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March 2014, Vol. 26, No. 5

Contents SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND Tweed Heads 12 Southern Gold Coast 14 Gold Coast Canals 16 Gold Coast 18 Jumpinpin 20 Southern Bay 22 Brisbane 24 Brisbane Offshore 26 Northern Bay 28 Southern Pumicestone 30 Caloundra 32 Teewah Beach 34 Noosa 38 CENTRAL QUEENSLAND Fraser Coast 40 Hervey Bay 41 Rainbow Beach 42 Bundaberg 44 Gladstone 44 Rockhampton 46 Yeppoon 48 Mackay 50 TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND Bowen 52 Ayr 54 Townsville 56 Lucinda 58 Hinchinbrook 59 Cairns 60 Port Douglas 62 Cooktown 64 Weipa 64 Karumba 65 The Cape 65





From the Editor’s Desk... It’s interesting that this month marks 11 years as editor of QFM. 11 years! Surely it’s not that long, but alas it is. I re-read my first editorial the other day and funnily enough it was almost the same as my last editorial. Following rules, illegal fishing, the great opportunities in Queensland. It’s a bit sad we still have the same issues given all that’s happened in fishing in Queensland over the last 11 years. But we persist and we fish and I reckon most of us still enjoy the sheer thrill of hooking a fish, whether on bait, lure or fly. In that first editorial I spoke about mangrove jack and how they had captured my imagination. For a long while they were my main target fish, chasing them on the Gold Coast, getting

to know all the creeks around Bundy and any time I was up north, literally preferring to cast a lure for a jack rather than a rat barra. This obsession has waned a little but it’s great to see the local Gold Coast anglers really working these feisty fish out way better than I ever did. The catches they are making are almost unbelievable. Seems I need to re-visit some old haunts and see if I’ve still got it – I doubt it though! Old man reaction times certainly are not what they used to be. I lost enough lures to these fish when I was younger, it could be mayhem now. The Tinnie and Tackle Show is on again in early April and I really like this show. It’s got a lot of visitors that are similar to me – they just love fishing

and getting away from the ‘real’ world. This year we’ll be found near the stage area where some of the most talented anglers in Queensland (and some from around Australia) will be offering up their insights into particular types of fishing to help you catch more fish. From early talk there’ll also be a meet and greet area where visitors and have a chat to the speakers and ask that question they always wanted to. Sounds exciting. And that’s apart from all the boats, accessories, tackle and more that will be found there. Make sure you read through our preview of the show and find out what to expect: the bargains, the boats and the interesting. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to drop by and say g’day and grab a subscription

with some free stuff – a Wilson’s Blue Steel 4-piece travel rod comes to mind! If you can’t make it to the show, you can get onto iSubscribe through the front page of the Fishing Monthly web site (click on the Subscribe NOW button top right). This will ensure you get the magazine every month a few days before it goes on sale. And on that note, the on sale date for QFM is generally the first Thursday of the month (occasionally the first Tuesday), so subscribers should see their copies a day or two before that. I hope you all enjoyed February and we’re all glad that the north actually got some rain – it should make the fishing all that much better as flooding rains are needed up there to keep the biological clock ticking.


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Cracking trout like this are available almost every time you take a trip with Mikat to the Swain Reefs.


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Boating 112 Back to Basics 70 Camping and 4WD 78 Cooking 96 Dam Levels 82 Flyfishing 80 Freshwater 82 Fun Page 98 Gamefishing 86 Kayak 76 Sheik 50 Sunfish 92 Tournament News 87 Tech Tricks 94 What’s New in Boating 116 What’s New in Fishing 72





Finding fish on new waterways 2Deadly’s 2-punch combo Ready for the Pirtek Challenge 2014 Tinnie and Tackle Show



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Finding fish on new waterways GLADSTONE

Roderick Walmsley

There was already a boat anchored in the bay we were heading towards so we lowered the electric and slowly worked past him. We wanted to investigate the shallow, rocky flat just past his boat and seeing as we were new to the area

didn’t think the best way to make friends was to go flying past other anglers on the plane. Therefore we slowly headed over to the flat checking out the rocks and channel edge as we went. It was the first time that Goodie and myself had been on the waterway and had already done 70km for the day exploring its plethora of creeks. The Minn Kota slowly

pulled us closer to the flat and as we made our way along it, we noticed a fish mooching around in about 6” of water. It looked to be a king threadfin salmon. The only reason it would be in such shallow water in the middle of the day would be to feed. I lined the boat up and fired in a cast. The fish didn’t react so Goodie put his cast right on its nose. It swung around and

followed the lure without eating. As it turned away I put another cast past the fish and banged the lure into the bottom. This fired it up! It showed a lot more sign of eating but once again didn’t commit. Goodies next cast was the one. He twitched the lure twice and the fish engulfed it. He struck and the big fish tore across the flat stripping line as it went! After a solid fight I stuck the net under it and lifted the fish into the boat. It turned out to be a blue salmon right on the magic metre mark. It was the fish of the day and thinking back to it now, we probably wouldn’t even have seen it if we weren’t so intent on getting to know the new system as well as being cautious with regards to the rocks in the creek and being courteous to our fellow angler. We often read about innovations that help us to find or catch fish, about the ‘latest and greatest’

Hardbodied lures can be great for covering ground quickly when searching for fish. their grassroots and spend most of their working lives in or around a very similar area. They fish the same creeks or rivers at regular intervals and become quite accustomed to these waterways over time. The odd foray into unknown territory over their muchneeded holidays or a guided charter is about the extent of their exploratory needs. The second group is more nomadic and generally follow contractual work around our lovely country.

effective tools that we can use. Google Earth is probably one of the biggest of these. There are variations of Google Earth that can often show certain areas better than others; it can pay to look at a system, and then at it again with the alternative version of Google Earth. Study the area you intend fishing prior to heading out. You will be able to view it at different stages of the tide and this will help to identify fishy

Steven Godthew with a 1m blue salmon caught while exploring a new area.

Fish like trevally can often be associated with areas that have current and bait. They will often give away their presence by smashing into the baitfish. tackle or the newest electronic aid, but I would have to say that we often overlook a very important aspect of fishing. You still need to find the fish first, or at the very least put yourself in fishy areas of the waterway. Yes the right lures, hooks, reels and rods are some of the things that will help you catch more fish and are things that many of us fishos rely on for our day-to-day fishing trips. We do however have to be in a fishy area to make the best use of these things in the first place. There are basically two kinds of human beings out there: there are those, which are probably in the majority, that are bound to 10

MARCH 2014

Some move their families with them and the boat is never far behind. This type of lifestyle leads to constant exposure to new waterways. Working out your own local fishery can be challenging enough, without having to deal with a new system on a regular basis. Navigating on these new and foreign waterways can be a mission in itself let alone actually finding and ultimately catching fish. Several factors can play a big role in helping us get closer to our next bite. Let’s take a look at some of the things that can be a big help. TECHNO SAVVY Modern technology does have some very

looking areas as well as obstacles that may require careful navigation. A good tip is to print out some of the key areas you intend investigating and even saving the GPS coordinates and adding them to your on-board GPS. Once you have printed these pictures they can be laminated and kept in your boat for constant referral. Keep consulting them as you move around as you may drive past an area that doesn’t look all that good on the high tide, because the fish attracting structure may be under the water at the time you drive past. Fishing Forums can be extremely trying to navigate at times, but can be quite helpful for

finding little snippets of information about the fishery you intend fishing. No matter how remote it is, someone would have fished it before. Local knowledge is a massive help and it pays to listen when you find a local who is happy to share some information with you. The onus being on the world listen – don’t interrupt them halfway through what they are saying to tell them how to fish their own fishery, just let him talk and then add the tips to what you may already know about the fishery. The odd offer to take him fishing probably wouldn’t go astray either. If you do actually find something productive out on the fishery then go back to him and offer the information back to him. It is the right thing to do as the tips you got from him or her were probably what steered you in the right direction anyway. There are a few things that will remain constant on many of these waterways and quite often a specific structure, stage of the tide or even time of the day will carry across several waterways. Look for these similar places or stages of the tide and try to duplicate them. You will often be

surprised how well it can work. In saying this though, don’t focus on only these but look at the new fishery with open eyes. Travel as much of the waterway as you can and try to do this at a reasonably low tide. The low tide will expose much of the fish holding structures and you can correlate these with your Google Earth images. Take your time driving around – you will see a lot more, and you will also protect the integrity of your motors lower by doing this. Carry a spare prop and let someone know where you are going. Some areas can be quite remote and if you do have the misfortune of running

into something you may hurt more than your boat. Tides can vary significantly moving from area to area and it won’t take much to get caught out and have to spend a long time in a very uncomfortable place waiting for the water to come back in. If you are thinking about doing some looking around areas with shallow water, then focus on the low to incoming tide. This way you can confidently push up areas without having the added worry of getting stranded. Your sounder will also be an integral part of the learning curve. Features like side imaging can be a massive help in locating actual fish as well as

A quality sounder will be a big help in narrowing down the areas that actually hold fish.

Quality barra like this one caught on an OSP Bent Minnow make the effort of looking worthwhile.

great looking structure that may require further investigation at a few differing stages of the tide. Remember just because there aren’t fish there now, doesn’t mean that there won’t be fish there later. Boats are not the only way to fish new waterways and you can often find out a lot about a waterway by walking its banks and observing it without the influence of a boat. Fish will often give their presence away if you hang around long enough. The casual flick of a tail or the

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obvious surface strike of a predator on an unwary baitfish can be a glaringly obvious signal that there are fish to be caught. If you like the look of a particular area spend a bit of time there using several different techniques to see if there are in fact fish present. All of these things and more can be a big help on a new or even an ‘old’ waterway but none of them will ultimately beat the time you spend on the water looking. Enjoy it and safe exploring.















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Bream and by-catch bonus THE TWEED

David Solano

It’s funny, more and more on the Tweed I see folks lure fishing. Even the local tackle shop stopped selling bait. Interestingly, as a young fellow Dad would take us down to the Snowy chasing rainbow trout off plain homemade lead lures. Back in those days I even had a Stirling 22 automatic gun strapped to my back for rabbits, I would regularly outfish the folks

but the rabbits were safe as houses as I couldn’t hit a barn with that 22. When we’d get back to the Coast the lures would get put away and out would come the bait gear. I often wondered why this happened and now I realise my Dad only liked to fish the fresh and I didn’t have the forward thinking brain that said, “Hey, lures should work in salt too.” Luring on the Tweed started for me around 10 years ago and I haven’t looked back. It’s all about having fun and

Dave with a jacklet (a miniature jack caught from the racks).

learning different stuff. It’s not really like fishing anymore for me, it’s hunting. One of the hardest fish to target on the Tweed would have to be bream. It’s a pretty hard place to get any over 30cm long. I have to be honest – it took me close to a year to land my first legal bream on lures and of all things I was trolling. (Since then I’ve fished in a few comps where trolling is considered cheating!) I remember reading one of Starlo’s books where he said, “if you can consistently catch bream on lures, you can just about catch anything.” Starlo was right on the money there. I never fish in one place. I prefer to keep moving, whether it be walking the shoreline, by boat or in my kayak. Yakking is my favourite method as I can take up to six rods with me, from a really light Nordic Stage rod teamed with a Stella 1000FE, right up to a tournament T-Curve with 4000 Biomaster for trevally, but mainly it’s the jack rod. The key for me is to be ready for anything, because fishing don’t always go according to plan. I’ll give you an example: I was casting a Gulp Shrimp into some really shallow water as I could see some nice size bream on their sides munching

away. In I cast with 4lb leader, and crunch. Wow, what was that? A monster screamed out into the middle of the river. The cold sweat started. This was no bream, and after a massive fight I landed and let go a 97cm lizard. A fish like that was intended for my flathead rod, not my lightest bream gear, but it’s a testament to the quality of gear you can buy these days. That’s what keeps me breaming. The bycatch is amazing in the canals near PKG’s Seafood. On a recent trip I found it hard to get to the bream as all these little queenfish and giant trevally kept nailing my lure before it could reach any structure. Then of all things I found myself fighting a little GT, got it right next to the boat then zip! Gone. “Did you see that Dick?” I said to my mate. “Yeah mate, sharked!” It was all too quick for me, but yes – a bloody bull shark ate my poor little trev. So if you want to give this a go, here are my recommendations. First of all, I can honestly say that you don’t need to spend a fortune. I’ve seen some pretty good bream combos for around the $150 mark. I buy all my stuff from the

Dave with another nice bream. local family-owned business (Angler’s Warehouse). I prefer this to buying from the big chain stores, because the service is unsurpassable at independent stores like this. Plus it’s always good to get a friendly welcome and personalized attention. Tackle-wise, I recommend a 1-3kg rod, 4lb Fireline, 6lb leader and a reel with at least 5 ball bearings. You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned rod and reel brands. That’s because it’s not really important. They’re all pretty similar, particularly the top two. So where do you get the fish? I’ve fished a few ABT comps on the Tweed with some really good pro anglers. It’s funny, most boats sit out in the Seaway, but the real gun fishos have a little more

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knowledge. One mate headed up Mur-Bah way (a tip-off from Steve Morgan I believe), saying something about a “big house before you get to Tumbulgum Bridge”. My boater headed straight to the oyster leases near Seagulls. I hadn’t fished them before and quickly busted off my three rods. Babs, on the other hand, had me scratching my head as he skull-dragged legal bream after legal bream into the net. I learnt a lot that day, and he went on to win the tournament. Trust me when I say there are some really big bream around. Last week I found myself looking at a 40cm horse, but I was at The Ivory Tavern and this particular fish wasn’t hungry for a lure – he was waiting for another hot chip.


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Offshore is going off - big time! STH GOLD COAST

Ben Job

March is always a great month to attach ourselves to a wide range of species in our area. This will be a bit of a transition month where our warm water pelagic are still around in healthy numbers but a range of tasty reefies will start to present themselves as our coastal currents slow. Our light tackle marlin season so far has been pretty good but has been a bit quiet

in the last month. Despite this I’m still confident that our usual run of medium class fish (50-150 kg) will still show up in march. You will most likely encounter these on the 36 fathom line, spot X and Deep Trag. Keep your eyes peeled for any bait schools that may be getting rounded up by predators. Also if you spot any pods of dolphins, this may mean bait isn’t too far away. Once bait has been located use a bait jig with about a size 4 hook and heavy sinker to drop into the bait school. You’ll find most times it won’t take

long for a string of prime live baits such as slimey’s, yakkas or small bonito will be hauled aboard. My live bait rigs consist of an 8ft trace of about 150lb with a 9/0 eagle claw circle hook and try using a range of sinker sizes for best results. Blue marlin have been showing up from time to time so far this year and i think the will only get better as we get a bit later in the season. The fish have been averaging around 150kg but there has been quite a few larger fish in the mix. 50lb tackle is absolute minimum

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when chasing blues and most of the big boats around are mainly using 130lb tackle these days. You will catch these fish anywhere outside the 100 meter line and as usual keep an eye out for flying fish, tuna schools and birds, these indications will show you where the fish are. Try trolling lures ranging from 9 to 17 inches I usually troll a spread of lures with various sizes and colours, different lures work on different days. Mackerel will still be lurking about this month and by trolling hard bodied lures is an easy and effective way to catch some quality fish. Like any lure trolling use a variety of lures, colours sizes and depths for best success. My all time favourite lures are Lively Lure Blue Pilly deeps and Pilly Jnr in both purple and blue slimey colours. These lures are made locally and built super tough! I also mix it up with Halco Laser Pros and Rapala X-Raps. It’s also worth trolling a small bullet head out there, I’ve often caught some really big Spanish on little bullet head lures so they are a very handy lure to have. When trolling hard bodies I use a single strand wire trace of around 80lb. Single strand is thinner than any other trace and you will find that your lure will swim faster and deeper than it would when using other leader materials. If you’re around the nine mile this month you’ll find there will be most likely schools of small tuna chopping the surface and eating your trolled and spun lures. By using a twin 9/0 hook rig on 100lb wire you can troll these jelly bean size tuna around and catch some monster Wahoo and mackerel. Hook your front hook through the tuna’s top jaw and the back one down near the tail and troll them as slow as possible. A bait like that usually won’t be out there long before something finds it. March is always a good time to start chasing a few nice snapper around our close reefs. Anywhere around the 18s or 24s with a nice bit of reef will be a good place to come across a few good reds. By slowly drifting down pillies or strip baits on as lighter sinker as possible is the best way to approach a snapper reef. I use a 3 gang of 5/0 hooks, I like to use ganged hooks in case of a stray mackerel or if there’s a few tailor about, there’s less chance of being bitten off. I like to also use monofilament line instead of braid when snapper fishing purely because I find that less hooks are pulled during the fight.

Wahoo are about in numbers amongst the hoards of mackerel. Better fish will be available in March. INSHORE That first push of clean water around the Southport seaway will bring with it big schools of white pilchards. This is a gold mine for the ravenous tailor. There’s plenty to be had this time of year and any small size metal lure will not usually be passed up. Just keep an eye out for any birds working and the tailor schools won’t be far behind. If you have an electric motor it is a big help, because you can silently follow the tailor schools resulting in bigger numbers of fish caught, but if you don’t have the luxury of an electric, turn off your motor just up wind or up tide of the school and let the elements work to your advantage. There will still be a few jacks destroying gear this month and by timing the last part of the run out tide and locating yourself near a good bit of structure you will be in with a shot. Two of my more reliable spots are the council chambers in the Nerang River and the Chinderah rock wall in the tweed. Both of these spots provide the facilities for a good long troll run or can be worked thoroughly with cast lures. I like a deep diving yet buoyant lure such as a lively lure mad mullet to cast around spots like this. So that if you feel your lure swim into a snag, simply by pausing the lure it will float back off of the rock, log, shopping trolley or whatever piece of structure may present itself in these areas.

There should still be a few whiting up the Nerang river around the council chambers and buds beach. I use either blood worms or small black soldier crabs for bait. Stealth is often the key to success with any fishing and big whiting are no exception. I try and use long light fluoro carbon leaders of around 8lb and as long as you can cast comfortably. The rig i find best is a running ball sinker, up to around a 5 ball depending on the tide flow, down to a swivel and then your fluoro leader down to a long shanked no.6 hook. HINZE DAM You will find the Hinze Dam will be looking a lot different than what you may be used to after all of the flooding we have had in the gold coast area earlier in the year. And you may find yourself re-learning the prime fishing areas. You will get most number at this time of year off the points and you will start seeing numbers holding up in the deeper sections of the dam. I find at this time of year slowly rolling plastics like Ecogear Grass Minnows or vx50 blades along the bottom or hopping masks down deep being far more productive. But spot selection can be crucial for these at times fickle fish. Deep points or bends in the main part of the dam are good places to start but sounding around the old river bed searching for schools of fish can be a good way of locating a good haul of usually better quality bass.

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Top water action set to explode GOLD COAST CANALS

Josh Dunn

Now that the slightly cooler weather and the rain has started to set in, we should see a lot more top water action and activity throughout the local canals. March provides some of the best top water jack

fishing. The best lures seem to be the Strada and Bolt poppers, but you can’t beat the Lucky Craft G-Splash in a gold or green colour. Catching one of these fish isn’t so easy, but when you know what you’re doing you’ll see more productive catches. Nerang, Runaway Bay, Coomera, Jacobs Well and Pimpama fires up around

rock walls, retaining walls, bridge pylons and jetties for one of these predatory and territorial fish. I’ve found that bream also love the top water in March, as the water temp only slightly decreases and the cooler mornings and late afternoons set in. The best lures include Strada Dancer 55mm, Strada Viral 55mm in natural colours

Geoff Dunn with a decent canal trevally caught on a cooked prawn.

around plenty of tight structure. If you love crustaceans, make sure to chuck a pot in as the mud crabs are getting stirred up with some of the rain we’ve recently had. Throwing a crab pot in over night in pretty much any of the out canals with a whole mullet, could see a lot of joy the next morning. The more mangroves and mud, the better your chances! If you’re a bait angler, try white pilchards and cubed (chopped) pilchards for bream and flathead, even the odd grunter bream have shown up. Whiting are a little less complicated, although some skill is needed when targeting them. You’ll need a good reel and flexible rod for the finicky bites, as loading up the rod with too much pressure could rip the hook out. A 6-8lb line, size 3 ball sinker with a no.4 long shank hook, and 60cm of leader is ideal. Then all that’s left is to pump some yabbies and fish some sand banks and you’re set! Biggera Waters, Runaway Bay, Coomera and Nerang River even places in Jacobs Well

The author with a 46cm jack caught out of his kayak on the Z-Man 3” MinnowZ in pinfish, while fishing a local canal. and Pimpama hold some decent whiting. Jacobs Well area has seen a few decent catches, including some cracker jacks and prawns, which have been showing up near Cabbage Tree Point. In the next few weeks, I reckon we will see a little more rain that will bring out a range of species including GT, queenfish, bream and flathead. When the water warms, you can target painted sweetlip by using cooked prawns


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around bridge pylons throughout local canals; the rain could even get these fish biting and more active. Another thing I’ve found in fishing in the rain, is that fish like bream and pelagics, actually feel more confident to hit the surface. The rain brings them to the surface rather than the bottom or mid water. This is a good time to fish when overcast as you won’t scare the fish with your shadow or bright clothing as you could do in full sunlight!

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Wahoo not waning some good blue marlin fishing on the shelf. The spotted mackerel have also been in good numbers on both Palm and Mermaid reefs and most anglers have got their bag limits on the better days. A good approach this month is to get up early and hit the water at about 6am and target mackerel on the 18 and 24 fathom lines east of Southport and then move further out at about 9am and chase marlin on lures and live baits. Most of the black marlin


David Green

If the weather settles down this should be a great month for chasing game fish off the Gold Coast. The marlin have been in good numbers around the bait schools on 36 and 42 fathoms and the Spanish mackerel have arrived in numbers on the close in reefs. This month the wahoo should increase in numbers as well and there should be

have been around the bait schools and currently there has been a lot of bait around. When the marlin are feeding on the bait schools it is often difficult to get them to come to the top and take a lure. Drifted or slow trolled live baits work much better in this situation, and a downrigger can be a big help. Live slimy mackerel are far and away the best bait. Use 7/0 to 9/0 circle hooks when live baiting and relatively light but hard fluoro carbon leader around 80lb on light tackle often attracts more bites. If

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March is a great month for blues. This one was caught on board Gemma 3. you can’t find a bait school troll lures or gar and change to livies when you locate a school on your sounder. Most of the black marlin have been between 25-50kg this season although there have been quite a few medium blacks and striped marlin from 70-100kg mixed in with them. The marlin on the inshore grounds generally fade a bit in March but out on the 42 fathom line, Deep Trag and Spot X the marlin will stay while the bait is present. It has been an erratic season for blue marlin so far with a few fishless days and the odd run of good fish.

current makes things difficult. In close there will still be a few teraglin, tailor and juvenile snapper with a few mulloway at night. March is one of the best months of the year to chase pelagic off the Gold Coast so it shouldn’t be too hard to get a screaming ratchet, weather permitting. RIVERS AND ESTUARIES This month should see the water in the estuaries cool a bit and there will be a lot of activity in the river entrances, with plenty of the adult mangrove jack starting to move into the estuary mouths and the Seaway before moving offshore.




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Mackerel fishing is now at its peak and the 20 and 24 fathom reefs east of Southport often fish well with lures early in the morning. The currents have been quite fickled and each day is hard to predict. Generally March is a great month for blues from the 100m line out, and a few striped marlin start to show in the same area. Mackerel fishing this month is generally at its peak and the 20 and 24 fathom reefs east of Southport often fish well with lures early in the morning. I like a mixed spread of trolled Halco Laser Pros and a small white-skirted squid type lure positioned a long way back. In general, the size of the Spanish mackerel improves in March with a few good fish from 15-20kg starting to turn up on a regular basis. When the fishing is a bit tougher trolled baits or live baits generally work better than lures. Jigging and spinning is another good option, particularly if you can berley at the same time. Slowly trolled small tuna can be deadly and catch wahoo as well as mackerel. For the bottom-bouncer, the fishing can be slow as the

March and April see a lot of jacks in the Seaway. Small live baits and deep jigged lures can be effective but they are hard to get out of the rocks. Nearly all of these fish are over 50cm long. The growth potential of mangrove jack is well over 10kg, but the adult fish move out to sea to live, usually on inshore rocky reefs. This happens when they are 50-60cm in length in most estuary systems at the southern end of their geographical

range, and at around 45cm in more northern regions. The ones that cause us so much grief catching in the estuaries are the babies! This month there should be plenty of whiting about in the Nerang and Pimpamah rivers and also in Coombababah creek. Worms, yabbies, shrimp and small poppers and stickbaits are all effective at times. A lot of good fish between 35-40cm turn up in March. Bream also start to move around the estuary and tend to feed more actively as the water cools a bit. In the Seaway there should be plenty of frog mouthed pilchards on the run-in tides and these attract tailor, trevally and kingfish. Spinning metal lures around the entrance can be productive. Keep an eye out for the birds and the area just in front of the north wall of the Seaway also holds fish in the back eddy it creates on the run-out tide. Drifting live baits through the Seaway and Jumpinpin entrances should produce plenty of small mulloway but it is often hard to catch fish over the minimal legal length of 75cm in March. Mud and sand crabs will be in numbers, especially on the bigger tides. If there is a bit of rain try the deeper holes around the main channels as the crabs will leave the shallows fairly quickly if there is a lot of freshwater in the system. Remember to have your details on both your float and your crab pot. Overall, this should be a great month to fish the Gold Coast and there should be plenty of great fishing in both the estuaries and offshore grounds.

Mud crabs will be in decent numbers this month, especially on the bigger tides.

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Well the unusually dry summer has slowed up the fishing, but as soon as those rains arrive then I’m tipping it is going to fire up! It will spill much needed nutrients into the system and I can’t wait to get out there and get amongst it.

The water temps haven’t dropped too much, so there is always a chance of a decent pelagic, like this Spaniard.

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WHERE ARE THEY BITING For the outside fisher who can get a break in the weather, then there should still be some pelagics on offer as the water temp hasn’t dropped too much, and the water quality is still good. Macks, tuna, bonito dollies and the odd marlin should be out there cruising the coast looking for bait schools, which is exactly what you should be looking for when you’re out there. There have been plenty of good flathead around taking 3-7” soft plastics in whites, pinks and lime, trolled hardbodied lures in the sandy/weedy shallows, and pilchards, whitebait, prawns and live mullet are the pick of the baits. The sandy flats at the top of South Straddie are always a great spot to start searching, as long as it’s not too rough. Alternatively you could try in Cobby Passage, Kalinga Bank, around Tipplers Island, The Stockyards or the mouth of the Logan. Best time is the first of the run-out tide as they sit in wait for food to wash past. They can be caught at any stage of the tide but they seem to feed more aggressively as the tide starts to run-out. Small schools of tailor should be moving through the bar this month feeding on whitebait schools, so keep an eye out for birds diving or put a floated pillie out when fishing and you should pick one up. We have been picking up the odd one here and there while flicking plastics for

flatties so if you ever get a hit on a plastic at the Pin and it comes in cut clean in half the chances are that it was a tailor. Haven’t had too much big stuff for a while but the better ones seem to be coming from the beaches of South and North Straddie at dusk and into the night. If you like to chase whiting then try around the Gold and Green Banks, Slipping Sands, Flatrock, Browns Bay entrance, Ageston Sands and the junction in the river. Worms are the best baits to tempt these excellent table fish or you could try some squid, pipis or small peeled prawns. If you are ever out there and the water glasses out preferably late in the afternoon then try flicking small poppers or walking lures in 1-2ft of water for whiting is an exciting way to chase them that is really popular with the lure fishers. Bream are going to be heavily targeted all month as there are a lot of fishos getting into luring these great fighting fish. Using light 1-2kg braid on a matched flick stick of your choice around canals, jetties, rocks, pylons and such is a great way to target bream. They are a very aggressive fish and will smash a moving or sinking lure. Vibes, small poppers, hardbodies and small plastics are all working. Be sure to put a little effort in and persistence and the rewards will speak for themselves. For the bait fisher, stick to all the usual bream haunts and fishing the last couple of hours of the run-in tide along

a berley trail should produce some better quality fish. If you are in search of a big mulloway then there have been a few around lately, up to the 50lb mark. There have even been a couple of stories coming from the Pin bar of fish that just can’t be stopped. Persistence is the key to mulloway fishing and those putting in the time and effort will reap the rewards. The Gazebo and Marks Rocks in the River, Giants Grave, Kalinga Bank and the deep water off Swan Bay are the best spots, you just have to put the time in. Muddies have been everywhere of late as they go on the march in search of food. After all the creeks and rivers have been flushed out they should go from strength to strength. The mangrove-lined banks of the Logan River all the way to the Powerlines are great spots to start when chasing muddies. Lucky for us is that most of the Pin estuary system is lined with mangroves and perfect hiding holes for crabs. I would suggest trying new spots as you never know you could find your new favourite spot. Sandies should be on the march too, so try Jacobs Well main channel right to Rocky Point and beyond to the Powerlines on the small drop-offs and holes for a feed. • Thanks for all your reports and keep those fish coming in. If you’d like any advice or up to date fishing information drop us a line at Gem Bait & Tackle on (07) 3287 3868 or email




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Small windows of chance produces the goods SOUTHERN BAY

Troy Wegner

The fishing weather window has still been closed due to the persistent strong southeasterlies we’ve had for the last 5 weeks. It has made getting out on the bay very hard. Anyone who has lucked out and had a day off on one of the rare good weather days, has done well. I am hoping that with


a new month comes some good weather to give us the opportunity to get out on the bay and start chasing some fish again. March is always a fun month on the bay, it is generally the start of the longtail season and, if the size of the fish up the coast is anything to go by, we will see some big specimens this year. I caught my PB longtail off the Sunshine Coast late January and it weighed in at around 28kg. If that doesn’t get you excited about the

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season coming then I’m not sure what will! When targeting longtail tuna on lures most people would first think slugs, then probably plastics a close second. My favourite technique for targeting longtails is casting stickbaits. There is nothing better then finding a school of tuna feeding hard, casting a stickbait over the top of them and skipping it along the top and seeing the lure get monstered and ending with a big screaming run. Then the tussle begins. People argue that whenever you are targeting tuna it is visual but I say that targeting them on stickbaits is even more visual. I tend to only throw stickbaits when I can see that the fish are feeding on larger bait. This is because the lures are between 100-120mm, so if the fish are feeding on 50mm bait then your chances are minimal of hooking them on a big lure. There are a few different techniques that work when using stickbaits for tuna and it just depends on the situation as to what technique you use. The first would be burning the lure along the surface of the water so you can wind the lure and skip it

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twitch the lure side to side. This isn’t a fast retrieve but it can be worked fast if needed.


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along the water imitating a fleeing garfish/baitfish. The second technique is a walk-the-dog action;



Stick baits are a viable option on longtail tuna. The water exploded when this 28kg model hit this skipping Maria Bullchop.

The third retrieve that I use is a sweeping retrieve. By giving the rod big long sweeps your lure will have a swimming style action. The retrieve that you decide to use also depends on the lure that you choose. There are a few different types of stick baits; floating, slow sinking and fast sinking. Floating stickbaits can be skipped along the surface or walkthe-dog style retrieve. The slow sinking lures are a good all rounder as they can be retrieved all three ways, the only difference is that the walk-the-dog retrieve is sub-surface not along the top. Some of my favourite lures for longtails are the Maria Bullchop (slow sinking) and the Maria Blues Code (slow and fast sinking). There are many others too but these two lures are my favourites. I hope the weather comes good for an extended period of time so that we can get out and smack a few fish. Until next month.


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Latest fishing statistics online Queenslanders can now access the latest statistics on commercial and recreational fishing with the launch of the new QFish web portal by the Queensland Government. Fisheries Queensland Manager Ross Quinn said the new web interface brought all types of fishing data together in one, easyto-use resource. “With more than 700,000 recreational fishers and 1500 licensed commercial fishing boats, Queensland is a state of fishing enthusiasts,” Dr Quinn said. “This portal provides open, transparent data to the community in response to

their key interests. “It allows users to access catch and effort information by fish species, years, specific areas or regions and fishing methods. “The recreational catch data is drawn from statewide recreational fishing surveys, while the commercial fishing data is from daily commercial logbooks dating back to 1990. “This is a new and improved resource, replacing the Coastal Habitat Resources Information System (CHRIS). “QFish accesses commercial fishing information updated weekly, so provides more complete

and current information than CHRIS did. “Information accessed through QFish can be easily downloaded to a spreadsheet, and data on grids or fishing regions can be easily mapped. “Once produced, the map can be printed or downloaded to your computer for later use. “Access to current, region-specific data on fishing will enable users to become more familiar with trends in their area, whether for their personal enjoyment or business.” Visit QFish at http:// au. – DAFF

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Odd summer produces goods BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald

The 2014 summer has been a little different to last year with much less rain and no major flooding, however with several low pressure systems currently sitting off the east coast of Australia, this may change before the March edition of QFM goes to print. Anglers have experienced some pretty awesome fishing over the last few months and there is plenty to get excited about during the coming months. A broad array of pelagic species will be on offer throughout Moreton Bay and the offshore waters. Additionally there will be some quality demersal species available throughout the bay and plenty of other

options in the estuaries, creeks and rivers. Apart from lucking out and getting a day off with good weather, the hardest part will be deciding what to target. CRUSTACEANS The crabbing has been fairly good for sand and mud crabs. March tends to be one of the better months for sandies with good numbers to be taken throughout Moreton Bay and in the mouths of major river systems. Setting pots in the major channels and gutters throughout Moreton Bay, especially around the bay islands, will put you in with a great chance. The mouths of the larger river and estuarine systems can produce a mix of mud and sand crabs most of the time. Safety pots are the main apparatus in use now that witches hat style dillies

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were outlawed, although I have still observed unaware anglers using these within the last six months. Fines are hefty for breaches involving crabbing apparatus and crab size limits so check the latest regulations before setting out, or that crabmeat sandwich might cost you quite a bit more than you expected. Pots are best baited with whole mullet, tuna heads, any fish frames or chicken carcasses, however even a few pillies in a mesh envelope will produce sand and mud crabs. A bit of a flush throughout the creeks, rivers and estuaries will increase the likelihood of getting a few muddies. They get washed out of the small gutters and upper reaches of the tidal creeks and into the main system by the deluge of fresh water. This makes them a lot more accessible to the average crabber, however those in the know will go to the effort to set their pots in the least accessible spots at all other times. Prawn numbers have been decent but you often need to search around a bit to find them. Some decent hauls have been taken from the flats out from Nudgee, the mouth of the Logan River, near Cleveland and to a lesser extent, in the



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Brisbane River and Pine River, just to name a few worth trying. And most of the creeks and rivers filtering into Moreton Bay are also worth a look. Those with quality sounders and a good knowledge of their operation, especially sideimaging models, will be able to locate the prawn schools as they head upriver on the rising tide, night and day. Even if you do not have a sounder, or a boat for that matter, you can still get into the prawns although you will need to exert a little more effort to fill your 10L bucket. Cast-netting from any structure hanging over the water, such as the Colmslie Jetty, Newstead Jetty, Deepwater Bend pontoon or any bridges (check legal accessibility), will put you in with a good chance, especially on a rising tide at night, early morning and late afternoon. Around slack tide prominent holes and mud ledges are worth netting as the prawns often feed in the bottom silt in these areas. March to May often sees good numbers of banana prawns throughout the waterways of SEQ. Now is a great time to get a 10-12’ cast net, preferably a top-pocket model, and start chasing these tasty crustaceans. BAY PELAGICS Moreton Bay will produce a mixed bag of pelagics throughout March with various species of mackerel, tuna and bonito to be found, as well as yellowtail kingfish and cobia. Additionally there is the occasional incidental capture of golden trevally, barracuda and even juvenile marlin to surprise anglers. The spotted mackerel run has been sporadic this year with anglers either obtaining a full bag or nothing at all, depending on the day they are out and stage of the tide. The spotties have been there but are rarely feeding on the surface, which makes them harder to locate for most. Those going to the effort to rig and slowly troll baits such as pilchards and small gar have been doing okay most of the time. These baits are easiest to rig on chinguard style rigs but many anglers also make their own similar systems with ganged hooks and net leads. Drifting pilchards is another great way to get amongst a few if you know they are in the area. Adding a little berley in the form of finely chopped pilchard pieces will heighten chances. This can be employed in areas such as the Measured Mile, Rous Channel and around the beacons (mainly from the Four Beacons north). School mackerel

March is a good time to chase some mud crabs but don’t wait too long as they seem a little more elusive as the waters start to cool down. have been mixed with the spotties at times but are more commonly caught around the beacons of late. Anglers fishing areas such as the Harry Atkinson and Curtin Artificial reefs have also encountered mackerel on baits as well as cast and retrieve offerings, such as soft plastics and blades, generally while targeting snapper and other species. They can bust up at any time however so having a highspeed spin rod rigged and ready with a chrome slice or jerk shad style plastic will put you in with a great chance of returning home with some tasty white fillets for the table. Tuna and bonito are also sporadic captures throughout March, however anglers who specifically target them and put in the miles will generally find success. The area along the front of Bribie Island, from Skirmish Point to Caloundra is generally a good place to search. Zigzagging through this area from close to the beach out to the shipping channel will generally allow you to locate longtails, mac tuna, frigate tuna and occasionally Watsons or Australian bonito. The Pearl Channel, major shipping channels, Middle Bank area and the Paddock are all good places to search for pelagics. BLUEWATER PELAGICS Further offshore, around areas such as Point Lookout, Cape Moreton, The Trench, Flinders Reef and Hutchinson Shoals, pelagics have been caught with regularity over the last few months. This action should continue throughout March so get out there whenever the weather allows. This year has seen the best Spanish mackerel run I can remember with some

boats bagging up to 30 for a session, mainly on trolled minnow lures or rigged trolling baits (bonito, tailor, longtom, large gar etc.). Most have been between 7-12kg, a great size for the table, but specimens exceeding 20kg have also been caught. Even a couple of these tasty specimens will make the effort offshore well worthwhile for most anglers. Hutchinson Shoals and the Point Lookout grounds have probably been the most consistent. Hutchies has produced a mixed bag with Spanish, wahoo, giant trevally (over 25kg), yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi, black marlin, sailfish, yellowtail kingfish, rainbow runners and other species being caught here by anglers trolling lures and baits. Three to five shots from marlin for a day has been fairly common, with the average fish landed rate being around 50% of strikes. These have ranged from 15kg to 60kg with most anglers opting for 8kg to 15kg line class for trolling resin-head skirted lures. The Sevens Reef area off Point Lookout has been popular with those anglers popping and stickbaiting for giant trevally, wahoo and yelowfin tuna. This exciting form of fishing has become popular of late as anglers look for more challenging and visual ways of targeting large pelagics. The surface strikes will often leave you weak in the knees and creates an adrenalin rush in any angler. ESTUARINE TARGETS The fishing options for the inshore angler have been mind-boggling of late. Anglers have been getting amongst some prime sportfish such as king threadfin salmon, mangrove jack, estuary cod, trevally

and others. The common species such as bream, flathead and whiting have been fairly abundant as well. A variety of techniques have been employed by anglers targeting these species with most returning home with favourable reports. Many of the creek and river systems have been plagued by whaler sharks with anglers commonly having their hooked fish eaten before they can get it to the boat. This has even been the case well up in systems such as the Brisbane River, Hussey Creek, Glasshouse Mountain Creek and the Pine River. I even get a little nervous when I seen small children swimming at boat ramps and other areas in these slightly murky systems. Whaler sharks, especially bulls (Carcharinus leucas) can be particually aggressive and as they don’t have hands they need to bite something to determine if it is a possible food source. While the majority in these systems are generally less than 1m in length, specimens to over 2m can be encountered. Obviously a shark of this size would have little hesitation in mouthing a small dog or child, so be careful where you let your children swim during the warmer months. Avoid dirty or murky water

and overcast or low light conditions for a start. These sharks can be a lot of fun to catch and many enjoy the eating quality. You are not permitted to take a shark (or ray) over 1.5m in length and there is a bag limit of one in possession. This will just increase the shark problem in the coming years, although the environmental boffins insist their numbers are at a critical low. These guys obviously spend too much time staring at computer screens and not enough time on the water where the real truth is obvious. The Brisbane River in particular has been fishing well with good numbers of king threadfin salmon being reported as well as snapper, mulloway, estuary cod, flathead, bream and numerous others on offer. The threadfin in particular have been fairly regular captures for experienced anglers in the lower reaches. These have been caught on live baits as well as lures such as blades, vibration baits, soft plastics (especially prawn and shad profiles) and even micro-jigs. The increased clarity and fish finding abilities of the side imaging sounders has made the Brisbane River (and other waters) a lot easier to fish. Many anglers

Aaron Winch had a tough time landing and releasing this solid whaler shark on light tackle. never even have a cast until they have a fish in their sights via their electronics. No longer are they throwing prospective casts into water that is currently not holding any fish. It is almost becoming too easy for some anglers, luckily most of these sport fishers are releasing the majority of their catch. Nevertheless, threadfin need to be handled careful and are best to be de-hooked boat-

side and released without lifting them from the water to increase their chance of survival. Snapper seem to be a year round option in the Brisbane River with anglers achieving good results on baits and lures. Most caught are less than 60cm in length (a good table size) but specimens to over 80cm are occasionally caught. I have even caught snapper in

extremely dirty water, well up the river on a run-out tide, which was a bit of a surprise at the time. However, I have now come to realise that they will venture anywhere there is a good food source. The lower reaches are the best option with areas such as the Oil pipeline, Claras Rocks, Caltex Reach, retaining walls at the mouth and the various jetties all being good places to try.


