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FLATHEAD CLASSIC WRAP UP • ACCESSIBLE REEFIES

Boating & Kayaking Cruising Cabbage Tree Creek • When it’s worth taking the boat out • Measuring a successful kayak session •

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November, 2019 Fishing Monthly G R O U P

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November 2019, Vol. 32 No.1

Contents NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES

10

Yamba 20

14

28

34

Ballina 22 SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND The Tweed

24

Southern Gold Coast

26

Jumpinpin 28 Gold Coast Canals

29

Gold Coast

30

Southern Bay

32

Brisbane 34 Brisbane Offshore

36

Noosa 37 CENTRAL QUEENSLAND Rainbow Beach

41

Hervey Bay

42

Gladstone 44 Bundaberg 46 Rockhampton 46 Stanage Bay

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Yeppoon 48 Mackay 50 TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND Whitsundays 52 Ayr 53

From the Editor’s Desk... You don’t have to be a tournament angler to appreciate what Australian bass angler, Carl Jocumsen, achieved on the final event of the American Bassmaster Elite Series last month. I reckon all of Australia knows by now. Carl won USD $100,000 and secured his very first top-level tournament win over there. He’s become an overnight sensation after a lifetime of honing his skills and nine years of hard work in the USA, learning the habits of a fish species that we don’t have in this country. Frankly, his achievement is bordering on ludicrous. Fishing against a seasoned field of full-time professional anglers, Carl has climbed to the top thanks to a combination of sheer determination and his refusal to give up. Tournament fishing in the US is demanding and expensive – there are high

entry fees, a lot of travel and no guaranteed income – so it hasn’t been an easy journey for Carl. God knows how awful the years must have been living out of his truck and cheap motels, trying to scrape the money together to learn his craft. I reckon nearly all of us would have given up after a tough couple of years. Imagine the stress and loneliness on the road, getting beaten down time after time. All this with no friends or family within 20 hours flying time… it was a hard road. If any of you saw the

replays of Carl catching his last fish, you could see the emotions coming out. The tears washing away the stresses that he’d endured over that time. I challenge any angler or sports lover to dismiss the moment as not profound. I watched it unfold live at 2am and was shedding tears with him, and I’m proud to admit that. We met Carl as a teenage angler in 2000. His first ABT cheque was a $500 win for Big Bass at a BASS Electric event at Lake Moogerah. And we love that he has now taken his passion the highest level

possible on the planet. At the time of writing, Carl is getting married to his American fiancée, Kayla. He’s now living the dream – he’s well funded for the next season and is sharing the journey with his life partner. Congratulations on your success, Carl, and we know that it’s built on strong foundations. If you’d like to follow Carl’s progress, check out www.carljocumsen. com. You can also buy a supporter jersey at wp.fishingmonthly.com.au.

Townsville 54 Cairns 55 Port Douglas

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Hinchinbrook 56 Cairns NFZ

56

Lucinda 57 Cooktown 58

68 62

Freshwater 62

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Fun Page

88

Sheik of the Creek

69

Managing Editor: Steve Morgan s.morgan@fishingmonthly.com.au

Tech Tricks

16

Editorial Manager: Jacqui Thomas

Tournament News

76

Track my fish

84

Website: www.wp.fishingmonthly.com.au

Trades and Services

86

Sub-Editors: Nicole Penfold Bob Thornton Lucette Eggleton Field Editors: Jason Ehrlich Wayne Kampe

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What’s New Boating

96

What’s New Fishing

70

SPECIAL FEATURES Mid range reef fishing

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Monduran makes good

60

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Prue Urquhart caught and released this awesome flathead while fishing the flats with her favourite gold Daiwa Double Clutch. A Joey Urquhart image.

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Mid range reef fishing BRISBANE

John Loeskow

Fishing outside the protection of rivers is defined as either inshore or offshore fishing. Weather dictates which areas are accessible, as strong winds restrict opportunities to get to the wider grounds.

of the more desirable species are prevalent in 60-100ft of water. Coral trout, red emperor, grass sweetlip and a range of other tasty and hardfighting fish are available for those anglers prepared to alter their methods to suit the prevailing conditions. AREAS TO TARGET Most of the mid-range areas off the South East

Mike Dunning with a solid trout that ate a live bait on the bottom. The first 10 seconds of the fight are crucial in getting these fish away from structure. Light winds and neap tides usually see the bigger boats heading offshore to target the deeper water where the fishing can be sensational. While the inshore fishing can be excellent for fish like snapper and mackerel, some

Often there is better fishing to be had on some of the more subtle changes that are found away from the prominent structure around contour lines and well-known marks. This subtle structure can take the form of a slight change in substrate composition where sand changes to gravel or soft corals and scattered hard reef. To find these locations you have to be prepared to put time and effort into sounding new areas, looking for potential spots to try a drift or anchor. Searching for new country on each trip can be time consuming, but it will definitely pay off in the long run – and working over ground between adjacent spots is an excellent way to discover new areas. Off the coast of South East and Central Queensland, there are also a number of wrecks that hold good numbers of pelagic and

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chosen spot, have a thorough sound around the area. Depending on the current and the presence of bait schools, the better shows of fish can be found up to 100m away from the designated mark. Quite often bigger numbers of small fish like hussar, Moses perch and tuskfish will hold pretty tight to the more prominent structure as they look for food while trying to avoid the predatory fish in the area. Away from the harder structure you will find some of the larger fish working the edges of the reef. Big grass sweetlip and red emperor normally patrol the ground close to hard structure, so working the edges and adjacent country is well worth the effort. The other advantage of

Using an electric motor or sea anchor is a great way to slow down your drift speed to stay in direct contact with your bait, jig or soft plastic. TACKLE The absence of lots of hard structure on the majority of spots I fish dictates the type of rigs that I use. Because I don’t specifically target snapper and other mid-water fish, I try to fish hard to the bottom with only as much weight as is needed to keep the bait in that zone. Most of the time I fish a modified paternoster rig, but when the current is minimal a running ball rig also works pretty well. I usually fish smaller baits on a 4/0 or 5/0 hook to try to convert the more subtle bites, especially from grass sweetlip. Just ensure

Blue Maori are an uncommon catch, and Clint Collins was more than happy with this one.

RINCON

NOVEMBER 2019

demersal fish. Most of these wrecks are sunken trawlers and yachts, and as they age they become a haven for large schools of baitfish and in turn the predatory fish that feed on them. Over time the wrecks may disintegrate or become covered by sand, which reduces their appeal to fish, but plenty of wrecks produce

Queensland coast are fairly well known to anglers who fish on a regular basis. Steep dropoffs, ledges and bommies are all pretty obvious on a decent fishfinder these days, so these spots receive a significant amount of fishing pressure.

The most highly prized fish on the reef – red emperor. Lorne Stuppart got this fish on a flesh bait.

10

Hooked up just before the sun dips below the horizon. Where would you rather be?

OPTIMAL USE: • Sight fishing in full sun • High contrast

well for decades. Some of the well-known wrecks get fished quite regularly, but in spite of that they still produce a range of pelagic and bottom fish. Lesser-known wrecks are often much more productive though, which is why anglers in the know don’t like to tell anyone about them. Hotspots like these are another example of why it’s good to spend time sounding around. You don’t have to fish right on a wreck to get good results. By spending time sounding the areas adjacent to the wrecks you will often find patches of structure that hold some good fish. Many of the bait schools and pelagic fish will often move between the wrecks and these adjacent grounds, and if you happen to be on these nearby spots at the right time the fishing can be very rewarding. Once you reach your

A cracker grass sweetlip caught in near glass-out conditions. fishing less obvious structure is that the fish can hold over a wide area. When the current and wind permits, using a slow drift can allow you to effectively fish a big area while prospecting new ground away from your chosen marks.

that whatever pattern you use is sharp and strong to get a solid hook-set. Bigger flesh and cocktail baits like pilchards inside squid tubes are fished on a 2-hook snell or gang hook rig. You need to be patient to wait out the

This migrating humpback whale wanted to get up close and personal to the boat.


little picker fish until a better quality fish shows interest in your bait. Live baits can be fished on a single hook if the fish are aggressive, but a snelled rig allows a second hook to be pinned a bit further back in the bait. I normally run 50lb braided line on medium size overhead or spin reels. You can probably get away with

LURES Artificial offerings are another good option in these mid reef areas. Soft plastics are a proven performer and can be adapted to fish a range of situations. Most bottom fish will readily hit

dead baits and 80lb mono for live baits. For this kind of fishing I recommend using compact reels with sufficient drag capacity and strong, lightweight rods which can be fished for long periods without resulting in angler fatigue. BAIT Poorly-presented and re-frozen baits aren’t overly appetizing to most fish.

a well-presented plastic, but pickers like needletails and the dreaded triggerfish can make this fishing unbearable at times. Soft vibes in the 20-30g range are normally heavy enough down to the 100ft range and don’t seem

Large prawns, small cuttlefish and scad mackerel make great baits. Scad fillets often work better than whole dead offerings.

Occasionally red emperor will hit a jig fished close to the bottom. They put up a good fight on the right tackle. lighter line the majority of the time, but if a big fish hits you could run into difficulties. When you need to turn a big fish away from the bottom, 50lb line lets you apply as much pressure as you’re game to without worrying about breaking the line. Leaders vary from 40-60lb mono for fishing

Freshly-caught bait including mullet, squid, and pike can make all the difference for some of our better-eating species like grass sweetlip, tuskfish, coral trout and red emperor. Backup baits like IQF pilchards, squid and cuttlefish are handy to have though, and you should

try to get the best quality you can find. We also use smaller fish caught at our fishing spots like blue-faced whiptail and baldy bream (just make sure you observe minimum legal sizes for the fish you’re going to use). Taking the time to secure live bait can take up to an hour when the bait schools are finicky, however they can make all the difference for the bigger predators. While most live baits can attract the attention of the bigger fish, there are usually certain species that can tempt these trophy fish when other options go untouched. In our area, mackerel scad are definitely the preferred species for a range of demersal and pelagic fish species. Mackerel scad can be difficult to catch

at times, but spending the time to catch 20-30 live baits will ensure you can always have a livey in the water.

The business end of a pretty coral trout.

Dave Liston nailed two nice reds on this trip. Big flesh baits fished on snelled hook rigs will produce the goods.

to get chewed as badly as the plastics. We do a fair bit of micro jigging on these reefs, and these lures can be very productive. Depending on the amount of current, jigs in the 20-80g range are suitable for getting the right amount of action without taking forever to reach the bottom. Retrieves will vary from day to day, but employing short, sharp lifts of the rod tip will normally see the jig get hit just before it reaches the bottom. When you’re fishing wrecks, a more erratic To page 12

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From page 11

technique – working the jig from the bottom to halfway back to the boat – is great for pelagics like mackerel, trevally and cobia. Medium threadline outfits are very versatile for fishing a range of plastics, vibes and jigs without needing to carry several different combos. Rods in the 6-10kg range and 4000size reels are nice and light but strong enough to turn most fish. When it comes to line, 20-30lb braid and 30-50lb fluorocarbon leader will suit any of these lure fishing methods. As to specific lure brands, try to use the most affordable vibes and jigs you can find, as the attrition rate to toothy predators can be horrendous… just ask any of

A beautifully patterned coral trout caught on a live bait by Lorne Stuppart. my fishing mates who feign sympathy each time I lose another jig! ELECTRIC MOTORS While electric motors have been commonplace on

A colourful juvenile red emperor that ate a micro-jig fished close to the bottom.

12

NOVEMBER 2019

small and medium-size boats for years, their use on larger vessels used to be severely restricted by the power and shaft length of the motors available. In recent years, however, technology has improved, and more and more large boats are using bow mount motors to anchor and slow drift on wrecks and reef areas. Often when wind and tide are working against each other, anchoring successfully on small patches of reef can be a real pain in the neck, and multiple drops can be required to hit the right spots. Electric motors take all the guesswork out for the skipper, and the precision of the new motors is excellent. Long shaft motors around

72” are ideal as they can hold the water without popping out, even when there is a reasonable swell rolling. You’ll find that 24V and 36V models provide plenty of grunt for all but the strongest tidal runs, and have enough capacity for a full day of fishing. Small shifts left or right, upstream or downcurrent are as simple as pressing a button. This is crucial, as fish will often ‘graze’ on a spot, so being able to follow them without retrieving and re-deploying the anchor saves plenty of time. While anglers need to be aware of the motor position, the absence of anchor rope makes fighting the bigger fish much easier because you don’t have to work around the rope. Usually if a big fish is hooked the electric motor can be switched off and it’s pretty simple to return to the spot once the fish is landed. When it comes to investing in an electric motor, some anglers may be hard to convince, but these motors really do make a big difference. OTHER ADVANTAGES Time is a big issue for many anglers these days, so the more time spent actually fishing, the better. The wider grounds off Bundaberg will see anglers spending anywhere from 90 minutes

to two hours travel time each way, which ends up taking up a significant part of the day. In good weather most of these mid-reef areas can be reached in 30-45 minutes. The extra time is often used to gather live bait at the start of the trip or scout new areas if some spots go quiet, or just don’t produce at all on that particular day. Fuel prices are another factor that makes the closer spots more attractive. Weather conditions over

your way home from 30 plus miles out can really take the fun out of what was a great day. By keeping an eye on the weather, these conditions can be avoided on the middle grounds – and at worst you’ll be well into the run back before the sea deteriorates too badly. Fishing a bit closer to home can offer some big advantages for anglers prepared to spend the time getting a feel for these areas. While it may take a

Glassed-out afternoon conditions are a feature of winter fishing in South East Queensland. winter are normally pretty stable in this region, and often the afternoon run home is better than the morning run out. Over spring and summer, northerly winds have a habit of turning comfortable seas into a real mess in a short period of time. Slogging

bit of time to suss out the opportunities to tangle with some of the better fish, the rewards are definitely there for the taking. Whether you’re fishing in close or out wide, you’ll enjoy more consistent fishing on spots you’ve found yourself.


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Back to the beach NSW STH COAST

Steve Starling www.fishotopia.com

Surf fishing is a wonderful late spring and summer activity, but it can be even more fun if you lighten up and simplify things. Beach fishing is a very popular pastime right around Australia, especially in the southern half of the country; between Fraser Island in the east and Exmouth in the west. It’s not hard to see why so many anglers love casting

to your success rate on the beach. Efficient surf rods are generally quite long: anything from 3-4 m in length. This helps with casting and also holds your line above the annoying surge and drag of the shore break. But whatever you do, don’t burden yourself with a ruddy great telephone pole of a rod! Modern, lightweight surf sticks are an absolute joy to use and will handle most of the critters you’re likely to encounter. My favourites include the various Light Surf models in several ranges of Shimano rods,

Finding a good spot to cast your bait or lure is the next trick. Beaches are a little like marine deserts, with the majority of their life concentrated around the ‘oasis’ represented by gutters, channels, holes or isolated outcrops of reef and rock. Focus on these areas. Climb to the highest point behind the beach and use your polarised sunglasses to help locate these features. Deeper water is generally darker in colour, and unbroken areas in the foamy surf line indicate gutters or holes and their accompanying rips. Tides can be important, too. A rising or making tide tends to bring feeding fish closer to the beach. Often

The fish don’t need to be big to put a smile on your dial in the surf! Light gear and simple rigs are the go. QR CODE

Scan this QR code to watch Starlo’s short video on the basics of light surf fishing.

Silver trevally turn up at times in the surf. Check out Jo’s light gear and two-hook rig.

What could be better than a feed of fresh-caught surf tailor cooked in the coals of a campfire? their lines into the surf. We’re blessed with hundreds — maybe thousands — of beaches, and many of them remain relatively uncrowded throughout a big chunk of the year. Better yet, they all offer catchable fish swimming within easy casting range of shore. Two of the greatest attractions of beach fishing are its simplicity and its spontaneity. You don’t need lots of flash, expensive gear or a painstaking amount of preparation to go surf fishing. It lends itself beautifully to spur of the moment forays when conditions seem right, particularly at this lovely time of the year when the weather is warming up fast. I like to keep a light surf rod rigged and a small bucket stocked with basic terminal tackle ready in the garage for quick forays to my closest stretch of surf. You just never know when a chance might present itself! Using the right gear can make a big difference 14

NOVEMBER 2019

but there are plenty of other viable options on the market, too. Match such a rod with a 3000-5000 size spinning reel spooled with some 4-8kg line (mono or braid) and you’re in business!

— and especially at high water — you’ll only need to make short casts to reach them at such times. Don’t try to punch holes in the horizon with your sinker. It’s easy to cast over the best fish. They may well be swimming literally at your feet, particularly on more steeply sloping beaches or those with defined inshore gutters. One final and very

sunscreen and get out there this weekend? There’s nothing quite like that wonderful feel of clean sand crunching between your bare toes, and the tang of salt in your nostrils, as you belt a bait or

important tip: modern, sophisticated reels don’t like sand! If you’re one of those folks who insists on laying your rod and reel in the grit, stick to an Alvey sidecast. They’re great surf reels, anyway. But if you opt for higher tech equipment, never hit the beach without carrying a metre-long section of PVC pipe with one end cut at an angle. Push this into the sand

Light surf fishing is child’s play! How’s that for a thumping surf salmon on light gear?

A long, empty surf beach with plenty of fishy formations. You can easily see the regularly-spaced gutters and their associated rips.

and stand your rod and reel in it every time you bait up, re-rig or need to put the outfit down for any reason. Your reels will last many years longer as a result. Why not slip on your shorts and a light, longsleeved shirt, whack on a brimmed hat, smear on a little

lure out over the surf break… Catching a fish on the beach is almost a bonus… Almost! For a more in-depth look at my personal take on going light and simple in the surf, check out my YouTube clip by scanning the accompanying QR code. Tight Lines!


Tech Tricks

Gamefishing prep BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald masterbaitertackle@hotmail.com

With summer upon us, warmer water conditions will cause an increase in the numbers of pelagic species throughout offshore waters. Holidays are not too far away for many anglers, so now is

the time to start thinking about the gamefishing season ahead. Gamefishing is a fairly expensive yet exciting sport. With so many hours put into the actual fishing as well as money spent on boats, fuel and equipment, it pays to have everything in perfect working order for when that strike and screaming run is forthcoming.

Being prepared now for when you finally get out on the water will increase results and decrease frustration. It is not just the boat that you need to get serviced, your tackle and rigging also needs attention. Let’s look at a few items that should be checked for the upcoming gamefishing season. Prepare or despair – it’s up to you.

RODS Whatever rods you have in your arsenal, checking them will greatly reduce the chance of having frayed or broken line after that pelagic takes a screaming run. Because line runs across the guide or roller at speed, you need to check every one methodically for faults. Rollers can become stiff to the point of seizing if salt causes corrosion of the roller bush or pin. Even if the roller is running freely, it is a good idea to remove every screw and pin to lube the thread of the screw, otherwise you may go to remove it at some stage and you won’t be able to get it undone. All roller parts should be lubricated with a viscous grease or oil before reassembly. Inspect rod guides visually for cracks in the frames or inserts. A small blade can be run around the inside of the insert lightly to check for any hairline cracks. Tip runners cop a large amount of the abuse and are most likely at fault. If you have a rod with a detachable butt, cleaning the thread and applying a light coat of grease is recommended. Check over the rest of the rod to determine any additional issues.

REELS Even the best quality reels will need regular servicing to keep them in good condition. Some anglers have the time and skills to service their reels themselves but if you don’t, taking them to a store with a qualified reel mechanic is the obvious choice. Your reels will be disassembled and each part cleaned and checked for any serious wear or faults. Noisy bearings (usually slightly corroded) can be replaced and drag washers checked for wear. Before reassembly, the gears and other relevant parts are lubricated with quality water-dispersing grease and the bearings are oiled. A final check of functionality is completed once reassembly is completed. The reel should be removed from the rod so that the reel clamp nuts and area around them can also be cleaned, because this is an area where salt build up is common.

KNOTS Game fishers can use a lot of different knots, including splices, plaits, bimini twists, spider hitches and uni knots. As with your line, a knot failure can quickly disconnect you and the fish. Although you need to check some knots on a regular basis (usually daily) when gamefishing, retying all of them at the start of the season will have you ready for that first hit out. If using a hollowcore braid or Dacron backing, redoing your top shot splices is recommended. This is a little tedious but should be done at the start of every season, or at least checked and inspected thoroughly. Doubles (usually using a bimini twist, plait, Cairn’s quickie or spider hitch) should be retied and also checked for length compliance if fishing under GFAA or IGFA regulations.

LINE Due to a change in IGFA rulings a few years ago in relation to line backing and top shots, there are now numerous ways to spool your reel. Some choose straight monofilament, others do Dacron backing with a 100m or more of top shot, and others use braid backing (often hollow core) with a top shot of IGFA monofilament. Being IGFA compliant is only required if you are wishing to fish under their regulations for tournaments, club point scoring or record purposes. For the average angler, there is no stipulation on line brand, type or breaking strain. Monofilament main line and monofilament top shots should be checked for wear. If your monofilament line is becoming opaque or rough then it has deteriorated or worn out and needs to be replaced. Braided line and Dacron will also be worn if it is rough, ratty-looking or they have individual fibres protruding. Don’t skimp on line, as it’s the only thing connecting you and the fish. If you break off a fish, you are also losing an expensive lure. 16

NOVEMBER 2019

TOOLS Gaffs should be sharpened and re-shaped if necessary. Hook-out guns, pliers, crimping pliers, knives, bill-snooters, tail ropes, flying gaffs, tag poles and the like should be checked for function and corrosion. If you use outriggers or downriggers, check the release clips and the cord/wire/mono on them, replacing or adjusting any likely to let you down. Ensure you have enough tags if necessary and that your pen for the tag cards actually writes.


Tech Tricks

DRAG SETTING

WIND-ON LEADERS A well-made wind-on leader will last a good amount of time, often a season or more, but should be checked regularly to see whether the monofilament has slipped through the Dacron or whether the whipping thread that stops the Dacron from fraying at the end has begun to come undone. If both are the case then you need an entirely new leader; however, if only the whipping thread is frayed or ragged, it can be redone. Replacing all your wind-on leaders with new ones at the start of the season is a good idea. Last season’s ones can be kept for spares. Additionally, you may need to check the length of your leaders for IGFA compliance. The ball-bearing snap swivels on the end of your leaders should be checked to confirm they are spinning freely and if in doubt, replaced. Check the crimped loop attaching this snap swivel for wear, however I would always suggest cutting off the old snap off and re-crimping it or replacing with a new one.

LURE RIGGING The single or twin hook rigs in your skirted lures should be checked for wear and corrosion. Monofilament and fluorocarbon leaders should be replaced if badly chafed. Wire leaders must be corrosion free or replaced. Crimped loops should be checked for wear and redone if necessary. Hooks need to be checked for fatigue and sharpened. Anode tape may need replacing on chemically sharpened hook rigs and worn-out heat-shrink should be redone. Piano wire leaders on bibbed and lipless minnows will fatigue with numerous uses and may need replacing. Give all rigging a good check over and replace anything that is worn or in doubt.

Once your rod and reel outfit is serviced and back together with line checked or replaced, you will need to re-calibrate your drag. If you are a seasoned angler, you will have a particular drag setting that you like and will know how to do this. If you are a newbie to the gamefishing world, you can follow the basic rule of thumb with drag settings of one-third the breaking strain of the line. This means that at the full strike drag setting, the pressure needed to pull line off the spool is a third of the line’s breaking strain (i.e. 5kg for 15kg line and 8kg for 24kg line). To do this (assuming you are using the conventional lever-drag overhead) set up your rod and reel and then thread the line through the guides/rollers. Attach the line to a set of weighing scales. With the lever drag in the strike position, the scale should pull down to the desired weight as the line starts to peel off the reel. The drag adjustment knob is on the same side as the drag lever but should not be adjusted unless the lever is pulled back to the freespool position. You will probably need to do several adjustments to set the drag. Put the reel into strike and test the drag. If it’s not right, put it back into freespool to adjust tension. Repeat until you get the desired amount of drag pressure set at the strike drag position. Once the required drag pressure is set, return the lever drag to the freespool position (or just above it) so there isn’t constant pressure on the drag washers while the reels are not in use.

