the angler to insert a Kemihotaru 25mm light inside the body to allow the squid to glow for added attraction. The X-Wing has a rigging slot to make rigging a breeze, and it can be rigged with a lead weighted system with a treble, Carolina or Texas rigged with a worm hook or on a weighted jighead. The X-Wing is 90mm in length, is scent impregnated and comes with three pieces per packet. The X-Wing has a tantalising action that any predatory fish that feed on squid, cuttlefish or octopus find irresistible and appealing. To find out more visit the Juro website.






The popular Black Magic Light Jigging 173 rod has been upgraded this season, and it is now called the Light Jigging Rod 173-2. The new version features an extended butt section for more comfort and support. High performance was a paramount objective in the design of this one-piece rod. It has been manufactured with the best Fuji componentry and is rated to 8-18kg with a maximum drag of 6kg and a maximum jig weight of 160g, the Light Jigging 173-2 rod is ready for action. Plus, for every rod sold, Black Magic will make a donation to ‘Legasea – Fish For The People’ to help rebuild our fisheries for the benefit of all. Ask to see them at your local Black Magic stockist today, or head to the Black Magic website to find out more. You can also find more information, news and catch photos on their Facebook page (www., check them out on Instagram (@blackmagictackle) or subscribe to the Black Magic YouTube channel.

The Submission from Biwaa is a lure for anglers who want the highest quality soft baits. The unique design of the Biwaa SubMission, with its thick boot tail, gives it a lazy, tail kicking action, regardless of how it is rigged. The addition of 3D eyes, along with hand painted and lifelike colour schemes, give Biwaa products the most natural looking finish available. These natural colorings, when paired with the SubMissions enticing tail action, make for an extremely effective combination, catching fish in even the clearest of water. The Biwaa SubMission is available unrigged in the following sizes: 4” (four per pack), 5” (three per pack) and 8” (two per pack). There is also a rigged 8” SubMission with a super strong wire through harness (one per pack). The Submission is available in six proven colours – pearl white, aurora gold, gold perch, roach, hitch and sexy shad.

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Samaki brings you your newest wingman – the guy you want by your side for all your fishing adventures… the jig that has got your back! Wingman’s unique rear grooves create an erratic action when dropped. This, combined with its enlarged attractive eye, entices the most elusive bites from a huge variety of reef and pelagic species such as kingfish, amberjack, samsonfish, tuna and coral trout. It comes in six fish-catching colours (including rainbow stylin, glow ‘n silver, lemon splice and the all-natural pilly), and is available in seven different weights, ranging from 20g to 200g. The Wingman also offers the highest UV properties, enticing the most elusive of fish to attack. This centre balanced jig comes pre-rigged with a premium assist hook and Japanese Kevlar. For more information and stockists visit the Samaki website, or like them on Facebook and Instagram. Price: from SRP $7.95


The Westin Salty the Shrimp R ‘N R (Rigged ‘N Ready) looks incredibly lifelike, and the reason is because it’s made from a 3D scan of a live shrimp. The Salty’s fluttering legs, natural whiskers and multi-jointed tail section all seem to move independently as this slow-sinking lure makes it way down in the water. This is a versatile lure, working on a range of saltwater and freshwater predators. You can cast and retrieve it close to the bottom with the occasional rod twitch to get it dancing, and pretty soon some hungry predators will come to investigate. This lure has a soft body with an internal weight, with an ultra-sharp and strong Japanese style sea fishing hook. To maximise attraction there’s a glass/steel rattle stick inside for great acoustics. Other features include natural feelers, optimized flexibility, multi-jointed for an enticing, lively action, internal mesh for maximum durability, and hand-painted detailing. The Salty the Shrimp R ‘N R comes in two sizes, 7.5cm (9g) and 10cm (18g), in a selection of proven colours, and comes in a pack of three.



Engineered with premium marine grade stainless steel, the SigmaPot range from Sea To Summit is strong, lightweight and offers a durable, abrasion-resistant and easy-to-clean cooking surface for your outdoor camp kitchen needs. Designed for compact packing and convenient handling, the SigmaPot’s unique patent-pending Pivot-Lock handle rotates horizontally, locking in place for a secure and ergonomic grip when in use, and folds away keeping the lid locked to the pot for low-profile storage. The compact nesting SigmaPots are compatible with Sea To Summit’s SigmaPans, DeltaLight range of camp dinnerware, and AlphaPots and AlphaPans. Features include: premium grade stainless steel cooking surface; patent-pending PivotLock handle with ergonomic silicone grip for secure easy operation; large internal radius to allow easy cleaning (and matches the Delta cutlery profile); graded volumetric scale for accurate measurement; and a textured base for stability on camp stoves. Price: SRP $59.99-$79.99 56

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The new Yamashita Egi Oh K glow and keimura (UV glow) colours have arrived in Australia. The Egi Oh K jigs include the patented warm jacket technology, which turns light into heat, plus the following industryleading features: Hydro Fin (unique to the market and acts as a stabiliser to reduce movement when sinking); pentagon hydro body (also unique to the market, its 5-sided body with flat bottom aids stability); tin sinker (made from environmentally-friendly tin, its tuning holes give the angler the ability to tune weight and sink rate); and G-Flash (a reflective lateral line which is also included in the larger Egi Oh GX jigs, and which creates increased flash and squid appeal). These new jigs also feature Hydro Eyes, which lie flat against the body and help to give the jig a smooth darting action. Their UV glow pupil and glow edge are unique to the market, and create an additional appeal to attract squid. To maximise hook-up rates, the double crown hooks have been tuned with the rear crown opened slightly wider. For more information on the Egi Oh K, or to find your nearest stockist, visit the EJ Todd website or look up ‘Yamashita Australia’ on Facebook.



The Solar Motion Sensor light from Perfect Image is a very useful item to pack when you next go camping. We all know what it’s like to trip over guy ropes in the dark, and with the Motion Sensor light you don’t have to keep a light going all the time. This unit turns on automatically at dusk with 5% lighting, and the unit remains on at 5% until its radar sensor detects movement. When that happens, the Sensor light will switch to 100% light, making it easy for you to find your tent, or to find your way out at night. The Solar Motion Sensor light measures 100mm x 138mm x 69mm, and the operating distance is 5-7m at an angle of 180°. It is powered by a lithium battery (DC 3.2VDC 1500 mAh).



Sporting an aggressive GT attacking a stickbait, the Digital GT Shirt is different from a lot of other shirts in the Samaki range. It features bold geometric shapes in blues and greys, setting it apart from all the other fishing shirts on the market. The lightweight fabric is perfect for all outdoor elements, protecting you from the harsh sun with Samaki’s UV50+ resistant technology. The soft touch 100% polyester material is comfortable on the body, plus it 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. Digital GT 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. Price: SRP $59.95 (adults), $49.95 (kids)






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Score some magic mulloway There’s no doubt when it comes to fishing the estuary the mulloway is the ultimate prize, especially those trophysized fish over 20kg. While there are many different habitats inside an estuary that can produce mulloway, the best areas for these big fish are the deep holes and channels that are scattered throughout most systems. These deep-water estuary environments can be 15-40m depending on what

places creates eddies where baitfish will congregate. The tides affect these areas, with some areas becoming virtually unfishable outside of tide changes. This is why all planned fishing sessions in these parts needs to revolve around tide changes with around an hour before to an hour after being the prime time. Fishing times can be longer or shorter depending on tide variances, as neap tides give you more fishing time and spring tides much less.

for this, which is still only relatively new but already has a cult following for mulloway due to its lethal conversion rate, is the 8/0 Black Magic KLT pattern. The good thing about these hooks is the hook-up rate doesn’t change whether you’re getting harassed by small school class mulloway or hooked-up to a 30kg monster. For squid I use another the Black Magic C-Point suicide pattern in 6/0-8/0, depending on bait size. While the paternoster rig is popular for this type of

of the rod. Reels can be either spin or over head suited to hold around 300m of 30lb braid. Mulloway are not typically dirty fighters, especially when fishing straight up and down in deep water, so there is no need to go any heavier then 30lb braid. I’ve been using the Black Magic rainbow braid for both my personal and charter boat work and I find it to be the best stuff I’ve come across. It’s colour coded, which lets you know exactly where your bait is situated in the water column. While most of the time the rule of thumb is to drop your bait down to hit the bottom and then wind up a metre or two, sometimes you will spot markings on your sounder higher up in the water column. These can often be feeding mulloway attacking bait balls and this is where the colour coded line can come in handy, as you know exactly how much you’ve dropped down or wound up.

A deep water estuary mulloway about to be brought onboard.

Three large mulloway show up well on the sounder. It pays to have a look around in various spots before you commit to fishing there. estuary system you’re fishing. They are the darkest, quietest places in the system, which has a lot to do with why mulloway often lurk in them, especially during daylight hours. They offer not only refuge from the disco going on above but also a place holding plenty of food. This is particularly the case on those holes with steep sudden drops, as the tidal flow going over the top of these

Because of depth and tidal flow, lure fishing in theses parts can be difficult, so the best way is to drift right on the slack water period tea-bagging large plastics on 1oz jigheads. However, the best way to fish here is to live bait using slimy mackerel, yellowtail, pike tailor or freshly caught whole squid. For live baiting, a single large circle hook pinned just behind the fish’s shoulder will give the best hook-up rate. By far the best circle

fishing, I prefer a heavy duty swivel with a large no. 8 barrel sinker above it. Between the swivel and the hook I run a short length of 40lb Black Magic fluorocarbon leader. I find with the abrasion resistance this leader has I don’t need to go heavier, even on jumbo class mulloway. For mulloway outfits, I would go with something around 7ft rated to around 15kg with a forgiving tip that quickly locks up in the bottom two thirds

The KLT hook has a good hook-up rate for deep water mulloway.



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Dull weather doesn’t make for dull fishing WHITSUNDAYS

Mick Underwood

The weather may have been a little dull over recent weeks but the fishing hasn’t – it’s been the opposite, nice and vibrant. I love the change in seasons. When I climb aboard my boat each morning, turn the GPS unit on and note that there is a difference in the water temperature from the previous day I get excited. I just know that there is

running and the crabs have also been plentiful. All the local mangrove jack addicts are grinning from ear to ear as it has been a brilliant season for tangling with these feisty critters and just recently I’ve been hearing reports of some nice grunter getting caught in the creeks. With the trade breezes now well and truly set in, not too many anglers have been able to venture out to the shoals or the outer reef, but when the winds have allowed there have been some good catches coming

still managed to get onto a few nice golden snapper and over the last few days the grunter have made an appearance. The shallow reefs out in front of Dingo Beach, Hydeaway Bay and around the inner islands haven’t exactly been amazing, but they have still been poking along nice and steady. Coral trout and sweetlip have been the bread and butter of most peoples’ catches. The last few weeks it’s been good to see a build up of bait hanging around

This golden snapper from the shallow country caught by Sam Hussein was a beauty. It is just one of many around the same size that he nailed in quick succession using soft plastics.

With the bait moving onto the inshore grounds, quality pelagics such as this quality golden trevally caught by Andy Penny, will be daily fare. going to be a big hungry fish out there somewhere just begging for a battle and I’m only too willing to oblige. The last few weeks have seen some good action right across all areas of our beautiful backyard. The continued run of showery weather has kept the prawns

home. The outer reef is continuing to produce good numbers of coral trout, and red-throat emperor and large-mouth nannygai have been on fire on the shoals. Back in around the islands the deeper reefs, wrecks and rubble patches have been a little inconsistent, but we’ve

happening, but as much as possible in June I like to get around the outer edges of the islands as that is when these areas really begin to spring to life. The deeper rubble, weed and fern patches are home to some trophysized grunter, nannygai and jewfish, to name just a few species. These fish are always piles of fun to catch and when successful, a single fish can provide ample tasty dinners. When targeting these deep water

continuously moving around in search of their dinner. I will quite often find my target species 200-300m from a reef or wreck. More often than not, when I find these fish well away from structure they are on the down current side of a bait holding area waiting for any scraps or fleeing baitfish to come to them. Once you locate the fish, mark the spot straight away and then drop your lures or baits. You’ll generally

a pattern as to what way the fish are heading, which will allow you to stay in front of or on top them and fish a lot more efficiently. Out in the deep isn’t the only place to be this month, there should be some excitement on the inshore grounds as well, especially for big pelagics such as XOS Spanish mackerel and giant trevally. This time last year we were smashing these fish in 3m of water, which is just an absolute blast on any tackle, and

these inshore areas, so as the water continues to cool and the trout populations starts to go there will be other doors opening with the pelagic brigade moving in. Now, onto what we can expect through June and over the coming weeks. Not that the inshore grounds won’t have anything

Visiting Canadian anglers Shane and Reid specifically wanted to catch a big GT, as they obviously don’t get them at home. They were stoked with this 30kg model that Reid brought to the side of the boat.

John Martinali caught this ripper of a golden snapper while drifting over a deep patch of rubble. 58

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reefies, don’t just go blasting out to a known fish holding location and start fishing. Take the time to scout the whole area with your sounder, as a lot of the time the fish will not be holding on structure. Species such as golden snapper and grunter are foragers and will be

find that when you go for a second drop that the fish aren’t where you first found them and you’ll have to locate them again. Once you have, then mark the spot again straight away and start fishing. When you’ve gone through this process two or three times you can normally work out

if we can get the same action again this year I’ll be the happiest guide in the country. To indulge in some of this action, as always, you have to find the bait first and the closer to the mainland that you can find it the better. Look for To page 59

Winter species are now coming on the chew AYR

Steve Farmer

The winter months can be a magic time of the year to be out on the water in North Queensland, no matter what your style of fishing is. Yes, we miss the three classic icons of tropical estuary fishing – jacks, golden snapper and barra – but there are plenty of winter species to take their place. And they say a change is as good as a holiday. In the estuaries you can choose between the popular and numerous bread and butter species of whiting, flathead and bream, or test your angling skills a little more on salmon and grunter. Trevally are also more numerous in some Burdekin estuaries at this time of year. Grunter seem to fish consistently well for much of the year, with most of the better quality fish being taken on large, fresh baits, such as squid, in the open waters in Upstart and Bowling Green bays. The smaller school fish are more likely to take a prawn or yabby bait in the estuaries. However, over the past six months good catches of grunter in the 50-60cm range have been taken from within the estuaries. From page 58

schools of herring, garfish and school mackerel. Locating school mackerel mixed in with the herring and garfish is critical, as it is these guys that the big giant trevally and the Spanish mackerel are looking to predate on, not the baitfish. Once you’ve located yourself a juicy looking patch of turf, then get stuck into it. Casting lures will

Some of the perfect fishing weather that we can expect this year. Out on the bluewater the main target for many fishers will be Spanish mackerel. Schools of this popular sport and table fish should be moving through Burdekin waters throughout June. The good old pilly is the number one bait, but almost anything will appeal to the Spaniards when they are in the mood. Fishing the baits a metre or two below a float is the most popular and effective technique. If

the Spaniards are feeding deeper down in the water column, just remove the float and let the bait waft in the current. While local fishing reports have been a bit scarce lately, a number that have surfaced are surprising for this time of year, with some species late to leave local waters and others arriving earlier than usual. Apparently over the past month or two anglers have still been landing mangrove

normally stir these fish up, but I’ve worked out over the last couple of years that it has to be surface lures, sub-surface lures just don’t seem to get the bites. Big cup-faced poppers will attract the giant trevally but not usually the Spaniards. Surface stickbaits run hot and cold, but on a good day they will attract both species. My personal favourite in this scenario is heavily

weighted pencil poppers, as they can be cast a country mile and they imitate a fleeing garfish like no other artificial that I have used before. Big trevallies and the spaniards just can’t resist them. Once you’re hooked up on one of these horses up in the shallows, using your boat to help keep the fish out of the prickles (especially giant trevally) is essential. Please refer to

jack, golden snapper and the occasional barra in local creeks. Water conditions haven’t been great, so bait has been the most effective way of fooling these fish. Whiting was the species that rolled in early, although they have been known to do this occasionally in previous years. Usually the early-comers are quality fish, as was again the case this year. If they run true to form there will probably be a short lull before the

larger schools of smaller whiting join the forward scouts in our creeks and off our beaches. Light lines, minimal lead and fresh yabby baits are the main ingredients in the formula for catching these tasty fish. And don’t hesitate to keep your bait moving, either by drifting it in any tidal current flowing or with a slow, erratic retrieve across the bottom. The end of autumn always has some inconsistent weather, so here is hoping that winter brings some stable weather patterns and stable fishing. Ever noticed how the weather on Easter weekends runs to extremes? How it’s either perfectly calm or absolutely atrocious for boating? There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. I can remember some perfect Easters when the almost non-existent breeze would barely raise a ripple all day. And then there were those years when the howling southeasters would blow a dog off its chain, blowing away the much-anticipated plans of fishers, boaties and campers – plans and dreams that had probably been hatched just days after the previous year’s Easter weekend. Of course, we’re eternal optimists. We remember the good times – the 5-10

knot winds, glassy seas and clear skies – and mostly, forget the bad. And that’s why the cycle is repeated every year, with hordes of hopeful crews crowding caravan parks, camping spots and holiday homes, or lining up for a chance to launch their boats from ramp facilities that were never designed to cater for an early morning Good Friday rush. Easter 2019 turned out to be another major disappointment for many players. While those fishing and boating in sheltered waters could probably still manage to wet a line, anyone hoping to poke their noise outside was out of luck. Fortunately, the Burdekin Delta provides fishers with a wide choice of sheltered waterways, so anglers content with targeting estuary species were in with a chance. Bluewater fishers weren’t so lucky, whether they fished locally or travelled to distant hotspots, conditions were similar right along the North Queensland coast. Anyway, we’ll all do the same thing again next year, planning and dreaming in the eternal hope that Easter 2020 will turn on the perfect weather we long for. Here’s hoping!

Barramundi cod don’t get a lot better than this 7kg fish caught by Warren McMartin. This healthy fish swam away after a couple of quick pics.

We’ve been enjoying a great bite from some corker giant trevally recently, and the way things are shaping up it should continue for a while yet. This beautiful fish was caught by Brendan King.

the boat handling article in this issue to get all the tips and tricks that you need to be successful with this style of fishing. As always, I wish you all the best on your angling missions over the coming weeks as it is going to be an exciting time. Don’t miss out, you won’t catch them sitting on your couch, get out there and have a go.

• 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 mick@ re e l a d d i c t i o n . c o m . a u . 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. JUNE 2019


I can fish clearly now the rain has gone TOWNSVILLE

Dave Hodge

The aftermath of this year’s floods is becoming more and more positive as the memories of its devastation fades. Everywhere you flick a lure in the upper reaches of the systems at the moment is swarming with baby barra. Sucking in as much food as they can to grow past that vulnerable

on the beaches and in the creeks, and as your lure hits the water the shower of jelly prawns, and even bigger prawns in some areas, leave the water in fear. I’ve been doing plenty of shows in the recent weeks and haven’t had much of a chance to fish locally, but the photos that I’ve been getting sent make me all twitchy while I’m sitting in a motel room or around camp.

need to tease them in close to your boat. For the more committed grunter anglers, fresh gar fillets have also been accounting for some of the bigger fish, but rigged on a 5/0 circle hook. Golden snapper too have started to show again on some of the more common marks as the salt gets thicker, and squid numbers are on the rise quite quickly, so if bait is your thing then you should be able to get a few where you intend to fish for the choppers. North of Townsville is still getting regular showers and topping up the freshwater run-off, which has made a lot of places inaccessible for land-based anglers. Once it settles things are going to go off their heads in this neck of the woods. Anglers

A quality by-catch flatty taken by Ryan Tully while casting at a drain for barra.