The walls down near the mouth have also produced some decent estuary cod for anglers casting lures close to the rocks. Both deepdiving minnow lures and soft plastics have produced the goods. Bait fishing this area can produce a mixed bag including bream, flathead, snapper, cod and several other species. CONCLUSION As you can see there will be plenty on offer for anglers over the coming weeks. Make the best of the warmer summer weather before it is gone and get out and enjoy our marvellous waterways. The bay has plenty of pelagic opportunities as well as the usual array of demersals including snapper, sweetlip, cod and others. The creek, river and other estuarine areas hold a broad array of quality targets to satisfy all. Add in mud, crabs, sand crabs and prawns and things are looking even better for anglers to return home with some tasty seafood. They’ll be exciting reports of quality captures, providing heavy downpours don’t dirty our waterways too much. Summer may be almost gone but the hot fishing is still there for all to enjoy so get out and get amongst them.












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Mackerel mania OFFSHORE

John Gooding

Cyclones and tropical lows during January and early February kept offshore fishing to a minimum but when the wind and the seas settled, the mackerel fishing was red hot! Spanish mackerel fired up on most of their usual haunts in the south east corner and plenty have been caught right along the coast. There have been some good quality fish around 10kg being caught, but the higher percentage

have been of the just legal (75cm) size up to around 8kg. It’s great to see so many smaller Spaniards around and hopefully this means that the species has had some good spawning success recently and we may be seeing positive results from the new regulations and bag limits. Trolling or drifting live baits or well-rigged dead baits such as bonito or gar have been accounting for plenty of fish, but high speed trolling with minnow lures such as the Halco Laser Pros, and trolling with skirted lures has also been effective.

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When chasing mackerel of this size, outfits capable of handling 15kg line is all you’ll need. Add a short length (30-40cm) of 50lb single strand wire and you’re set. This is all I use when trolling bait and minnow lures and I’ll use a similar length of multistrand wire on my skirted trolling lures. When rigging live or dead baits, make sure you keep the hook size relevant to the bait being used and only use small black swivels to limit the number of bite offs from the hooked fish’s mates. Rigging live bait sfor trolling requires a very simple rig involving a front hook around 4/0 connected by a short length of wire to a stinger treble in size 1 or 1/0. If you’re new to rigging dead baits, there are a few pre-made ones available in tackle stores such as the Easi Troll or Chin Guard versions, which make rigging baits easy. Current hot spots down off the Gold Coast include most of the closer reefs off Southport along with Palm and Mermaid reefs and the gravel patch in 30-35m of water east of Burleigh Heads. Further north The Group off Point Lookout and the coffee rock reefs close in to Moreton Island have been

My new 9m boat allows up to 8 crew to get out amongst some of the best fishing the south east has to offer. holding good numbers of fish. There have been plenty of Spaniards caught in the Point Lookout area, but sharks have been a real problem some days. Along with the Spaniards, anglers have been seeing other species such as black marlin, wahoo and yellowfin tuna in the same areas. Peak bite times have included dawn and dusk and around the tide changes and although I have caught plenty of mackerel in northerlies, they do fire up better with a southerly blowing. These fish should be around for the next couple of months and they will get bigger, so now’s the time to bag a couple of these top shelf sport and table fish.

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Testing climate promotes fishing NOTHERN BAY

Grayson Fong

What a month we have had! With Mother Nature’s minor hissy fit during the early stages of last month, northern bay anglers were ducking for cover and retreating to their favoured estuarine haunts in desperation. The recent wild weather patterns not only brought testing times for anglers but also really turned the fishing on in the northern bay. ESE blowing winds had no choice but to push bait schools from the southern bay islands into the northern pockets giving anglers better than average

numbers of fish caught for this time of year. Throw in the occasional afternoon storm and we have a recipe for a great day out! Bribie and Scarborough were the outstanding spots over the past month. The increase in bait activity and the decrease in water clarity played a part in producing good catches, especially in the bread and butter species of bream, flathead and whiting. Fresh baits, like yabbies and live worms, have been the pick of the bait fishos with the lure diehards producing the goods on smaller suspending cranks and grub style soft plastics. Water temperatures have remained pretty constant with intermittent

rainfall making little impact on temperature fluctuations. Let’s have a look what’s being caught in our northern bay. BREAM Bream numbers have been sound of late with anglers experiencing more quality fish around the 600-800g mark. Many are being caught with full and distended stomachs showing that the presence of bait schools has increased

the bream population in the northern reaches. Prime spots include the mouth of Glasshouse Creek, Ningi Flats, Tiger Rock at Sandstone Point, North Reef, Osbourne Reef, Woody Point and the trawler hulls in Cabbage Tree Creek on the making tide. Majority of the areas have been fishing excellently on the rising tide with the exception of spots in the Pumicestone that have

The author with an example of Scarborough’s finest bream.

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been producing on the start of the ebb. Fresh mullet strips and chicken thigh strips have been the pick of the baits with hardbody lures, like the Jackall Chubby, Atomic Crank 38, Cranka Deep Cranks and Ecogear SX40 working well in natural colours. FLATHEAD Estuaries like the Pine River, Caboolture River, Cabbage Tree Creek and upper reaches of Schultz Canal, have been the pick of the areas to get amongst

Mick Lee from Brighton caught this decent gold-spotted sweetlip. some flathead. Areas around Bribie like Cooks Rocks, Hussey Creek, White Patch and Donnybrook have been very productive during dusk hours. Longer shad style soft plastics have brought most success with bright colours and a simple hop-hoppause retrieve enticing most flathead. For the bait fisher, pilchard halves and mullet strips have been reported as a crowd pleaser. WHITING We have had a great summer on the whiting front and last month has been no exception. The wild SE winds have really stirred up our waters, pushing the whiting up into shallower waters playing right into the hands of anglers. You can bet on bloodworms to get you fish on board with fresh yabbies also working a treat. Lower reaches of the Pine River between Bald Hills Creek and the mouth have been productive at the last of the run-out with the bulk of the reports coming out of the Bribie area. The surf beaches have been the producers with those braving the Southeasters being rewarded by upgrading their lead sizes. Another notable area is

Coochin Creek where good summer whiting are being caught on the making tides. MULLOWAY A good outcome of persistent easterly winds of late has been an increased number of mulloway being caught in the northern bay. Night stalkers have been nabbing some good fish with the Bribie Bridge being a popular hotspot during the darker hours. Anglers are also encountering good juvenile snapper up to 50cm as by-catch, which has come as no complaint to many. The Brisbane River has been living a similar life. The sunken wall and areas around the sand dredger on the eastern side has been producing good mulloway and juvenile snapper with plastics and larger vibration baits working well in the deep. Definitely worth a try would be Shads Lures Jew Candy and Soft Ons, Jackall Transom 95s and Z-Man 5” Jerk ShadZ. King threadfin salmon by-catches are also happening in the river. Anglers need to be extra careful when handling these awesome fish when releasing, to ensure mortality rate stays at a minimum.

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Royal catches on the queens STH PUMICESTONE

Jason Wallis

March is the month the water starts to cool down, this in turn will start to switch our warm water species off and cold water species on. It can make fishing a little slow at times but it won’t last. Don’t count out the jacks just yet, they might get a little hard to entice, but when they do, they are normally brutes coming in at around 50cm+.

These guys are trophy fish and way too good a sport to take home to eat – make sure you have your camera on board. A couple of quick snaps and swim them on their way. This is one of the most rewarding feelings an angler can experience. Jacks are taking both hard and soft lures, chunk baits and live. It’s more about where you place your bait or lure and what time you place it than what you offer them. They are a lot fussier about when they eat not what they eat. You may

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also encounter some awesome by-catch while targeting these guys; mulloway, cod, and queenfish just to name a couple. Stay switched on, never switch off and hold on. There have been a few

A 107m queenfish taken by Charlie Gittens from the southern end of the passage. His Dad was under strict instruction to chase the fish with the tinny as it near spooled him several times.







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nice queenfish through the passage terrorising the baitfish. These guys can be tricky, they are either quite easy to target or extremely hard. If you can find a feeding school of queenies they should

be easy enough to entice, but if you’re using bait you may need to be patient and wait. They have been feeding on live gar and herring schools. These guys have been up around 1m, which at this size are a real trophy. Many people travel to the far north for a fish like that and we have them right here in our back yard. The whiting are thick at present with most anglers hitting the middle reaches of the passage up around Hussy and Coochin creeks. The surf beach along Bribie is also a great go-to spot for a lot of anglers craving a feed. The size ranges from just legal upwards to 40cm. There have been a few mulloway landed from the deeper holes in the creeks and all the way down to the bridge. Plastics have been a favourite for most anglers, but if you can gather up a few yellowtails and hook them on live, you will snag one of some real quality. Whole mullet or squid are also killer bait. The lizards are still kicking around in good numbers. They have mainly been taken at the creek mouths, Elimbah and Glassy being the best performers of late. If you do hit these creeks your bag limit should not be that hard to catch. Small 3-5” plastics have been out fishing bait 9 times out of 10. Bream and grunter bream have been a life saver for a lot of anglers with good hauls coming from most of the passage. Word on the street is that the Caboolture River is on fire and a sure bet if you’re wanting to target these guys with ease. Yabbies or fresh mullet fillets are gold; they can’t pass up either of these baits.

The author’s 3-year-old son holding up his dinner. The grin says a million words! The mud crabs have been hit and miss, although when you do get one, they are corkers. The sand crabs are a lot thicker with hauls of a dozen out of 4 pots not uncommon. The size varies a little from location to location. South to the bridge is the go-to spot at present and has been for

some time. Both Dunlops and Gallaghers gutters are yielding a feed as well but the size tends to be a lot smaller. Dolphins, turtles and manta-rays are thick throughout the passage at the moment, so take it easy out there, enjoy the sights and have fun.

Joan Baird from Buddina co-caught this absolute monster of a Spaniard with her husband John off Bowen. The fight lasted a total of about 30 minutes and gave a real tussle in their 12 foot tinny.






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Heading towards the end of a great season CALOUNDRA

Brad McKendrick

If there was one word that we could use to describe the summer weather it would have been ‘windy’. It’s funny how it can put a bit of a dampener on the fishing but the positive side is that the fish are just waiting for a good feed so it has its advantages. Windy or not, the pelagics

have been around in strong numbers this season and as summer slowly slips away from us we are already planning the winter attack. Spotty mackerel have really turned it on recently with strong schools smashing the bait schools across the Sunshine Coast. Whether it was small frogmouth pilchards, slimey mackerel or schools of yakkas, the spotty mackerel were never far behind. Even the Spanish mackerel were on and averaged around 8kg this

season with some real crackers around 25kg being caught. The wider reef areas around the top end of the Barwon Banks is the place to target larger pelagics like yellowtail kingfish and amberjack. Depths in these areas vary from 80-130m so take strong equipment. Mixed in with them have been good numbers of big snapper and pearl perch. The Pinnacles situated in 85m of water in the middle of the banks has held schools of mahi mahi and when

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they are not smashing a livie they are chasing trolled hard bodied lures. Wide Caloundra has enjoyed plenty of wahoo this season and although they have slowed right down now the winter change will bring on the snapper in the next few months. There will still be the opportunity to chase a few late tuna schools this month feeding on the remaining bait schools provided the weather has remained warm. Sweetlip are still being caught around the outer Gneerings and on the small patches around the Mooloolaba Beacon. Murphys is the spot to be running out to this month for an early morning fish or late evening on the change of the tide. Emperor, pearl perch, tuskfish and squire will all be out there when the conditions are right. The beaches are starting to enjoy a run of bream and early mulloway signs have been good to this point. Dart, whiting and flathead are all on the cards for those prepared to target the tidal changes and use the local area bait - either worms or pippies. Soldier crabs are also a good whiting and bream bait but a 5/0 circle hook full of fresh wriggling beach worms will attract any tailor or mulloway with an appetite. Fishing the northern tip of Bribie Island will reward you with plenty of whiting at the moment but you will need a boat or kayak to get across there. The Wurtulla Strip of beach access is a good place to start looking for a hole to fish, so a visit through the day makes things easier later on. If you want to head further north then check out the accesses between Marcoola and Coolum as there are plenty of spots to choose from. The estuaries are still slow but the locals are on the ball catching some quality whiting to 650g and bream within the Pumicestone Passage. The pontoon opposite Gemini Towers still has bream on the top of the tide but the

Spero’s wife Martha with a couple of quality spotty mackerel. The spotties have been great and the Spaniards have also been about in good numbers. majority are only half a kilo at best, still, great fun for the kids and to hone your plastic skills. Popping for whiting throughout the day in the passage has proven to be fruitful with a two hour session normally yielding around half a dozen fish. Smaller flathead just love a shot at something skipping along the surface, as do bream, so you just never know. I guess that is what makes fishing so much fun. Military Jetty and the bridge at the entrance of the Pelican Waters canal system are two cracking spots to fish because almost anything can take a bait at any time. We have seen some monster mackerel, mulloway and other species feeding around the bridge while we gather our bait and the reason not so many are


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Damien with a Wide Caloundra Spanish mackerel. They’ve been thick lately!

caught is because they are so well fed. Only recently a huge barramundi was caught in this spot so you just never know. The mouth of the Caloundra Bar has some deep water but the tide just pours through on the change making it difficult to fish. The idea is not to weigh down your bait so that you can’t feel the bite, but to look for the eddies and back wash areas where bigger fish will lie in wait. Most of the eddies run around to the area within Happy Valley but be warned there are a lot of hidden rocky reefs that are around the area and you will lose a fait bit of gear if you are not sure where they are. The Parrearra Channel area is the spot to try your small hard bodied lures or blades. It is an area that holds hundreds of bream which are fed everyday by the locals so it keeps them in the area. McKenzie’s bridge boat ramp is normally busy but a good option in heavy winds because you can run up the Mooloolah River set a few pots and catch some jack while you wait. Currimundi Lake is another option this month for whiting and smaller bream but fish around the mouth in the deeper water areas for best results. March is a good month for offshore, beach and estuary anglers with a large variety of fish on offer across the Sunshine Coast. Dust the cobwebs off the beach rods because we are overdue for a good run of tailor and mulloway and although it’s a little early to get excited yet it’s good to be ready for whatever might happen.

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Save the fishing and plan to help ourselves TEEWAH BEACH

Lindsay Dines

Pleading looks from ‘Zico’ my kelpie cross, as well as curiosity, had dog and supposed master on the beach for a walk as the honeyeaters were waking


on the morning of January 25 this year. Zico has an endless supply of pleading looks, but I was curious as to whether there would be any signs of fish or seabirds feeding, shells that might be collected or fish being caught by the surf anglers that were

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sure to be fishing. As an angler with 40 years experience in the surf gutters around Teewah, to me the water looked good and 15 years ago there would definitely have been fish in it. It was a glorious morning with the slightest of offshore breezes, patchy but high cloud cover to take the edge off a hot sun when it rises, calm surf and a tide receding after a 3am high. The forecast for a strong southeasterly change to arrive during the afternoon would, I was thinking, have prompted aggressive feeding by fish 15 years ago before conditions deteriorated and effectively prohibit surf fishing also for the remainder of the long weekend. Signs of any fish or seabirds were much the same as every other beach walk in recent years in that there were none and feeding fish, aggressive or otherwise, unlikely. Shells weren’t plentiful, or expected to be at that time of year other than the odd cowrie, but surprisingly and significantly, not one person was fishing within eyesight of Teewah. On


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a morning when most of Teewah’s 103 houses were occupied and all North Shore caravan and camping parks were full, by 6.45am with the sun well up, there was still nobody fishing and not a single person to be seen other than in the first few barge loads of 4WDs racing to the camping grounds at the northern end of Teewah Beach. In years gone by at Teewah the waking sounds of honeyeaters and kookaburras would be accompanied by the sound of 4WDs starting as anglers began making their way to the beach for the early morning session. Sleeping in was for the ‘soft’ or the non-anglers, of which there were few, but who would generally wander down later to inspect catches? Everyone else would be in the surf. While there are no mysteries as to why locals to this area wouldn’t be fishing, I was surprised that at least a few naive tourists from elsewhere with just the weekend to find a feed, wouldn’t take the small available weather window that only that morning would provide to wet a line. The morning walkers who were also conspicuous by their absence missed their opportunity as well with the southeaster the next morning gusting to over 30 knots and the beach a very unpleasant place to be. The lack of anglers on the beach, and especially on such a morning as that, is I am certain, indicative purely of the quality of the surf fishing along Teewah and Rainbow beaches and Sunshine Coast beaches generally. It’s now common knowledge that to catch anything here of a legal size is a fairly rare event and alternative ‘hobbies’ have been sought. Over the past 10 years, I have seen and noted human behavioural changes that have occurred during this period. On a daily basis I witness the activities of locals and visitors alike and what I see should be of concern to us all. As debate rages across the country as to how we should curb alcohol-fuelled violence, remedy the collapse of societal values, control the increasing drug culture in our youth, tackle the obesity epidemic and establish the best way forward for our economy and natural environment, an example of why the way forward is fraught with problems, I believe, can be drawn from what has

occurred here. The lack of anglers on that morning of the 25th is not an unusual event, but only in recent years. It merely emphasised the extraordinary reduction in angling participation rates that have been observed here and around the state. There is now rarely anyone fishing along this beach. A beach that 15 years ago would have anglers shoulder to shoulder at times during the annual spring tailor run and competing all year round for the best gutters to fish for the variety of surf species that could reliably be caught at that time. Particularly saddening for me, having battled now for these past 10 years to remedy the obvious decline in fish, seabird, dolphin and shark numbers in the region, is that there is no likelihood of things changing. Fisheries Queensland and the Queensland Government insist that everything is fine and the fishery is sustainable. A claim myself and many, many others know to be farcically false with all of the evidence pointing to a fishery at the point of collapse, or having already collapsed. Most disturbing is the sheer resistance from Fisheries Queensland to listen to the endless line of people that are desperately trying to inform their organisation of how serious the situation has become. This was dramatically highlighted for me at a meeting I had with Fisheries Queensland during August of 2013. This meeting came about following an article by Bill Hoffman published in the Sunshine Coast Daily on the 13th of July, headlined Tailor Bottom Out, which was accompanied by a chart of steadily declining commercial tailor catches from Fraser Island and Cooloola for the years 1988 to 2012. The chart clearly demonstrated that catches had declined alarmingly during that period and particularly after 2001, but doesn’t show the increasing effort on the part of the fishers that dramatically emphasise just how alarming the decline actually is. It was coincidental that the same week that this article appeared in the paper, the Fisheries Minister released the Queensland Fin Fish Stock Status Report for 2012 which made special mention of tailor being ‘sustainably’ fished. It soon emerged that FQ have identified that that there is indeed a

problem with tailor, but on the Sunshine Coast only and which would appear not to have been worth mentioning in the stock status report. This admission flies in the face of a species being sustainably fished when tailor are known to be of a single and migratory stock and this region, along with Fraser Island, known to be critical spawning grounds for the species. Following communication, a meeting was arranged between FQ and myself to discuss, I was told, the possible cause of the problem. I have devoted many years to researching the impact of commercial netting and have been witness and victim of the negative effect to recreational fishing. My conclusions are mirrored by those of researchers in this field and anglers from around the world and these conclusions published far and wide. After the amount of publicity and personal communication with FQ about my work, nobody should have been under any illusion as to the platform on which I have stood and I quite rightly believed that these issues would be on the table at this meeting and be considered as being the possible cause. How drastically wrong this thought process proved to be. The mere suggestion that the scenarios that I have witnessed and researched could be occurring was met by universal scoffing from around the table of 4 scientists and 3 managers despite the wealth of scientific literature that quite clearly supports my assertions. I was taken aback when a manager, in response to my assertion that fish would flee nets containing tonnes of highly alarmed fish, stated that he could understand fish avoiding a particular lure that has been successful in a location, but no way could he grasp that fish would flee nets. I was stunned by that comment alone, but I soon learnt that the scientist making a presentation to me of how healthy tailor stocks are for recreational anglers, is from a commercial netting family and I began to question the sincerity of those present. When the possible cause of the identified tailor problem on the Sunshine Coast was discussed, beach traffic and alterations in water temperature were suggested as possible causes, but nets apparently don’t cause fish stocks to decline.

The philosophy was clear: Do not admit that fish stocks are declining; do not admit that nets can in any way be responsible for the acknowledged tailor problem on the Sunshine Coast; and do not admit that fish may flee nets and diminish recreational opportunities, as I know for a fact they do. By mid meeting I had recognised that I was wasting my time, but it was agreed that FQ would check on aspects of commercial catch data that I felt were worth checking to see if the data shows that nets may be having the influence on fish behaviour that I had asserted and which had shown up in my own data checks. Several weeks later I received a summary of this data analysis via email and was not surprised in the slightest, given recent experiences, that the assessment showed nothing. Interestingly, but also not surprising, some of the information forthcoming was not possible to have been attained as it is not possible for it to exist. Conclusions were made, based on information that can’t possibly exist and it was deemed by FQ that further exploration

of the situation would be pointless. I was incredulous to be informed in the same email of possible research that I may be able to arrange with nominated scientists in the field along with specific suggestions as to assessments of a technical nature that could be helpful to my hypotheses. To me it was very clear that only someone who knows intimately the existing science in this field of alarm signalling and flight reactions in fish could make such the suggestions listed. This person was in attendance at the meeting and, being from a commercial netting family, would almost certainly be well aware that fish are spooked by nets. It is apparent that the intent of the meeting was to simply humour me and hope I’d go away and desist from further negative publicity of their performance. And to some extent their plan has been successful because I recognise that it is pointless trying to assist Fisheries Queensland to find solutions to the admitted problems that have occurred on their watch. I would be extremely doubtful that another minute of time by

FQ staff has been dedicated to establishing what is causing the ongoing problem with tailor on the Sunshine Coast and as can be seen in the attached chart, the recently released 2013 data has proven that the problem itself has not gone away. While it has recently been made clear by Fisheries Queensland that they don’t appreciate the criticism being levelled at them from far and wide, I have to ask, what else can we do? We do not receive cooperation when we try to assist and are ridiculed over aspects that they know full well are occurring, or at least can occur. If they do not, they should Google ‘net avoidance in fishes’. Our inshore fish stocks are abysmally low and efforts to actually recover them are nil or ineffective. Should we just sit back and let it all unfold in front of us until there are none left and gloat that ‘we told you so’? I’m afraid that the criticism really has to continue because that’s all we have, and all Fisheries Queensland deserve until they can demonstrate that they are listening to those of us at the coalface who can see what is occurring and work with us.

The debate continues to rage as to how we curb our increasing alcohol and drug culture and the violence and crime that is invariably associated. As we continue to debate how to remedy obesity in our children and adults and the costs to society this causes. As the pressures on our natural environment escalate through human population explosion and we grapple with ways to minimise our impacts. We should all be aware that the people entrusted to ensure the sustainability of fish populations and subsequently of our recreational endeavours, are failing in their duties and would appear to be going to great lengths to hide these failures. It is ironic that this same organisations is encouraging of children participating in fishing so as to assist in minimising societal problems while at the same time turn a blind eye to the fact that their negligence in maintaining fish populations is contributing to them not fishing. After all, who wants to go fishing if it is near impossible to get a bite, let alone catch a legal fish to take home and eat instead of KFC or Maccas!

Liam Stevens, 3yo, of Hervey Bay caught his first fish at Toorbul while fishing with his dad Andrew ‘Skippa’ Stevens and mate Mark Durston. Liam caught the fish on his first rod and reel combo given to him by his Poppy retired fishing tackle industry worker Trevor ‘Rocky’ Stevens.

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A change is in the air NOOSA

Peter Wells

The changing seasons also mean a change to the cooler weather and a change in target species. As the cooler months approach we will hopefully see more predictable weather patterns. This will give boat owners more options as the outer reefs become more accessible. This is not to say that the mackerel fishing that we have enjoyed over the last couple of months is over, we just have a lot more options. In fact, this is the time that the really big Spanish mackerel move onto the inshore reefs, Jew Shoal, Sunshine Reef and Little Halls are all within striking distance for the smaller boat as well as the seasoned kayaker. Chicko, our resident expert on all things offshore, is a great man to talk to in Davos. Chicko has been fishing the area as a recreational and professional fisher most of his life and has a wealth of knowledge on fishing outside. So for all the latest info come in and see the team and we will be more than happy to point you



in the right direction. March is also a great month to go bottom bouncing for species like coral trout and grassy sweetlip. Early mornings are best for trout with baits of squid and pilchards. You may also like to try soft plastics: the Z-Man scented jerk shad in the coconut ice or the nuclear chicken in the Gulp are well worth a try. Simply get them to 1m off the bottom and put the rod in the rod holder, the motion of the boat will

work the plastic while you are sitting back and enjoy a cool refreshment, but don’t be too relaxed as the fish hit hard and as soon as they feel they are hooked they will be heading for the nearest bit of coral or hidey hole and the fight will be over before it begins. When bait fishing try using a running rig with the bait on the bottom and try to fish the leading edge of the reef depending on the run as this is where the bigger

Arlie Mitchell’s 60cm tailor and megawatt smile won her this week’s $50 Davo’s Fish of the Week prize.

Chris Lacey caught this thumper 55cm mangrove jack down at the river mouth.




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fish will be waiting for a passing feed. Sunshine and Little Halls reefs will be the place to be with good numbers of grassy sweetlip and coral trout. Further out on Chardon and North reefs you can expect to find pearl perch and the odd snapper as the water cools over the coming months. Mackerel, mahi mahi and big cobia are all still about. That is the great thing about this time of the year the options are endless. In the river there are still plenty of mangrove jack around and this is a great time of year to target them. A trip up between the lakes in the Noosa River early in the morning can be very rewarding. Trolling hardbodied lures early in the day can produce good numbers of jacks. My favourite lures at the moment are the Lucky Craft Slim Shad D-9, there are a decent array of colours and they dive nice and deep where the jacks are hiding during the sunny part of the day.

wave of the fish as they are about to hit the lure. You can have some amazing sessions on surface jacks. This has been a great season for mangrove jack with some sensational fish up to 60cm being taken in the river, so grab some lures and get out there. Further down river the action has been equally good with large trevally, tailor and big flathead all on the menu. Another great fish to target at this time of the year is the school mulloway. There have been a lot of these caught around the turn of the tide at the river mouth. As the small bait fish move into the river on the incoming tide, these fish follow, so if it is early morning and the tide is almost high, try some of the Squidgies Pro Range Whip Baits in the 100mm. Just remember your legal size limits of 75cm and a bag limit of two. The Frying Pan in the Noosa River has been fishing well for whiting. Popping for these succulent fish is great

little popper for whiting as they will sink a little as you pause in your recovery. This helps to lift the fish off the bottom and gets them interested enough to bite. On the beaches it’s been all about the tailor with a 5.6kg fish being taken up at Teewah on Noosa North Shore last month. That equates to over 12lb, a 10lb tailor is on a lot of beach fisher’s bucket lists. It is great to see that fish like this are still around. Now is the perfect time to be heading for the beach with the weather a little cooler, so get over to Noosa’s North Shore and have a crack. The southern beaches have also fished well with good sized tailor, dart and even the odd trevally all being taken. • On your next visit to Noosa grab your fishing gear and head out onto this great waterway, for all the latest information log onto www. for up to date bar and fishing reports and don’t forget to


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Dean Firth and his son Ryan with a couple of cobia from Cougar One charter to North Reef. Alternatively get yourself out of bed at sunrise and fire some good surface walkers around the snags. This is a very exciting way to fish as you see the bow

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wide range of available species from whiting right through to light game tackle busters like Spanish mackerel and GT. This month we head a little further south to the Urangan Boat Harbour. On the way we notice the banks and channels associated with the end of the pier’s inner gutter, and the southern end of Dayman Spit; plenty of good country for targeting whiting and flathead. The Urangan Boat Harbour provides some worthwhile




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I love being optimistic. After the succession of most unfriendly conditions during the first weeks of 2014, we must look forward with as much enthusiasm we can muster into the months ahead. The ocean beaches of Fraser have seen little fishing activity with the only worthwhile catches coming in between the succession of strong northerly and south easterly winds. The unrelenting heat, quite appropriately, has kept most anglers out of the sun, with most worthwhile fishing happening early morning and late afternoon, as well as at night. Dart have been the mainstay of many surf catches, but small numbers of sand whiting have been taken from the low water gutters right along the beach. There have also been some bream and tarwhine around the coffee rocks and in the larger gutters, and bream have also been reported from Waddy Point. On the western side of the island, there have been fair catches of whiting along the open beaches and on the

by authorised government vehicles mainly as part of an emergency route to Sandy Cape. Quite understandably, Orchid Beach residents and visitors have fought to have this track re-opened for general use, particularly as their only route to the west coast was no longer possible with the Towoi Creek closure. On a boat trip to Platypus Bay soon after Christmas, we noticed many vehicles on the beach near the North Wathumba track entrance. We have received reports that the road was opened to ‘local’ or ‘residents’ provided they did not use the beach a 100m or so north and south of the track entrance. Just how residents and/or locals were defined or identified is something that remains unclear. The original closure of the North Wathumba and other island tracks and some beaches was part of an earlier administration’s policy of locking up parts of the island. Surely common sense will now prevail and this road re-opened officially. Over the last few months, we have been looking at some of the land-based fishing opportunities south from Beelbi Creek at Toogoom. Last month we made it to the iconic Urangan Pier and looked at the


spits near creek mouths. In the discoloured water coming out of the major creeks, and around the coffee rock exposures, some big bream have been reported. The recent prevailing strong southeasterlies have suited most of the western beach, but when the strong northerlies blow, fishing comes to a standstill. Although some western beach fishers arrive by boat from Hervey Bay, the majority make the journey across the island from the ocean beach. For some time until recently, the only track available was from north of the Maheno, at K’Gari, to Woralie Creek, a track that continues to be soft and rough. The Happy Valley to Moon Point track has been closed for some time, but with cautionary notes it is now open. This means that the beach south of Coongul Creek can be accessed without crossing that creek. Further north, the beach between Towoi and Wathumba creeks is now closed, meaning that there is no access to the western beach from the campground at Wathumba Creek. The original North Wathumba Road from Orchid Beach to Platypus Bay, north of the creek mouth, has been closed to vehicles for some years, being used only


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opportunities for land-based anglers. Most of the harbour is now taken up by floating marinas with the supporting pylons, and the decking itself, providing plenty of structure. For most of the year, masses of herrings attract an impressive variety of predators. This article was intended to cover land-based opportunities but I need to mention boat accessed possibilities as well. Fishing from the marina is not permitted but there are an

increasing number of anglers fishing from small boats around the structure. Others fish live herrings and a wide variety of plastics around the trawlers and wharves. The list of species taken within the harbour is impressive. It includes bream, javelin, mangrove jack, mulloway and barramundi. The northern (short) wall of the harbour can be reached through the car park and boardwalk. You don’t need to Continued page 41

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Welcoming towards winter HERVEY BAY

Scott Bradley

As we approach the end of summer, most anglers can’t wait for winter to get here. But before it disappears, it’s time to make hay while the sun still shines! MARY AND SUSAN RIVERS These rivers have been thick with prawns and the quality is improving with the bigger prawn starting to run.

King threadfin salmon love prawns and at times only live prawns fished light have been the only thing bringing them undone. Live herring, prawn profile plastics and Thready Thrashers are all worth a try and some big fish up to 17kg have been pulled out of these systems recently. In the lower reaches, bream and flathead have been a reliable option on plastics and hardbodies. Pumping a few yabbies is worth the effort if a fresh feed of whiting is what you’re after.

IN THE BAY The local reefs are fishing well for blackall, coral bream, scarlets, cod, juvenile snapper and blue parrot on a mixture of live/fresh baits and plastics. Target these species at places like Bagimba, the Arty, Moon Ledge and the picnics on better tides, tide changes and dawn and dusk for best results. The fairway buoy is always a popular spot for boaties, and for good reason it holds fish! Recently mackerel, golden trevally, tuna and cobia have kept anglers on their toes

trying to extract them around all the other boats and the marker, which can be an artform in itself. When fishing the fairway it pays to back off on wire traces or keep them to a minimum length (single strand works great). Fish all depths of the water column with livebait, pillies, squid, metal and plastics to get amongst them. PLATYPUS BAY The spotties have been the main drawcard with good numbers of fish spread throughout the area. Spanish, grey mackerel, longtails,

trevally and queenfish are also in on the action feeding on the same baitfish the spotties are carving up.

Billfish are still a viable option with many fish being caught inside Rooneys leading into winter.

wall extends through mostly shallow water to the first of the trawler wharves. At low tide much of these shallows would be uncovered. The flats south of the wall see a lot of yabby digging activity as well as some good whiting fishing by wading anglers. From this part of the wall you can expect whiting, bream and gar as well as flathead that like to lie in the sandy patches between the rocks. The wall continues past the trawler wharves to the harbour entrance, the final low part of it being the remnants of the very first harbour wall. Fishing is not encouraged around wharves or boats, and for good reason.

Along the inside of the low wall beyond the wharves, the water is quite shallow but it can fish well for bream and flathead with those larger predators, already mentioned, always possible. The tip of the southern wall is, without a doubt, the harbour’s most popular spot. It is unusual for there not to be two or three anglers working the eddies that form around it. Along with the outer 100m of the low wall, just about any local species is possible. Certainly the most popular targets are jacks. Since the wall was first built, locals using heavy gear and live baits have been scoring big fish. Today live herrings continue to rate well but artificials of a

wide range are now being used with success. The problem when fishing structure you are standing on, is keeping the jack out of the cover. So much so that we now see anglers fishing from boats, casting into the structure, or trolling deep divers along the wall. As well as jacks, cod, trevally, bream and javelin are caught here. Bream can be prolific during July and early August. Relatively new walls form a triangle of ponds used for storage of sediment pumped from the harbour. Except for the southeastern corner, these walls have not attracted a lot of attention from anglers.

The pontoons at the boat launching ramps have become very popular for cast netting for prawns. In peak season, netters almost have to line up for a cast. During the last season, the banana prawns were plentiful and of excellent quality. Herrings are often netted here and they make great bait for most species around the harbour. I like to use herring cutlets for the big bream that are available for most of the year. On the subject of bait netting, using either cast or haul nets is allowed within the harbour and on the beach to its south. However north of the short wall and around the end of the Urangan Pier, and

across to Point Vernon, all forms of netting are illegal. I should have mentioned this last month when dealing with the pier where masses of herrings and hardiheads cannot be netted. Fishing is allowed around the boat ramps and pontoons but anglers need to respect the fact that they are there for the convenience of the boating community. Next month will see us at the end of our land-based journey from Toogoom to River Heads when we look at some of the options south of the boat harbour to the northern shores of the mouth of the Mary River.

Peter Weir with a big Spanish caught inside Rooneys Point.

From page 40

be a mountain goat to get out to the end, but it helps. Particularly on big tides, there is plenty of water movement with associated eddies on both sides and at the end. You can expect bream, javelin and occasional reef species. The inside of the wall is a particularly good spot for bream during autumn and early winter when fish are feeding freely in preparation for spawning. The southern (long) wall leaves the mainland at the extreme end of Boat Harbour Drive. It hosts a narrow roadway that hosts vehicles servicing the commercial fishing fleet. The curving


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Fab weather marches on RAINBOW BEACH

Ed Falconer

We have had another nice little run of weather that allowed us to get offshore a few times with fantastic results. OFFSHORE Spotted and Spanish mackerel have turned up again. Our first trip out

after a bit of a blow saw us get about 4 miles offshore where mobs of birds were working and huge balls of bait were being smashed by bigger fish. I quickly rigged up one of my clients and myself with an 85g Raider lure to throw out amongst them to test what they were. Neither of us managed a full turn of the reel before we were on

The reef fishing has been great. This young lad kept up with the adults catching a decent scarlet perch for his dinner.

– they were big spotted mackerel and we were all bagged out in 20 minutes. Spanish mackerel were also ravenously hitting just about anything that moved. Other pelagics that have been biting really well offshore are plenty of cobia and mahi mahi. We have been picking these species up on trolled baits and lures as well. The reef fishing has been exceptionally good. We have had some terrific catches of pearl perch, lots of parrot and Moses perch and some great sweetlip in close. Around the full moon we have been getting some nice snapper, mostly around the 2-3kg size. GREAT SANDY STRAITS There have been lots of mud crabs. Everyone seems to be getting a good feed of them all through the straits. The only problem is there appears to be a fair bit of ‘share farming’ going on. Shame on them! It’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on your pots. Flathead have been biting well in the straits. Drifting with flesh baits and using Squidgy soft

The Kuskie boys with some nice Spanish mackerel caught on a perfect day on the Keely Rose. plastics has been providing the quality fish. There have been some good catches of whiting caught at Big Mick and at the mouth of Kauri Creek. Freshly pumped yabbies have been a good enough bait to entice the whiting. ON THE BEACH There have been plenty of dart along the beach. Pretty much anywhere you go you will land yourself a feed. Quality hasn’t

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been great, but there are plenty of them. Good whiting have also been landed at the Oaks, but I have had reports that this is a late afternoon endeavour. March is one of those months where there are plenty on offer, both pelagics and reef fish. The only down side could be the weather. But hey, November weather is usually crap and last

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Dawn of the mighty prawn BUNDABERG

Jason Medcalf

The southeasterlies have been relentless over the past couple of months with only a handful of good boating days. This should start to ease off a bit this month but I wouldn’t hold my breath as the monsoon season is still in full swing in the north of the country. Your best bet is to plan a few trips around lakes, rivers and creeks and if Huey the weather God decides to give us a break grab your chance while you can! THE BURNETT RIVER The river has been firing up with some of the local young guns getting some nice fish on light gear and soft plastics. The grunter have been the main talking point with most guys getting into them with the plastics and bait. As the river has been full of small prawns the grunter have been gorging themselves so obviously the best bait has been fresh or live prawns and the best

plastics have been small prawn imitations. Other species have also been chasing these little crustaceans, with lots of bream, flathead and trevally taking prawn baits readily. As we are now into barra season there have been plenty of anglers out getting into these awesome fish while they can. In my over 20 years of lure fishing the rivers and creeks of our region I have not seen so many barra and this is great. The dam escapees have certainly moved far and wide and, judging by the big numbers of 30-40cm fish being encountered, some of them or their wild cousins have been hard at work. It’s amazing how these fish have made such an impact in our region, with a massive increase of interest from local and travelling anglers. This of course is a bonus as last year’s floods really hit our recreational industry hard, with months of unfishable water. It’s also great to see the numbers of anglers keen to catch and release barra, giving these fish a chance to increase the population.

The guys fishing the river are getting into the barra in most of the popular spots but the key is being there when they are biting – that’s the real challenge. The change of the tide is always a good option, as is the early morning and late afternoon and evening. Once you get a bite, don’t stray too far. The fish have been schooling up, so where you catch one there should be others not far away. BAFFLE CREEK The Baffle is always a very popular spot over the holidays so now is the time to head up there without the crowds. Roger from Baffle Creek Caravan Park tells me the flathead are still around and responding well to soft plastics and slowly trolled lures. The bigger tides have been producing the better fishing with less water for them to hide at low tide. The barra have also been on the target list again up here, and as this system is very large the fish have been a bit harder to find. Those anglers who have put in the time have

certainly been rewarded with some really nice fish. My favourite species, the mangrove jack, really got hammered over the barra closed season. I can imagine they’d be pretty happy that the barra season is open again! The middle reaches of the Baffle would be well worth a fish this month. Putting in at the Ferry Crossing and not venturing too far from here should see you tangle with a jack or two. WOODGATE The secret’s out: there are some prawns showing up in better numbers again around Woodgate, not just out the front but up the creeks as well. As much as I love a good feed of prawns, I love even more their effect on a river or creek. Just about everything eats prawns, so if they are on the move then the fish will be too. So get down to this beautiful part of the world, and have a fish, prawn and a swim.

Flathead have been taking live and fresh prawns and prawn imitations.