RIGS If you do any live baiting, you can make up extra live bait rigs that are ready for use when needed. These can be stored in a clip seal bag or a tackle wallet. You may also need to check your supply of bait jigs used to catch live baits. Other items used regularly by gamefishers such as skipping and swimming garfish rigs, rubber bands, spare hooks, an assortment of ball sinkers for live bait rigs and other rigging purposes, octopus skirts, crimps, bait stitching needles, bridling needles, waxed thread and anything else you use should all be checked and restocked. NOVEMBER 2019

17


BLACK MAGIC

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Kingfish: reigning in the royal tackle busters When it comes to fish that pull hard, kingfish are right up there with the most brutal line-busting and tackle-destroying thing that swims. While they can grow in excess of 50kg, anything over 10kg is hard work and with anything over 20kg you are in some serious trouble, no matter what gear you’re fishing with. They have a wide distribution. They can be caught by anglers fishing 200m or more of water and at the same time by land-based anglers inside bays and estuaries. Their fighting quality coupled with their willingness to eat anything from live baits to surface lures and jigs, make them an exciting prospect and accessible to practically all saltwater anglers. Perhaps the most challenging environment to catch them in is the shallow reefs in less then 30m of water. In these places they seem to know every little feature of the reef and will beeline straight towards the most gnarly drop-off or bommie in a bid to stream roll you. Without a doubt the most effective method to

back towards likely kingfish territory. Prime examples of areas you should be looking for is places like offshore islands and headlands with shallows bays or coves holding garfish or close by shallow bommie reefs or points holding schools of baitfish. For this style of live baiting I prefer to use a slimy mackerel or yellowtail as bait, as they tend to quickly take the float into the strike zone, more than a squid or garfish would. They also tend to move back and forth slowly, which means they will cover a lot more ground for you. I generally run two rods when fishing this method, one with a bait suspended around 1m under the float and the other around 5m under to cover the water column. The slimy is gently pinned just behind the head and above the lateral line with a single Black Magic KS hook in a 7/0-8/0, depending on bait size. I use 80-100lb fluorocarbon leader to 80lb braid on a 20,000 size reel with a stack of drag over it to have any chance of stopping the larger fish. For this style of fishing, you can’t skimp on gear, as any weakness will quickly be found by a hoodlum king. The KS range of hooks will

out for bust ups or bird activity. Anywhere that looks like there is a bit of action should be given looping and zig-zagging passes through until you a satisfied the area has been sufficiently worked. With both of the above methods, it can often pay to have a couple of casting spin rods rigged and ready with a stickbait or popper. You never know when or where that big bust up will happen, and sometimes it can be right next to the boat or within casting distance, but can often be all over by the time you get a bait to it. The key is having a rod rigged and

When kings get to this size, it takes serious effort to land them. away from structure, or to drive on top of it to cut the line angle down, limiting the chance of a bust off. When fishing this way I use the same leader and braid size as previously mentioned, but bridle rig my live baits through the nose, which allows them to swim freely and last much longer while being towed. The KS range is again perfect for this style of fishing, with size depending on bait size. The only exception to this is when I run live squid or cuttlefish, which are lethal on kingfish. For these, two Even small kings pull like trains!

Once you’re hooked up, the fight is on. catch kings, especially the big ones, is live baiting. Depending on where you’re fishing and what you’re using, there are a few different approaches. If you are fishing shallow reefs in 5-10m, an effective technique is to suspend and drift baits under a float and drift them back with the wind or current. Spend a bit of time before you anchor working out what direction your baits are going to move in. Then, position the boat so your baits will drift 18

NOVEMBER 2019

never let you down, being super strong and razor sharp. Black Magic fluorocarbon trace will give you the best chance of surviving the often unavoidable contact with the reef from a big king. The other very popular method that you can use in this depth of water and deeper to around 25m, is to slow troll live baits around the same kind of environments. This covers lots of ground, and gives you a good chance of finding the fish. It also gives you the ability to use the boat as an aid to try drag a fish

6/0-10/0 KS hooks snelled together with one entering where the body meets the head and exiting through the underside of the head section, and the other, which takes all the weight and strain, is placed through the last few centimetres at the rear of the squid. I like to run two rods when fishing like this, with the boat just in gear. I have one around 15m behind the boat and the other around 30m, with one completely unweighted and the other with added weight to get

a little deeper. This can be easily done by attaching a sinker with an elastic band around 1.5m up your leader. The size of the sinker will depend on the depth as well as current, so use anything from a number 3-10 sized snapper lead. A downrigger is another great option, especially when you get deeper than 20m. As you’re trolling, try to systematically cover the ground you’re fishing and pay close attention to your sounder for schools of baitfish and keep an eye

Squid are one of the best king baits available.

ready to deploy in a matter of seconds when this opportunity presents itself. Simply blind casting around is also worth a try.The surface activity created from a popper or stickbait while at anchor, or on the troll, can often rev-up shut down fish. While it’s not hard to do while at anchor, to do it while trolling requires an extra angler constantly throwing a surface lure on a forward angle ahead of the boat. I’ve had a lot of success doing this using the Ocean Born range of surface lures, especially the Flying Poppers in both the sinking and floating variants. These are the perfect size to represent a slimy mackerel or yellowtail, which are both the staple of a kingy’s diet. The green mackerel and bunker are perfect colours to match the hatch and the lures themselves are easy to work. They also come pre-rigged with 6X strong treble hooks, so they are up to the task straight out of the box.


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Leigh Holtsbaum, 20lb Tough Fluorocarbon & KS 5/0 hooks, 122cm kingfish caught off the Gold Coast.

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You’ll be flat-out fishing the reefs and estuaries YAMBA

Dave Gaden

November is a great month on the Yamba fishing calendar. The season has taken off and the fish are on the move and on the bite. Warmer waters are finally starting to head south and the activity offshore is full on. The FAD off Yamba, approximately 12nm southeast of the bar, was placed early this year and should be covered in good mahimahi this month. At times, it can get a bit crowded around the FADs with so many people wanting to fish the one spot. It’s important to show courtesy to other fishers when in small, targeted locations like this. As a general rule, the fish won’t

Jess caught this beautiful Venus tuskfish.

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Josh from Glen Innes caught this trophy pearly. Head wide this month to score your own. all be bunched up on the big yellow buoy anyway, but they will use it as a base station. Quite often, you get the biggest fish 100m away from the buoy. Approaching the FAD, I always have a large quantity of old roughly chopped pilchards on the board and throw a handful at the FAD each time. This can really bring on a hot bite downcurrent from the buoy. Have a few lines on the bottom, as the reef below holds big bluespot flathead most days.

November is my best month for big mulloway off the reef. I know a lot of local anglers who only chase mulloway on the wrecks but the bigger fish will be on the reef. The cave-ridden reef at South Evans is a favourite I have mentioned many times, but this month there should be some great mulloway on the northeast corner, the reef off Brooms Head and out in the 38-fathom line. They really are on the move this month and will be almost a daily catch.

The south reef off Brooms Head should be great to fish now. Everything from Venus tuskfish, Maori cod, pearl perch to snapper will be on the bite. I prefer to fish the 30-40m deep area of the reef, drifting when I can with a good old paternoster rig. This month predominately has light winds early so the morning drift is very comfortable and productive. As the wind picks up during the day, I find the fish bunched up usually on the southern side of the reef in around

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50m. The current will be reasonably consistent from the north so it should make it easy for you to anchor on the high section and fish the drop-off where fish are laying. Don’t be lazy – if you set the anchor and don’t end up where you need to be, pull it up and reset. The results will be worth the little extra effort to be right on the fish. For those who like to go wide, the early signs suggest a good year in the 45-55 fathoms. Northern grounds due east of Black Rocks, approximately 19nm from the bar in 48-53 fathoms, will have good plate size snapper on the high rocks, averaging around 40cm in good numbers. The target species are usually pearl perch and pigfish. These will be on the less impressive looking reef – the reef that looks pretty flat with no big high spots. The wire weed there means there will be pearlies and piggies. The wide south ground

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Adam from Grafton landed a thumping mulloway. These will be around in good numbers in November. day on the water. Flathead may be a little harder to find if it stays dry. The back channel on the north side of Goodwood Island and the Broadwater upstream from Maclean should be the best spots for a good feed. Once you find flatties, stay with them – I have a theory that when you take one flathead, two come to his funeral. Just keep working the one spot and you should get a good feed. Mixed in with these this month will be some very tasty largetooth flounder. I always have a line out with an extra-long trace and a large school prawn on a longshank 1/0 while flathead fishing and I take a lot of flounder on this rig.

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due east of Sandon will have good fish as well. A lot more kingfish and blue morwong will be on this ground. The reef is only half the size of the north ground, meaning shorter drifts more often, but it is well worth the trip. NEW RELEASE In the estuary, the crabs will be nuts! I’ve been catching good blue swimmers off my pontoon since the last week of August. The lack of rain everywhere has at least had the one upside with the swimmers being so active. The muddies might be a bit harder to find if we don’t get rain, as they will travel well up the river to look for darker water. Whiting will be an easy chase this month as they were the last. Spending VELOCITY SPORTS CRUSADER time to make sure you have a good supply of live yabbies pumped at low tide and targeting the fish around the high tide with a few trips around the crab pots and dillies will see you Paul drifted the southern reef for this good snapper. have a full and productive

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Keeping busy on Ballina waters BALLINA

Joe Allan

The Lew’s Richmond River ABT Bass Pro qualifier was held at Coraki recently and some quality bags were weighed

tides and head out at night with live worms and pipis. Pipi numbers will start to increase as the water warms up. Watch out though; if the northerly is blowing, blue bottles will be out in numbers and while not deadly, they pack a punch.

pint skirted lures. If you find a bait school, get your slugs and start casting because this action can be crazy with fish often caught cast after cast while you’re on the school.

and will be around in solid numbers. The best spots to check are the FADS and the Wave Buoy. Further afield, there have been some decent pearl perch and kingfish.

Holly Johnson caught this solid kingfish. Holly landed this hefty pearl perch on a slow pitch jig.

The author with his Sunday bag limit that put him in fifth place at the Richmond River ABT Bass Pro. in. Congratulations must go to local angler Nick Anderson on the win! It’s not always easy to do it on your home waters, as there is some added pressure by knowing almost too much. Nick won the event fishing deep drop-offs using metal blades, which was different to a lot of other competitors. The most popular techniques seemed to be throwing football jigs. If you haven’t tried this style of fishing, it is a great time to give it a go. The beaches along South Ballina can produce some amazing whiting fishing this time of year. Scout the beach a few days before the bigger

Offshore, the close in reefs have been producing a few tuna, bonito and horse mackerel of late. The best way to target these is by trolling big metal slugs or

There are still a fair few snapper around Lennox Point, Riordans Reef and Black Head. The latter can be a little hit-and-miss though. A lot of smaller fish are around, however these are still great eating and can provide some good fun on light gear. As the water starts to really warm up, mahimahi will become very hungry

Michael Starkey caught a solid snapper close inshore on a prototype Atomic lure.

Whiting in the lower reaches of the Richmond are firing on small surface lures. The best lure to try is the Bassday Sugapen 70 in a variety of different colours depending on water clarity and sunlight. The most popular are orange, clear with pink stripes and banana prawn. Get these walking as fast as you can over the weed or sand flats until you find a concentration of fish. Keep going, as they can be in big numbers together. Be prepared to hook by-catch like small trevally, bream and very hungry flathead. When there is water moving over these flats, the fish know it’s time to feed. A good little trick is to change the rear trebles out and change to Atomic Assist hooks in size 10. This will help increase your hook-up rate when the fish are not as committed.

Flathead are well and truly on the bite in the middle reaches of the river around Pimlico Island and right through up to Woodburn. If you’re bait fishing, get some white pilchards (salted keeps the flesh harder), fresh prawns and live poddy mullet. If you’re into throwing lures

or trolling them behind the boat, this can be one of the best times of year for it. Get as bright a lure as you can, as flathead can’t seem to get enough of fluoro colours. There have been a few reports of crabs showing up already and they should be around in good numbers this month.

Nick Anderson with his non-boater, Mitchell Rose. Their bag of four Aussie bass smashed the rest of the field by over 1kg.

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Summer species are taking over THE TWEED

Anthony Coughran

As winter species like snapper, mulloway and cobia go off the bite, summer species start to fire

spots to take up ambush positions throughout the systems, so get ready for war! Fishing lighter gear and smaller baits seems to get the bites. These early season jacks mean business, and it’s a lot of fun.

push up onto those reefs this month, keeping the bait schools in check. The whiting are starting to push up into the skinny water and the flathead are taking advantage. The bass are waking up in the creeks

Andrew Strong with a beast of a yellowfin caught off Tweed in 1000m. up. The higher daytime air temperatures and the rise in humidity has the summer species starting to wake up, feed up and fire up. The red dogs (mangrove jacks) are venturing out of their winter hibernation

Catches of big snapper, mixed reefies, mulloway and cobia are decreasing over the closer reefs. However, the summer pelagics are moving in to take their place. Mahimahi, kingies, tuna, wahoo and mackerel will

and will be surface feeding this month. OFFSHORE The ocean temperatures are rising and the current is increasing, which is the signal for most winter species to switch off and summer

species to pick up. The big snapper and other reef fish will start disappearing from most of the close reefs, as they head south or move to deeper water. However, you’re still in with a shot at scoring the last of the bigger spawners on close reefs. Fishing 5-9” plastics, 80-200g jigs, drift baits, octo jigs or bottom bashing baits are the go for a big late season snapper or mixed reefy. Berley is the key to bagging those bigger knobs at dusk and dawn. Working lures or baits back into your berley trail is the best way to draw all the bigger reefies to you from right across the reef. The summer pelagics are just starting to show up, overlapping the straggling winter species. Kings, mahimahi, mackerel, wahoo and billfish are beginning to appear, which augurs well for the season ahead. Kingies and odd mackerel are starting to push in and muscle the snapper and other reef species around while they feed up on the bait schools. The mahimahi, wahoo and billfish are starting to dominate the current lines out on the deeper reefs already. The deeper reefs out to the 100m mark are a great option

The author with a nice late season Tweed snapper, taken on a plastic. at this time of year. You can troll current lines with skirts, flick metals around the FAD, work jigs, flick plastics, bottom bash, drift line and troll live or dead baits, skipping on the surface like gar or on a downrigger in the middle or bottom of the water column. We really are spoilt for choice. Live baits around the bommies are already producing a few kingfish, along with the odd mackerel on trolled and skipped baits. A few kings and macks are also hitting surface lures around

those bommies during midmorning and late afternoon. ESTUARY The water in the estuaries is really starting to warm up, especially the skinny water, drains and upper river and creeks. This has fired up the jacks to come out of hibernation. Most of the early season jacks have been caught in the upper systems and in that skinny water, which indicates that they are already starting to find and settle into ambush positions that hold bait. Drains such as Stotts Island, Dobs

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Island, Condong sugar mill, Cobaki Creek, Bilambil Creek, Duroby Creek, Rous River, Cudgen Creek or Hastings Bridge, and Brunswick rock walls will hold jacks over the next month. If there’s no rain you should head right upriver to those drains. If we do get rain, however, focus your efforts around any structure in the holes, bridges, pontoons, pylons and rock walls. Live baits at dusk, dawn and of a night are working best, along with lures during the heat of day. You can expect lots of estuary cod as by-catch this month. These fish pull just as hard as jacks but are not as dirty fighters, so you will get them out easier. There are still some good flathead up in the skinny water, taking advantage of the

trevally in most systems, and you can catch them on live baits around the bridges at night. The odd tailor is still working current lines, and surface lures and trolled hardbodies are fishing best. There will still be packs of bream on the run-in tides around the mouth in the coming weeks, and drift lining is producing some great fish. Small strip baits drifted just off the bottom will be a great way to score a big silver dinner plate this month. BEACHES The southern beaches are still producing the goods. There are tailor, bream, dart, flathead, trevally, whiting and still the odd big mulloway sitting the deeper gutters and in the flowing deeper water around the headlands and rock walls.

big slurp and you’ll be on. Once that sun is established you can switch to spinnerbaits, plastics, hardbodies, vibes or blades. These lures should see you catching those wild bass well after the sun is up. The lilies and treelines will be fishing best in the dam this month. Landing cicadas amongst the lilies and in the shallow, protected coves of the dams is a good way to catch a few in the morning. Working the tree lines with spinnerbaits, vibes, blades, plastics and hardbodied lures is also producing. You can encounter the odd larger bass sitting amongst the schoolies. NEXT MONTH As the air and water temperatures continue to rise and the cool spring nights leave us, all the summer

N O I P R O 485 SC Nick Dillon with a cracker stripey. whiting pushing up. Working whiting and baitfish profile plastics and lures are the go for a big grandma. Matching the hatch is very important, and every sand bank and weed bank is different and will hold different bait. Be sure to scout that sand bank to see what bait is holding there on that day. When it comes to lures, 2-5” plastics are working best on the flats. Vibes, blades and trolled hardbodies are working better in the holes and channels next to sand banks. The whiting are starting to push up into the skinny water. Working yabby-laden banks with surface lures, live blood or beachworms, live yabbies and small, lightly-weighted soft plastic grubs during the day is getting good catches of nice-size yellowfin whiting. However, if you’re after the true elbow-slappers, hit those same banks at night with blood or beachworms. A light set-up is all that’s needed to target whiting, with 3-6lb line and 4-8lb leader doing the job. Alvey reels and longer 7-10ft soft tip rods are the set-up for most anglers. Alvey reels allows you give line when needed, and the soft tip will keep the pressure on the fish but won’t pull hooks. Drifting will allow you to cover more ground, and the movement of your bait will be too much for most whiting to resist – whiting love a moving bait. There are still lots of

Soaking pillies on a small set of gangs is catching the tailor, bream, flathead and occasional mulloway. Soaking worms on a longshank hook is catching dart, whiting, flathead, trevally and odd mulloway. Whitebait and strip baits on a small longshank hook or small circle hook are catching bream, flathead, trevally, and the occasional dart. Pipis on a small longshank hook or small circle hook are catching some good whiting, dart, flathead and bream. Working the deeper water with these baits on the last hour of the run-out and the first two hours of the run-in is producing some awesome mixed bags, and is fishing the best. Worms and pipis on most southern beaches are producing fish on the right tides. There is still the odd tailor off the rock walls and headlands being taken on metals at dusk and dawn. FRESHWATER The bass have woken up over the last month, and the back country, creeks and upper rivers are fishing the best. Working surface lures at dusk and dawn is tricking bass into eating. Cast to overhanging branches and banks, anywhere there is any shade in morning, and giving your lure a few twitches. This is normally too much for even the most stubborn bass to resist, and will result in a

species’ appetites will rise and they will really start to hunt. Mahimahi, billfish, wahoo, mackerel and tuna will start to push in onto the close reefs to feed up. Look for floating debris, birds working and strong current lines, as these are good telltale signs for where you should be working your lures. Look to the current lines around close reefs and work troll baits for mackerel. There will still be a few mixed reef species hanging around, and the best times to catch them are at dusk and dawn. The jacks will really start their dominance of the estuaries this month, and you should use livebaits at night for the big ones and lures during the day. Whiting will start to push right up into the super skinny water in the coming weeks, and you can get them on lures during the day and worms at night. The dart should start to come the bite more too as the month goes on. Pipis, worms, whitebait, small strip baits, small metals and small plastics will be the go for a good feed of dart. The bass will really wake up this month, and you should match the insects in the area with your lures for best results. Try a blowfly profile and colour if there are no cicadas out yet in that area.

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Wet a line for whiting SOUTHERN GOLD COAST

Mark Ward markward222@bigpond.com

Where did the year go? It’s whiting season on the Southern Gold Coast already and now is the time to target the active bass in the sweetwater as well. As the warm weather hits, it’s great to get out with the kids. Pump some yabbies or dangle a bait and you never know what you might end up with this month.

ESTUARY It’s still a mixed bag in the estuaries. Flathead are moving throughout the system and can still be targeted but they don’t like the warm water. The cooler water with the incoming tide is the best time to chase them. Whiting love the warm water and flathead are sometimes on the shallow banks hoping one will come close enough for them to pounce, but as a general rule, they prefer the cooler water. It is a good month to

It’s officially jack season, which makes many anglers like Phil Dumpleton very happy.

experiment with targeting these fish on the surface. My son, Cody, and I have been working the massive 195mm Crossfire lures over the shallows, usually working in less than 1m of water. The hits we have had from flathead have been incredible, including one fish that launched itself out of the water, but the overall hook-up rate has been horrible. Still, although you won’t connect with many fish, the visual aspect of chasing flathead on surface is awesome. Early morning sessions are tough at this time of year. The sun is warmer but the start is a killer. Getting up at 3am to have lures or bait in the water by 4am is rough but it’s worth the effort. Trevally and mangrove jack are very active at this time of the morning. They also give themselves up easily when they chase baitfish on the surface. Sometimes it’s a matter of waiting for the action before even casting a lure. Surface poppers work well while the sun is rising, as do paddle-tail plastics. Anything that is around 3-5” long will suit, with white and green being good colours to start with.

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Summer Ward with Jason during filming of The Fishing Show. Plenty of whiting like this should be around this month. Early morning starts will see mangrove jack and whiting around the canal junctions and mouths as well as the rock walls around the Tweed and Tallebudgera Creek. Mangrove jack prefer the bigger systems like Tweed, Nerang and Coomera rivers but they are often caught in the creeks while chasing trevally or flathead. Find the baitfish and jacks and trevally won’t be too far behind. Whiting were biting all throughout winter and that hasn’t changed now the weather is warmer. I have been catching them in the deeper water and on the beach but this month, they will be in the shallow water at the top of the tide and they will be hungry. Using worms and yabbies over yabby beds and weedy edges will always see some action. For the lure angler, if you haven’t caught a whiting on the surface you are missing out. The Bassday Sugapen has been the pick of the lures and whiting are ferocious when eating them. The canals are alive with all sorts of species this month. Expect to catch anything from bream to reef fish. With all the structure in the canals, juvenile reef fish will choose to live amongst the rocks and pontoons as they grow. Snapper, cobia, mangrove jack and grassy sweetlip are caught around the structure on a regular basis. Some local guns even target giant herring and big tarpon around the canals and lakes. The diversity is truly incredible. BEACHES Whiting and dart will be around in good numbers on the beaches. Shallow gutters hard up against the shoreline are the go. They bite all throughout the tides and the day, so are a great species to target. The best baits are the bait found under your feet – worms and pipis. The beaches of the

Tweed region have been fishing well and should continue to do so. Kingscliff has some fantastic gutters at the moment and has been the pick of the beaches. It’s a great time to get the kids started with beach fishing. Whiting and dart love the shallow gutters within easy casting distance from the shore, so kids can

FRESHWATER The Hinze will see a lot of fish moving onto the flats and points, especially in the mornings and late afternoon. Blades worked quickly on the points and flats will account for good numbers of fish but a small surface lure worked with long pauses will get those big surface strikes. I like to cast and let the lure sit on the

There are still plenty of flathead around this month if you look in the cooler water. get in there and have a go. There’s no need for big heavy rods, just a short 7’ outfit with a threadline will do. Alvey reels are making a huge comeback and for good reason. I have had my Alveys for over 30 years and they are just as good today as they were when I bought them. If you look after them, you will get a lifetime of fishing from them so it’s worth learning how to use them.

surface for up to 30 seconds. It’s amazing how many fish will pluck the lure off the top without it ever moving an inch. Clarrie Hall will see the same action around the lily edges. The fish are very shy though, so fish the clear shallow water with light leaders and good lure presentation. Small paddle-tail lures rolled slowly along the edges will see plenty of fish caught as long as you fish light and quiet.


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Warmer conditions are heating up the fishing JUMPINPIN

Mick Morris gembait@tpg.com

It’s a great time to fish the ’Pin as the weather heats up and the water temperature starts to rise, so get out and enjoy this top time of year out on the water. Flathead should be prevalent once again, with thousands of fish being caught and released in the recent Flathead Classic, there is definitely no shortage in flathead stocks in the Jumpinpin area. All these fish were caught on hardbodies or soft plastics, photographed and then released. The best time and place for catching them was working the shallows on the last few hours before the bottom of the tide and they were caught all throughout

Big lizards will still be around in good numbers this month.