When togas get to this size they’re a real handful in tight cover, so a good leader is a must. baitfish size, baby barra are thick throughout the system. Obviously, no one wants to catch 20cm sized barra, and the only way of avoiding the schools of pups is to upsize your lures to something they won’t want to eat, and that means hardbodies and soft plastics in the 120mm size when they’re mixing with the bigger fish.

Over the last few days grunter have been the biggest topic amongst anglers, and the sizes are also right up there, with 70cm being common. One particular rig that grunter hunters have been employing is the California squid rigged on a snell rig, consisting of two 6/0 suicide hooks, with soft mono leader of 40lb able

It’s hard to go past the Laser Pro 120 for casting shallow drains. This super shiny chromed finish helps gain attention in all sorts of water clarity. With many systems now only having a trickle of fresh entering, jacks are coming back with a vengeance and they’re very fat. Masses of prawns are 60

JUNE 2019

to handle the bigger fish. Obviously sharks are getting involved in a big way, so try not to berley with anything but pellets and fish oil if you feel the

Skipping Halco Paddle Prawns under overhanging black wattle trees was a killer technique during the Muddy Water Classic. travelling from Townsville to the Hinchenbrook area are cleaning up on barra and jacks in the bigger waters and deeper holes, and it’s set to improve as time goes on. So locally speaking, it’s shaping up to be a cracking season ahead, and with the massive schools of bait that are appearing in the bay and just offshore, we’ll no doubt have a bumper mackerel season to add to the fray. One of the work commitments I undertook recently was to attend the annual Muddy Water Classic on the Dawson River banks not far from Moura, and wasn’t it a cracking event once again.

I had a bit more of a chance to fish this year, and while it took a little while to sort out what was working best, eventually we found the toga lolly. Saratoga are absolutely one of the most exciting fish targets but, when you put a fish like this in an environment like that of the Dawson, the whole experience just gets even better. I was sharing a boat with long time friend and committed fly fisher Helen Abdy. While the favoured way for sport fishers to chase saratoga is with lures or fly, there are still plenty of anglers who like to catch them on baits suspended under a float a metre or so below the surface. Being hard-mouthed and incredibly acrobatic in their tactics, there are plenty of missed fish, and it can get a bit frustrating as your lure flies out of their gob. I reckon I dropped 25 or more fish on the Sunday at the Classic, and Helen’s footwork as she tried to avoid the bullet like return

of my soft plastic would rival any boot scooter. It took a while to figure out exactly what it was that the togas wanted, but once it was found, the action was constant. Rigged on a 5/0 seeker 1/4oz hook, the prawn imitation in the 4-5” size absolutely delivered the goods. In stark contrast to the normal ‘noisy’ tools like spinnerbaits that are used to get them excited, it was a subtle presentation. Helen’s hand-tied offerings also got plenty of attention. I highly recommend a road trip out west to this beautiful part of the country to chase this iconic species. While it is not some people’s idea of ‘beautiful’, it is the perfect and most easily accessed way to experience the outback environment with slow flowing water and incredible sunsets and sunrises. Add in the smell and ambience of a campfire, and you’ve got one of the most relaxing scenarios you could ever want to experience.

As the fresh escapes, estuary species (like flatties) are showing up as regular by-catch while chasing barra.

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Dropping water temp means more winter species CAIRNS

Garry Smith

The weather has certainly been dictating the angling this year, with rather limited opportunities to get amongst the fish, especially offshore. When the conditions have allowed, the fishing has been good to excellent for many anglers.

depths of 50m+ are usually the most productive, but they will move shallower as the water temperature falls. Red emperor have been around in quality but not in the same quantity as largemouth. Quality trout have been caught in reasonable numbers and should continue to bite well this month. Reef fishing is really going to be a matter of watching for any break in the continual stream of high

bait schools on the sounder when you do get the chance to go wide. If the individual fish or bait schools are marking down deep, make sure you get your baits or lures down to that depth. Super deep diving lures, down riggers and paravanes are an important part of the pelagic fishing arsenal this month. The one saving grace when the highs just keep marching through, is that winds are usually lighter inshore early in

Hopefully the new commercial and recreational regulations on black jew will see them become a more common catch again.

Tuna numbers will increase this month. Large-mouth nannygai have been around in good numbers in the deep water, along with coral trout up shallower. This is in spite of the sea surface temperature remaining high and not dropping below 27°C until early May. It should start to drop this month and get down below 25°C, enhancing the schooling of reds in the deep water. Large-mouth nannygai and red emperor will be best targeted on the deep rubble grounds between reefs and on isolated bommies and rocks in the paddocks. Water

pressure systems passing through the Great Australian Bight and ridging up the North Queensland coast. The lull between the highs can only last a day or so at times. It can even be non-existent for weeks on end, as one high melds into another as they enter the Bass Strait. This pattern usually results in a lot of frustrated fishers, as winds stay above 15-20 knots for weeks on end. Spanish mackerel and tuna should be starting to make an increased appearance this month, so keep an eye out for birds working and large

the morning, allowing boaties to race out to the close inshore reefs, wrecks, islands and rocks to chase mackerel before the wind gets up. While June is generally considered early for mackerel, with the July Cairns Show long weekend generally considered start of the mackerel season, they are usually starting to appear by now, especially if the water temperature is dropping. The channel markers and fairway leads out the front of Trinity Inlet are also a good place to chase mackerel when conditions are not quite ideal. You can sneak out as far as

conditions allow and then work your way back towards port as the wind picks up. Fishing out wide until it gets too uncomfortable then trolling your way back to sheltered waters will maximise your fishing time. Troll close to each of the channel markers as they often hold bait schools. If you find a good bait school, troll that area for a while or even stop and drift or anchor. Keep in mind that mackerel are often down in the bottom third of the water column early in the season, so make sure you are getting baits and lures down there. Tropical summer species like barra and mangrove jack will slow down with the drop in temperature, but golden snapper can remain active

through the colder months. All three species will still be around and worth targeting but they will take a bit more patience and thought. Barra tend to school up better in the colder months, so once you find them you can often nail a few fish in quick succession. Taking the time to locate the fish is worth the effort this month. Search with a sounder or troll lures until you locate feeding fish, then switch to casting or jigging lures or live baiting the area. Continuing to troll the area will still produce fish but can often shut the bite down. Trolling with an electric motor is not as disruptive, as long as boat noise is eliminated. One species that seldom gets a mention nowadays in the Cairns area is black

jew. They have been a pretty scarce fish for some time, but hopefully the new commercial and recreational regulations will see them become a more common catch again. Don’t forget the humble winter table species of whiting, bream and flathead. They are around every winter and not that heavily targeted in the Cairns area. They are great species to chase when taking the kids fishing, especially if you combine it with pumping yabbies or cast netting for bait prior to fishing. The fondest memories I have of fishing with my children and their mates revolve around this time-honoured routine. Mud crabs should also be worth chasing this month, especially after such a big wet season.

If the weather will permit, the fish will commit PORT DOUGLAS

Lynton Heffer

As we come out of the wet season, we are starting to grapple with what may lay ahead in the coming month. Less rain and quite a few windy days has lead to some interesting fishing. What we can say is that the outer Great Barrier Reef has come off the best reef fishing period for a wet season. The water temperatures stayed well below what was expected and this should only get better. The vessels at Port Douglas have continued to come back with unprecedented catches of all our trophy species, which have included quality coral trout, nannygai, emperor 62

JUNE 2019

species including the prized red, and a host of other highly-valued species. Some other surprise catches have included cobia, a mix of mackerel species including the Spanish and an array of hard-hitting trevally species, including gold-spot, tea-leaf and giant. Going through our logbooks, we have not had a subpar day on the reef in a very long time. Basically, if the weather allowed it, the fish were committed. This is great moving forward as the reef fishing only gets better for the next several months ahead. Our currents have been a bit of a mixture over the last couple of months, running from north or south depending on your location. June will see this settle. The best indicator is our inshore reefs, which have the current running from

the south. Predictable trade winds from the southeast and a southerly current makes a massive difference when pulling up on fish. Our inshore reefs, patches and wonky holes, are now seeing a steady flow of mackerel species. Bar-cheek trout are also extremely active and our breeding grounds for nannygai have been producing non-stop. Add to this our wonderful array of trevally, and the sportfishing aspect has been very active. Moving forward the wind level will be the only deterrent to experiencing some great times inshore, especially for the small boat brigade, which engages many a local punter. If the calm waters of our estuaries and creeks are your calling, it has been quite entertaining. Mud

crabs are on the go if you are inclined to put in the work and they are an absolute delicacy. Mangrove jack and golden snapper have been our dominant species on rod and reel, with the odd barra being caught as well. It is without a doubt, if you want quality calm water fishing live bait is key and there has been a heap around due to a decent wet season. Outside of this, we are seeing more pelagic type fish such as mid-sized GTs, barracuda and the occasional stonker queenfish. Bread and butter species such as some solid bream, grunter and classic dusky flathead have all been around as well. There’s never a dull moment in the tropics and we are so lucky to experience it on a daily basis.

A ripping golden snapper that was caught in the local inlet.

Changes are making for challenging fishing HINCHINBROOK

Ryan Moody

It looks like it’s one of those years. The weather just won’t let up, with the southeasterly winds constant blowing. The past month has seen very few gaps to get offshore, and it seems like we have had rain every day for months. There’s no point stressing over it, as nature will always win and the good times will return too. In the meantime, a positive mindset about how you are going to approach the better times will help when you do get on the water. Remember, observation is key to becoming a great angler.

The barra fishing has been sporadic to say the least. I haven’t been out much myself, but there are plenty of good anglers spilling the beans on their movements. We are now heading into the interchange period, which makes them a little patchy due to temperature changes and changing environmental factors such as prevailing wind direction. Once they are settled in they will become a bit more responsive in the cooler months. For those who like to use shallower water techniques, sometimes it’s better to wait for an incoming tide after the middle of the day, as it brings some warmth back to the shallows in certain

spots, but you will only have a couple of hours window to make the most of it, so understanding these fish inside and out is important. There will be many hours during a day where it would be better to target other species and only turn your attention to barra during their best time each day. Speaking of other species, the golden snapper (fingermark) have arrived in good numbers after the extended wet this year. They have tried a few times to come back in, but floodwaters kept chasing them out. Surely our wet is behind us now. Goldies have long been thought to be only a summer time proposition, but they go well throughout the winter as well, even

The author with a cracking golden snapper that he caught at night.

There are still some reasonable barra biting, but changing conditions have made them a little hard to find. at night. They are one species that don’t change their habits a lot during the changing seasons. As expected some early Spaniards have been caught around the inner islands and their numbers will only get better as the migratory schools arrive, so plenty of fun to be had over the coming months with this species. Other species to show up soon include golden trevally, which offer great sport for inshore anglers, along with the northern bluefin tuna that will make an appearance soon too. Reef reports have been a little patchy due to weather, but I imagine the fishing will be great out there, as the reef species just love it

when it’s rough. In June I expect to see the above species get better and better. Metal slices are a great way to attack pelagics of all sorts. The faster the retrieve, the better, so keep this in mind when purchasing a reel for this application. High-speed spin outfits are by far the best option. A number of different brands of lures will work, so there is no ‘magic lure’ for this application. There is something about the vertical fast retrieve that sets off the pelagics, and you will find more and more anglers changing over to this technique from traditional trolling and float bait methods. If you are a visiting angler, Cardwell does

have some great landbased fishing, but please be croc wise, as we have had other animals move in since our placid tourist attraction ‘Bismarck’ was killed a little while back. There are a number of crocs now competing for his old territory and one is a dog killer and has approached the odd person too, so remain vigilant until this animal is removed. We have lots of great swimming holes and a public pool for those who want to have a dip. • If you would like to check out our latest course Sounder Skills 2 head over to to check it out. Observation using depth sounders is critical to becoming a better angler.

Perseverance pays off CAIRNS

Dan Kaggelis

The cooler waters of June can make the fishing a little harder in the Trinity NFZ, however, it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth a fish. Copious amounts of rain have continued to fall right through the first half of the year, so many of the creeks were

running fresh and dirty. This has made them tough to fish. The upside to this is that the creeks will be running stable and clear through June, so the fish will be thick due to the lack of pressure. While barra may be harder to get to bite they still need to eat, so they are worth targeting. The secret will be to be there when they do bite and the changes in tide will be the key times.

Golden snapper are a prize eating June NFZ target.

The bite window may be small, sometimes less than 30 minutes, but when they do wolf down your lure it will be worth it. Smaller presentations are also a good idea, as well as any lures you can work really slowly. While the barra will be a little less cooperative, other species like golden snapper will be biting well. Chase them on the neap tides in the Cairns Inlet. The best method has been fishing fresh herring lightly over rubble or the many wrecks. Straight out from the Hemingways Wharf is a good spot to start for golden snapper and 100m off is a good bit of rubble. Mud crabs will also be on the run in June, so set a few pots while having a fish. The other species worth targeting will be salmon and grunter on the flats. Some big threadfin have been getting around on the flats and live baits fished on floats has been a good

Andrew Marks with a trophy flats NFZ thready. set-up. Grunter will also be in the same spot, so fresh strip baits fished on running ball sinker rigs on the bottom will produce good fish. Both these species will be in school numbers, so find one and you should be able to get a few over a short period of time, so put out a few rods. The Hospital Flats and Barron Flats are a good place to start if the weather allows, and fish the run-in and run-out tides to find

when they are moving on and off the flats. There will be plenty of by-catch like rays and sharks, but it’s a matter of just working through the rubbish until the good stuff feeds. The open beaches continue to fish well on the incoming tides and fish around headlands and structure or any small drains coming off the beach. This time of year queenfish are also out in these spots, so a live bait high in the

water column will work best. As always, times of low light will produce the best fishing. The last important thing to mention is the new upgraded boat ramp at Bluewater, which now has a croc safe pontoon and extended width ramp. The Cairns Recreational Fishing Team has invested a lot of time to get this ramp re-done, so hopefully everyone is happy with the outcome. JUNE 2019


A cool change brings bites LUCINDA

Jeff Wilton

Get the jumpers and track pants out as June weather is everywhere in Lucinda, which means at least one morning is going to be slightly coolish. But all jokes aside, it can actually get cold here, especially on early morning boat trips before sunrise. I’ve been caught out many times when I’ve only packed a light jumper. With these cooler temps the fishing changes a lot, certain species become harder to catch while others are much easier. It is a great time to head up the channel in search of our famous crocodiles, as the cold water means they will be up on the banks getting some sun. It is always interesting to see, as during summer it is rare to see many crocs here, but come winter it is very apparent there are plenty that call Hinchinbrook home. If you are trying to catch a glimpse I’d suggest picking a few river systems and slowly make your way up them when the tide is low. Keep your eyes peeled and I’m sure you will have an

Get a rod in a kid’s hand and watch the smile on their face as they land cracking fish like this. encounter to be remembered, if you approach too quickly or with too much noise you will only see the end of their tail as they disappear into the water and a slide on the sand or mud from where they were. HINCHINBROOK CHANNEL It gets a lot tougher now up the channel, the water will be clear and cold, meaning the iconic

Hinchy barra are sulking somewhere with their heads buried in the sand. They can still be caught, however you want to make sure you pick your times carefully to give you the best chances. The best situation would be a low tide about 3pm and a bigger tidal difference of 2m or more. This will mean the water will be at its warmest and the bigger tides should mean a colour

You know it’s getting colder when flathead are beating barra to your lure.

change or murkier water, which barra will be more inclined to hunt in. When it comes to lure or soft plastic choice I like to downscale my offerings and whatever you decide to use, fish it as slow as possible. Lighter gear, lighter leaders and smaller lures fished slowly will see bites on slower fish. Mangrove jack fishing will slow down as well, but these fish always bite if you get the timing right and make sure you’re fishing deep into structure. It has been said so many times, but the main factor in chasing jacks is pinpoint casting, close enough is not good enough. If you’re not going in to un-snag your lure sometimes you are not getting close enough consistently. Jacks will normally hit your offering immediately, so make sure you’re on the ball. Look into snag proof (weedless) jigheads for use with soft plastics if you haven’t already. These are game changers, and when used correctly they will help your catch rates increase. They are designed to allow your soft plastic to be sunk into or swum through the structure without snagging up. They are not completely snag proof and on occasion you will still be re-tying, but they work extremely well. Winter species such as flathead, blue salmon and big black bream will be about in big numbers and all can be caught as they cruise over sand banks on the rising tide as they feed. Blue salmon in particular can be found in massive schools of hundreds of fish. If you’re lucky enough to come across a school like this, make sure you remain quiet and get ready for some spectacular sight fishing. Blue salmon are aggressive fish and will

Snag-proof jigheads help get your plastic to where fish are. chase down any small lure or plastic. If they are not reacting then retrieve with a bit more speed, which should get them fired up and see them racing each other to eat your lure. Blue salmon are good eating if eaten fresh and not frozen, they do sometimes get worms through their flesh, which is the only down side. JETTY, ISLANDS AND REEF You have got to love the cooler months for the blue water fishing here off Lucinda. The jetty will be stretching arms with the arrival of the queenfish in bigger numbers. Throw in the odd mackerel and the everpresent trevally and you have a sportfishing dream. Make sure you have plenty of gear, as these jetty sessions can empty tackle boxes rather quickly if the fish are going off. Trying to stop metre+ queenies ripping through the pylons is rather difficult and trevally are even harder, so sometimes it’s just a case of hanging on and

hoping the fish swims the right way on hook-up. A little trick I have been using is to not go too hard on the fish on hook-up, this sees the fish not run as hard and hopefully you can give yourself a little space away from the jetty. This is when you can up the pressure and go harder on the fish and cross you fingers they don’t make it back to safety. This is part of the fun when fishing the jetty and if you don’t enjoy getting smoked by fish then I’d suggest giving the jetty a miss. Given the wind has not stopped blowing for months now, there are very few reports of how the reef has been fishing, but if the wind ever lets up I believe the fishing should be red hot. All the species should be chewing their heads off and with not much pressure from anglers for months catches should be good. Spanish mackerel should also be about now in good numbers, which is an added bonus when hitting the blue water.

Chasing those bucket mouths COOKTOWN

Justin Coventry

The thrill of chasing barramundi is addictive. It’s amazing to see how aggressive these fish can get and their mouth expands to such a size that the ‘boof’ sound sends a shiver up your spine. I’ve been amazed at how little rat barra can attempt to swallow a lure that is nearly bigger than them. One motto that has always stayed with me is, ‘big bait catches big fish’ and a 30cm live mullet is a candy bar to metre+ barra. Don’t be scared to go big, as they are capable 64

JUNE 2019

of monstering big baits. Although catching big barra is great, the release of these

fish back into the system to allow future generations to catch them is paramount.