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MARCH 2014


Craige Floyd

There are so many options within the Gladstone region, and all produce great fishing. Larger waterways in the area push up into the fresh where there are healthy populations of barra and mangrove jack to smash your bait or lure. The barra season has been open for the past month, and a lot of anglers have been out targeting them with plenty of success. Reports have been coming through for all the waterways from Grahams Creek in the north, to Turkey Beach in the south, with the Boyne River being the standout fishery. Methods used to get on to a few, include live baiting at night around the bridges and casting for the snags and mouths of small creeks and drains with hard/soft bodies 100-150mm at dusk and dawn. In January, a ABBT tournament was held, while there was doubt on how the dam would fish the competition went ahead. A small field of 25 anglers attended, and all were determined to prove that Awoonga still had plenty of barra and were catchable. There were a number of barra caught, however none came in over the 1m mark. The winning fish were caught

Upstream of Pikes Crossing has high banks and an abundance of vegetation that act as a great wind block. in the lower parts of the dam in amongst timber using hardbodied lures with a twitch and pause retrieve. The wind has been pretty constant and only seems to drop off on the days that I’m at work and blows again at the weekend. The wind does limit my options, as the harbour and mouths of the rivers are out due to being too exposed, so I decided to head up to Pikes Crossing on the Boyne River to check accessibility for watercraft; I hadn’t been up here since they fixed the road up from the floods last year. If heading upstream, it is more suited to kayaks

as the launching spot is pretty rough. A kayak is really all that you would want while fishing this area as there are a few shallow bottlenecks where you have to get out and walk the yak through. Downstream from Pikes is more suited to a tinny with easier access to launch and the river is a lot wider and deeper. Both upstream and downstream is well sheltered from the wind with its high banks and surrounding bushland. The main targeted fish up here is barra, but there are tarpon and the odd jack as well. Lures are recommended in this area

as the catfish are prolific and your bait won’t last long enough for anything else to have a chance. Wi t h autumn now upon us, water temperatures will start to cool and the weather should be more stable. Now is a good time to get out there and get stuck into some barra and jack before they go off the chew in the coming months. I get a lot of my jacks from upper Calliope River in good numbers up until about the start of May. I prefer lures, such as Rapala XR10 and Lively Lure Mad Mullets in the 100mm range.

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Reap the rain’s run-off rewards ROCKHAMPTON

Clayton Nicholls

After the recent January and February rains, the late February and early March run off barra fishing has been amazing. Local freshwater areas have been getting a lot of decent fish. Look for those run-off brackish spots where the barra are sitting. The rains have once again brought out the prawns and the king salmon, which are on fire. FITZROY AND THE NARROWS Thanks to the prawns, there has been some terrific king salmon fishing, especially over the mudflats where the prawns are active. After the flush out of water, the barra fishing has fired up as well with plenty of bait in the system. In the next few months, fishing the river for any species should be quite productive as long as we don’t get any more heavy rainfalls. RIVERS, CREEKS AND THE BEACHES The local creeks leading

into the river are still trickling with freshwater run-off. Finding areas where this water meets the tidal saltwater area makes for brilliant fishing. A variety of species can be found in these areas but the most predominant fish is barramundi. Flicking around smaller

specimens around that can be gone as quick as they hit the lure. Along with all the barra trying to push up, many of the other saltwater species, such as bream and flathead, are at the back of the saltwater creeks. They’re trying to get out of the almost flooding river and

The Ropes Road crossing made from culverts is a very effective place to throw a lure, the water flows through very easily and the baitfish are amongst the snags around the crossing. The crossing generally holds plenty of barra that are making their way up from the salt in flood times and then get locked into the lagoons as the water recedes. Along with the barra, there is a plentiful supply of

Charlie Hohn with a brilliant barra pulled out of the Fitzroy River.

The rains bring out the prawns, which bring out the massive king threadfin salmon. 5-7cm hardbody lures and live baiting are the most productive. Many of the fish are smaller barra trying to push up into the fresh to grow and get the plentiful supply of baitfish, however there are quite a few large

will still be sitting up and readily available to target. FRESHWATER LAGOONS The freshwater lagoons are fishing very well from the recent rains because the bait is in plentiful supply.

Charlie takes great care of his fish by using proper landing nets and a decent set of lip-grips, which make sure the fish survives to live another day.

tarpon, which are great fun to target on surface lures as they are very aerobatic and not hard to find. CRABBING The crabbing is predicted to fire up once the flow of water has stopped and will hopefully stay that way. The crabs should be full to the brim with meat as the recent rains and run off brought with it lots of nutrients and dead matter off of the land and freshwater areas. A pack of mullet heads will always do the trick for a day out crabbing but catfish is a well-known bait that is in plentiful supply in our river and can prove to be a far cheaper option. Fish light get the bite!

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MARCH 2014


Fish flood the Fitzroy Salmon continue in form in the Fitzroy River, in both good numbers and size. As the prawns move downstream with the fresh flows the salmon follow them gorging themselves until the prawns move into the bay. They have left the town reaches and taken position around the delta and shallow creeks of The Narrows. We went for a run looking for golden snapper and came across kings smashing prawns in hardly any water along dirty muddy edges and up into the small tide channels coming from the mangrove edges. Coorooman Creek has been delivering plenty of things including muddies, grunter, salmon, flathead,


Scott Lynch

The Fitzroy River was the place to be for barra opening last month and since then we have had some rain giving a fresh boost to the system and improving the catches all the way from The Barrage down to Port Alma. The only downside of the fresh was that until The Barrage was opened we were still getting black jew and grunter almost to the town reaches. But the upside is that the barra, salmon and crabs have turned up in quantity downstream.

barramundi and the odd golden snapper. The usual holes should be worth a gander for grunter coming into the full moon. The Causeway Lake will be flooded with anglers on the weekend and might not be the normal standard we’ve come to expect, on saying that it continually surprises us with the amount of great fish all the time. Mangrove jack, barramundi, trevally, pike, bream to name a few are here most of the time. Prawns are coming on well after the boost from recent rain and storms. The past few years we have had too much rain and they were all washed out into the bay

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MARCH 2014

Fabian Sutton with a fine Yeppoon red emperor. before we had a chance to get amongst them. They have been going off at many of the area’s waterways and as you’d expect there is not a better live bait for virtually any fish anywhere. The hardest thing with all livies is to keep them alive long enough for them to do the job. Pretty well all the local tackle shops have pumps, aerators and gear to make livies last as long as possible. But even more important is water temperature. If the temp of the water rises, you can kiss the live baits goodbye. Shade and insulation is a must and I have even seen some live bait freaks wrapping their livey bucket in hessian and keeping it damp in the old water bag style. When using herrings, either greenbacks or yorkies, it pays to rinse them well before putting them in the tank. This gets rid of the loose floating scales that block the gills. Keep a decent sized aquarium net nearby to get the fish out quickly and keep the stress levels down. Whenever the water clears in Keppel Bay this time of year there will be queenies and trevally around Corio Bay, especially out at the heads. They can be targeted with poppers or live baits and are among the best shallow water fighters around. The last part of the run-in is the best and white

bommies’ edges and while we are casting poppers there is always a trailing live greenback herring held down near the bottom with a small pea sinker. The added bonus is the chance of 1kg+ bream that haunt this area in big schools. Cod and golden snapper can be out here too at any time. Unlike most top trevally spots I have never caught them on poppers here. They seem to school around the base of the bommies grabbing herrings and hardiheads that stray out of the main schools, which also use the rocks and bommies for cover. Golden, spotted and giant trevally are here all the time

and this part of the season they are around in quantity. They are definitely one of the top sportfish in our region. Any of the deep sheer rock walls around the islands with bommies and other pinnacle type structures will hold trevors. Current lines and white water attract them more than clearer calmer areas. Lots of our nanny spots are around under water ridges, wrecks and plateaus and the trouble is that trevally like the same country. They can be quite annoying when you are chasing better table fish. The fighting qualities of even small trevally is their major attraction. Trevors will grab lures or bait in shallow or deep water. We have some numbers of super big trophy size trevally in local waters that aren’t hard to find if you know where to start looking. I would get shot if I gave any of these spots away after some grubs recently stumbled onto a few 15kg+ fish and took them all instead of releasing them. Big trevally are not great table fish and to do something like this should be a crime. Trevally like poppers from about 100-200mm in green, gold, pink or red and white colours. March is usually quite windy and outside trips are rare but we do get a few good days between blows. There are usually plenty of mackerel, sweetlip, cod, parrot, trevally, cobia, coral trout all around the local islands and nearby

Wayne Mathers with a great barra from the Fitzroy, which is producing well since the rain.

reefy patches. As the local temps start to drop the fishing on the closer patches rises a bit. For much of the year wider the better is the rule for big reds, rosy jobfish and bigger sweetlip. Once the prawns get washed out of the local creeks and systems many nannygai, grunter, mulloway and sweetlip come in closer for the free feed, although from now until August the fishing in close and out wide is normally good. Those little black marlin that were here at stages last year have appeared again travelling in the same area as the passing mackerel schools on the 30-40m contour line. Lately there have been a few sighting and a couple of hook-ups. Last week we were just wide of Flat when we saw one leave the water about 20m from the boat. There was a fairly good mackerel season through Christmas and into February and there seems to be quite a lot still hanging around locally. The amount of freshwater coming down the river and into the bay has pushed them out to Barren and the wider spots for the moment. Doggies and a few spotties have started to show up just outside the area so it could be the year that they come back again. The floods over the past few years has kept them from their regular passage through the bay and if the year shapes up to be a drier year there is a chance of a decent season. Now is probably the time to nail a big tuna because the bay and surrounds are chocker block as the endless schools pass continually. Northern blue, mac tuna and bonito make very good flesh bait for the bottom bashers and bonito are hard to beat for Spanish mackerel. The northern blues are not too shabby as table fare if cleaned properly then marinated for half an hour in a basic mix (2tbsp of tomato sauce, soy sauce and 1tbsp of honey). Cooked quickly on a high heat as soon as a fork passes through the fillet easily it is cooked; overcooking makes it taste like rubber.





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Hot, humid and hectic MACKAY

Keith Day

February brought plenty of rainy days, and the rest have been hot and humid. These conditions will continue through March and into early April. Visitors to our area from the south are often amazed at the rainfall, where 200mm+ overnight is not uncommon, but Mackay’s catchments are all fairly short creeks and rivers and they clear up pretty quickly. This means that the creeks and rivers are still producing plenty of fish even though the water may not be the characteristic clear water we have much of the year. Barra have been on all anglers’ to-do list in February and there have been some spectacular catches made in all our creeks as well as the Pioneer River. John Groves, a regular visitor from Springsure, had a red letter day in Reliance Creek with 11 barra to 110cm landed in a short 3-hour session. All but 3 were released in fine condition to fight another day. The Pioneer River has

been fishing pretty well, even with the rain which brings plenty of freshwater down to the city reaches. The road bridges are all firing and will yield barra, jacks and some fingermark during March despite the expected continuing rain and freshwater. Once the freshwater stops running the river will fire up quickly and, as well as fishing the road bridges, look around the rock walls and down around the ‘V’ near the mouth. One area not to be overlooked when the fresh starts to clear up is the gravel bed area near Cullen Island, which can hold some hooter size grunter. These fish will take a variety of baits and soft plastics. Strip baits are a grunter favourite and whiting, gar and ribbonfish strips are all popular baits. Prawns and yabbies will also go off but often the undersized fish find them first. Trevally and queenfish will school up near the mouth of the river, but clean water is needed to get them chasing bait in the channel, particularly on the last of the run-out tide. Again, strip baits are popular along with live herring, whiting and so

forth. Oyster crackers (also called permit and snubnosed dart) will be around the river mouth throughout March and they don’t seem to mind a bit of dirty water and rough, windy weather. Live baits or bunches of yabbies or prawns are the go for the crackers, and once hooked they motor into overdrive instantly. Great fun. Oyster crackers and golden trevally are often found around the harbour walls during March, but as I write this the southern wall is still closed off for repairs. However, there is access to the northern wall which is often a better spot to fish for these species. Lamberts Beach north of the harbour is also worth checking out for goldens and crackers. Prawns and yabbies will score fish along with soft plastics, and occasionally a ‘shiny’ will turn up – a good result. While barra will remain the main focus for anglers through March there are plenty of other fish around as well. Jacks have been featuring during February, and March will be similar. Fish the heavy snags and rockb ars in Constant, Seaforth and Murray/St Helens areas to the north and Sandy/


Chilling out the season BRISBANE

The Sheik

People in a new relationship might be glad that the nights are getting colder. I know Pedo won’t be. He reckoned that getting it on was a summer sport as his better half couldn’t be enticed out of her flannie PJs for love or money. Others have a better strike rate because of the ‘pull the doona over to your side of the bed and wait for the snuggle’ manoeuvre. Incidentally, this cunning plan has never been successful for me personally; unless you count a groin full of knee as a success, which I don’t! But while some look forward to the chilly, dark evenings and the brisk, steaming mornings, I don’t. As I watch the summer move into autumn, the nights lengthen and the greenery stop flourishing on those pavers the handyman said were weed proof, I get sad. Sad because 50

MARCH 2014

it means my fishing trips have to be rejigged. No more can I cast the net out for herring, mullet or prawn and sit back next to a snag or a bridge with the drag on so tight that nothing else is as tight as it is. No more do I dream of my rod buckling over and a) snapping or b) snapping in two places as a red devil takes me into a rock hole. In the event that a) or b) do not occur, there is a 90% chance that the line is snagged. If I am super lucky and manage to get the line away from the snag there’s a 90% chance it will be a c) Moses or d) cod less than 150mm. The other 10% in this situation is I get the line back up after ten minutes of trying to unhook and the leader is just badly damaged enough to make me wonder whether e) I should have spent another ten minutes attaching a new one and cursing myself for taking too much time and missing the hot bite, or f) putting the same leader back in and cursing myself for using poor quality gear. The shortening days

also means no more do I zip-tie the gaping holes in the pots, and skin my knuckles trying to break up frozen fish frames with my hands and a pair of nail scissors, nor come back to the pots to find them g) full of jennies or h) full of nothing but a 149.5mm buck. To clarify that, one crab calliper says it’s 149.5mm and the other says it’s 150.1mm. This means that i) it’s 149.5mm and if I take it home I’ll get done, or j) it’s 150.1mm. This last case scenario only happens if I put it back. I love my summer fishing. Hot days and warm nights with the threat of a storm flickering in the south west. Cold drinks. Sun strong on your back. Live bait. Cricket on the radio. Sunscreen scent. Sunburn. Warm drinks. Melting ice. Mozzies. Sandies. Thirty-knot southeasterlies. Jet skis. Ski boats. Heat stroke. Headaches. Thumping into offshore swell. Back pain. Jarred neck. Knee arthritis… Can’t wait for winter. Love my winter fishing.

It’s not all about barra as Dave Frazer shows with a nice jack hauled out from under the snag in the background. The placement of the lure hard in under the snag was the key to the strike. Alligator and Rocky Dam creeks to the south with live baits or big strip baits for the jacks. Don’t be surprised if a fingermark or 2 turn up as well. Any road or rail bridges across these systems are always worth a try as the jacks (and barra for that matter) like to sit in the pressure waves caused by the pylons which make ideal ambush spots. Jacks are not fussy about lures as long as it is in their face, but those with a splash of red or all red seem to get

their territorial instincts flowing. Good solid hooks on the likes of RMGs, Reidy’s, Rapalas and suchlike are mandatory. Check with the local tackle stores for advice. King threadfin salmon are another species that doesn’t seem to mind a bit of freshwater around, and anglers can expect good catches in the upper reaches of Reliance and Constant creeks with the ‘king holes’ in the latter being particularly good spots. Live prawns and soft

plastics including vibes like Threadybusters are the go for the kingies, and usually several fish can be caught in short order as they tend to mooch around in small schools. Good kings are also on the go around the Murray/ St Helens areas with some really solid fish coming from Rocky Dam and Bakers creeks to the south. OFFSHORE February and March are not particularly productive months due to the cyclonic activity and monsoonal

weather patterns. It is a time when many larger trailerboats get their annual maintenance. Dirty water close inshore doesn’t help either, but on the few days that the weather drops off there will be plenty of reef fish action out wide along with possibly an early run of Spanish mackerel, but these will be well wide for the moment. Closer inshore, Spanish action usually starts around late April/early May. DAMS With plenty of freshwater around, the dams have been a bit hit-and-miss as big inflows of cold rainwater aren’t conducive to stirring up the barra. The initial run-in often sparks a hot bite but it’s short lived as the barra move out for warmer waters. Barra to around the magic metre have been regularly coming from Kinchant and Teemburra dams even though the weather hasn’t been all that suitable. Sooties are in spawning mode and one of the triggers is the inflow of water into the dams and a good run in the river. The sooties get all aggro and the males in particular are ready to smash almost anything that comes near them. The

Crystie White took advantage of the run at Kinchant Dam’s inlet channel to score this well conditioned sooty grunter on a small hardbody. females are roed up but not as aggressive as the males, but either way there are plenty of heavyweight sooties waiting for anglers. One spot that often really fires up is the inlet channel

into Kinchant Dam. This happens when Sunwater is pumping across from the river and the inlet channel becomes a man-made set of rapids attracting the sooties to feed. The urge to breed

also means they push right up to the gates. This is exciting fishing as the channel is only about 10m wide, but with the fast-running water any fish hooked is a real battle to land as they get side on to the rush of water. It’s great fun and I managed to blood my new #8wt Sage here on a nice sooty just over 40cm caught on a floating line with a small trimmed clouser. Getting three sooties in about 30 minutes was great fun and I missed at least six more as the belly in the line made strip striking difficult. MAFSA collected some broodstock both here and in the Pioneer near Marian during February, and new hatchery director Kieron Galletly has the system running. When I last checked they had about 5000 fingerlings around three weeks old and around 70,000 eggs dropped in the spawning tanks. The spawning side of the hatchery has undergone a much-needed upgrade with new and improved filtration equipment and layout so that all the filter systems are now fully enclosed inside the hatchery. The first couple of spawnings saw some disasters but that is to be expected when trialling new equipment. MAFSA

members are confident the $5000 invested in new equipment and upgrades will see plenty of sooties produced for stocking in the local dams.

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Inshore and offshore delight BOWEN

Dan Kaggelis

The late run to the wet season will be a big disappointment to creek anglers this month, as the lack of run-off before 1 February will see

fish then you’re best to concentrate both lures and baits around the mouths of the larger systems like the Gregory River, Billys Creek in the bottom of the Bay and Boat Creek to the north. This is where the cleanest water and bigger baitfish will be, so it’s more likely that

Tasty coral trout are also biting well on soft plastics. spawning opportunities for the big barra lost before the commercial nets do their toll. However there will still be plenty of barramundi on offer for those seeking out a big chromie and Bowen’s many creeks and estuaries are prime this time of year. The recipe for finding a big barra in Bowen is actually not that difficult. If you’re after a big trophy

your magic-metre will also be there. Chasing a big saltwater barra in these areas provides a couple of options. Firstly you can always go find a prominent snag and sink in a few live baits or pepper it with vibes, soft plastics or hardbodies. However don’t discount the open flats that are also very predominant in Bowen’s larger systems.

If you can find main gutters and channels in these areas then they are certainly worth a fish for these larger fish. I spend a lot of time on the flats over the closed season chasing fish like grunter and whiting and the amount of large barra that cruise these areas is quite surprising. I attribute this to the fact that these larger fish are feeding on my target species and if you find a good shoal of whiting you can almost guarantee a big barra is not far behind. If you are chasing big barra its fine to use a lighter braid but don’t discount on the leader strength. If you are targeting big fish over 1m you really want to get that leader up around the 60lb mark as fish this size will shred light gear pretty quickly. It’s not so much that they will break the line but more likely suck your bait right down and wear through your leader with their teeth or gill rakers. The offset to this is less bites so do yourself a favour and use good quality fluorocarbon like Sunline FC Rock, which is lighter and super abrasive resistant. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself connected to a leaping metre-plus barra and having it wear through a leader that cost you less than a $1. I prefer to target smaller to medium-sized barra this time of year as they are quite prolific and provide plenty of aggression and entertainment, plus they


taste a lot better on the plate. You will find these fish around the mouths but they are better targeted up the creeks, especially around the bottom of the tides off the mud and drains. Shallow running minnows and paddle-tail plastics from 4” up to 6” are the best lures for these fish. Staying in the creeks, March is an awesome time to run a few pots as the Bowen mud crab will be out in full force. The combination of the wet and bigger tides stirs them up this time of year and gets them out of their holes. This mobility sees more crabs in pots, which is good news for crabbers. More good news for crabbers is that all systems run when the crabs run, so if you’re fishing up the creek don’t forget the pots. March usually heralds some pretty awesome

Large mouth nannygai are on the chew in close. offshore fishing and weather to boot. The warmer water temps tend to bring the larger fish in from offshore grounds, which is great for those fishing the shoals and inshore wrecks. The main target species will be large and small mouth

Average sized barra like this one are prolific in March, especially from drains like the one in the background of this photo.

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nannygai and fish around the 50-60cm mark will be prolific this time of year. If you find a patch of smaller fish, many of which are just under legal, try getting to the spot earlier or even during the night as this is when the larger fish will be out and about. You can also try using larger baits; putting on a whole strip bait or cuttlefish will allow

the smaller fish to pick at it until the larger fish can muscle their way in. I prefer to fish soft plastics on 1.5-2oz jigheads as you always seem to get the better quality fish. Certain soft plastics, like Berkley’s Squid Vicious, are prime for fish like coral trout and nannygai as they mimic a live squid. They are also gun baits for other fish like grunter and golden snapper in inshore areas. Through the warmer months you will find the early morning bite time the best, as when the sun gets high in the sky the fish do tend to spread out a bit and become harder to locate and target. It’s also quite unpleasant to be baking in the midday sun 30km offshore. Next month will see much the same as this month, although water temps will begin to become milder as we transition into autumn. The good news is that the wet weather also tends to dissipate a little and water clarity becomes a little more consistent, which is good news for those chasing fish up the creek on lures. April should see the beginnings of the pelagic runs, especially the large grey macks in Bowen so make sure you get the high speed reels and jigs ready to go.



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Mud crabs will be crawling into pots in March so make the most of them.


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No rain means a slow start AYR

Steve Farmer

The big news at the moment is that the barramundi season is open and Burdekin anglers didn’t waste any time hitting the water. Boats were on the move from Friday afternoon as the skippers and crew jockeyed for prime positions for the Saturday midday opening. Most fishers expected a slow start to the season, thanks to the abnormally dry conditions despite Cyclone Dylan’s last minute appearance. Dylan didn’t produce the rainfall that most Burdekinites were hoping for, but there was enough local rain to put a modest fresh in the Barrattas Creek system. Interestingly, last year’s barra season opening almost suffered from the same lack of rain until Cyclone Oswald dumped a heap in the headwaters that resulted in a last minute fresh in the river. Fishing across the district over the past month has been pretty quiet. Those who did tackle the sweltering conditions were rewarded with mangrove jack, golden snapper and grunter for their efforts. These three species have

been fishing reasonably well in a number of estuaries. Plantation is one creek that has been producing better numbers of jacks, while golden snapper have featured in catches from Phillips Camp, Ocean and Hell Hole creeks. Some of the anglers making the effort to launch their boats over the steep bank at Kierles Landing on the Burdekin River were rewarded with quality golden snapper to 60cm.

The Fuller Masonic Lodge Burdekin Barra Rush is on again with prizes for a variety of divisions including estuary and reef species.

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The usually reliable flathead have varied in numbers and size, with the occasional decent fish falling to anglers fishing small live or slabbed mullet baits or lures. Large tides are an ideal time to target flathead and the recent 4m+ tides would have been interesting if they hadn’t been accompanied by the wild and woolly weather from Cyclone Dylan.

Many bluewater fishers chose their weather carefully and enjoyed some hot but calm conditions on the reef. Catches weren’t fantastic, but often included coral trout and red jew, with the better fish usually taken in the deeper water. Closer to shore sportfishers were tangling with tuna, trevally and queenfish. MARCH OPTIONS Barramundi will be the number one target species across Burdekin estuaries, creeks and lagoons over the next month – and beyond. As always, the fishing will depend on what rainfall we end up getting. If the weather remains relatively dry then most estuaries and the deeper holes in the freshwater reaches of the Burdekin River will be worth a try, as well as the beaches and Bowling Green and Upstart bays. The Gorge Weir will be a favourite destination of off-roading barra anglers, but check the forecast before you hit the dirt. If we do score a decent fresh in the river, which wipes out the estuaries, then head for the good old standbys such as the Barrattas Causeway, the freshwater sections of the Barrattas Creek or any lagoons where you can get your barra fix.







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If you’re fishing floodwaters be careful and only wade in areas that you know. It’s far too easy to step off a submerged bridge or into a hidden channel and be swept away. A fish or two aren’t worth the risk. March should continue to produce mangrove jack in the estuaries, provided the weather remains fairly dry. Golden snapper should be thinning out in the estuaries by now, but inshore bluewater anglers should be able to find these tasty fish around the rocky foreshores of Cape Upstart for a while longer. The best bait for golden snapper is freshly caught squid. Bluewater fishers can also expect to find trevally, queenfish and the occasional doggie mackerel around Cape Upstart and Camp Island and further south at Abbot Point. Poppers are an exciting way to catch trevally and queenfish, while the small mackerel

are often finicky about their tucker and may respond better to a small, quickly retrieved metal slug. BARRA RUSH ON AGAIN Burdekin anglers should mark the weekend of 12-13 April on their calendars. That’s the weekend of the Burdekin’s biggest fishing competition – the Fuller Masonic Lodge Burdekin Barra Rush. Most of the competitors are local anglers, but some travel from far and wide to try their luck. Organiser, Mike L’Hullier, said that as well as an impressive list of prizes for numerous divisions which cover both estuary and reef species, all ticket buyers would go into the draw for the major prize of a boat, motor and trailer valued at more than $8,500. Watch the local newspaper or check with your tackle store for further details on this longrunning, popular competition.




Lure tossing, inshore bluewater anglers can expect some exciting action from queenfish in March.

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An active monsoon brings barra on the bite TOWNSVILLE

Karim De Ridder

The open barra season brought all forms of anglers out to test their skills against our iconic sports fish. My day consisted of a mixture of work commitments

at the same time marvelling at the results of loose lips and its explosion of angling pressure. Switched-on local anglers had more luck when they found hungry fish in the 60-80cm class willing to accept well placed offerings in filthy water due to the

somewhat harder to access Cattle Creek maintained its name as a quality destination. Fish have been taken on a mixture of techniques, including trolling, live baiting and casting hardbodied lures close to those structures breaking the current and providing a rest stop for

squalls saw catches of red emperor and coral trout adorn the decks of boats where anglers were keen for the higher quality table fare. Reefs, including Chicken and John Brewer, were discussed in reports showing that those both far and near had produced the goods. The scattered rains and resulting freshwater gave our creeks a flush to some degree. It is a perfect time for anglers to look towards the inshore shoals and headlands to chase the trophy golden snapper that call it home. Most will find success in the

Headland and inshore golden snapper are generally quality class fish as pictured.

Keeping a watchful eye on the weather gives opportunity to mix with quality reef dwellers. and a visit to some favourite land-based haunts. While avoiding the flying gold Bombers and Slick Rigs from the dozen anglers at my once relatively un-pressured hot spot, I managed to pick up a couple of sub-legal fish away from the crowd before throwing the towel in, while

king tides, showing that adaptability to conditions is the key to success. Good reports came from all areas of the region with the more southern systems claiming their fair share of catches, including the Haughton and Crocodile creeks. The northern and

the fish as they moved with the tide. Captures of king threadfin salmon were also well received with their white flesh preferred by many over the mighty barramundi. With most eyes on the creeks, rivers and headlands, a few breaks in the weather between cyclones and rain

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As the season gains momentum, photos of cracking barra keep motivation high. wee hours of the morning where these superb sport and table fish can be targeted via a plethora of techniques. For bait fishers, live squid or fresh herring baits are hard to beat. Anchoring on a good showing of bait in the right country is a good way to achieve the desired results. For those who are more inclined to use artificial presentations, a mixture of Gulps, large blades, soft

vibes, rattlers and small jigs are a good start. Start by locating some nice rubble bottoms with good shows of fish and bait and, try the drift approach. Be aware sometimes multiple passes are required to gain a response. Another common technique is to find solid structure and a good show of fish, with the deployment of a GPS enabled electric motor suspending the boat at the

perfect position against wind and tide. Fantastic research done by Fisheries NT recently found that barotrauma due to fishing in depths greater than 10m increased mortality rates in golden snapper. Keep this in mind and remember that these fish are slow growing, and susceptible to over fishing. By reducing pressure, stocks will be healthy for years to come.

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Waiting for the weather LUCINDA

Jeff Wilton

By now everybody has started to get over the barra fever and, all going to plan, there have been plenty of jumping chrome bullets on the end of lines. March is a very interesting time in the tropics as normally it means rain and plenty of it. It was a long time coming but we finally got some decent rain in February after a long and nervous wait. Fingers are crossed that the we get more rain and plenty of fresh water flows through the channel bringing life and spectacular fishing action for the rest of the year. Bring it on! HINCHINBROOK CHANNEL Tough days up the channel have been the norm for most anglers, as the barra fishing after the opening was tough with dirty water and big tides. This is only going to get better with the wet season kicking off and, with the barra really firing up, there should be plenty of fun and games for those that put in the time and effort. During the run-off period I spend most of my barra

days lobbing shallow running lures into the many drains that Hinchinbrook has to offer. This type of fishing is very easy and effective as it means that casting does not have to be pin-point, meaning the family can get amongst some lure caught barra as well. For those that are new to the area I would suggest heading out and looking around at low tide to find yourself a bank that has plenty of drains coming from the mangroves. Drains don’t have to be big, the smallest trickle that causes a colour change will hold feeding barra at stages. For best results, start fishing the drains about half tide down as the water just recedes out of the mangroves. Try to use the tide and any wind to quietly drift down the bank keeping close enough to allow your lure or plastic to land right on the edge of the bank, but stay far enough away to not spook the fish, this is important. Nice slow twitchy retrieves keeping the lure or plastic in the fish’s face for longer will bring more hits. Don’t be surprised to catch jacks and small GT as they will hang about looking for that easy feed. If you get

lucky you will find yourself the perfect drain, which will be pushing discoloured water and heaps of baitfish out and will feature a nice snag sitting in the front. This will have fish written all over it and this type of spot should be given a good amount of time, throwing the anchor out nice and quiet and peppering this spot could see multiple fish in the boat. The other type of area to spend some time in is the rocky headlands; once again Hinchinbrook has plenty of this on offer. When fishing the headlands a quality sounder is very important as it means you can actually sound around and find fish then drop down into them or cast at them. The side scan technology that is on offer is great for this fishing as it very possible to find fish hanging off the points and target these fish instead of blind casting all day. Structure, discoloured water and baitfish – put these three factors together and you are very close to getting into the barra. ISLANDS AND REEF Getting out wider is very dependent on the weather and what it will allow us to do. The fishing should be going off, especially if you head out after a period of rough weather. For those that wait for the perfect

Nannygai will smash anything you throw at them at times. flat seas you may be making it hard on yourself to experience insane fishing sessions. It is very clear to me now (after bashing into messy seas for a few years) that even well fished spots fish extremely well after rough weather. So if you are prepared to get a little wet and salty you should be rewarded with bent rods and action aplenty. Nannygai are about in good numbers and there are some big ones on the closer spots that will pull your arms

off, especially when you’re using lighter gear. Nannygai, small and large mouth, are schooling fish and when they come on the bite it is very easy to get your limit. They also suffer from baratrauma and will often die if you release them. Once you have enough for a feed it is best to move away from them so to not kill them unnecessarily. Mac tuna may not be much of an eating fish but they are providing amazing sports fishing for those that enjoy

that type of stuff. I must say that plenty of my reef trips have been spent chasing tuna schools around the ocean and I normally head home with nothing but a couple of those for reef baits in the future. For me casting a small slug into a feeding frenzy of tuna and watching 100m of braid rip off my spool is hard to beat. I am very happy to watch endless boats fly by me as they head for the reef, leaving me the school to fish on my own.

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Barra going off their chops HINCHINBROOK

Ryan Moody

the top end of the island. You might not be able to fish there but it’s well worth a snorkel as the marine life is amazing. Fingermark have been a little hit-and-miss since the fresh came down the rivers but catches should improve as the fresh thins in the coming weeks. Small tuna should soon arrive to feed in the nutrient flows that came from February’s rains. The medium size marlin are also known to follow these schools, and the area about halfway to the reef is a good place to look for the baby tuna that the marlin feed on. Fish up to 400lb have been encountered at this time of year while trolling big baits around

The barra season is in full swing and we’re getting some settled weather again which is great. I bet most tackle shops have just about run out of lures now as anglers have started to take advantage of some prime conditions for hunting down Australia’s most sought after sportfish. My brother Ian’s first barra of the season at 90cm. The waters are a little warmer this year and most of The kings can be a strange you can’t fish is the Brooke the fish are in the shallows. On fish because they come and Island group. The marine park a number of occasions we have go seemingly without rhyme maps will show you where the found deep water barra very or reason. Their lack of a set green zone is; it’s quite large reluctant to bite, but a quick pattern makes it difficult to and is the only green zone at change of methods can change confidently target them on a your fortunes dramatically. day-to-day basis. Sometimes You should try different ideas they will hang in an area when the fishing is slow of bait all day and at other because you just don’t know times you will only get a bite what you might stumble on. around the change of tide Funnily enough, some of before they move on. I guess the most important tricks I that’s why they are more have learned over the years highly regarded than barra for have come to me by pure many sportfishers. Barra are accident when I was trying out relatively easy to catch when compared to threadfin for a new idea. As well as the barra most anglers. going off their chops, the king Big grunter have been threadfin salmon have also prevalent up the channel, and shown up in good numbers, there have been some reports probably due to the salinity from the outer islands as well. STA13434Dealer1-2_STA11838NewCamp 18/07/12 Pagehelps 1 that 10:37 AMSharky dropping after a very dry year. One group of outer islands Jordy with a big queenfish.



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We have been catching some great barra already this season. the tuna schools. If you have a gamefishing interest, fishing for these middle size marlin on 30lb and 50lb stand-up gear can be a whole lot of fun. It’s a great way to fish what was generally thought to be a slower time of year for billfish. Give it a try. On another topic, it’s been just over 3 years now since Cyclone Yasi hit Hinchinbrook, and let’s just say today you would not know it (aside from the still broken marina, but that’s another subject and the only sore point left in our recovery). Our new foreshore development looks awesome and plenty of travellers are pulling up to spend a few bob in town which has been great for the community. THE MONTH AHEAD During March I would expect to see much the same

on the fishing front but it will all depend on whether we get another chapter to our wet season. If not, we will see much more settled fishing conditions as the inshore water quality improves. Around the end of March we may see an improvement on the reef fishing scene as we approach the better time of year for offshore fishing. I hope you all get a good wet season and your fishery continues to thrive. • If you would like to come up for a fish call us on 0418 538170 or at www.hookedonhinchinbrook. com. Charters are booking out so get in early to get the best tides. Also check out our additional new website at www



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MARCH 2014


Put March aside as a month for projects CAIRNS

Garry Smith

March is usually the last of the seriously wet months in Cairns, but the monsoon has been running late this season so anything could happen. In recent years conditions have varied from picture perfect to cyclonic and everything in between. The main thing is to be ready to take advantage of any spells of good weather, when and if

they occur. Mentally, put March aside as project month and that way any opportunities to wet a line will be seen as a bonus. The fishing over the last month, like the weather, has been patchy. We’ve had the odd outstanding trip interspersed with lean pickings. Hopefully things will improve this month. When the weather cooperates, barra, mangrove jack and golden snapper (fingermark) will be on the menu in the estuaries and close inshore, while the

Tom Smith from Ravenshoe caught this 110cm barra in a creek near Innisfail on a run-out tide. The lure that did the damage was a Delalande Skeleton soft plastic.


reef will mainly produce nannygai (saddletail snapper), red emperor and coral trout, with a sprinkling of other species. The estuaries will offer the best opportunity to wet a line, as the winds will have less impact. The amount of freshwater in the systems will be the key factor. If the salinity levels are high, poke upstream but the most likely fishing will be focused around the mouths of systems, with the last of the run-in tide the most productive. Mangrove jacks tend to handle the extreme weather best and can really turn it on in flood conditions. Look for run-off areas with heavy cover, like big snags or rock patches, and work the area with small live baits or lures. Periods of low run in areas, where the run is severe for most of the tide, will often produce just as the run eases or is about to pick up. It’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Dead bait will also do the job but live bait opens the window for the odd barra. Prawns, sardines, mud herring and mullet are ideal livies. If you can’t catch your own livies, fresh eating quality squid, cuttlefish or prawns are a good fallback. Mangrove jacks are also quite partial to half a pilchard, especially when the water is dirty and they have to rely more on smell to find a feed. Luring with colours that stand out in the muddy water is important. Pinks, reds, gold, silver and fluoro colours all work well, with PrawnStars, soft plastic prawns, small paddle tail soft plastics and deep diving hardbody lures, under 100mm long, all producing on their day. Bait soakers will also find some action on the flats outside the mouths of streams when the winds permit. When it’s too blowy, the flats just inside the

protection of the mouth will be the best option, especially on the big morning high tides around the new and full moons. Coincidently there are two new moons this month, so you will have three weekends with ideal tides for flats fishing. (When there are two full moons in a calendar month the second one is called a blue moon. When there are two new moons in a calendar month the second one is called a black moon, which will occur on 31 March. This also occurred in January this year – so there’s a bit of trivia for you.) There should be a few grunter, trevally and queenfish mixed in with the small sharks, rays and catfish on the flats. Fresh strip baits of mullet, gar, sardines or mud herring, along with peeled prawns, all make excellent bait for fishing the flats. Filleting sardines or mud herring may seem a bit fiddly but they work a treat. If they are big, take a fillet off one side, lay it skindown on the filleting board and cut down the middle to (but not through) the skin. Then fold the fillet skin to skin and thread it onto your hook. If the sardines or mud herring are small, take a fillet off both sides, place them skin to skin and thread onto your hook. Grunter are particularly partial to this bait presentation. The barra season opened slowly in February, with the odd fish caught but no great numbers. Rain and inclement weather in early February made for less than ideal barra fishing conditions. Barra will have spread throughout the systems by now and it will be a matter of working with the prevailing conditions to try to locate fish. With plenty of fresh around, the run-off areas

in streams and the coastal headlands will be the most likely locations to nail a pink eye. Run-off areas where there is colour change are an ideal place to start. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s clear water running into dirty

of it but be on the lookout for sudden weather changes like mini cyclones and storms. In Cairns in 2001 a cyclone suddenly formed near Green Island and came ashore over the northern beaches in a matter of a few hours.

This 106cm salty was caught in the same creek by Tyson Manly using a Delalande Fury Shad soft plastic. water or vice versa – it’s the mixing of the two that barra love to work in search of an easy feed. There will be the odd monster barra on the prowl for those anglers willing to put the time and effort into finding them. Don’t forget the crab pots, especially on the big new and full moon tides, and keep your eyes and ears open for any sign of prawns. They should start to appear along the beaches and in Trinity Inlet any time now. REEF AND OFFSHORE The reef is a ‘catch it if you can’ scenario in March. For the past two years reef fishing in March has been next to impossible due to poor weather but in 2011 there was some magic weather and the reef fishing went off. We must be due for another good patch – here’s hoping! If the opportunity presents itself, make the most

While the winds were not structurally very damaging, I would not have liked to be on the water at the time! Also remember to be on the lookout for semi-submerged logs after flooding. If you are lucky enough to get a trip out wide, expect to find quality large-mouth nannygai and red emperor in the deep water and trout in waters under 30m. The largemouth nannygai are often in the 7-10kg range at this time of year and they can also be around in serious numbers. If you approach fishing in March with the attitude that anything is better than nothing, you’re much more likely to enjoy yourself. Otherwise set your sights on a major project around the house or boat, which you can then drop if the weather clears. Either way, March can be a productive month no matter what the weather gods throw your way.






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The March medley PORT DOUGLAS

Lynton Heffer

The Far North has had as a normal and healthy wet season leading into March. There have been good rains distributed across the top end which began from around mid-January and have been consistent since. There’s been tropical lows and a few cyclones to keep an eye on but you expect that for a normal wet season. We can expect much the same for the coming month. Fishing-wise we’ve had some interesting moments both inshore and offshore. On the outer reef the bottom fishing has produced fewer fish but the quality has certainly made up for this deficiency. Reef fishing can be a challenge in the wetter months but there have been some impressive fish caught in between the slower periods, which have been generally associated with adverse weather. Thumping red emperor, big large-mouth nannygai (saddletail snapper), solid reef mangrove jack and feisty black cobia have all lit up the stage at certain times. When a powerhouse fish comes over the side all those quiet hours spent on the water

just fade into the distance! Besides these XXL fish there have been some handy coral trout and bar-cheek trout to be found at times, and there have also been runs on spangled emperor. Sweetlip, moses perch and stripies are typically a common occurrence. The Spanish mackerel have been very sparse on the float and this has also translated to trolling efforts using hardbody diving lures and woghead garfish rigs. Surprisingly though, the occasional small black marlin up to 150lb has been hooked while trolling the light tackle gear well inside the outer edge reef. The blacks have been present where the small skipjack tuna have been working the surface. Closer to the coastline, the wonky holes have fired up at times, producing quality largemouth nannygai, gold-spot cod and cruising cobia. Wonky holes are outflow points of ancient underground river systems, which derive their water from the mountainous coastline and begin to flow out at sea with freshwater when we receive good doses of rain. A lot of the wonky holes occur between the mainland and the start of the outer reef, with the

odd hole out even further. On the sounder the holes resemble an inverted bommie or a vacant V shape below the floor level, and they usually attract all forms of bait life. In real life they look like a rounded mud castle wall with a crater in the middle. The water around these holes is very murky, which is ideal for ambush predators. Prawn trawlers are very well aware of the wonky holes and avoid them like the plague as the craters can catch their nets and cause all sorts of dramas. The local fishermen highly guard their wonky hole locations because they tend to produce only a few fish at a time – but these few fish always seem to be on the monster size scale. Since the rains, our coastal mangroves and beaches have been inundated with new baitfish and prawn life. This, in turn, has attracted the predators. It’s been a calling card for barra, blue salmon, trevally, queenfish, tarpon, small jewfish and grunter, all of which have been registered by anglers across the region. All these fish have been caught using a variety of methods including live baits, soft plastics and imitation prawn lures. There’s also the chance



MARCH 2014

Port Douglas Sportfishing has been registering well on the wonky holes. to cast net a feed of prawns along the way. You’ll never taste better eating prawns that are caught fresh off the beach. Drag nets are still used by some but this is increasingly frowned upon by most anglers due to the bycatch of juvenile fish which are often killed in the process, including tiny barra and blue salmon. Venturing inland via our rivers, creeks and estuaries, the standout fish during the wetter periods has been the mangrove jack. Jacks seem to revel in these conditions. Other fish may opt to take cover but the mangrove jack has simply excelled. There’s been no rocket

science to catching them either, with the old pilchard lightly weighted doing the deal. The key has been fishing with good run in the tide, whether it’s coming in or out, and sourcing pressure points along the edges which hold plenty of mangrove cover. Quite often there’ll be a mob of them all lined up and all aggressive in nature. Concentration is paramount because these fish hit without notice and will be back under a snag in a heartbeat. It’s a matter of lock up and load when they strike. When the rains have eased and there’s a bit of normality in the water clarity, the barra

will come out to play. Mixed in with them you’ll often find schools of mid-sized GTs, tarpon and small queenfish, and there’s always a bream or a gold-spot cod to catch. There’s still the odd massive king tide in early March around the new moon, and the fishing will be difficult around the rivers and creeks. Following this, things should settle down provided we don’t get too much rain. I’m cautiously predicting much the same overall for March (which is notoriously difficult to predict). When the conditions are settled that’s your opportunity to hook into some action.