Mitch caught this monster 30kg yellowfin tuna not too far from the ’Pin Bar.

the ’Pin. The top of Crusoe Island, Pandanus weed banks, Kalinga Bank, Tipplers Island, along the Never Fail Islands and the Aldershots were all great haunts during the competition and with all those fish released they should all be back in those spots during November. Flathead love live mullet, herring, and hardies, so drifting with these during the run-out tide should put you on the right track to catch some good flatties. Tailor should start to venture through the bar on the early morning high tides or they will be hanging out beyond the breakers of South Straddie across from the Bedroom all the way to the tip. For the bigger fish,

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night fishing is the way to go. Just beyond the bar, there should be a few mackerel and tuna showing up. If the weather permits, try ducking out early and trolling lures along the tide line where the fish will be stalking baitfish. Look for birds feeding and diving on the surface to locate the schools and then try flicking small to medium chrome lures into the schools or troll the outsides of the school. It’s great fun and you don’t have to go too far out to find the fish. The odd cobia should start to show up around the close in reefs as well as a few snapper and trag. Baits to try are prawns, yabbies, whitebait and mullet gut. Flesh baits like bonito and mullet fillets work well, as they stay on the hook longer and give you more of a chance to catch the fish. Small hardbodied lures or twitching small soft plastics or vibes are all great lures for bream around the ’Pin area, as there is an abundance of structure where they like to congregate. Jetties, rock walls, pylons or any mangrove or snag will hold bream. The spots to try this month will be from the Pig Styes to the dead trees along the bottom of North Straddie, the Stockyards, the southern side of Short Island, Flat Rock, the Powerlines and Rocky Point. Whiting will be one of the main species targeted this month and there should be plenty around as there have been all year. The Logan River always produces quality fish with some over 40cm on offer. The top

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rattling lures by the snags or presenting a small live mullet or herring should tempt these great fighting fish to strike. Be sure to use heavier line and leader, as they fight hard and will otherwise have you busted off in seconds. Sandies have been on the move from Karragarra to Cabbage Tree Point in the deeper water. The better catches of muddies have been coming from right up the Logan and Pimpama rivers, but hopefully with some rain they will make their way to the bay. • Thanks for all your reports and please keep those fish coming in! If you’d like any advice or up-to-date info on what’s happening at the ’Pin, drop us a line at Gem Bait & Tackle on 3287 3868 or email gembait@tpg.com.au.

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spots are Ageston Sands, Marks Rocks, the Junction and the mud flats at the mouth of the Logan. Other areas to try out of the river are Fishermans Channel, Cobby Passage, Slipping Sands, the Gold Bank and from Tipplers to the Never Fail Islands. Bloodworms are by far the best bait for catching whiting, however, they are very expensive and not always in abundant supply, so order them a few days in advance to avoid disappointment. Other baits to try are beachworms, pipis, prawns and squid. Mangrove jacks and estuary cod will become more active and be on the chew with the warmer waters this time of year in any spot with a decent snag, fallen tree or rock wall. Trolling

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Navigate the fish-rich canals this November GOLD COAST CANALS

Josh Dunn Instagram: @josh__dunn__

With Christmas just around the corner, temperatures are set to soar – another year where we won’t be having that dreamy snowy weather like Americans get! Oh well, at least we get the jacks and many other species that come on the bite as the heat sets in. Mangrove jack will be present this month in good numbers. There’s been plenty of baitfish on the move lately, making for a hot bite. Your best chance to get amongst a ‘red dog’ would be to hit the deep parts of the canal systems. While there are many anglers who only fish clean water for jacks, I believe they are more populated around the still, brackish water. Not to rule out clean water, but when I hit the water my confidence tends to drive the boat to the deeper parts of the canals. As well as mangrove jack, flathead will also be slowly coming back on the bite after the October flathead competitions, including

Kyle Walsh proving there are still good quality flathead to be caught. If you put in the work, you will see results.

the Flathead Classic. If you’re game enough to go against the odds and get amongst some flathead, I’d recommend hitting the deeper water. Normally the fish that have recently been caught will go to the deeper parts of the ’Pin, Seaway and Broadwater to sulk. You should be in with a good chance by casting minnow styled lures around this sort of ground. Bridge pylons have been my go-to structure lately, as bridges with bright lights hold great masses of bait and quality fish. Mangrove jack, trevally, bream and flathead are the main species that will roam the bridges, as well as the other lurking species eager for a feed. A simple but effective way to fish bridges is with plastics, by positioning your boat so you can line the pylons up with where your bow of the boat is facing into the current. Sit around several metres from the last pylon. This will help you to get long casts right up along the pylons so that you’re bringing the lure along each one. Be prepared to get fish out quick, as a solid GT or jack won’t muck around with busting you off.

John Nicol with a solid jack taken recently from a night session. Within the next month or two we should see more wet weather – just as some have been hoping for! With that brings a well-needed flush for our canals, which will see plenty of beneficial factors to the fishing scene. Rain isn’t the only thing forecast; heat will also be present, with some preparing

for the hottest summer in quite some time. November is a prime month to get out and smack a few of the local summer species the Gold Coast canals are home to. Whether you’re a bait angler or a keen lure angler, there will be plenty on the bite this month!

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Dirty water leaves anglers flat GOLD COAST

David Green

This month sees the water temperature start to increase and the first push of the East Australian Current starts to flow south over the wider grounds off the Gold Coast. This marks the start of the pelagic season and marlin and mahimahi should

start to show up on the wider grounds. For inshore fishing to improve, we need some serious rainfall to clear up the water, with this year being the hardest flathead fishing I’ve ever experienced. Even when the water has been good, the numbers have often been dismal. OFFSHORE November can be a great month for blue marlin

fishing in depths from around 150-400m. Huge fish are often encountered in November and over the years a number of fish over 300kg have been encountered around this time. Nearly all of these have fallen to trolled skirted lures fished off heavy 37 and 60kg tackle. A water temperature of over 23°C seems to be the key to having blue marlin turn up in November. As the current

Mark Frendin caught this wonderfully marked stargazer.

starts to run, mahimahi numbers will increase and these can be encountered almost anywhere where there is blue hot current. On the closer grounds, there is a lot of anticipation for the first run of juvenile black marlin. In most years, the main run of these fish begins in December, but if the current pushes inshore and the water is blue and warm, little black marlin won’t be too far away. A good area to try is east of the Jumpinpin Bar in depths from 20-50m. If you find bait schools such as slimy mackerel or pilchards, work the area and never leave the bait. While trolling lures is often very effective, slowly trolled or drifted live baits are often more so. There has been an excellent run of juvenile black marlin off the southern end of Fraser Island throughout spring and hopefully these fish will move south as the current increases. Most of these inshore fish have been small, between 10-20kg. If you can’t find dense schools of bait, lure trolling with small skirted lures on 8-15kg tackle is a great searching method this month.

Despite how hard going it’s been enticing flatties this month, Mark caught this 92cm model. Striped tuna, mahimahi and wahoo are also possibilities. Wahoo have been scarce over the past

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NOVEMBER 2019

few seasons, but hopefully will make a reappearance this year. If you find distinct current edges with a lot of

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coral spawn, it is a good area to troll lures for mahimahi. My favourite skirt colours have been purple and pink, and blue and gold. Bottom fishing will slow down this month due to the effects of the current and warmer water. There should still be a few snapper and pearl perch out on the 50-fathom line and pigfish and rosy jobfish will start to show up in catches as the water warms up a bit. In closer to shore, there should be teraglin and tailor on the 24-fathom line with a few nice mulloway at night. Cobia will start to show up on the reefs close to the Tweed Bar in November and there are often a few nice models caught at Palm Beach Reef this month. Schools of small tuna and bonito will be working the back of the surf line so it is a good time to stock up on bait.

from the Seaway through to Jumpinpin Bar. In November there should still be some good flathead fishing, with a lot of the action taking place in the deeper sections of the estuary as the fish are actively spawning at this time of year. The top of the flats are also worth a look at high tide and quite a few monsters have been caught on large swimbaits, big soft plastics and long shallow diving minnows. If the water cleans up, there should be some good fishing on the flats this month. The last two hours of a run-in tide seem to produce the best results, and hopefully the fishing will improve. November can be a good month to chase mulloway on big soft plastics in the Seaway and around Jumpinpin. Lures such as 7� jerk shads worked slowly with minimal

under 75cm very carefully. The lack of rain has been the main reason the fishing in the estuaries has been quite slow, so hopefully we will get a good downpour in the near future. Whiting will become a lot more active this month as the water warms up. Fishing in the Nerang River at night should produce good numbers of big fish on yabbies and beachworms. In the main sections of the Broadwater, these fish can be sight cast with either small surface lures or unweighted yabbies. The first push of a big run-in tide is generally the best time and the area at the back of Wave Break Island is a good place to start. There are also a number of really big flathead in this area as well as plenty of bream. Mud crabs and sand crabs should also put in an appearance this month. With

Michael and Shelly Green scored this vibrant mahimahi. RIVERS AND ESTUARIES Flathead fishing has been tough. Strong northerlies left the water quite brown and the catch rates have been poor, although there have been quite a few big fish over 80cm encountered

movement on as light a jighead as possible so you can just get to the bottom is an effective strategy and most of the bites come on a change of tide. Most of the fish encountered this month will be from 60-90cm long, so make sure you release fish

the new regulations, the bag limit is now seven mud crabs per person and all pots and floats must be labelled with the user’s name, so if you are taking a mate out and have eightpots, each crabber must have their four pots labelled with their name and details.

Ed Wright went to Lake Borumba determined to land his first saratoga. After an hour or so working the weed beds and structure, he scored a 67cm saratoga on a tiny Atomic Hardz. NOVEMBER 2019

31


Flatties for every angler SOUTHERN BAY

Nick Whyte

Flathead’s the word! There are plenty of fish around the Jumpinpin area within sight of the bar. There are some quality fish in the deep and any shallow flats close to deep water have been producing good

numbers of fish. Trolling the edges with small bibbed lures or casting small soft plastics around 3” to the drains has had the best results. Bigger plastics around 5” have worked in the deeper water. The area around the mouth of the Logan River has also been producing quality flatties. Try around the W’s on low tide as

well – look for the draining water or areas with large amounts of bait. Good reports of whiting have been coming in from southern bay areas. The sand flats around the Powerlines and the bottom end of Russell Island have been winners of late. There have also been good numbers up the Logan River with the

Glenn Round with a nice thready from a Tech Fishing session.

The author caught this decent flathead on a Zerek Affinity swimbait.

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Ageston Sands and Logan/ Albert junction areas being consistent. Fresh worms and small soldier crabs have had the best results. For lure fishers, long skinny poppers worked fast across the surface should attract better quality captures. Quality bream and squid have been reported up in the shallow reef areas like the eastern side of Macleay Island, Potts Point, northwest corner of Coochie, Cleveland Point and South West Rocks at Peel Island. Topwater baits or shallow cranks have been doing all the damage on bream and small jigs have done the job on squid. Fish are on the making tide, so push up as shallow as you can to cast even shallower, and sometimes you’ll see fish swimming on their sides feeding.

The Brisbane River is starting to show a few better threadfin salmon around the port. They are still not in big numbers but they shouldn’t be too far away from their annual spawning migration. There have also been quite a few school mulloway around the mouth of the river. Most of these fish have been falling to slowly worked soft plastics or soft vibes, like the Zerek Fish Trap. I prefer the 95mm size but the 110mm can be the go in harder running water. Higher quality fish have been coming from the lead beacons out the front of the port and putting the time in to sound them out will see you with a better chance of catching them. Make sure, if you’re releasing your catch that you try to do as soon as possible. When pulled from deeper water they can suffer

from barotrauma and may need a release weight to get them back to depth. If we all take care of what we have in the river, it will only keep getting better. Mangrove jack reports are coming in hot. With the afternoon storms starting to fire up, you should be able to bash a red fish. Fishing live baits around structure at night will see you with the best chance, but casting hardbodied or soft plastic lures tight to structure will really get the heart going! There’s been a few fish around the rock bars and sunken timber in Cobby Passage, Sovereign Island canal entrances, Logan River and Raby Bay canals. If you have a great capture from the Southern Bay you would like to share, email it through to nick@ techfishing.com.au.

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So many options to try BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald masterbaitertackle@hotmail.com

Warm conditions have spurred baitfish numbers throughout Moreton Bay and other areas. Pelagic activity will fire and tuna, mackerel and bonitos will be regularly encountered. Additional pelagics such as cobia, yellowtail kingfish and trevally will also show, although in much lesser numbers. Throw in the everreliable snapper, sweetlip, whiting, tuskfish, crabs or cod and bay anglers have some great options this November. The Brisbane River and others flowing into the bay will offer a bounty of threadfin, mulloway, bream, flathead, mangrove jack and more. For those chasing some fun, shark numbers will be extremely healthy due to an array of smaller whalers and plenty of larger brutes to test your angling prowess, especially around the pelagic schools. November is an awesome month to get out as there are various fishing opportunities. THREADFIN With warmer conditions, a greater number of threadfin have moved down the river systems and closer to the mouth, especially in the Brisbane River. Threadies are great sportfish and quality table fare and respond to a broad array of techniques and offerings. Although numbers exist all along the river’s length, greater numbers congregate in certain areas at times. They are greatly influenced by movements of

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on the chew. Sometimes they ignore lures and only respond to a live prawn, herring or mullet. As fickle as they can, on occasions they will readily smash anything presented to them. Anglers will often catch and release considerable numbers in a single session on the water. Although the bag limit is 5 threadfin over 65cm, one quality fish is enough to provide several meals. Unhooking and releasing unwanted fish while they are still in the water will go a long way to guaranteeing their survival. For lure anglers, there’s a great variety that will produce the goods on threadies. Soft

and hard vibes, soft plastics (especially prawn profiles, paddle-tails, T-Tails and cur tails), small micro jigs and several other offerings can work. Fly anglers can also get into a few threadfin although it can be difficult (but not impossible) to present an offering to them when they are hanging deeper than 6m. Casting around the lights at night offers the easiest action because the lights attract baitfish, which draws the threadfin (and other species) closer to the surface. Sometimes threadfin can be sighted in the shallows out from the mouth of Boggy Creek on an early morning high tide. Their tails can even break the surface as they feed, however you will need an extremely stealthy approach to avoid spooking them. Over the next few months the threadfin numbers will increase in the lower reaches of the Brisbane River and even well out from the mouth around the leads, beacons and flats either side of the river, especially if we have a bit of rain to flush the prawns.

James with another cracking Brisbane River threadfin destined for the BBQ. LONGTAIL TUNA With increased baitfish numbers in Moreton Bay, anglers will notice heightened numbers of pelagics. Longtail tuna are one of the more desirable targets and can grow to weigh over 30kg, yet are more common in the 10-15kg range. They can be found feeding close to the surface at times, smashing balled up baitfish conglomerations in a frantic manner. Casting and retrieving offerings such as stickbaits, jighead rigged jerkshad plastics, chromed slugs and slices, pencil poppers and baitfish profiled flies will put you in good stead. Once hooked, longtails are a tough adversary and can take a good degree of time to land on the common 10-15kg tackle. Stickbaits can be delivered on heavier tackle which deceases fight times but gets the longtail to the boat in better condition. Even if they can’t be sighted, longtails can still be caught. Live baits such as slimy mackerel, yakkas and pike can be fished around the beacons in the northern bay, Curtin Artificial Reef and edges of prominent current lines. These baits should generally be fished in the upper third of the water as this is where the longtails are most likely to be cruising. A snelled circle hook rig is ideal for presenting such baits. Once the longtail takes the bait, simply engage the reel and allow the hooks to set as the tension takes up. Strike at the fish as you would with conventional J-pattern hooks and you will likely tear the bait from the longtail’s mouth. Longtails can be located in an array of locations throughout the bay, however searching along the shipping channels, the Rainbow Channel, Pearl Channel and the tuna triangle between Mud Island, the Four beacons and Lucinda Bay will put you in with a good chance. Around Peel Island and down along the Naval Reserve Banks are also worth a look if longtails are on your radar. However, they can pop up anywhere at any time so having a suitable rod rigged and ready to cast

is advisable when transiting throughout the bay. SNAPPER AND MULLOWAY Although numbers of snapper will be decrease this month, I consider November to be one of the best months for quality fish. I have caught some of my biggest bay snapper at this time of the year around both the artificial reefs and the bay islands. Mulloway will inhabit pretty much the same areas and respond to the same techniques and offerings as snapper. Most of the popular bay snapper fishing areas receive less traffic than in the cooler months, but there are still respectable fish to be caught on baits and lures. Early morning and evening sessions are generally best on a rising tide but I have even caught quality snapper and mulloway in the middle of the day when boat traffic is minimal. The edge of the main reef surrounding Peel Island is often good on the higher tidal stages. The artificial reefs (Harry Atkinson, Coochie,

have one then skirting wide of your chosen drift line and other anglers will definitely heighten future chances. Arriving at an area then driving all over it while attempting to sound out any fish is definitely not a good idea. Get upcurrent, cut the motor and do a long drift over the ground while you check it out. It only takes one thoughtless angler to shut down an entire area for everyone, especially on the shallower grounds. A well thought-out approach will increase chances on snapper and mulloway for you and everyone else. MACKEREL It has been a great year for school mackerel and although they not always obviously smashing it up on the surface, there have been plenty around if you are prepared to search. Dragging spoons (such as Halco No. 3 and No. 4 Barra Drone) behind a trolling board or paravane is a productive way to search for schoolies and the occasional spotty. Trolling the edges of

Working spoons for school mackerel is almost a guaranteed way to score a feed for those trolling the edges of banks and channels in November. Peel, Bill Turner and Curtin) are great places that regularly produce quality fish with a good approach. Quality fresh baits, thoughtful anchoring and subtle rigging will heighten your chances considerably. A stealthy approach when lure fishing is also guaranteed to increase your results. An electric motor is recommended for repositioning. If you don’t

major channels, bank systems and the margins of the bay islands is a great way to score a few mackerel. Generally the first few hours of the falling tide is fairly rewarding for this pursuit but it varies from area to area. Surface feeding fish can sometimes be found during November however this action should increase over the coming months. Drifting pilchard baits in


areas such as the artificial reefs and bay island surrounds will also work. These should be fished in the upper third of the water column. You may need to use a float of some kind during periods of minimal tidal flow to prevent the bait sinking to the bottom where the pickers will demolish it. Trolling deep diving minnow lures in these areas will definitely reward. Lures that get down into the lower third of the water column are ideal. A few spotties may appear over the next few weeks or so, however the larger numbers will generally arrive some time in December. Nevertheless, there should be plenty of school mackerel about to keep you happy until the spotties arrive. JACKS AND COD The hot conditions that are common during November and the coming months will definitely promote increased aggression from mangrove jack and cod. They can both be found around heavy structure, such as mangrove snags, bridge pylons, pontoons, jetties and rock walls. Suitable structure like this can be found in the canals, creeks, harbours and rivers and these are prime places to begin your search for crimson assailants. A wide array of lures can work for these species with diving minnow lures and soft plastics being popular

Longtail tuna can often show in decent numbers during November so it pays to have a rod rigged and ready to cast while transiting the bay. offerings. Fishing these lures well in the chosen location will come down to experience and instinct a lot of the time. Getting your lures close to structure is paramount for maximum attention from jacks and cod. Both species hunt by ambush, using the structure to hide before darting out to engulf any worthy morsel. Banging and rattling your lures across rock walls and rock bars is a great way to tempt cod, which commonly lurk around hunting crabs, baitfish and the like. Cod and jacks are tough adversaries and will often require line classes in excess of 7kg and a good degree of luck to land. The rock walls at the mouth of the Brisbane River and those on the eastern

side of Mud Island can be productive spots to target estuary cod although they rarely produce jacks. Most river systems feeding into the Moreton Bay region will hold good jacks and cod and there are several canal systems and harbours that are worth trying, no matter whether you have a boat, a kayak or are fishing via Shank’s pony. Live baiting with herring, banana prawns and mullet is another great way to get results and anglers will often fish around lighted areas at night as these attract baitfish and prawns. There’s an endless array of spots to target jacks and cod in Southern Queensland with plenty of landlocked lakes holding XOS jacks as well. Many of these

areas are accessible to landbased anglers. OTHER OPTIONS Moreton Bay has plenty on offer for keen anglers and what you catch is heavily dependent on how and where you fish. The shallow sand flats of the Sand Hills area, Small Ships Channel and edges of the Rous Channel are great spots to try for summer and winter whiting. Drifting while using worms and squid strips presented lightly weighted and on a #4 long shank hook will put you in good stead. Fishing around ledges and reefy areas with whole crabs (or parts of crabs) and a tuskfish hook-up is likely. Heavy tackle is generally required to land these blue beasts as they are extremely

tough fighters. Live baits fished around the beacons in the northern bay, the Curtin Artificial and the Western Rocks (Kianga Channel) area will put you in good stead to score a cobia. Larger fusiliers (whiptails), yakkas, slimey mackerel, pike and similar make great baits for cobia, which can be caught to well over 30kg in these areas. Crabs will be more prevalent during November so setting a few pots in the channels, bay island margins and edges of the sand banks is a good option if you fancy a feed of these tasty crustaceans. Mud crabs can be found further up in the creek and river systems with those setting pots in the harder to access areas generally getting the better bucks. There could still be a few squid around the shallow reef areas at Peel, Goat and Bird islands and around the weed beds close to the eastern beaches of Moreton and Stradbroke islands. The Caboolture and Pine rivers often have an early flurry of banana prawns during November, however this will rely largely on there being some rain to flush them down and get them moving. Usually the size is average this early in the season yet they are sweet to eat and make excellent bait. Trolling the

edges of the sand banks in the Jumpinpin and southern bay will likely reward anglers with some quality flathead. Bibbed minnow lures that dive deep enough to bang and rattle across the bottom will tempt any flathead in the area with the best time to be the start of the falling tide. Casting and retrieving jighead rigged soft plastics and vibes in these same areas is another great approach. Sharks will be fairly active in Moreton Bay and the Brisbane River. A decent sized whole fish bait, mullet or tuna fillet or a live bait (even a catfish or grinner) will soon tempt any sharks in the area. Remember sharks still have a size and bag limit so check it out if you want to keep a few for a feed of flake. CONCLUSION As you can envisage, there is plenty on offer for anglers fishing the Moreton Bay area during November. With the hot sun beating down, it pays to slip, slop, slap and slurp to avoid the elements and increase your enjoyment on the water. Early morning starts will allow a good degree of fishing to be done before the sun starts beating down. Getting out and enjoying the great outdoors is reward in itself but returning home with a smile on your face and a feed of fresh fish for the family will be the icing on the cake.

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Quality captures from the South Passage BRISBANE OFFSHORE

John Gooding

East of the South Passage Bar has again been consistent over the past month. Those chasing snapper are still getting plenty of quality fish and anglers targeting ambos and kings have had their arms stretched on charter. Even though we only targeted snapper on a couple of trips, we managed some solid juvenile snapper out

around the 90m line and Deep Tempest. There were a few quality snapper around 4-5kg also tossed in. On recent charters we’ve ended up going live baiting for ambos (on a client’s request), and the 4-8kg specimens have been nailing the livies. Some days we’ve had to do a bit of travelling to find feeding fish and the most success has been found between 70-115m lines. On occasion we’ve boated some solid trag mixed in with the amberjack on the 42 fathom

These are some great quality free-spooled snapper from out wide.

The group easily bagged-out on ambos this trip.

line, but sharks have been a big issue. I know I have mentioned sharks being a problem on many occasions but some days it’s ridiculous! You can’t get a single fish to the boat from half a dozen hook ups on the same drop. With the water temperature rising a little in November, there are plenty of options east of

the South Passage Bar. Mahimahi should show up in increased numbers out around the wave buoy off Point Lookout. Hopefully we will have more FADs out there soon, as we are just waiting for Queensland Fisheries to confirm FAD type and positioning along South East Coast.

Amberjack, samsonfish and yellowtail kingfish will be well worth the effort on both line baits and jigs. Trag jew, although known more as a winter night fish, can become very active during the daylight over the next few months with spots like Nats Rock on the 33s, Square Patch on the 42s (if you

want to race the sharks) and also south of Point Lookout on the 50 and 60m lines. Snapper will also continue to be a good option this month with the wider reefs producing good juveniles and the closer reefs, such as Shallow Tempest, delivering the bigger snapper. Quite often the spring months produce quality snapper in this area as they come into feed on the huge bait schools that frequent the area. For the mackerel fishers, some years we get a run of smallish Spanish mackerel around Shag Rock in late November to early December. For best results slow troll a live bait in the area. • Until next month, enjoy your fishing, take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on charter (max. 8 persons) give me a call on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750 or visit my new website www. outlawcharters.com.au.

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Let loose in Noosa NOOSA

Peter Wells

With the run of sensational spring weather continuing, the boat ramps have been full, with plenty of anglers taking advantage of the conditions and making the run outside.

The easiest way to target most of these fish is to use a 2-hook paternoster rig. These come rigged with hooks in sizes of 4/0-6/0 to suit your baits. Attach a 4-8oz snapper lead and you are in with a chance. For lure anglers, jigs have been great as they come unrigged, so you can add the hooks

emperor have all been boated. Further out, the Barwon Banks seem to be the pick with good snapper, pearl perch, Maori cod, mulloway and cobia all on the menu. Pelagic numbers are really starting to increase, with plenty of mackerel showing up. As the waters

Indy and Khy Lawrence with a solid pair of trevally.