It’s easy to see why they’re nicknamed ‘bucket mouth’. This one engulfed a hardbody.

Don’t get me wrong, I like to eat barramundi, but personally prefer saltwater fish in the 60-80cm range, as I think it’s a nice size and doesn’t greatly impact the fishery. Freshwater barramundi can be hit and miss for eating, depending on where it has been. A barramundi living and waiting for the chance to escape a muddy lagoon would not be worth eating, but much more valuable in releasing to keep stocks up. I personally think that taking barramundi from freshwater should be more limited than saltwater for this reason. Now I know some people disagree, but that’s my own personal opinion. To page 65

Wayne Brennan with a great saltwater barramundi capture.

Cape fishers are having a ball CAPE YORK

Tim O’Reilly

It is hard to find a more enjoyable time to be up the Cape than June. Conditions will have cooled right off, making it a mecca for southerners trying to avoid the winter chill further south. Generally in June, if there was a half decent or even a late wet season, the estuary fishing will remain great. Those few extra degrees of temperature this far north generally has the fish fired up well into the cooler months further south. On the estuary scene, most green-water off the West Coast will be fishing

superbly in June. By greenwater I mean river mouths and much of the coastal inshore strip along the coast. Most of the freshwater seen pumping into the Gulf between January and May will begin to subside, so pelagic fish such as tuna, trevally and mackerel come close into shore and often up into the rivers. Late afternoon queenie sessions are a possibility on most rivers on surface lures – the only variable is size. The line-caught Spanish mackerel industry also swings into full gear in June. This commercial operation goes largely unnoticed by recreational fishers, who can normally pick up good numbers on

inshore grounds, shoals and reefy patches. Trolling large, flashy shallow and medium divers accounts for many Spaniards, however, trolled baits, plastics, jigs, slugs and floated baits all work well. Grey mackerel and other smaller species will also be worth targeting around bait schools and over shallow rocky reef. The run of longtail (northern bluefin) tuna will be underway and birds will be on the lookout across vast expanses of Cape York’s bays, reef lagoons and gulf waters. Travel 0.5-1km offshore along the northwest coast and you are likely to encounter tuna schools feeding voraciously on tiny baitfish.

The run of tuna will be around in June. Around 1km offshore along the northwest coast is a good spot to run into some schools. From page 64

The barra fever (as they call it) is very catchy and this time of year is really the first opportunity to get out and chase these mighty freshwater fish with land-based options in Cape York. The river systems in Cape York have seen more rain than previous years and in shorter periods of time. So, rivers have peaked to crazy levels. Although this makes getting around hard for us residents up here, it opens up a highway for fish to span large areas. Even areas that they previously were unable to get to or escape from have opened up for their migration. Barra love this situation and it opens up opportunities for the fishers to try to work out where they are and where to intersect these fish on their migration. The window is short, as when the water levels have dropped enough to allow access it starts getting close to winter, and when temperatures start to drop barramundi seem to

get a case of lock jaw. I must admit that chasing them at this time can be tricky, but finding that honey hole with hungry fish can be so rewarding and an experience to remember. The idea is to get out there and give it a go

The fishing was not so productive, but he did manage to beat his father with a decent little barra as dad dropped two nice fish – a fact that he continues to point out. However, the trip was an experience that will be a

Joshua and James caught this little rat barra on a hardbody. and persistence is the key. I recently had the great experience of canoeing down a section of one of our Cape rivers with my son Joshua.

lasting memory for us both. I’m sure that the trip would be more productive at different times, but there is always the old saying that

Barramundi will still be schooling up as they travel up or down the rivers. Some mighty systems flowing west hold large quantities of barra, and the mind would boggle if commercial netting was stopped. Threadfin salmon are another commercial species caught in quantities down the West Coast and their value to the economy might well be higher if reserved for recreational fishers. The tide is turning on the commercial gill-netting industry up in Cape York, with fuel and running costs outstripping fillet prices. There is now heavy competition with farmed barramundi product, which sets the price. It would be constructive for the government to intervene and find a soft-exit for many of the pros keen to vacate the industry. Despite people and boats reaching further into the depths of Cape York’s more remote regions, the fishing remains fantastic. Most anglers these days are responsible and understand the need to release undersize and unwanted fish, regardless of the species. The days of chest freezers full of fillets are also largely behind us and any dodgy dealers and mongers would best be cautious of Fisheries surveillance these days. The long-term health of Cape York’s fish stocks looks healthy compared to much of the rest of the world. But careful management is required and proper inclusion where there are barramundi there are estuarine crocodiles, so it does make me glad that we made it home safely. I won’t recommend this activity and those who wish to undertake such an adventure in the Cape must realise that there is an element of risk involved. The National Parks are starting to have tentative opening dates and favourite spots are filling fast. So get into the National Parks website and book early. Although the water will most likely drop by the time they open, it’s always hard to get over the mindset that if you get there first you’ll increase your opportunity to land the big one. We can only dream. The month ahead in Cooktown looks to be back to the windy southeasterly and so there won’t be many favourable forecasts to venture out to the reefs. So, with the option of heading out into Cape York, camping with family and friends makes for a good option. The weather is great for sleeping outdoors and us locals will have jumpers on and sleeping bags ready to combat the cold. You can usually pick the

Good rod handling techniques are crucial to landing some of those winter species. of the Cape’s indigenous community, who have been looking after resources since way back when. June will be a month of clean water, cool temperatures and crisp, starry nights up in the Cape. Southeast trade winds may hamper the spirits of weekend fishers, who always

seem to be on the wrong side of a blow. Travellers up in the Cape will be having a ball and many will be on their way up to the tip. Fishing both sides of the Cape in a single day is a fantastic experience and coupling the Great Barrier Reef with the Gulf of Carpentaria is as good as it gets.

locals with their cold gear on while tourists enjoy the warmer conditions than they get at home. However, as a visitor it does make it easier to seek out a local for information. So keep your eyes peeled for the most rugged up person you

find to get the local insights. Hope you have some great adventures this month and I will keep you updated next month on what’s happening fishing wise in Cooktown and nearby in Cape York.

• New Patent Pending shock absorbing struts for boat roller brackets and skids. • Helps protect your boat from the rigor’s of towing on rough and corrugated roads. • Australian made from tough corrosion resistant 316 stainless steel. • Turn your boat trailer from average to awesome with Rollashocks.

Get your boat to where the fish are in one piece! JUNE 2019


Cooler temperatures slow things down TOOWOOMBA

Jason Ehrlich

Winter has finally crept up on us and depending on how chilly it gets, the fishing could be good or bad. Different species react in different ways when it gets really cold, but don’t believe any myths that fish cannot be caught through the winter months. All the freshwater species can be successfully caught; it is just a matter of changing your approach to suit their mood. Some days will definitely be tougher

than others. Wherever possible, try to pick a run of stable weather where the winds are lighter and from the same direction. Changing weather systems are the last thing you want when the fishing is already harder. Bass and Murray cod seem to endure the cold better than most of the other popular target species. Barramundi will slow down but are often easier to find. The cold will see them move and stay in any warmer water areas. If there is weed growth, they will often bury deep into it where the dense vegetation helps stop water temperature fluctuating as


Cressbrook Dam remains closed due to an outbreak of blue green algae. Some work

much. Locating these fish as they transition and slower presentations are the key to getting more bites. The same can be said about most species. Slow down or keep lures in the fish’s face. Smaller hops across the bottom, vertical presentations, slower winds and longer pauses are all things to consider while the fish are more lethargic. This is exactly the way to target golden perch on lures. Small blades or soft lipless baits hopped on a short cast or vertically will help you strike gold when it is cold. Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel!




14 31









across some other lakes as well on different species. It will be interesting to see if the bass and golden perch take a liking to them and the baitfish they attract. Monitoring of specially tagged fish will be done using acoustic monitors placed around the lake. These monitors are able to triangulate the position of the tagged fish when they are in the area. Volunteers working on the project said the water quality didn’t look too bad to the eye. Hopefully the colder

Gold Coast


24 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




was done around a month ago on the fish attractors. These are artificial structures built to help encourage fish to hold in the area. Similar devices are being trialled

The fishing will be slow for a while, but it won’t be long until we start to see monster bass again. By August, they will be ridiculously fat.




Cairns 1





Townsville 2

3 4

Proserpine 6 Mackay




Emerald 29 7


Highlighted dams are covered in this issue


30 8

Bundaberg 9




water temperatures will help rid the lake of the algae. • The Toowoomba council will continue to monitor water conditions and will reopen the dam when they deem it is safe. You can stay informed through the Toowoomba Regional Council website or drop in to Fish’n’Bits Toowoomba for an update. SOMERSET CLOSEST TOWNS: ESK, KILCOY The cooler weather was already starting to make


things more difficult and there was a definite change in the fish last month. Trolling hardbodies, which was so successful over the warmer months, has started to slow down. We have gotten the same outcome from casting lures. Throughout May it was a case of mixing things up and trying a variety of lures to see what the fish wanted. This is still likely to be the case this month as well. Different schools of fish across the dam can

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

        

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

FEB MAR APR 5 5 5 76 75 74 7 7 7 32 31 30 95 95 96 104 106 101 53 51 49 77 75 74 0 0 0 n/a 33 33 14 12 10

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

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

12 12 11 39 38 39 9 4 4 100 100 101 11 16 20 12 12 9 94 93 94 99 99 96 100 99 99 71 79 79 6 5 5 97 105 103

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

Maroon 79 79 78 Monduran/Fred Haigh 82 81 80 Moogerah 66 64 61 North Pine/Samsonvale 73 72 71 Peter Faust/Proserpine 81 81 81 Pindari 6 6 6 Somerset 76 75 77 Teemburra 101 100 101 Tinaroo 101 102 100 Toonumbar 75 74 72 Wivenhoe 60 59 58 Wuruma 89 88 87

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 16/05/19

(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

JUNE 2019

prefer different styles of lures and techniques. It is unreal to see how much they can change from the top end of the dam to down in the middle reaches at this time of year. The most stubborn fish tend to respond well to ice jigs hopped just above the bottom. Let your sounder help you make the decision as to when to use these lures. If the fish are in smaller schools or found very close to the bottom, there are few better approaches when it is cold. Ice jigs around 10-15g have been the best bet. Other areas should still hold fish in bigger schools where they are higher off the bottom. These fish can be ridiculously fussy but are always worth a try. If possible, rotate between these types of schools often, as they tend to get even harder to fool the longer you sit on top of them. Smaller sized spoons are a great winter option. You can try the usual slow wind off the bottom before dropping back or try a slow draw of the rod to hop the lure up. The front assist hooks really come into their own when fishing these lures slower. Bass pick at them rather than trying to engulf the lure when they aren’t quite in the mood. Small blades, soft plastics, and soft vibes are other alternatives for the deep schooling bass. It might be a bit early to head to the edges of the dam and cast the banks for fish.

Some winters this is a great technique, but I am guessing due to the lower levels it will be another month or two before these fish show up in any numbers. Golden perch and red claw crayfish numbers are likely to decrease due to the cooler weather. Bait fishing with shrimp or saltwater yabbies will be the best way to score some goldens. The drop-offs to the old riverbed within sight of Kirkleigh or further north up in the timber are the spots to try for these fish. • 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 They have an excellent range of gear suited to fishing for bass and golden perch. WIVENHOE CLOSEST TOWNS: FERNVALE, ESK The action at Wivenhoe picked right up last month. With the fish already chewing, it is shaping up to be another good winter. Last year the lake fished well on the edges of the weed beds and banks around the Billies Bay section of the lake. The same banks within a few kilometres of the Billies Bay boat ramp will be worth exploring. You can opt to troll diving lures around the edges and target a specific depth contour. A starting point of 6-8m seems to be

SUNSHINE COAST REGION MACDONALD CLOSEST TOWNS: TEWANTIN, NOOSA Being a little further north and more coastal than a lot of the other bass lakes, MacDonald should fish a little better right through winter. Bass may be scattered for another month, so try your luck around the healthy weed edges. Surface presentations can still pull a few fish, even in winter. Better success will be had when fishing a little deeper with soft plastics, blades, lipless crankbaits and suspending hardbodies. Schools of fish out in the open in the lower end of the lake will be more common towards the end of winter. When these fish show up, try small blade baits and spoons on them. They will eat other offerings but the conversion rate on bites to hook-ups is sometimes not as good. Remember MacDonald is an electric motor only dam. You can still use your bigger boats fitted with outboards provided you don’t turn the key on. Enjoy the peace and quiet while

travelling under paddle or electric power. BORUMBA CLOSEST TOWNS: IMBIL, NOOSA Winter can be tough at Borumba if it gets really cold. Those conditions should still be at least a month away so enjoy the fishing while it is a bit easier. Bass are being caught up in the timbered arms of the Yabba and Kingham. These fish are quite scattered along the steeper banks and can be located using a quality sounder. Tossing lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits around these edges near the schooling fish is one of the best ways to tempt them. The schools themselves can be very hard to fool. An ice jig, small soft plastic or blade bait will get the bites. More bass will move towards the main basin in another month or two, so try to keep track of their movements in case they migrate earlier. In the basin check the flats and points that stretch out into the main dam. Plenty of

Blake Ehrlich pulled this chunky bass fishing a Spectre Vibration Jig close to the bottom. The beauty of these lures is you can drag them along the bottom and they continue to vibrate. working closer to the dam’s shoreline. The other option is to power along the edges on an electric motor while casting lipless crankbaits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits. These reaction style lures can be fished quite fast while exploring. While casting, pay close attention to the sounder in case numbers of bass bunch up below the boat. The same lures will sometimes pull these deeper fish or you can try your luck with blade baits, ice jigs and soft plastics. smaller fish should stack up here and they can be fooled with ice jigs and an assortment of the usual bass offerings when they are more willing. Bait fishing with live shrimp along the steeper edges should still produce bass and golden perch. The banks at the start and middle reaches of the Kingham and Yabba are worth a go. If the fish don’t bite after 15 minutes, move on and try your luck in the next spot. Saratoga will still be seen rolling on top on the calmer days. They can be a bit harder to fool but they are still catchable right through winter. The quieter waters in the upper half of the Kingham and Yabba are great toga hunting grounds. Spinnerbaits and soft plastics rigged on jig spins are a great way to cover heaps of water while searching for these fish. • 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.

When numbers of fish are found, you can slow down your presentations and work the area more thoroughly. Suspending jerkbaits are a great option. Long pauses in the zone once the lure reaches close to full depth are the go. Twitch the lure back with plenty of these pauses to let the fish have time to come in for a closer inspection before they commit. • Call in to see the team at Charlton’s Fishing at Redbank. They head out to the lake quite often, so you might be able to pump them for a few secrets and save some time by heading straight to the fish with the right lures. MAROON CLOSEST TOWNS: BEAUDESERT, BOONAH The bass will be a bit harder to fool during the cool months. Slow presentations down and concentrate on fishing tight to the weed edges. Paddle-tail soft plastics rigged on 1/4oz jigheads (or lighter) can be twitched out of the weed to get the bites. Suspending lures are also

great for the colder months. You can start with shallow runners early in the morning and then switch to deeper models during the day. NORTH PINE (LAKE SAMSONVALE) CLOSEST TOWN: BRISBANE, LAWNTON, PETRIE Anglers will be getting excited for the run of winter bass that school up at the lower end of the lake each year. When they are around excellent numbers can be caught from Bullocky Rest Point. Casting lures from the edges that can be hopped back across the bottom is the way to get the bites. Managing to get plenty of distance is very important when fishing from the shore. Most of the successful anglers use lighter braid on 7’ long rods and fling 20-30g spoons as far as they can. The Halco Twisty, Nories Wasabi and Hot Bite Gang Banger spoons and slices all work well when the fish are there. If you are land-based, it is just a matter of trying your luck to see what’s around. For kayak anglers, schooling fish should form up somewhere on the points

inside the kayak area. A sounder is a necessary tool to find them unless you like to cover a lot of kilometres trolling deep divers. Once these fish are found, they will love eating spoons. Other lures will also work, especially around the edges of the lake, until the fish form into bigger schools. These edges will fish well with chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. There have been quite a few smaller bass being caught over the last few months. Winter should see the bigger models turn up and they will start to sport some more weight carrying roe. KURWONGBAH CLOSEST TOWN: BRISBANE, LAWNTON, PETRIE With the big bass on offer just down the road at North Pine, you don’t hear much about Kurwongbah during the winter months. The bass there are growing bigger though, and 40cm+ fish are becoming more common. You can try your luck along the edges of the weed beds with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, lipless crankbaits and blades. Schooling fish will be found out in the more open deep-water areas as well. As we move more into winter, expect the schools to get bigger and once they are located, some great action can be experienced. Small blades, tailspinners and spoons will be the go in the bigger schools. If they are stubborn and refuse to eat, try hopping an ice jig under the kayak. Kayak access is at Mick Hanfling Park off Torrens Road. A wash-down facility is in place to help avoid spreading the cabomba weed present in the lake. • Tackleworld Lawnton is an ideal port of call for all your fishing needs if fishing the lakes on the north side of Brisbane. The team can point you in the right direction and help you experience some awesome fishing close to the heart of Brisbane.

Gary’s Marine Centre

3201 6232

217 Pine Mountain Road, BRASSALL JUNE 2019


DARLING DOWNS GRANITE BELT REGION COOBY CLOSEST TOWNS: HIGHFIELDS, TOOWOOMBA Cooby Dam remains closed due to the outbreak of blue-green algae. Hopefully, the coming cold snap will help to kill it off. Unfortunately the great fishing isn’t likely to come back online until mid-spring when things warm up again. Keep up-to-date on the Toowoomba Regional Council’s website. LESLIE CLOSEST TOWN: WARWICK The lake level is low but provided you launch from the well used areas with hard bottom, you can still get a decent-sized boat in and enjoy some winter fishing action. The trolling and bait fishing will be much slower. Golden perch get hard to fool using these methods, yet they are quite responsive to jigged lures when you drop them on the right spot. Look for laydown timber and rocky outcrops in 4-7m of water and try your luck vertically hopping a soft vibe or ZX40 blade. Leslie goldens seem to love the bigger soft vibes like the Jackall Transam 95, Berkley Shimma Shad and Zerek Fish Trap. Murray cod will be on offer right over the winter

months. They can be hard work but if you put in a full day on them expect to see at least one or two. Most of these fish are smaller but there are quite a few over 80cm to be caught. Cod to over a metre long are not as common a capture as on some lakes, but still turn up almost every month of the year. Trolling big spinnerbaits close to the bottom seems to be one of the best ways to entice them. With two or three lures out you can cover a heap of water, way more than when casting. I like to focus on prime cod country and work hard ledges and sunken structure. It is amazing how many of the bigger fish seem to come from open, featureless water – for everyone else at least, not me. Switch to a larger worm hook and bigger soft plastic trailer. With a weedless hook, you can scrounge the bottom and bang into as much structure as you like. • 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 ten minute drive from the dam and you can pick up any supplies you might need.