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Predators step it up COOKTOWN

Nick Stock

With good rain falling over the last month, all of the local rivers have seen an explosion of prawns and the predators have stepped it up a level. School-sized queenfish and giant trevally can been seen smashing the jelly prawns that are seeking refuge around the weed beds and drains in both the Endeavour and Annan rivers. A great spot to target some bigger prawns for either bait or eating is on the flats out the front of the Bowls Club at low tide. I recommend that you do this from a boat as there has been a 12ft croc hanging around on the flats at low tide. The increased pelagic action has kept a few punters busy. Using small 3” Gulp Swimming Mullets

in pumpkin seed colour has been a sure fire way to get stuck into them. A bycatch of flathead, jack, pikey bream and golden snapper (fingermark) is ensuring that a mixed bag of Cooktown’s bread and butter species is keeping food on the table. Further upstream there have been some great sized barra getting caught on big live mullet and milkfish. Baits around 400mm long are not unheard of when chasing the big fish and a few fish were caught and released last year that were well over the 120cm mark. The local guides have been getting some great inshore action on Spanish mackerel around Dawson Reef. While this reef may be bit hard by the tinny brigade during good weather due to its close proximity to the shore, there are always plenty of school sized Spanish

here up to around 8kg. Don’t be surprised if you see a 15kg+ fish nail your offering boatside. When the water is clear, these inshore reefs are a great option for a dive as the coral is spectacular and you can usually get your bag of trout and a cray or 2 for your efforts. The Annan has been firing for jacks for the lure flickers, with plenty of school-sized fish up to around 40cm hanging around on most decent snags. Small lures around 8cm long have been having the most success, with the usual fluoros nailing the fish. The upper reaches of the Annan have a distinctive water colour most of the year and I like lures with either pink, chartreuse, black or pearl white on them as they stand out in that system like dog’s balls. The crabs are in

This barra was caught on a Twin River Lures 110mm Prawn. decent numbers around the mouths of most local systems and feeder creeks with the recent flush out. Be prepared to lose a few pots (or at the very least your floats) to the local crocodile population. The month ahead will see the trade winds start

increasing so get out on the bluewater while you still can. The bonus of the trade winds arriving usually means that Lakefield N.P. opening is in the near future. • Before planning a trip up to Cape York, be sure to call into the brand new

Lure Shop for all of your supplies. It is the biggest shop north of Cairns and has a range of fishing and outdoor gear that rivals any big city store. Be sure to pick up a few of my handmade timber Twin River Lures in-store before you head north.

Wet finally arrives WEIPA

Josh Lyons

The arrival of the barra season in early February also saw the arrival of the wet season big time up here on Cape York, and since then it hasn’t and doesn’t look like it will let up any time soon. Very few have been able to put in any quality time on the barra with consistent monsoonal rain and storms coming off a strong northwesterly wind the norm for most of February. I don’t mind this and the fact I still haven’t caught my first barra for the season yet isn’t an issue

as there will be plenty of time to make up for it when the wet slows and conditions improve. It’s no secret and no surprise that the year and years to follow a good wet produce some of the best fishing. The lay of the land all through northern Australia indicates that there needs to be big rain and floods to get into and refresh the waterways, billabongs, creeks and rivers, both big and small. Most of the Gulf has now seen some serious rain with some areas recording record falls. Kowanyama, a small community to the south of Weipa, saw falls exceeding 1100mm during the first week of February! That is some serious rain and by all reports there is

more to come. On the fishing front locally most reports have indicated patchy fishing, which really is the norm for this time of year, the deep holes at the mouths of Weipa’s major rivers have seen some great catches of both black jew and grunter, however they have been there one day and gone the next. These deeper holes can really only be fished on the turn of the tide and during the run in this time of year as on the run out the fresh pushing down the rivers makes for holding a bait on the bottom an impossibility. Banks and drop offs adjacent to these holes however, can fish well during these times of big run. Best baits by far

Barra are about, but they’ll take some finding with the brilliant wet we have had. 64

MARCH 2014

Offshore the fishing is a bit sporadic, however with more settled weather fingermark and coral trout like these rippers will be easier to locate. are fresh slabs of mullet, herring or other baitfish and freshly caught live and dead prawns. This is the time of year to fire up the cast net around the river mouths and get a haul of prawns for a feed or for bait before they head out wider and into the Gulf. This time of year, with bait hard to find and the fish not overly fussy, means a nice chunk of squid can be as good as anything with more time spent with a bait in the water the way to go. Any more than a few kilometres up the rivers now is pure fresh water so once up in these areas it’s barra that are the target. Clear drains and creeks running into the main river are what you want to look out for and each one needs to be worked properly with a selection of lures and plastics to entice any in the area. For some reason it’s usually one drain in the

area that will hold most of the fish and obviously this is the one that needs to be found. This hot spot can change from trip to trip however as water levels and conditions change and you will soon work out that the fish aren’t always hanging in the same spot they where they were last trip. A small window of better weather during February saw a few boats head offshore to tangle with the reefies, and while the conditions seemed ok, things obviously hadn’t settled right down as the real quality proved hard to find. Moving around and working hard was the only real solution and if you used this as a plan of attack there was no problem in picking up a feed of tuskies, fingermark and cod. By mid March we should see the wet season ease and the fishing options and catches pick up. Most

species should start to haunt their usual run off spots and be found with more consistency. The run of grunter should be found at all their usual land-based haunts at the river mouths, while barra, jacks and fingermark will really start to fire up as the rivers clear. Offshore, when the westerly swell drops, some nice fish should be on the chew and when the water clears for a week or more the pelagics should start to show. Big bait schools in Albatross Bay are an indicator conditions have improved and the Spaniards, queenies and trevally will be on the prowl. Some miles may need to be done however to find some of this action. Be careful of huge floating logs when travelling as there will be plenty out there after what looks to have the makings of a ripper Wet.

All systems are go! KARUMBA

Alan Gurney

Last year at this time I was expecting that we would get a late wet, but we missed out totally. This year we got a wet happening and all systems are now go! Water will flush the barramundi out of the lagoons and put them in anglers’ way. Opening day was a real effort with not many people catching a fish due to the large tide and not much run-off, but it has now changed and good times are coming. For the record, I did catch a legal barra but I used 100L of fuel to do it,

including enough casts to sink a battleship! All the drains will fire at some stage of the tide so don’t be afraid to go back at a different stage to try again. I also stated last year that doing the same thing each year will not get results if the weather pattern changes, and that will apply again this year. The barramundi will be out the front on the big tides and my favourite place is off the beach on the first part of the run-out tide with live bait or soft plastics. You can also catch plenty of bream around 40cm if set up for them. They hang out in the rocks in front of the fisheries houses and as more people find the spot it

can get crowded, so please do not fish in someone’s back pocket. It is also a good time to remind people not to anchor up in the channel as the barge can only operate there and can’t stop in a hurry. It amazes me the amount of people who do this, then whinge as they see this big barge bearing down on them. There is a huge space on both sides of the channel to anchor up and this gives you the opportunity to place one bait in the channel and one in the shallows. You may find that the one in the shallows will catch the fish. Heading out to the rubble patches in the calm weather is a good move as the golden

The barra are on now the area has had a wet season. snapper should be around and in reasonable numbers. These fish tend to school in certain areas so move around until you find them.

A simple running sinker rig using 40lb mono trace will get the job done. I like to use peeled prawns for bait but try different things as you

never know. Please check before coming by ringing the Normanton police on (07) 4745 2555.

Trophy fish patrolling inflows CAPE YORK

Tim O’Reilly

The wet season has well and truly kicked into gear and the northern Peninsula area has had some fantastic rains recently. This deluge is

drains overflow into Cape York river systems. Anyone who loves barra fishing will be targeting these areas, looking for trophy fish as they patrol the inflows in ambush. It is common knowledge that big wet seasons lead to great fishing up in Cape York, but typically this is

creeks and rivers of the Cape. Mangrove jack, barra, archerfish and tarpon can also be caught far upstream in some of the crystal clear systems, which flow out of woodland, rainforest and often over sand in Cape York. Accessibility to these areas will be particularly

on these roles. I remember clearly a morning on the Watson River when I had a small archerfish take a lure right on cue under a bush. The poor thing got beaten up by a much larger archerfish, about 45cm long, all the way back to the boat! And the real trophy fish in the far upstream rivers of the Cape for me are barramundi and the mighty saratoga. Saratoga are brilliant looking fish and although they’re no good for eating they put on an amazing display of aerobatics, and are experts at throwing a hook with that bony mouth. Fishing lagoons and backwaters for these fish or around timber log jams where the water is brackish will yield results. By far my favourite type of fishing involves casting surface lures in tight country, waiting for a set of gleaming orange eyes attached to a large barramundi, staring at your lifeless fizzer only feet from the bank. You can imagine the mayhem of trying to land large barra in heavily

A beautifully-coloured passionfruit trout taken from shallow reef country. timbered spots from the bank. It’s as fun as fishing gets. Losses are acceptable for the level of excitement offered by landing a big one. Fizzers, poppers and basically any surface walking lure is a great way to catch saratoga and barramundi in March. Both will have their eyes attuned to the sky, ready to take an easy meal floating or fluttering overhead. It is a great test of nerve to leave a surface lure for another one or two seconds after just missing a strike. So

often if left twitching on the surface, both barra and togas will have repeated swipes at the lure. Just be sure not to rip the rod backwards and the lure out of the strike zone. If you love greenery and rain, birdlife, flowing rivers and waterways alive with aquatic creatures, March will be one of the best months of your year. Some of the biggest barra get caught right about now. Don’t be afraid to use an oversized live bait in an attempt to tempt the big ones.

A big salty comes into view. These fish have been taking surface lures with gusto. supercharging the rivers flowing into the Gulf of Carpentaria, providing ideal conditions for newly hatched and year old barramundi to venture upstream in search of their ideal feeding habitats. Good wet season rains not only help recruitment of fish species in the Cape’s many rivers and bays, it also provides great ambush points for fish looking to get an easy meal in the run-off. Every year from March until May, thousands upon thousands of tiny rivulets, marshy overflows, swamps and

for estuarine species. Last year we enjoyed a fantastic mackerel season close inshore, driven primarily by a lack of any significant wet season. Other headland and reef areas may even begin to fish well as early as March, once again depending on the amount of rain and wind around. Regardless of what type of fishing you are looking at, water temperatures will still be relatively high in March. Fishing the upstream reaches of many east coast rivers can be exceptional at this time of year as sooty grunter and jungle perch spread out through the

difficult in March and many dirt roads and tracks are closed at this time of year. Those anglers with a willingness to hike, to hop in a small dingy or even a kayak in croc-free locations from Townsville all the way north to the tip of Cape York can be well rewarded with fantastic fishing in jaw-dropping locations. Seeing a hungry jungle perch or the dominant sooty grunter in a pool come chasing after your surface lure is brilliant fun, and releasing them back to chase insects after capture is just as rewarding. A little further downstream archerfish take

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2Deadly’s 2-punch combo FMG

Nicole Penfold

In my cynical moments I feel that some manufacturers aren’t so much creating lures as throwing coloured lumps of plastic at us. Fishshaped lumps that look and behave much like the fish-shaped lumps of plastic I already have. I’m not saying they don’t catch fish; they do. I’m just saying that I already have stacks of nearly identical lures and constantly find myself buying more nearly identical lures. Then I decide I’ll completely stop buying lures unless I’m in a tackle store for something else and they have a new crankbait. Oh wait, that’s every time. But what I really wanted was something different. Something the fish hadn’t seen before. I wanted to have The Edge. I’m not exactly sure what The Edge is, but it’s mentioned in a lot of tackle articles so it’s clearly something worth having. The 2Deadly, by virtue of its completely unique design, grabbed my attention. I had heard great things about it – it’s designed by Lance Butler, it’s dynamite on barra, great build quality etc. etc. – but I still had reservations. Why? Because it’s a hybrid. I am wary of tools that boast about performing a million functions. Case in point is the Scheizer Slicer, a glorified cheese grater that’s meant to replace every knife in your kitchen. After watching the advertising you’re convinced it can slice everything from a marshmallow to an armoured car. My sister gave me a Slicer she didn’t want (I didn’t stop to think why). I was thrilled. I pushed

my old knives aside in disgust, reverently took the Scheizer Slicer out of its box and tried chopping a small potato with it. The thin blades made a few pathetic grooves, and that was it. You’d think I had asked it to slice through the Sydney Opera House rather than a small root vegetable. I put the Slicer back in its box and gave it to a friend (not a very good friend). So, as my point proves, hybrids are bad at everything. “But hybrid cars are getting good performance

An early prototype of the 2Deadly gets put through its paces.

Lance has been a professional guide for decades, catching XOS barra all over the top of Australia. Image courtesy of John Mondora.

You win some you lose some!

MARCH 2014

John Millyard (from Basser Millyard, now J.M. Gillies) approached Lance to design some Killalures, and the rest is history. “I get a real kick out of imagining a lure design, building it and then catching a fish on it,” Lance said. “And it’s amazing to see my timber lure designs transformed into injected moulded form. I see them

did what most of us would do given half a chance: he gave it away to become a Top End fishing guide. For many years he guided in top NT locations, including Alex Julius’ famed Barra Lodge, but he eventually decided to move back to his home near Townsville. The lure making side of his business had its roots back when he handcrafted timber lures with his dad as a hobby. Lance’s fishing clients then wanted some to take home, so he made extras for them. Word spread of these great barra lures, reaching the ears of the people behind the Killalure brand. In 2010

come back from the factory in all these great colours and finishes and I’m like a kid in a lolly shop!” THE 2DEADLY STORY The 2Deadly has a traditional baitfish profile but that’s where tradition ends – because Lance has designed it to be fished as both a popper and as a shallow diver. So why would you want this hybrid when you could just use a popper or a minnow? Simple – so you can take advantage of 2 fishattracting features in 1 lure: the noise of a popper with the visual flash and vibrations of a minnow. “When I was a guide up in the Territory, I thought,

now,” I hear you say. OK, fine. “And those Renovatorstyle multi-purpose tools can be really good.” Shut up. Let’s get back on track and look at the background of the awesome 2Deadly and its designer. ABOUT LANCE Lance’s knowledge of lure making is

Lance shows how it’s done, getting a cast in right in the thick of it. 66

there are loads of photos of them on the ‘net using his creations – but fortunately his lures are damn good. And this guy loves lure making. His eyes light up whenever he talks about it. He got his affinity for wood working as a young bloke during his 4-year carpentry apprenticeship, but he decided he didn’t want to be a chippy. Instead, he

encyclopaedic, his fishing experience is vast and his judgment of fish behaviour is shrewd. He also holds this title of being the most popular guide in North Queensland. When you’re at the ramp with him you get star-struck anglers waving and yelling stuff like, “Lance! 2Deadly! 2Deadly! Yeah!” Lance always smiles and waves back, although he confesses to feeling a bit embarrassed by it all. The fact that he is so genuinely likeable and modest means you pretty much want to buy his lures whether they’re any good or not. I’m sure many of his clients feel that way –

Chris Raimondi from BCF and Lance with 2 barra that smashed olivia coloured 2Deadlys. ‘Why doesn’t anyone make a popper that can both pop and swim?’” Lance said. “I sat down and started designing. I started out making the face of the lure concave but it just didn’t make the ‘barra boof’ noise I wanted. “Then I was walking by the river one day and glanced at my bamboo walking pole, and I noticed it had a blunt face. I pushed it into the water and it went ‘bloop’! It was the exact noise I was looking for! I went back to the house and started carving a version with a flat face. The 2Deadly was born. I

had the sound I wanted combined with a great wide roll like a traditional shallow diver.” The finished product from the Killalure factory is ready to fish straight out of the box, fitted with VMC 3X-strong Permasteel trebles for strength and saltwater durability. There are 3 models, all of which dive to 6ft: 60mm (6.5g), 85mm (13g) and 120mm (21g). Available colours are blue/silver flash, gold/black, bananafish, chartreuse/silver flash, guns n roses, gold mullet dazzler, tiger lily, olivia and raw prawn.

This tough lure has taken on GTs, mackerel and XOS barra and won. Other species on its scorecard include queenfish, tuna, jacks, coral trout, kingfish, tailor, threadfin salmon, cod and flathead. Plenty of these fish have been caught on the troll; the 2Deadly works particularly well when you’re trolling at a depth of around 4-5ft, especially along the edge of weed beds in a dam, or shallow flats where you have water draining off the mud flat. If you’re casting and retrieving, here’s what to do: cast in tight to structure

and let the lure sit there for a bit. Then make a sharp motion with your wrist, wind the slack up slowly and make another sharp motion with your wrist to make it bloop. It sounds remarkably like a barra boof (Lance calls it ‘ringing the dinner bell’). “So you’ve rung the dinner bell, like you would with any popper,” Lance said. “But sometimes the fish don’t want to get out of their comfort zone. They’ve seen the lure on top, you’ve made the noise, now you want to get the lure down in their face. Just wind it down slowly

and start flicking the rod tip, constantly taking the slack up between flicks.” This simple technique has helped Lance and his clients catch a multitude of big tropical species. He and I had a great day casting the flats around Hinchinbrook, and I decided that the 2Deadly was definitely one hybrid I had to own. One of the additional things I liked about it was that after it’s popped it goes straight back to its original position, rather than creeping further away from structure with each pop. You can also walk

the dog with the 2Deadly, if that’s what the fish are after on the day. Some ‘barra’ lures look to have been designed by someone who has never seen a barra. Or worse, they have actually been designed by a barra, whose goal is for the hardware to fail and the fish to go free. Lance’s lures, by contrast, are designed with all his barra expertise behind him, teamed with the Killalure guys who share his commitment to quality. And from this, he’s delivered a great lure.

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y l d a e D 2

The 2Deadly gives anglers the best of both worlds; with a splash and sound of a popper, and the flash and vibration of a diver.

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MARCH 2014


Go hunting for some trophy fish THE CLARENCE

Ben Pilch

March is a great time of year to be fishing in the mighty Clarence Valley. The summer species are still fishing well on the beaches; dart, whiting and tarwhine are doing well on baits like pipis and worms. The dry summer weather has been affecting the river fishing, with the water being too clear and making the fish skittish through the day. Early mornings and late afternoons are much better times to fish. Good eating size flathead have been around in numbers, ranging from just legal to 50cm. The usual plastics and blades have been working a treat, with colours like white and chartreuse doing well. On the upside, that very same dry weather that has made the river fishing a little hard has also made the fishing outside great (the last few seasons were a washout). This time of year is when we start to see better quality pelagics so it’s time to pull out and dust off Fishing the big gear. TOH144 It’s important to make sure everything is working smoothly, especially

your drags. If you want to get out and among some sizeable fish, there are two ways to get the big one: lures and live bait. If you go the lure route, the best ones are Halco laser

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make great baits – mullet, gar, pike, yakkas, slimies, bonito and tailor all work well. You need to slow troll these, just idling along. Places like One Man, Black Rocks and Woody Head are the best places to start hunting trophy fish like Spanish mackerel, cobia and the various tuna species. A handy hint is to keep trolling for another 10 seconds or so after you hook up and you may end up with a double hook-up. That good, clean water will also hopefully give us a good crack at a great landbased game fishing season. The past four seasons weren’t the greatest, with rain playing a major factor in the poor fishing, so hopefully the dry weather will bring on a great LBG season for us. Again, it’s important to make sure your gear is in good working order. As an angler you want everything to run in your favour as much as possible, especially in LBG where you only get so many shots. On the rocks there have been some good bream caught on mullet gut and some nice flathead in the corners of headlands like the Bluff and Woody Head. There have

A big Spanish mackerel that came from Black Rock. been some good mulloway around as well on the rocks and north wall. Large fresh squid have been a great bait to tempt a quality jew but if you can’t get your hands on fresh squid a great substitute is frozen Californian squid. These have done quite well on the mulloway when fresh bait has been unavailable.

On the lure front, local lure maker Steve Patti has been having great success with his Jewie Jewels. They have been accounting for many trophy-sized mulloway in the Clarence Valley, so if you’re a keen jew spin angler make sure you hit up one of the local tackle stores and get some.

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MARCH 2014

Warm water, rain and mackerel BALLINA

Tristan Sloan

For years now you could almost toss a coin on the bet that this time of year would either be a total washout with torrential rains and flooding, or it would stay dry enough to keep that warm water in close and the pelagics with it. It never used to bother me as I would just grab my heavy spin gear and head to the walls for some great lure sessions on daytime mulloway. However, now that my old man is finally retired all we have been talking about lately is the chance of getting the boat offshore and catching a feed of mackerel for the BBQ. Due to the constant southerly wind and big swell these last few weeks we haven’t had much luck on the mackerel, with the boat gathering dust in the garage, so I have been entertaining myself spinning up school mulloway off the walls instead. Nevertheless, the schools of small slimy mackerel and sea gar should turn up well and truly by the time this article goes to print, and the mackerel with them. Productive spots include

on billfish. Unfortunately we haven’t yet been able to keep a hook stuck in one; they leave us with only some badly scuffed up trace and a hefty fuel bill to show for our efforts. Mahi mahi have been as thick as thieves with our boat catching up to a dozen

Keith Sloan with an average mahi mahi from the Ballina FAD. every day on the troll, it’s amazing the size of lure these voracious predators will hit. One thing I have noticed is the sheer amount of boats trying to catch these great little sportfish around the FAD and various fish traps, often up to six boats, will be in attendance. The trick here is to stop at one of the shallow reefs

Gus Nowell with a typical school mulloway from South Wall. the reefs at Lennox Point, Black Head and North and South Riodans Shoals. Always remember while having a live bait in the water on first light is often your best bet, don’t discount putting the bait deeper in the water column as the sun rises. Often mackerel will display a burst of feeding activity on the top of the tide even during the middle of the day, especially those big beachcomber Spainards chasing chopper tailor and mullet. While there has been plenty of snapper and pearl perch on the deeper reefs when we did manage to get outside in the last month we have been firmly focused

on the way out and stock up on yellowtail or slimy mackerel. Mahi mahi become very well educated as the season progresses and will ignore almost everything you throw at them, however an unweighted live bait pitched next to the float on a 30lb

fluorocarbon trace and 5/0 circle hook is rarely refused. On a light 6kg snapper rod these fish are fantastic fun. The reason I use circle hooks is that they rarely miss a secure hold in the corner of the mouth and it makes it easy to release these great sportfish once we have a couple for a feed with no gut hooked fish and less thrown hooks. IN THE RIVER Whiting have once again been the mainstay for the crowds of holiday anglers that have just departed Ballina in droves. They caught plenty of big fat fish and the occasional flathead on the bigger morning tides on the sand flats of North Creek and Shaws Bay. I saw some absolutely gigantic whiting close to 40cm being caught below Prospect Bridge while yarning to a salty old fisherman on my way back from pulling in some mud crab traps. These fish were caught on a combination of yabby and solider crab baits with the crabs being

threaded 4 at a time onto a size 6 longshank and drifted behind the boat on the tide. In regards to my success on the mud crabs, it’s a rare night that I don’t return home without at least a couple of big bucks to show for my efforts. The reason I go out at night is that, like most people, I am sick and tired of unscrupulous low-life’s stealing the crabs out of my traps or even the traps themselves! Unfortunately this has become a common practise, especially in North Creek behind Lennox Head. Often the only option during the day is to anchor up where you can watch your traps and catch a feed of flathead and whiting while you wait for them to fill up or do as I do and drop them off at night and spend a few hours flicking structure for GT and mangrove jack before picking them up on the top of the tide. One of my favourite summer activities of grabbing a flick stick and chasing some bass has been a bit of a hit and miss affair lately. There’s been a lot of small fish present but tough going to find anything above 30cm; most likely due to the low water levels. In saying that, a few anglers I have been talking to have had a reasonable amount of success at night throwing soft shell cicada imitations and slowly walking them across the surface. As well as the low water levels, I have also noticed a huge amount of bull sharks prevalent in the upper reaches of the Richmond, the average size of these sharks is 4’ and there are quite a few considerably bigger. I have had a fair bit of fun catching a few of these lately in the brackish sections as they round up schools of freshwater mullet and even carp. As there is rarely much current or tidal movement

The author struggles to hold a bigger than average bull shark. in these brackish sections, a live mullet or a fresh slab bait on a pair of 7/0s with some nylon-coated wire to prevent bite offs on a 10-15kg outfit provides some fun on a summer evening. I normally fish these baits using a couple of Bait Runner reels with berley and often it is just a case of sitting back with a cold beer and waiting for the sharks to find you before a rod howls off. While some people eat

these sharks, I don’t really see the reason to kill them, especially as some sort of juvenile trophy to be dumped later. Just use a big barra style net and a pair of wire cutters to safely release them to fight another day. A word of warning, these sharks can easily inflict a nasty bite requiring multiple stiches so please handle them with appropriate care. Until next month, tight lines and may the fishing gods smile on you.


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There are plenty of feisty mud crabs in North Creek right now. MARCH 2014


Reel love matters NSW STH COAST

Steve Starling

Over the next few issues, I plan to look at the basic care and maintenance of your fishing gear, starting this month with those most important, complex and costly items of tackle: your reels.

With the possible exception of those tough, simple, Aussie-made Alvey sidecasts, most modern fishing reels generally require a bit more maintenance than rods. That’s because reels have a more complex assembly, with various moving parts, both internal and external. One of the best way to look after your fishing reels

This rod and reel outfit may be a little beyond the help of basic maintenance! Its only hope of continued life is a complete rebuild.

is to remove them from your rods whenever an outfit isn’t in use (including time spent travelling) and store them separately. I also recommend that you wash your reels after use (especially if fishing in saltwater) and lubricate them from time to time, as well as having all reels serviced professionally once every year or so by a qualified technician. Let me explain: After a fishing trip, you can wash your reels while they’re still attached to the rods, or (better still) remove them first. However, if you use a hose or tap to wash gear, be extra careful not to direct a high pressure jet of water onto the reel. This risks forcing water, salt, sand and dirt into the internal workings of the reel. Instead, use a very fine, soft spray or a trickle of slow-flowing water to rinse off the outside of your reels. Better still, fill a basin or bucket with warm, soapy water and use a soft cloth dipped in this water to gently wipe over your reels, paying particular attention to any nooks and crannies where nasties may gather. After rinsing the reels in this way, wipe the remaining water off with

By its very nature, kayak fishing is also tough on reels, which spend a lot of time close to the water and are regularly doused with spray. a dry cloth and spin the handle a few times to throw off any excess droplets. Following every third or fourth outing, I recommend that you apply a drop or two of fine grade machine oil to all of the reel’s external moving parts, including the handle knobs, bail arm assembly, bail roller, any level-wind device and so on. Sewing machine oil is fine for this purpose, although

specialist reel lubes are also available. An occasional light squirt of the reel’s exterior with an aerosol lubricant is also a good idea. However, try not to spray too much of this stuff onto the spool or the fishing line itself as the chemicals in some lubricants may degrade nylon fishing lines (and many people believe that the smell of chemicals on your line can put some

fish off biting). For this reason, it’s usually best to spray the aerosol lubricant onto a cloth then wipe the reel with this cloth. Store your reels in a cool, dry place, well away from direct sunlight. While you’re at it, make a note of the make, model and any serial numbers of all your reels and add these details to your household contents’ insurance policy, in case of

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theft or fire. Every year or two, or any time your reel begins to make funny grinding noises or seems stiff and lumpy to turn, take it to a reputable tackle shop and have it fully serviced by an expert. You can certainly do this job yourself at home if you have even a modest level of mechanical aptitude, but in this age of specialisation and out-sourcing, why bother? Unless you’re the sort of person who

Beach fishing can be particularly hard on reels with its harsh combination of salt, sand and sun. Note the PVC tube rod holders being used in the background to keep outfits up out of the sand.

changes the oil in your own car and can rebuild a cranky lawn mower, I recommend you avoid the headaches and pitfalls of reel servicing and pay an expert to handle the job. The more expensive and complex the reel, the more the use of such an expert makes sense. Next month we’ll examine basic maintenance procedures for your rods and other items of tackle.


Mackay Marina recognised as fish friendly North Queensland’s Mackay Marina Village and Shipyard, winner of the 2013-2014 Marina of the Year award, has today been awarded ‘Fish Friendly’ accreditation – the first marina in Queensland to be certified with this status as part of the International Clean Marina program coordinated by the Marina Industries Association (MIA). The certification focuses on the development and promotion of marina fish habits and was first developed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries in collaboration with the MIA and the NSW Boating Industry Association.

Colin Bransgrove, Executive Director of the MIA said, “Marinas can provide important habitat for fish. Fish Friendly Marinas has been developed to inform marina managers on how to maximise the benefits of marinas for fish and to recognise those operators actively working to improve fish habitat. “Fish Friendly Marinas provides advice and supporting material to help marina operators incorporate beneficial outcomes for native fish into their existing operational plans, such as ensuring their marina is free from marine pests and providing habitat for native fish. A ‘10 Tips’ publication has also been produced to inform operators and help them

communicate their efforts to clients and visitors.” The initiative is attached to MIA’s International Clean Marinas Program which promotes positive environmental standards and practices at marinas. Additional fish friendly criteria and an audit are requirements to achieve Fish Friendly Marina accreditation. Colin Bransgrove said the roll out of the initiative is an important development. “Marinas are the ideal location for many community members to see and learn about native fish and the aquatic environment. Clean Marinas and the Fish Friendly accreditation add-on demonstrate that industry, with support from government, is

best able to set the standards that meet and exceed community and government expectations.” Marina Manager, Ben Anderson said, “We are proud to be accredited with this new environmental initiative at Mackay Marina Village. We are committed to ensuring our facility is of the highest environmental standard through participation in programs such as Clean Marinas. Mackay Marina Village has fully embraced the opportunity to meet the Fish Friendly criteria.” For further information contact: MIA - Colin Bransgrove, t: 0434018018, e: colin@marinas. – MIA

Robert Birnie, 12yo, caught this 42cm flathead on a soft plastic lure while holidaying with his family at Rainbow Beach in South East Queensland. His dad, Christopher, had told him the soft plastic was a freshwater lure and he wouldn’t catch anything with it in saltwater. Needless to say Robert was pleased to prove his old dad wrong!



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Mustad KVD titanium coated knives are ergonomically designed to provide the ultimate in comfort and ease of use. All are precision forged from a single blank of highcarbon German stainless steel, then skilfully honed to hold a razor sharp edge cut after cut. These chef grade knives have an attractive rainbow titanium coating over German stainless steel, with an ergonomic soft rubber handle to provide firm grip even when wet. All in all, the KVD (Kevin Van Dam) fillet knife from Mustad makes filleting fish a breeze. The sharp edge, flexible blade and comfortable handle make getting that perfect fillet easy and safe. They’re currently available in 2 sizes: 6” (#KVDBSJ6T) and 7” (#KVDBSJ7T). Price: from RRP $29.95

The Megabass Blading X is a 45mm metal blade style lure, perfect for estuary and offshore use, with multiple weights available. There are three sizes – 1/4oz, 3/8oz and 1/2oz – which cover everything from bream and bass to flathead and snapper, and everything in between. The Blading X casts like a bullet and can be used to get well ahead of the boat when the fish are easily spooked. It is a great option when fish are not actively feeding. Available in six colours, this bottomweighted blade has a unique wobble that’s slightly wider than other blade style lures. This action encourages shutdown fish into a reaction bite as the lure is worked past them. It can be cast ahead and hopped across the bottom or used in a straight up and down fashion or even with a slow wind. Price: RRP $34.95



Saltwater anglers targeting serious fish will appreciate the extreme build quality of the new Quantum Cabo series. These reels have a modernistic lightweight frame and more metal inside and out than the competition. The body and side cover are built from the new SCR alloy for the ultimate in strength and corrosion resistance. A SaltGuard 2.0 coating is also applied to the alloy prior to the painting process. The machined aluminium handle and ported aluminium spool add to the metal count, as does the huge centre shaft, which is complemented by stronger threads. The super-sized water-tight drag includes a stack of ceramic, carbon fibre and stainless steel washers above the spool, with massive ceramic and carbon fibre washers under the spool. These reels have 7 polymer-stainless hybrid PT bearings plus 1 sealed anti-reverse bearing. Other features include a nickel-titanium bail and magnetic bail trip mechanism that is guaranteed for life. There are 4 models in the range. Sizes 40 and 50 have 5.3:1 gear ratios and the 60 and 80 sizes have a 4.9:1 design. Line capacities range from 270yd of 30lb braid on the 40, up to 380yd of 65lb braid on the Cabo 80. All come lubricated with premium Hot Sauce grease and oil. Price: RRP $199





Gold Coast based polarised eyewear manufacturer Barz Optics will release their unique Cabo floating sunglass model later this month. The Cabo is available with 6 lens options: PC Polarised, PC Polarised Bifocal, PC Photochromic, PC Non Polarised, PC Polarised to fit Asian faces and the industry first Polycarbonate Polarised Photochromic Bifocal. The frame comes in 3 colours (gloss carbon fibre with black trim, matt black with light grey trim and matt white with blue trim) and it floats in both fresh- and saltwater. Barz exports to 26 countries and is the only company in the fishing market offering Polycarbonate Polarised Photochromic Bi Focal lens. The photochromic lenses darken in about 30 seconds of full sunshine and take about 2 minutes to fully lighten. They are available in +1.50, +2.00 and +2.50 powers. Price: from $130 (non polarised) to $300 (polarised photochromic bifocal)

EJ Todd are the Australian distributors for LunkerHunt, a company that is dedicated to providing innovative, high quality fishing products for anglers of all skill levels. Winning the ICAST Best Soft Lure Award 2 years in a row, their plastics and hollow body frogs are very impressive. Designed to perfection, the Lunkerhunt Bento and Swim Bento are some of the most realistic baitfish imitations on the market. The Swim Bento features a lively keeled paddle tail while the Bento features a split tail design. Both feature a holographic mylar core and biologically correct detailing. All of these elements are incorporated into a soft yet durable body construction that enables the Bento and Swim Bento to come to life with the slightest movement. The Bento is currently available in 3” and 4.5” sizes, and the Swim Bento comes in 3”, 4.5” and 5.5” models. Price: from RRP $18




Just about every fish will eat a shrimp and the 3D Manic Shrimp profile closely mimics the common saltwater prawn found throughout Australia. From the lifelike detail in the head, right through to the flexible legs and feelers to the tubular, fanned tail, the 3D Manic Shrimp screams ‘eat me!’ Each packet of 3D Manic Shrimp comes salted and scented and its profile lends itself to a range of different rigging techniques. The legs and feelers of these lures are designed to mimic the natural escape pattern of a prawn so reverse rigging a jighead through the tail is by far the most effective way of fishing them. Savage Gear 3D Manic Shrimp are available in 2” (6 per pack), 2.5” (6 per pack) and 4” (4 per pack). These slow sinking soft baits are targeted at bream, flathead, snapper, mulloway (jewfish), barramundi, mangrove jacks, golden snapper (fingermark) and pearl perch. Look for them at your nearest BCF store. Price: RRP $9.99



Please send contributions to: The Editor, Fishing Monthly Group PO BOX 3172 LOGANHOLME, QLD. 4129

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The flashing red LED in the tail of the new Balista Hunchback sets the scene for amazing visuals as large Murray cod belt the lure off the surface. The LED is water activated. Simply cast the lure into the water and the LED will turn on, and when the lure leaves the water it will turn itself off. The 90mm Hunchback is an all-rounder, big enough and tough enough to handle large surface feeding cod and barra, but not so big that you sacrifice numbers of fish caught. It’s one thing to get surface strikes and quite another thing to actually hook up. The good news is that the tail of this lure hunches around and down to allow the rear point of the lure to sit below the surface, delivering excellent hook-up rates. The Balista team has also fitted it out with large 3X Mustad 1/0 trebles for ultimate strength and hook penetration. The Hunchback also has a clip-off bib for easy storage. Price: RRP $22.95







Bait Buttons are a simple, safe and effective way of securing a stinger hook on spinnerbaits, maximizing hook exposure when fishing soft plastics or locking a soft plastic in place on a worm hook, TT Lures SWS or Snake Head jighead. You can add a Bait Button to your spinnerbait hook, slide on your stinger hook and then add another Bait Button; use a Bait Button to keep your soft plastic in place for maximum hook exposure; or use the Bait Button under the chin of your plastic when using a worm hook to stop it sliding down. Now Bait Buttons are available in a larger size called Bait Buttons Big Game, suitable for hook sizes up to 10/0. The Big Game dispenser pack includes a dispenser unit for easy application of the Bait Button, along with 25 Big Game Bait Buttons. Refill packs of 25 Big Game Bait Buttons are also available. Refill Packs are $9.95 for a pack of 25. Price: SRP $16.95





The Okuma Signature is an extremely versatile reel that has been designed specifically for Australian anglers and the species they love to target. A lightweight graphite frame and rotor, along with the carbon fibre handle arm (size 30 and 40 only) with a Soft Touch EVA knob maximises the angler’s comfort and control whilst fishing for extended periods of time. This is complemented further by an eye-catching black and gold colour scheme, which is sure to please many keen anglers who love their tackle. Internally, the Signature Reel series features 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings, multi-disc Japanese oiled felt drag washers and precision cut machine brass pinion gears. This combination of high quality components enables the reel to perform effortlessly in both saltwater and freshwater environments. As with all Okuma reels, the Signature comes complete with a Lifetime Guarantee. Price: RRP $159.95



There’s nothing quite like throwing a Megabass surface lure. You can just tell it’s going to catch fish and the Pop X is one of those lures. Already available in a healthy range of colours, this 64mm surface lure features an internal structure like no other. Internal supports create hollows for Moving Balancers that create the erratic action fish can’t resist. The latest colours – orochi, burst sand snake and white python – are created by a unique paint job which is used to give the most lifelike look. Each lure receives numerous coats of paint that blend to make the colour perfect, and different colours blend and fade into each other. The Pop X is perfect for bass, bream and most surface feeding fish. Price: SRP $34.95





Fishing DownUnder #34 is in a new format, and now features 7 fishing stories – that’s over 2.5 hours of action packed stories Australia wide. It’s a bumper issue! The features Volume #34 are: Mangrove Jacks And Mongrels; Estuary Luderick; Warrnambool Bream and Trout; Soft Plastic Snapper Tips; Weipa Offshore; Tweed Wild Bass; and Clyde River Gets Turned On. Fishing DownUnder #34 is available now from tackle shops and online at www., or you can place an order over the phone (07 5485 1188). Price: $14.95

Braid Products are a perfect addition to the Penn Australia stable with harnesses, fighting belts and lures included in the range. Braid harnesses are used across the globe, and make full use of the angler’s body weight, spreading out opposing forces at the pivotal point and using all elements of rod, reel and manpower to the fullest advantage. Braid fighting belts are the GT angler’s best friend, combining versatility, comfort and durability. There’s also an array of new jigs from 7g through to 330g in a range of styles. Braid’s range of Tantrum poppers and stickbaits feature realistic colours and a highly reflective holographic finish. They have heavy-duty trebles and through body wire construction. Australian born Dennis Braid has fished Central America, the Bahamas, Bermuda, even testing giant bluefin tuna off the coast of Italy. A trained racing car builder, he became an expert in developing ideas into prototypes. Today he is renowned for his more than 20 years as the leader in big game fishing equipment. Price: Varies

Please send contributions to: The Editor, Fishing Monthly Group PO BOX 3172 LOGANHOLME, QLD. 4129