On a recent trip to the Barwon Banks, Steve Kane took this decent snapper on a 7” soft plastic. Offshore boats of all sizes have been getting amongst it with Sunshine Reef producing good-sized snapper, sweetlip, cobia, Maori cod and coral trout. A little further out, North Reef has been producing

that fit best. To the south, Old Woman Island has been fishing well for juvenile snapper, sweetlip and some bigger squid. Squid jigs in 3.0-4.0 sizes have been

Troy Beitzel nailed this monster 70cm GT from the Noosa River. bigger cobia and snapper along with pearl perch, Venus tuskfish and Moses perch. Out wide, Double Island and Barwon Banks have snapper, cobia, parrotfish, tuskfish, pearl perch, red emperor, trevally and amberjack, just to name a few.

showing results. Down on Currimundi Reef, snapper and sweetlip are in good numbers with the occasional pearl perch taking slimy mackerel. Heading out to Gneerings and Murphys reefs, snapper, Maori cod, pearl perch and spangled

warm, the numbers of mackerel, wahoo, and tuna are all increasing. Having plenty of slugs in the boat at this time of year is a must. Matching the hatch is also important and most of the pelagics are feeding on rainbait or small frogmouth pilchards. When you see a school of fish busting up cast to the edges of the school and let the slug fall through the school before starting your retrieve, a lot of the time the bigger mackerel and tuna are circling under the main school. The Noosa River mouth has been producing some great catches of whiting. To target these fish, it is best to find a deeper gutter and fish with a worm, peeled prawn or yabby on a no. 2 sized long shank hook, a 1A sized running sinker and fluorocarbon leader. Flathead have also been caught on larger whole fish baits including whitebait and hardiheads. With these fish, you can go a little heavier and use 12lb line and a slightly larger ball sinker. Smaller hardbodies like Zerek Tango Shads will attract those fish sitting on the drop-offs. If you are after trevally, the area around Woods Bay, Munna Bridge and the back of the Sound are the better picks. These fish will take bigger whole prawn baits, pilchard and mullet chunks. Soft plastics including the ZMan GrubZ and Squidgy Prawn Wriggle Tail are

great options for lure anglers. Be sure to use scent and lighter braid and leader, as the bigger fish are quite line shy in clearer water. The area between the lakes has been good for mangrove jack. These fish really fire up when there is some inclement weather around. If there are storms forecast in the afternoon, these fish will feed harder. In the Maroochy River, the mouth has seen plenty of whiting on offer first thing in the morning on the run-out tide. Beachworms, yabbies and peeled prawns

been the way to go, with pink and chartreuse seeming to be the better colours. The beaches around the coast have been busy. Good size bream and trevally have been taken on the early morning tides. Most fish have come from the Marcoola and Mudjimba stretches with mullet strips, prawns and pilchards bagging the bigger fish. A good tip is to use bait thread to give the bait that little extra time in the strike zone. Tailor have started to come back into the gutters as they make their way back

pillies and keep your line tight to avoid missing the bite. Lures are working well in the same area, with the Halco Twisty being the pick because of its holographic pattern. Up on Noosa North Shore, beach fishing has been great for families. Find a gutter and use small baits and light rigs to catch a feed of dart, whiting and bream. • Don’t forget to check in to www.fishingnoosa. com.au for all the latest up-to-date info on fishing and bar crossings. The knowledgeable teams at

Roy Helling with a quality mulloway from the beach near Marcoola. It was a good old pilchard that did the trick. have been the prime baits. Conditions have been perfect for picking up these tasty fish on surface lures, with small poppers like the Bassday Crystal Poppers and the small Sugapen surface walkers claiming some nice fish. When fishing these lures on surface, make sure you use long leaders (at least a rod length) and don’t stop moving the lure; do not pause when chasing whiting. Bream are also in good numbers, with most fish taken on the incoming tide. Mullet fillet and gut have been the go-to baits. Plenty of large flathead have been taken from the shallows and slow rolled soft plastics have

from Fraser. If you want larger fish, try the run-in tide around Pincushion Island, Yaroomba Rocks and Sunshine Beach headlands. Ensure to take plenty of

Davo’s Tackle World Noosa and Davo’s Northshore Bait & Tackle at Marcoola can provide you with the right equipment, bait and advice to ensure success!

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opinion

Time for anglers to change? FMG

Peter Jung pjung@fishingmonthly.com.au

Many areas in Australia are currently experiencing low rainfall and the effects of the drought are working its way towards coastal areas. Until recently, I did not have a true understanding of the impact these events would have on my local fishery, or even how it would affect the fishery in the future. For the last four years I have been actively tagging fish (mostly flathead) as part of the Suntag program in Queensland. The majority of my tagging has been done in the northern reaches of Moreton Bay estuary systems, from the Brisbane River to Pumicestone Passage. During this period, the information provided through the recapture of these tagged fish has shown a distinct seasonal pattern to the fishing.

2019 I did not have a flathead recapture that was out less than 90 days and most months the number of recaptures was 2-3. However, since

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NOVEMBER 2019

25-30 years has been significant. Catch and release is commonplace, and nearly all anglers accept the fishing regulations for slot and bag limits. It is

This 65cm fish was tagged, released, then recaptured 14 days later. Should the person who recaptured this fish have released it during the current low rainfall period to protect the fishery’s future?

A just-legal sized fish tagged and ready for release.

The author with a flathead he recaptured. This fish was a typical example prior to the recent lower than average rainfall. It had been 311 days between captures, it had grown 9cm and it was recaptured in the same area. Overall, the recapture information (prior to this year) was: Days out (time between recapture) is between 280-365 days, the fish averaged 8-10cm growth, and its recapture location was in the same area as its previous capture location. This infers that the fish are entering into the estuary systems to follow a food source and staging in the estuaries on their way to the spawning grounds at the Sunshine Coast (according to recapture information) or the areas around Jumpinpin and the Broadwater at the Gold Coast. Until May

has been the recaptures. There has been 10-12 recaptures per month for three months and the details from these recaptures tells a very different story from

May 2019 the recapture information has changed drastically. Chatting to fellow anglers at the various local boat ramps has resulted in hearing similar comments – ‘the start of the flathead season has been slow’, ‘there is no pattern to where the fish are’ and ‘there’s a lack of baitfish and prawns in the system’. This has coincided with lower rainfalls, so these systems are not getting the flush that has occurred in previous years. In short, fish numbers are down. From my perspective as an angler, the biggest change

before: Days out was on average 12-14 days, they had 0cm growth and they were recaptured in the same location. This indicates that the fish being caught are resident fish to the system, not transient fish staging in the area. The fish are staying put because it’s probably their best chance to get a feed. Their smorgasbord of opportunity has become a set menu. So what has this information to do with anglers? The one piece of information from the recapture data I have neglected to mention is whether the fish was released – 95% of the time the answer is no. This percentage is even higher if you remove the undersized fish out of the equation. I am the last person to criticise someone for taking home a feed of flathead but, as anglers, should we be further self-regulating when systems are in stress? Are anglers adding to the problem by taking the same percentage of fish from the system as when times are good? Also, we know resident fish will take longer to repopulate in the systems and therefore affect the fishing for a number of years to come. I have caught and tagged over 1,100 fish over the four years with an average fish length of 41cm – that is an average of nearly 400 captures a year. However, since June this year I have caught only 36 flathead. This is a real world indicator of a system in distress. The change in mindset of the recreational angling fraternity over the last

now commonplace to hear ‘take only what you need’ or ‘this fish is too good to only catch once’, so what is the answer?

Do we really need more regulations or are we able to self-regulate according to the current condition of the system? Maybe it’s time to pay more attention to the wider scope of climate conditions and preempt the possible affects it could have on our own system. Let’s not wait for the

politicians and the policymakers to react too late to save our systems, but ask what can we do now. Let’s think outside the box – can we release all the fish caught in the lower and upper ends of the slot limits? Stop (or severely limit) taking fish until the system has fully recovered?

FISHING NEWS

Pathfinder’s innovator is honoured in Hall of Fame award Last month, the National Marine Manufacturers Association in Florida (USA) has honoured Hewes, Maverick, and Pathfinder boat’s owner and CEO Scott Deal as an inductee in to their Hall of Fame. The NMMA said that Deal has been a driving force for innovation, enterprise and advocacy in the industry. One of his notably innovations has been his development of the Pathfinder Bay Boat revolution. These boats have been a game changer for American sports fishers. Scott’s concept was to build a hybrid boat to travel offshore for game fishing and could still be used for shallow water sports fishing in the estuaries. In local Aussie terms, these are high

performance, single engine economy, shallow draft boats to target everything from bream to billfish! In 1989 Scott purchased the legendary Hewes brand from Bob Hewes, inventor of the flats boat. The company then became the world’s largest builder of flats boats. In 1991, Scott designed the first skiff for super shallow water poling, known as The Maverick Mirage. Testament to Scott’s success is that all three brands have led their respective classes since their inceptions. He is also an accomplished tournament angler, Scott won the Don Hawley Fly Tarpon and Islamorada Fly Bonefish Tournaments, and was a three-time champion of the Redbone Celebrity Series.

Scott is now excited about the Pathfinders’ latest design innovations, he explains, “All our stepped hull Pathfinders are built using our planetary Vacuum Assisted Resin Infusion System? We’ve been using Varis for 20 years on our Mavericks and have been using vacuum infusion in our production setting longer than anyone in the industry. The 2300HPS, 2500Hybrid, 2600HPS and the 2600TRS Pathfinders are now built using this system.” The Maverick, Hewes and Pathfinder brands are represented in Australia by Skiffs Australia (.com) on a factory direct arrangement from Brisbane. – Skiffs Australia


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Retail offer is $10 off per horsepower on all four-stroke Yamaha Outboards from F150 to F300. “Save Up to 3000 off RRP” refers to the maximum promotional benefit on offer for the F300. Finance to approved applicants. Interest rate of 1% p.a. (1% p.a. Comparison Rate) is available on New Yamaha Outboard Motors only, excludes boat motor trailer packages, on a term of 24 or 36 months with no application fee. Interest rate used is based on an average individual credit rating and meeting mandatory credit criteria. Repayments and interest rate may vary depending on your individual circumstances, financial position, credit rating, information provided, loan amount and loan term. Offer available from participating Yamaha dealers from 01/10/2019 until 31/12/2019 while stocks last. Comparison rate is based on a 3-year secured fixed rate consumer loan of $10,000. WARNING: The comparison rate is true only for the example given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Credit criteria, fees, charges, terms and conditions apply. Personal applicants only, excludes government, fleet and rental buyers. Finance is provided by Yamaha Motor Finance Australia Pty Ltd ABN 29 101 928 670 Australian Credit Licence 394553. *20% off your YMI comprehensive insurance policy is available to customers who purchase and finance one of the eligible Yamaha products during the offer period. Offer valid between 1/10/2019 and 31/12/2019. Insurance issued by HDI Global Specialty SE – Australian Branch ABN 58 129 395 544, AFSL No. 458776 (HDI) acting through its agent Yamaha Motor Insurance Australia Ply. Ltd. ABN 48 603 882 980, AFSL 497198 (YMI). Any information or advice provided is of a general nature only and does not take into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs. Please read the product disclosure statement (PDS) available at www.ymia.com.au for full details on the policy coverage before you make any decisions regarding this product. Contact your local Yamaha dealer or call 1300 794 454. Standard claim excess applies. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer, unless specified.


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Sunny days at the Beach RAINBOW BEACH

Ed Falconer

With the amazing weather we’ve had lately, it is no surprise the fishing has been outstanding! OFFSHORE The perfect weather conditions lately have seen many anglers make

be concerned about. Every day, month and year is different from the last. All other reefies are biting well, including bucket loads of hussar and tuskfish. GREAT SANDY STRAITS Mangrove jack have started appearing early. There are no really big

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These guys had an awesome time getting stuck into quality snapper. the trip offshore and the fish have been biting their heads off. Big mobs of snapper turned up, giving our clients something to remember! These fish were super hungry, smashing baits of any sort including soft plastics. On the way down, there were plenty of bag-outs. Red emperor have also been pretty active and with plenty of live bait available, enticing them to bite has been a breeze. Pearl perch have been a little slower than previous years but it’s nothing to

ones yet but they will come when the weather heats up. Live herring has been very effective bait. Summer whiting have been in good numbers around the Carlo Point area. The top bait has been live yabbies. Some beautiful big mud crabs have been potted of late but unfortunately there is still some ‘share-farming’ going on. It is a criminal offence to tamper with any pots that don’t belong to you, and any theives stealing will be caught. NOVEMBER In previous years, November has produced some of the biggest snapper I have ever seen. We can also expect some quality pearl perch in close. • To enjoy a day on the water with Keely Rose Fishing Charters, phone Ed Falconer 0407 146 151 or visit www. keelyrosefishingcharters. com.au.

Clint with an outstanding red emperor taken on a recent trip on the Keely Rose.

FISHING NEWS

Tonic upgrade with BCF It’s now even easier to upgrade your eyewear. Tonic Sunglasses are now available at your local BCF. One of the most important components of every tackle box is a pair of sunglasses that have been designed for the fishing market. Tonic Eyewear has developed a range of sunglasses that suits both the professional fisherman, and the sporting amateur. Eye protection is paramount in tough Australian conditions, as well as comfort and durability, and Tonic sunglasses have all bases covered. Doug Phillips, Tonic’s Director, said “Using 21st century technology, Tonic has

produced a new lightweight lens which supersedes any on the market today. The polarised lens consists of a four-colour integrated filter system and is also coated with an anti-reflective film on the inside, enabling the wearer to enjoy full eye protection from back surface glare as well, without losing any colour perception.” A decentred lens allows the angler to see the true depth and distance, and peripherally

without experiencing any optical distortion. Lenses are available in grey and copper polycarbonate, or glass grey photochromic and glass copper photochromic, which darkens automatically according to changing light conditions accompanied by the mirrored range in glass lenses only. Compare the sunnies you are wearing now with the new Tonic range at your local BCF. – Tonic Eyewear

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NOVEMBER 2019

41


Billfish have brought big game to the bay HERVEY BAY

Dane Radosevic

Black torpedos will be on many keen sportfishers’ minds as they prep their gear in anticipation of the juvenile black marlin run off Rooney Point, Fraser Island. With good reports coming from grounds to the north, from Yeppoon to 1770 early on in September and into October, we can anticipate a run of fish in the bay this season. Word along the grape vine is that a few crews have been getting stuck into the action throughout October, keeping the bite on the down low.

Good preparation is crucial to your success rate and correctly set up teasers, the right skirts and fresh baits all play a large part. Running a teaser, such as a dredge strip teaser or exciter bird and squid daisy chain combo gives you a massive advantage as they do help to stimulate fish into a feeding mode, giving you the opportunity to get them into your lure spread or switch them with swimming or skipping baits. Belly flaps cut off a mackerel or preferably a mac tuna are excellent teasers when stitched up and rigged with a bright pink squid skirt slid over the top. Fished on an overhead outfit, they make ideal indicators as the ratchet zings on every bite.

Brett Methven swims a blue marlin before release. He landed this impressive catch while trolling the shelf off Fraser Island.

In previous years, the Pakula Micro Sprocket and Tornado Profish series have proven successful, with the regular pinks, lumo greens and dark purple patterns producing the bites. A semistiff or stiff rig is ideal as they aid in a much better hookup, especially when teamed up with a Gamakatsu SL12S hook. Alternatively, stitching up mullet or garfish baits with a bridle ready to be rigged to a light gauge circle hook can be very effective, and may just be enough to entice a bite on timid fish. The billfish action from the eastern side of Break Sea has been exceptional, with good reports of juvenile black marlin being caught on the other side of the bar from the 4-Mile crossing and reports of a few quality sailfish with blacks mixed in coming from up off the 13-Mile crossing. By-catch becomes more common this time of year with the warmer currents and mahimahi, Spanish mackerel and yellowfin tuna will often take a skirt or a trolled deep diving hardbodied lure. The heavy tackle scene from the shelf is starting to kick into gear after a slower start to the season compared to last year. Reports of blue marlin and the odd stripey are coming from those focusing on the 200-400m contours, with patches of fish concentrated around the warmer currents being pushed down from the north. It pays to have a variety of lure profiles and colours in your arsenal ranging from 10-15” in various colours from black and gold, black and red, dark purple and blue to brighter lumo colours in green, blue and silver, purple and silver and pink. Teasers are a great tool, with large pusher imitations such as the Moldcraft Enormous Johnson or a bright pink squid daisy chain helping to raise and lure fish into the spread. Mahimahi and yellowfin, or ‘vermin’ to most billfish crews, will be in increasing numbers along the

Damien Miller caught this slab of a coral trout on a live pike while fishing the gutters. shelf line and love to whack a trolled skirt. The hype from last season has enticed more crews from down south to move their big boats into the marina in anticipation of some good weather to venture out to the grounds. In good conditions, trailer boats are still capable of heading to the shelf in search of a heavy tackle fish or two. Bait fishing the deeper shelf line this time of year can be quite difficult due to the increased currents, especially after a typical prolonged northerly blow. Deep water jigging will be very effective and dropping down slow fall or knife jig presentations can result in some backbreaking action on a variety of species such as snapper, pearl perch, jobfish, kingfish, amberjack and more.

The shallower country will be worth a prospect for mixed reefies with reds, other emperor varieties, sweetlip, tuskfish, wrasse, hussar, cod, jobfish and snapper all on the cards for bait and lure anglers. Sharks will be an evergrowing problem with the warmer waters, so be prepared to do some miles to escape their relentless carnage. GTs and Spanish mackerel will be a viable option for those wishing to work a stickbait or popper across some of the shallow shoals country. Locating the pressure edges and bait supply will be the key to your success. Inside Platypus Bay, tuna numbers are continuing to increase with mac and longtail tuna schools located under working birds. The usual offerings of 20-40g metal

slugs and sinking stickbaits are all worth throwing. Fly is a great alternative this month while the shark activity is still at a minimum and before the large biomass of baitfish draws them in from far and wide. We can expect to see the start of the spotted mackerel run this month. However, their appearance will be governed by the bait supply and due to a lack of rain, they may be scarce this year. Only time will tell what the season has to offer, but be prepared with an arsenal of metal slugs, as you might just run across a few schools. Don’t hesitate to drop down a slug or even a plastic past the spotties, as often schools of large golden trevally or queenfish can be found gorging themselves on the leftovers wafting down

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NOVEMBER 2019

Paul Mares was super stoked to land a solid 89cm Monduran barra.


the water column. To the west, the Southern and Northern gutters have been fishing exceptionally well for coral trout. They have been targeted on live pike or soft plastics ‘tea bagged’ in tight to the ledges or isolated rocks. Trout are a very aggressive species and it can be quite easy to wipe an area out, so it is good practise to cycle your spots and only keep 2-3 fish per spot before moving to preserve each area. Other mixed reefies have been on offer including hussar, sweetlip, tuskfish, cod and late season snapper taken on dead baits. Pencil squid, mullet fillets and pilchards are perfect baits for this scenario. Masses of bait found sitting just off the ledges will usually hold golden and tealeaf trevally. Quickly dropping down a micro jig or soft plastic on top of the school will have you hooked up in no time. The inshore reef fishing is starting to fire up, with increasing water temperatures enticing a better bite from the coral bream population over the shallower reefs and wrecks around Big Woody down to the Channel Hole and Boges Hole areas. Early morning and evening missions will provide the better quality fish; however, if there is minimal boat traffic on the water you can catch

Ben Wall caught his first striped marlin trolling the shelf off Fraser Island. them throughout the day. Coral trout and cod are increasing in numbers and have been taking a variety of soft plastics ‘tea bagged’ over the reefs or a well-presented live pike. Bluebone will be another species high on many anglers’ list. Targeted with crab baits, this species is spread throughout the entire Straits and can be found on coffee rock, ledges, gravel patches, reef and wrecks. Queenies will become

more prolific on the larger building tides around the inshore islands, as they roam the current lines and pressure edges in search of a feed. A rapidly retrieved pencil popper worked across these areas is as exciting as it can get, providing some great aerial strikes. Tie on a large popper or stickbait and try your luck on GTs that inhabit these waters this time of year, with models ranging from 10-30kg.

Mackerel have been coming in thick and fast from around the inshore beacons, including the Fairway Buoy and NU2 beacon. Other areas such as Gatakers Bay have also been producing good numbers of fish, caught either trolled up using 100-140mm medium diving hardbodies or floating a pilchard or live herring. Spanish mackerel have been hot on their tail, with a few monster fish in excess of 20kg being caught.

Unfortunately, they have a high ciguatera risk so eating them is not recommended, but they still make for a nice photo before a quick release. Large schools of herring around the Urangan Pier have drawn plenty of action from school and Spanish mackerel, with most early mornings and afternoons on the turn of the tide producing a bite period. Flathead have also been targeted successfully in good numbers from around the pylons and either side of the sandbar flick baiting unweighted herring or hopping soft plastics, with a few XOS models in the mix. The QLD East Coast barra fishery is closed to taking (or targeting) barramundi from midday 1 November 2019 until midday 1 February 2020, so your only option to get your barra fix is via the stocked impoundments. Lake Monduran has been firing over the last few weeks, with good numbers of fish caught up to 90cm, and it is exciting to see these larger fish becoming more prevalent and active. Slow rolling and twitching hardbodies such as the Jackall Squirrel, Lucky Craft Pointer 100sp and Rapala X-Rap 12 have been accounting for good numbers, and slow rolled paddle-tail soft plastics across the more open flats have producing quality fish.

Bring on summer at Mondy! In the Mary and Susan river systems, threadfin and grunter have been the main target species found in the deeper sections of the main river holding off sunken rock bars, ridges and gravel beds. Live bait fishers have had excellent results on herring and prawn baits, while those opting to fish lures have used soft vibes hopped through the schools to great effect. Alternatively, a deep diving hardbodied lure trolled back and forth over the top of the fish can be deadly. Mangrove jack have and will continue to fire in areas like the Burrum River and creeks on the western side of Fraser Island, with good numbers of grunter often caught in similar areas. Flathead will be another viable species on soft plastics targeting rocky outcrops, coffee rock ledges, creek mouths and drains on the dropping tide, especially on the big run-outs. The larger spring tides on the lead up to the moon will generate another fantastic whiting bite like the ones experienced on previous big tides. The town beaches, yabby banks up the Burrum and sand flats on the western side of Fraser should all produce quality fish, as long as the northerlies don’t push up too much weed.