You will find Murray cod in the open in the Queensland lakes while water levels are low. Look for features around the old river and creek bed edges. COOLMUNDA CLOSEST TOWN: INGLEWOOD Coolmunda is another one of the western lakes suffering from low water. Most of the country I like to fish is well and truly high and dry. The big paddock of trees are out of the water and now is the ideal time to check out the lay of the trees to see where all the hotspots are. With the water level

low and the colour of the water still quite dirty, the lure fishing has been tough. Trolling spinnerbaits or casting to the hidden snags along the old riverbed would be one of the best ways to tempt the Murray cod. With luck, winter will help to clear the water up so it is more suited to a range of lures. Goldens hold in similar areas to cod, but they have been very hard to fool, even on

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live baits. Coolmunda can appear to be quite a featureless lake. Don’t let what you see on the surface fool you. If you spend time on your sounder you will find plenty of stumps along the creek edges, fence lines, and snags along the bottom. Mark the good stuff on your GPS so you know where to spend your time fishing. • The Coolmunda Caravan

Park is only 1km away from the lake. The park is just off the Cunningham Highway but far enough away from the noise of trucks to get a good night’s sleep. It offers camping sites, cabins, caravan facilities, tennis courts, a swimming pool, BBQ shelter and a camp kitchen. To take advantage of this and the great fishing opportunities in the lake, give the park a call on (07) 4652 4171.

WIDE BAY AND SOUTH BURNETT REGION BOONDOOMA CLOSEST TOWNS: PROSTON, KINGAROY Boondooma is generally a pretty good winter option. Leading up to the cooler months, plenty of bass and golden perch have be found in the lake’s middle reaches. These schooling fish will also be found up on the shallow edges in the mornings. While hunting up shallower, these fish can be tempted on spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and lipless crankbaits. The start of the Stuart Arm and up well into the Boyne timber can also be worth a look when casting the same lures. The length of the bite time can vary. Usually the fish just move a bit deeper during the day so position the boat out a little wider if the bites slow down. Schooling fish will be spotted on the sounder in places like the Junction, Barbers Pole, Pelican Point and anywhere in between. These bass and golden perch will be found in 6-9m of water. Soft plastics and blades are good choices for winter if you want to place casts over the fish. If they are tough to tempt and close to the bottom, switch to vertically hopping ice jigs and small blades. • Boondooma is a great place to camp right near the water and sit by the fire while enjoying the view. You could also stay

in more style and comfort by booking into one of the cabins overlooking the dam. 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. BJELKE CLOSEST TOWNS: MURGON, GOOMERI Low water has been making it harder to launch big boats due to the soft edges. Take extra care when launching or check in at the kiosk to ask where the best access is. The fish are fairly well packed down in the lower part of the lake. Good numbers can be found along the drop-off to the old creek bed between the boat ramps, in front of the Quarry and up towards the dam wall. Fishing has been slow and winter is likely to see it remain this way. Hopping small blades across the bottom over the fish is one of the best ways to score fish. Other lures will get the bites but blades are a mouthful of hooks and hurt and don’t seem to miss the smaller taps as much. Vertically fishing ice jigs or live shrimp are other good winter options. • For help catching Bjelke

and Boondooma fish, call into Bass 2 Barra. The store stocks an awesome range of gear suited to chasing our freshwater fish and the team have all the knowledge to guide you on how to use it. You’ll find the store 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) 4162 7555. • 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. CANIA CLOSEST TOWNS: MONTO, BILOELA Cania was a bit slower last month but I still think it will be one of the better winter options for bass fishing. Mixed in with the bass will be a few golden perch and saratoga. These fish slow down more in winter but still make the occasional appearance. Cania is further north than most bass lakes, but being so far inland it still cops the cold overnight temperatures. Expect a few frosty starts. Try searching for fish in the middle reaches of the lake and continue up into the timber. Deeper schooling fish will be about during the day with scattered fish up in the shallows earlier in the morning. Make your plan around their movements and try things like spinnerbaits,

Fishing from midday into the early evening will be the go on the barra lakes. The water is cooling, so slow down presentations. lipless crankbaits and suspending hardbodies tighter to the edges in the mornings before trying to follow their movements if they drop deeper. Deeper schools can be tempted with spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, soft plastics and blades. If all else fails, go to an ice jig and vertically hop it in the schools. These lures seem to be the answer when things get tough in winter. CALLIDE CLOSEST TOWN: BILOELA Barramundi in winter in Queensland are not impossible. Some lakes

CAPRICORN REGION AWOONGA CLOSEST TOWNS: BENARABY, GLADSTONE Some good reports were coming out of Awoonga last month. Despite good numbers of fish being caught, you still need to be on or near fish to have success; there are plenty of good looking fishless spots between the good ones. Plenty of barra were still holding in the deeper water around the trees on the main basin points and islands. The depth of these fish can vary and as the water cools their habits may start to change. Side

imaging sounders have changed the way experienced barra anglers fish and if they aren’t showing in your spot, it is time to move on. As it gets even colder, barra may leave the deeper water in search of more favourable temperatures. The dense weed beds in the sunny bays will attract them and they can be found quite deep in amongst the weed. Weedless rigged soft plastics are the best option for probing deep in the weed. Look for broken weed and slightly deeper pockets for the fish to hold in. Often this type of weed occurs in behind the main weed reefs, which are

Fishing behind these sticks on top of the broken weed and lilies with weedless soft plastics for barra is often the way to get bites.



produce quite well over the winter months considering how cold the water temperatures get. Callide does tend to get colder being further inland and up in the hills. The fish will be moving around less and taking up residence in the warmer bays. Side imaging sounders are the best way to locate the barra, but use extra stealth as they may be quite shallow and easily spooked. Once these barra are found, quietly position the boat a cast away and start working slow presentations. Suspending hardbodies are

perfect when the fish are deeper, floating shallow runners are the go if they are up in the shallows. If using plastics, go for lightly weighted heads and allow pauses to let them sit on the bottom. Add a few hops and twitches into the retrieve as well to slow the presentation down and keep it in their face. Vibe style lures will also be worth a go if the fish are in 3m or more of water. Again, fish these to suit the mood of the fish. If the barra are holding deeper, park on top of them and spend more time fishing vertically.

denser and growing to the surface in the deeper water. The Owner Beast Hooks are my favourite for weedless rigging soft plastics. They come in weighted and unweighted versions and the stainless screw on the eye for attaching plastics seems to hold the lure better and make it last longer. There are heaps of plastics you can rig for this style of fishing. Zoom Horny Toads and PowerBait Bubble Shiners are two of my go-to lures. Just remember to fish them a little slower to get the bites. • Justin Nye from Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing runs fishing charters on the lake. He caters to the needs of the

angler and can do fly or conventional tackle trips to target the lake’s barramundi. 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 into the dam after turning off at Benaraby. The accommodation is great with plenty of boat parking space right beside the comfortable airconditioned, self-contained cabin,s each with its own veranda. To book in a stay give Mark or Lyn a call on (07) 4975 0033.

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Big barramundi are still available in Tinaroo LAKE TINAROO

Warwick Lyndon

The cooler months have set in and both air and water temperatures have dropped. This does not mean that the Tinaroo barra are impossible to catch, it just presents an extra challenge. Last year there were many barra caught right throughout winter, with some very large fish amongst them. It is important to remember that barramundi react to temperature changes, and usually become harder to tempt immediately after a significant drop in temperature, particularly if it is sudden. Once the air and water temperatures have steadied however, barra generally adjust and return to relatively stable feeding patterns. What you have to keep in mind is that barramundi are large fish, and to sustain this size, they must eat! During the cooler months, paying attention to your sounder and locating the fish is even more important than at other times. When they are a

Terry Connelly caught quality fish like this one right through the winter months last year – check out that beanie! little less active to start with, you want to make sure you are fishing where the fish are. Active fish are usually located in areas of reasonably shallow water, or amongst structures around the margins of the lake, which warm quicker and often hold baitfish. At this time of year, fishing the daylight hours is far more comfortable and can allow you to find those fish that have been kicked into

lots of extended pauses in your retrieve to allow the barra to hone in on your offering. This is when suspending hardbodies, slowly fished surface lures and soft plastics that have a solid action at a super slow speed are the dominant fish catchers. Large sooty grunter are often encountered throughout the winter months and make a great target for both sportfishers and those chasing a feed. Remember to target the structures that provide cover and ambush points for these fish. These include trees, rocks, points and ledges. Don’t forget, it’s time to start planning for the

annual Tinaroo Barra Bash. This great community event is run by the Tablelands Fish Stocking Society, with proceeds helping to stock the lake with more fish, and to fund the fish retention barrier net that keeps the fish in the dam during times of flood, as occurred this year. Put 8-10 November in your diary and make sure you keep an eye on the tinaroobarrabash website and Facebook page for more information. If you’d like to keep up with more of my adventures from FNQ, like my Facebook blog ‘Wazza’s Fishing Page’ or subscribe to ‘Wazza’s Fishing’ on Youtube.

gear by the sun warming the water. If you are fishing with lures over the cooler months, another important tip is to slow your presentation down. Impoundment barramundi are smart creatures and will not expend unnecessary energy chasing down prey during these times. Make sure you cast accurately to where the fish are holding, wind slow, and include














JUNE 2019

Liam rugged up in order to land this barra during the cooler months. INDUSTRY NEWS

Sale of Australia’s biggest boat builder BRP, the manufacturer of such iconic brands as Evinrude outboards, Sea-Doo jetskis and Can-Am quad bikes, has announced that it is acquiring 80% of Australian company Telwater. Telwater manufactures the hugely popular Quintrex, Stacer, Savage and Yellowfin Plate boats, and also distributes Evinrude in Australia. Paul Phelan, Telwater’s current owner and Managing Director, will continue to play an important role in the operations of the business, and will hold 20% of the company’s shares. Telwater’s Coomera factory and its 270 employees will continue to operate business as usual. With a more solidified partnership, the desire to own a Telwater/Evinrude boat-motor-trailer package has never been so strong. Telwater’s 230 dealerships across Australia, Asia Pacific and Europe will

continue to benefit from the organization’s stateof-the-art manufacturing know-how, and add to BRP’s design and innovation track record. “Over 30 years ago, I started as a welder,” said Telwater MD Paul Phelan. “Today I am handing over part of the Telwater organization to BRP, an expert in every industry it is in. Growing Telwater to what it is today has been an extraordinary journey, and I’m excited to see it join the

BRP family.” Mr Phelan said that Telwater’s boat brands will learn from BRP’s innovation, and BRP will be able to leverage Telwater’s competitive advantages, including its stretch forming capabilities and manufacturing expertise. Telwater manufactures over 8000 boats and 5500 trailers annually, with over 60% market share in the Australian boat building industry, and exports to over 20 countries. - Telwater

Expect tough fishing up at Lake Proserpine BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

Last month we made a much-anticipated to fish Lake Proserpine, aka

eased, we saw that things were noticeably different! As the boat came down the considerably shortened ramp I could see how much the lake had grown, thanks to a major rain event a few months before which lifted

actually hopeless. The fish must be there to be caught. Barramundi are also one fish that can quickly destroy your faith in your fishing ability. Merely seeing them does not equate to hook-ups. If you have ever sat looking

On the author’s most recent trip, Lake Proserpine was 80% full and a lot of habitat had changed.

Denise casts with some optimism thanks to the surplus of barra marking on the sounder. Peter Faust Dam. Only a ‘short’ 14-hour drive from our home on Brisbane’s southside, this renowned barra fishery has always held an attraction for us because of the diversity of habitat, plus the fact there are some mighty big barra in there. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! However, like all fishing trips, things can go wrong. First we had four days of near monsoonal weather (I just don’t fish in that sort of rain!) and then, when the rain finally stopped, we were faced with a very different lake. THE DAM HAD GROWN On our previous trip to Peter Faust last October, our work centred around lily beds, small creeks, points adjacent to 1m-deep flats and various other easilyrecognised features. We would search for barra on the sounder and give them a try with the fly once we had marked a few. It was an action-packed trip with plenty of inquisitive fish nipping and swirling at flies, with the occasional one making a mistake and hooking up, which is pretty much par for the course for a successful barra on fly trip. The highlight of those enjoyable sessions was a personal best fish for wife Denise of 110cm, on the 10wt fly tackle. We wondered whether we could repeat that success. As we launched our boat at daylight in late April, after the rain had finally

Lady luck smiled and he was free for an afternoon session the next day, so at around 2pm after an enjoyable run in his high performance bass boat, his sounder started marking fish after fish. These weren’t merely passers by, either; they were feeding.

Denise’s 110cm fish. The grin says it all! the dam level from 60% in January to 81% in FebruaryApril. There had also been substantial rain since the start of autumn, and all of this meant that our old sure-fire, never-fail hotspots were suddenly kaput. These once-reliable spots were all in much deeper water with weed beds well submerged, and worse – the fish were scarce. In three reconnaissance sessions we saw a total of five fish on the sounder, which reinforced the fact that we were facing exactly the same dilemma that many barra anglers face when fishing brand new water: where are the fish? When some anglers don’t find a single barra, they will still stay and cast with hope, but I don’t – because it’s

at a sounder marking fish continuously, yet without the slightest hint of a bite, you will know exactly what I’m taking about here. But the fact remains, without finding the fish there is zero chance of success. As I saw it we had two options. The first option was to just keep on driving around the shallows with our eyes glued to the sounder to see if we might locate our quarry. A reasonable plan if you have all the time in the world, but we didn’t have that luxury so I went with the second option, which was to call resident guide Lindsay Dobe. I knew that if he was free he could give us a heads-up on the fish, and shorten the time between casting the fly and a hook-up.

It wasn’t long before we started hooking barra, much to everybody’s satisfaction. Denise scored a fat metre fish, and I stretched some fly line on two lesser ones. 20 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE Lindsay’s long tenure at Lake Proserpine has given him a vast knowledge of its fish habits and habitats, and few guides have that level of experience in a particular waterway. Over the last decade, as one barra dam or other started to fire, a new guide would suddenly become a household name, with clients talking about all the fish they had caught. But in barra dams the hot fishing inevitably wanes, due to factors like an overflow, too much fresh, water that’s too low or of poor quality, or the fish simply go right off the chew for reasons unknown. When that happened, the guide would quietly close up shop and move on. Who could blame him or her? Why stay if there’s no promise of work? But with 20 years’

experience on this great lake, the passage of time has seen Lindsay on the water when the dam level was down to 9%, and then years later waiting for it to stop topping the spillway, so the water could clean up a bit and the fish settle down. There’s no question that he saved that trip for us. CAMPING GROUNDS FOR THE LAKE? Great news – there are definite plans to develop camping grounds with a boat ramp, pontoons and areas for relaxation and enjoyment on the southern bank of Lake Proserpine. Whitsunday Regional Council is behind the development, after Sunwater relinquished management of the area. Moreover, it’s anticipated that this camping area with its accompanying boat ramp will be up and running for occupation when the main barra season kicks into gear later this year. This is indeed exciting news for the angling fraternity, and something we can all look forward to.

Lindsay telling Denise that there are three barra around 10m away, and that she should cast a bit to the left. JUNE 2019


Suzuki 2019 Vitara II ticks a lot of boxes BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

Suzuki’s Vitara is an SUV with style and class. The Vitara name first graced a compact Suzuki 4x4 several decades ago, and in a neat turnaround the name again appeared on Suzuki’s all-new Vitara SUV wagon style SUV, released in early 2016. The ’16 model Vitaras were equipped with a 1.6L EFI 4-cylinder petrol engine linked to a 6-speed auto gearbox or 5-speed manual transmission, with a 1.4L turbo petrol engine added later on. Both engines were supremely smooth, quite under stressed and performed well. Unsurprisingly, the engines have also been carried forward into the 2019 model. LITTLE EXTERNAL CHANGE The 2019 Series II has

Series II range now starts with a GL 1.6L 2WD, again offered with either a 6-speed auto gear box or 5-speed manual shifter. There’s also the premium GLX turbocharged 1.4L 6-speed auto, available in either 2WD or the top-of-the-range All Grip all-wheel-drive traction system, which delivers power constantly to all four wheels on command. All models come with 17” wheels and temperature control air-conditioning with readout. MORE FEATURES TO ENJOY The test vehicle was a 1.4L turbocharged Vitara. This model comes with upgraded features, including remote central locking and a keyless pushbutton engine start. This is now standard across the entire Vitara range, as is a new suede seat fabric and softer dash material instead of the former hard plastic. A plastic dash may be hard

A smart, modern, yet uncomplicated design gives the Vitara plenty of road presence.

Rear seating is designed for three, but it would be more comfortable if one of those three was a child. additional features that simply add to the enjoyment of driving the Vitara. The body styling hasn’t changed much, however, and it’s a similar story with many of the other 2019 models from various other makers this year. Extensive body changes all cost a lot of money, which is inevitably passed to the consumer, so why increase costs for the sake of change? The main external differences on the 2019 model are the grille up front plus tail lights and bumper at the rear. The dash layout has also received some changes, although it still looks somewhat similar, and there’s increased information and convenience features within the main instrument cluster. FOUR MODELS The four model Vitara 72

JUNE 2019

It’s not quite a jet engine, but the 1.4L EFI turbocharged engine is no slouch.

A seat down will expand the luggage compartment significantly. wearing, but some might consider it lacks a little character.

Vitara II drivers will appreciate the car ’s adaptive cruise control,

which stops you getting too close to vehicles ahead, and a blind spot monitoring

system which showed prominent alerts in side mirrors. Another feature is the rear cross traffic alert, which alerts you to cars approaching from either side when you’re reversing from a parking spot. Many minor bingles in car parks happen this way, as is evidenced by all the sprinkles of body trim or shattered plastic that you see in other cars. The Vitara’s central dash multi-function display is designed to provide easy operation of audio and other functions, as well as hands-free smart phone and navigation. The ‘Listen’ function delivers multimedia audio and video playback; the ‘Drive’ option governs the nav system; the ‘Call’ function provides handsfree phone connection,

and ‘Connect’ provides smart phone application via the dashboard display. Naturally, the car ’s reversing camera is also set up within the centre dash multi function display unit. The speedometer and tachometer functions are at the driver’s fingertips, and there’s a trip computer with distance to empty, current and average fuel consumption, the aforementioned cross traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors. The lane departure warning is interesting; besides a flashing alert on the dash, the wheel gives a distinct ‘stick shaker’ tremor to alert the driver that the car is moving out of the lane. I suspect pilots will love this feature! iPaddle shifters are on hand for turbo drivers who want to change up or

down a gear and override the 6-speed auto. Safety equipment includes ABS with EBD, Electronic Stability Program, a Speed Limiter for school area travel, Brake Assist function during panic stops with dual front air bags, side airbags, curtain airbags and a driver’s knee bag all standard. LARGE CARGO AREA Those are the main features within the turbo 6-speed automatic Vitara, which presents as a comfy 5-seater wagon with a

decent-sized cargo area which can be enlarged considerably by lowering one or both rear seats. There’s 1120L of space with both rear seats down, 710L with one seat flattened, and 375L will still swallow up quite a fair amount of gear with rear seats upright. AN EASY DRIVE On the road the wagon will impress with its zippy 103kW, 220Nm turbo petrol engine, ease of handling and great visibility in true SUV style. The fuel consumption was miserly, with figures

between 5.8L per 100km and 6.8L per 100km on a mix of city and country driving. The all coil suspension is firm but very compliant, and both driver and passenger should be well insulated from road irregularities. The Vitara seems to have a character all of its own when compared to competitors in its market niche, and this sensation carries through to driving the little wagon as well. There’s ample comfort and fingertip ease of controls, and with the

The Vitara’s dash has been upgraded with a soft-feel material. The dash layout is similar to last year’s, although there are additional features within the main display area.