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Inshore and estuary anglers now have access to a larger version of the revolutionary lightweight Quantum EXO spin reels. EXO Spin 40 and 50 have been added to the range, which also includes sizes 15, 25 and 30. An ultra-rigid aluminium alloy in loadbearing areas has been combined with a lightweight composite that reduces weight by 50% in non-critical locations. This delivers the lightest possible frame with zero sacrifice in strength. It’s 38% stronger than magnesium and 6 times stronger than a graphite composite. EXO Spin 40 and 50 sizes use the Quantum C4LF carbon fibre rotor and the saltwater-specialist SCR base alloy. It also has 10 high-grade stainless bearings fitted in a polymer cage for added sensitivity and corrosion protection. Other features include the Quantum line management system, to keep your line packed neat and tight; extra-hard PT gears; a tough-yetlightweight machined aluminium crank handle with EVA knob; and continuous anti-reverse. The sealed CSC drag uses a mix of stacked ceramic, stainless and carbon-fibre to provide great drag power—the EXO 40 up to 20lb; and EXO 50 up to 25lb. And all EXO spin reels come lubricated with Hot Sauce grease and oil. Price: from RRP $199



Not one to put his name to a product that he’s not 100% happy with, Steve ‘Starlo’ Starling says he’s more than pleased with his new Jungle StiX rods! These relatively high-modulus graphite rods are designed to put a tournament-standard rod with near custom-built specifications into the hands of every Australian angler, yet at an affordable price. Notwithstanding the catchy ‘camo’ grips and a military theme, Starlo StiX also feature Sea Guides with zirconium inserts, and custom reel seats. Rod options cover everything from light to medium and heavy spin, and a couple of handy baitcasters suitable for bass to barra. Steve says, “These are the rods I use in my day-to-day fishing: whether shooting DVD and TV segments, competing in tournaments, researching magazine stories or fishing with friends and family.” Starlo has provided his own analysis of the rods and their best applications at www. Price: from approx. $70



LunkerHunt, a company that has won the ICAST Best Soft Lure award for two years running, has released a frog imitation which is like no other hollow bodied frog on the market. The designers have taken a seemingly standard hollow body frog and replaced the traditional skirted legs with functional ‘swimming’ rubber legs. These legs extend during the retrieve and retract on the pause in a lifelike swimming motion. At rest, the body of the lure drops down a little into the water, perfectly replicating

the action of a frog and resulting in higher hook-up percentages. It’s another reason why the Lunkerhunt Frog is considered to be the most lifelike frog currently available. There are two sizes: the original Swimming Frog and the Pocket Frog. The Pocket Frog is 40mm (1/4oz) and will extend to 63mm on the retrieve, and the larger frog at rest is 55mm (1/2oz) and will extend to 100mm on the retrieve. Price: from RRP $18



Impact Tackle has released the much anticipated Heavy Duty Headz range. Manufactured using a very strong chemically sharpened hook, these jigheads provide the next level in performance when it comes to combining strength with hook point penetration. With the combination of a correctly set hook point angle in relation to the eye of the hook, and a unique hook shape that increases strength through design, the end result is a stronger hook with the penetration performance of a finer wire hook. It’s currently available in 10 weight/hook size combinations that suit a wide range of inshore and offshore applications. Price: RRP $8.50





The SureCatch Professional Rigging Pack has been designed to save you time and money. This great all-round kit provides enough variety to the angler to make many different mono leader rigs without having to buy the pieces individually. The Professional Rigging Pack (#307RK1) includes a variety of sized aluminium sleeves, oval lumo beads, lumo and aluminium thimbles and rigging springs, all packed and sorted in a double sided worm-proof tackle box. It delivers everything you need in an organised fashion, so you can stop hunting for bits and pieces and just get down to the business of rigging. Price: from RRP $29.95





Bugga Yabbie pumps are made entirely from components that will not rust. This is a godsend for those like me who may not be the best at maintenance. Having said that though, a quick washout with freshwater after use will always make these pumps work better. These pumps are also light. At around 600g for the simplest pump, right up to just under 1kg for the full blown pump, these pumps are easy to use all day – and they also float. Unlike traditional yabby and worm pumps, the Bugga Yabbie makes use of PVC and nylon with a nylon shaft and nylon M10 thread top and bottom. Suction is provided by washers and a nylon wing nut so there’s no chance of losing suction as the wing nut won’t come undone. There are large and small pumps as standard, or you can order a custom one. For example, if you’re a kayaker you can have a shortened shaft, or if you reckon you’re a strong man you can have a shaft with a bigger diameter. Look for Bugga Yabbie pumps on Facebook or email Price: from $55.95



Please send contributions to: The Editor, Fishing Monthly Group PO BOX 3172 LOGANHOLME, QLD. 4129

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FEATURE PRODUCT Alvey Auto Retract Cord Holder This is something I really like, a retracting cord holder for your tackle retriever. And why do I like this? Simple, it keeps everything neat and there are no more annoying tangles waiting to cause you trouble. Alvey’s Auto Retract Cord Holder allows you to recover lures with ease when you use it in conjunction with your favourite lure retriever. Operation is simple. First, attach your lure retriever to the cordlocking device via a simple loop. Your lure retriever will not go anywhere now. Then let out enough cord to reach the depth your lure is at and press in the black Hold button. The next step is the most important. With the large black hold button pressed in, click in the small black button to secure the cord. You can now clip the unit to your belt or pop it on the boat deck and connect the lure retriever to your fishing line and send the retriever down to

save your lure. When the lure is free, simply release the small black button and the Alvey Auto Retract Cord Holder will wind in the cord, the lure retriever and the lure, leaving you to simply wind up the slack line onto your reel. If you pop the unit on your belt, it works brilliantly hands free. For a native lure caster and occasional troller, this unit is a godsend. Historically our lure retrievers have been stored on handcasters and inevitably the cord would twist up, unravel and create a giant mess in the bottom of the boat or tackle box. This product solves that problem absolutely. Made with stainless steel metal components and built with Alvey’s attention to toughness, the Alvey Auto Retract Cord Holder has a cord breaking strain of 40kg and 7.5m of cord stored inside. This device will save you time and money and it has now become a permanent fixture in my boat. Selling for around $29.95, it’s available from Alvey stockists or you can check it out on the web at – Stephen Booth

FEATURE PRODUCT Saltiga Expedition Saltiga introduced ground-breaking technology to the world, with Digigear II, Magseal and Zaion Air Rotor setting the standard in high performance design and innovation. In 2014, Daiwa has taken it even further with the introduction of Magsealed bearings into the new Saltiga Expedition range. The Saltiga heralded a giant leap forward in design, revolving around magnetic fluid. This revolutionary innovation was introduced to the fishing industry in the 2010 Saltiga. So strong is this magnetic liquid that if placed in a container with a magnetic surface it would retain its shape even if the bottom were removed. Being magnetized, this lubrication system avoids any friction and prevents dust intrusion, improving reel life expectancy. And Daiwa was able to take this technology one step further. Innovative design in the rotor/anti-reverse system has combined new CRBB bearings with a magnetic oil membrane to make water intrusion a thing of the past. The new Expedition series introduces an all-new revolution in ultra-smooth rotation and water sealing. Magsealed bearings are placed in key points in the reel to prevent water intrusion, increase rotation smoothness and increase part longevity. Unlike the Magseal used in the rotor system the new bearings are a fully contained Magsealed bearing. T The Expedition series reels also feature a new body design. The new drag system called UTD Hyper Tune uses an all new carbon and metal washer system combined with a specifically designed grease

that provides ultra-smooth performance. Zaion Air Rotor is a super strong, light rotor that performs flawlessly. This design disperses pressure to the entire lower section of the rotor. Working in conjunction with the Mag Seal, the Air Rotor has been hollowed out to create airflow through the whole rotor system. This prevents foreign material such as water, salt, sand and dust collecting inside the reel. The added air flow also eliminates moisture build-up in the reel, preventing corrosion issues. With other designs innovations like Real Four, Hyper Digigear, Airbail and CRBB also used, the new Saltiga Expedition sets the standard as the best heavy-duty reel available. It is available in two sizes, the SA EX 5500H (15kg drag pressure) and the SA EX 8000H (30kg drag pressure). - Daiwa

TESTED: Hot Shotz Pre-Rigs Although most of my fishing during the year revolves around casting lures and soft plastics around the waterways of South East Queensland, I always look forward to visiting our family in South Australia and enjoying the bread and butter fishing this holiday and South Australia provides. By bread and butter fishing I mean targeting species like King George whiting, snapper, Australian salmon, tommy ruff and garfish using paternoster rigs and bait.

With my knowledge of tying these types of rigs not up to scratch, I felt it was best to purchase pre-rigs to meet my needs. A simple task I thought, but there are a lot of different brands and options out there, so I needed to refine my requirements. I ended up with two criteria, hand tied and under $15.00 per rig. After a Google search I came across and Hot Shotz tackle pre-rigs. Hot Shotz rigs are hand made in New Zealand using quality terminal tackle. The

range of rigs available from the Specialty Fishing site provided me with ample choice to target the species I wanted to, without confusing this simple Queenslander. Snapper fishing was covered with 7 styles of rigs using heavy duty circle style hooks. The flash on the hooks comes in a number of forms and colours to provide an additional attractant, to bring the fish to your bait. The Snappariza also proved to be a great alternative, to use in the surf, chasing Australian salmon. The flash keeping the fish interested, when little or no bait was left on the hook. I love catching King George whiting and the hybrid whiting rigs are a winner. These are hand tied rigs made especially for Specialty Fishing using long shank red hooks with either a blue or yellow flash. The long shank hooks made it easier to bait the hooks and remove the hooks from hooked fish, especially when the kids were fishing with me. If you prefer a circle style hook there is also a rig called a Jig a Bugz. They use a Senshi recurve hook, which ensure a corner of the mouth hook up on most occasions. I also found these rigs to be ideal fished under a float, to target tommy ruff and garfish (I removed most of the flash when chasing the garfish). It would be remiss of me not to mention

the Naked Patty rigs also sold on the site. As the name suggests, these rigs are a hand tied paternoster rig, with no terminal tackle attached. They are available in 3 breaking strains (10lb, 20lb and 30lb) and have twisted droppers. Add your favorite terminal tackle and you are ready to fish. Pricing for the rigs ranged from $8 through to $11.95 and at the time of writing there was free postage. The delivery of my order was prompt and the quality of the rigs was fantastic. Check out Hot Shotz pre-rigs at today. – Peter Jung

Please send contributions to: The Editor, Fishing Monthly Group PO BOX 3172 LOGANHOLME, QLD. 4129

Make your own loading arm AYR

Steve Farmer

One of the advantages of kayak fishing is that it can be a solitary pastime. Provided you have a single-person kayak, you won’t have to chase up crew whenever you feel like slipping out for a few hours fishing. Of course, one of the downsides is that you really do have to be independent and able to handle all tasks alone. Probably the trickiest part of a day’s paddling

cradle I made. That simple project made it so much easier, faster and safer for me to load and strap down my Prowler 13. However, getting the kayak from the ground to the cradle still required a fair bit of a struggle single-handed and I ran the risk of damaging my vehicle, my kayak or myself. I really needed a gadget to help. I had seen a number of loading bars or arms in magazines and on websites and decided to build my own from whatever scraps I had lying around the shed.

the weight of your kayak, which will be multiplied many times by the leveraging effect of the loading arm. Lightweight bars may be distorted by the extra weight concentrated in a small area by this leveraging effect. My Rhino Bars proved to be an excellent investment and have so far handled the concentrated pressures of the loading arm. For the design I had in mind I needed a loading arm with a similar crosssectional width as the roof bars. A 40mm Unistrut

The loading arm ‘Mark 2’ with the cradle that prevents the kayak from sliding about. and fishing is loading and unloading your kayak from the roof bars of your vehicle. Last month I told you about the kayak carry


At this stage I must point out that you’ll need a fairly robust set of roof bars to use the loading arm I’m about to describe. The bars will have to match

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Attach the loading arm.

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suited my roof bars well, but box section or even a solid piece of hardwood would have done the job just as well, as long as it was the same width.

round rod that would lock the loading arm onto the roof bars. These two pieces of flat were then welded either side of the Unistrut and flush with the end and positioned so that the 8mm pin could be passed through one hole, under the roof bar (with just 1mm clearance) and through the other hole, effectively locking the arm onto the bar. To stop the bar twisting horizontally, two more short pieces of flat steel were cut and welded about 100mm from the end so that they protruded 30mm below the bottom edge of the Unistrut and fitted snugly over the roof bar. I made the attaching pin from a long 8mm bolt, hacksawing it off at around 95mm. I made the pin 40mm longer than it needed to be to minimise the chance of it working its way free and detaching from the roof bar while I was loading the kayak. I also welded a short length of keeper chain to the bolt and the Unistrut to ensure it was always at hand when needed. I used this ‘Mark 1’ loading arm for quite a while. The loading procedure was to fit the arm and position the kayak parallel with the vehicle and below the arm. The stern section of the kayak was then lifted onto the arm. I then moved forward and lifted the bow, pushing

After measuring the beam of my kayak I decided 950mm was a good length for my loading arm. The ideal length for your loading arm may vary, depending on your kayak, roof bars and vehicle. The next step was to cut two 90mm lengths of 25x5 flat steel and drill a 9mm hole, 10mm from the end of each piece. This hole was for a length of 8mm

The loading arm is secured to the roof bar by an 8mm, extra long pin that fits through the side flats of the loading arm and under the roof bar. that at times I barely had control of the operation, with the kayak sliding over against the vehicle and scratching the gutter or threatening to slide off the end of the loading arm and crash to the ground. Some sort of non-slip, rubber type coating on the loading arm would have improved the procedure, but I eventually solved the problem by cutting a cradle from 20mm plywood, similar to those on the rooftop cradle. This was then lined with carpet and bolted to the loading arm. The neatly fitting cradle meant that the stern of the kayak could no longer slide about and possibly fall off the arm. Loading the kayak was getting easier, but there was still one problem that,

arm. This prevents the bow from sliding away when the stern is lifted onto the loading arm and maintains more control over the kayak as you lift it onto the roof bars. The rope is then untied from the arm and used to secure the kayak to the front of the vehicle for travelling. Of course, tie-down straps or ropes also attach the kayak and the cradle to the roof bars. The most essential step in the loading procedure is to make sure you’ve removed the loading arm before you drive off. Forgetting to do this could be hazardous to your own vehicle and to other vehicles and pedestrians. The loading arm complements the roof top cradle nicely, considerably reducing the risks and

Position the kayak beside the vehicle and below the loading arm.

it across into the forward cradle. The stern was then lifted from the arm and placed in the rear cradle. Finally, I would remove the loading arm and tie or strap down the kayak and cradle. Unloading was simply the reverse of the loading procedure. The only problem was that the plastic kayak hull slid easily on the steel loading arm. This meant

at times, had me struggling. When the stern was lifted onto the loading arm the kayak could, depending on the type of ground surface the bow was resting on, slide forward and off the loading arm. One solution I’ve been trying lately is to tie the bow rope (which is used to attach the kayak to the bulbar when on the road) onto the base of the loading

effort needed to load my kayak single-handed. The design outlined above suits my personal needs, but may not be suitable for your kayak, roof bars, vehicle or physical abilities. If necessary adapt the design to suit your own situation and requirements and, most importantly, ensure it is safe and suitable for your needs.



Lift the stern of the kayak onto the loading arm.



Lift the bow of the kayak.


Place the bow section in the forward cradle.

Lift the stern of the kayak across into the roof cradle. Remove the loading arm and strap or tie down the kayak and cradle




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MARCH 2014


Nissan Pathfinder V6 is bigger and better BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

Nissan has taken some bold steps with their new fourth generation Pathfinder. Gone is the 4x4 low range capability; likewise the diesel option. However, the newbie is larger all round, styling has been upgraded to a more conventional, smoother look and there are some terrific seating options in its very spacious interior.

ground clearance from the spoiler up front, rather than by sheer traction distribution. While in many respects the Gen 4 Pathfinder is going to be more of an SUV than the 4WD we’ve become accustomed to, the big wagon is still a very efficient people mover. It has all the benefits of a high seating position, a very luxurious interior for up to 7 passengers, and a ride that is a lot more car like than its predecessor, which was based on the

weight reduction, with a flow-on to fuel economy as well a ride which is far less

with screens mounted in the rear of the front seat headrests.

supply. Seating options are for 2, 3, 5 or 7 seats, with the unused seats folding

Softer and more rounded lines characterise the new Pathfinder.

Leather trim and lots of room are prominent features of Gen 4 Pathfinder. Nissan has obviously noted the wide acceptance of 2WD models in today’s SUV market because they are offering the new Pathfinder in either 2WD or 4WD. Buyers of the 2WD model get the appropriate savings. Owners wanting a bit more traction, for example at the boat ramp or when towing a heavy trailer or caravan, can opt for the AWD model. It transfers power from front to all wheels, on demand, via a rotary dial on the centre console. It’s a proven system and does allow just that bit more grunt when push turns to shove. Understand, though, that whatever drive option you choose, the new Pathfinder’s offroad capability is limited by the greatly reduced

Navara ute with its body on frame set-up. Gen 4 has a monocoque construction in lieu which sees significant

The Pathfinder’s dash layout: simple but very efficient and easy to become familiar with.

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agricultural than previously. MODEL CHOICES All 3 Pathfinder models come in either 2WD or 4WD, are 7-seaters, and have wheel-mounted audio and cruise control systems and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, Hill Start Assist, EBD and Brake Assist plus Vehicle Dynamic Control. All major functions are electrically controlled. The base ST (which is a country mile away from anyone’s idea of a poverty pack vehicle) has a host of features, from Tri-Zone

climate control for all 3 seating areas through to a large reversing camera with proximity sensors. The new ST-L combines all ST features with extra goodies such as front fog lamps, front sunroof and panoramic glass roof, leather accented seats with front seats electrically adjustable and heated,and electronic steering wheel adjustment. The deluxe Ti combines all ST-L features and then some. It has 20” alloy wheels, a power tail gate, sat nav, heated and cooled front seats, a premium Bose sound system, 8” front display, a 9GB music box and a premium dual 7” screen DVD entertainment system

All 3 versions feature an advanced Driver Assist display which is located between tacho and speedo within the binnacle directly ahead of the driver. This unit provides a huge range of data, from fuel use to torque distribution to tyre pressure. It also doubles as an Around View Monitor for the driver to see what’s going on all around the vehicle on a full 360 degree view while moving. REVIEWING THE TI The new Ti is a joy to drive thanks its really useful features and genuine luxury all round. From the outset I was impressed with the new 2WD model’s interior. There were neatly trimmed leather accents on seats and side areas blended with the subdued grey of the main interior areas, while a bit of faux woodgrain here and there hinted at luxury without overdoing things. Up front the dash layout was practical and easily understood. Prominent was the 8” colour LCD display with its many functions including a sat nav system. When you’re seated behind the electronically adjusted steering wheel, you’ll immediately notice just how big the Pathfinder is. A tape measure revealed that it’s wider in the interior than the current diesel 3L Patrol wagon, and there’s also huge amounts of second and third row seating and headroom. Nissan has addressed one of the bugbears of 7-seaters: climbing into that third row of seats, which can be a trying business for the agility challenged. In the new Pathfinder you simply activate a lever on the second row seating, and the seat will slide forward and upwards to allow free access for even adult sized passengers. The third row of seats also recline. Next comes carrying capacity, and it’s in no short

completely flat. The second row seating splits in a 60/40 mode, the third a 50/50 configuration and with all seats down and out of the

linked to a very smooth and responsive Constant Variable Transmission unit you get effortless departure from traffic lights, seamless overtaking at all highway speeds, and all the power required for towing. The ride is much more refined than the previous model, with multi-link suspension offering car-like road manners. I noticed only a slight bit of body roll in really tight corners when I took them at a brisk pace. Steering is very light and very accurate. The ride was virtually silent from start to finish. Fuel economy from the petrol V6 was 11.6L per 100km for a mix of country and city driving. In all, it’s a very easy vehicle for long runs. SUMMING UP The Pathfinder Mark 4 is a radical departure from what we have become

In five seater mode, with the third row of seats folded down, the Pathfinder’s luggage compartment is large enough to be very useful. way there’s a whopping 2259L cargo area available. Towing is very good too, with a 2700kg rating for a braked trailer. So there we have it: bigger and with plenty of variable luggage space and lots of tow capacity. So how does it drive? ON THE ROAD This big wagon has a fuel injected 3.5L V6 turning out 190kW of power and 325Nm of torque. When

accustomed to, but the 7-seater wagon still offers a lot of vehicle for the money. There’s a smart choice of 2WD or 4WD and many new features right across the range that lift it to a quite high level of refinement. The price of the Ti as reviewed was $60,790. The warranty is 3 years or 100,000 km there’s also 3 years roadside assist plus 6 years capped price servicing.

A wider stance, a bolder frontal appearance: that’s the new Pathfinder.

Pack your trunk for Dunk BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

I recently had a great stay at the Dunk Island View Caravan Park on Wongaling Beach. Where is Wongaling Beach? I hear you ask. I didn’t know either. Turns out it’s one of several suburbs that make up the picturesque Mission Beach area east of Tully in Far North Queensland. That’s settled: we’ll move on. The Dunk Island View Caravan Park is located at 21-35 Webb Road, Wongaling

plus major renovations to the existing one and two bedroom units including new furniture, modern appliances and air conditioning units. ROOM FOR THE BOAT There’s plenty of room for all in Dunk Island View Caravan Park. And I mean all. There’s no need to leave Fido or Felix at home, as this is a pet-friendly caravan park. How many other camp ground offices do you know of that have a packet of dog biscuits on the counter for man’s best friend? You and I will also enjoy the really great meals from the takeaway food outlet (you

comfortable tables and chairs, tucking into a bowl of very hot chips while watching lucky devils in their boats going to and from Dunk Island was a real treat. Within the large grounds there’s all the room necessary for a spacious camp set-up. There’s no problem at all in parking the boat beside the living area, whether it’s set up with a motor home, tent, camper trailer or caravan. Within the grounds there are ample shaded sites both powered and unpowered, around 50 slabs for caravans and in general a lot of room to stretch out, relax, and

Tully. Personally, I found it hard to leave that palm-fringed beach; it was a lovely place to walk of an evening with a light sea breeze coming ashore. However, a lot of folk will enjoy the fact that the Caravan Park is right next to Miller’s Bar and Grill while Scotty’s Bar and Grill is just across the road. Nana’s Thai Restaurant is also very handy. Dining out, enjoying some refreshment and walking home – what could be easier! The youngsters can also enjoy the playground next to the beach opposite the caravan park while Mum and Dad sit on a handy seat and relax.

Scott Kampe with a Dunk Island jack. Live baiting is the most popular method in this neck of the woods but anglers skilled in the use of plastics will score their share of fish as well. Beach fishing can be

A bit of shade won’t go astray at a tropical campgrounds and there’s plenty on hand at the Dunk Island View Caravan Park. A bowl of hot chips, the view of the island; it is just so nice. Beach. This is one big holiday park. It’s set up on 3 hectares of land with the beach to the east and bright green forest to the rear. Ah yes, and Dunk island is clearly in view. Personally, I took one look at this caravan park and resolved there and then to tow a boat up and enjoy a northern holiday. Roll on winter! The Park has an interesting history. Like so much of the surrounding area it took an awful hiding from Cyclone Yasi back in January 2011. The wind gauge at Tully Heads seized at over 200km/h. Under new ownership, however, the Park has had some major and very impressive refurbishment with new trees planted, free wi-fi installed, the amenities block repainted and modernised, a

Youngsters will love that swimming pool. can opt to dine in if you wish) adjoining the camp office. The store there also has a large selection of groceries, ice, petrol, gas refills, newspapers and other useful items for the traveller. There’s also bait in the freezer.

A cassowary outside the camp kitchen? No, it’s actually a fake! new bank of clothes dryers installed, camp kitchen full renovated and modernised,

I liked the set-up on the eating area outside the café. Seated on clean and

thoroughly enjoy a holiday. Occupants can enjoy a very well kept swimming pool, barbecues, a laundry area with lots of dryers plus a big camp kitchen with its own fridge-freezer, stove with oven plus a TV. UNITS AND APARTMENTS Visitors can also enjoy on-site units. There are single units with a car port, air con, double bed plus bunk beds, TV, self contained kitchen and a private bathroom. The larger two bedroom family apartments offer sleeping areas for over six folk, TV and split system air conditioning, both a lounge and dining room, a private bathroom and a fully self contained kitchen along with a car port. LOCAL ATTRACTIONS There are some great walking tracks in this area, and other popular activities in the area include rafting on the Tully River and skydiving at

There are ample retail outlets and restaurants in the main centre of Mission Beach which is about 10 minutes’ drive to the north, while the sugar towns of Tully and Innisfail are both within easy travelling distance. The city of Cairns is around two hours’ drive to the north, and Townsville City about 2.5 hours’ drive south. THE FISHING To get the best from the local fishing, whether it be offshore, around the islands or in one of the local rivers, a boat is essential. There are boat ramps at South Mission Beach five minutes from the campgrounds, and on the northern outskirts of Mission Beach there’s a well sheltered ramp at Clump Point in a boat harbour.

enjoyable but the species will be mainly bream with the odd flathead thrown in. The local rivers (the Murray, Hull and Tully) all have their fish, it just comes down to the angler’s experience to extract them. For light tackle aficionados the upper reaches of the Tully in the Gorge have some very feisty sooty grunter and jungle

perch in their pools. There’s also the odd hefty, unexpected, there-goes-my-$20-lure barramundi waiting for a snack to come their way. If you want some help to get started, a good option is to do a trip with Mission Beach Charters. You can reach them on 07 4068 7009. In all, this area and its attractions are virtually a must-see if you’re heading north for a holiday. If you’re coming from Cairns, turn off at El Arish and follow the signs to Mission Beach proper. From there the roads leading down to Wongaling Beach will be Porter Promenade, Seaview Street, Wongaling Beach Road turning right into Banfield Parade with the caravan park and Webb Road shortly on the right. If you’re coming east from Tully on the Tully Mission Beach Road, you’ll see Webb Road on the right after passing the South Mission Beach Road. Dunk Island View Caravan Park can be contacted on (07) 4068 8248 or you can check out their website at www.dunkislandviewcaravan

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MARCH 2014


March into a tuna on fly BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

The beginning of autumn can be the start of some very good tuna fishing for flyfishing enthusiasts. There have been reports of mac tuna and the larger longtail or northern bluefin tuna in their usual haunts, including Moreton Bay, for most of summer.

Decent weather is the first requirement when chasing these fish on the long rod. An early start, a wind forecast of less than 15 knots – easterlies are great – and there’s an opportunity to tangle with one of these hard-pulling, nevergive-up, fighters on fly tackle. And if the quarry is longtail tuna and an ice box is in the boat there’s some tasty fish to eat at the end of the day as well.

WATCH THE BIRDS This is always exciting fishing. First comes the sight of a flock of dipping terns, then there’s the spectacle of white water from the bust-up on the surface that’s the signature of tuna at work. The visual effects are sure to get your heart beating faster but then comes the hard bit: approaching close enough to get a fly into the action. These fish can be so

Flies suited to tuna are usually small to represent small baitfish, and can vary from size 1/0 or 2/0 down to size 1.

The author with a decent fly-caught longtail tuna.

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frustrating to approach! They seem to know just when to break off the breakfast and flee as you get ready to cast. Even 4-stroke and direct injection 2-stroke motors, which are so quiet at idle, will spook these flighty fellows if they are a bit cranky. It doesn’t help if they’ve already been stirred up by a boat or two already that morning. The only answer is to keep trying and make a guestimation as to where the fish will pop up next. The birds will help. There’s always one bird that keeps tabs on the tuna school’s movement and as soon as the flock start to fly rapidly after him the idea is to get moving in that direction as well. When approaching tuna you should slow down to a snail’s pace at all times so as not to cause wave slap or any other noise from the hull. Tuna soon notice these vibrations and react by moving elsewhere. That doesn’t happen 100% of the time though. On several occasions I’ve chased a pod of tuna for a short while, always very careful to approach as slowly as possible only to have the fish be skunked. At a mere 40m from the boat the only things left were broken baitfish and some big swirls. With the boat stopped I looked around for another chance, and the next thing you know they’ve popped up right at the back of the boat. The wash has brought them up. A

rapid cast sees a fish on the rod, the backing zipping out through the rod guides. That’s tuna: unpredictable at times. TACTICS AND TIPS To maximise your chances, don’t run up to a feeding pod at speed. If another boat is approaching at speed, save your fuel and let him waste his. While he’s busy scaring the fish, position your boat at least 100m upwind or upcurrent from the fish. When they spook at the other boat’s approach there’s a good possibility the tuna will come your way. Some other handy hints: if you are finally within casting range of a pod on the job, don’t turn the motor off! Leave it idle out of gear. The act of stopping a motor can put them off as well. Secondly (this is a bit hard but often worth it) when you have had three or four shots at a school and the fish seem to be getting more elusive, give them a wide berth and go and look for others. I know it’s hard to leave feeding fish to look for other fish, but once tuna have been stirred up they seem to key into a particular boat’s signature engine note and react accordingly. If you move off a couple of kays and search for others it can save the morning. UPGRADE YOUR GEAR Tuna command respect from fly tackle. The usual fly is small, on a 1/0 or 2/0 hook, easily cast with an 8wt rod but when fish up to 10kg are about an 8wt rod is

going to take a long time to subdue a fish. It can be done, but a prolonged fight often invites sharks to the party so I recommend using a 10wt rod, end of story. You should match your chosen 10wt rod to a reel able to sustain continued use in saltwater, with as smooth a drag as possible, and with plenty of backing attached to the fly line. The minimum is 200m of 40lb braid, and 300m is better. A clear or clear tip intermediate sink rate fly line is ideal for this predominantly surface style of fishing. Tuna are naturally leader shy but as they don’t bite off flies (they prefer to break them off) you can rely on 10kg leader – or less if you’re really confident. PLAYING THE FISH A tuna take can be subtle but rapidly lead to some fierce action. There’s no point trying to stop it; just keep your fingers and clothing away from the reel and let the fish go on that first run. Initially it won’t want to come near the boat but pumping and drawing hard will get it close enough to see the boat and go for broke again. After that run the fish will likely surface, a sure sign that you are winning. Once near the surface it won’t be long before those ever-present circles start to diminish and it’s boatside. Tuna should be bled well before icing down for excellent sashimi or tasty cutlets.

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• • • •


Luring the fresh in March TOOWOOMBA

Jason Ehrlich

With a wet season looming in the northern part of the state and one cyclone already impacting the lakes from Gladstone north, the weather will play a big part in what the following month has to offer. Already some lakes in the tropics have had a top up but in the southern part of the state, the lake levels are slowly dropping. Fishing was fairly consistent last month although a spate of bad weather bringing heaps of wind kept anglers off the water and the fish a little harder to tempt. Lure trolling is still one of the best ways to catch a fish. This can be as laid back or as serious an approach as you make it. You can go in

blind hoping for the best or study the fish on the sounder and present lures right on their nose. We should have another month or two of good trolling conditions so get into it now before the action tapers off. I was lucky enough to slip in a trip north about a month ago with good mate, Jason Medcalf and our sons. The plan was to hit the barra lakes hard but we only managed a couple hours at Lake Proserpine and an overnighter at Kinchant. Proserpine failed to deliver with only one bite but Kinchant fired with barra being caught on surface frogs during the day and hardbodied lures at night. The beautiful waters around Airlie Beach were too much of a temptation and we spent some time whacking a plethora of species. The next trip is already booked for this month and

SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND CRESSBROOK CLOSEST TOWNS: TOOWOOMBA, CROWS NEST Cressbrook has been fishing tough apart from the one bass school that cruises

around in Bass Bay and along the buoy line heading across to Deer Island. These fish move around and can be found in water more than 7m deep. They can be in tighter concentrations at times and

after having just a taste of what the barra lakes around Mackay and Proserpine have to offer, I’m itching to get stretched by even more, big impoundment barramundi. It’s almost that time of year again. The Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show is on next month on the 4-6 April. Jason Medcalf and I will be organising and hosting the fishing stage. We have a great line up of speakers who are keen to share their knowledge. Be sure to check out the speakers’ program in the feature inside this month’s QFM. There’ll be top presenters and anglers on stage. I was going to mention names but there’s just too many to start. The Berkley Kids’ Fishing Show will be back on Saturday and Sunday mornings so if you are planning a day out bring the kids along to join in the fun. Until next month, buckled rods from the Colonel! when they are, casting blades and spinnerbaits into the area can produce quality bass. Trolling remains the better option to nail numbers of fish. Due to their scattered nature, bass are coming from all over and at times there are very few on the sounder.

This triple hook-up on quality bass came while trolling hardbodies. The third fish was caught flicking a blade bait back into the school.

            


MARCH 2014




14 31









23 Impoundment Dams 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

The trick is to pick a lure that dives to the depth of the fish. Last month, we caught fish from 3-10m deep. Lure choice really depends on where the fish are sitting at the time. As a general rule, they will be shallower in the mornings and afternoons. In the middle of the day they will venture deeper. Lures without rattles have been scoring plenty of the bites. The Blitz Baga, Golden Child, Smak 16, Smak 19 and Kezza Lures Freak are just some worthwhile choices. I’ve seen all colours work but my favourites are purples and browns. With some of the bass topping 45cm in length and the average around 40cm, they are quality, fat fish that

Gold Coast


24 25 Cairns 1


19 20


Townsville 2

3 4

Proserpine 6 Mackay







29 7



Bundaberg 9 11

Highlighted dams are covered in this issue




will strip a bit of line and put a serious bend in your rod. The entry fee at the boom gate has been removed but the 8 knot speed limit is still in place. Hours for boating and day use of the recreation area are 6am to 8pm until they shorten in May. For all your supplies, expert advice and to check on the boating restriction, call in at Fish’n’Bits in Alderley Street, Toowoomba, or give them a ring on (07) 4636 6850. The boys at the store all compete in bass tournaments and really know their stuff. SOMERSET CLOSEST TOWNS: ESK, KILCOY The bass and golden perch remain schooled up and willing to nail lures. It can be hard work getting

DAM LEVEL Report DAMS OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB Atkinson 89 84 84 75 70 Awoonga 95 95 94 92 91 Bjelke-Petersen 94 91 89 81 78 Boondooma 92 90 88 85 84 Borumba 99 96 95 90 84 Burdekin Falls 85 77 75 64 63 Callide 76 73 73 69 68 Cania 98 97 98 95 94 Clarendon 91 86 88 82 80 Clarrie Hall 97 96 61 97 61 Cooby 97 95 95 94 93 Coolmunda 85 81 67 59 55 Copeton n/a 70 65 50 37 Cressbrook 96 95 95 94 94 Dyer/Bill Gunn 96 90 78 87 80 Eungella 98 96 95 94 100 Fairbairn 68 66 61 55 54 Glenlyon n/a 91 n/a n/a 43 Hinze 96 94 93 92 90



the bass to bite at times but the quality has been great and the numbers of goldens mixed in will keep you busy. Pelican Point and Queen Street flats have been holding the majority of the bass schools. These fish moved into shallower water last month where they were happy swimming around in 7-10m of water. This is a change from last month where they were holding wider and suspending. This change will see numbers on trolled lures drop off and an increase in fish being caught casting. Spinnerbaits have been one of the best lures to entice these deep holding bass. The 5/8oz models are Continued page 83

For fortnightly updates Julius 80 80 80 62 62  Kinchant 82 71 72 62 69 Koombooloomba 43 26 17 15 28  Leslie 74 72 69 52 48  Macdonald 98 87 83 68 60  Maroon 98 96 95 93 90  Monduran/Fred Haigh 93 93 91 87 86  Moogerah 95 93 92 88 85  North Pine/Samsonvale 84 82 81 78 76  Peter Faust/Proserpine 93 90 90 86 88 Pindari 63 63 60 33 20  Somerset 99 98 99 97 96  Storm King n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a  Teemburra 97 93 92 93 93  Tinaroo 68 63 62 56 58 Toonumbar 99 96 96 95 92  Wivenhoe 97 95 94 91 90  Wuruma 96 94 95 92 89

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 22/2/14

From page 82

needed to get down and stay down where the fish are. The next trick is to use a light braided line to keep the lure down in front of the fish. Lines below 8lb breaking strain are ideal and in the open water of Somerset you can even drop the main line size back to 4lb. The thinner diameter of these lines allows the lure to stay deeper for longer, as they offer less resistance than thicker lines. Try casting your spinnerbait over the bass and letting it sink to the bottom. Give the rod a twitch to engage the blades and use a steady retrieve for 10-15 winds before letting the lure sink back to the bottom and repeating. The number of winds can vary and the distance the fish are off the bottom will dictate just how far off the bottom you should work the lure. Mix it up until you find what they are looking for. I like to throw in a bit of variation in my slow rolling retrieve. A twitch of the rod when the lure is up off the bottom is at times deadly. All this twitch needs to do is make the skirt pulsate and the blades flutter differently; a trick that gets curious bass excited enough to strike. Matthew Mott had quite a bit of success in a Basstastic competition held at Somerset last month. The gun lures were 5/8oz Smak spinnerbaits in natural colours. Motty

said, “Darker colours that you’d normally throw in the overcast conditions just weren’t working so we used whiter, more natural colour to catch our fish.” Hopping lipless crankbaits in light colours has also scored well on the better quality bass. Blades have caught a few fish but it seems the larger profile baits are doing the most damage and certainly tempting the larger fish. With plenty of bass around 50cm being caught on these lures, who can argue? Don’t be fooled into thinking the fish will come easily. It can take a lot of casts to crack a bite pattern but the results are certainly worthwhile. In slightly deeper water over 10m, golden perch have been thick in the same areas as the bass are schooling. Numbers of these fish have also been caught around Queen Street and Kirkleigh timber. It has been an amazing year for goldens at Somerset and they will eat just about any lure. Trolling deep divers will score a few and is a great way to locate schools. Schools are so thick at times they look like bass on the sounder. If you find them in numbers like this, try hopping blade baits or soft lipless vibes and you can whack heaps. WIVENHOE CLOSEST TOWNS: ESK, FERNVALE I haven’t heard much about Wivenhoe in the last month apart from the fact the golden perch are still chewing

DARLING DOWNS GRANITE BELT REGION COOBY CLOSET TOWNS: HIGHFIELDS, TOOWOOMBA While a few local tackle stores have reported the action as very hit and miss, I have heard of absolute cracker sessions on the golden perch at Cooby. Bait fishing is still the better option to produce big numbers of fish but they can

also be caught jigging small to medium sized blades. It seems the fish have moved a little deeper than previous months with good schools being found out in the middle of the northern (Cooby Creek) arm. Locating fish on the sounder is the key to catching bulk numbers. When found these fish tend to go through bite periods where they go nuts

in numbers. These fish can be caught along the steep rocky banks in the lower half of the dam. Trolling is a great way to find them and once located they can be caught by hopping blade baits, lipless crankbaits and ice jigs. Bass reports have been scarce but I’m sure the usual schools are holding around the points north west of Logans Inlet and between Billies Bay and Platypus Cliffs. Again, trolling is a good way to locate these fish. Deep diving lures are ideal and will cover a lot of water.

A fast troll will get the bass excited but hopefully deter the fork-tailed catfish. Once fish are found, slow down and give the area a thorough working over. If you have any reports on the bass, I’d love to hear them or see your pictures at . HINZE CLOSEST TOWN: NERANG, GOLD COAST A special thanks goes to John Goodwin who has provided the Nerang reports for the last couple of years. John is a keen bass fisherman

who works at Go Camping at Nerang and is about to move on to a new job. His last report for the Hinze is certainly enough to get you keen to give it a crack. Toga numbers have really picked up over the last month. Spinnerbaits and silent lipless baits have been scoring well with few fish falling for topwater offerings. On one adventure, John and his mate kayaked to the upper part of the eastern arm where the dam was almost a creek. Here they nailed six saratoga fishing the edges.

Golden perch have been going nuts on trolled lures so far this year. Get into the action at places like Bjelke, Boondooma, Somerset and Wivenhoe. and then almost totally shut down until the switch is flicked, triggering their next bite. The big sessions I’ve heard of occurred at mid-morning and late afternoon. Cooby is an electric motor-only dam and is well suited to kayaks and canoes. The concrete boat ramp is on a shallow angle when the dam is full and can be slippery in places but a big electric powered boat can still be launched with care.

Outboard motors can be left on the boat but must not be used. The boom gate entry fee has been removed so you can keep your change for an ice block or stubbie on the way home. Live shrimp and saltwater yabbies can be purchased from Highfields Bait and Tackle on the New England Highway in Highfields. Call in and see Doug and check out the great range of kayaks and accessories he has on display.