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Ideal weather has brought in the bags GLADSTONE

Liam Jones

October brought some brilliant weather with warm days and little wind, plus a few thunderstorms with some much needed rain thrown in. It made for pretty good fishing overall. The water temperature rose pretty quickly in the first week of October, firing up the summer species. Jacks, barra and even the reef fish all bit well throughout this week. With a couple of weekends in a row of 5-10 knot winds, many local anglers headed wide to test their luck on the reefies, with almost all reporting quality fish. Those that stickbaited and popped the flats were rewarded with big red-throat and trout. The

likes of Douglas, Haberfield and Innamincka shoals all fished well throughout the good weather. The average size of lipper seems to be getting bigger while those that fished that little bit deeper were rewarded with plenty of school-sized reds. There weren’t too many reds over that magic 10kg mark, as most of the good weather fell on the neap tides, which doesn’t typically fish as well for big reds. I was lucky enough to get out for a quick trip on Grand Final Sunday to chase a few reds around Douglas. Although we managed to catch our bag quickly, the size was certainly not there compared to previous trips. We fished a mark I hadn’t fished for some time and the first drift saw four school-sized reds come over

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The reefs have been producing quality catches once the wind has abated. the side, all measuring between 60-65cm. This continued for a few more drifts before the bag was quickly reached. The highlight was Karl landing the red of the trip on his PE 1-3 Abu Garcia Jigging rod with 30lb braid, 40lb leader and an 80g Yakamito Slow pitch jig. Once the bag of reds was reached, we headed for some shallow water to top up the box with some red-throat and trout. Most of the fish fell to either jigs or plastics before we headed home. Trips are always good when you can leave the ramp at 6 and be home by 3 with an icebox full of reefies, just in time to watch the footy! Small black marlin have been turning up from Cape Capricorn right down to Bustard Head. The contours that run just inside Rock Cod Shoals all the way down to Bustard have been holding bait and therefore also the fish. Lures of choice have been Pakula skirts and the ever-reliable Halco Laser Pro. Anything from 5-7 knots seems to be the best trolling speed. Small 5000 sized spin reels with 30-40lb braid is all that is needed when chasing small blacks, however it’s not a bad idea to go slightly larger, as you always have the chance of hooking a big Spanish in the same area. Inshore, big grunter are turning up at the usual destinations. Slow pitch jigs over the rubble patches have been accounting for the most fish. These fish move fast; once one is hooked, they will generally disappear for a while before turning back up. The most effective way to fish for them is to sound until the school is located, drop a jig on their head, then as soon as the fish is landed start sounding again until the school is located. They typically won’t move far. However, they are continually on the move, so if you sit there Spot-Locked or

anchored you might miss them by only a few metres! This can be the difference between a good day and a great day. School mackerel are just about everywhere at the moment. The shipping channel markers, Seal Rocks, Sable Chief Rocks, the north entrance and Cape Capricorn are all producing good numbers. High speed spinning slugs and floating the everreliable pilchard has been accounting for the most fish. In the estuaries, jacks certainly fired throughout October. Plenty of reports have been coming in with 5-10 fish sessions and some real quality mixed in amongst them. ZMan DieZel MinnowZ, Lunker City Shakers and the Yakamito SR Finesse Shad have been the standouts. The Calliope seems to be producing the largest

in time for the closure to kick in! The Narrows schools were biting readily and the harbour schools seemed to have fired up. That increased water temperature made for some pretty exciting sessions over the past month. Slow rolled 5” plastics and 100mm deep diving hardbodies were doing the damage. With the barra season now closed, people can start focusing on the great golden snapper fishery we have in the harbour. Any deep structure will hold fish. Vibes, heavilyweighted soft plastics and even slow pitch jigs will produce if fished in the right area. One thing to take into consideration when catching big golden snapper is that their release rate is extremely poor. These fish can school and can be very easy to catch, so be mindful

Awoonga Dam just continues to get better and better. Reports of 15-20 fish sessions were not uncommon last month and the average size has increased with the water temperature. Wind blown bays and timbered points are still the hotspots when looking for fish. Bite times have been spread out across the entire day. I had an amazing session mid-October that started at 11am and went through till 3pm, whereas others have had great sessions around midnight. However, the most consistent bite seems to be early morning and late afternoon. A number of techniques have been effective, such as slow rolling plastics along the weed edges, twitching suspending jerkbaits through the timber and there’s even been reports of fish coming to big swimbaits. The standout lures this month have been the Jackall Squirrel, Duo Realis 100DR, Yakamito Hyper Jerk and the old faithful Classic Barra. In soft plastics, the Happy Rock Softies Maxx has once again been accounting for its fair share of fish, along with the Castaic 5” Jerky J and the Yakamito 5” SR Shady Shad. As the barra season in the salt is now closed, there’s no better time to get out and have a decent crack at the amazing barra fishery right in our backyard. We don’t know how long it’s going to last, but at the moment it’s well and truly on its way back to being Queensland’s best barra impoundment. • For more information on what’s biting, or to stock up with all the tackle and bait you need, drop into LJ’s Compleat Angler Gladstone

The warming water should bring in good captures, like this Spaniard. fish, with a few coming in over the 50cm mark. Turkey Beach is its usual consistent self with Colosseum also fishing well. Barra have finally decided to fire right up in the salt, just

with depth of water and releasing where possible. Still, golden snapper would have to be one of the nicest eating fish in the ocean and I will always gladly take a feed home!

at the Gladstone Marina on Bryan Jordan Drive. You can also check out the latest news, photos and specials at Facebook Compleat Angler Gladstone.


Spring surface strikes GLADSTONE

Dylan Christie

The weather has warmed right up and Lake Awoonga is absolutely firing! If you haven’t booked your holidays to get up here and fish the most stocked barramundi impoundment in Australia, you should.

This is when surface lures and plastics come into play, with frogs provoking a spectacular topwater strike. You will get to watch the fish travel metres, making a bow wave behind the lure before exploding over the frog. When barramundi are up in the shallow water, they can often be quite timid and spook very easily, so when you are

The author caught a typical Central Queensland jack on a 4” plastic rigged weedless. Last season, heaps of fish were caught but seeing one over the metre mark was a very rare occurrence, whereas this season we have already had reports of metre-plus fish coming in and they are only getting bigger. Only a couple of months back there was a fish found floating that was over 1.4m! With the thought of fish potentially that big in the lake, you don’t need a better reason to get out there and take advantage of what’s on offer now that the saltwater barramundi are off limits. Water temperatures are up, which means now is the perfect time to target these fish right up in the shallows in the low light parts of the day.

searching for these fish it pays to put in extra long casts in the hope that they don’t spot you before you spot them. Make sure you don’t land your lure right on top of them, instead aim for behind or even slightly to the side. During the hotter parts of the day, the fish are typically sitting a bit deeper where they can be easily targeted with soft plastics and jerkbaits, especially when schooled up in large numbers and their competitive nature kicks in. The main estuary targets over the next few months will be mangrove jack, grunter, whiting and flathead, with barramundi in their breeding season. Mangrove jack have

been showing up all over the place with many creeks in the region producing quality fish. When targeting mangrove jack, soft plastics in 3-5” are the most popular with my favourite method being topwater, especially first thing in the morning. Grunter continue to be a main capture throughout the creek systems. When chasing grunter, it pays to use prawn imitations but you will catch them on a variety of lures. A making tide seems to be the best for grunter, particularly before the water hits the mangroves or structure you are fishing. Grunter are forage feeders so they make their way up with the tide. Once there is water in the mangroves, they seem to push right up in there, making it very hard to put a lure in front of them. Whiting are always up there on the list of estuary targets, as they are great fun on light tackle with kids yet the most experienced anglers can still enjoy fishing them with more modern style techniques. Fishing for whiting with surface lures has quickly become the most popular way to grab a bag because of how visual it is as well as the fact that it seems to filter out the smaller fish and leave you with better quality whiting. It’s a great time to target flathead and with a little bit of thought you can get great numbers. Paddle-tail and curltail soft plastics are still the most effective way to capture flathead, however sometimes it’s not just as simple as casting over a shallow sand flat and hoping for the best. Flathead are ambush predators so they often wait for the bait to come to them. In the Gladstone region, the time to chase them is as the water starts to fall off the flats and down into the gutters, as they lay

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Jack and Scott with a pair of solid red emperor taken on a recent trip out wide. there waiting for the smaller baitfish to come off the flats. Often if you are there on the low tide, you can see where they have been laying. If you can find that and return there as the tide starts to fall, it’s just a matter of finding the fish. Offshore opportunities are still available with plenty of people getting out and enjoying the bunker group. Big red emperor reports have been coming through, and despite what most people think these fish have been caught on soft plastics and pitch jigs, not just bait. Coral trout are in top numbers and should continue to fire, providing the weather continues to play the game. The best part about coral trout is they can be caught anywhere from a foot of water right down to 100m, making them a versatile species to target when reef fishing. They are also well known as one of the best eating fish. Spanish mackerel have started to slow down as the main season has come to an end. However, there are still some good quality spotty mackerel being caught

inshore around the southern end of the harbour and the north entrance. Fingers crossed that November brings more chances to get offshore, as the fishing is exceptional at the moment. • For all the latest info on what’s biting and where, drop into Pat’s Tackle World at 23 Lord Street, Gladstone or

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45


Big jack month has arrived! BUNDABERG

Jason Medcalf topwater@bigpond.com

It’s finally here – big jack month! Now is the time when the biggest mangrove jack of the year are hooked, but not necessary landed, in our region. Last November I wrote about using your senses to help you tune into what is happening around you when fishing. This time I am going to talk tackle with an aim to give you that edge when you do get hooked up to that 50cm+ big red beast. If you’re serious about targeting mangrove jack (and you need to be if you want consistent results) you need a range of outfits. Firstly, let’s start with a spinning outfit for casting surface lures. Mangrove jack are more than happy to hit

a well-presented surface lure and they will come a long way out of the cover to do it. This is why I’m comfortable to fish a relatively light spin outfit for surface fishing and, as you can cast smaller lures, a 3-5kg rod around 7ft is perfect. I match this with a 3000-size reel and spool it up with braid in the 14-20lb range. I then tie on a rod length of 30lb fluorocarbon leader using an FG knot. This outfit is great for casting for longer periods and gives you greater accuracy for when you need to get your surface lure right in the back of the structure. A couple of my favourite surface lures are the C’ultiva Zip’n Ziggy and the Rapala Skitter Pop. I have also caught some great fish on the Halco Roosta popper. The next outfit is for casting soft plastics. It’s just a step up in weight class, as when fishing plastics in

deep cover you need to have enough muscle to turn your fish quickly. Again, a 7ft rod but this time in a 5-6kg with a longer butt section. This gives you more leverage when you’re trying to extract you quarry. A 4000-size reel loaded with 25-30lb supple braid with a 40lb fluorocarbon leader, again using an FG knot. Stick with rods that have a nice tip, as some models in this weight range are just too heavy in the tip for casting plastics with accuracy and subtleness. My go-to plastics for the big jacks are 5” Z-Man SwimmerZ and the 5” Berkley Hollowbelly rigged on either a straight heavy wire jighead or a Snake Lock from TT. The next combo is my baitcaster. I like a 6’6” fast tapper 6kg rod with standard 200 size baitcast reel on it. I load the reel with 30-35lb braid so it will need to have at

least 8kg drag pull otherwise it won’t last long. A rod length of 40lb fluorocarbon and this set up is ready for casting your hardbodied lure at some big red fish. The fast taper in the rod is for lure casting accuracy as sometimes the big fish really hang tight to the cover and it takes good accurate casting to tempt them out. A few of my favourite hardbodied lures for the big guys are the Halco Laser Pro 120 in gold, the Tilsan Barra in pink herring and fingerling, and finally the Jackall Squirrel. This selection is what I use in my local area but I have fished these outfits and lures all over Queensland and they work well in most estuaries chasing mangrove jack, barramundi, golden snapper, salmon and many more. Get out there and enjoy this month and don’t forget your brown jocks!

Amity Rae Medcalf with a 50cm jack from the kayak. This month you will tangle with the big fish!

A long hot summer ahead ROCKHAMPTON

Clayton Nicholls clay94_fishing@live.com.au

With temperatures almost reaching 40°C in early October, this summer is sure to be a scorcher! These rapid changes to the water temperatures will affect where fish sit. Fish will become very active before finally making their way to cooler water. Even 1°C can make a difference so keep an eye on the sounder for the water temperature. THE FITZROY AND THE NARROWS From 1 November, barra will be in closed season. However, this doesn’t mean

Impoundments can still be fished during closed season. Matt proved they are on fire, catching a monster barra on a 6th Sense swimbait. you can’t get out for a lure fishing session to target the many jacks, blue salmon and threadfin in the river, not to

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struggle through winter, with pretty constant freshwater flow for the first half of the year. Now the weather has well and truly warmed up, crabs are getting a move on and definitely are an easy species to chase if you can handle the messy boat at the end of the trip. The typical lures of choice for threadfin are still 120mm 20-30g soft vibes and prawn imitation lures in 3-4” sizes. Holt Productions Swim Prawns are a good lure of choice when it comes to shut down fish, as the leg design puts out a really nice action to look like a swimming prawn. CREEKS AND BEACHES Flathead have been very active lately, with many quality catches reported around the region. The typical lure presentation of 3-4” prawns or 60-100mm diving lures worked through dropoffs, ledges and gutters will always see a few landed. A recent trend down south has seen anglers using glidebaits and swimbaits for flathead to get early morning bites on the sand flats. While the numbers of fish won’t be the same, the size of the fish is certainly larger due to the bigger lure size. Bream have been particularly fired up lately, especially on the back end of their spawning cycle. They are very easy to catch on wellpresented baits but can be easily spooked when chased with lures. When using lures, a fluorocarbon leader in a light breaking strength is key to success. Grunter, golden snapper and jacks have been holding on all the rock bars lately. All three species hit and fight

Trent Deen with a quality cray and trout from a session on the gun out off Yeppoon. hard, so no matter what ends up jumping on the other end of your line, it’s going to be great fun. FRESHWATER LAGOONS The freshwater lagoons around the region are quickly drying up; even though the river had freshwater flowing for many months, it was all from rain in other postcodes. With any luck, this summer will bring lots of long storms that will top up all these ecosystems and bring them back to life. Hedlow is about the only lagoon still fishable and it certainly holds some good fish if you pick the right time to go. INSHORE Double Head continues to be a top spot for anglers to chase mackerel and tuna off the rocks, and on any given calm day the anglers are basically shoulder to shoulder. Keppel Island and the surrounding areas still continue to produce everything from crays and trout through to

large red emperor. Still, spending time covering ground is a significant part of the game out in the ocean. There are many good patches of reef that are not common knowledge and are not as heavily fished as the other reef areas. It’s important to ‘do the miles’ to ‘get the smiles’. CRABBING With crabs well and truly on the move, now is the time to stock up on some of the essentials like name tags and bait bags, as these items perish quickly in the heat. Mullet is in good supply at the moment and the heads are great cheap bait for the pots. Many fishos like to keep their old fish frames, so they don’t go to waste and use that as an even cheaper bait source. With the changing water temperature the crabs will be moving around a lot, so spreading the pots out in the open and not grouped up will yield results.


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Peewee

Here’s hoping the fish are biting in your neck of the woods this fine November! The township of Stanage Bay is filled with excitement at the near completion of the boat ramp. It’s been a long time coming, but it looks absolutely amazing and should be very user friendly for any size boats. The access road into the bay is looking good with its ongoing maintenance. It’s a shame we haven’t had much needed rain to green it all up. Mud crabs are scarce. Fishers have had to go far up

The Wellsy crew scored double sweetlip twice!

The first use of the new highly anticipated boat ramp.

The Nord crew took some solid snapper.

the creeks and as far as Long Island to get a decent haul, but even still it’s been hard to win can be like winning the lottery. Don’t let this be a deterrent though, as you won’t know unless you have a try. Nearby creeks have had their consistent supply of bream and salmon. Smaller cod species have been caught around the rockier sanctions of Quail Island and if you’re trolling lures or cruising along the coastline in a smaller vessel, head south

and try for some tuskfish, stripeies or cod. Further afield, around the Marbles and Percy Isles is proving challenging, with little to show of late. It’s still worth a day trip though to make the most of the fine weather. The usual great quality fish such as nannygai, snapper, sweetlip and coral trout are there, the catch rates are just lower than normal. The ideal bait is a combination of squid, pilchards and some big mullet strips. Match big bait to catch big fish!

Whales are beginning to thin out but it’s not too late if you want to see a magnificent display. If you’re boating continue to keep your wits about, as you never know where they’re likely to pop up. Oysters can be found off the rocks so go for a pick off some of the islands or try off land at Flat Rock at low tide. If in doubt, check with a local – they may steer you in the right direction. The quota has been met for the local Jew Hole so this is now a no-take area. However, you can still have fun with catch and release. There are always options to keep you busy and the boat wet. The campgrounds are pretty quiet at present but

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47


Barra gone, but not forgotten YEPPOON

Scott Lynch ifishcq2@bigpond.com

The first of November means that barra season is closed and they are off limits for a few months in the estuaries. Let’s hope we get rain in quantities large enough for the barramundi to make use of the closed period and do what they are supposed to be doing! If you can’t live without

further afield, are world class fisheries where it is possible to land a trophy barramundi or even a record fish. Get online and purchase a permit before visiting the waterway. The methods for catching dam barra vary as much as there are lures and fishers. Big plastics, and hardbodies work very well once you find the technique that works on any given day. The weed bed edges, points, gullies, tree stands and other structures can all hold fish. The key is

(fingermark) are a popular species to chase in the local area. Unfortunately, the pressure they receive in various spots can make it very hard to get any consistent catches. Likewise, they don’t release well at almost any depth, so a fish caught and then released in 10m+ is receiving a death sentence. Only fish the spots until you have a couple of fish and then leave them alone. They are in a lot more spots than people think

Wade Clark and the Bearded Wonders with a decent Net Free Zone barra from the Fitzroy River. your barra fishing, then there are still a few great options within a few hours drive. We are fortunate to live central to many of the best barra dams: Monduran, Awoonga, Teemburra, Lenthalls, Kinchant, Eungella, Proserpine, Callide, Fairbairn and Theresa dams. All of these, and the others

to find the bite times for your particular spot. According to one of the area’s best known angler/guide, the fish will be feeding somewhere on the lakes almost all the time. The regulars fish night times and a lot of trips or comps are generally planned around the full moon. Golden snapper

and lots of times they are driven over in search of more obvious structured country. Rubble patches, reefs and wrecks near the coast are worth a shot. Golden snapper will take livies, baits and all sorts of lures. Vibes and large paddle-tails work best because you can get them down to the fish at the

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Jason Smithwick with a quality coral trout. the pelagics. The islands are also fishing well for mackerel and as long as the baits stick around there will be decent catches. The large schools of goat fish have come right into the Keppels and a stack of hungry critters followed. As usual we have had a number of small black marlin, striped marlin and small sailfish, and in some spots they have been in as shallow as 5m of water. All of the local bait grounds have had these welcome visitors lately. Live baits are the go, although several were hooked on floating pillies and trolled deep diving lures. Largemouth nannies have been unusually quiet in the close coastal grounds but the wider spots are firing well. The bigger fish were mainly caught north of on fern patches. The wonky holes we have been fishing in previous years have all dried up and are almost impossible to find. When we get some decent rains again they will open up and kick on. This time of year, the grounds off Manifold and over the green zone produce well. Grunter are here again, right on cue. Both the estuary and offshore fish are in fine form and the days surrounding either the full

moon or the new moon are the pick times. All my biggest grunter have been landed at night, in and offshore. Fresh prawns and squid are very hard to beat as the go-to grunter bait. However, more grunter are now being caught on slow jigged gear and vibes. Although the best catches have been on a big tide, grunter really like to sit out of the current. Try the pressure wave in front of a structure, or the eddy at the back or in the trenches under the main flow. These types of spots can be worked over with lures instead of waiting for the fish to find your bait. This also gives you more time to locate the fish and keep moving until you find them. Coral trout are always about and it is only the weather that stops more getting caught. They are one of the easiest to find and once you start getting a few you will find more, based on similar features you fish. Pressure waves, eddies and coral patches all hold trout. I like to find spots that have a bit of bait or have currents passing. Trout don’t like current and you will rarely catch a trout with any sort of run in the water. This month’s Coral Reef Finfish closures are from 24-28 November inclusive.

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required depths. Often we get black jew as a by-catch when targeting golden snapper, and again they don’t release very well. Black jew now fall under the new Fisheries rules where you will need to find out if you can even take one legally at any time – the season can end abruptly once the professional quota has been met. Mangrove jack are in fine form at present and are found in all the local main locations. They can be quite fickle and boat traffic can shut down a bite in no time. Night is the best time because it keeps numbers of fishers right down. The Causeway Lake would have to be our jack stronghold. The lake itself has very few spots with more than a metre of water, even over the high tide. As the root systems never go dry, the jacks can stay in the one spot all the time. They can be at almost every mangrove tree lining the creeks or the little channels around the lake. ‘The run-through’ is when we get high tides over about 3.6m and the outside water runs over the causeway. This works like a switch as the majority of fish in the lake go into feed mode. The area in front of the bridge and along the rock walls is so popular at a run-through that it resembles ‘tailor time’ at Indian Head. The majority of guys chasing jacks use either live or strip baits (even the so-called ‘lure-only’ crew). When fishing the holes and rock bars, just put your bait or lures hard to the structures. The mangroves require the lure or bait to be right tight up inside the root ball or underwater branches, then lock your drag and hang on and wind. The lure type can vary, although weedless has by far the best chance of getting in and out again. Coorooman Creek, Corio, Pumpkin Creek, Ross Creek, Kinka Creek and The Fitzroy all have small jack populations. Flathead, bream, whiting, cod and queenfish are all very active this month and mud crabs are back on the chew, making the estuaries a fine choice. Offshore and around the islands is heating up, like the weather. When the wind drops out we will get doggies and Spanish mackerel right inside the bay and along the many shore-based vantage spots. In the last month there have been several quality Spaniards landed from the Blow Hole, Porcupine Point and the rock wall at Rosslyn Bay Harbour. The lack of rain has allowed the bait schools longer access to the bay, and with it have come

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Warm weather, red-hot fishing MACKAY

Keith Day habdays@bigpond.net.au

As we get closer to Christmas, the barra gear has been put away, although barra in our three stocked dams will still be available to anglers with a SIPS permit. As

concentrating on the saltwater scene, with huge schools of baitfish close inshore. This guarantees the predators like mackerel, trevally, queenfish, cobia, and various tunas will be right in close and ready to give anglers hot action. There will be plenty of sharks around as well and they

Where there are bait balls, Spanish mackerel usually aren’t far away! Sammie Mercer loves the first run of decent Spaniards, like this one from near St Bees Island. northerly predominant winds during October are expected to continue through November, many anglers will be

will knock off catches if they get half a chance. Following coral spawning early in October, the waters have cleared up

nicely and there have been unbelievable quantities of small hardiheads etc. from the NFZ near Seaforth all the way south to Clairview and probably further down the coast. These baitfish schools are not hard to find, as birds will be working them with the predators. Mac tuna tend to charge the schools on or just under the surface, while the smaller macks slash at baitfish and trevally and the like will be underneath picking up the spoils. This makes for great sportfishing with 6-10kg spin gear, which can be used to drift baitfish, cast or troll live or dead baits, and toss lures like jigs, plastics or even shinies into the mayhem. For lure anglers, the best bet is not to cast to the middle of the school but to work the edges, as then there is less chance of another fish slashing at a knot, swivel or similar when there is a hook-up. Big grey mackerel, longtail tuna or solid trevally will give anglers a pretty good workout on this type of gear, but with quality fresh fish on the menu, the effort is worthwhile. This fishing is available

to anyone, as shore-based anglers have the harbour south wall, the trainer walls at the mouth of the river or Blacks Beach and the Eimeo headland all presenting opportunities. For the small boat angler, the choices are almost endless and a 4m tinny opens up all sorts of possibilities. To the north, the islands in the NFZ are a good start but these baitfish and predators are likely to pop up almost anywhere. Closer to Mackay, the rocky reef areas out from Shoal Point/Eimeo will produce good pelagics as well as providing some bottom bouncing action. The harbour area often has tuna and macks inside the walls but most action takes place between Slade Reef down past Slade Island and down to Hay Point areas. The best advice is to look for the bait. Northerly winds mean calm mornings

Ryan Borg jigged up this beaut GT while working a bait ball off Mackay Harbour. seasons and techniques and they are great on the plate, even though they are a bit of a pain to fillet. While pikey bream are dominant in mangrove creeks, we have some hooter silver bream in the harbour and along the trainer walls in the river. These are good

TURN FISHING INTO CATCHING Chris Ahmad caught five quality bream working plastic grubs along the trainer walls in the river.

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and roughing up during the afternoon, with the winds dying down just before dark. It’s been great to get an early start and spend a couple of hours on the water, before coming back home for lunch! In the creeks and estuaries, the late run of whiting will be tapering off but it is still possible to get a feed. Yabbies are a great bait, as almost anything will have a crack at them including exotics like barra, jacks, golden snapper and salmon, as well as the bread and butter species like whiting, flathead, grunter and silver and pikey bream. Yabby beds can be found throughout the district. If we get some decent storms, there will also be prawns running in the creeks. Flathead have been unreal this year and are still biting their heads off in all the creeks and estuaries. Apart from yabbies and prawns, they will take cut baits, small livies, lures and flies. They’re a fish for all

fun on light gear and will take all the baits mentioned above, as well as dough baits moulded on the hook. Jacks and golden snapper will be on the chew during November as the weather continues to heat up and the humidity builds. Stinking hot, still days are the go for them and they can be caught in surprisingly shallow water. Check out any rock bars, isolated rocks, and freshlyfallen mangroves. They will patrol the mangrove edges and sometimes can be sight cast but the water clarity has to be spot on, so look for the neap tides. King threadfin are available year round, though the smaller blue salmon tend to be more of a winter catch. The big threadies will work right up almost into freshwater and a sure pointer to them being around is small prawns nervously flicking along the edges of the creeks. Muddy sloping banks are good spots to start looking for

them. Kingies are good fun, but are not an easy fish to fillet with the large nodules on the backbone. In the freshwater, the barra dams are firing. Concentrate efforts on the shallow flats, as the fish tend more towards the shallows leading up to the wet season. Stealth is the go in the dams and an electric outboard is almost a must for casting lures or flies. Trolling a lure is also very effective and can result in some spectacular hits. Slow trolling with the angler giving plenty of rips to the rod, in water around 4-5m deep, seems to be producing results. There are literally hundreds of hardbodied lures that will work these depths and if trolling, try running a big 150mm paddle-tail well back from the boat. Night trolling can be very effective but with so many boats around, care is needed. Sooties are on the chew in the river and the dams and may even start to roe up if we get enough storms, although that looks unlikely at the moment. Sooties get very aggressive during the summer and as the backside figs and quandongs start to drop fruit, they will take up station under the overhangs and smack the fruit as it falls. This is the time for poppers cast well in under the trees, which can turn on some unreal action. MAFSA Inc. is continuing with stocking up the dams with SIPS funds and those generated by the Association. Before Christmas, MAFSA will stock around 25,00030,000 barra that are not part of the SIP scheme and orders have been placed for more, purchased with SIPS funds. All three dams and the Pioneer River weirs will receive their annual top ups to keep our freshwater barra fisheries well stocked. November will be hot and humid but it brings options galore for reef, inshore, creek and freshwater fishing.