Plush fabric now graces the seating in this year’s Suzuki Vitara.

turbocharged 1.4L EFI engine making the vehicle so quick off the mark, the Vitara has a quite sporty feeling. All this, coupled with very distinctive styling, makes the Vitara a car that stands out from the crowd. The 2019 model also comes with a couple of option packs. The Urban offers smaller fog lamp bezels, shallower body side mouldings and rear roof

spoiler. The Rugged option provides larger fog light bezels, ront and rear skid plates enhancing underbody protection, larger side body mouldings plus a cargo loading protector. SUMMARY The Vitara has a 5-star ANCAP rating and a 3-year 100,000km warranty. If it is serviced by a Suzuki dealer in accordance with the 5-year capped price service plan, the warranty extends to 140,000

and five years overall, with roadside assist as well. The towing capacity is 600kg for an unbraked trailer and 1200kg for braked, which would certainly see plenty of small boats being towed behind a Vitara. The fact is that for a small SUV, the Suzuki Vitara has a lot of road presence. The cost of the GLX turbo petrol 2WD as tested would be around the $25,500 mark plus on-roads.


The French really know how to hide le poisson BRISBANE

The Sheik of the Creek

They don’t like to share their fishing spots in the France. It took me a while to find someone to confirm this; most of the people I stopped just shrugged and said something I couldn’t understand, it was like they were talking another language. Just bloody rude. I had high hopes for a trout or a red somewhere around, but no go apparently. There were blokes standing around with semi-auto rifles and signs pointing to Rues. So, I thought – sure, these blokes must be going rue shooting, or maybe pigs. And if there’s rues and pigs, surely there’s trout or reds. Apparently not. There weren’t any in the fish and chip shops, but there was plenty of cod. They didn’t say what sort. Maybe gold-spot, or estuary, or Maori. Dunno. But I wanted to catch something and I was keen for some top grade fillets. I was going to be over here for a few weeks, and that’s a long time between trips. Normally Boobies and I would have sprung

a couple of trips out to the reef in that time and I’d have some parrot or grassies at least in the pan, maybe some snapper or a pearly or two. Obviously I had to do some research, but it was harder than it looked. I had to go to the grassroots to find out what was what. I pulled up beside a young bloke who was fishing in a river in the north. Looked good. He was using a float and the water looked nice and deep. Maybe he had a livey on for a jack or one of these cod they sell in the chip shop. I walked over and stood beside him, watching. Sure enough when he pulled up the line there was a little livey dangling there on his hook. Looked like a little mud herring. But something looked wrong. The hook was about the size of a bee’s appendage. How was he going to get a jack on that? So, I asked him. He looked at me and muttered something I couldn’t understand. Must have been a Victorian or something. Then he muttered a little more, looked at me, looked at the livey, took it off and dropped it into his tacklebox with a half a dozen others. Funny way to treat livies I thought, how’s it

going to survive in there? Then he rubbed his tummy, and smacked his lips and I understood. Of course. Dead bait. Jacks and cod and trout over here must go for strip bait over live bait. He packed up his gear and made off. I

followed him, as I wanted to see where the honey hole was, which he didn’t seem to like. He went into a house, and I saw him peeking through the curtains, and talking on the phone. Then some big blokes in blue turned up and made

me go with them. Bloody fisheries inspectors, I suppose. Didn’t understand what they were talking about either but eventually I had to head off without making any sense of their muttering. Determined sorts of blokes too; followed

me for half an hour or more yelling and running blowing whistles. Dunno why, I wasn’t lost. Eventually I lost ‘em in this big burnt church. Funny mob, and geez, they keep their honey holes secret over here. JUNE 2019



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7-9 June

Weipa Fishing Classic Weipa|

8-9 June

Lions Pottsville Beach Greenback comp Pottsville

22-23 June

ABT BASS Round 3 Lake St Clair

22-23 June

Hobie Kayak Bream Series Round 7 Gold Coast

30 June

ABT BASS Electric Round 3 Maroon Dam

6-7 July

ABT BREAM Round 6 Bribie Island

13-14 July

ABT BASS Round 4 Cania Dam

28 July

ABT BASS Electric Round 4 Lake Gregory

10-11 Aug

ABT BASS Round 5 Somerset Dam

7-8 Sep

ABT BREAM Round 7 Gladstone

8 Sep

ABT BASS Electric Round 5 Wivenhoe Dam

14-15 Sep

ABT BASS Round 6 Richmond River

14-15 Sep

Hobie Kayak Bream Series Round 8 Port Macquarie

20-22 Sep

ABT BREAM Queensland Open Moreton Bay

21-22 Sep

Bowen Family Fishing Classic Bowen’s Front Beach

Ross McCabbin on 0428 776 653 or

21-22 Sep

Hobie Kayak Bream Series Round 9 Albany

28-29 Sep

ABT BASS Electric Round 6 Borumba Dam

5-6 Oct

Hobie Kayak Bream Series Round 10 St Georges Basin

12-13 Oct

ABT BASS Electric Australian Open Wyaralong Dam QLD

18-20 Oct

Variety Bass on Fly Lake Borumba

Jeremy Wakelin 0447 741 709 or

19-20 Oct

ABT BREAM Round 8 Port Stephens

23-24 Oct

ABT BASS Grand Final Lake St Clair

26-27 Oct

ABT BASS Australian Open Glenbawn Dam

8-10 Nov

Tinaroo Barra Bash Lake Tinaroo

29 Nov-1 Dec

ABT BREAM Grand Final Gold Coast

7-8 Dec

Hobie Kayak Bream Series Round 11 Marlo

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. 76

JUNE 2019

Evans Head Fishing Classic returns in July On the back of the successful 2018 Evans Heads Fishing Classic, Australian Fishing Tournaments (AFT) is returning and will once again be managing

accommodation blocks to fit into the event schedule. The 2019 EHFC will run from the evening of 13 July to the main prize draws on 19 July. The

young guns how to improve their fishing. They are free to anyone, not just competitors. Champions, competitors and all attendees will be in the running for a total prize pool of over $100,000. All six-day competitors have the chance to win one of two boat/motor/trailer packages sponsored by Quintrex/ Evinrude E-Tec. There is also a host of other prizes from Lowrance electronics, Samurai rods, Wilson, Hobie kayaks, Frogleys Offshore and others.

The EHFC will be held on the river banks outside Club Evans, who are also strong supporters, as are many other businesses in the local community. Make sure you check out the website and support those who support your passion. To enter or find out more, visit www. evansheadfishingclassic. For further information, call Australian Fishing Tournaments on (02) 6681 3988 or visit www. evansheadfishingclassic.

As always, there will be a stack of prizes up for grabs.

The competition is a great showcase for the amazing fishing in this part of the world. this world-class fishing competition. The Evans Head Fishing Classic (EHFC) is synonymous with family holiday fun and is now well

competition fishing zones allow fishing from Byron to Yamba, and this covers both estuary and offshore. For AFT and entrants, this delivers a contingency for

Everyone’s sure to have a great time at this year’s comp. into its twenties. It also makes a significant contribution to the local economy in the process. Due to competitor demand, this year sees the event move to a six-day event, enabling the local weekly

bad weather conditions and provides multiple fishing options. On the Sunday, come down with the little ones for the Cadet Competition. There are also fishing clinics to help teach the JUNE 2019


Part I: Predicting the best time to fish SUNTAG

Stefan Sawynok

This month I decided to take a break from looking at fishing tournaments to take a look at a fishing problem that is old as time – when is the best time to go fishing? Just to make things more interesting I am approaching this problem with a code lab, something I am pretty sure hasn’t been attempted in a fishing magazine – and may never be again, but here goes. Code labs are a popular format of communicating techniques amongst computer programmers and data scientists, breaking down the process into steps and including code samples for others to try for themselves. If you aren’t a coder, that’s okay – you can always take advantage of the results. All the code samples in this case are in ‘R’, which is a mathematical programming language popular with data scientists. All of the tasks in this part of the exercise can be done in a spreadsheet, like Excel or Numbers. Next month in part II, I will be looking at forecasting and R is definitely required. All the code is available online via github, which you can find I am including the dataset in the github but there are no locations or identifying information, so this is just to give you a head start in analysing data. To run the code you will need both the R runtime ( and RStudio ( Both are free and there are plenty of Youtube tutorials on getting started. To download the code, go to the link above and select the clone or download button and then select download zip. That will download a compressed zip file with the code. Extract the code from the zip and if you have installed the R runtime and RStudio, double click on the FishingMonthly.Rproj. GETTING STARTED If you have downloaded the code and want to work through it, this part is in the r script 1.exploringthedata.R. To access the script select it from files list which will be in the lower right section of RStudio.

Fig. 1 – the location of the code. Programming is a little different to normal use of software as all instructions have to be provided. This is done via a ‘language’, which like French or Japanese is just a way of communicating with the computer. Think of a program like a to do list for the computer that it actions when run. The first thing we need to do is load up the packages that will be needed for the analysis. In the first instance I am using two – dplyr, which is used for manipulating data and ggplot2 which is used for plotting graphs. To run the code just select the lines then click the run button on the toolbar. If the packages aren’t installed, there will be a prompt to install them: require(dplyr), require(ggplot2). Next the data needs to be loaded. I have already generated two datafiles, both with barramundi catch data. There is no location data or identifying information, but I think having a real dataset will be more helpful to others that might want to develop their own data. Datasets can be generated in excel and R can read excel directly but the easiest way to load data is to edit the data in excel as a table, then save that as a csv file. For the record – this data is not from Rockhampton. In this case, reading in the data is very simple, select the following two lines and run: monitoringdata<-read.

csv(‘data/monitoring.csv’), competitiondata<read.csv(‘data/competition.csv’).

Fig. 2 – Open the file from the files list. 78

JUNE 2019

How do you look at data in R? There are a couple of ways. Longer-term R users mostly prefer the head command which displays the first five rows. For newer users that want to navigate the data in a more familiar spreadsheet function, the View command brings up the data in a read only spreadsheet. Note – R is not the place to be editing data, if some cleaning is required do that in excel then resave the data: head(monitoringdata), View(monitoringdata). Another useful command to view the data is the summary command. This will show all columns in the dataset, with useful statistics such as the largest, smallest and average value. Summary will also provide a list of the most common values and how often they occur. Summary is more useful than head as it provides the ‘shape’ of the data. For example in the monitoringdata dataset, summary provides a list of the wind directions that occur most often. More on that later: summary(monitoringdata). FRAMING THE OBJECTIVE First thing first – If I was going to ask the question before I collected data, then I would approach the problem in a different manner. Sampling methodology is just as important as data and if you were really going to go all in, I would recommend that sampling every hour for a long period of time (preferably a year), with a specific group of fishers always using the same technique. Even that has its troubles – what happens if the fish stop responding to a technique for example. However, that is not the end of the story. In this case while we can’t give a ‘definitive’ answer – we can try to improve our understanding and nudge the odds in our favour a bit. Going from random to something that has a pattern of success is a step up. That in my experience is how fishers operate – try out a new area based on any past experience (prior knowledge), repeat at slightly different times until success is found, repeat and adjust until success is more consistent and finally – bag out. Of course, that process can take a long time. Let’s see if we can’t shorten that time with some data. MEASUREMENTS OF BEHAVIOUR In this exercise there are two critters that we are examining – the fish and fisher. The main challenge in reading the data is which parts predict the fish and which parts measure the fisher. Rainfall is a good example. When it rains, we would expect less fishers to be on the water, but equally, rainfall may make fish more likely to be active. Again, unless you have a more systematic study, you probably won’t know and even then, other factors such as human performance will come into play. Do you fish with the same efficiency when fishing in the rain? This is one of the reasons sports scientists capture specific data that breaks down performance. Much of that data goes into understanding ‘normal’ and measuring if a change in routine results in a change on the field. In this case, the data on the performance of fishers is very limited – speaking as one of the only people who has captured such data. What we can say is that fisher performance can fluctuate on mood, use of alcohol, temperature and off the water factors such as stress at work. While there aren’t long-term studies on fishing specifically to quantify the effects, there have been plenty of studies in parallel domains of activity and there is no reason to believe that fishing would respond differently. In other words – we would need a robot to get a truly unbiased sample, one that was good at fishing. Where is the fun in that? None the less, I will have a look at some of the data available and see if we can get any clues on fish and fisher. EXPLORING AND PARTITIONING THE DATASET I have written articles in the past on how fishers are not all equal in their performance. This can bias datasets by having one to two fishers overrepresented in the dataset. That isn’t always a problem but when looking at the future overrepresentation basically means that the answers derived will be more reflective of the most productive fishers, not the full set of fishers. In this case if there are fishers overrepresented in the dataset, I want to use that opportunity to hive them off and create a third dataset and that way we end up with three different types of fishers to compare. That is quite useful when considering the problem of measuring the behaviour of the fisher or the fish. If we get similar answers for all three datasets, then there is a greater likelihood we are observing fish patterns. If we get different answers, then there is a greater chance that we are seeing the behaviour of the fisher. Looking at a problem from multiple angles has its advantages. As with The Hunger Games, we want to tip the odds in our favour so understanding which of the two we are looking at is important. How do we find out? Longer term readers of my articles will know that I have long discussed that the results of fishing wind up in what is known as a Pareto distribution, commonly known as the 80/20 rule. That is 80% of the fish are caught by 20% of the fishers. This is of course a metaphor, but the idea coined by Alfredo Pareto, an Italian engineer is sound in maths and in reality. Here is where R comes into its own as generating a

Pareto distribution in Excel can take a while, but I can do this in a single step. It’s a bit complicated for a first command, granted, but essentially this gathers the data by the id used to identify the fisher, then calculates the number of fish they caught and the cumulative total/percentage for the results: monitoringfisherspareto

<- monitoringdata %>% dplyr::mutate(idfisher=as. factor(paste0(‘F’,idfisher))) %>% dplyr::group_ by(idfisher) %>% dplyr::summarise(No.Fish.Caught = n()) %>%dplyr::arrange(desc(No.Fish.Caught)) %>% dplyr::mutate(cumtotal=cumsum(No.Fish.Caught), cumperc = cumtotal/nrow(monitoringdata) * 100).

The advantage of this dataset is now we can plot out the distribution and see if any of the fishers have been over represented. To do this we use a package called ggplot to combine a bar chart to show the number of fish per fisher verses a line chart of their cumulative proportion of the total: ggplot(monitoringfisherspareto, aes(x=rownum, y=No.Fish.Caught)) + geom_bar(stat=”identity”, aes(fill = No.Fish.Caught)) + geom_ line(aes(x=rownum, y = cumtotal, color = No.Fish. Caught)) + geom_point(aes(x=rownum, y = cumtotal, color = No.Fish.Caught), pch = 19).

The resulting figure 3 shows that indeed, two fishers have

Fig. 3 – Pareto Distribution of catches in the monitoring sample. caught more than half the fish reported between them. That to all I need to know we can split this data. Note that the code to split out the data is in the code on github. What about the competition data? Figure 4 has the distribution and at first glance there is an obvious difference, where there is a parabolic curve on the monitoring sample here our curve is nearly a straight line. What gives? There are two forces at play here. First, there are 75 people who didn’t catch fish and are part of the long tail of the distribution. I haven’t included them as I just wanted to walk through the successful catches but they will stretch the curve out. Second productivity is constrained by two key things – time and

Fig. 4 – Pareto Distribution of catches in the competition sample. availability of resources. In a competition fishers are limited in both, but especially in time. With a limited time period, there is an immediate cap on the number of fish that can be caught. There are rare instances where time doesn’t matter but that requires the resources to be near endless and the only place I have ever encountered that is in Lake Samsonvale North of Brisbane where 40 fishers shared 1300 fish in a two-day period. The presence of a lot more fishers on the water is another element that constrains the resource as more fishing effort generally makes the fish go to ground. NEGATIVE DATA Ah, zero – has there ever been a more debated number. Well oddly enough, probably 3. I am sure there is a mathematician out there that would educate me but in fishing terms zero is a very important number. Zero fish caught – is rarely measured but can be informative of conditions, fisher or population. Zero is the number we are all striving to avoid. In this dataset I am not including negative data (no fish caught) at this stage, as I suspect most people are interested in

success not failure, but in the next part when I look at forecasting and prediction, I will include negative data as in the real world there are dog days. Negative data is key to making predictions more accurate – when predicting the future failure is as important as success as a datapoint. LENGTH OF FISH First question on my mind is are the fishers targeting similar fish. One thing that can help is look at the average size of fish caught by each of the three groups – our high productivity fishers, general fishers and competition fishers. In the code in the github I combined all three into a single set of data and added a field ‘dataset’ to identify which group the record belongs to. Running the mean for the three returns 691mm for high productivity fishers, 686 for general fisher and 730 for competition fishers:

General fishers are more likely to be out on a Sunday, so my new theory is that general fishers have swapped fishing for the church as their favourite place of worship. Tell me I am wrong. All jokes aside, this again is an important piece of information. POSITION IN THE TIDE The remaining analysis in the github are in 2.exploringtheenvironmentaldata.R. This dataset is not from a tidal area but tide is a good proxy for the phase/location of the moon. I will include that variable in part II but I thought it would be interesting to see if there was any

mean(combineddataset[combineddataset$dataset = = ’ h p f m o n i t o r i n g ’ , ] $ l e n g t h ) , mean(combineddataset[combineddataset$dataset ==’generalmonitoring’,]$length), mean(combineddataset[combined dataset$dataset==’competition’,]$length).

Another way of looking at the data is to look at the spread of the size classes and thanks to ggplot we can save some time and plot all three sets of data at once: ggplot(combineddataset,

aes(x=length)) + geom_histogram(breaks=seq(300, 1000, by=25),aes(y=..density..), colour=”black”, fill=”white”) + geom_density(alpha=.2, fill=”#6666FF”) + facet_grid(dataset ~ .).

The results in Figure 5 show that the high productivity and general groups look similar while the competition fisher are shifted to the right, indicating they are catching larger fish. The competition fisher band is also narrower, so they are seeing a lot of the same size class. Were there only fish of that size around that weekend? I think it’s more likely that competition fishers all used similar tactics but we would need more data on how the fishers operate to answer that question. Barra fishers are secretive at the best of times so I am not going there, because unless there is video to review, I wouldn’t guarantee the accuracy of any answers. Suffice to say that there is a definite difference in the sizes of fish caught. TIMES OF CAPTURE Now let’s have a look at the times where fish are caught to see if there are major difference in when they were successful in catching fish. In the monitoring fishers can fish when they want to, in the competition fishers had a continuous 48-hour period to catch fish in. In the case of the competition data, catches at midnight are excluded because there are manual entered items where the time was not correctly recorded:

gplot(combineddataset, aes(x=hour.catch)) + geom_histogram(breaks=seq(1, 23, by=1),aes(y=.. density..), colour=”black”, fill=”white”) + geom_density(alpha=.2, fill=”#6666FF”) + facet_ grid(dataset ~ .).

evidence of a link between fish captures and the tidal movement. Do barramundi follow the tides even when they aren’t in a tidal area? In order to simplify looking at that question we classified the tide in four stages: 1 – bottom), 2 – falling, 3 – rising, and 4 – top.