COOLMUNDA CLOSEST TOWN: INGLEWOOD Murray cod and golden perch have been caught at Coolmunda over the past month. At around half full, a lot of the action will be coming from out in front of the dam wall. Trolling lures along the drop-off to the old creek bed will account for golden perch in this area. Lure casters and bait fisher will have more success up in the timber and

Toga numbers have picked up in the main basin as well. Closer to the wall, the points between The Sapplings and Eagles Nest have fired for saratoga and bass. Working the edges with spinnerbaits and silent lipless crankbaits has produced both species. An early morning surface session is certainly worth a go as bass are nailing topwater offerings. One of the standout lures has been the Fish Arrow Cover Cicada. Even though anglers are tossing topwater lures, the toga are rarely paying attention and seem to prefer the subsurface offerings. As the day heats up, the deeper points have held reasonable numbers of bass. Averaging 35-40cm these fish are suckers for a soft plastic rigged on a beetle spin or TT Rev Head. Lightweight heads like 1/4oz are all that are needed to get the lure deep enough when using a slow rolling retrieve. A permit is required to fish Hinze Dam and these are only $5/week or $40/ year. These are available through Go Camping at Nerang. No outboard motors can be taken on the dam so it is electric motors only or paddle power if you want to tangle with the Gold Coast’s fiery little bass. For all the latest information and best lures for the job call in and see the guys at Go Camping, 10 Spencer Street, Nerang. some nice cod and golden perch have been caught at the start of the timber. Finding where the creek runs and casting lures across it so they work over the drop off is an effective way to get bites. Spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits have been scoring most of the fish. The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only around 1km away from the lake. The park is just off the Cunningham Highway but far enough Continued page 84



Bjelke-Petersen Dam

Lake Boondooma

Only 8km from Murgon and a short 2 1/2 hours from Brisbane is Bjelke-Petersen Dam.

Lake Boondooma is located near Proston, is only 3 1/2 hours from Brisbane. Stay at Lake Boondooma Caravan & Recreation Park.

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In the South Burnett, it’s only 1 hour between Freshwater dams MARCH 2014


From page 42

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 and the river below, give the park a call on (07) 4652 4171. LESLIE CLOSEST TOWN: WARWICK Numbers of Murray cod being caught from Leslie have really picked up over the last few months. Last report I mentioned a 1m fish from the deep water and since then I know of at least two more big models being landed. The biggest of these was a massive 1.3m long. Some of the cod being caught have been suspending 2-3m deep in really deep water. Trolling lipless crankbaits is a good way to cover the water and fish this depth. The fact it has happened on several

occasions now makes this sort of catch more than just good luck. The golden perch have been coming from the upper part of the dam. Explore the creek up past the Black Boys looking for any deeper water. It is these deeper sections that congregate the golden perch in good numbers. These fish can be caught trolling, casting and on bait. Fishing any of the rocky structure with spinnerbaits is also worth a shot in this area. Bait fishers can try their luck with live shrimp and saltwater yabbies. The area right near the boat ramp and in the main basin south of the dam wall would be worth a shot. For any tips and gear for fishing Leslie Dam or the Warwick area, call in and see the guys at Warwick Outdoor and Sports in Palmerin Street Warwick. The store stocks a great range of freshwater gear that is well suited to catching our Australian natives.

WIDE BAY AND BURNETT REGION BOONDOOMA CLOSEST TOWNS: PROSTON, KINGAROY Trolling lures continues to be the best approach at Boondooma. There have been heaps of bass and golden perch taken on trolled offerings. The deep water out in front of the dam wall (outside the buoyed off area) is holding plenty of quality bass. The bigger fish are over 50cm with the odd one right up to 56cm. Lures that run 8-10m deep are needed to reach these fish. The Blitz Baga, Smak 19, Golden Child and 50mm Poltergeist Crazy Deep are all worth a troll. Colours seem important if you want to increase your catch rate. Purple is one of the most reliable but black, dark green and dark brown can also stand out at certain times. Run a few lure types and colours and it shouldn’t take long to find out what the fish prefer. Further up the dam, the fish are still in the deep water but are suspending shallower. Lures that run 4-5m are

capable of reaching these fish. Look for the thermocline on the sounder, which shows as a line of suspended clutter. The fish won’t be too far from this depth. Lure casters have had success at times when the fish are found closer to the bottom in 5-8m of water. Bass and golden perch have been scoffing blades, mask vibes and ice jigs in these situations. In the timber, smaller fish have been taking spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and bait. The edges and shallower water fish well in the morning but the fish soon retreat to the comfort of the deeper trees. BJELKE-PETERSEN CLOSEST TOWNS: MURGON, GOOMERI There has been plenty of action at Bjelke-Petersen over the past few months. The big golden perch and small bass just seem to keep firing. Lure trollers, casters and bait fishers are all able to share the action.


• Great fishing, bass, yellowbelly, cod, saratoga, garfish… • Windsurfing, boating, beach volleyball, playground, BBQ’s. • Level tent sites, showers, toilets, hot and cold water. Only 50 kms from Toowoomba For more information on camping or fees: Call Toowoomba Regional Council on 131 872 during office hours or visit


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MARCH 2014

Trev Stead has been using Austackle Bladz to great effect in BP and Boondooma lately.

Schools of fish are holding right through the dam’s main basin. Popular spots include Treasure Island, Bass Point and Lightning Ridge. When located, these schooling fish can be caught on blade baits. Casting over the fish and then using a hopping retrieve seems very effective. Blade baits that weigh in at 1/4oz or 3/8oz are ideal for hopping. Lure trollers can explore more water and are likely to pick up scattered fish as well as those that are schooling. Medium to deep lures are faring well so try the Smak 16, Brolga and Blitz Baga. With so much action in the dam’s main basin, there is little need to venture any further, although there are still some fish to be caught up in the timber. These fish can be caught casting spinnerbaits and blades in the start of the timber. Bait fishers can expect to tangle with bass, big golden perch and eel-tailed catfish in the same area. If bait fishing, don’t skimp on baits and try to get the best available. It is hard to beat live shrimp as everything loves them. For help catching Bjelke and Boondooma fish, call into your local Bass 2 Barra store. You can see Matthew at Kingaroy or Dylan in Dalby and the boys will have you all geared up and ready for action in no time. MONDURAN CLOSEST TOWN: GIN GIN The barra fishing in Monduran has turned a little tough. The fish are fairly easy to find and will show on the sounder but getting them to bite has been tricky. Small to medium sized hardbodies in the 80-120mm size range have been most effective. Often deeper lures will outperform the shallow divers so it pays to have some 3-4m diving lures in your kit. The Jackall Hank

Tune, Halco Hamma 85 with the 3m bib and Yo Zuri Crystal Minnow are some top performers. In the Kolan River below the dam, plenty of barra and bass have been caught. Fishing the deeper water around the snags should see you getting into the action. With a lot of fish around 80cm in length you need to be on the ball to extract them from the snags. I had a successful trip fishing deeper diving hardbodies. The standout lure for me was a RMG Scorpion 90 in the 4m diver. I added some lead, stick on weight to this lure to make it a slow sinker. It was simply a matter of casting close to the snags and cranking the lure down. Once deep in the snag, a pause before winding again would usually draw the strike. The tackle store in Gin Gin, Foxies, stocks a range of effective barra lures. The store will mail order and you can check it out online at . Be sure to call in and get directions to some of the best barra fishing in the area or pick up one of the detailed maps. Accommodation can be booked through Lake Monduran Kiosk and Tackle Shop. They look after all the cabins, houses, powered and unpowered camp sites, as well as house boats and boat hire. You can also make bookings for Guide Lines fishing charters through the kiosk, on (07) 4157 3881. Jamie Bein runs Lake Monduran Barra Charters and fishes that dam more than anyone I know. His regular visits ensure he has a good understanding of what’s going on. Contact Jamie on his mobile, 0407 434 446, or through his website www.lakemonduranbarra .

CAPRICORNIA REGION AWOONGA CLOSEST TOWN/S: BENARABY, GLADSTONE Awoonga Dam had a rise after the rain brought by the February cyclone. This rise shouldn’t change the fishing too much. Finding barra is the toughest part when it comes to catching them. There is a lot of fishless water so a good sounder and knowledge of barramundi habits will be necessary. The area around Gold Mine Point has been one of the most productive. Fishing 3-5m diving lures around the deeper trees is a good way to get connected to one of the dam’s fish. The common size of barra has been around 80cm with

some smaller and bigger ones mixed in. In the river below the dam, anglers continue to do well around Pikes Crossing in the freshwater reaches. Finding barra in the salt is a little tougher since the netters left their mark but it is still possible to catch fish from the mouth of the Boyne right up to where the water turns fresh at the weir. If you are keen to try to tackle some fish in the dam, give Lyn and Mark from Awoonga Gateway a call on (07) 4975 0033. At Awoonga Gateway you’ll find clean, modern cabins and your hosts will be full of useful advice to help you try to land that barra of a lifetime.

Quality barra can be caught in the freshwater reaches of the Kolan and Boyne rivers. This 80cm model fell for a Scorpion 90 fished to the snags.

WHITSUNDAY REGION PROSERPINE CLOSEST TOWNS: PROSERPINE, AIRLIE BEACH The dam has steadied up a little with the barra beginning to scatter, although there are still a few fish being caught around the buoyed area near the dam wall. Trolling deep diving hardbodies will get the bites here but don’t expect big numbers since a lot of the fish moved on. Trolling lures like Poltergeists and 125 and 150mm Scorpions will see you in with a chance of hooking one of the big stragglers in the main basin. More barra should start to turn up in the trees and points up in the timber. Fishing deep divers around the trees lining the submerged creeks can be very rewarding. With fish around a metre long the average, try using 50lb braid to give you a better chance around all the structure. Early and late in the day, it will be worth a shot fishing the nearest points to the deep water of the creeks. Walking a surface lure like a Cultiva Tango Dancer or popping a 90mm Rapala Skitter Pop could see an

explosive take. Plastics and shallow hardbodied lures are also effective. Some of the locals have had success with sub-surface stick baits when fishing these areas. If you are in the area call in and see the boys in town at Proserpine Bait and Tackle. Lindsay Dobe has spent years running charters on the lake and has a good idea where the barra will be and how best to catch them. If you are interested in a charter make sure you get in early with your booking. Lindsay can be reached through the store on (07) 4945 4641. KINCHANT CLOSEST TOWN: MACKAY What a change to the barra fishing from only a month or two ago! The dam has gone from having fast dropping levels to being almost full. Cyclone Edna dumped quite a bit of rain in the area. Kinchant receives the bulk of its water from the river via a pump when the river is running. Reports suggest if no more flooding occurs to limit the use of the pump, the dam should be back to 100% capacity by the time you are reading this. The big increase

to water level will be a big rise vertically, which will flood heaps of bank. Because the dam dropped so fast, it won’t flood too much vegetation so should continue to fish well. The lush weed beds and lilies will start to make their recovery but don’t expect to see them for some time. Anglers will need to think strategically about where to target fish with the lack of weed and structure. Casting lures to the edges while under the power of electric motor will allow you to cover heaps of water looking for productive areas. Try working points and bays and keep a close eye on water temperatures to try and pinpoint a comfortable level. One of the biggest attractants to barra is highly oxygenated water and this comes from the wind blowing hard onto a bank, causing aerated water. When searching for fish, soft plastics like the 5” Powerbait Split Belly and Squidgy Slick Rig are ideal. If I want to fish fast, I’ll opt for a 5” Powerbait Mullet or FLT Transam 95. These work great if the fish are slightly deeper in over 1.5m of water. Once fish are found, you can slow down and work them

Blake nailed this cracker barra on a Frog at Kinchant Dam at the end of January. Things will have changed due to the rise in water level. more thoroughly. Shallow diving hardbodied lures like the 1m Halco Hamma, 125 Laser Pro and Rapala X-Rap are perfect for this. A night session around the moon using these lures off the prominent points is likely to see you connected to a monster barra. Early and late in the day, surface lures will be

worth a toss. With less weed about, try hardbodied offerings like the Cultiva Tango Dancer. Walk these lures back to the boat with pauses. Boofing barra in the area are a good sign to surface feeding fish but are not a prerequisite for catching fish. Trolling with shallow diving lures around the

lake edges and over the tops of any old drowned weed beds would certainly be an option. Water depth will influence lure choice so have a few different ones packed into the box if you intend to have a troll. For accommodation at the lake give Kinchant Waters a call on (07) 49541453.

MARCH 2014


It’s all about the weather CALOUNDRA

Rob Smith

We now come to that time of the year where the main conversation is about the weather and not the fishing. Small weather windows a day or two at a time will allow anglers to get out and the fish should be plentiful. The rough conditions give them a rest and time for new stocks to replenish. The first day or so after a blow can be a learning day though as bait may have moved and with it, the predators. Having to do it yourself mid week if no one has been out can be a pain if you don’t pick the right spot. After the first day and you eliminate a few areas plus the fishing reports start coming back, all the pieces seem to fall into place on the puzzle board. The Sunshine Coast Ord Minnet Classic was held on the first weekend of February. The forecast was not the best so the turn out was not the biggest but a few fish were about. Yet again Reel Capture showed everyone how to do it with three tagged black marlin and a line class wahoo. Grant Cooper who normally skippers Jubilado the 25’ Luhrs won champion angler aboard Craig McCulloch’s

7.2m Kevlacat with another Kevlacat, Double Trouble tagging the only other marlin on 8kg for the tournament. Double Trouble, being under 7m, gave Scott Miller and crew the small boat trophy. By winning overall once again, this gives club captain Brent Higgins yet another invite into the IGFA Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica along with Craig and Grant, his third year in a row. A couple of wahoo separated the minor placings. A fair few more marlin were raised heavy tackle and light tackle but it was hard to get them to bite and then get the tags in. Special mention must be made of the crew of No Name, Tim Bidencope’s 5.2m AMM centre console. Tim and James Robinson gutsed it out both days and were rewarded with the heaviest wahoo winning Champion Other Species and coming runner up in the Small Boat Category. Redcliffe Peninsula Game and Sportfish Club contested their tournament the weekend before the Sunshine Coast. Most boats entering knew they were getting themselves into a one day shootout with a big change forecast for the end of the first day. Luckily it held off and produced a ripper day on the water. The next two days set down were write-offs but

day one stood. Bribie Island boat Hard’N’Up, a 37’ Riv owned by Russell Fairey and skippered by John Green set the cat amongst the pigeons tagging 4 black marlin plus decking a few line class wahoo fishing on the Mooloolaba bait fish grounds. Dave Trask and his 51’ Riv Big Business fished his local grounds and tagged 3 marlin for second. Kaizen, Russel Caporn’s 52’ charter boat out of Mooloolaba made a late charge as well finishing up with three for the day. Dragon Lady, Troy Proctor’s 685 Cruise Craft duked it out with Dan Smith’s 5.2m Cruise Craft Game Plan in the small boat category. Weighing in wahoo made the difference. Dan’s crew of Andy Prosser and Mark Holland tagged three for the day as well but had to disqualify one fish that ate two baits and was fought on two reels, which was unlucky for the boys. Andy did get the first marlin of the weekend, 20 minutes after the start. Offering up a car and a boat in the last man standing draw attracted quite a few boats, balanced out by the weather forecast. Down at the Gold Coast it was Mat and John Stehman’s Hydrofield Murphy’s Law leading the way yet again. With Andrew Morley

A great black marlin caught recently on charter. aboard they had 9/10 day on black marlin live baiting. Ross McCubbin was into them again and caught 20 for the week following his tournament win. On the Sunshine Coast MGFC boat Bring it On had a ripper day the same day as the Redcliffe Tournament. Steve Dahl and wife Debbie, along with daughter Brit went 6/9 for the day. Other MGFC boats into them were Ymer the 34’ Black Watch skippered by Steven Brooks. Brooksy put 7yo Harrison Bugg onto a 30kg sailfish straight up and then a couple of black marlin later on, which was the idea behind the trip. Mark Bird chimed in with one as well for a pretty good day for the crew. SCGFC boats tagging fish included Reel Capture, which

is no surprise. They had a five fish day and a couple of four fish days as well as ones and twos. Dave Lameree’s 445F Haines Hunter Double Haul found a good school of slimeys and ended up 2/6 on it then called other club boats over for a piece of the action. Walk the Line, Brent Higgins’ 19’ Seahunt capitalised as did Ruff N Tuff, Matt Collinge’s 7.5m plate boat and Misty, the Lee boys 5m half cab. These same boats also had a few other hot days of twos and threes for the day over the past month. I was out the same day and managed to put my guys onto a black marlin from the same school and missed a couple of others. I have been plucking away at one a day when chasing them and having

up to four on. We are just not having any luck keeping the hooks in during jumps or breaking hooks etc. My fortune is due to turn around! Mixed in have been lots of trips getting Spanish mackerel and also quite a few yellowfin tuna. All in all pelagic season took a while to get going but now we are in full swing and it looks to be a good year. The jacks will also start to fire soon having a feed up before winter in the estuaries. We caught our first one on charter in the estuary boat just the other day at 37cm. • Give me a call at Smithys Fishing Charters on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www. to get out there and get into some of this pelagic action!





Mar 1-2

MTA Barra Summer League Rd 6 Teemburra

Geoff Newby 0430 344 485

Mar 1-2

ABBT Basstasstic Bass Qualifying Rd 1 Borumba Dam

Russell Nowland 07 4167 8183

Mar 2

Bluefin Boats BASS Electric Series Clarrie Hall Dam

ABT 07 3387 0888

Mar 21-23

Back 2 Tanga 6 Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay Game Fish Club


Apr 12-13

ABBT Basstasstic Bass Qualifying Rd 2 Cania Dam

Russell Nowland 07 4167 8183

Apr 18-20

Burrum Heads Easter Fishing Classic Burrum Heads

Ron 07 4129 5470


May 3-4

ABBT Basstasstic Bass Qualifying Rd 3 BP Dam

Russell Nowland 07 4167 8183

May 11

Bluefin Boats BASS Electric Series (Major) Hinze Dam

ABT 07 3387 0888

May 30-1 Jun

King of the Pin Gem Hotel, Alberton

Don Vogel 0411 958 076


Jun 6-9

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For listings please email 86

MARCH 2014

Boondooma Dam Comp There was a great turn out for the 24th Boondooma Dam Yellowbelly Fishing Competition that was held 8-9 February 2014. A total of 658 competitors, including 145 juniors, weighed in 430 fish. A total of 84 Australian bass were also caught and released in the new catch and release section. Fishing conditions were perfect and anglers weighed in some quality fish. The biggest yellowbelly in the history of the event was weighed in at 3.095kg. The water level in the lake was at 85%, which together with the good weather conditions set the scene for a great weekend of camping, fishing and family activities. Hanwood Fish Hatchery champion junior anglers were Joz McNamara of Jimbour who weighed-in a 2.180kg yellowbelly and Shane Carter of Speedwell who weighed in a 1.375kg Australian bass. Adult angler Dudley Schif of Maclagan took out

the heaviest yellowbelly with a record fish for the event at 3.095kg. Dudley won a trophy and prize money with a value of $300 that was sponsored by Corey and Nikki of the Lake Boondooma Kiosk. Adult angler Steven Brooker of Hervey Bay took out the Wondai Accounting and Tax Services Heaviest Australian Bass at 1.360kg. Steven won a trophy and prize money with a value of $250 that was sponsored by Neil and Elizabeth Smith of Wondai Accounting and Tax Services. Adult angler Dan Bauer of Pittsworth took out the Wondai Hardware and Trade Centre Heaviest Mulloway at 1.455kg. Dan won a trophy for the heaviest adult mulloway of the weekend. In the new catch and release section for Australian bass, Clifford Brauer of Tara netted the trophy and $230 for the biggest bass overall measuring 494mm to the fork. David Bullard of Camira took home a trophy and $100 prize money for

best bag overall with six Australian bass. This section of the competition was well supported and sponsored by Bass to Barra and Greg Mitchell Plumbing. The great double agent kayak sponsored by Freak Sports Australia was won by Russell Hackett of Inala. Freak Sports are a new sponsor. The major raffle results were: BBQ Pack sponsored by Kingaroy Plumbing – Bevan Askew of Kingaroy; Workshop vacuum sponsored by Wondai Hardware – Peter Turnbull of Nanango; Pod Coffee machine sponsored by Don Errington Homes – Joy Mackay of Kingaroy. The Boondooma Dam Fish Stocking and Management Association Inc. would like to thank our generous sponsors and committed anglers who continue to make this event an outstanding success. For more information please contact Terry Allwood on 0400 860 122. – Boondooma Dam Yellowbelly Competiton

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Team Power charges to victory Team Power (Trent Power/ Donovan Power) took out the first event of the 2013 BARRA Tour, the Peter Faust Evening Event. Team Power’s tournament limit of 9/10 for a total of 925cm saw them secure a comfortable victory and provide the perfect start to their 2013 ABT tournament season. During the prefish day Team Power fished a number of proven locations, sounding good numbers of barramundi. “The fish were there and responding to a Stiffy Bony Bream lure,” Trent said. In the first session Team Power travelled to a clearing near the old powerlines where

The team’s session one total of 5/5, 503cm had them sitting in second place and poised to challenge the leader. On day two Team Power returned to the same section of bank but were unable to find any fish. They moved to a nearby location, Pandanus Bay, which had two branching arms with a flat in between. The team moved further up the creek for no fish before moving back to the flats. Then there was a quiet spell, and they were just about to move when they caught and landed their first fish of the session. They opted to stay, and their decision was rewarded with two more fish coming before sunset.

WINNING WAYS “We took the opportunities when they presented themselves, and we were confident in the locations we chose. Understanding why areas were holding fish and knowing enough locations with similar characteristics made the difference. We could identify areas that weren’t as heavily pressured and the fish would respond accordingly. This all came about due to time and experience on the water. “Also having a smaller boat (3.75m/25hp) proved useful around trees and small creek areas. Being manoeuvrable can sometimes be the difference between catching and losing fish.” they fished a point next to a gully. “We targeted a section of bank around 50m long, casting to a lily edge in 2-4m of water,” Trent explained. “We had a concentrated bite window between 2.30pm and 4.30pm when we caught three of our fish. We then checked out the adjacent weedy flats and the old creek line before returning to our key area.”

In a final throw of the dice the team headed to fish the main basin. “We were fishing around 250m from the buoy line with plenty of other boats,” Donovan said. “We were marking plenty of baitfish and barramundi in the area. The soundings indicated that the bait was holding in 20-30ft with active barra sitting underneath. Surface activity

WINNING TACKLE Rod: 6’6” 6-8kg Shimano Raider rods Reel: 4000 size Daiwa Certate/Shimano Symetre Line: 30lb Fins braid Leader: 60lb YGK fluorocarbon and 80lb SureCatch leader indicated that the fish were active. I was casting out and slow rolling the lure when I got a hit with 20 minutes to go. The barra went 117cm and was our final fish for the session.” The team’s most productive lures were a 130mm Squidgy Slick Rig in black/gold and white, both rigged on Area 51 jigheads. During the day the team used the black/gold and at night switched to the white. Trent said the key areas were small in size with adjacent rivulets nearby. “While we sounded fish in the deep they weren’t feeding,” he said. “The majority of the fish we caught were barra sitting tight to the edges.” NOMAD TACKLE/ HYDROWAVE SECURE SECOND PLACE Team Nomad Tackle/ HydroWave caught 8/10, 781cm to finish in second place. Leading after day one, the pair found the fishing harder on day two and were overtaken by a fast-finishing Team Power. “We had a good prefish where we caught fish and identified our key locations,” Elliot explained. “We found four areas we could focus on depending on the wind direction and amount of traffic in the area.” On day one the team headed to a shallow bank near

the existing powerlines. The bank had an adjacent deep channel, providing the team with multiple options. They employed their HydroWave to activate the baitfish in the vicinity. “The HydroWave is an electronic sound device that emits the natural sounds of both baitfish and predatory fish feeding on them,” Reichard explained. “Together the sounds produce an instinctive response in nearby predatory fish. The predatory fish can hear the sounds and feel the vibrations of the sound waves in the water. “We used the Australian freshwater edition and toggled between bony bream passive, freshwater shrimp and redclaw/ yabby. We set the HydroWave on a 30 second sound loop on a 50% volume setting.” The barramundi were active, moving through in groups of two and three. Between 3pm and 4pm a distinct bite window occurred, with the team capitalizing and landing four fish. “We constantly mixed up the presentations, with one team member using a different lure from the other,” Reichard explained. “This was either a hardbody or larger lure.” The key lure for the session was a 130mm Squidgy Slick Rig in black/

Team Power, consisting of Trent Power and Donovan Power, were the clear winners in the tournament. gold rigged on a 1/2oz Area 51 jighead. The retrieve was a slow roll punctuated with hops, and hook-ups were solid with the fish hitting the lure aggressively. Team Nomad Tackle/ HydroWave led the field after the first session with 5/5, 521cm. With an average fish size of 104.2cm the team were confident they were in the right area and anticipated a good day two session. On day two the wind direction changed, but despite this challenge the team decided to stick with their successful day one plan. Even though there were fewer bites, the team cottoned onto an important bite trigger, as Elliot explained. “Occasionally surface activity would erupt around the boat,” he said. “The key was to quickly cast to those activity areas to get a bite. It was about being in tune with what was happening around you.” The team finished with 3/5, 260cm which secured

them overall second place and valuable Team of the Year (TOY) points. The outfits of Team Nomad Tackle/HydroWave consisted of a 7’, 8-14kg 13 Omen black rod teamed with Daiwa Certate 3000/Shimano Sustain 4000 reels spooled with 20lb Powerpro braid and 80lb Black Magic tough trace. BIG BARRA The event Big Barra (118cm) was caught in session two by Geoff Newby (Team MTA Blue). “The fish was caught at 2.10pm from below the existing powerlines,” Newby explained. “We were anchored in 6ft casting back to a lily edge in 2ft of water. I used a medium paced retrieve when the fish hit the lure [130mm Squidgy Slick Rig in black/gold]. The fish gave some fight, breaching a couple of times before coming to the boat. Fortunately my stinger hook was effective as it was hooked in the lip. It was very exciting to catch a fish like that during a tournament.”

Kinchant Dam shines for night championship Kinchant Dam hosted the second event of the 2013 BARRA Tour, the Kinchant Night Championship. This was the first time Kinchant Dam had been used for an ABT BARRA event. Add to this that Kinchant Dam was recently used for series 10 of the Australian Fishing Championships (AFC) BARRA rounds and all anglers were excited about what lay in store. The Night Championship format tests anglers’ skill and stamina in equal measure. Teams fish one session from 4pm through to 7am the next morning. This maximises the opportunity to catch barramundi during the prime twilight and early morning periods. Unfortunately, the weather decided to play its part during the tournament and teams had to battle the elements in addition to trying to catch the barramundi on offer. Let’s take a look at the teams that reigned supreme. 88

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TEAM BTD LURES/ MCARTHUR CUSTOM RODS (BENN DURKIN/ MATT MCARTHUR) 5/5, 513CM Team BTD Lures/ McArthur Custom Rods decided not to prefish for the event. Benn Durkin said they felt they had enough experience from social fishing on the dam. “Also, we were concerned how the extra traffic would affect what is essentially a small dam,” he said. “We had decided on our location prior to the event. It was a rock bar located at the entrance to a feeder creek. We sat in around 25 feet of water and cast up onto a weed flat around 10ft deep. Our location gave us access to both deep and shallow water without needing to move the boat.” At the start of the tournament the team went straight to their chosen location. Using Humminbird Side Imaging the anglers noted that there was good fish traffic moving through the area and used Jackall Transams and

A happy Matt McArthur from winning team BTD Lures/McArthur Custom Rods. 130mm Squidgy Slick Rigs in black/gold to entice any bites on offer. Durkin dissects the location, “There was a V-shaped channel through the weed that was like a natural highway for the fish. Barramundi continuously moved through this channel.” The team experienced an initial flurry of activity once they arrived, boating five fish in a hectic 45 minutes. This was followed by a quiet patch until 12pm when two fish were caught near the high

tide window. The weather throughout the session was challenging for all the anglers. Although the storm that hit during the briefing quickly dissipated, rainstorms and high wind continued throughout the night. Team BTD Lures/McArthur Custom Rods attempted to Spot-Lock with their electric motor, but in the end the conditions decreed that they required the anchor. At 3am another storm hit, albeit for a short time. The team hadn’t had a bite since 12am

but, as the sun slowly began to light the morning, another bite window opened. A change in lure colour (130mm Squidgy slick Rig in pilly colour) prompted bites and saw the team land a further two fish before finishing the session. Durkin discusses the team’s key technique, “We made long casts then we let the lure sink to the bottom. Using vicious rips of the rod we lifted the lure off the bottom before letting it sink back with a few turns of the reel. This was repeated back to the boat. Most of the bites came as the lure was sitting on the bottom.” The team made special mention of the fellow anglers competing at the event, “It was great to see so many young, keen anglers attend the BARRA Tour this year. These are anglers

who quickly cotton on to what is happening and perform well across all the events. It pushes everyone to become better and has made the tour dynamic and competitive, whilst still retaining the great social element that is the BARRA Tour.” DOBYNS/RAPALA STREET TEAM TAKE SECOND AND BIG BARRA Team Dobyns/Rapala Street Team (Karin De Ridder/Luke Katsaros) caught 5/5, 495cm to finish in second place. Their limit was anchored by the event Big Barra, a whopping 122cm fish. “Leading up to the event and the day before we prefished the dam, we had one location in the deep with Continued page 89

WINNING TACKLE Rod: 7’ McArthur Custom rods (built on a G. Loomis 4 weight IMX 12-20lb blank) Reel: 3000 Daiwa Branzino/3000 Daiwa Sol reels Line: 20lb/30lb PE Leader: 50lb/80lb


WINNING WAYS “We had experience on the water and had confidence in the locations we were fishing. The bigger fish were coming from deeper water so we focused on those areas and found the fish we needed.”

From page 88

an adjacent weed edge,” Karim De Ridder said. “The barramundi were showing on the sidescan unit and we were confident of finding some fish.” Team Dobyns/Rapala Street Team fished the back of a bay not far from where the winning team found their fish. The depth was around 14-15ft with an adjacent weed edge shallowing out into 2ft of water. A channel through the weed was a key transitional area for the barramundi in

the location. “We had some early nudges when we arrived at the location,” De Ridder said. “At round 4.45pm we had our first fish via a double hook-up, and the bites continued through to twilight.” The team’s key lures were a 130mm Squidgy Slick Rig

in black/gold colour, a Jackall Transam and a custom white 7” swimbait rigged on a 3/8oz TT’s jighead. Bites continued to come through the session, and after a rain squall came through the team hooked a fish that was to be the event Big Barra. “It was a good fish,” De

Ridder said. “When we finally landed it we attempted to move it from the back of the boat to the front. In the process the spine of the fish hit Luke’s leg and after the fish was photographed and released we realised the spine had broken off in the contact and was embedded in his knee.” A trip to Mackay hospital ensued with the anglers then returning to Kinchant Dam around 2am. Fishing was slow until the daylight brought the fish on the bite. A further two fish were caught before the session ended a long night

for the team. The team used Dobyns/ ACM rods paired with quality baitcaster and spin reels spooled with 10-20lb braid and 40-60lb Sunline FC 100 leader. “The key for us was the location,” De Ridder explained. “The number and size of the fish demanded we stay in the area. “Keeping the lure in the zone near the edge of the weed was also important. We changed our jighead weights (3/8oz-3/4oz) depending on the depth of the area we were fishing. The technique was to

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cast to the edge, hop the lure out of the weed and have it swimming into deeper water. This attracted both deeper barra and those willing to follow the lure out from the weed edge.” While the wild and woolly weather made things uncomfortable for the anglers, the fishing fired with 70 fish being caught and released. A total of 19 teams boated fish during the tournament, with an average size of 89cm. If these figures are anything to go by, Kinchant Dam is set to go for BARRA 2014.

EJ Todd go hard and soft for Teemburra win Team EJ Todd (Craig Griffiths and Trent Short) 10/10, 623cm claimed victory in the final round of the 2013 BARRA Tour at Teemburra Dam using a combination of hardbody lures and soft plastics. Fishing points and the backs of bays, the pair focused much of their attention at the mouth of Teemburra Creek. “We’d fish Teemburra Creek before sunset, then we’d move to Middle Creek,” explained Griffiths. “The thick, lush, bright green weed was the key. The fish seemed to really home in on this.” Griffith threw a Lucky Craft DD Pointer 100 most of the time and Short used a 5” Castaic swimbait. The retrieve for Griffith using the Lucky Craft involved casting the Pointer tight to the edge then slowing twitching and pausing it out from the edge. Once the lure was 2m out from the edge

he cranked the lure back and repeated the process. For Short the retrieve was slower and more direct – he cast the lure into the weed edge then slowly drew it through the weed so it didn’t get hung up. The tandem approach paid dividends with the pair catching five fish on day one and another six on day two. The only team to catch their full limit for the event, they said their switch bait approach was the key to their success. “If I got a bite on my hardbody, Trent threw his soft plastic straight in there, and vice versa,” Griffiths explained. “As long as we didn’t throw the same lure, in most cases we’d catch the fish.” It was a calculated approach that delivered not only the Teemburra event win but the 2013 BARRA Tour Team of the Year (TOY) crown. “I was a little disappointed with my barra tour last year, so

Team EJ Todd (Craig Griffiths and Trent Short) with the Team of the Year trophy. to do well this year and to win the title fishing with Trent was very satisfying,” Griffiths said. “I couldn’t have done it without the support of Trent and the guys at EJ Todd.” TEAM NOMAD CLAIM SECOND PLACE Willem Reichard and Ken Elliot from Team Nomad Tackle/Hydrowave (9/10, 496cm) finished second at Teemburra with the pair fishing a lily point near the mouth of Teemburra Creek to catch the majority of their fish. “We caught some fish in other areas, but it was definitely the point that gave us most of our fish,” explained Elliot. Anchored up in 5m of water and a cast length out from the point, the pair cast their lorikeet colour Squidgy Slick Rig 110 and 130 to the edge, then flicked it and ripped it out of the lilies to

get the attention of any barra. Day one was the standout day for this approach, with the pair catching seven fish for the session. This included a 30-minute bite period when the fish were really active. “They really bit their heads

off just on dark,” Elliot said. Day two proved to be a lot tougher during the daylight hours, but an increase in activity just on dark got things moving. “They bit once again as it got dark,” Elliot said. “Five minutes before the end of the session we lost a 75cm fish that would have given us our full limit for the tournament.” Falling one fish shy of their full bag, the pair finished in second place, their second runner-up position for the 2013 BARRA Tour. Their consistency saw them finish in third place in the Team of the Year points race for the year.

One of the most consistent teams on the BARRA Tour in 2013, Reichard and Elliot will definitely be a team to watch in 2014. BIG BARRA Team Swamp Donkey claimed the Big Barra Prize at Teemburra with a 97cm fish caught on a bright yellow coloured Squidgy Slick Rig 130mm at 4:30pm on day two of competition. Caught from a lily-lined weed point 700m from the boat ramp, it was the standout fish on the team’s catch card, which also included a 94cm fish from the same weed point.

TOP 7 2013 BARRA TEAM OF THE YEAR RESULTS Place/Team Anglers Total Points 1 EJ Todd .................................. Craig Griffiths,Trent Short .....................295 2 Power ..................................... Trent Power, Donovan Power ................289 3 Nomad Tackle/Hydrowave ...... Willem Reichard, Ken Elliot ...................282 4 Rapala ................................... Dan Grech, Jon Millard .........................280 5 Dobyns/Rapala Street Team ... Karim De Ridder, Luke Katsaros ...........279 6 Dobyns/ Lucky Craft Lures ..... Colin Brett, Steve Lill .............................278 7 Triton ...................................... Rick Napier, Dustin Sippel ....................278 8 Snap-Dog ............................... Aaron Dial, Cameron Johnson ..............277 9 BTD Lures/ McArthur Custom Rods .......... Benn Durkin, Mat McArthur .................275 10 EnS ........................................ Shane Sanderson,Elaine Sanderson ....273


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WINNING TACKLE SHORT Rod: Dobyns Champion 705SF Reel: Daiwa 3000 Branzino Line: 30lb Sunline Momentum PE Leader: 35lb FC 100 fluorocarbon Lure: French blue 5” Castaic Jerky J Swim rigged on a Hypohead with a Trokar size 5 worm hook GRIFFITHS Rod: Dobyns Champion 705SF Reel: Shimano Calais Line: 30lb PE Leader: 30lb FC fluorocarbon Lure: Lucky Craft DD Pointer

WINNING WAYS Team EJ Todd saw two things as integral to their success: switching lures when they got a bite and using their Hydrowave to keep fish active and draw them out of the weed beds.

MARCH 2014



Get ready for the Pirtek Challenge 2014 The Pirtek Challenge is on again and the team at Fishing Monthly thought we’d give you all a bit of a heads up on how to go about catching one of the species involved in the competition. This competition donates a lot of money to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and that is worth getting behind. You can win part of the $155,000 in prizes and even have the opportunity to fish with Guesty and ET. But apart from all of that, this competition gives you the opportunity to hit the water with friends and family and have a great day

in the outdoors doing what we all love the best - fishing! So let’s check out some tactics to help you win and get you organised to make the most of the 2014 Pirtek Challenge, Australia’s biggest fishing competition.. COMP TACTICS • Get to know your target

species and make sure you have them worked out before the competition starts • Your angler number will be emailed to you after 6pm the night before the competition starts • Fish as early as you can to make the most of the limited fishing time (6am till 6pm)

• Always look after yourself by wearing the right clothes, drinking and eating the right foods and being careful of the sun while fishing • You are only allowed to measure in one fish per angler so choose carefully. Most measure in the largest of a given species • Remember there are

Barramundi Flathead

mystery length prizes so even a relatively small fish can win you a great prize • Photograph your fish correctly after you have numbered your competition brag mat with your angler number. Make sure that your camera is charged! GET OUT THERE So sign up, join in and have a great day on the water knowing you’re helping a great cause, all with the chance to win some great prizes.

Bream Murray Darling Basin

QLD This map gives you a rough guide on where you can find the target species. They are all abundant and found in many areas throughout the state.

To enter the Pirtek Challenge on 28 March 2014 visit Cost is $20 and pre-entry is mandatory. 90

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COASTAL Size range: Size range: up to 1.4m, commonly 50-80cm wild, 70-1.2m impoundment Tactics: River barra and lake barra behave differently. River fish are typically leaner and meaner and relate to structure. Casting lures and live baits at snags is a Queensland tradition in the tropics. Lake fish typically hold in deeper water during the day and roam freely at night and are often easier to catch after the sun goes down. Rigs No matter if you’re bait or lure fishing, use a heavy monofilament trace for barra. They have no teeth but will rasp through your line with their rough jaws. Bait: Use a 5/0 hook and weight it according to current. Add a live mullet or XOS live prawn and cast it close to structure. Hang on. Lures: 4” to 6” long diving minnows get plenty of attention from barra - both in rivers and lakes. Whether you’re using braided line or mono, make sure that the trace is firmly connected to your trace. Retrieve with a jerky, stop-start action. Barra will often blast the lure on the pause.



Size range: up to 1.1m, commonly 30-65cm Tactics: Flathead are classic ambush predators that us camouflage to their advantage. Drop offs, weed edges, hard rock and mud edges are all favourites haunts of flathead. Lures, flies and baits all work equally well on flathead. Lures such as soft plastics, vibes, lipless crankabits and hard bodies all take flathead and the variety of baoits that work on the species is endless – they really will take most things. Cast towards structure with baits and lures, drift over the same areas with bait or troll over these areas with lures to take advantage of these ambush predators. Rigs Bait: Running sinker rig 6lb braided main line with 15lb leader Lures: 6lb braided main line with 15lb leader, attach lures with a loop knot where possible.

Size range: up to 50cm, commonly 25 to 35cm. Tactics: Bream can be found in every saltwater river, creek and lake in the state. Bream love structure - especially rock - and if you find crud-encrusted rocks in the intertidal zone, you can be sure that bream hang around it at some time of the day. Keep the gear light when bream fishing as they can be spooked by heavy weights and lines. If you want to catch a bream on a lure, make sure that it’s small - smaller than your middle finger. They’ll eat nearly every bait you can find or buy - including white bread, which is an under-utilised favourite. Rigs: Bait: Running sinker onto a #1 or 1/0 hook. Keep the weight as light as possible and let the bream eat the bait before setting the hook. Lures: Small hardbodied divers cast around rocky shores with a slow, steady retrieve are hard to beat.


MURRAY DARLING BASIN Size range: up to 1m, commonly 30-60cm. Tactics: Carp feed by smell and taste and are therefore attracted to smelly baits. This makes all sorts of baits and surprisingly, occasionally lures, very effective on carp. Baits as varied as scrubworms, corn, bread, dough, shrimp and grubs are all attractive to carp and the use of berley will increase your success rate dramatically. Look for slow flowing areas in rivers, such as back eddies and deeper bends and in lakes look to weedy shallows for the best results. Rigs Running sinker rig, Paternoster rig, Float rig 6-20lb main line, 10-20lb leader, lighter in clear water free of snags.