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Spring days will deliver some great results WHITSUNDAYS

Mick Underwood

It has been a month of awesome weather. We have had the longest run of calm and sunny days since this time last year, making it absolute bliss to be out and about on the ocean, and on the whole the fish have obliged too!

The last few weeks, the inshore grounds have still been mostly about the pelagics, but this bite is slowing now. Instead, the inshore reef fish are coming to life and are beginning to take over the show. It’s been nice to see a few coral trout and sweetlip coming to hand as they have been a tough target throughout the cooler months. The fishing around the

islands this year was pretty much non-existent with very few fish getting caught. They have been as thick as all hell out wider in the shipping lanes but for some reason this season they didn’t want to come near the islands. Still out around the outer islands, the deeper reef and rubble patches haven’t fished the best either. Normally through this period of the year

Jordan Doss with one of many golden trevally that have been pulling anglers’ arms out their sockets.

The shallow water trout activity will get better this month and using hardbodied lures is a great way to bring them unstuck. Upon my return to Cape Gloucester Resort each day the bar has been full of groups of happy anglers grinning from ear-to-ear swapping stories of their day’s adventure. It sure is nice when everything aligns and we all get to enjoy some action-packed fun-filled days out on the ocean. Up in the estuaries, the rising water temperatures have seen the angling activity spring to life. Mangrove jack and barramundi have been the main targets for most anglers, and there have been plenty of both getting caught. The barramundi season is now closed until early next year so over the next three months it’ll have to be mangrove jack as a primary target species for creek anglers. Luckily

52

NOVEMBER 2019

fishing for just a few litres of fuel. A little tip for you when targeting reef fish in this area is that the ebb tide works best, as opposed to the flood that is normal when targeting trout. In general, there is typically a good flurry right on the turn of the tide. The reef fish won’t be the only fish to target on the inshore grounds this month, there will be some pelagic activity to be enjoyed also although it could be a bit of a lucky dip as to what species will be hanging around. The tuna action has started to pick up a bit recently so let’s hope they will hang about and provide some quality light tackle entertainment. This time last year we got invaded by massive schools of spotty mackerel, if they decide to turn up again this year then it will be on for young and old. If they do visit us again then they typically don’t hang around for long. So if you happen to hear that they’re about, make sure

probably shy away from venturing out there too often. The deeper reef and rubble patches can be tough going, and the Spanish mackerel have migrated south for the summer. There will be some good reef fishing to get into up in the shallows but, as I have already said, there will be plenty of good trout options right on our doorstep so I don’t really see the need to travel that far for a coral trout. As the old saying goes, ‘don’t drive past fish to look for fish’. Best of luck with your fishing this month. Whatever species you decide to chase may they all be monsters and plenty of them! • Reel Addiction Sport Fishing Charters specialises in light tackle fishing for all tropical sportfishing species on fly, lures and bait. Reel Addiction operates from the beautiful Cape Gloucester Beach Resort, 40 minutes’ drive north of Airlie Beach. Combined fishing charter and

Keen young angler Reuben Wright enjoyed getting into the tuna recently. These guys should hang around and provide some good entertainment throughout November.

Grant Drummond with a decent black jewfish. They have been tough this month but with a little perseverance a few have been caught. for us here in the northern Whitsundays there are piles of them – we are quite lucky to have such a vibrant jack fishery.

the water and out of the game. Now that the water has warmed significantly I’d like to concentrate a lot of my efforts relatively close to home on the shallow country and I expect that I’ll continue to hammer away in these areas right through the summer. The fringing reefs that wrap around any mainland headlands and the inner islands are all loaded with good

outer islands hasn’t been the best and the bite could best be described as intermittent and hard to pick. Spanish mackerel season around the

I expect to get good consistent catches of largemouth nannygai and black jewfish. I’ve managed to get a few for the guys and girls that have come out with me but, for the hours that have been put in, the results have been largely poor. Onto November and what we can hopefully get some hooks into this month. I’m a little nervous about November this year as I am still bemused and harbouring bad memories from this time last year. Last year we got belted by about six weeks of rotten nor-westers which didn’t even allow me to get my boat into the water for the most of it. I am praying that this year the weather gods will be a little kinder to us and keep the stinking northerlies at bay as they are pretty much the only winds that keep us all off

numbers of chunky coral trout and as they are now in their spawning season they will be snapping their heads off. A reminder to everyone that there is a reef fishing closure from 24-28 November and reef fish will be off limits for these days. The reef systems around Georges Point and Saddleback Island are good places to go for a trout hunt as there are plenty to be found there, and there is a lot of country to find them on as well. This is a good spot on busy days when there are a lot of boats on the water, as things don’t get too congested and everyone still has plenty of space to work. As an added bonus, this area is also only a few minutes from the Dingo Beach boat ramp so people can get out and enjoy a full day of

Sarah Cumming with her first ever queenfish and it was a cracker! that you’re Johnny-on-the-spot and get your backside out there and amongst them. We’ve just had the best queenfish and golden trevally bite that I have witnessed for some time. Even if just a few of those guys hang around then there will pelagic entertainment aplenty. Out around the outer islands, unless the conditions are right for a billfish, I’ll

accommodation packages are available. For more information, contact Mick Underwood on 0413 882 153 or email mick@reeladdiction. com.au. Resort enquiries can be directed to Julie Houston on (07) 4945 7242 or at info@ capeg.com.au. To stay in touch with what’s biting, check out the Reel Addiction Sport Fishing Whitsundays page on Facebook.


Mango winds shutdown AYR

Steve Farmer

At the time of writing, Burdekin fishing has been going through a quiet phase with outstanding catches being few and far between. The bluewater scene has been particularly limited over the past month, thanks mainly to the infamous ‘mango winds’ which, as well as blowing flowers off the

seem to fish well almost all year round these days, with most creeks across the delta producing catches of at least modest sized fish. Anglers should remember that there are two different species of grunter in Burdekin creeks, each with a different legal size. The legal size for silver grunter is 30cm while the barred grunter must be at least 40cm. There isn’t a lot of fillet on a 30cm grunter, so if you have trouble identifying

are still holed up in many Burdekin creeks and while numbers have decreased, size is better than during the winter lizard peak. Just recently I briefly hooked, played and lost one monster that would have gone close to the 75cm maximum size at which it would have been a release option only. It came from a classic lizard lair – a 15cm deep channel spilling the rising tide over a drop-off and across an

Bream are a welcomed by-catch in Burdekin estuaries at the moment. flowering mango trees at this time of the year (hence their name), also ensure bluewater crews don’t get a chance to head offshore. Another factor that has probably reduced pressure on pelagic and demersal bluewater species is that the sugar cane harvesting and crushing season is still in full swing, meaning a lot of anglers are working long hours rather than going fishing. The good news is that the estuary fishing should be hotting up as we move into an exciting time of the year. Barramundi will have had plenty of attention right up to midday on 1 November and are now off the menu for the duration of the closed season, which opens again at midday 1 February. Up until early October estuarine barramundi results have been average in both numbers and sizes, with a lot of fish being barely legal. Results from the freshwater reaches of the Burdekin River have been more impressive in late winter and early to mid-spring, especially for anglers keen enough to be casting lures or swimming live baits under the cover of darkness. Unfortunately, many anglers had to contend with more and bigger bull sharks than usual taking a liking to their livies. One of the estuarine highlights across the district over the past month has been the continuing catches of grunter, many ranging from 45-60cm in length. Grunter

the two species it probably pays to impose your own legal size of at least 40cm on all grunter. That way there’s no chance of unintentionally breaching the size limits. The other highlight at this time of the year is, not surprisingly, mangrove jack. The more the weather warms up the more jack action anglers can expect. With a maze of mangrove-lined estuaries fed by a major river system, plenty of exciting

expanse of sand flats. I’m sure the big lizard didn’t even know it was hooked at first and, considering its size and breeding potential, I wasn’t overly disappointed when she threw the fine treble hooks and casually finned away to enjoy her freedom. Another species that we usually associate with winter estuary or beach fishing is bream, but there are still a few frequenting Burdekin estuaries at the moment. Most

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It’s still worth chasing lizards in Burdekin estuaries. Numbers are down but sizes are up in most creeks across the delta. estuarine fishing is one thing the Burdekin district can offer local and visiting fishers. The only drawback is that most of these creeks are relatively shallow, making them tidal dependent when it comes to moving about in even the smallest of tinnies. Tide charts are an essential piece of fishing equipment for a day on the water. The ever-reliable flathead

bream are being taken as by-catch on baits intended for the likes of grunter or lures aimed at mangrove jack. Most aren’t monsters, measuring in at around 28-30cm at best and at that size yield little in the way of fillets. However, on light tackle they can be a heap of fun and provide a bit of variety in the catch, especially if the fishing has been quiet.

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53


Enjoying offshore adventures TOWNSVILLE

Dave Hodge

As it’s the end of barra season, there has been lots of excitement about the warming waters and the prolific bait schools nervously negotiating the estuaries and bays. Bigger tides have seen the flats firing and the flooded mangroves holding the bigger fish where only the most ambitious casters can reach. Reaching the fish has been one thing, but landing them hasn’t been so straightforward. Don’t forget that with a SIPS permit, you can fish the fresh reaches of the Ross all year round. Barra seem to be hitting hard and pulling even harder as the water warms. The other day I got railed by an 80cm fish that

Shannon scored this colourful trout on bait while fishing the reef. it was a few weeks ago. As I write, water temperatures are up over 25°C. Jacks have been

aren’t producing at present. It used to be that you could pick where your next jack would come from, it was that predictable, and 15 or more jacks in a day wasn’t unusual, but something’s changed. Since the eclipse a few months ago, tide changes

been on the hit list for anyone heading offshore and some good sizes and numbers have been taken, with 20kg+ fish regularly smashing wolfies, gar and lures. Downrigging wolfies has been very successful, particularly for the bigger

Jack numbers are down slightly but there are still a few getting around. The best depths to target were mostly between 1.5-10m, which also meant that sharks

As the water warms, barra are taking bigger lures and this 7” Halco Paddle Prawn is a great option when looking for a weedless plastic. would have done a metre fish proud. Another seasonal change has been the size of the lures more readily accepted, as a bigger lure isn’t being shunned the way

conspicuous in their absence. There are some odd ones poking around the deeper faster flowing waters where there are usually barra, but the usually reliable snags just

Hook sets and shock absorption are aspects you need to take into consideration for barra fishing. Having a rod with a soft tip and plenty of guts in the butt section is important. The Refraction 1620lb is one of the author’s favourites for this. 54

NOVEMBER 2019

While the fish caught isn’t big, the 4” Atomic Prong with its tail dipped in Quick Coat chartreuse works very well in clear water. haven’t been on the predicted times and the amount of flow has been quite variable in comparison to the estimates, but always less than expected. The recent bluegreen algae bloom that hit the bay and several rivers has coincided with the reduced water flow, so there hasn’t been a good flush out like usual. Hopefully things will come back into line shortly, as it seems that with every set of full moon tides, things are slowly working back towards ‘normal’. With a few days here and there being calm enough for the reef enthusiasts to head wide, the action has been pretty good, but the lack of fish landed thanks to the shark scourge is getting ridiculous now. One boat counted over 60 hook-ups on good fish that never made it to the boat. Spanish mackerel have

fish. The standard tackle for Spanish fishing at present is 50-80lb braid, 80-150lb leader and 140lb single strand wire traces and the fight tactic is to go as hard as possible on them if you want to land them whole. For anglers with boats big enough to head out to the shallow visible reefs, casting stickbaits, plastics and soft vibes has been going through a bit of resurgence at present. For those uninitiated to this white-knuckle style of lure casting, sporting tackle has no place out here. While it’s been years since I’ve been out to do it, my favourite style of outfit was a 50lb braid spin combo. This is considered ‘sporting’ in some areas, and while you will get smoked quite regularly, you’ll get many more bites on 50. Plenty of anglers are not aware of how much action can be had over shallow reef.

weren’t such an issue. Fights aren’t drawn out battles requiring the stamina of a triathlete, but more brutal, ‘knock ‘em down drag ‘em

out’ affairs that push anglers and tackle to the limit! If you want to give it a go before forking out the dollars and getting a designated outfit for the reef casting, you can give it a go with a barra styled baitcaster or spin outfit with smaller lures, but your lure losses will be quite high. However, it will give you an indication of the amount of action achievable. Things to pack in the arsenal are soft plastics, poppers, stickbaits like the Halco Slidog 150, shallow running divers, and anything else that you don’t mind losing in a screaming run. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, but even just writing and remembering this bit of my history has got my casting finger all twitchy, and my back aching. Barra and jacks suit me more nowadays, as my battered old body and my budget leans more towards the inshore visual snagcasting scenario. Having so many options at hand makes me feel blessed to live in this part of the world.

Contrast is key to getting the most barra action. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!


The build-up to the wet CAIRNS

Garry Smith garrysmith@fishingmonthly.com.au

November usually heralds the build-up to the wet getting serious, but it’s anyone’s guess what will happen this year. The southeasterly winds have been consistent and strong this year, with the least chances to get out wide in any year in living memory. Let’s hope there is a bit of a balancing of the ledger this month! The limited chances to get out wide have been

lapped up by locals, with incredibly crowded boat ramps and tackle stores selling out of squid and pilchards just a few days into a flat spell. On the whole, the fishing has been fantastic at the reef when the weather has given approval, with trout and reds being taken in good numbers and quality. Mackerel were around in reasonable numbers but have slowed considerably. There is always the odd big homer Spaniard about to give anglers’ gear a work out just the same. Overnighters will still

Jack Foure with a quality queenfish. They should be around if the rain has held off.

be the most productive trips, provided the storms don’t start building on the hinterland. The heat will really amp up this month, so avoiding the heat of the day is doubly important for self-protection and productivity. Most action at the reef will occur on dawn and dusk and the change of tides, so make sure you are on a good bit of country when the time comes and wait for the bite to come on. Chose locations that are holding bait or have fish showing and be patient. Don’t forget there is no targeting of coral reef fin fish allowed during the second of two closures from 24-28 November. Trout will be found in the shallows unless the water temperature has climbed to around 30ºC. When it gets really hot it’s best to fish deeper as the fish will be seeking cooler conditions. Pelagics should be going into overdrive this month, especially out towards the shelf, where gold spot trevally, giant trevally, wahoo, mahimahi and yellowfin tuna will be challenging the light tackle brigade. The heavy tackle season will be in full swing and reports of big blacks and the odd grander have been filtering through. Inshore reefs, wrecks, rocks and islands will be holding pelagics also, along with nannygai and golden snapper. Hopefully calmer weather will allow anglers

Coral trout, like this beauty caught by Ritchie Gill, should be on the chew up in the shallows. to have plenty of chances to hit a few inshore spots this month. Trevally are often in overdrive around inshore fish attractions this month and it can take some effort and ingenuity to get past them to the more desirable species. The headland and inshore reefs north and south of Cairns will be the best places to chase golden snapper, with live baits or lures. Trolling deep divers that occasionally bump the bottom or drifting and jigging soft plastics are great methods to locate both feeding fish and country that will hold golden

snapper. If the country looks good on the sounder there’s a good chance that golden snapper will be there feeding at some stage, so it’s just a matter of putting in the time and variety of techniques until you start nailing a few. Rubbly bottom adjacent to heavy cover, isolated rocks and patches of wire weed are all good golden snapper hunting grounds. Barra are off the target list for the next few months but there will be plenty of mangrove jack on the chew to keep anglers happy and challenged. Downsizing lures will increase

your chances of nailing jacks while reducing the incidence of barra by-catch. Soft plastics in the 3” range and hardbodies around the same size will see you under a jack attack if presented right up into the heavy cover. Bait soakers will find a few grunter, trevally, queenfish and salmon on the bite on the flats areas and river mouths provided there hasn’t been early heavy rain to dirty up the streams. Fishing from dawn to the top of the tide in the lead-up to the full and new moons will be the best times to try these areas.

Hoping for the winds to abate PORT DOUGLAS

Lynton Heffer www.fishingportdouglas.com.au

Despite the days getting warmer, the tropics has yet to throw the shackles from the relentless southeasterly winds. This has been the case for a long time now and we will not see any change until the winds start to shift to the east. It will go down in history as probably the windiest year on record, and that is from those that have lived in the area for over 30 years. Despite the challenges, the fishing has been producing quite well on all fronts with a big shift in focus to the game fishing scene. Small black marlin to 200lb started turning up on the shelf in late September, and by early October the 600-700lb models made an appearance. By now

the super-sized big females will be well and truly in the area. The marlin heavy tackle season is expected to turn a reel until mid-December. There has been plenty of bonus action on the shelf with the yellowfin tuna schools turning up late September, and they have been mostly around the 15-20kg range. On top of this, there has been some thumping-sized wahoo caught up to 80lb, which are a force to be reckoned with. As November moves on, we should see mahimahi join the action and a few more sailfish as well. On the reef, the fishing has ticked along nicely, with some quality hauls of reef fin species. After the first of the reef closures in late October, the fishing can be a bit finicky, but to-date it hasn’t been the case. There’s been substantial numbers of big coral and bar cheek trout found on the grounds where they tend to congregate for the spawning period. Outside

of this the nannygai have been a bit patchy, but this has been mainly due the adverse weather conditions preventing targeting them in the more open and deep waters of 35-45m. Back in the shallower and more protected waters, there has been solid action on the spangled emperor and, in more recent times, the red emperor have come to the fore in healthy numbers. Many have been up around the 7-8kg range, which is a trophy. Trevally schools have provided lots of fun when they move through. There’s plenty of bread and butter species on the chew, such as sweetlip, Moses perch and stripies. We have seen another burst of cobia recently. They seem to be almost a common catch at the moment. Up to six hard fighting cobia have been caught in the one location and all off the bottom. The Spanish mackerel have remained consistent overall with some big rogue

20kg+ models turning up at times. In the local creeks and estuary, the barra had a run before the closure began on 1 Nov and were mainly caught after dark using live mullet down around the harbour. For the day angler, mangrove jack have been the best performers, with the local estuary producing many fish around the 40-45cm mark. It hasn’t been rocket science, because they have been mostly partial to the old-fashioned pilchard and a dropping tide has been most productive time. The incoming tide has also seen a few queenfish on the move and some good-sized trevally to 50cm, which are fun on the light gear. They have been tempted by 4” soft plastics and mainly around the deeper bends where they tend to gather. Just a reminder the Port Douglas Marlin Challenge is on again this year from 8-12 November and entries are still open.

Saltaire Charters have been tangling with plenty of black marlin during the early stages of the heavy tackle season. NOVEMBER 2019

55


Fish firing up in the NFZ CAIRNS

Dan Kaggelis dkaggelis@gmail.com

November is always a tough time for anglers in the Net Free Zone with the mighty barramundi off the target list. However, take some solace in the fact these fish will be breeding up big time to produce even more numbers for anglers to catch!

The warm weather has arrived and the fish have been chewing their heads off. We had to wait a little longer for the cold to disappear this year but now that the water is warm, the fishing is on fire. The top species in all creeks has been golden snapper and mangrove jack. Golden snapper have been schooling up nicely, particularly in Cairns Inlet in the deeper holes and rubble, and there are plenty of fish

Mud crabs are on the move in the NFZ.

between the 40-60cm mark. Bigger fish are amongst them and fresh baits or vibe style lures are the way to catch them. Sounding them up is the trick and a quality side imaging sounder will help you put some golden scales in your boat. These fish love the neap tides and the lack of run makes them easier to target in the deeper water. Mangrove jacks are really biting well and smashing lures all over the place. Molix RT Shads and Biwaa Paddle Tail soft plastics fished weedless into snags have been getting the best success at the moment. The warm weather has got them really firing and you’d better put the light gear away, as they aren’t fighting clean either. These fish are running hard back to the snags so make sure you have got plenty of stopping power on your reels and your line doesn’t have too much length or give or else you will be retying leaders. Half Moon Creek, the Inlet, Barron and Thomatis have all been giving up plenty of jacks to lures and bait and are a great alternative to catching barra this time of year. Mud crabs have continued to be plentiful. With the lack of rain they are

moving right to the top of the creeks, so it’s best to set your pots as far up the drains as you can get them. Add a bit of squid to your bait boxes and you will entice estuary cod to your pots, which are always a pleasant bonus. The open beaches will be fishing well this time of year, especially when the northerlies start blowing. When the beaches are calm, hit the little gutters and mouths with vibe style lures for some awesome queenfish action, especially when the tide is high. This month, the Cairns

Targeting jacks is a good way to avoid catching barramundi during the closed season.

Jacks love the Molix RT Shad paddle-tails at the moment.

Recreational Fishing Council Team is gearing up for our first Net Free Zone Forum. We will be working on sharing our journey over the last three years in developing the Cairns Recreational Fishing Strategy and what we have in store for the future. The other priority will be working collaboratively with the Mackay and Rockhampton Net Free Zone teams in how we can join together to support each other’s success. The forum will be held on 7 November so if you are passionate about fishing in the NFZ, please come along.