When this is plotted, the breakdown comes out on the numeric not the text value: ggplot(combineddataset,

aes(x=as.numeric(tide.classification))) + geom_histogram(breaks=seq(0, 4, by=1),aes(y=.. density..), colour=”black”, fill=”white”)+ geom_density(alpha=.2, fill=”#6666FF”) + facet_ grid(dataset ~ .).

The result is a very interesting picture – one that will need to be expanded in a later article. For competition fishers there is a definite spike in the falling tide and a second at the top of the tide. For the general and high productivity fisher there is a spike around the rising and top of the tides. Noting that back in the length discussion competition fishers averaged larger fish, this might be a point to file away. The differences in results highlights why I was so keen to get separate datasets. TEMPERATURE Temperature is a great negative predictor – when the weather gets cold, barramundi tend to go quiet, but is temperature a predictor of success? In this case we have some zero values to remove as those are days where temperature wasn’t recorded: tempdata<-

Fig. 5 – comparison of size classes of fish by each of the fishing groups.

There does seem to be a difference in success rates, but that may be indicative of the fishers. General fishers had more success at temperatures under 30°C, but high productivity fishers had success above and again this may be selection of times when less fishers are on the water. That may be a clue – stick it out in the heat. WIND When it comes to wind, I have often heard competition fishers discussing how wind direction affects where the fish are

Note that in the competition, fishers were more successful at night while monitoring fishers were more successful in the morning. DAY OF CAPTURE Another measure of human behaviour would be when they go fishing. We all live busy lives and generally and regrettably more often than not fishing fits into our other scheduled activities rather than the other way around. If only that wasn’t the case. Interestingly, data collected has shown that changes for the better as you age – ie there will be more time for fishing. In fact, statistically, fishing is one of the activities that is maintained more often across a whole life. Take that CrossFit. When we look at weekdays fishing, the competition fishing is less relevant due to the fixed nature of the event: gplot(combineddataset, aes(x=hour.catch)) +

Fig. 7 – comparison of days of fish caught by each of the fishing groups.

This highlights an interesting difference in the behaviour of the high productivity vs general fishers. While both groups caught fish on all days, the high productivity fishers are more likely to avoid weekends – which is the peak traffic period.

“0” “E” “ENE” “ESE” “N” “NE” “NNE” “NNW” “NW” “S” “SE”, [12] “SSE” “SSW” “SW” “W” “WSW”.

The results are interesting particularly in the afternoon. A look longer term data weather data will show the prevailing wind patterns. If that trend looks something like the success rates then what we might be seeing is simply the more likely wind patterns represented in the data. In the code lab in github I dive into this further. Does that mean that wind influences success? Not necessarily. At this point I am dubious that wind is influential in success though it will influence where to fish. That is something that needs to be teased out in part II. WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? The object of this exercise is to tip the odds in our favour when choosing when to go fishing. Having a look at the raw data and some simple analysis we can see that there are clues. We can say that there is a difference in success based on

Fig. 6 – comparison of times of fish caught by each of the fishing groups.

combineddataset %>% dplyr::filter(max.temp!=0), ggplot(tempdata, aes(x=round(max.temp,0))) + geom_histogram(breaks=seq(25, 35, by=1),aes(y=.. density..), colour=”black”, fill=”white”) + geom_density(alpha=.2, fill=”#6666FF”) + facet_ grid(dataset ~ .).

geom_histogram(breaks=seq(1, 23, by=1),aes(y=.. density..), colour=”black”, fill=”white”) + geom_density(alpha=.2, fill=”#6666FF”) + facet_ grid(dataset ~ .).

chart we use the levels command to know what that progression is: levels(winddata$ [1]

Fig. 8 – Comparison of success at different points in the tide. things like tide, time, temperature, even day of the week can influence success. Even on the data provided, you can see that middle of the day is probably not the go – so before or after work on a weekday and at the top of the tide more so than the bottom. Don’t worry about temperature unless it’s 33°C+ or winter. You don’t need to panic on the direction of the wind, unless your favourite fishing spot is affected or it’s going to be dangerous on the water.

Fig. 9 – Comparison of success at different maximum temperatures. None of these variables are causational (directly affect the behaviour of fish) – a lot more work would need to be done to establish that. However, each in their own way do provide evidence, ie that they are indicators that may help improve our prediction of fishing success. It’s how they all come together. How do the interaction of wind, tide and temperature influence success? Can we pick the perfect combination to have a good day. Before I can get to that question, I need some bigger mathematical modelling guns and a bit more data to get the most from this dataset. That is where R really comes into its own, because unlike excel, R has access to the most powerful modelling tools on the planet – and they aren’t as hard to use as you might think. So in part II of this code lab, I will pick up a selection of tools that can be used to improve decision making even further and time permitting, provide a tool where you can put in a date and time and the tool will predict if that is a good or bad time to go fishing.

likely to be. A useful explanation for a donut no doubt. In this case we have the wind direction for the morning and afternoon catches. First, we need to filter the data, so that only morning catches are being compared to the 9am wind direction and afternoon/evening catches for the 3pm: winddata<-combineddataset %>%


Next as the final chart will list a numeric representation of a

Fig. 11 – Comparison of success with afternoon winds. JUNE 2019


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The subscriber prize winner for April is C Beacham of Harlin, who won an E.J. Todd Prize Pack to the value of $300. All subscribers are entered in the monthly subscriber prize draws. Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – QFM

of Kalangoor, J Connell of Graham’s Creek, I Hamson of Conondale, A Bunn of Frenchville, E Lezuchowski of Darra, M Roots of Cowley Beach, S Dawson of Gympie, G McGrath of Avoca, J Fourro of Bundaberg, C Hendry of Imbil, J Bugno of Bardon, B Mackey of Parkwood, T Richards of Kelso, M Hever of Childers, N Humble of Rockhampton, B Halberstater of Yeppoon, J Smith of

Toobeah, C Renz of Crestmead, R Poor of Godwin Beach, D Davidson of Guyra, R Kunde of Beerwah, B Stephan of Donnybrook, B Grice of Golden Beach, K Aldridge of Rockville, I Hermann of Pacific Heights, G Edwards of Home Hill, J White of Aspley, and C Robinson of Edmonton. Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – QFM




JUNE 2019

© A Cordelia Adams original artwork. Instagram: clausdoesart


This month’s Guess the Fish Answer: Bonito

The answers to Find the Gamakatsu Logo for April were: 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, 32, 39, 40, 52, 55, 57, 58, 60, 64, 100. – QFM The Find the Gamakatsu Logo prize winners for April were: R Benson of Boondall, J Routlodge of Bundaberg, B Devine of Pialaba, R Tendolle of Bunjurgen, D Hutchins of Bundaberg, H Myers of Eton, L Napier of Gooburrum, D Mayers of Northfield, D Skewes of Bli Bli, J Goody of Mt Berryman, D Lobley of Deebing Heights, B Newton of Trinity Beach, O Noffke


boats & kayaks

In the skipper’s seat 84 Fish fighting tips Inside story...

Sea Jay Aluminium Boats has been family owned and operated for over 25 years, and the name has become renowned for strength, quality workmanship and customization with the angler in mind. Whether you’re fishing in fresh or salt, inshore or offshore, Sea Jay will provide you with a model to suit your boating and fishing needs.

Made for...

Sea Jay specialises in boats for sports anglers, offering a stable fishing platform and plenty of storage.

This month...

Editor Steve Morgan takes the Sea Jay 460 Ranger Sports with Yamaha F75hp for a spin in Moreton Bay. Check it out on page 94!

Mick Underwood demonstrates some methods of using your boat to land bigger and better fish!

86 Paddling the Pine

Troy Brown explores the fantastic kayak fishing options on the Pine River north of Brisbane.

88 Saved by stinkers

Making the most of what’s available is what fishing is all about, especially from the kayak, as Justin Willmer explains.

90 Small craft storage

Wayne Kampe looks into storage options in smaller boats, and why this is an important consideration.

92 Skipper 449

Bob Thornton tests out this versatile rig from Stessco, powered by a Yamaha F50hp. JUNE 2019


Using your boat as an effective fish fighting tool regards to trophy-sized fish of just about any species. Before I rattle on too much about what and what not to do in particular situations, I’ll explain some of the fundamental reasons why we need to use our boat to help us out. One of the first things that comes to mind is to assist the hooked-up angler to maintain that ever important constant hook pressure. Quite often mid-fight I’ll have a big fish turn and start swimming at angle towards the boat, making it necessary to get the boat into gear pronto and do whatever that is required to keep the line tight. Just about any of the pelagic species will try and pull this trick on you at some point in time and if you’re not ready for it, that big fish that you so wanted may go begging. Another reason is simply to create and maintain effective line angles in order to keep the hooks set into a fish and to keep fight times to a minimum. The longer the fight the greater the chance there is for something to go wrong. Also, if targeting fish intended for release, the longer the fight the less chance that the fish will swim away again in a healthy manner. A primary reason to


Mick Underwood

There are quite a few aspects of our sport where we can do things in a certain way to give ourselves the biggest chance possible to get that fish of a lifetime. The correct use of our mode of transport on the water is one such way that we can all give ourselves a better chance to catch more and bigger fish. It doesn’t matter whether you fish from a kayak, a 60ft luxury game boat or something in between, whatever your chosen fishing platform is, your vessel an important fish fighting tool. Just like any tool that’s used in any trade it has to be used correctly to be effective. Too many people out there use their boat just as a means of transport to get to the fish when it can be used for so much more. In this article I am going to talk to you about some different scenarios that I encounter on a regular basis and how I use my boat Reel Addiction to give everyone onboard their best chance to get that special fish. I can tell you that if I didn’t use my boat to fight fish with, my catch rates would be significantly less than what they are, especially in

use our boat (and this is something that I do a lot of) is to keep a fish away from structure. Structure doesn’t just mean a bit of reef or rocks, it may be other boats fishing nearby, flotsam, moorings, jetties or pretty much anything either in or on the water that may bring a premature and unhappy ending to a fight. Using your boat can also help you stay in contact with a rampaging fish. When targeting big pelagics on light line, and this is something that I am passionate about, it’s common for a good fish to rip a couple of hundred metres of line off a spool in a single run. While I don’t like to have a big green fish too close to the boat, I don’t really want them on the horizon either. In this situation more often than not it can be prudent to get the boat into gear and get after the fish in order to remain in contact with it. There are a few reasons why we need to use ours boats, now let’s get on with how to use them. The following are some common situations that I find myself in and how I deal with them. These scenarios may not relate directly to how you fish in your backyard but I hope that you can take something from this that will help you out.

Drifting deep structure

Obstruction free water


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Fish holding area







Bottom structure

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JUNE 2019

Be aware of vertical line angles in a sea

Vertical movement of boat

DRIFT FISHING FOR DEEP REEF DWELLERS What I call deep fishing on my local grounds is water around 35-45m in depth. I appreciate that some of you will consider these depths to be at the shallow end of the scale, but for me that’s as deep as I go. When I am fishing this country I pretty much never anchor up. For one, it’s too hard to get the boat to hang up properly above a small piece of structure, but the main reason is that I need the boat ready to manoeuvre instantly once an angler has hooked-up to a substantial fish. If I was on anchor, even with a quick release system, the time it takes to get the boat mobile would be too slow and the fish would win its freedom. For the same reason I don’t use drogues (sea anchors) to help control the drifts, as the time it takes to get them out of the water is also too slow and will result in lost fish. Typical targets in this water are black jewfish, golden snapper, nannygai and coral trout. These are all dirty fighters that once hooked will do everything in their power to make it back into their snaggy homes and we all know that once they get there it’s game over. When I am engaging in this style of fishing I start my drifts up wind or up current from the fish holding area and allow enough room and time for the anglers onboard to get their lines down to the bottom before reaching the designated hotspot. I always drift with the stern facing into the sea and bump the engine astern and alter the helm as required to stay vertically above the angler’s offering. It’s a full time job and you need to remain attentive here. Don’t try this style of fishing by keeping your bow into the

As boat rises hook pressure increases As boat falls hook pressure decreases

sea – it simply won’t work. It’s too hard to remain vertically above the anglers lines, you’ll wind up with lines going underneath the boat at all sorts of crazy angles and you have the added risk of one of them becoming wrapped around your prop, so keep your stern to the sea. Once above the fish holding area and a lucky angler sinks their hooks into a good one, that’s when the fun starts and it’s time to use your ace card (your boat). When an angler hooks a fish that they can’t turn upwards straight away you need to use the boat to turn the fish’s head for them and manoeuvre the fish away from its home. Your actions on the helm need to be instant and quite often aggressive. Always be aware as you go through a drift what direction you need to pull a fish in order to make it to obstruction free water. As soon as you put the boat into gear to start pulling a fish give the order for all other anglers onboard to get their lines out of the water as soon as possible. Lines that are left in the water will only cause problems. If you’re using forward gear and pushing ahead to pull a fish, then be aware of where the other angler’s lines are in relation to your prop until they are clear of the water. For this reason, where it’s possible I like to pull a fish by going astern so that I can keep everyone’s lines away from the machinery. When pulling a fish away from structure don’t stop too soon. The distances that you have to pull will vary from fish to fish, just make sure that you get them away from any structure before backing the power down. You will almost certainly lose line during this process, this is largely unimportant as long as you’re getting the fish

away from the prickles. Line can always be wound back onto a reel, a big fish can’t normally be pulled out of a wreck. CASTING/TROLLING FRINGING REEFS AND OTHER SHALLOW STRUCTURE This is another form of sportfishing that I derive a lot of enjoyment from and when a combination of good rod handling and boat handling techniques are applied together the results can be stunning. There is no real rocket science to this one, it doesn’t matter whether you’re casting or trolling, keep your boat on the open water side of any structure that you are targeting. As with the deeper fishing, be ready to manoeuvre your vessel to open water in an instant as the majority of the time the fights with these shallow water reef dwellers are either won or lost in the first few seconds. If you hesitate or are indecisive in what your actions should be, then wave the fish and an expensive lure goodbye. One of the most notorious fighters that I deal with working around the edges of shallow reefs is the giant trevally. I have lost count of how many of these guys that I have lost over recent years due to them swimming behind the nearest bommie and cutting us off. This is one fish where your boat handling has to be instant and decisive. With giant trevally in particular, even when you do everything right you still won’t win them all, they are the epitome of a gutter brawler and will not come boat side without using every dirty trick that they can. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of being able to keep the boat in open water in order to be able to pull a fish in that direction. There are a lot of scenarios that require us to have the

aware of where any clear obstruction free water is. So that when you need to use your boat you already have it in your head where you need to get that fish to. Don’t be too aggressive when pulling a fish up on the flats, use a little finesse. Start carrying on with your boat up on the flats and you run the risk of doing some expensive prop and/ or gearbox damage and by causing too much calamity you’ll just shut the place down. To sum the shallow stuff up, be aware of what’s where in your local environment, try not to let structure dwellers get too far away from you and don’t make too much of a racket. CHASING DOWN THAT MONSTER FISH IN OPEN WATER This is a really tough one to cover as there is an endless list of variables involved. Including but not limited to: the size and style of boat being used, the weather and the sea state, the tackle being used, the ability of the angler and of course, whatever is connected to the end of the line. Please remember that out on the wild blue, no two fights will be the same and as a boat handler we have to learn to quickly

read the variables, make decisions on how we’re going to deal with them, and then act accordingly on those decisions in order to catch the fish. When chasing down big fish in open water I personally believe there is no substitute for experience and as you gain experience mistakes will be made. As long as we learn from our mistakes it doesn’t really matter too much, it’s just part of the learning process. Kind of like learning to ride a bike, you’ll end up with grazed knees and a bruised ego a few times along the way. To try and minimise this, I’ll point out a few errors that are commonly made and how best to avoid them. GETTING LINE BACK ON A FISH You’ve spent an hour or two steaming out to your wide grounds, got your gear in the water, hooked-up on a beauty and now it’s out on the horizon somewhere and you’ve got to get it back. Don’t try and get the line back too fast. Keep your heart rate down and take your time. There is no point in manoeuvring your boat towards a fish faster than the angler can wind the line back onto the reel. As with any angling

Drifting the flats and other shallow areas Weed & bommies

Reef and weed

Pu thi ll fis sw h ay

boat right up in the shallows and in these situations we need to use a different style of boat handling technique. For myself, common shallow water drifting scenarios include sight casting on the flats or drifting shallow weedy country in search of coral trout hiding in the weed. For anglers drifting shallow weedy country for bream and flathead, you could use the same method. When targeting trout and other structure dwellers up in the shallows in can be important to not let the boat get too far away from the fish. The further the fish is from the boat, the better chance it has to find something to hide under. For this reason I normally always cast downwind/down current during a drift, so that when a fish is hooked-up the boat is already moving in the direction of the fish, which gives me a chance to get on top of the thing fairly quickly. It can still be necessary to manoeuvre your boat up in these shallow areas in order to dictate good angles to the fish and keep it out of the prickles. When going through these shallow drifts keep visually scanning the entire local area so that you are

Casting direction

Obstruction free water

Direction of drift

Wind current

Working reef edges

Pull the fish out here

Bommies Open water

Hook up Fish holding area

Troll line

Fringing reef

situation, remain focussed on keeping good constant hook pressure to your fish. Unless you happen to be on the helm of a twinscrew purpose designed and built gamefisher that has been built to back down on fish by manoeuvring astern, don’t do it. Even if the fish has been hooked-up over the stern by trolling, wait until the other lines and teasers have been removed from the water before starting to work on the fish. Most of us fish from vessels that are designed to manoeuvre ahead, so once the dust has settled a bit, position the hooked-up angler on your boat suitably so that you can use forward gear and move ahead to start taking line back on a fish. FINISHING THE DEAL When fishing offshore one of the biggest mistakes is to wind up in a position where you’re fighting a big fish vertically under the boat. When coming up to the closing stages of a fight on a good fish don’t let the thing get underneath you, do whatever is necessary with your boat to keep the fish out beside the boat, behind it, out in front, wherever, just not underneath you. For one, once you get to this stage of the fight on a good fish the angler will be suffering from some degree of fatigue and their ability

to maintain good angling technique will possibly be starting to wane. Forcing a tired angler to try and start vertically lifting what could be several hundred pounds of fish with maxed out drag pressures is opening the doors for something to go wrong. Another reason to avoid this situation is hook pressure. When fishing out wide in offshore waters, unless you’ve lucked it out and are fishing on the best day of the year, there will be some amount of wave and swell action causing the boat to rise and fall. With a fish vertically under the boat, every time the boat rises to the crest of a wave this increases the pressure to a hook, and when the boat falls off the top of a wave and drops down into a trough this decreases the pressure to a hook, working it loose and this also opens up the doors for an unhappy ending. A few years back when on the closing stages of a fight with an estimated 950lb+ Atlantic blue marlin, we had a capable young angler in the chair and he had done a great job of getting the fight to this point. This was the biggest fish that we had seen that season and the excitement levels onboard were at fever point. The boat was rising and falling

sharply as we were in a patch of nasty wind against tide swell. The drag on the Tiagra 130 was at sunset while we were trying to get the last few metres of line off this fish, which was pulling vertically down straight under the rod tip. I was standing at the transom, leader gloves on and just itching to get a double wrap on the 700lb leader. I could see the top of leader, it was just beneath the surface of the water. We were so close I could almost taste the success and then it happened, the hooks pulled and everything went limp. If I had got my hands on that leader it would have beaten my best blue on leader by at least 150lb and been one of the pinnacles of my angling career. Instead, due to using the wrong angles through poor boat handling, that fish is now permanently etched in my mind for all the wrong reasons. Don’t let this happen to you. This article by no means covers every aspect of how we can utilise our fishing wagons to help tilt the odds in our favour (I could write a set of encyclopaedias on this). But I hope that what I have mentioned here helps all of you budding skippers out and that the next monster that you get on a line makes it to the side of the boat. Good luck. JUNE 2019


‘Pining’ for a kayak adventure BRISBANE

Troy Brown

With the vast number of exceptional waterways in Queensland, I was recently asked how I choose which area to feature for QFM each month. At first I wasn’t sure, but then I realised it was usually driven by three factors: ease of access, likelihood of the angler achieving a good catch, and whether it has sections of water that favour a kayak angler. North Pine River meets these criteria with ease. While the river is a popular

Fringe-eyed flathead are a surprisingly frequent catch at the moment. Drifting flats near the bridge fishing platform will likely produce one of these unique fish.