Size range: up to 75cm, commonly 25-50cm. Tactics: Golden perch are predators that like a moving target. This makes lures and live baits popular, however they also love to hunt down worms and grubs set on the bottom. Lures like Australian-made hardbodies, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits cast around fallen timber in rivers and standing timber in lakes are all successful, especially around first and last light. Bait fished on a running sinker rig or paternoster-style rig are favourites. If you can impart some movement to the bait, your success rate will increase. Cast baits towards and into structure for the best results. Rigs Bait: Running sinker rig, Paternoster rig 20lb braided main line to 20lb leader Lures: 20lb braided main line to 20lb leader, attach lures with loop know where possible. Size range: up to 60cm, commonly 10-40cm. Tactics: Redfin are an aggressive predator that will attack anything alive that the fish thinks it will fit inside its mouth. They love to hang around structure such as timber and rocks, however schools of fish can also be found in relatively clear water, suspended mid-water with no structure nearby. Lures such as diving minnows, winged lures, soft plastics, ice jigs, lipless crankbaits and flies work very well on redfin. Cast towards located schools of fish, redfin will happily accept just about any lure offering you can think of. Baits fished around structure like steep rock walls and standing timber are best. If you can move the bait, all the better as the inquisitive and aggressive redfin loves movement. Rigs Bait: Running sinker rig, Paternoster rig, 10lb braided main line to 15lb leader Lures: 10lb braided main line to 15lb leader, attach lures with a loop knot where possible.


in cash and prizes MARCH 2014


THE RECREATIONAL ANGLER’S LINK MIXED BAG OF WEATHER •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Well we have certainly had a mixed bag of weather this last month. If you were able to dodge the winds, the rest was pretty good – enough rain and cloud cover to keep things active and not too hot to make fishing in the boat uncomfortable. Thank you very much to everyone who signed the e-petition in favour of the recreational fishing tourist area on Moreton Island.

ARTIFICAL REEFS ••••••••••••••••••••

SUPERTRAWLER •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

We are probably going to see a lot more of this in the media in the coming months. The two-year ban eventually imposed by the previous government comes to an end in November this year. Seafish Tasmania who brought the super trawler into Australian waters is currently suing the Federal Government and two former Labor Ministers over the ban. In the interim there may be many mixed messages. The word from the Tasmanian Liberal Party is that they will oppose the super trawler, however, their Federal counterparts are quite supportive of it. However, of both, interest and concern is the fact that the reasons for the super trawler being excluded from operating still exist. There is no science around localised depletions of fish stocks. Whether the Abel Tasman or another industrial scale vessel, trawls, or

acts as a super processor the outcome will be the same – large scale removal of product from a very restrictive area, then move onto the next area when the first is no longer financially lucrative. While this lack of documented science is important, there are many examples of where localised depletions have significant economic and social impacts. We have recently seen these impacts on Moreton and Bribie islands on the beaches facing Moreton Bay. Because recreational species like bream, whiting and flathead are so prolific as a stock; Fisheries Managers don’t currently have any mechanisms available to them to either measure or even investigate a local depletion. It is important that all recreational fishers continue to raise concerns when incidences of local stock depletions occur.

Most of you would know that the Queensland Government established six artificial reefs in Moreton Bay Marine Park, at a cost of $2.25 million. These reefs provide recreational anglers with a range of fishing opportunities in the marine park and were provided as an offset after the Moreton Bay Marine Park Zoning Plan. Artificial reefs attract and sustain a wide diversity of marine life by providing protection from predators, shelter from ocean currents, breeding opportunities and a supply of rich food sources. The variety of habitats created by Moreton Bay’s artificial reefs sustain a diversity of fish species and have been designed to benefit a range of fishing techniques—including spearfishing, bottom fishing and game fishing for pelagic species. In June last year an additional 224 reef balls were added to West Peel (128) and East Coochie (96) reefs. This nearly doubles the fishable area of these reefs and brings the total of reef balls deployed in the bay to 515. New maps with GPS

locations have been added to the website www.nprsr.qld. zoning/trial_artificial_reef_ program.html As you may be aware the Government has committed to spend $2 million ($500,000

per year for four years) from the Marine Infrastructure Fund on artificial reefs in Queensland. Minister Dickson has approved the creation of one additional artificial reef for Moreton Bay along

with two (2) new artificial reefs for Great Sandy Marine Park. The three new reefs are to be constructed within the following constraints: • Only purpose built structures • Within State Marine Parks • Within internal waters of Queensland • Not in conflict with trawling activities (Thus only in habitat protection zones not general use zones) • Consistent with Fisheries legislation and the objectives of the Marine Park zones. As more information becomes available I will keep you up to date.

BRISBANE TINNIE AND TACKLE SHOW •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Sunfish will again have a stand at this year’s Tinnie and Tackle Show at the Brisbane RNA. The show runs from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 April in conjunction with the National 4X4 and Outdoors Show. This is a terrific event and well worth attending. You may want to consider the park and ride options with Qld Rail running free trains from the city right into the venue. Come and say hello. We will have bag and size limit brochures, Moreton Bay and Great Sandy Marine Park maps, and information on joining a club or becoming a volunteer to assist with kids

92 MARCH 2014

fishing clinics plus loads more. We will also have on hand at various times over the weekend volunteers with expertise in local fishing, sports fishing, game fishing and tackle.


Let us know what you are thinking or what’s really bugging you.





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MARCH 2014


Tech Tricks

Flexible ganged hook rigs for fishing pilchards BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald

One of the most commonly used hook rigs for beach fishers, especially in Southern Qld and Northern NSWs, is the ganged hook rig. Whether you’re fishing with pilchards or other long, thin baits such as fillet strips, whole squid and other whole fish, the ganged hook rig is a great way to present your bait. It also has a greater hook-up rate than many other rigs. The traditional way of joining hooks has always

been eye to shank. Many hook patterns, such as Mustad 4202D and VMC 8755, are made with opened, turned in eyes to make the ganging process easier. The downside of joining the hooks eye-to-shank is that the rig is fairly rigid. This rigidity makes it more difficult to put the bait on the hook and also means that the hook eye can distort or even break due to the torque created when the hooks are bent in opposing directions. Many years ago, anglers began experimenting with different hook styles and methods of joining the hooks, and came up with the swivel-linked ganged rig. This modification solved the

shortcomings of the rigid eye-to-shank rig, replacing it with a more flexible and durable hook rig that make it easier to put the bait on. Additionally, as a result of each hook being able to move independently, this rig has a higher hook-up rate and is less likely to fall out during the fight. For whole fish baits, I put the hooks down through the back of the bait. This decreases the hooks’ visibility and places the hook points in the soft gut cavity which is easily punctured when a fish bites down on the bait. Another advantage of this placement is that it creates a

central pull to the bait, which makes it appear more natural in the water. The leading hook is in the hard head which decreases the chance of it tearing out during an aggressive cast. Rigged in this way, pilchards make great cast-and-retrieve offerings when slowly rolled through the water, especially in the surf for tailor. While many of the original ganging hook patterns can be used for this rig, you will get a more compact and neat rig by using inline hooks (not offset) with straight eyes (not turned in or out). The main patterns I use are the VMC 9255 and Tru-Turn 711, which are both readily available. In fact, I use

a combination of these two patterns for my preferred rig. The Tru-Turn hook pattern has a kink in the shank which helps roll the hook point upright as a fish bites down on the hook. This increases the hook-up rate with the hook commonly piercing the roof of the mouth. For this reason I use this hook pattern for the two rear hooks in the rig as they can both swivel independently which offers awesome hooking potential. For the leading hook in the rig I use the straight shanked VMC 9255. It makes the bait more stable in the water and decreases the chance of a pilchard or other

whole fish bait spinning. In a moderate current the bait should just waft slowly side to side, which makes it look more lifelike and enticing to predating species. For this to work however, the leading hook (VMC 9255) needs to be placed centrally in the head, approximately halfway between the eye and the nose of the bait. Additionally, the bait needs to be straight and a little flexible. This hook placement keeps the mouth of the bait closed and keeps the whole rig streamlined. Now let’s look at the steps in making a good, flexible ganged hook swivel rig and putting on your pilchard.


To finish the rig, put on the trailing hook (Tru Turn 711) by passing the lower swivel of the second hook over the eye and then closing. Your rig should now look like this.


Both the VMC 9255 and Tru Turn 711 have closed eyes so we need to begin by opening these so we can put the swivels on. Although some multi-purpose pliers have hook eye openers, I prefer to use a pair of side-cutters as it is less likely to weaken the hook eye. Put the side cutter’s two blades against the gap where the end of the eye meets the shank and squeeze down on the handles.


Depending on the type of side-cutters used, you may need to open the eye a little more. If so, slightly pry the tool outwards against the hook to open the gap enough to put the swivel on. It will only need to be opened a little bit however as the swivel eyes are not very thick.



Let’s start with the middle hook of the rig, a Tru Turn 711. Put the first swivel on and let it slide down and around to the hook bend. Put the second hook on and leave this one on the hook eye.

Lay the hook rig along the side of the pilchard to work out where the rear hook will need to be inserted. Keep in mind that your leading hook will be inserted approximately halfway between the eye and nose of the pilchard.

Use a pair of pliers to close the hook eye. I like to use my crimping pliers as the dual action and grooves in the blade make this task easier. Be careful not to crush or damage the swivel while closing the hook eye.



When closed, there should be a flush meeting of the metal with no gap left where the eye meets the shank.



Now you need to choose a suitable swivel. I use Shogun rolling swivels [see inset for the correct sizes for VMC and Tru-Turn hooks between 3/0 and 6/0]. For other swivels and hook patterns you will need to ensure that the swivel moves freely over the hook shank and that it cannot slip over the barb of the hook. 94

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Put your top hook (VMC 9255) on next by passing the swivel on the eye of the middle hook over the eye and down the shank. You can put an additional swivel on the eye of this leading hook or just close it.

Insert the hooks down through the middle of the back of the pilchard as shown with the leading hook placed centrally through the head. Your pilchard is now ready to be deployed. If you need a little more weight you can add a sinker directly in front of the hook. CONCLUSION Rigging baits well will definitely increase your chances of initially hooking and staying connected to a fish. Good bait presentation can often mean the difference in acceptance or refusal of a bait, which makes a dramatic difference to your end result. For pilchards, gar and pike, this rig is the best I have used, especially when targeting tailor, mackerel and other toothy critters which can easily bite through hook rigs snelled on monofilament or fluorocarbon.

The ganged hook swivel rig is flexible, easy to insert, durable and has low visibility when inserted in the bait. You’ll need different sizes depending on the baits you’re using, however a 4/0 or 5/0 will suit most pilchards. These rigs are also easier to store than normal gangs and you can fold them up and wrap them in alfoil. You can prepare a heap of different sizes in twin hook, three hook or four hook gangs ready to suit a variety of bait sizes and types. I’m sure you will love using them.

Sun protection is important when out on the water Nothing beats being out on the boat on a brilliant sunny day. Between the sun’s rays beating down and reflections from the water beating up, boating can be tough on your skin. With planning and preparation you and your family can have a sunburn free day out on the water. For best protection, the Australian Cancer Council ( recommends a combination of the following sun protection measures: • Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible • Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before you head out in the sun and every two hours after that. It’s important to make sure

• Slap on a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears • Seek shade • Slide on some sunglasses making sure they meet Australian Standards. Be extra cautious when

you are putting on enough sunscreen, at least one teaspoon worth, for each limb,

out in the sun in the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense. The SunSmart UV Alert is published in the weather section of daily newspapers and on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Issued by the Bureau when they forecast a UV Index for the day of three or above, the SunSmart UV Alert identifies the times of the day when sun protection will be needed.

front and back of the body and half a teaspoon for the face, neck and ears.

Brisbane Tinnie and Load Restraints – Know the Rules Tackle Show and National 4x4 Show & Outdoors Show April 4-6 will see B r i s b a n e ’s RNA Showgrounds play host to the state’s biggest outdoors event, the Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show & National 4x4 and Outdoors Show, showcasing products from the most diverse range of exhibitors ever seen. “In its ninth year, the co-location of two of Queensland’s most popular shows, the Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show and the National 4x4 & Outdoors Show will be a fantastic event and must for any outdoor enthusiast,” said Kiri Ngarotata, Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show Event Manager. The Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show will be presented by Club Marine, Australia’s largest

provider of pleasure craft insurance, and will include magazine chef Bart Beek conducting cooking demonstrations, while Paul Worsteling, renowned angler and host of television’s iFish program, is once again the official ambassador of the Show. The Fishing Expo Stage and Yamaha Supertank will also return with a range of demonstrations and talks to interest all anglers. The hugely popular Kids Marine Zone will again be a drawcard feature of the event with a range of FREE activities for kids aged 2 to 12. These interactive workshops are designed to entertain and educate tomorrow’s anglers. Kids will learn how tie knots, cast fishing rods and nets, pump for yabbies and identify different species of fish in touch

and feel tanks. At the National 4x4 & Outdoors Show some of the best known names in the industry will exhibit from categories including 4WD Vehicles and Accessories, ATV’s and dirt bikes, automotive accessories, safety and recovery gear, GPS and electronics, kayaks, camping equipment, tents and a vast array of camper trailers and off-road caravans. Visitors to the Shows can enjoy a free travel option provided for ticketholders only, with a free train loop service running between Brisbane’s Central, Roma Street, Fortitude Valley and Exhibition Grounds Stations across all three days. Additional information on the 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show and National 4x4 & Outdoors Show is available at www. or

WHAT:.................. 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show & National 4x4 & Outdoors Show WHEN:................ 4 – 6 April 2014 WHERE: ............. RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane WEB:................... OR

Marine Queensland recently met with representatives of the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the police to discuss load restraining on trailers. Issues associated with the placement of nets on trailer boats while being towed was discussed as well as the need for other signage under certain conditions. The rules associated with

in a way that makes the vehicle unsafe to handle or allows the load to crash into the drivers cabin causing injury or death; • Load restraints must ensure that: Objects do not fall from the vehicle; uncovered loads enable objects to crash into the vehicle cabin, so appropriate restraints are put in place; must not protrude from the vehicle in a dangerous manner.

be attached to the extreme back of the load. • For boats a safety chain should be used in addition to the wire rope from the trailer’s winch to the bow of the boat as well as a strap over the stern of the boat securing it to the trailer. In addition, motors may also require additional restraint as necessary. Nets are not mandatory on boats under

the restraint of loads have not changed in recent times. The core elements of the rules relating to the restraint of loads are: • Load restraint is not just about making sure that the load does not come off – it is also about making sure that the load does not shift

• If a load projects more than 1.2 meters behind a motor vehicle or trailer, it must be covered with a brightly coloured red, red and yellow or yellow flag measuring 450mm x 450mm to the extreme back of the load. At night a red light or two red reflectors must also

tow unless they are deemed appropriate to any risk for each specific vessel, i.e. as a means of securing loose items within the vessel. The driver of the vehicle should assess the risk and take the necessary measures to secure the load appropriately.

Office: National Retailers Association Building, 6 Overend St, East Brisbane QLD 4169 Post: PO Box 7061, East Brisbane, QLD, 4163 I Tel: 07 3240 0170 I Fax: 07 3891 5293 I Email: | MARCH 2014


Cooking with Lynn

Asian spring rolls BRISBANE

Lynn Bain

This is a step-by-step guide to making Asian spring rolls. Because of the generic Asian ingredients in these spring rolls, you could serve them with a dipping sauce from any of the cultures – either soy and mirin (Japanese), sweet chilli sauce

2 6

Heat the cooking oil in a frypan. Then fry garlic, ginger, green shallots and chopped green prawns until the prawns change colour. sure it’s not too sweet.


peeled and chopped 6 or so dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in water until soft, drained and then chopped 1 teaspoon Squid fish sauce A good pinch of sugar 1 tablespoon ABC Kecap Manis 1 tablespoon lime juice 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves Spring roll wrappers Oil, for deep frying

Add the mushrooms, fish sauce, Kecap Manis, lime juice, sugar and chopped coriander to the prawn mixture and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the filling to cool.

1 4

The ingredients for the prawn filling.

All ready to roll. A spring roll wrapper, the cooled filling and some water for sealing the edges of the spring rolls.

9 Roll the bottom edge of the wrapper up and over the filling (wet each of the edges with a little water each time that you roll or fold the spring rolls – this ensures that the edges seal)

10 96

(Thai), chilli jam (Thai) or hoisin sauce (Chinese). Alternatively, you could have bowls of all four of these dipping sauces and give your diners a choice. INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon peanut oil 2 cloves garlic, finely grated 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 2 green shallots, finely chopped 500gms green prawns,

MARCH 2014

The completed spring roll. Rolled and ready for deep frying.


Completely cover the filling with the wrapper.


I find that the easiest (and gentlest) way of carefully lowering the spring roll into the hot oil is to use a slotted ladle.


Fold over the left-hand side of the wrapper.



A spoonful of the prawn filling is placed towards the centre-bottom of the wrapper.

Folding the right hand side of the wrapper over the left hand side. Make sure that you seal each edge as you roll and fold (use water in which to dip your fingers, then let the water drip from your fingers and onto the spring roll paper at the seal’s edge). Doing this step ensures that the spring roll doesn’t unwrap when being deep-fried.

Cook the spring rolls until golden brown and then drain them on paper towel. Spring rolls and dipping sauce presented ready for eating.

Northern NSW / Gold Coast Tweed Coast Marine 147 Pacific Hwy Tweed Heads South Ph: (07) 5524 8877 Fax: (07) 5524 3324 Email: Website:

Brisbane North Brisbane Marine 306 Duffield Road Clontarf, Q. 4019 Phone: (07) 3889 3033 | Fax: (07) 3889 5390 Website:

Whitsunday Cannonvale Whitsunday Outboard Centre 1 William Murray Dr Cannonvale Phone: (07) 4946 7286 | Fax: (07) 4946 7848 Email:

Meridian Marina Horizon Shores Onshore Marine Cabbage Tree Point Rd,Woongoolba Phone: (07) 5546 2480 | Fax: (07) 5546 1362 Email: Website:

Toowoomba Waterskiers Warehouse 91-93 Neil St Toowoomba Phone: (07) 4637 9511 | Fax: (07) 4637 9513 Email: Website:

Bowen Reibel Marine 34 Don St Bowen Phone: (07) 4786 2944 | Fax: (07) 4786 6606 Email:

Brisbane South Springwood Marine 3366 Pacific Hwy Springwood Phone: (07) 3297 8200 | Fax: (07) 3297 8290 Email: Website:

Bribie Island Bribie Boat Sales 217 First Ave Bribie Island Phone: (07) 3408 0055 | Fax: (07) 3408 0805 Email: Website:

Brisbane South Coorparoo Marine 57 Cavendish Rd Coorparoo Phone: (07) 3397 4141 | Fax: (07) 3397 6339 Email: Website:

Sunshine Coast Northcoast Boating Centre 264 Nicklin Way Warana Phone: (07) 5493 9376 | Fax: (07) 5437 6144 Email: Website:

Brisbane West Karee Marine 1851 Ipswich Rd Rocklea Phone: (07) 3875 1600 | Fax: (07) 3875 1622 Email: Website:

Bundaberg Adrians Marine Centre 28 Ritchie St Bundaberg Phone: (07) 4153 1819 | Fax: (07) 4153 1819 Email: Website:

Brisbane Holt Marine 25 Queens Rd Everton Park Phone: (07) 3353 1928 | Fax: (07) 3353 4548 Email: Website:

Rockhampton Rifen Boats Unit 11-12, 10 Dooley St, North Rockhampton Phone: (07) 4927 9150 | Fax: (07) 4921 3502

Brisbane North Cunninghams Marine 23-25 Snook St Clontarf Phone: (07) 3284 8805 | Fax: (07) 3284 8813 Email: Website:

Yeppoon Seabreeze Marine 150 Scenic Hwy Yeppoon Phone: (07) 4933 6366 | Fax: (07) 4933 7590 Email: Website:

Ingham J&B Marine 79 Herbert St, Ingham Phone: (07) 4776 1188 | Fax: (07) 4776 1288 Email: Website: Cairns Aussie Marine 5 Wellington St, Cairns Phone: (07) 4033 8800 | Fax: (07) 4033 8810 Email:

MARCH 2014



Marine carpet after a day’s fishing











Name Address













P/Code Phone (day):

The first correct entry at the end of each month will win a Hawk Fishing cap, Hawk Fishing line, Hawk HB Lure, assorted Panther Martin lures and 3 packets of Youvella chemically sharpened hooks. SEND ENTRIES TO: QFM Hawk Tournament Competition

PO box 3172, Loganholme Qld 4129 QFM MARCH 2014


SUBSCRIBER PRIZE The subscriber prize winner for January was B Bekkers of East Brisbane, who won a Contour Roam2 plus Outdoor Mounts. All subscribers are entered in the monthly subscriber prize draws. Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – QFM


BITE ME by Trisha Mason

The Find the Black Magic C-Point Hook prize winners for January were G Ancona of River Heads, B Pontt of Loxton, K Hughes of Banora Point, A Paech of Westbrook, G Le Noel of Birkdale, R Hilton of Goondiwindi, T Hodgson of Bli Bli, F Salway of Taylors Beach, D Bell of Bundaberg West, R Tendolle of Bunjurgen, A Svaikauskas of Alligator Creek, W Clark of Riverview, G Edwards of Home Hill, N Kenny of Bundaberg, J Elsley of Goondiwindi, J Willmann of Windaroo, A King of Little Mountain, A Easton of Albany Creek, R Bourchier of Trangie, P Sheppard of Wynnum West, T Edwards of Nikenbah, P Huggard of Carrara, J Rosenberg of Parkhurst, G Watter of Ripley, J Taylor of Upper Coomera, D Hutchins of Bundaberg, C Hendry of Imbil, J Kelly of Rothwell, B Harris of Ingham, P Carrington of Deception Bay, C Ramage of Davistown, P Read of Alexandra Hills, E Smith of Wishart , C Westcombe of Sandstone Point, A Remfrey of Rothwell, G McGrath of Avoca, K Sarnadsky of Avondale, J Connell of Grahams Creek, L Stevenson of Runaway Bay, K Edwards of Innisfail, R Quill of Tin Can Bay, L Smith of Ingham, C Johnson of Peregian Springs, E and V Jackson of Long Flat Via Gympie, C Blacker of Ferny Hills, T Maguire of Kalkie, Z Smale of Charters Towers, B Abdul of Kirwan, B Aerenga of Wakerly, D Hall of Glenwood, who each won a packet of Black Magic C-Point Hooks valued at $5.95! Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – QFM


The answers to Find the Black Magic C-Point Hook for January were: 12, 20, 22, 34, 42, 44, 63, 68, 73, 82, 86, 90, 99, 103, 104 – QFM

FIND-A-WORD WINNER Congratulations to Gary Blake of Bellara, who was last month’s winner of the Hawk Tournament Finda-Word Competition! Monthly winners receive Hawk Tournament Tested Bayer Perlon IGFA line, assorted Panther Martin lures, Youvella hooks and a keyring. Prize delivery can take 8 weeks. – QFM 3 98


The clearest scanning sonar image below your boat. Garmin ClearVü™- the clearest scanning sonar with photo-like display showing what’s below your boat. Our new, powerfully simple to use echoMAP™ and GPSMAP® chartplotter/sonar combos provide this top of the range feature along with many more. Now you can get our well known and awarded charplotters, internal 10Hz GPS, our exclusive HD-ID™ sonar, and the clearest scanning sonar images all together in one unit. Get to a retailer for a demonstration and be prepared to be blown away. To learn more, visit

©2014 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries

ClearVü™ Scanning Sonar


2014 Tinnie & Tackle Show Mark your calendars to make tracks to Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds for the 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show on from Friday 4 April to Sunday 6 April. We’re teaming up with the National 4x4 and Outdoors Show to bring you 2 great shows for the price of 1 covering everything you need to get outdoors and on the water for Easter. We’re proud to have Club Marine as our official presenting partner again in 2014 - we are looking forward to seeing Bart Beek cook up a storm on the Club Marine Cooking Stage. There is so much to do and so much to see that we have given visitors a 2-day pass option, so now you can come and check everything out on day 1 and get back in to make the deal of a lifetime on day 2. Check out below what you will be able to see at this year’s Tinnie and Tackle Show. CRAB N GEAR Crab N Gear has been a driving force in the design and manufacturer of crab pots and apparatus for over 17 years within the commercial and recreational sector. Their products are known as being some of the most practical, durable and high yielding crab pots and dillies available. At this year’s Tinnie and Tackle Show, Crab N Gear will have a broad range of recreational pots suited to crabbing, redclaw fishing and more. All of these pots are designed with optimum results in mind and their build quality is unquestioned. Add to this some amazing show specials and if you’re into chasing SHOW DETAILS Venue Brisbane Showgrounds 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills Dates and Times Friday 4 April 9am to 6pm Saturday 5 April 9am to 6pm Sunday 6 April 9am to 5pm Ticket Prices Adults $18 Seniors $12 Kids Under 15 FREE Adult 2 Day Pass $25 100

MARCH 2014

things with hard shells, then you must visit the Crab N Gear stand. Check out their wares at or give them a bell on 07 3284 0228. COASTAL POWER BOATS Coastal Powerboats will be displaying a versatile range of both aluminium and fibreglass boats at this year’s show. The highly popular Procraft range will be showcased with Procraft

6 x 6col Intro header

Upper Exhibition Building for the best show deal on the best boats going. COORPAROO MARINE It’s that time of the year again and Coorparoo Marine can’t wait to showcase their new and exciting range of tinnies at this year’s Tinnie & Tackle Show. Coorparoo Marine aim to cater to the needs of everyone – from car toppers to everyday fishing tinnies, family runabouts, fully loaded tournament boats to heavy

matched to a 150hp 4-stroke and the 570 Game King powered by a 115hp 4-stroke. Karee will also be displaying a range of the popular Clark Boats including the Dominators, Navigator runabouts and the Challenger cuddie cabs. These great rigs are priced ideally for show buyers so check them out. All of Karee’s boats are powered by Mercury outboards and are transported on Dunbier Trailers. Drop in and chat to the team about some great products at great prices or give them a call on (07) 3875 1600. THREE NEW COLOURS FOR SUN2SEA 2.1 x 6col Left Page Header Stand 632 is a must for all the boaties, fishers and campers with Sun2Sea UV Protection’s Aussie made 50+ UPF WetnDry sun protection clothing. Sun2sea UV Protection are at the Tinnie and Tackle Show keeping us protected from the sun and out on the water longer with their range of Australian made 50+ UPF fishing and boating shirts. duty plate boats. All their As always they will have boat packages are powered by their loose fitting polo, with Mercury outboards. Come and new trick colour ranges for talk to the team about your the ladies and new colours outboard needs, whether it be for the Sun Hoodie and kids 2.1 xfor6col Page Header a little 2-stroke your Right car polo shirts, plus the sun shoal topper or if you are thinking of bandanas and even sunscreen. upgrading to a 4-stroke, they They have also redesigned have got you covered. a new fingerless sun glove Located in their usual giving both maximum feel spot – Stand 175 in the Upper in the fingers and palm area Exhibition building, right next and full sun coverage over the to the coffee shop – Coorparoo top of your hand for a perfect Marine will have a range of fit. Available in medium and popular Blue Fin aluminium large sizes. boats, new release Stessco After achieving the highest boats and making a comeback sun protection available from to the Tinnie & Tackle Show, Arpansa for 6 years in a the New Zealand McLay boats. row, you can be assured of For more information on the highest sun protection the range that will be displayed available in the world. Always at this year’s Tinnie & Tackle look for the Arpansa 50+ UPF show, contact Coorparoo logo and burn line not skin on Marine at 57 Cavendish Road your next adventure. (right next to the train station) There are three new at Coorparoo, or phone on colours in the 50+ UPF Sun (07) 3397 4141 or visit www. Protection shirts to keep your family safe from the KAREE MARINE Queensland sun and looking Karee Marine’s stand at good all day, every day on this year’s show will be found your next fishing, boating and in air conditioned comfort camping adventure. The new upstairs in the main pavilion. colours are mocha, olive and Showcasing the New ocean blue camo. Zealand made Extreme Alloy Robbie from Sun2Sea Plate Boats, Karee will be is excited about the displaying a 650 Game King expanding range. powered by a 200hp Mercury “Due to customer demand Verado, a 610 Game King our business has had to evolve

to suit,” he said. “Being a 50+ UPF 24/7 WetnDry leisure shirt, our customers also tend to wear them to sports, BBQs, mowing the lawn and any outdoor activity”. Robbie revealed that the three new colours were put through some extensive testing in the form of fishing and boating missions before being put into full manufacture. “The mocha and the olive in particular blend in with the surrounding bush or sandy environment and the ocean blue camo has been a popular ask for the boaties for a while now,” he said. “They are now available in our whole WetnDry Polo shirt range, gloves and now our new Necksox.” Add that to the other 11 colours and Sun2Sea UV Protection has you covered. The most styles, the most colours, and most importantly, the highest UPF rating available. This year is like a sun protection supa-store with everything needed to keep us protected all day everyday 50+ UPF maximum protection, Made by Aussies for the Aussie sun, and can be worn wet or dry. Check them out at www.sun2seauvprotection BE VINDICATED AT THE SHOW Vindicator Quality Aluminium boats and trailers is again looking forward to displaying at the Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show this year. Rated as one of the finest finished boats and remarkably quiet boats on the water by many peers of the marine industry, the Vindicator crew will be on hand to answer any questions you may have on the range of boats or their exquisite custom built aluminium trailers. The Vindicator range is renowned for its superb all-round offshore performance

with driveability, comfort, stability, internal volume space are all factors in the premium designs of these vessels, and of course the beautifully integrated hardtop. With an extensive options list and the ability to custom design to your needs, this allows for a truly personal vessel. Also the unique integrated transom that allows for either single or dual engine installation without having to change transom design allows conformity and 2014 BRISBANE strength throughout the range. Also on display will be the newly developed Vindicator demountable aluminium trailer for the travellers with car toppers. This new trailer can be fully assembled and disassembled in a matter of minutes. Constructed with the same ethics used on their boats this one is definitely worth checking out. SEA JAY LOGS UP 25 YEAR MILESTONE National boat manufacturer, Sea Jay Aluminium Boats, is set to celebrate a landmark year. Col and Janelle Glass founded their company in 1989, so 25 years later in 2014 it’s time to commemorate this outstanding achievement. Boating has always been a major aspect of Col and Janelle’s life. They have both enjoyed varied activities on the water, ranging from barra fishing, recreational fishing and water ski racing. Establishing a business to manufacture aluminium boats seemed a natural progression for Col and Janelle, but they never thought for a second that Sea Jay would grow to be a national brand. “When you start a business you can never think too far ahead as the day to day issues of running the business are dominant,” Col Glass said. “But we always knew that we were in the boat manufacturing business for the


Fibreglass boats appearing at the show for the first time. This range comprises a 6.2m Walkaround, 6.2m Weekender, 5.8m Coastal and 5.3m Cuddy. Of significance is the release at the Show of the stunning 6.2m Walkaround Hard Top. This beautifully presented fishing machine will astound show goers with its hose-down fibreglass interior, the expanse of deck space, plus stylish hard top with glass windscreen and sliding side windows. The Boat Show price for this Hard Top is sure to be an attention grabber. Procraft Aluminium will feature the in demand range of side and centre console models with striking fish and flag hull motifs. Also on display will be the unique Formosa Sea Rod range of aluminium boats with innovative ballast tube construction. Stessl will have a presence as well, showing their no nonsense rugged aluminium construction. As one of Queensland’s leading Suzuki Outboard Engine dealers, the Coastal Powerboats team will be on hand to offer assistance to show goers on boat and motor selection to suit their fishing or family needs. Call into Stand 119 in the





long haul and now we find ourselves celebrating a 25 year anniversary.” Sea Jay is the archetypal family business. Husband and wife, Col and Janelle Glass, continue work in their business on a daily basis. Their son Troy joined them as an employee of the company in 1999. He has since completed his apprenticeship within the industry and taken on the R & D role in 2010, while also becoming a part owner of the family business. Sea Jay Aluminium Boats are proudly manufactured in Bundaberg, a thriving regional centre north of Brisbane. The factory has expanded several

times over the past 25 years to the extent that the site now occupies 7,000m². On the one site, Sea Jay manufactures a complete line of pressed aluminium boats plus a big range of Xtreme plate alloy boats. To celebrate their milestone 25 years of manufacturing Sea Jay Aluminium Boats, the company will be busy releasing several new models and applying a special Sea Jay 25 year decal to each boat which rolls off the production line. The new Sea Jay 4.25m and 4.85m Avenger plus the 6.8 Glass Screen Hardtop Model will be released at the Brisbane Tackle and Tinnie Show.

Col Glass attributes the success of the Sea Jay brand to quality of product and the integrity of the business. 2.1 highest x 6col Right “Only the quality marine grade aluminium and components are used in our Sea Jay boats,” Col Glass said. “We’re very particular about the strength of our hulls and also the finish of each and every boat that we build.” “In our business dealings we interact with our dealers and customers just as we would like to be treated. By respecting our customers we have built a strong, viable business which has endured the both the great times and the tough times alike.” “That’s good for us and also our customers.” For more information contact: Janelle Glass Manager – Sea Jay Group Pty Ltd (07) 4152 2111, email janelle@ GME LAUNCHES THE GX800 AND GX850 Leading safety, communication and entertainment manufacturer GME will be attending the Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show to demonstrate their newly released, feature packed handheld VHF marine radios. With a stylish new white

and grey colour scheme, the GX800 and GX850 stand out from the crowd. Features such as Digital Selective Calling Page Header and inbuilt GPS, make these new products much more than just a communication tool, they are an essential safety device for boat owners. Built to withstand the harsh marine environment, the GX800 and GX850 are waterproof to the IP67 standard, and feature a large backlit LCD display. Cleverly designed, if either model is accidentally dropped overboard, it will float to the surface with the bright LCD flashing to make location and retrieval an easy task. The GX850 features Digital Selective Calling (DSC) and a 48 channel GPS receiver, enabling users to transmit urgent or important information direct to another DSC radio. In times of an emergency, DSC can be used to alert all radios within range of the distress. It even has a Man Over Board (MOB) alert. Drop in to see these and other GME products at the Northside Marine and Boating and RV stands at the show. WHITEWATER MARINE Whitewater Marine has been servicing the Gold Coast

HOW TO GET THERE Catch the FREE Train Loop There is limited parking available on site at the Brisbane Showgrounds. To avoid traffic jams, we encourage you to use the FREE Park N Ride service. Simply purchase a train ticket to Central, Roma Street or Fortitude Valley stations and then jump on the FREE train service to the EXHIBITION GROUNDS. A FREE train loop service will run the Brisbane Tinnie & Tackle visitors to the Brisbane Showgrounds. This will be a 30 minute looped service running between CENTRAL, ROMA STREET, and FORTITUDE VALLEY STATIONS each day of the show. Look for the platform going to ‘EXHIBITION GROUNDS’ For more information on Queensland Rail Park N Ride Locations visit Catching a Bus to the Brisbane Showgrounds: Buses access the surrounding streets regularly. For further information phone TransLink on 13 12 30, or visit Catching a Taxi to the Brisbane Showgrounds: The main taxi companies in Brisbane are Black and White Cabs (ph. 13 32 22), or Yellow Cabs (ph. 13 19 24) Parking at and around the Brisbane Showgrounds: Brisbane Showgrounds - Parking is available via the O’Connell Terrace entry Parking is charged at a flat rate of $12 per day per vehicle Victoria Park - Parking is available on Friday 4, Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 April Parking is available off Gilchrist Avenue Parking is charged at a flat rate of $10 per day Limited street parking is available and there are also other secure car parks located within walking distance to the RNA Showgrounds.

2014 BrisBane

Tinnie and Tackle show

naTional 4x4 & ouTdoors show Friday 4Th To sunday 6Th april 2014 rna showgrounds, BrisBane

ausTralia’s BiggesT ouTdoor liFesTyle show

brought to you by

Thousands oF Brands on sale, 4x4 acTion arena, Fishing & cooking demonsTraTions, celeBriTy guesTs VisiT The weBsiTe For more! opening Times Fri 9am to 6pm | Sat 9am to 6pm | Sun 9am to 5pm | MARCH 2014


security you need on the water. boating enthusiasts, proudly Left Page Header Great deals2.1 on xthe6col Mercury showcasing the new Caravelle Verado Supercharged 4-stroke Powerboats from the USA as outboards will also be available well as Stejcraft, designed and for the show, so make sure you manufactured within the Gold check it out if repowering is Coast Marine Precinct, right what you need to do. here in Queensland! With on-site Mercury Visit the friendly team finance and insurance available upstairs at stand 150, and Cunningham’s can get you on see just what is on offer at the water with ease, especially this year’s show. They will with a show special finance be displaying a huge range rate starting from 3.99%. of stock boats available to And for the campers purchase, with Paul keen we will have the Bluefin to move some exceptional cartoppers including the package deals from Stejcraft popular Tinoos as well as the and Caravelle Powerboats Mercury Inflatables boat range from the USA with prices starting form as Broadwater Boating Centre 2.1 x 6col Right continues Page Header little as $695! to grow, now one Come and see of Queensland’s largest boat Cunningham’s Marine on dealerships within the market! stand 665 for your great Tinnie Accredited as a Yamaha and Tackle Show deals. Platinum Dealer, their service BROADWATER BOATING department is renowned for its CENTRE’S NEW quality workmanship PARTNERSHIPS Drop by and check out Broadwater Boating Centre the new look, refurbished (BBC) is counting down the Broadwater Boating Centre days before they showcase at 46-48 Brisbane Road their new release models for Labrador, or give them a call on the 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and 07 5529 1777 and view all the Tackle show at the RNA! new and used Boats at www. Paul’s team has been planning how to make the event one GREAT of the best shows on the GREENWAY TOURISM Australian calendar! Cardwell, the heart of the Broadwater Boating Great Green Way, for the Centre will captivate 5th consecutive year will be

attending the Brisbane Tinnie & Tackle Show. We identify that the expo is a great opportunity to showcase Cardwell which is often referred to as the Fishing Capital of Queensland. The Hinchinbrook Channel and adjoining creeks are acclaimed worldwide for the quantity, quality and variety of fish that can be caught in an accessible and safe environment. Anglers from around the world travel to Cardwell chasing the biggest barra, the elusive permit and everyone’s favourites, mangrove jack, javelin and

golden snapper. The famous Hinchinbrook Channel mud crabs found in abundance are also a favourite – especially at dinner time! It’s not always about the biggest and the best... why not get the kids to throw their 2014 BRISBANE lines in off the jetty, or cast a net from the beach? Cardwell has plenty to offer with other activities also available, you may like to pack the running shoes or golf clubs? Visit our stand as you enter the front gates for all your maps, competitions and information about Cardwell


for over 25 years and now brings all of its experience in boating to Brisbane. Whitewater Marine stocks the very best 2- and 4-stroke engines in Evinrude E-Tec and Suzuki and we can supply them on the back of Savage fibreglass and Stacer alloy boats. We offer the very best in pricing and service and pride ourselves in after sales service for your boating peace of mind. We are very proud to offer Savage and Stacer BMT’s at the best prices. Come and see the team at stand 680. We will have a huge range of Savage fibreglass and Stacer alloy boats on display, we look forward to helping you get on the water! CUNNINGHAM’S MARINE Cunningham’s Marine will be taking Bluefin Aluminium Boats and Blaze Aluminium

Boats in the 3m to 5.5m range to this year’s Tinnie and Tackle Show. Thee two brands are built for the recreational angler and are a must see at the show, where great deals can be made. As well as these two brands, Cunningham’s Marine will be showcasing a range of Revival fibreglass boats. On stand will be the 5.8m Cuddy Cabin, 5.25 Cuddy Cabin and the 5.25 Runabout. And to add to the flavour of the stand, there will also be a range of Trailcraft Plate Alloy Boats displayed so all your boating needs will be met in one palce. All boats at the show are fitted onto Oceanic Trailers, trailers that are built locally to fit the boat, not just built to a design. As always, these rigs are powered with Mercury 2-stroke, 4-stroke and direct injected outboard motors to give you the confidence and




5.6 102

MARCH 2014


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Humminbird® Tech Talks

Come and hear Justin Welsh (Humminbird Brand Manager) speak at the Commercial Pavillion Stage. Learn tips and techniques to help improve your fishing. Talks cover sonar technologies, understanding views and how to get the best from your unit.

Minn Kota® Ex Demo Units Available @ Below Trade Prices!!!

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Limited stock is available of units so come and visit us at the show but you’d better be quick! Once stock is exhausted the special pricing can not be offered on additional units however we will have a huge number of discounted units available at the show at prices never seen before. Clearance program will extend up until Saturday the 12th of April in store on any units remaining unsold at the end of the Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show (4-6th April 2014).

117 Old Cleveland Rd, Greenslopes QLD 4120

(07) 3397 9766


SITE 135

and surrounding district. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff look forward to assisting you with planning your holiday and we can even arrange your bookings for you. For more information call the Cardwell Rainforest & Reef Visitor Information Centre on (07) 4066 8601 or visit us at BONITO BOATS The Bonito hydrolift

Mk II Kraft is famous in New Zealand. Hundreds of these 1973, Frank Pilen designed hulls are still the craft of choice around the coast of NZ. The original 4.85 mould arrived on the Gold Coast in the mid 90s. The Moreton Bay commercial fishers soon decided on its performance and it became the craft of choice,

Although the commercial Left market was2.1 soldxon6col the craft, very few recreational fishers considered these basic work boat versions. Sadly, for the commercial operators, production stopped in 2007. In July 2011, Roger Barnes of Legacy boats acquired the Bonito 5m moulds and set about supplying the commercial back orders.