Time to smack some jacks HINCHINBROOK

Ian Moody info@ianmoodyfishing.com

At the tail end of October, the water temperature started to creep up and the barra were responding quite well to shallow hardbody lures fished on the flats, drains and

appearance before the season ended. In early October, there was a noticeable absence of mullet and herring schools that should have been around like previous years. We got the best results in areas that held a few baitfish. Just before the season ended there were quite a few aggregations starting to build in the usual

a 70cm barra during a night session in early October near Cardwell, when removing its stomach contents he found it was full of roe. Sometimes if there is a noticeable lack of larger females around, the smaller males will turn female a lot earlier in life to help kick start the recruitment cycle to ensure survival of their own species. Mangrove jack also

Barra are now off the menu until next February. backwaters. Most fish were in the 60-80cm range with the bigger girls not making an 56

NOVEMBER 2019

haunts at the mouth of rivers and tributaries in preparation for their breeding cycle. A good mate of mine caught

became during water They

a regular capture October as the temps increased. certainly thrive

on those hot summer days and are a brilliant species to chase during the closed barramundi season, which runs from Midday 1 November 2019 until midday 1 February 2020 in all tidal waters in Queensland. Placing baits like mullet close into the snag or casting hardbodied or weedless plastics deep into timber or rocky outcrops is bound to get you into a fight with a jack that will give you a run for your money. Quite often you will have to make sure they don’t peel too much line off or you’re certain to lose a lot of tackle. With the barra fever coming to an end, we start to shift our focus to other species like golden snapper (fingermark), queenfish, large mouth nannygai and threadfin salmon to name a few. The Lucinda sugar jetty is a great place to chase these types of species, which often respond well to the building tides leading up to the moons. High speed retrieving metal slices will quite often get you tangled up with the ever-present big queenies that frequent the pylons out there. Or jigging vibes for golden snapper close to the pylons. King threadfin salmon is

Mangrove jack thrive on hot summer days. a fish that I will be chasing in November. You can often find them holding up in decent numbers with a good side scanning sonar in junctions or deep holes

in bends. Baits like mud herring placed on a dropper rig or soft vibes jigged at the right depth placed in front of them usually gets To page 57


Good catches should continue LUCINDA

Jeff Wilton jeffwilton83@hotmail.com

Just like that, it’s November and another year has just about passed us by. It’s been a cracking few months around Lucinda but it is now closed season for barramundi and we are all hoping for another great wet season to boost numbers even more.

mangrove-lined creeks. I recommend studying the tide chart and matching up some tide changes to periods of low light. A perfect example of this for me would be a low tide about 3pm, which allows for about 3 hours of run-in tide in the late evening. I would be on the water and entering the creek right on low and as the tide starts to push in, go with it flicking all the structure on the way.

out fish using traditional hardbodied lures or sinking soft plastics. Jacks just can’t resist smashing lures off the surface and, from a sports fishing perspective, it’s very hard to beat. It does take some skill to learn how to skip lures under overhanging structure, but once you get the hang of it, the results will make the effort worthwhile. There are heaps of top water options for jacks but

Molly Rose had sore arms after hauling her catch from 35m. There was some great barra fishing before the closure with plenty of double figure sessions on schooling fish around the 60-70cm range. Let’s hope the weather settles down a little to allow for everyone to get out into the blue water to get into some tasty reef fish. November is a tricky month as the hot and normally dry weather can make the fishing tougher. It is about now where those early morning or later afternoon sessions can really go off, so check out the tide charts and plan well. HINCHINBROOK CHANNEL With barra off the list, thoughts turn to chasing the mighty mangrove jack up in one of Hinchinbrook’s many From page 56

the results. Likewise, on big tides I often catch them on shallow rocky headlands in the fringing dirty water lines using shallow divers. Sharks have been giving a lot of anglers a

The best creeks for jacks are the smaller skinnier creeks or off shoots off bigger creeks. Look for lots of heavy structure and over hanging mangrove branches, and you’ll need to make sure the baitfish are hanging about. Jacks are ambush feeders and will sit on the front of snags with the current hitting them directly. By doing this, they only have to wait for the baitfish to get pushed close enough to dart out and smash them. The old saying of ‘no run, no fun’ is very true with jacks, as periods of little water movement normally has them sulking deep in their snaggy homes not interested in eating. Fishing for them with surface lures is the best fun and, if done correctly, will

hands down my favourite are the Finesse FrogZ from ZMan. They’re only small and have to be thrown on spin gear but they skip well and paddle so nicely that jacks can’t resist trying to eat them. They’re so enjoyable and effective that I rarely ever use anything else now when chasing jacks from structure. Apart from the red-hot jack fishing, the other fish to set sights on are golden snapper (fingermark). Plenty of local anglers chase nothing else other than these fish as they fight well and taste terrific. The channel is full of deep holes, rubble and rocks that all hold golden snapper. If you’re new to the area it is probably best to spend

hiding over the last month. There have been a lot of reports that up to 60% of fish hooked are being taken by them. Best practice has been to move on once you’ve taken one or two fish at a certain spot, but lately it seems just about

impossible to escape them. • Now is the time to get in and secure your spot for the 2020 barramundi season starting in February. To book a charter, you can email us at info@ ianmoodysportfishing.com with your enquiry.

some time looking over nautical maps before heading out and spending a few hours staring at your sounder. A good starting point is to head over and look around the bluff as there are great looking spots everywhere. The best results are normally from night sessions and it is no secret that live baits, such as squid or sardines, will get more attention. Plenty of local anglers won’t even bother with frozen baits for golden snapper and will spend a lot of time gathering good fresh bait themselves. The smaller tide variances are better as there is still water movement to get the fish active. Large tide differences can be difficult as the water can really rip through the channel, which makes fishing difficult. JETTY, ISLANDS AND REEF As always the jetty will be worth a few hours of your time chasing the queenfish and trevally. There will still be the odd mackerel about as well and the last few months produced a few great Spaniards as by-catch. Get out there and throw a few soft plastics around the

Summer time is jack time. pylons for some fun. Getting the bite is normally the easy bit, it’s getting the fish to the boat that can prove difficult. The hundreds of pylons means the fish has the advantage straight away, so it takes some good rod work and sometimes some boat manoeuvring to win the fight. If the wind allows, there will be some decent bar cheek trout hanging about the Palm islands. Look around for deeper areas that have some rubble or rock ledges with plenty of bait in

the vicinity. Anchoring can be tricky but if you get it right and drop some baits into these areas you should get a few good fish. These spots normally produce a good fish or two, and then it is best to move on. The reef will be fishing great if we can get there. With the water temps rising it is now time to head into deeper waters to get good numbers of trout. Water around 30m should produce, especially if there is a lot of bait about. As always, fresh bait will get better results.

Off the top is the best way to catch jacks.

Contact us today! Threadies are a popular target in November.

07 3800 7664

NOVEMBER 2019

57


Calm days can make for hectic reef fishing COOKTOWN

Justin Coventry

Last month’s conditions were great with opportunities open to fish the rivers and the reefs. Good quality catches have put smiles on fishos’ faces, as all the right conditions have lined up and fish have been hungry and willing to put up a fight.

Big barramundi and saratoga were on the rampage once the waters warmed, but landing such big fish is hard when they dive back into the very snag structure you had to entice them out of in the first place. I had a massive saratoga wrap me around three tree branches of a fallen tree and ended up releasing itself at my feet. At least it meant I was able to get my lure back

always rewarding, especially when going with like-minded anglers. You may not come home with fish in the freezer, but releasing them allows fish to fight another day and ensures future stocks. Now that it is November, the temperatures are rising and the fishing is on the boil. Calm weather windows will appear more often and the fish are hungrier than ever, with water receding,

Steve caught this 80cm barra before the closed season.

Joshua scored this beautiful coral trout. Early in the month, the sea was calm enough that the town shut down with the anticipation of fresh reef fish for dinner! I was lucky to get the family out for a chance to get some mouth-watering coral trout and it wasn’t long before we had plenty to feed on. Joshua caught a largemouth nannygai from a new spot that would have gone near 10kg. The wildlife around on that day made it worthwhile even without the fishing, as we spotted loads of turtles and a reef visiting dugong. The glassed out conditions made boating around a breeze. Later in the month once the winds returned, the only options available were heading up the rivers or looking inland. Having enjoyed lure fishing up the Cape recently, we headed up to see if the temperature rise would produce more captures. Although we did catch some great fish, it was a little slow until the water temperatures increased after lunch.

before retrieving all the line through the snag. My friend Steve was able to navigate an 80cm barramundi through a snag to bring it to shore for a quick photo before being released. Trips like this are

waterholes getting landlocked and baitfish numbers rapidly reducing due to the ravenous appetite of the trapped predators. Barramundi fishing is no longer an option with the closure of the season this

Steve landed an 80cm saratoga from a snag and released the fish after photographing.

SEASON

7

IS HERE!

Every Saturday 5.00pm on 58

NOVEMBER 2019

month. The fish in these holes have a long wait ahead before rains return and the river rises enough to allow them freedom to move down the system into open water. They can be in fairly poor condition by then and having people target them at this time puts extra strain on their survival, as exerting themselves burns more energy than they may be able to recover from. Leave them be for their closed season and target reef fish, as the weather will be much more favourable and the quality of fish much more pleasing. Bait will be in abundance at the local wharf and mackerel, queenfish and trevally will be on the bite. Herring and pike also make great bait on the reef if you keep the bait fresh and freeze quickly. Always put salt in the bags to help preserve them, especially when they are thawed for use, as it becomes a saltwater brine mixture and keeps the bait longer. Reef fishing is the plan for many anglers this month and thoughts and dreams are of large red emperor, largemouth nannygai and fresh coral trout for dinner. The reef is closed from 24-28 November, but there are still options trolling for pelagic fish and there is

always a chance to catch the ultimate prize fish, marlin. Be prepared and get your gear ready. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have

the really good chance of landing the big one. Do your research and apply these methods and see how you go.

Joshua was thrilled to land this hefty largemouth nannygai from the boat.

OUTDOOR & FISHING SHOW

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Estuary species on the chew WEIPA

Ian Street

We’re at the tail end of the billfish season, and it’s been a good one. The fishing has been really top class since the middle of June. The Weipa Billfish Club had their annual billfishing tournament on the first long weekend in October. While the fishing wasn’t as red hot as it had been earlier in the season, the lower numbers made for an excitingly close competition.

A total of 49 anglers fished from 15 boats, ranging from 4.5m to 12.2m, and accounted for 28 sailfish and two black marlin tagged from 63 bites. The winning team caught five sailfish, and club member Darrel French went on to tag his 100th billfish for the season. The billfish season typically lasts until the end of November, so it’s still worth having a go before they move on. The stand approach is to have a rigged skipping gar on one side, a pusher on the

The Champion Team at the Weipa Billfish Tournament was Team Happy Days (5000 points, five sailfish), consisting of Tegan Witcher, Ben Bright, Theona Down and Kas Nolan. Image courtesy of Weipa Billfish Club.

other and a daisy chain in the middle. One of the standout pushers this year has been the 7.5” Buku Hawaii in bleeding dorado. The pelagic fishing has been pretty good, with plenty of Spanish mackerel between 3 Mile and 12 Mile. Bottom bouncers are also doing well, with good catches of tuskfish, golden snapper (fingermark) and red emperor in 8-20m of water. There’s a heap of bait in the area, and the predators are taking full advantage. Most of the bottom species are being caught on squid, prawns or pilchard, but a few people are using plastics for them. A favourite is the 150mm Chasebaits Ultimate Squid in glow ink colour, which has been accounting for some good size golden snapper. It’s closed season for barra until 1 February, so any barra caught need to be released. To minimise stress to the fish, the best tip is to leave it in the water and remove the hook or lure with pliers. If you do have to bring the fish on board to get the hooks out, always support its belly. Even though barra are off the table there is still some excellent estuary fishing to be had, with mangrove jacks, golden snapper and king

threadfin salmon all on offer. These species bite really well at this time of year, especially the king salmon. In the creeks, the standard bait is live mullet, and most popular lure is the Gulp Prawn 5” jigging shrimp in white glow. When the water is more turbid, it’s best to use the nuclear chicken colour. You’ll get the best results on a very, very slow twitch retrieve. Focus your efforts on rocky headlands, snags, and dirty water current lines coming out of drains onto a mud flat. The best fishing time is an hour and a half before or after high or low tide, which gives you 2-3 hour window every day. FISHING IN NOVEMBER In the coming weeks the mackerel will probably slow down for all mackerel species, due to the increasing water temperature. When this happens the mackerel tend to go deep, head south, or both. Other pelagics such as longtail tuna have been a bit slow this year, and it probably won’t pick up until around March next year, when nutrients filter through after the wet season. GTs, golden trevally and queenfish are always around the rocky headlands,

Now is a good time of year to catch golden snapper. the closer regions offshore and the mouths of the rivers. Look for the birds following the bait schools and you’ll find the predators. Two of the stand-out poppers are 140mm Halco Roostas and 105 Strada Pro Torments. Metal slugs are also effective on queenfish and trevally, anywhere between 20-45g depending on the size of the bait. In the meantime we’ll be eagerly awaiting a few storms and the start of the wet

season so the barramundi can do their thing. • Tackle World Weipa are your one stop shop when entering the region, with an abundance of fishing gear to suit your every need. There’s also a large range camping gear, apparel and other essentials that you’ll need in the North. Call in and say g’day to the friendly team at Shop 6, Commercial Av, Weipa or visit www. tackleworldweipa.com.au.

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59


Monduran Dam makes good BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe wkff@aapt.net.au

Fred Haigh Dam, better known as Lake Monduran, is an interesting impoundment. At the spillway this waterway doesn’t look overly big,

but it actually extends far to the west with associated arms and bays. It’s truly a massive waterway in the grand scale of things. This impoundment has been stocked with barramundi for many years, but has an unenviable reputation for being a ‘hot and cold’ fishery. Various

flood events in the last decade resulted in untold numbers of more mature fish riding the downstream flow towards the sea. The fishing became pretty tough; with the lake licking the spillway, the remaining fish really shut down. It’s common for fish to react this way to major changes to their environment.

However, a week spent camping and fishing there recently convinced me that re-stocking efforts have paid off. The fish are now of a size to make things very interesting if you’re fishing in the heavy timber; a larger fish these days is around 85-90cm. These fish give fly anglers like your scribe a thorough workout, even if you’re fishing in the more open areas required. Overall, it’s a vast improvement compared to those early days after the lake finally stopped overflowing. DOWN SHE GOES! Several features have contributed to the quality of the fishing. Firstly, the lake’s level has dropped markedly. It has fallen around 2m at the spillway and well over 4m up in the timbered back paddocks and flats of the impoundment. Thriving

The author with a fat Lake Monduran barra. on sounders than ever. This sees switched-on lure anglers taking fish on virtually every outing when fishing in heavy timber around points and in back of forested bays. A RUN UP THE DAM Talk around the camp

there) and headed west. We travelled to ‘B’ bay because there were quite a lot of open banks with water under 3m in the southern arm, which is ideal for our fly fishing. We were using 10wt, 4-piece TFO

A point, a scattering of sticks, and a clear area to play a fish – an ideal spot to cast a fly and test the waters for big barra.

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This 87cm fish taken by Denise was one of a pair taken half an hour apart. weed beds are non-existent, and while the lake’s level continues to drop this is unlikely to change. With the absence of weed, barra are more exposed

kitchen was that a lot of fish were being taken from 12-15km from the campgrounds so we launched at the ramp down under the cabins (a big time saver

Mangrove fly rods, plus reels with powerful drags set up with Rio 10wt intermediate fly lines. Leaders were set up with 0.5m of 40lb FC100 to prevent getting


bitten off or chafed off. Our usual tactic was to tie up in a spot we liked the look of, and start casting – or to alternatively cruise slowly under electric power and cast to features as they come into range. When tied up we allocated a certain amount of time, and if no fish marked on the sounder we moved.

by dinner table-sized swirls were my reward, but there were certainly enough barra showing on the side scan to keep us optimistic. That said, it was still teethgrindingly frustrating to see those big dark shapes right by the boat yet our flies were given the flick. On one occasion we saw

An evening fishing location that is worth a fly or lure cast. Note the waves coming onto the shore, the failing light, and the cover to hold fish. SOME SUCCESS ON THE FLY Up in ‘B’ there were also many hectares of standing timber in the shallower water, but that’s not for us. Sure, the barra are much more plentiful in the timber, but why end up breaking off a fish or worse, a fly line? At any rate our first excursion was fruitful, with both Denise and I scoring a barra each of 87cm and 86cm respectively on our 10wt fly tackle. My 86cm fish was unusually broad and thick set, and probably was the strongest barra of comparable size I have caught in many years. My efforts to pull him back to the boat only saw him taking off with more line (against the Galvan’s very stiff drag) time and time again. Denise’s fish wasn’t

These few lilies are typical of the minimal sections of weed found in Monduran Dam these days. Lure anglers like to quietly scoff at our ‘fluff chucking’, as they like to call it. However, I was quietly satisfied to know that the fish we netted were all larger than those our lure casting friends were showing us on their phones. Food for thought! We can expect Monduran Dam to get better as the year extends, and I’m looking forward to fishing there again pretty soon. Maybe there will be an article titled ‘Mondy Mayhem!’ Bring it on!

The camp kitchens at the Holiday Park were clean, well kept, and thoughtfully set up.

The Holiday Park’s camp kitchen is a home away from home. There was even a TV. fish passing intermittently for over a half hour, undoubtedly heading off to feed somewhere, but we could not elicit a bite. This is, of course, the

This 86cm barra was in exceptionally good condition, and gave a great account of itself on the author’s fly tackle. as thick set, and it was at the net within five minutes. The fish pulled hard but the girl pulled harder. As good as that particular location was, it yielded no more fish although we fished it twice more. A slash at Denise’s fly, two hits accompanied

Talking to other anglers later, who had been fishing in the sticks not too far from where we were, revealed that the fish they found were much more willing to hook up. We had mainly fished areas where the wind was blowing onto or across the shore, and the water temperatures were between 23.2°C and 24.5°C, which is a bit low. I’m expecting Monduran to fish better as the water warms in the coming months. AN ENJOYABLE CAMP Fishing aside, the convenience of the camping facilities in Lake Monduran Holiday Park were the icing on the cake for us. Rob and Kelly have done a lot to make the place more hospitable than ever, and I found the camp kitchen to be well set up, with a ‘home away from home’ atmosphere. And it was entirely peaceful at night, with only an owl or two softly calling. One thing I did not miss was

major challenge when fly fishing for barra – coaxing the beggars to have a go! Finding the fish is a big start, and casting flies that look attractive or have caught fish previously is another step on the way. However, getting a fish to take the fly is up on another level again.

marauding possums causing mayhem, as has happened at other impoundment camp grounds. Ever woken up to find a possum sitting on your chest? I don’t recommend it. It was also great to speak to other anglers and hear their interesting stories of the ones that didn’t get away. It seems that Lake Monduran is being very generous to anglers these days as long as they have some idea of what they’re doing. THE CHALLENGE PERSISTS Impoundment barramundi are surely one of the greatest challenges for the angler who wants to enjoy catching these ionic and powerful fish. Impoundment barra are easily accessible (Monduran is only five hours from Brisbane), and it doesn’t break the bank to explore and enjoy. Remember though that the barra are inconspicuous in their habits, and only the sounder will reveal their presence as they move about. For that reason, you need to be able to accurately interpret what’s on that screen. This, along with plenty of time on the water, is a key to success.

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NOVEMBER 2019

61


Barramundi bonanza in the Queensland lakes TOOWOOMBA

Jason Ehrlich fishability1@bigpond.com

It would be wrong not to spend a little more time reporting on the fish I love to catch most of all – barramundi. It may be barra closed season in the salt until early next year but luckily we have our stocked impoundments to get our barra fix. The dams have been fishing well and there are a lot of options now to consider. For the southern anglers, the distance to travel to chase the big scaly battlers is a lot less with Monduran, Awoonga and Callide all producing drag peeling fish. The beauty of this is you can hit the lakes over a long weekend. The drive further north for southern anglers is still worthwhile but I

prefer to hit these before the summer scorching heat arrives. Proserpine, Kinchant and Teemburra are all worth a look and receive a lot of attention. The Mackay/ Whitsunday region is famous for its barra lakes. There are also the lesser known lakes, which will be worth a look for those keen to explore and try something a little different. We will start to see more and more filtering through from these destinations as the cat is let out of the bag. Places like Theresa Creek, Fairbairn, Burdekin and Copperlode Falls dams, just like Tinaroo, are further out of the way but definitely worth a visit. Barra fishing in the dams is usually good at this time of year but you will need to follow the movements of the fish if you want to catch them day and night.

SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND CRESSBROOK CLOSEST TOWN: CROWS NEST The fishing has been slow at Cressy for the last month. The bigger schools of fish have been harder to find and this has affected catch rates. Warming water temperatures will see the thermocline rise and this will force fish out of the deeper water areas. Once they leave the depths, they tend to suspend more where they find comfort, food and oxygen rich water. Suspended fish are easier to find on the sounder so I expect the catch rates to improve this month. Trolling deep diving lures through areas holding fish is a good way to get into the action. There will be some quality bass to over 50cm long

mixed in with the smaller models. Deeper lures like Blitz Bagas, Golden Childs,

The warming water will start to send the fish a bit deeper and in some cases they can be hard to find during the day. Night sessions can be great though, as the fish band together and start to hunt shallower through different regions of the lake. In the South East, the golden perch will be firing up. Trolling diving lures will be a good option when chasing these fish. Lure trolling will be good for most species over the next few months. Barra, bass and Murray cod are a few of the likely suspects to want in on the action. As water temperatures warm up, the fish scatter and favour the deeper water areas. When they spread out, trolling is a good way to cover heaps of water and get the bites. Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel!

13

15

16

14 31

Weipa

17

28

34

18

Toowoomba

BRISBANE

IMPOUNDMENT DAM

the fish should be found in the deeper sections out from the ramps and just through the buoy line past the pump tower. Lure casters can work the better concentrations of suspended fish. Schools may also be present with the ends of the longer points worth a look. Stick to the main basin rather than heading right up the lake as the better fish are likely to be in the deeper middle section of the dam within a couple of

Gold Coast

22

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

27

21

23

Little Rippas and 50mm Poltergeist Crazy Deeps are ideal for probing through the deeper water where the fish are likely to be holding. With the dam getting low,

Mitchell Petty had some good sessions on the big Wivenhoe bass. He found fish on ledges out from Billies Bay and slow rolled a Gang Banger G2 spoon in gremlin colour to get the bites.

Gympie

12

25

Cairns 1

26

19

33

20

Townsville 2

3 4

Proserpine 6 Mackay

5

32

Rockhampton

Emerald 29 7

10

Highlighted dams are covered in this issue

Gladstone

30 8

Bundaberg 9

11

Maryborough

Roma

kilometres of the boat ramp. With the fish so close, they are easily accessible to boats and kayak anglers. • For all your fishing supplies and the latest reports on the surrounding dams, call in to see Fish’n’Bits in Alderley Street. They have a great range of lures and fishing gear. The boys can sort you out with the right gear and give you some tips on where to find them. The gates to the boat ramp are now open from 6am to 8pm.

BRISBANE

SOMERSET CLOSEST TOWNS: ESK, KILCOY Last month, the bass were surprisingly tough to tempt. Big schools of fish could be located but the bites were hard to come by. This is unusual, as this time of year is generally very good. As things heat up more, the fish will move a bit shallower and spread out through the water column. This will be a great month To page 63

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

        

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

AUG SEP OCT 5 5 5 70 68 66 5 5 4 26 25 24 95 92 88 97 92 86 43 41 39 69 66 64 0 0 0 33 33 30 6 4 3

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

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

9 9 8 38 38 38 3 3 3 100 100 99 17 16 14 9 8 3 92 90 89 87 85 82 99 93 86 69 55 40 4 4 4 101 97 93

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

Maroon 73 70 64 Monduran/Fred Haigh 76 73 71 Moogerah 52 47 45 North Pine/Samsonvale 68 65 63 Peter Faust/Proserpine 79 77 75 Pindari 5 5 5 Somerset 76 71 69 Teemburra 100 99 98 Tinaroo 92 87 81 Toonumbar 63 55 48 Wivenhoe 54 52 50 Wuruma 83 78 75

For fortnightly updates on Sunwater dams visit www.sunwater.com.au This symbol indicates that a Stocked Impoundment Permit is required to fish these dams. All figures are % readings Current as of 16/10/19

(All levels correct at time of going to press. Dam levels can change at any time, so please check with local authorities to ensure safe boating and fishing.) 62

NOVEMBER 2019


From page 62

to start trolling the dam. Trolling diving lures capable of reaching 10m will put you in with a good chance of nailing bass and the occasional golden perch. As the deeper areas hold less fish, they will move to shallower grounds around the 10m mark or stay out deep and suspend where they are easy to spot on the sounder. This will be a change from the last few months when they have had the habit of disappearing in deep water and hugging the bottom. As thermoclines get stronger and begin to rise in the water column, water over 12m deep becomes less favourable for any length of time. I assume this has a lot to do with depleting oxygen levels in the deeper water.

have started to make a comeback and have again dominated catches. The smaller profile spoons will be ideal as we move into the warmer months. Try a mixture of hopping and slow rolling. Tail spinners are another good option on the suspended fish. When they sit off the bottom, these lures are good for hopping or winding through the fish. It was around the end of November last year that chatterbaits came into their own. We trolled and wind drifted with this lure for some remarkable results. I am only guessing, but based on the last two years, it will be one of the most soughtafter lures for this lake. With most session producing in excess of 30 fish when other lures failed to get noticed, it was as close to finding a

9-12m of water out from Billies Bay and Logans Inlet should help you to locate them. It is a vast expanse of water and spending time on the sounder to find fish is very critical to success on this lake. When found, show the fish a spoon and they are likely to eat it. Long casts with spoons are the way to go. Cast as long as possible when searching the flats and then shorten casts up only if fish are found closer to the boat. Other lures worth using are blades and soft vibes. If the wind is up for drift fishing, or you want to troll and wind the reel doing frequent drop backs, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits will really start to shine. Lure trollers will be successful when using deeper offerings along the edges of the flats. It is sometimes necessary to