Small creeks and inlets can produce large bream under the heavy structure. boating and land-based fishing destination, it truly excels for kayak fishing. I saw the benefits of kayaking the Pine on a recent trip. Each day had periods of inactivity, but overall results were outstanding and the days enjoyable. I met several fellow kayak anglers on the water, all of whom who had at least some level of success. Meanwhile, chatting to a large number of boaters produced a vastly different response. Nearly every boater had failed to land fish or had very limited catches. While there were a smaller number of boat fishers who had above average hauls, catch rates from the kayaks were much higher. Typically, I would assume this was due to a relatively small sampling of participants, but the comments I received are consistent with most locations I visit. While boats allow you access to offshore areas with larger fish, inshore areas are best fished from a smaller hull. ACCESS North Pine River is easily accessible from multiple locations, but for those seeking a simple launch and access to excellent fishing areas on either tide, I would recommend starting with the boat ramps at Deepwater Bend or Dohles Rocks. From either of these locations (depending on tide) you have access to the South Pine River, the wrecks near the Bruce Highway, exceptional flats fishing and deep channel access to the Houghton Highway Bridge. Both locations have well maintained ramps, as well as 86

JUNE 2019

adequate parking for vehicles and trailers. If you prefer a ‘lucky dip’ of fish, consider heading further inland to the Lawnton boat ramp. Salinity in this section is much lower and you can expect an interesting mix of species. The Lure Project’s Lee Major has fished the length of the Pine River extensively, but close to Lawnton has experienced catches of tarpon, bream, golden perch, bass and flathead all from the same area. While pest species will be more prevalent, this is a good location if you value variety above all else.

the water forces you to be more observant and in tune with your surroundings. Motorised vessels can get to a location faster, but kayaks can fish in areas inaccessible to most boats. Kayakers need to be flexible in their approach, as they do not have the advantage of speed, so the kayak fisher usually starts fishing from the moment they hit the water. Kayakers are also a social bunch and well-established social media groups are known to openly share locations, tips and techniques. The North Pine River seems purpose-made for learning the skills required for kayak fishing. Wide sections of flats are easily perfect playgrounds for the kayaker, accessible even on low tide in many areas. These flats are exceptional for targeting big flathead and bream. Shallow drafted boats can access some of these areas, but none will do it with the stealth of a kayak. WHY FISH THE PINE Access and kayak friendly areas are important, but these are secondary if there are no fish. In this respect, the

Even small cod are excellent sport on light gear. This fish was taken with a ZMan Trick SwimZ rigged on a Decoy Nailbomb weedless jighead. A simple slow roll retrieve works well with these soft plastics. BENEFITS OF KAYAK FISHING My belief is that kayaks rapidly increase the learning curve for most fishers who are new to the sport, or who have struggled for years to achieve consistent catches. Fishing from a kayak is more physically demanding, but I believe that being closer to

North Pine delivers by the boatload. Bread and butter species such as bream, cod and flathead are a staple of the Pine. The majority of fish will be moderately sized, but occasional trophy-size catches will appear. Mulloway can be targeted anywhere you find a deeper section of the river, but are most likely to be found

in areas such as the Bruce Highway wrecks, where deep water also hides baitfish rich structure. Mangrove jack season is essentially over, but the odd fish will still be tempted along rock walls and beneath timber. Jacks and cod seem to love similar structure, so little is lost when working these areas for the inactive mangrove jack, as a hard-hitting cod or monster bream will likely be inhabiting the same areas. For sheer numbers and enjoyable fights, it is hard to beat the abundant trevally. While these fish are often working the edges of the dropoffs, you will currently find most fish stalking the deeper sections of the river. The area between Deepwater Bend and the Dohles Rocks ramp seems to be the most prolific, with shallow or surface lures accounting for a number of fish. Watch for fish breaking the surface – this is most commonly mullet, but is also a sign of trevally preying on fish

Tim Donselaar with an exceptional North Pine mulloway caught drifting near the wrecks. This mulloway engulfed a small Kato blade and was a tough battle on a 2-4kg rod. chance to log areas that you have not previously fished, making mental notes for future trips. The occasional fish hitting a trolled lure will increase your excitement, but I see these brief lulls as an opportunity to observe and learn. If someone asked me to recommend some simple tips for catching more fish in the Pine, I have some firm

Ray Hawes with a superb Pine flathead. This 68cm fish was one of many landed during a busy session. just below the water. Always paddle or pedal to a surface bust-up, as there is usually an active predator nearby. Casting soft plastics is my favourite technique, as strikes are normally impressive and you are actively involved in hooking the fish. Selecting where to cast is the most difficult choice, but ultimately should be dictated by the level of success you are experiencing. Working a soft plastic or hardbody lure into structure is incredibly rewarding when fish are active. If this technique is not working, move to the flats and drop-offs, casting across a wide area to see if this elicits a strike. If this fails, it is time to accept that trolling may be more effective. Despite employing multiple techniques, various baits, soft or hard lures, sometimes the fish simply are not active. If you persist, even when it is shut down you will still catch a fish occasionally. I tend to use these brief interludes as an opportunity to explore, trolling a lure behind the kayak while surveying my surroundings. These quiet periods are a

preferences for tackle and timing. When fishing flats or casting deep into structure, I prefer a soft plastic with a very pronounced action, coupled with a range of jighead weights to suit tidal conditions and depth. I pair this with a slow roll or gentle lift/drop action, avoiding the more erratic retrieve required by some lures. For the lazy angler, simply drifting with a grub style lure bouncing on the bottom will account for a solid number

of flathead. When picking hardbody lures, a diver with a rating of 0.5-1m is ideally combined with a 2-3m version. Use the lures individually, or run the shallow lure along the edge and the deep diving lure on the opposite side of the kayak in the main channel. Tweaking the lure bib carefully will allow you to get a wider spread on the lures, but I find this is rarely necessary. Your trolling speed is whatever is required to get the lure vibrating gently but consistently in the water; for most crank style lures this seems to be a fairly sedate 2 knots. If you are targeting trevally, working the shallow lure mid-river is very effective. When chasing an elusive mulloway live bait is king, but vibes and jigging lures are also effective. For all species the best times can vary, but over the past month my best catches have occurred during the run-out tide, with particularly good results in the last two hours of this tide. While I enjoy fishing the North Pine River, some days are simply better than others. My recent trips have all produced exceptional numbers of fish, admittedly without the monsters that occasionally appear. Inevitably, if you invest time and patience into any location, the larger fish will appear. Take your time to explore this river, enjoy the catches when fish are active and educate yourself during the downtime. Follow these rules and you will enjoy the experience.

The wide river allows kayak fishers room to stay away from boat traffic. Nirmal Sumy took advantage of the calm conditions to sight cast the well-structured shoreline.



New LightHouse Annapolis 3.9 operating system unlocks new features and functionality for Raymarine MFDs. As with every Raymarine LightHouse operating system update, downloads are free and easy at http://www.raymarine. com/multifunction-displays/lighthouse3/. ClearCruise Augmented Reality (AR) is now supported on FLIR M132 and M232 thermal camera systems. Day or night, AR shows you valuable identification data for navigation aids, AIS contacts and waypoints. The AR display even updates automatically to work with the pan and digital zoom capabilities of the M232 for true 360° viewing. ClearCruise AR is only available on Axiom MFDs. The RealBathy feature lets you build detailed bathymetric charts in real-time, and Annapolis 3.9 now supports intuitive pinch-to-zoom touchscreen control as well as touch-and-drag range shift. There’s also Yamaha Command Link Plus Integration.

The Railblaza TracWedge enables the easy installation of StarPorts and SidePorts into the gunwale tracks on most aluminium boat brands in Australia under 4m. There is no drilling of holes required, and ports can be moved easily. The TracWedge fits gunwale channels on Quintrex, Stacer, Savage, Stessl, Stessco and Sea Jay open boats. There are two models available, the StarPort (#03-4127-11) and SidePort (#03-4126-11). They receive all Railblaza accessories, including rod holders, drink holders, navigation lights, fish finders and baitboards. It keeps your boat tidy and free of clutter, and are easily moved to a new position along the gunwale. For more information on these and other boat/kayak mounting products, visit the Railblaza website.



Scanstrut has released the world’s first 12/24V waterproof wireless charger range – the ROKK Wireless. The IPX6 waterproof 12/24V Qi certified waterproof wireless charging range enables charging for the outdoor environment, without the need for phone charging cables. Designed from the ground up, this is the world’s first waterproof wireless charge system created specifically for use on board, with the unique technology housed in an IPX6, fully encapsulated and sealed unit. Working directly with 12/24V systems, ROKK Wireless is ideal for life on the move and is perfect for boats and caravans. It’s easy to install anywhere you need your phone, either indoors or outdoors. No more wires. Exceeding the latest and highest standards of the Qi wireless protocol, ROKK Wireless is independently certified to deliver ultra-safe charging anywhere on board.



Fusion has released two new additions to its industry-leading range of marine audio entertainment products, the Signature Series 6-channel and 8-channel class-D marine amplifiers. These new 6-channel 1500W and 8-channel 2000 W amplifiers deliver an impressive power rating and are designed to suit all audio installation requirements. These powerful amplifiers are built with Class-D amplification for higher efficiency and output, a rigid aluminium heat sink, a subsonic filter, variable low and high pass crossover filters, and are 2 Ohm stereo stable and include variable bass boost, behind a stainless-steel front panel with a mirror finish. Ensuring low current draw from the battery while delivering increased power, the efficient design makes it suit any boating environment. Carrying Fusion’s True-Marine accreditation, these amplifiers are protected by a 3-year warranty. Fusion has also laughed a high quality, corrosion-resistant range of RCA cables and connectors.







Charging the service batteries on your boat can be challenging. Recharging tends to take a long time and batteries may not receive a full charge. Smart alternators and start/stop systems make the problem even worse. Traditionally, a service battery is linked to the starter battery by means of a charge relay. The starter battery is located close to the alternator and receives most of the charge current. However, the service battery is usually further away. Long cables cause voltage drop, leading to slow charging, failing appliances and reduced battery life. Modern engines have smart alternators which provide a variable voltage; after a brief charging period, voltage is reduced and the charging stops. Furthermore, the energy produced by regenerative braking leads to voltage peaks. Service batteries coupled in the traditional way will receive hardly any charge and may be damaged by the peak voltages. Mastervolt Mac Plus DC-DC chargers, available in 12V or 24V, monitor the service battery and compensate the voltage loss. The 3-step charge method ensures a quick and safe charge. Moreover, by stabilising the charge voltage, the service battery and sensitive equipment are protected. Price: SRP $1079





The new Hutchwilco 170N inflatable lifejacket (#BASC0170) features ARS technology (Advanced Roll Over System) with a 170N asymmetric bladder for superior self-righting and head-up support. The new higher spec version of the inflatable which has a 170N interlock bladder partnered with a UML Pro-Sensor indicator inflator mechanism. It has a indicator window to show you that your jacket is good to go. The 170N lifejacket somes with stainless steel adjustment system and D ring. The outer cover has a soft neoprene neck for more comfort, plus a mesh back for improved fit and comfort, and an integral crotch strap with stowage pouch. It also features a spray hood in both models, a burst zip closure and quality 50mm webbing. One size fits most adults, and it comes in navy/black. Price: SRP $149


6 Please email contributions to:


JUNE 2019


Saved by the stinkers BRISBANE

Justin Willmer Find me on Facebook at Yaks On

I’ve always been a big believer in the saying ‘no run, no fun’ when it comes to fishing, so when I was recently confronted with

just seem disinterested, with no drive to actively hunt or feed. These tides with little flow are sometimes welcomed in different areas, such as when chasing barra in some areas up north or targeting structure in deep water, however in my local estuary and river systems it

With the wind forecast to blow up, the plan was to get on the water early. those tides that seem to just sit there all day, with a low high tide, high low tide and very little tidal movement, I had to come up with a plan. To make matters worse, my wife’s grandmother was visiting from interstate and the pressure was on to put together a couple of packs of fish for her to take home for a feed. I had tried all sorts of rigs and techniques to get the fish to feed on these tides in the past, and they

can definitely make for a lot of casts and a slow bite. After lots of trial and error on these types of tides, I have now learnt to grab my confidence lures, fish the techniques that I know produce, hit a few favourite spots and just work hard, stay alert to bait and activity in the area and persist. So, on this particular morning I ignored my own advice, rigged up a whole bunch of weedless, experimental presentations and headed

off across a section of flats that I rarely even fish on the good tides… and you can probably guess the result. After an hour of nothing I was still working an area that wasn’t feeling fishy, on a tide that was realistically too low, with lures that I wasn’t confident in. It’s important to make the call and change things up if it’s not working, so I changed to a few of my go-to lures, turned the kayak around and spent about thirty minutes pedalling against the tide to the area of flats that I had originally intended to fish… before coming up with my great alternative plan. Luckily the tide wasn’t running hard and that was about the only positive for a kayak angler, as I could physically make the move to this area. When I arrived on the flat I had already lost some of the small high tide, so I looked for deeper areas on the flat, where the water depth dropped from about 2ft to around 3ft. This additional foot of water is all that it takes to give fish the confidence to hold on the flat and feed. I also focussed on areas where there was weed and rubble that would hold food, rather than the flat open areas of sand. First cast and I was on to what I hoped was a nice bream, however after a few fast changes of direction and some crazy head shakes I realised it was a small trevally. We had recently had a couple of sessions on this flat, landing plenty of these trevally and I was still yet to identify them officially. They were great fun on light gear, as most trevally are, and a cool looking fish, however they had a slime coat on them that was quite smelly, so my wife and I had nicknamed them stinkers. “Oh no, not another stinker” was the call as we chased bream on the flats during

Not the most highly regarded table fish, but a feed for the author’s visitor. 88

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After a false start to the morning these trevally were a welcome rod bender. a previous session and she landed seven in a row. Today though, I was grateful for the stinkers and after an hour and a half without a bump I now had

lost, it was time to get back to the job at hand and fish for a feed for nan. I’m not sure if these trevally were edible or legal to keep, however it didn’t really matter, as my

catching a bream or flathead on the channel drop off. Here I set up a slow drift along the edge, allowing me to cast a few metres onto the flat and then retrieve fairly

The trevally put up a good fight on light gear. Note how shallow the water is. a bent rod and a smile on my face. I was casting and slow rolling a 2.5” paddletail plastic on a 1/8oz 1/0 jighead. The hits were fierce and the runs had the drag singing. After an hour or so and eight landed and a few

wife and I never keep any trevally for the table as they are too cool a fish and too much fun to take out of the system, when they could be left for a kid to catch one day. I moved to the edge of the flat in the hope of

quickly for the first couple of metres to avoid fouling in the weed. I then allowed the plastic to fall down the drop off. After a couple more stinkers, I hooked a different breed of stinker, a yellowtail pike. The difference with

Another flathead to finish the session.

these slimy, smelly and oily fish is that I knew they are okay eating, especially in the smoker. They are quite messy to handle and fillet,

on the tough conditions. It was this little flatty’s unlucky day and he joined nan’s yellowtail pike in the icebox.

A decent size yellowtail pike went into the icebox for nan. with their slime and scales left everywhere, however this one went into the icebox for nan. I was beginning to curse the tides when I had a solid hit and then that familiar run of a bream surging across the flats. Eventually

Seeing that yellowtail pike in the icebox made me decide to head to an area where I knew there would be more pike holding on a weed flat. They would be feeding regardless of the tide and I was confident that I could attract a few bites

be all that’s needed when the bite is tough. After paddling to the area that I was going to fish, I stopped to see whether I was going to drift with the slow tide or the breeze and then set up a drift across the weed flat. When targeting yellowtail pike it’s just a matter of getting the retrieve right and it can vary depending on water depth and how aggressively they are feeding. After a few straight winds and follows without strikes, I included a few pauses and shakes of the rod tip. Fish on! Then the fish were shaking the plastic and I was losing more than I was catching. I changed strategy and as soon as the fish was hooked, I didn’t give them an inch, keeping the pressure on to the point of skipping the smaller ones across the surface. This kept the hook in and ensured the fish made it to the kayak. I released a few smaller fish and kept the ones that were worth filleting, adding a dozen to the icebox. The stinkers had saved the day, with the trevally providing plenty of action on the flat and the pike making up a nice feed for nan. This would give her one pack of flathead and a couple of packs of yellowtail pike, to go with a few packs of crab that were already in the freezer. Not a bad seafood feast for someone that lives in regional NSW! The wind was forecast to blow up and it didn’t disappoint, as it now had

Fish on! Although maybe not the desired species, a bent rod means a smile on the face. tail and 3/8oz 3/0 jighead and cast toward the edge of the weed, working the plastic down the channel edge and into water that was a few metres deep. With the slow current I would have normally used a 1/4oz jighead, however the heavier jighead made it easier to get the casting distance and stay in contact with the plastic in the wind. The first cast settled on the bottom and was eaten immediately by a bar-tailed flathead, that was probably just legal but quickly returned to the water, as they are less common in the area that I fish. Two casts later and the plastic was eaten in more aggressive fashion by what felt like a reasonable flathead. A few solid runs on the light gear and plenty of headshakes and I had a mid-40s flathead in the net. Not a monster, but a good meal size fish for nan’s icebox. With the wind now gusting hard, my session was over. Despite the poor tides and false start, I had managed to hunt and gather a feed for our interstate visitor. I

had a couple flathead meals and couple of yellowtail pike meals to go with her crab and squid caught earlier. It had been the stinkers that had made the session enjoyable

forget those species that we loved to catch as kids, whether it be for fun, for bait or as a feed. They still put a bend in the rod, can be great fun to target and they

The ZMan 2.5” Slim SwimZ are a good all rounder in the estuaries. by providing the most action though, with a couple of dozen trevally and yellowtail pike landed over a few hours. When the tides aren’t great or the bite isn’t going to plan in your area, don’t

are often readily available. You never know, you too could find yourself having a much more enjoyable and action-packed session thanks to the stinkers. See you on the water.