Constant demand for a this craft convinced Roger to retool for this larger, softer riding craft with more crab capacity. Production of the original was stopped in September 2012 and re-tooling started for the new 5.6m craft offering either a work-deck or a sports-fishing version. With most of the new tooling completed,

Page 5.6m Header version of

production of the new 5.6m sportsfisher became the priority. Roger approached Martin Slennett to join him in the venture of building the most modern, high quality sea-worthy craft available to the Australian fishers. Stand out features of the Bonito 560 include the self draining deck, soft dry ride, stability at rest, lots of moulded options and absolutely NO timber, meaning no rot. This incredible craft is now available to the recreational fishers as well as the commercial fishers. It’s definitely worth a chat to Roger or Martin at Stand 460 next to the Yamaha Supertank. BLUEFIN BOATS Gold Coast boat manufacturer Bluefin Boats will be represented at the Tackle and Tinnie Show by Cunningham’s Marine Centre, Coorparoo Marine and Australian Marine Centre. Each dealer will be showcasing an excellent range of products including the increasingly popular Drifter Tournament Pro, Bowriders, Runabouts, Scoundrel, Rogue Deluxe, Firecat and the recently released Stormcat. Be sure to drop by the dealer stands for show-only pricing and to find out more about the Bluefin Replacement Guarantee exclusive to Bluefin Boat Owners. Bluefin’s motto of ‘Built With Pride’ will be evident in the quality of finish and

construction in the products on display, boasting more than 125 models there is sure to be something that suits your boating needs. If you’re in the market for a new aluminium boat, check out the 2014 Bluefin BRISBANE range as there’s sure to be a model that gets your attention. When its a Bluefin, you know it’s been built with pride so check out all the models the show or for more info log onto www. R&M MARINE AND SEATRAIL R&M Marine along with Seatrail trailers will be displaying the full range of Seatrail boat, jetski, box and plant trailers at the 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show. They will be displaying the all new 2014 model rollered PWC trailer, which has been completely redesigned to suit all makes and models of PWCs, new or old. It features an adjustable bent axle to ensure the correct tow ball weight and also to keep it as low as possible for ease of launching and retrieving. We will also be releasing the new Seatrail 4.6m Aluminium trailer that is designed to take boats from 4-4.8m and is available with either skid or rollers. On display for the first time in Queensland will be the Seatrail single axle tilting car trailer. Our tilting car trailer is perfectly suited to be towed behind a motorhome or towing a small sports car to a track day.



TINNIE AND TACKLE SHOW 2014 FISHING STAGE PROGRAMME Friday 4th Presentation..........................................................................................................Presenter 9.30 - 10.00 Rigs, baits and techniques in the Bay............................................................... Dave Downie 10.00-10.30 The best techniques for flathead on lures and soft plastics............................Shane McKee 10.30-11.00 Lure fishing from a yak......................................................................................Justin 2.1 x 6col Right Page HeaderWilmer 11.00-11.30 All things bream................................................................................................ Adam Royter 11.30-12.00 Baits, rigs and techniques for reefy reds...................................................... Greg Lamprecht 12.00-12.30 Adventures from IFish fishing show...............................................................Paul Worsteling 12.30-1.00 How to get the most out of your fish finder....................................................... Justin Welsh 1.00 - 1.30 Fishing wild rivers up north................................................................................... Mark Ward 1.30 - 2.00 Jigging for mackerel......................................................................................... Nigel Webster 2.00 - 2.30 South East QLD barra fishing.........................................................................Jason Medcalf 2.30 - 3.00 Target Aussie bass in Queensland impoundments............................................. Tim Morgan 3.00 - 3.30 Adventures from IFish fishing show...............................................................Paul Worsteling 3.30 - 4.00 How to improve your landing rate.....................................................................Jason Ehrlich 4.00 - 4.30 How to get accuracy and distance in your casting........................................... Adam Royter 4.30 - 5.00 Keeping it Reel Fishing panel . ............................................ Medcalf/Ehrlich/Royter/Morgan Saturday 5th 9.30 - 10.00 10.00-10.30 10.30-11.00 11.00-11.30 11.30-12.00 12.00-12.30 12.30-1.00 1.00 - 1.30 1.30 - 2.00 2.00 - 2.30 2.30 - 3.00 3.00 - 3.30 3.30 - 4.00 4.30 - 5.00

Presentation..........................................................................................................Presenter Rigs, baits and techniques in the Bay............................................................... Dave Downie The best techniques for flathead on lures and soft plastics............................Shane McKee Outdoor Kids Fishing Adventure Show.................................... Jason Medcalf/Jason Ehrlich Adventures from IFish fishing show...............................................................Paul Worsteling Baits, rigs and techniques for reefy reds...................................................... Greg Lamprecht All things bream................................................................................................ Adam Royter Lure fishing from a yak......................................................................................Justin Wilmer Fishing wild rivers up north................................................................................... Mark Ward Jgging for mackerel.......................................................................................... Nigel Webster Micro jigging....................................................................................................... Peter Herbst Target Aussie bass in Queensland impoundments............................................. Tim Morgan Adventures from IFish fishing show...............................................................Paul Worsteling Trolling for pelagics............................................................................................Steve Wilson Keeping it Reel Fishing panel............................................... Medcalf/Ehrlich/Royter/Morgan

Sunday 6th 9.30 - 10.00 10.00-10.30 10.30-11.00 11.00-11.30 11.30-12.00 12.00-12.30 12.30-1.00 1.00 - 1.30 1.30 - 2.00 2.00 - 2.30 2.30 - 3.00 3.00 - 3.30 3.30 - 4.00 4.30 - 5.00

Presentation..........................................................................................................Presenter Jigging for mackerel......................................................................................... Nigel Webster The best techniques for flathead on lures and soft plastics............................Shane McKee Outdoor Kids Fishing Adventure Show.................................... Jason Medcalf/Jason Ehrlich Adventures from IFish fishing show...............................................................Paul Worsteling Baits, rigs and techniques for reefy reds...................................................... Greg Lamprecht All things bream................................................................................................ Adam Royter How to get the most out of your fish finder....................................................... Justin Welsh Fishing wild rivers up north................................................................................... Mark Ward Adventures from IFish fishing show...............................................................Paul Worsteling Target Aussie bass in Queensland impoundments............................................. Tim Morgan Trolling for pelagics............................................................................................Steve Wilson South East QLD barra fishing.........................................................................Jason Medcalf Lure fishing from a yak......................................................................................Justin Wilmer How to improve your landing rate.....................................................................Jason Ehrlich

BONITO Sportsfishing Boats AUSTRALIA

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During all 3 days of the show we will be specials on the entire Seatrail range. So for all your boat and box trailer need come and see R&M Marine at Stand 100 at the 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show. SPRINGWOOD MARINE At the 2014 Tackle & Tinnie Show Springwood Marine will be located on the lower level of the Commerce Building on stands 511, 520 and 521. Springwood Marine will be displaying the all new line up of Quintrex boat/ motor/trailer packages with Evinrude E-Tec outboards, Yellowfin Plate Boats, Four Winns boats and a range of Mercury engines. On the stand will be the full line up of Quintrex Boats from the 420 Busta to Andrew Ettinghausen’s very own 690 Trident featured on the television series Escape With ET. Springwood Marine will also have cabin and centre console versions of the Yellowfin Plate boats on display with your choice of Mercury 4-stroke or Evinrude E-Tec power, not to mention a comprehensive display of Quintrex Renegades from the 420 Side Console to the 520

Centre Console. Make sure you drop into Springwood Marine’s stand for some great Tinnie & Tackle Show deals! STONES CORNER MARINE SHOWCASE New model Sea Jay and Bar Crusher boats will bolster the 2014 Tinnie and Tackle Show display with boats to suit various applications. The flagship boat on the stand will be the impressive Bar Crusher 670HT packaged on an Easytow drive on trailer featuring the Bar Catch self-launch and retrieve mechanism and powered by a Yamaha light weight 200hp four stroke Yamaha outboard and the smallest boat the ever popular Sea Jay Nomad 350 designed specifically for the car topping market at a manageable weight of 68kg while maintaining deep sides. The new model Bar Crusher making its debut at a Brisbane show is the 535SC side console configured ready to fish; optioned with rod locker and electric motor provision this boat will impress the lure casting enthusiast. Supporting the 670HT and 535SC will be the next generation of six metre Bar

Crushers in cuddy cabin and centre console design - the 615C and 615WR Gen2, powered between 115 and 150hp 2.1 thesex 6col modelsRight can be configured to suit both the hardcore fisherman and family applications. Bar Crusher boats are proudly Australian built and built to the highest quality. Adding to the new model releases will be the latest boats from Sea Jay, these new models mark the celebration of Sea Jay boats 25 years in production. The new models include tiller steer, side and centre consoles from the Avenger and Avenger Sports range. These boats will be suitably powered with the Yamaha four stroke outboard range. This range Setting a new standard for entry level boats Sea Jay will also be displaying the Magnum2 hull. This boat will be available in multiple sizes starting at 4.25 metres. This configuration of this model has been derived from our customer’s feedback, with too many practical features to list I would suggest dropping by to check it out! Incorporated within our boat display will be the latest from Humminbird and Minn

Kota including the latest 360º imaging transducer, side and down imaging sounders and Minn Kota’s new I-link Page I-pilotHeader electric motors. This display will be staffed with experts and we look forward to be able to assist you with your purchase. You will find us in the upper exhibition building, we look forward to you dropping in! BRISBANE YAMAHA Brisbane Yamaha has gone all out this year at the 2014 Tinnie and Tackle Show with incredible specials, including rock bottom prices on Yamaha’s most popular models, and an enormous stand to showcase their extensive range. “Brisbane Yamaha is Queensland’s leading authorised Yamaha outboard service centre, we have sold more Yamahas in the history of Queensland than any other dealer,” said dealer principal Aaron Goodchild. The team will be displaying the popular range of Baysports fibreglass boats as well as so much more, “We are very proud of our reputation for unbeatable deals on new and used boats from tinnies to offshore rigs. “We have gone to great effort to display some fantastic

BMT packages and there will be some unbeatable deals,” said Goodchild. Brisbane Yamaha is northside’s leading Yamaha dealer for sales and service for all brands with qualified technicians trained in all outboards. Brisbane Yamaha is located at 174 Eastern Service Road next to the Bruce Hwy in Burpengary. For more info phone (07) 3888 1727 or visit www. YAMAHA MOTOR AUSTRALIA 2014 is shaping up to be yet another record year for Yamaha Motor Australia with numerous new models joining the Marineindustry leader’s line-up.

The 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle show is set to be Queensland’s inaugural public forum for Yamaha, which will unveil the very latest in outboard motors, rigging and WaveRunners. Yamaha Outboards will be showcasing a handful of brand-new outboard motors which have only just hit Australian shores. With the very latest in Yamaha gauges, controls and propellers also on exhibition at the Yamaha stand. Equally exciting is the 2014 Yamaha WaveRunner line-up featuring 11 new PWC models. All-new for 2014, is the eagerly anticipated SVHO (Super Vortex High Output) powered WaveRunner models, which have been engineered for the

MARCH 2014


rider that craves performance. Yamaha WaveRunners have introduced three new highperformance SVHO powered models to Australia: the luxury performance FX Cruiser SVHO, FX SVHO and the race performance FZS. Each year at the Tinnie and Tackle Show, Yamaha invests a substantial amount of time and resources into the public exhibition, producing a complete and comprehensive display showcasing the very latest marine products, marine insurance and obligation free finance through Yamaha Motor Finance. Drop into the Yamaha Motor Australia stand at the 2014 Tinnie and Tackle show to experience the very latest in innovative and class-leading marine products. NORTHSIDE MARINE BOAT SHOW Once again Northside Marine will have some top end brands on display at this year’s Tinnie & Tackle Show, which will include three of the biggest alloy brands on the market today. Precise fabrication techniques and innovative designs put Stabicraft, Surtees, and Stacer ahead of the rest, and cater for the most hardened of anglers

to taking the family over to Moreton Island for a relaxing day on the water. So be sure to see all the latest designs at the Northside Marine stand at the show. Stabicraft At this year’s Tinnie & Tackle show all the latest Stabicraft innovations will be on display at the Northside Marine stand. Stabicraft, New Zealand’s premier boat manufacturer has recently unveiled the new 1650 Fisher, 1850 Supercab, 2100 Supercab and 2600 Supercab models. New slick cabin design, and the “Game chaser” transom combine with the exceptional stability and safety standards for which Stabicraft are famous the world over. “Adventure with confidence” is the Stabicraft promise and the new models certainly tick all the boxes beside design, quality craftsmanship, and safety like no other. Be sure to check out the new models at the show. Surtees Surtees is a multi-award winning product out of New Zealand, which Northside Marine has now been stocking for over 12-months. Surtees invented their now patented ‘Ballast system’ many moons

2.1 x 6col Left Page Header

year’s show. Stacer are going to be releasing new models early in March this year, and information should be at hand by the start of this year’s show. Northside Marine Electronics Northside Marine will once again have a huge display of the best electronics brands at this year’s Tinnie & Tackle Show including brands such as Lowrance, Garmin, Furuno, and Fusion. So whether you are kitting out a new boat or just freshening up your electronics in a pre-existing one, rest assured that Northside Marine have the quality brands at the best prices in town. KORR LIGHTING This will be the sixth year KORR lighting exhibit at the Tinnie and Tackle Show and by far its biggest display. Check it out on stand 113. Featuring all the new and improved products across our whole range, included in this year’s line up we launch our new 160L pump, new high powered head torch and led driving light range. The quality will be second to none and price will be amazing for this show only. We will have boat light kits starting at $20 in limited numbers so don’t wait too long

to get one and the line-up of new products and accessorises by Korr this year will cater for a wider variety of uses, allowing our products to be used at home as well as in the caravan or boat. We will also be launching 2014 BRISBANE our new slim line 12v LED lights, at only 6mm thick and 168mm wide these ultra bright lights produce a massive 700 lumens, great in boat cabins, homes and caravans – a must-see item, so make sure you see us at this year’s show. For more information visit QFM FISHING MONTHLY QFM Fishing Monthly will be at the show – it’s one of our best opportunities to catch up with our readers and offer you a little incentive for subscribing. “This year, anyone who takes a 2-year subscription will take home a free Wilson Blue Steel, 4-piece travel rod,” said Steve Booth, QLD Fishing Monthly Editor. “The subscription costs $130 and the rod has a RRP of $130, so it’s excellent value for money.” You’ll catch both Steves, Shane and Greg behind the BlueFin JonBoat that’s used as a front counter of the stand.



ago to improve the ride, Stacer stability, and safety of their Stacer have kicked some plate alloy hulls. serious goals over the past few Rough weather in New years with the release of their Zealand created the necessity slick new Baymaster runabouts 2.1 x 6col Right Page Header for under-floor ballast to and Ocean Runner cabin boats, give the boat a lower centre which appeal to serious anglers of gravity, which in turn and families alike. improves handling in the The “EVO Advance” hull worst conditions. Surtees not only allows for a softer are the brand that all other riding boat but also improves ballast boats are copied off, stability whilst at rest and and since they were created, underway. The new Stacer alloy Surtees have added many new trailers will also be on display at features to ensure they remain the Tinnie & Tackle Show, and the benchmark by which all these have been designed with others are measured. improved strength and ease of The Surtees range is use in mind. a must see at the show and Add to this the reliable we guarantee you will be range of Yamaha outboard impressed by the latest models. motors and you have one of the Sales have been particularly best packages that money can strong over the last year, buy. Be sure to see the latest and this trend is forecast to range of Stacer products on the continue through 2014. Northside Marine stand at this

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This section in QLD Fishing Monthly consolidates the trades and services in your area that are relevant to your fishing and boating. Whether you’re a local looking for more options or a travelling angler fishing around the state, this guide will direct you to reputable businesses in the area you’re searching.

Boat Licencing

Boat Hire – Trailer GOLD COAST

Advertisers wanting to be involved in this directory can call (07) 3387 0830 or email


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Tackle Warehouse Brisbane (07) 3398 6500

Victoria Point Bait and Tackle (07) 3820 9581 Spinnaker Sound Chandlery Ningi (07) 5497 6007

To book call Alan on 0428 729 355 BRISBANE


FTO Tackle Outlet Brisbane 0416 017 094

Promote your Sunny Coast boat hire business here! For as little as $15 per month. Phone Shayne (07) 3387 0831 Email

Boat Hire – House GOLD COAST

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Brisbane Yamaha (07) 3888 1727 Northside Marine (07) 3265 8029 Coastal Powerboats (07) 5568 0904 Coorparoo Marine (07) 3397 4141

Marine and Auto Electricial All types of Welding Stainless Steel Aluminium Mild Steel Boats Repaired Fuel & Water Tanks Bow and Stern Rails Canopies Custom VehicleTool Boxes

Authorised Mercury Outboard and Mercruiser Motor Sale and Service Centre

1 William Murray Drive Cannonvale Qld

Cunninghams Marine (07) 3284 8805


We Service all Motor Brands!

Capalaba Boat Centre 04011 728 379 Holt Marine (07) 3353 1928


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Caloundra Marine (07) 5491 1944 Bribie Boat Sales (07) 3408 0055

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Bluewater Windscreens Brisbane (07) 3382 7883 ASM Mobile Welding Brisbane 0409 624 402 Marine Windows and Doors Brisbane (07) 3284 5088 Small Craft Electrics (mobile) 0408 063 064 Boat Collar (07) 5441 3636 CMC Marine Sales 0409 910 808

Marine Detailing




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 Specialist marine detailer  Acid washing, de-yellowing and restoration of gel coat  Machine cutting, polishing and waxing of gel coat, two-pack and automotive surfaces  Polishing of marine metals and stainless steel  Shampooing, revitalising and protecting of a variety of upholstery types and styles  Cleaning and polishing of cars  Dressing of rubber trim  Pre-sales a specialty



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Marine Electronics Reef Marine Mackay (07) 4957 3521

Boat Mechanics – Mobile





Marine Outboard Wreckers

• Sounders • GPS • Electric Motors • Marine Radios and accessories • Stereos • Televisions • Radar Units • Autopilots



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For all your Honda sales and service needs

4/26 Taree Burleigh Heads Qld PHONE: 07 3245 3633

Boat Modifications and Repairs GOLD COAST


07 5529 2292 BRISBANE

North Queensland Outboard Wreckers Townsville 1800 812 748

Online Tackle Products

20 Wrights Place Labrador Qld 4215 website email

What Fish is This

Aluminium fabrication • Steel fabrication • Boat repairs Boat modifications • Aluminium sales


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Specializing in Anti foul and Oceanmax Propspeed

Call Ray on 07 5499 4911 or 0410 634 719

LUKE STEELE PH: 0408 692124


Unit 2/42 Piper Street Caboolture Q 4510 Fax 5499 4913 Email

9 out 10 engines fail from salt corrosion


Rowland Street Boat Trimmers Springwood (07) 3208 9511

Marine Transport


Brisbane Yamaha (07) 3888 1727 Rays Canvas & Marine Caboolture (07) 5499 4911


Affordable Boat Covers Gold Coast 0419 424 587


Advertise here - $90 + GST for 6 months Email:

FREECALL For more info


Holiday Accommodation SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND

Hemingways on Tin Can Bay (07) 3219 9376 Bribie Island Real Estate (07) 3408 1006


Marine Trailers

Fraser Island Fishing Units

Oceanic Boat Trailers (07) 5597 0577 Seatrail Trailers Tinnie Tosser (07) 5498 7339


Sea-Link Special Trailers (07) 3881 3568

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Kapten 610 Waverider Centre Console – X BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

Previously I reviewed the Kapten Waverider 490 powered by a 40hp Titan outboard. In the seas off Mooloolaba the Waverider’s radical hull – with its remarkable similarity to the successful features of the very well received Kapten Boat Collar – proved itself as a soft riding straight tracking craft with enormous potential.

concept remains virtually unchanged from the earlier Waverider 490. The 610’s hull, constructed from 4mm plate throughout featured a central, quite fine, entry section nestled within a pair of steeply reversed and quite massive outer chines. It’s a three section affair, but it certainly works! In practise the fine entry reduces impact against waves or chop while the tunnels created by the large external chines have a significant input on performance due to the amount of air being trapped under them while

In 1.5m swells off Mooloolaba, the Kapten travelled very freely when running with swells and showed not the slightest tendency to broach or run off course with a wave on the transom. The massive external chines, commencing just a little short of the bow’s entry section, gradually flatten out aft to be less prominent, although still of significance, at the stern where there’s a 15º deadrise. Adding to the Kapten 610’s ride and performance are prominent longitudinal under hull strakes; these also commence not far from the bow and running along the bottom of the hull for some distance. The interesting under hull features described really do set this alloy craft apart from many contemporaries.

The Kapten is a well-made, attractive looking craft with ample work room aboard.

Forward storage and handy rod holders are easily noted in this shot of the Kapten under way.

I believe they are worthy of mention simply because of the influence they have on the quality of the craft’s ride and handling. EASY PERFORMANCE Offshore at Mooloolaba I was impressed with the craft’s rapid transition from rest to planing in around a couple of boat lengths and at a low speed of 8 knots (14.8km/h) at 2,500rpm. As I drove the Kapten Centre Console 610 into swells the hull refused to bang or register hard impact and it was immediately noticeable that any spray was kept well down and away from the craft’s interior. The hull was very responsive to trim and could turn sharply when I wanted to chase down and then pass over a swell or two for the fun of it. The craft also turned without any noticeable leaning.

Top: The Kapten’s stern features are easily noted here, particularly the twin bait tanks and off floor battery storage facility. Above: The craft’s centre console offered plenty of room for large screen sounders and other instruments. Kapten Boats, with Pat Jones at the helm, have advanced to the point where overall finish is of a high standard throughout, the interior layout suited to a wide application of fishing pursuits and there’s a choice of several models available for buyers. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HULL The basic Kapten 610 Centre Console – X Waverider’s hull’s design 112

MARCH 2014

under way. The hull’s under water section, which is really a work of art given the workmanship involved in accurately forming 4mm plate alloy to this degree, has its strength in the craft’s uncanny ability to remain rock steady at rest, an ability to deliver excellent performance from modest power, and a great sea-keeping capability in an offshore environment.

Running easily at a level attitude reveals the Kapten’s unique bow and hull configuration.

Even gaining some airtime did not cause the Kapten 610 to bang or thump on return to the water.

Under acceleration the craft travelled at 14 knots (25.5km/h) at 3,000 rpm, 25 knots (46.3km/h) at 4,000rpm, 28 knots (51.8km/h) at 5,000rpm and 33 knots (62.4km/h) at 5,600rpm. Performance of this standard with a modest 90hp Honda on the pod astern impressed me considerably, given the weight of the 6.1m hull at over 800kg and the fact that engine ratings are from 90-120hp.

1m long side pockets, which were quite handy for other storage duties. The windscreen and storage shelf equipped centre console had a strongly constructed hard top over it, extending aft to offer shade for skipper and mate. An LED light could illuminate the rear cockpit area. Headroom was ample; the shade a boon in our hot climate. In an unusual

TECHNICAL INFORMATION Length:........................................................... 6.10m Beam:........................................................... 2.493m Length on trailer:...........................................7.23m Height on trailer:........................................... 2.95m Weight hull: .................................................1120kg Construction:......................................... 4mm plate Hull Deadrise:....................................................15º Fuel:................................................................. 210L Engine ratings:.........................................90-130hp Engine fitted: . ...................... 90 Honda four-stroke Persons: ............................................................ Six Towing: .........................Family six wagon or a 4x4.

A solid, custom, trailer makes easy launching and retrieval of the Kapten an enjoyable part of owning the craft. GENERAL LAYOUT As a centre console craft the Kapten 610 – X naturally offers stacks of fishing room. Up front an open anchor well nestled behind a sturdy bollard, and bow rails strong and prominent. A full width under deck off floor shelf offered substantial storage area for even quite large items. Further forward storage was offered via an under floor compartment. The floor area in front of the console was carpeted and elevated, offering a comfortable and handy place to fish; made even better by the fact that the fore deck corners in this area were neatly rounded for utmost safety and comfort. The Kapten’s 320mm wide decks came set up with six rod holders per side along with

configuration, the box-like structure with a padded top for seating right in front of the console turned out not to be a storage compartment; it was actually a 210L fuel tank that could, according to Pat Jones, give the craft a range of approximately 300nm at a steady 18 knots. Fancy a run offshore to the Barrier Reef up north? Easy. Instrumentation on the console was functional. Up

A close up view of the Kapten’s unique hull configuration: workmanship of this quality is certainly out of the ordinary. top a Garmin Echo Map 70S was set to port, a GME marine radio to starboard with a speedo and tacho plus trim gauge lower and to starboard, with a bank of switches opposite. There was ample space behind the windscreen for a large screen should an owner want to install one of these popular units. Controls for the Honda 90 were within easy reach on the starboard side of the console; seating here consisted of a two person well padded unit attached to the rear frame work of the console’s hard top. USER FRIENDLY COCKPIT Wide decks plus ample freeboard of 860mm gave the Kapten’s main cockpit work area with its non-skid and self-draining floor a feeling

The solid Kapten centre console rig was amply powered by the Honda 90hp 4-stroke.

of spaciousness. The craft’s interior cockpit sides were lined with inbuilt flotation material – the 610 has a 3C survey rating – which finished high enough from the floor to allow a foot hold if onto a large fish. A wide off floor shelf at the transom offered ample room for out of the way battery and fuel filter installation while a bait station with rod holders was also a handy angling feature. Paired compartments in the transom could double as bait tanks or storage bins, as per owner’s requirements. Note that further rod holders aft are an option. The pod astern on which the Honda 90 was mounted came set up with non-skid steps each side for easy access by divers, and a handy deck rail there to assist entry. SUMMING UP I saw the Kapten 610 Centre Console – X as a great offshore fishing craft with a standard of performance, ride, and handling that would make it a very useful fishing rig. Build quality and overall finish were excellent. She’s rated for up to six passengers although I’d see easiest fishing with perhaps four hands on deck in the offshore environment. About the only thing I’d put aboard for a day of bottom bashing or offshore trolling would be an icebox. The craft came on a tandem axle custom-made trailer designed for roll off, drive on use. Price for the rig as reviewed was $53,900; reflecting the workmanship involved in the hull’s construction and the sort of performance it will deliver. • Quoted performance figures have been supplied by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/ trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications.


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Aussie built Bonito 5.6m CC with 115hp Suzuki hull has not changed because it’s been so successful. It’s dry and soft riding – they’re its greatest assets,” he explained. On the test day, we didn’t encounter water choppy enough to seriously test this hull – like a 25 knot southerly on Moreton Bay might – but it was easy to get the feel of the Bonito’s steep entry while crossing boat wakes and feel the attitude of the craft adjust as we moved people around the console. Roger’s been making boats for the last 12 years and specifically the Bonito hull for the last 18 months. And his philosophy about boat design and manufacture is reasonably simple.


Steve Morgan

A lot of fantastic, Australian-built boats have humble beginnings. Built by passionate and knowledgeable people, there’s been no shortage of local offerings that are tailored to local waterways available to boaties over the last few decades. South East Queensland has always been a hub of boat building activity – from the giants Telwater, Haines and Riviera – right through to the shed-born gems. Legacy Boats’ Bonito is one of the latter. Legacy Boats is a partnership between boat builders Roger Barnes and Martin Slennett and they run out of a waterside shed near Jacobs Well between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It’s a typical fibreglass boat builder’s shed – the messiness of building with a sticky, fine

The Bonito’s lines are sure to turn a few heads. material offset by the shininess and brilliance of the inside of the moulds. It was here that Fishing Monthly met the guys, shot an interview with Roger (see

PERFORMANCE Idle.................................................................. 5km/h 1000rpm......................................................... 6km/h 2000rpm . .................................................... 13km/h 3000rpm . .................................................... 25km/h 4000rpm . .................................................... 41km/h 5000rpm . .................................................... 54km/h 6000rpm...................................................... 59 km/h WOT............................................................. 66 km/h

There’s no wood in any of the Bonito models.

At WOT, the Bonito keeps a level attitude and is economical to run.

Got the right boat… BOAT TRAILERS

the QR code for the link to the video) and hooked up the Bonito 5.6m model centre console powered by a 115hp Suzuki and took it to the Cabbage Tree Point ramp for some boating at the ‘Pin. Roger is proud of the heritage of the hull. “It’s got a very sharp entry that enables it to cross very choppy, open waters, which it was designed to do back in New Zealand in 1973. The design of the

You can see the sharp entry that cuts waves and makes backbreaking trips across washingmachine like water much more comfortable. “I don’t like to build boats that are capable of sinking or that rely on bilge pumps to stay afloat. I prefer a boat that can be tied to a mother ship or anchored at night or left in a storm and you come back in the morning and it’s still sitting there waiting for you. Or if you’re crossing a bar or offshore and a foamy wave comes over the top of you, you want to be able to know that you’ll get home,” Roger continued. I think that there’s not too many open water boaties that will disagree with his sentiments. Match that with his dislike of the use of wood in boat building and you know that you’ll get a craft that will get you out and back

Get the right trailer From small to large and every size inbetween including custom built for your requirements

25 Industrial Ave Molendinar Q 4214 ph 07 5597 0577 114

MARCH 2014

again, but won’t rot away in the driveway between trips. “There’s no timber [in a Bonito], we use Coosa, which is a composite product, in our transoms and there’s an option of using it in the floor, also. We used double bias in our hull layups, a full fibreglass stringer grid and our layups are basically to survey standard, which is needed for the commercial operators, who we build lots of Bonitos for.” At the factory there was a Bonito, mid-build, that Roger could display these features. Once the top deck is on, there’s no way to see the work and structures under the floor. The attention to detail was impressive – on both sides of the decks.


Like most glass boats, drive-on driveoff trailers make launching easy.

If you’re a keen angler, though, the peace-of-mind from a wellbuilt hull is one thing. What we all want to really know is how it suits your applications as an angler. The Bonito’s first runs on the board come from the list of customers who use Bonito boats. Around 50% of these hulls are destined for tiller steer motors and for commercial use. Commercial fishers spend ridiculous amounts of time in their craft and if the Bonito is the most comfortable and practical choice for them, then there’s a good chance that the ride will get the thumbs up from us recreational guys. The centre console is a great compromise between size (to store gear in and mount your instruments and electronics) and accessibility (to the front casting deck). In the main cockpit the gunwales are high enough to comfortably fish offshore – complete with toe-room under the shelves. Move up to the front casting deck and you’ll see that it’s high. Not bass-boat high, reflecting a great compromise between smooth and rough water needs. A front anchor well with a moulded lid keeps the sports fishing guys happy as there’s less to get your gear tangled in while going to work up for’ard. The test boat has aftermarket deck hatches installed, but

subsequent models will have styled and moulded custom lids available. This will only add to the strength and looks of the design. Down the other end, the stern is similarly organised, with nothing protruding to grab unwary legs or lines. Ridiculously quiet at idle, the 115 Suzuki roared to life with four on board and the Bonito jumped onto the plane. We’d imagine that with a weekend’s worth of camping gear onboard, it’d plane similarly. As-is, this boat would have to be one of the best ‘all-rounders’ you can buy nowadays. You could duck offshore, fish the bay, take it to a freshwater lake or fish a tournament in it and it would accomplish all jobs with ease.

Top Left: An elevated casting deck isn’t flush with the gunwale. Later models have customised hatch covers. Top Right: The stern is enclosed and tidy. Above: Suzuki’s 115hp 4-Stroke provided ample power for the test craft.

Best of all, if you’re interested in the Bonito, you can talk right to the guy that’s going to build it. There’s even a level of customisation available to get the boat ideal for your needs. Call Roger for more information on 0438 886 813 or drop in and see them at the 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show. They have no website as of yet, so you’ll have to the get the information the old fashioned way. • Quoted performance figures have been supplied by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications.

Centre consoles can be too big or too small. This one is just right. SPECIFICATIONS Length:........................................................... 5.60m Beam:............................................................. 2.05m Draft:............................................................... 0.30m Dry weight:..................................................... 530kg Max hp:.......................................................... 150hp Recommended hp:......................................... 115hp Price as tested:............................................$34,000






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What’s new boating


Award-winning Bayliner Element


Platinum Nautilus Inflatable PFD

Bayliner’s Element has won yet again, this time as the Powerboat of the Year in the Starter Boat category at the 2014 Motor Boat Awards gala in London. The Bayliner Element represented a massive shift in Bayliners’ thinking and construction and was further evolution of the strategy of making Bayliner boats easier to own and use. The Element, available in Australia in a standard and sport version, is a versatile package delivering more boat at a reasonable price. The true step-aboard nature and simplicity of owning an Element is the key to its success. You can tow it with a family sedan, handle it on your own and fit the entire family. With its affordable price and safety features, like the patent-pending M-HullTM design that provides 30% more lateral stability, a deep freeboard and high gunnels, all passengers will feel at ease immediately. For more information visit - Bayliner

The Nautilus Inflatable PFD Level 150 Foul Weather Offshore Yoke is designed for allday comfort, with a soft neoprene neckliner to avoid chafing. It has a large 50mm webbing belt with a twin-tab synthetic nylon buckle for quick and easy fitting, and complies with the latest AS4758.1 safety rating. The tough and durable material is nylon Oxford 420D with convenient access for maintenance. It is rated for adults heavier than 40kg, with chest sizes 80-140cm. This PFD is designed flat for easy storage and has a manual inflation system that is activated by pulling down on the toggle. There is also a mouthpiece for oral inflation. Designed for general offshore and rough weather use, this PFD will keep a fully clothed person on their back with their head clear of the water without any action required by the user. The RRP is $99 and more info is available at platinummarine. – JW


Mercury 75th anniversary

Mercury Marine turns 75 this year, and the company is celebrating with upcoming events around the world. Mercury, a division of Brunswick Corporation, designs and manufactures a huge range of marine propulsion products for everything from inflatable tenders and fishing boats to cruisers and yachts. Mercury was founded by E. Carl Kiekhaefer in 1939 when he purchased a bankrupt engine manufacturing plant in Wisconsin, near the Kiekhaefer family farm. The plant had 300 outboards that had been rejected by a large retailer due to defects and operating problems. Hoping to transform the engines into working capital to fund the future business he envisioned – magnetic separators for dairy farms – he redesigned, rebuilt and sold the engines to the retailer that had initially rejected them. The engines sold immediately and Kiekhaefer suddenly found himself in the marine engine business. Since then Mercury has gained a reputation for superb reliability and performance, and you can find out more at – Mercury Marine 116

MARCH 2014


Navico’s new acquisition


Savage 495 Bay Cruiser


Navico Holding AS, parent company to the Lowrance, Simrad and B&G brands, has announced that it has acquired Contour Innovations. Contour Innovations is a mapping and geospatial software company that created the LakeTrax platform, which powers Navico’s Insight Genesis global mapmaking tool. Navico has worked closely with the Contour Innovations team for the past 2 years to bring Insight Genesis to market. To date, Insight Genesis has provided innovative map-making tools to 146 countries. Contour Innovations is also the creator of the innovative BioBase software and service, which allows aquatic biologists, government agencies and researchers to implement long-term monitoring programs related to current and historical aquatic vegetation densities and other waterquality characteristics. Navico will now add BioBase to its product portfolio. The acquisition of Contour Innovations is Navico’s second purchase in the last 6 months; the company recently acquired Consilium’s radar business to grow its Simrad Professional range of products. Navico

The Savage 495 Bay Cruiser runabout is the perfect choice for multi-purpose family boating. With new, modern styling, including smooth plate look 3mm side sheets, the 495 takes up to 5 passengers. It is rated to 90hp and has a 70L underfloor fuel tank so you can cruise around all day. A painted hull is included as standard, along with all the practicalities such as rod holders, rear folding lounge and large side pockets and anchor well for storage. Available options include a berley bucket, ski hooks, sounder, transom door and rear ladder. For extra protection and shelter from the weather, the Bay Cruiser can also be optioned up with a bimini and envelope and side and front clears. The 495 Bay Cruiser is available as complete boating package including boat, trailer and engine as well as a 3-year limited warranty. For more information head to - Telwater




4 5

Stacer Outlaw 429

The 429 is the smallest in the Stacer Outlaw range but it’s just as tough as its bigger brothers, built with 3mm bottomsides and rated to 50hp. Available as a tiller steer or side console, the 429 Outlaw is complete with Stacer’s renowned EVO Advance Hull, front and rear casting platforms and rod holders. The EVO Advanced Hull ensures superb stability at rest while also providing a soft ride when underway. An anchor well, transom step and rail, large side pockets and a battery tray in the casting platform are standard features. Optional features include a bow mount thruster plate, sounder, underfloor 50L fuel tank and painted hull or vinyl wrap. The 429 Outlaw is available as a Stacer Ready 2 Go package complete with boat, motor and trailer and a 3-year limited warranty. For more info on the Outlaw 429 or the entire Stacer range head to www. - Telwater


MARCH 2014



JARROD DAY Pick up any fishing magazine or tune into a fishing TV show these days and you won’t have to look too hard to find Jarrod Day.

pop all day and just when your arms can’t go on any longer, you hook a brute that nearly pulls you out of your socks.

Jarrod is rapidly becoming one of Australia’s most respected fishing journalists, and has worked extremely hard to get there, making the most of every opportunity. Jarrod is a regular columnist for Fishing Monthly, and has contributed countless articles for many other national magazines along with writing and co-writing several important books. As a journalist he has experienced the best fishing in Australia and as a retailer he also sells the best and advises customers on what to use when, where and importantly, how. So he really knows his fishing, and has experienced the best around. Jarrod has been using Wilson Live Fibre rods for many years now, and has put them into action in all sorts of situations, so it is fitting that a journalist formed from hard work loves the Live Fibre rods series, also made good by genuine Aussie hard work.

How important is well-designed gear to fishing success? It all comes down to the species you target. If you’re a weekend angler that just hopes to catch a fish, reliable gear will pay dividends and cost you less in the long term. This is mainly due to the gear holding up, not rusting or breaking down. Cheaper rods and reels on the market almost tend to be a “one use” item. As I say, if you can spend an extra $20 on a rod or reel, your gear can go from basic to first level professional and will last twice as long. How important is it that Wilson’s rods are rolled here in Australia in response to research and development on the ground? Aussie built rods are built for Australian conditions and Australian fish, not overseas species for overseas anglers. The attention to detail is far better here, but aside from that, with rods designed, rolled and built here you know you’re getting a rod to suit the species you’re targeting in your own backyard. No one knows and understands our unique fishing conditions like local Australians and Wilson’s Live Fibre rods are designed and built by Australians right here. I liken Wilson rods to Dick Smith food products; we are Australian so why not buy Australian. Supporting our local economy is more important than overseas. What is your favourite Wilson rod, and why?

Big GT’s demand a tough rod, like the Wilson Live Fibre Blade N Tail X Heavy.

This is a hard question simply because I have so many Wilson rods to choose from. I am a huge fan of the Blade N Tails range in particular the X Heavy

At what point did you realise that writing for a hobby and fishing for fun had evolved into a career? After my honeymoon and I told my wife I didn’t want to go back to work, so I quit my well-paying job and decided to get into the fishing industry. That was ten years ago now and I haven’t looked back. I took a 20k pay cut at the time but found fishing as a lifestyle, not a job as such. With a substantial loss of income and my first child on the way, I had to find other ways to bring in a little more bread. I currently spend around 30 hours a week writing, then fishing and photographing. I guess one day I will get a real job. What technique gives you the most satisfaction? Jigging and tossing poppers are much the same, as you need a lot of stamina to be able to continue on all day. These two styles of fishing are extremely hard on the body, your fitness and your gear. You can jig or

Snapper love a deep-fished soft plastics, and what better rod than a Wilson Live Fibre.

model. I have caught many memorable fish including snapper on plastics, tuna on stickbaits, kingfish on stickbaits, red bass and GTs on poppers and even live-baited sailfish in Kuala Rompin, Malaysia just recently. For me, this rod has been put to the test on a lot of tough species and it continues to perform. If you were only allowed to fish for one species, what would it be, and what rod would you choose? If I were only allowed to target one species, I would have to say trout. Nothing can be more relaxing than wading a small gin clear stream watching trout rise or swimming in the current. Of course I’d then have to catch them so I’d naturally use the Blade N Tails Ultra Light. Favourite fish destination?

Working blades is a very productive during the cooler months, and a Live Fibre Blade N Tail is the perfect choice.



Fishing for giant trevally. No other species I have caught to date can rip 120lb braid off a reel at a rate of knots and that’s after you’ve tightened the drag knob with a pair of pliers! Together with that, my favourite destination would be Bligh Reef off Portland Roads in far North Queensland – that is where the big GTs hang out.


MARCH 2014

NEXT GENERATION ENGEL Announcing the latest in the Engel fridge freezer range

The new MT45FCP Combi It’s a freezer! It’s a fridge!

The new MT45FCP is a fridge and freezer in one and has different options for use!

Option 1

Freezer 16 litres and Fridge 23 litres (total 39 litres)

Option 2

Freezer 23 litres and Fridge 16 litres (total 39 litres)

The new MT45FCP Combi is part of the Next Generation digital range, which have all new features plus the same Engel reliability.

Option 3

Refrigerator Only (divider removed total 39 litres)

· · · · · · · · ·

User friendly LED Digital control, with built in battery protection The famous Sawafuji swing motor with only one moving part Lowest maximum power draw Rugged steel cabinet LED interior light Tri-voltage Removable wire baskets and divider Easy clean interior 3 year warranty and Australia wide service network

For stockists call 1300 302 653 MARCH 2014



OFFER ENDS 31 MARCH 2014 > Stainless Steel Propeller > DTS (Digital Throttle & Shift) > Electro-Hydraulic Power Steering (On all 6 cylinder Models)


Queensland Fishing Monthly - March 2014