One of the stinkers landed fishing the shallow flats. I had the fish close enough to the kayak to watch it shake the jighead and swim away… yep, they weren’t going to make it easy for me. Soon after, a cast into a sandy patch was soon rewarded with a solid take and the headshakes of a flathead. When I slid the net under this fish there was a sense of relief, along with a sense of achievement based

on the little 2.5” paddle tail. Many anglers consider species like yellowtail pike, mullet, gar and salmon to be nothing more than bait or a less desirable species to target. It’s important to remember though that these species are also often more prolific, can be good eating if looked after and prepared correctly and they also put a bend in your rod, which can

become stronger than the weak tide, pushing me away from my final destination. It was time to head for home, with just one last spot to have a few casts before putting the kayak back on its trolley and calling it a day. Upon reaching the last spot I positioned the kayak a cast distance from the bank, grabbed the rod that was rigged with a 3” paddle-

It doesn’t take much water depth to hold a flathead. JUNE 2019


Success with small craft storage BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

Safe storage of priority items and tackle is one of the major challenges that owners of small boats face. While it’s generally accepted that storage space within small vessels – say under 5m – is always going to be a test of ingenuity, most anglers

With safety first, you need to keep life jackets as accessible as possible, so they are within easy reach at all times. Personal comfort items are of a lesser priority and can be tucked away where they won’t affect the fishing work area. Soft bags will take care of clothes, a waterproof box for the tucker, and an insulated fish bag will certainly take care of fish coming home. Then we come to fishing

but inevitably even the largest storage areas will eventually be taken up with gear. Storage under seats, within a cabin, or in cockpit-length side pockets are a blessing, and some larger craft even have storage racks for rods or gaffs built into T tops over the helm area. There’s no question that bigger is better when it comes to storage, but most of us don’t have that option. Still, you can store what you need

up front. I set it up with an off-floor shelf with a marine ply floor bulwark next to it. The allowed the necessary safety gear to be stored under the foredeck while the anchor and rope were down lower at floor level. This worked well, and nothing ever moved from its designated place, no matter how rough the conditions were. We’d travel fair distances on Monduran Dam looking for big barra, so cushions were always on hand to ease the discomfort of sitting on hard metal during long trips. Next came the issue of rod storage, which was challenging given that we were doing a lot of fly fishing with 3m fly rods. The little tinny had no rod holders or rod racks of any kind, so I installed a basic set of horizontal rod holders with the aft one set up on the rear thwart to port and another set up on the front seat also to port. It looked a bit rough, but the system worked and was able to safely hold spin and fly rods while we powered along to a chosen fishing spot. Everything else was packed in tackle boxes or other containers with lids, and if

Very long rod lockers come in handy on small craft. we wanted to keep a fish or two for dinner we put them into an insulated and iced down fish bag. Fish from the estuaries or bass dams were easily stored, but larger barramundi posed real problems, so we usually let them go after a few photos. If it rained, some things

did get wet, and when the boat was unattended on its trailer we removed everything of value for safe keeping, but our systems worked and we really enjoyed fishing out of that little boat. YOUR CHALLENGES For most small boat owners there are similar

Even though things were pretty rough, the author and his wife managed to keep valuable fly rods safe. Note the sheep skin cushioning for those long runs, and the green tub to contain fly line while casting. seem to enjoy the challenge of getting their boat set up to their satisfaction. WHAT DO YOU NEED? Let’s consider what needs to be stored in that small trailer

gear. The last thing any sensible angler wants is for valuable rods and reels to be bouncing about on the floor as the boat navigates choppy conditions, so you need some

in a small boat – you just need to get more creative. Trying to store everything in a small boat is going to involve some compromises, and it comes down to making the most

A typical smaller side pocket, best suited for smaller items that might need to be kept handy. boat. My view is that it comes down to safety equipment first, then those items we need for our own comfort, which includes apparel and tucker, and then the all-important fishing gear. What about the catch? We can’t just throw our fish into the engine well, so keeping fish fresh is a necessity. 90

JUNE 2019

means of securing tackle in transit. THE LARGER THE BOAT THE BETTER THE STORAGE Obviously, if the boat has come off a tandem trailer there will be a lot of really useful storage space on hand. Larger boats have plenty of room to store everything you need,

of what you have to make things work. SETTING UP THE TINNY We are all familiar with the common little 3.65m tinny, the 12ft. I used to use a boat this size to fish freshwater impoundments and estuaries. The only storage within this handy little outboard craft was the under-deck area

Top: This roomy looking alloy craft features lots of work room and flexible seating. There is even room for a set of rod holders to be horizontally mounted to port just under the gunwale deck. Above: There’s some useful storage here, but some rubber padding glued on the bottom and sides would make it that bit better.

solutions that can assist with storage. Side and centre console rigs can usually be set up with a series of upright rod holders up front or along the sides of the console to carry rods while on the water. Never carry rods there when the boat is being towed behind the car. If there is sufficient uncluttered room along interior sides of the craft, budget style rod holders can be installed. Take care not to go screwing things through the side of the boat unnecessarily; you can do this by using appropriately sized self-tappers. If you do need to bolt right through the side, simply put plenty of silicon on the job. Many boats can also be set up with the flexible rod holders spaced out on corresponding flat surfaces,

Innovation wins again. The owner of this craft has worked out a perfect way to store that rod. rod storage, they can assist by holding a gaff, folded landing nets, wallets of plastics or other tackle that might need to be kept close by. DOWNSIZE THOSE TACKLE BOXES Tackle boxes need to be of just the right size to readily accommodate the essential tackle for the trip. When you are fishing from a small boat you simply don’t have the luxury of taking everything that might possibly be of use. Anglers do tend to specialise these days, so it’s

These rod holders handle the 3m long fly rods in the author’s boat. A bit rough, but it works. not unusual to see a couple of smaller boxes, maybe a roll or two of plastics plus matching jigheads stored in a small boat as it leaves the ramp. Compact tackle is good tackle that does

There’s the potential to set up a set of side mounted rod holders here, as those well-spaced ribs would be an ideal spot to mount them.

The aft section of the rod holders in the author’s craft handle two fly rods rigged and ready for action.

One of the things that make bow rider crafts so attractive is the great storage under the front seating. so that rods are safely stored while on the water. A rod holder set horizontally on the lid of an aft compartment, another set up

on the front deck or on a seat will see a couple of rods stored easily and within reach. If the craft is tiller steered, set them up away from the skipper’s

helm area. These days a lot of smaller boats are set up with side pockets, and while these are often too small to be useful for

not obstruct fishing room. If you get a new tackle box, it might be wise to gently turn the hose on it at home to simulate light rain and see how the box shapes up. Some will leak and it can be very annoying to open a tackle box and see valuable chemically sharpened hooks sitting in water that’s discoloured by their corrosion. SOFTEN UP THOSE METAL COMPARTMENTS Lastly, quite a few of today’s alloy boats are set up with some storage, with punt-style rigs with their handy up front hatch

covered compartments coming immediately to mind. Unfortunately, bare metal compartments are not very tackle friendly, so it’s a good idea to visit a cheap shop and secure a few metres of soft rubber matting to line these compartments. Contact cement will keep the soft liners in place, and it’s surprising just how efficient this system is in both keeping the noise down and keeping valuable items undamaged. LAST THOUGHTS Storage in small boat can definitely present a few challenges but I have found that it’s quite satisfying finding innovative ways to create storage space. Just remember that some parts of the boat must stay as they are. I recently saw a small tinny with a battery sitting mid thwart where a big hole had been cut in the top of the middle seat to accommodate the battery. Exchanging in-built flotation for a sure method of sinking the craft in the event of a mishap is definitely taking storage just a bit too far!

When rod tips are going to contact hard and unyielding surfaces, a section of soft material prevents damage. JUNE 2019


Stessco Skipper 449 with Yamaha F50hp 4-stroke - SC




by Dunbier, the warranty is extended to two years. Obviously, the Stessco guys recommend sitting these boats on these purpose-built trailers, and anyone who’s owned a boat for a long time will preach the benefits of having a trailer that’s actually built for the vessel it supports. WALKTHROUGH Before we dropped this rig in the water and pounded it through some Pumicestone Passage chop, I did the usual preliminary walkthrough to see what we were looking at. Even


Length...................................................... 4620mm Beam ...................................................... 2100mm Depth......................................................... 925mm Bottom Sides................................................ 3mm Top Sides....................................................... 3mm Max hp............................................................... 50 Max transom weight....................................165kg Transom Height............................................... 20” Max people.......................................................... 4 Base boat hull weight..................................308kg 92

JUNE 2019

though I am someone who fishes very specifically, this general boating and fishing rig really impressed me with little pieces of convenience that would add up to a more comfortable day on the water. The transom was an open design, meaning access to tanks, fuel filters and batteries would be very easy, but despite being open it stayed very dry, even in the lumpy conditions we experienced later on. The enormous splash well also helped to keep everything dry and comfortable for those sitting at the back of the boat. There was a mountain of workspace behind the cockpit, which would be perfect for restless kids (or adults) waiting for their next bite, and a drop-in style bench seat in the rear of the work space is a great piece of ingenuity. A user can go from seating two people to four people comfortabley by just dropping this apparatus in; of course without it there is even more storage space behind the cockpit!

The high windscreen ensured the ride was incredibly dry, and neatly mounted electronics kept everything simple and clean. The soft top bimini is just another way to make it more comfortable for those on-board, without complicating the design in any way, and definitely a


Main: The smooth, dry ride was a huge plus in the Skipper, especially with a little chop around. Above: The F50hp delivered excellent economy and Yamaha’s trademark quietness.


Stessco have always been a dominant name in the boating scene in Australia, and it’s easy to see why. Their range of hulls alone makes them stand out from the pack, and their applicationspecific designs really endear them to anglers. What tends to be forgotten about is the fantastic range of runabouts for general boating and fishing that Stessco also produces, and when powered by a reliable engine and sat on a trailer from a trusted brand, they’re perfect for entrylevel boaters. On this blustery autumn day in South East Queensland, we met up with the team from Stessco and Will Lee from Yamaha to test out a few boats, and here we will examine the 449 Skipper, powered by a Yamaha F50hp. SOME INFO The 449 is the second largest of the four boats in the Skipper series, and being a ‘standard’ or ‘entry-level’ boat within the Stessco range, it comes with a 12 month structural warranty. If the buyer chooses to sit it on one of the Stessco trailers built

plus when relaxing on a boat in the skin cancer capital of the world! ON THE WATER Climbing into the boat was easy, and users of all ages and abilities will appreciate having the luxury to enter this boat from both the rear by the platform via a ladder on the transom or by the split windscreen over the front. On the water this boat performed exactly as promised: a dry and comfortable ride, with the smooth purr of a 4-stroke at the rear. Even in 10-15 knot southeasterly winds the ride never got uncomfortable, even with four adults aboard, three of whom were holding expensive camera gear! As the performance statistics show, the economy you can get from the Yamaha’s F50hp is nothing short of exceptional, but as with most boats, WOT isn’t the best way to save on fuel. The sweet spot of 4,500rpm delivered great economy at 3.9km/L, and a comfortable speed of 37km/h,


Bob Thornton






which would get you across any dam or bay in no time. Needless to say, this rig could get offshore on the right day if fitted out correctly, however this boat is much more at home in sheltered waters like dams, bays, rivers and creeks. There are better boats for offshore fishing in the Stessco range. FINAL THOUGHTS As I mentioned before, I look for boats designed for a specific purpose, but despite this bias, I really appreciated how simple and easy to use everything in this boat was. Any entry-level boater would be looking for a boat/motor/ trailer package that is simple, comfortable and user-friendly, and the Skipper 449 ticks all these boxes. With a price around the mid-$20K mark, this is another reason why the Skipper is the perfect way to get into boating. For more info about any boats in the Stessco range, visit, or go to Facebook or Instagram at ‘Stessco’.

Simple, but not unattractive. The 449 is a great-looking boat that isn’t going to strain your bank account too much.

The 449 manages to provide an incredible amount of storage space without heaps of hatches, while still managing to keep everything dry for the most part.

The Yamaha F50hp is as economic as it is attractive.

A basic sounder mounted in a simple fashion was very much in tune with the rest of the boat.

A simple anchor well up the front is accessible, and uncomplicated, just like everything else in the boat.

The drop-in style bench seat was a great feature for this simple rig, and means it can go from seating two to four people very easily.

The 449 had no worries getting onto the plane, and even with four aboard and equipment, you could still cruise economically to your fishing/relaxation spot.

The battery box in the rear corner stayed dry, but was also within easy reach should anything need attention while out on the water.

Having the right trailer for the job can only be a good thing, and in this case, it doubles the structural warranty!

Once again, a simple transom makes for easy maintenance and entry to the boat without compromising the finish of the boat. JUNE 2019


Sea Jay 460 Ranger Sports with Yamaha F75 - SC



T JUNE 2019


Main: The guys at Stones Corner Marine all fish, and you can tell they’ve set this rig up just the way they’d want it if it were their own boat. Above: Yamaha’s F75 is one of the newer outboards in their range, and with 1.8L of displacement, it has no problems pushing the Ranger up and onto the plane. SeaDek on the gunwales complement the Humminbird fishfinder and Minn Kota trolling motor to deliver a turnkey rig that would suit the most fastidious of anglers.

Length......................................................... 4.6m Beam......................................................... 2.35m Depth ........................................................ 1.26m Bottom.sheet ............................................. 4mm Side.sheet................................................... 4mm Floor.ribs ........................................................ 10 Capacity ............................................. 5 persons Hull.weight ............................................... 495kg Max.hp ............................................................ 75 Max.motor ................................................ 155kg


you need for navigation, fuel and fish literally at your fingertips. If you want to find out more about these Bundaberg-built aluminium boats, don’t be afraid to give the guys at Stones Corner Marine a call or visit their website at www.



This Sea Jay Ranger Sports (side console) put together by Stones Corner Marine had all of the luxuries on a small sportsfishing boat built on the original Ranger frame. And it looks the goods – the metallic wrap, carpet and trimmings like customised


We get a pretty good feel for how boats are received into the marketplace when we post the video versions of the boat tests on our YouTube and social media channels. One of the most popular boats we’ve tested was the launch of the barebones but heavy-duty Sea Jay Ranger a couple of years ago. Unpainted, yet bristling with checkerplate floors and built as hard as nails, this model really hit the mark for anglers in tropical climates who want to do maintenance with a garden hose and who are hard on their boats. This time, instead of the bare, tiller tinny, we were presented an offering at the other end of the spectrum.


into all kinds of piscatorial trouble anywhere around the country. In line with the evolving relationship between Garmin and Yamaha (check out our video on the new Yamaha CL7 gauge/sounder/GPS on our YouTube channel), the Stones Corner Marine

Steve Morgan






The test day was spectacular, and we launched at Raby Bay and made the short run across to Peel Island in a slight northerly. To be honest, I wasn’t too interested in seeing how the Ranger hull would handle 25 knot conditions, as it’s

a fairly flat bottomed boat that’s well suited to inland waterways, rivers and open bays on calm days. If you plan on fishing in strong wind warnings all your life, there are better boats in the Sea Jay range to do that in. As it was, with a quartering sea and a strengthening northwester on the way home, it was hard to stay dry. Safe, but a little wet. As a fishing platform though, this Sea Jay excels. Stones Corner Marine’s Troy Wegener and Sea Jay’s Garry Fitzgerald didn’t need much of a nudge to get them up and casting for some shallow water bay inhabitants. The 2.35m beam adds to stability and keeps the draft shallow. You can get this rig into some pretty skinny water. And like most 4-strokes on boats this size, economy is excellent. The F75 Yamaha delivered 59km/h

with the hammers down and got 2km/L at 5,500rpm. Ease up to 4,000rpm, though, and the economy jumps to 3.3km/L at 38km/h. With 90L under the floor, this gives a theoretical range of nearly 300km, which is more than enough to get you

RPM............Speed.(km/h)......Economy.(km/L) 700 .................................4 ........................... 3.3 1000 ...............................6 ........................... 3.3 2000............................. 10 ........................... 2.5 3000............................. 13 ........................... 1.2 4000.............................38 ........................... 3.3 5000.............................50 ........................... 2.5 5500 .............................59 ........................... 2.0 * fuel metering increments not small enough for accurate readings. guys have set this up with a quality Garmin touch screen sounder which integrates to the engine data feed. It’s great to have everything

au. You can also like their Facebook page (Stones Corner Marine) to get real time updates with incoming models and special deals.

At rest, the Ranger offers plenty of fishing room, either elevated on the front casting deck or recessed in the cockpit.

Top: The helm features room for bracket mounting a big sounder, and a small recessed compartment for your phone, wallet and keys. Above: The raised casting deck for’ard creates mountains of storage room (albeit wet) underneath. Keeping your important gear in a dry bag isn’t a bad tactic.

Top: This gunwale-mounted storage system holds some of your rods, and there are plenty of other offset rod holders in the side decks. Above: The custom SeaDek looks great on the wide side decks. It’s practical, too, keeping the decks cooler and reducing slip.

No one could ever accuse a Sea Jay for being low on fishing space. Front deck + cockpit = huge area.

The helm is simple and nothing revolutionary. A Sea Jay is called a ‘Sports’ model if it has a side console. Check out the Railblaza mounted cup/lure holders on the side. You could argue that there should be a step up to the front deck, as it’s a reasonable step up to it.

The 75 Yamaha delivered over 3km/L at the most economical speed (38km/h at 4,000rpm).

Top: It’s good to test a boat that actually has a trolling motor fitted. That extra 30kg up on the bow of the boat often changes they way they pop up onto the plane and ride. Sometimes the weight is an advantage. This Ranger was fitted with a 60” shaft, 12V 55lb Terrova. Left: What’s some custom SeaDek without the mandatory fish ruler? Right: A decent sized anchor well gives you the best of both worlds – you can anchor digitally or the traditional way.

This rod holder is going nowhere – it’s fully welded into the side decks.

With Railblaza mounts scattered around this boat, there’s always a cup holder (or salty lure collector) handy.

The port transom holds a pump-in livewell. JUNE 2019


UNBEATABLE 150hp FourStroke

The Mercury 150hp FourStroke is the largest displacement and lowest weight outboard in its class. The perfect partner for powering trailer boats.








206kg 217kg




2670cc 2354cc






*Based on Mercury’s 150hp (L) model. Information based on all manufacturers’ claimed horsepower and weight figures.


Profile for Fishing Monthly

Queensland Fishing Monthly June 2019  

Complete digital version of Queensland Fishing Monthly Magazine for June 2019.

Queensland Fishing Monthly June 2019  

Complete digital version of Queensland Fishing Monthly Magazine for June 2019.