Kylie Bridge managed to haul this golden perch in from the Borumba timber. The lure used was a Spectre Vibration Jig. Lure casters have been doing it tough for the last month. The fish, while easy to locate, have refused to eat just about anything some days. Luckily, there are still those few special days where they drop their guard and chew. Sometimes the window is short and you need to capitalise on it while it is on offer. Welcome to Somerset! This type of hot and cold action seems to be commonplace on these waters. Never has the saying “You should have been here yesterday” been more true. The bass were quite fussy about which lures they wanted the last couple of months. When they are like this, it really pays to have a few rods on the go and mix the lure selection up. Blades, tail spinners, soft plastics and chatterbaits all shone at different times when the ever-popular spoons seemed to fail. In more recent times, the spoons

magic lure as you are ever likely to get. If the action picks up again on these lures, I will be sure to post some more how to videos on the Hot Bite Fishing Facebook page. Once you master the basic technique, you will see why these lures are so productive. • Somerset Fishing has their store based at the area above the day use boat ramp. The store is open over holidays and otherwise from Friday to Sunday. Orders can also be made online via the website www.somersetfishing.com. au . They have an excellent range of gear suited to fishing for bass and golden perch. WIVENHOE CLOSEST TOWNS: FERNVALE, ESK The bass fishing has been pretty reliable on Wivenhoe and now things have warmed up, you can expect to see a lot more golden perch and catfish. The Wivenhoe bass seem to be holding around the deeper flats in the middle of the dam. Searching in

push lures past 10m deep to get consistent bites and to do this you will need to fish lighter than 8lb braid. Keep lures well behind the boat at 40-50m and troll faster to get the maximum depth out of them. Smaller profile lure capable of diving to 10m metres will put you in with a good chance. Keep a lure retriever on a long rope handy as there are quite a few snags on some of the drop offs. These areas are very good for golden perch. • The guys at Charltons Bait and Tackle at Redbank are the boys to see about Wivenhoe, Moogerah and Maroon. Their impressive wall of lures is enough to make any freshwater angler drool. Call in, stock up and get a few tips on where to head before your next trip to the lakes. MOOGERAH CLOSEST TOWNS: BOONAH, RATHDOWNEY Lake Moogerah will produce bass and golden perch this month. The flats

have been a bit quiet but are still worth a look. Sound around The Spit near the northern boat ramp, the point leading into the deep Quarry Bay and out from The Palms south of western facing, southern ramp. If nothing is around head into the timber. The fish should be holding on the flats and tight to the trees. Early in the day, try casting lipless crankbaits, blades and tail spinners. Trolling through the trees can also be successful. Medium diving hardbodies should be devoured. When all else fails, stick to trolling a lipless crankbait. Using your electric motor alter the speed so the lure is just swimming. Check the action beside the boat and then fling it a full cast out behind the boat. Make sure you carry a lure retriever as you will no doubt need it sooner or later. MAROON CLOSEST TOWNS: BEAUDESERT, BOONAH We should see a bit of a change this month at Maroon. The bass which were munching soft plastics and suspending hardbodies and jerkbaits should start to hone in more on reaction style offerings. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and beetle spin rigged soft plastics would be my first pick. Flicking lures that weigh 1/4-1/2oz to the weedy edges should get the bites from the better quality fish. Look for broken weed during the low light hours and fish over the top of the holes. As it gets brighter, work the deeper edges of the weed. Broken weed is very attractive to fish as it forms shadows for the fish to hide in. Topwater action will also pick up this month. You will need to hit the water before sun up to get the early morning bite. In the afternoons, wait until the light is fading and even try

Nigel Middleton found the bigger profile spoon was just what the Borumba bass wanted. your luck into the dark. Work surface lures over the tops of weed beds in areas out of the wind. Smaller lures around 60-70mm long are perfect. When the fish are eating topwater, they aren’t usually too fussy but play around with different styles. Things like the O.S.P. Bent Minnow, C’ultiva Zip’n Ziggys, Rapala Skitterpops and small fizzers are all worth a toss. BORUMBA CLOSEST TOWNS: IMBIL, NOOSA The bass have been chewing well at Borumba. The main basin points and the flats areas around 10m deep near The Junction are the places to be. Bigger spoons weighing in at 20-30g have been doing well with the Gang Banger G1 working very well for Nigel Middleton recently. The Spectre Vibration Jig has also excelled on the Borumba bass and golden perch population. This will be a great

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month to target saratoga in the dam’s upper reaches. Casting lures to the structure-lined edges will get the bites. The fish will venture further from cover in the mornings and late afternoon but during the day look to fish any shadows. These fish feed quite shallow so you can start retrieving as soon as lures splash down. Small plastics, beetle spins, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits all perform well. These lures are great for covering heaps of water. There has been a growing trend to throw swimbaits at these fish as well. • Davos at Noosaville has all the gear you’ll need to tackle the fish at Borumba and Lake MacDonald. The store caters well for fresh and saltwater anglers. They can be found in the Homemaker Centre on the corner of Mary and Thomas Streets. To page 64

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63


DARLING DOWNS GRANITE BELT REGION LESLIE CLOSEST TOWN: WARWICK The low water level hasn’t stopped the fish biting. As soon as the first hint of warmer weather arrived last month, the fish fired up a notch. Golden perch and Murray cod were being caught right through the cool months but as it warms, the action should only improve. I left the cod alone due to the low water and breeding season; even though it is not enforced in Queensland lakes. It will soon be time to try my luck at landing some though. You can catch golden perch by hopping blades over structure. You would think they would be too small for Murray cod but Nick Degiusti nailed an extra fat 102cm model doing just that. It isn’t the first time I have heard of Leslie

cod being caught on small blades. I guess it always pays to beef up your leader a bit just in case. Soft vibes also work very well in Leslie when targeting goldens. The Jackall Transam, Zerek Fish Trap and Berkley Simma Shad all seem to work well. You also stand a better chance of boating a hooked cod on these with their bigger hooks. Medium diving hardbodies trolled through the water over 3m deep should account for quite a few golden perch. The fish seem to be either on or not, so maximise your chances by fishing early or late. On the good days though, you will catch fish all day long. If chasing the cod, try trolling 1oz spinnerbaits or chatterbaits. Earlier in the day, you can cast the same lures around shallower structure. There is still

WIDE BAY AND SOUTH BURNETT REGION BOONDOOMA CLOSEST TOWNS: PROSTON, KINGAROY We have seen a change in the bass over the last month at Boondooma. The fish that were holding up at the dam wall started to make a move back in to The Narrows and middle reaches of the lake. Spots around The Island and The Junction have been well worth a look. Boondooma bass can be quite mobile, where they are plentiful in one location it can then be barren the next. Spend time on your sounder to find them, especially if you want to cast lures. Soft plastics rigged on 1/2-5/8oz jigheads have been working well for some time now. I’d certainly give them a run but also consider flashier and reaction-based offerings like blades, tail spinners and spoons now the water is warmer. Lure trolling will improve this month as more fish suspend and

scatter throughout the lake. Pick a lure to suit the depth they are holding and you should pull a mixture of bass and golden perch. The goldens will sometimes be caught with the suspending bass but you can chase them more by working closer to the steeper banks and points. Early in the mornings, the edges will be worth a quick flick with spinnerbaits and lipless crankbait. These lures have worked up in the timber in past years but try your luck back closer to the main basin as the dam level has dropped. If you find a few fish mix it up and work a few plastics and blade baits off the edges as well. The fish movements will be interesting this year. Finding them in the middle reaches is normal for this time but don’t be surprised if good numbers turn up at the points around the dam wall again. This area can fish well over the warmer months so it always pays to take a look. I’ll stress it again – time spent sounding is

Adam Krautz caught this solid 82cm Leslie Dam cod flicking spinnerbaits around rocky structure late in the afternoon. critical to being consistently successful. Boondooma is a great place to camp right near the water and sit by the fire while enjoying the view. You could also stay in more style and comfort by booking into one of the cabins overlooking the dam. • The kiosk at the main office does hot food and other basic items including an excellent range of proven fishing tackle. For campsites, cabins and bunkhouse rooms call (07) 4168 9694. For the latest information jump onto Facebook and check out Matthew Mott Sport Fishing for Motty’s latest fishing reports. MONDURAN CLOSEST TOWN: GIN GIN Wow! That’s all I can say after seeing the amount of barra caught last month. When everything falls into place and you park the boat in a spot holding fish, you can really nail them in this lake. The reports that came through were more like bass sessions than barra sessions with some boats landing around 20 fish.

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The weather plays a big part in fish movements in this lake. A constant wind seems to drive the fish around the lake to the windblown points and bays. When the wind changes, the fish move on and it can take some time for them to work out where they want to hold. That is why it is usually best to fish when the wind has been constantly blowing from one direction. Monduran is a massive lake when it comes to places to explore and fish. Bird Bay is quite close to the ramp and has been holding a lot of fish. There have been quite a few coming from The Rainforest area as well. Further up the lake takes more effort to get to and therefore you don’t seem to hear as much from that end. The Bays in B arms and further up into the main

section of the Kolan River can hold fish but they will take some finding. These fish see a lot less lures and pressure so the effort may be rewarded. A maps of the lake is handy as you can then work out where the fish are most likely to be based on wind direction. Think of the points and bays as a funnel. If the area funnels the wind it could also do the same to fish. A lot of better quality fish have been caught of late, with plenty of 80cm plus fish hitting the net as well as the smaller models. I have even seen 90cm+ fish and am sure there would be a few metre-plus specimens lurking around. They are in fine condition and scrap hard. Soft plastics, suspending hardbodies and

CAPRICORN REGION AWOONGA CLOSEST TOWNS: BENARABY, GLADSTONE Lake Awoonga was a very different looking lake the last time I visited. I apologise for my last report as I may have given people the wrong idea. The lush weed beds often found in the lake have died right back. The western shoreline of the main basin cops a lot of wind and the weed here is usually my go-to spot. Last month, there was very little weed to allow the barra a permanent and comfortable residence. Winter and the dropping level seemed to take its toll on the weed beds. However, I know how quickly it can reform and there are signs of it

coming back in some areas with nice clumps found in up to a couple of metres of water. I hope it grows quickly. Healthy weed will provide another option for anglers chasing these fish and flicking lures into it is one of my favourite ways to fish. When barra hide in the weed and you draw a lure past them, it is often a surprise and the result is an ambush style attack when the fish rushes out, grabs and turns on the lure hooking themselves. Keep a close eye on it. There will be some healthier looking areas of weed and if you can find these, fish won’t be too far away this month. In the meantime, the fish seem to be holding in the trees. There are multiple locations holding fish. We did a quick morning session

over 10m of water in the deeper parts despite the dam being so low. Look for nice drop-off edges into this deep water. If they appear steep or have structure along them, you are in with a good chance. In fact, just being on this dam trolling anywhere you are in with a good chance while the water is so low. A lot of cod are being kept for the freezer so it would be good to see more going back, especially when you already have one. While there is still some depth to the water, they will happily survive the summer heat, which is just around the corner. • Along with getting a fishing report, stock up on all your gear while at Warwick Outdoor and Sports at 115 Palmerin Street Warwick. For a small store, it carries a great range at a very competitive price. Warwick is only a 10-minute drive from the dam and you can pick up any supplies you might need. soft vibes are the main offerings being used. • The Golden Barra competition is now up and running. If a lucky angler lands this tagged, golden coloured barramundi, they can win a car and boat prize valued at $150 000. As if catching any barra wasn’t enough. Now you have that extra reason to visit the lake. For camping, van and cabin style accommodation, give the Lake Monduran Holiday Park a call on (07) 4157 3881. You don’t even need to bring your own boat to catch one. Hire boats and a house boat can be booked or you can take advantage of Rob Howell’s professional guiding service and join him for a session on the fish. and puttered around on the outboard on the outer edge of the trees scanning back into them with side image on the sounder. There was no mistake when the fish were found in a couple of spots. The fish shaped shadows appeared in bulk with 20-40 fish located in tight little bunches. These fish will move around a bit and at times will be found up in the shallows. This is the time to work shallow diving hardbodies. Most of the time they will sit out deep, and the deeper diving offerings are a better option. However, the most important thing is to place the lure in front of them and weight it correctly. A suspending or slow sinking lure is often better than a floater. Tinkering with a range of hardbodies can see you fishing something To page 65


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that ticks the right boxes. Adding weight to make a suspender can be as simple as upgrading hooks and rings, or going to the extra trouble of using a sticky weight or putty. Soft plastics have been getting plenty of attention. In the trees, a weedless option is a good start to work out where all the hidden obstacles are located. Adding weight in the form of a small ball sinker on the underside of the loop knot will allow you to keep the lure down in the zone during the retrieve. Once you learn an area and where all the snaggy bits are, you can switch over to a similarly weighted soft plastic with its hooks exposed. This will give a better hook up rate but you need to be

start to move around a lot more looking for a feed. During the night, the trees can be too much trouble to fish and often the fish will leave them and head to a wind blown point or bay. With less weed about than usual, you will soon see if the fish are moving past on the sounder. • Justin Nye from Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing runs fishing charters on the lake. It is hard to beat time on the water and this is a great way to learn more about this lake and its fish. You can contact him on 0429 223 550 or visit the website gladstoneflyandsport fishing.com.au. • Mark from Awoonga Gateway Lodge always has a few productive secret spots to share. The Gateway lodge is on the way in to the dam after

(07) 49750033. CALLIDE CLOSEST TOWN: BILOELA It is nearing that time when all hell breaks lose on Callide. Over the last 2 years, the barra seemed to step it up a notch from November through to January. The fish move around a lot and seem more active when you place a lure in front of them. I fished the lake back in October and the bites were unreal. We must have had 60-80 bites from fish but only put the hooks in a few. Even though I say ‘bites’, what was actually happening was the fish were bumping at the lure and not putting it in their mouth. When this mentality changes and they have a proper feed it will be next level.

Blake Ehrlich found pulling Awoonga barra from this type of structure isn’t for the faint-hearted. The Powerbait Bubble Shiner rigged on a worm hook with added weight was just enough to do the job. The hook had started to straighten due to the intense battle.

The Callide barra average at around 90cm but it is good to see some smaller ones at 50cm coming through. What really attracts me is there are quite a few metreplus fish getting around as well. These models are

stressed. If you aren’t on them, you can’t catch them. Use your sounder for what it was built for. The other option is to hedge your bets on a likely looking spot and pepper it with casts in the hope the barra will move through during the low light hours. Give these spots some time and if you see nothing move on. In daylight hours, I’d go searching. Keep a close eye on the sounder for fish and study the formation of the points and bays. Work out angles of attack to best position your boat during the prime bite times. Things like corridors through the

trees, holes in the weed edge, weed clumps and a spot to tie off, are all things which can be looked at. Topwater lures have always been favoured by the barra in this lake and they still seem to produce. Soft plastics, big soft swimbaits and soft vibes are other standout lures. Your tackle will need to be up to the task. The fish roam through plenty of trees and there may be some unstitching necessary to extricate them. Keep this in mind and fish heavy enough to stand a chance of landing them. Braid of 50lb is ideal (30lb on spin gear) and a hard-wearing leader over 60lb will put you in with a chance.

MACKAY REGION TEEMBURRA CLOSEST TOWN: MIRANI, MACKAY It has taken a while for the reports to filter through since the dam ran over the spillway. The good news is the barra are being caught and there is some quality amongst them. Numbers haven’t been great but when there are multiple metre-plus fish, who could complain? The best I have seen was 120cm long and there have been plenty not far behind that size as well. Finding the fish sounds like the obvious thing to do but it really needs to be

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turning off at Benaraby. The accommodation is great with plenty of boat parking space right beside the comfortable air conditioned, self-contained cabins each with its own veranda. To book in a stay give Mark or Lyn a call on

I like to stake out a spot with a few fish showing and use long casts with soft plastics. The style of plastic used will depend on the water depth. The 5” and 6” paddle tails rigged on 1/4 to 1/2oz jigheads are ideal for 1-3m of water. If the fish are moving a bit deeper, you can rig heavier or opt for a pre-rigged swimbait, such as the Molix Shad or Powerbait Ripple Shad. • The camp ground, Lake Callide Retreat, now has its camp kitchen and toilet and shower block in place making the stay far more comfortable. They have unpowered sites, powered camping and van sites as well as one and two bedroom cabins. You can call to make a booking on (07) 4993 9010 and more information.

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confident you are working the lure through open water, as plastics, trebles and trees don’t mix well. Mornings and afternoons are the prime times and the night can also be worth a shot, especially when the fish

out in the deep holding together, trolling a suitable depth hardbody could do the trick. Vibing and soft plastics are other options but you will need to have a decent patch to make this worthwhile. As the light fades, these deeper holding fish move on and you will start to see numbers moving through the points and bays. Like most barra impoundment fisheries, the wind is your friend. Often the most wind blown sections will hold the fish. When casting lures for these fish, you will need to mix it up this month. The mornings would be a good time to work hardbodies around any dirty edges and tree lines. As the sun starts to set, the dinner bell rings and the fish go on a patrol looking for food.

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A light breeze pushing down small timbered points was enough to draw the barra in. This is a good way to get a daytime bite at Callide Dam.

supercharged and go hard. My best fish from my last trip went 111cm, which is also my best in recent years from this lake. Earlier in the year, I nailed a 110cm fish which leapt out of the water in the moonlight and was at eye level before it put its head down and tried to empty my spool. Callide is a different fishery. With little in the way of weed, the barra have nowhere to hide. You can just drive around the edges, points and bays and search for them on your sounder. We ran the side image for over 4 hours one morning without spotting a catchable fish and didn’t even make a cast. The fish can scatter in the deeper water and they just seem to disappear. If you do find numbers

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Get set for the Barra Bash! LAKE TINAROO

Warwick Lyndon

It’s November and the best thing about this month is that it’s Barra Bash time! The 2019 Tinaroo Barra Bash will be run over the

If you are planning on fishing the competition, please be reminded there are several categories in which anglers can compete, with fantastic prizes on offer. These include species categories for the longest barra, sooty grunter, mangrove jack

have to do to win this is buy a Barra Bash entry and be there at the presentation to claim the cheque. For more info on this fantastic event, and for instructions on how to register, go to tinaroobarrabash.com.au or

There are many great prizes on offer at the 2019 Barra Bash. weekend of 8-10 November. The fishing in Tinaroo has been fantastic lately, and the Tableland Fish Stocking Society is anticipating an excellent event this year. There is still time to get your online entry submitted to join in on the festivities. This is an amazing opportunity to get the family involved in fishing amongst the breathtaking scenery that Tinaroo offers.

and redclaw. The prizes for catfish and tilapia will go to those anglers able to cull the most of each species, which should be brought to the Barra Bash headquarters for counting. The overall champion angler award will go to the person able to catch the longest total length of barramundi throughout the weekend. Best of all, the adult nomination draw prize is $10,000 cash, and all you

Ben Tunsted took out last year’s Barra Bash.

search ‘Tinaroo Barra Bash’ on Facebook. Here you will also find the link to the Barra Bash app, which will need to be downloaded to enter your catches throughout the competition. The best news is that the fish have been on the bite lately in a number of areas around the lake. All the usual barra spots are holding fish and anglers in the know have been catching several fish in most sessions once they find them. Great areas to start your search for barra during the competition will be Fong-On Bay, Black Gully, Downfall Creek, Mazlin Creek, Peterson Creek and several locations within the Severin and Barron arms. Whether your preference is to cast or troll lures during the Barra Bash, there should be plenty of opportunities to put your offering in front of a hungry chrome giant. If you’re trolling, work with a shallow diving lure in the lowlight hours and with a deeper lure during the sunny daytime periods. Trolling is a great way to cover ground and there are

a great number of lures that will catch Tinaroo barra. The humble old Classic Barra is still one of the best lures for this purpose, and is readily available and affordable. Casting allows anglers to utilise a range of lures and also makes it easier to pinpoint your presentation. The most popular lures to cast include paddle-tail soft plastics, floating and suspending hardbodied jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwater lures and soft vibes. For those starting out, pre-rigged soft plastics and swimbaits are a great option. Bait fishing can be an extremely relaxing way to target a range of species throughout the Barra Bash. Sooty grunter will take almost all flesh baits, while prawns, shrimp and garden worms are usually the best bait for catfish and tilapia. Barra will respond well to live and dead baits, usually fished below a float near suitable structure. Regardless of the species you are chasing, the key with bait fishing is to wait until the rod loads up before setting the hook. Most fish in Tinaroo hit quite hard, so this is usually not too much of an issue! The full moon period will increase the bite time, but the peak is usually around dawn and dusk. Tide

The author with a metre barra captured recently. changes and moon rise/set should also be considered if you are serious about nailing multiple fish throughout the weekend. However, most people will be happy to just enjoy the competition and fish when they can. With the increased watercraft traffic that the Barra Bash brings, please take care when navigating, particularly at night. For those fishing during the darker hours, safety

Mitch Turner has been nailing Tinaroo barra lately.

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should always come first, so please use a torch or spotlight to check for trees and have your navigation lights displayed at all times. There will be more people than usual using the boat ramps, so stay patient and lend a hand where you can. The Barra Bash is a catch, photograph and release competition, so please take care to handle fish correctly. With large barra, it is important not to ever drag or hang the fish by the mouth. Always support the fish’s weight with a hand under the belly and take the time to revive the fish in the water before letting it go. If you hold it in the water by the lower jaw, the fish will let you know it is ready to swim off when it bites down on your thumb. I hope you all make time to enjoy the 2019 Tinaroo Barra Bash. The fishing is shaping up to be amazing, so come and get stuck in. I’ll see you out there! If you want to keep up with more of my FNQ adventures, you can like ‘Wazza’s Fishing Page’ on Facebook or ‘Wazza’s Fishing’ on Youtube.

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Suzuki Vitara manual loaded with features BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe wkff@aapt.net.au

Suzuki’s Vitara returned to Australian shores back in 2015, and since that time the eye-catching wagon has been very well received. Tweaks and trim have seen a few changes during the past 4 years, so today’s potential Vitara owner has the choice of three models – an entry-level front-wheel-drive petrol 1.6L manual or auto, a turbo 1.4L petrol auto, and a 1.4L petrol turbo All Grip, the 4x4 of the range. All are 5-seaters. 1.6L PETROL While the 1.6 petrol might be a base model, it still seems to be the one that a lot of owners choose. Two are available, either the 1.6 manual or 1.6 auto, both with essentially the same level of appointments

The ‘19 Vitara sports a new grille, which distinguishes the wagon from its contemporaries. on the central dash touch screen (which also controls the sound system), and 17” alloy wheels. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are thrown in as well. Front seat

surprised at the amount of room in the rear seats despite it looking somewhat cramped with the front seats set well back. This roominess comes about

through the overall height of the Vitara’s roof plus the decent elevation of the rear seat, which ensures that passengers’ legs can go more or less straight down and into a comfy position. Full marks for Suzuki there. In the rear cargo section there’s around 375L of available space in standard 5-seat configuration but with the two rear seats dropped the space increases to a very functional and handy 1120L. A security blind covers the rear boot area, and under the rear false floor is a very sizeable compartment for hiding things securely away from prying eyes. 1.6L ENGINE With an output of 86kW of power and 156Nm of torque, the Vitara’s 1.6L 4-cylinder, fuel-injected petrol engine is no fire breather. It might even be considered the least powerful in its class when we consider some of the more refined offerings from Hyundai and Mazda. Still, for those drivers who feel the need for speed and nippy starts, there’s always the 1.4 turbo Vitara with its output of

Distinctive, attractive styling is a hallmark of the Suzuki Vitara. and finish. I chose to review the manual, which is slightly more fuel efficient. European built, the

1.6 petrol comes with a fair lashing of desirable features such as a climate control air, cruise control, keyless entry and start,

sat nav, leather-trimmed wheel, power windows, a quality 4-speaker sound system, very clear and bright reversing camera

With both rear seats lowered there’s a very useful 1120L of cargo space. A 60/40 fold system is standard. 68

NOVEMBER 2019

The dash featured easily managed controls, matching those set onto the steering wheel. passengers have two cup holders, and all four doors incorporate bottle holders. Styling changes are minimal. A new grille and modifications to the tail lights highlighted the 2019 model when it was released, along with keyless entry and start up. Safety equipment in the base model consists of seven air bags, stability and traction controls and ABS, and it has a 5-star ANCAP rating. PRACTICALITY RULES The Vitara’s interior seems to be practical rather than fancy, but by the look of things longevity should not be a problem. The cloth seats are very comfortable, and I was

The Vitara’s cloth-covered front seats are well designed, and on a 5-hour drive they proved quite comfortable and supportive.


102kW, 220Nm of torque. That said, I did not feel the slightest disadvantage at the wheel of the 5-speed manual, which had a very precise, deliberate feel about the clutch, and easily managed gear box ratios, moving off with other traffic

in an easy, unfussed manner in all conditions. THE DRIVE As is the norm with Suzukis I’ve driven, the Vitara was a fun car to drive. It feels light but likeable in the way it holds the road, thanks to good body control and

That lever, towards the lower part of the image, is the gear selector, for those who have only driven autos. Note the different radio controls up on the central dash touch screen.

very supple suspension that seems to be working miracles on today’s roads. There’s also none of the bounciness that is sometimes associated with ‘light’ cars; instead it glides over shopping centre speed bumps and sneaks into urban car parks with the greatest of ease. Granted, the 1.6L petrol engine is slightly noisy as the revs increase, and increase they must to keep the torque curve in the picture. However, at normal highway speeds (110km/h on the M1 motorway) the engine simply could not be heard, nor could much else apart from a hum from the tyres. With a rated fuel consumption of 6L per 100km, I was able to

The reversing camera has excellent clarity.

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best that figure at 5.8L per 100km on a mix of city and country driving. A fuel tank capacity of 47L gives the Vitara a decent cruising range when driven sensibly. The towing stats are 400kg unbraked and 1200kg for braked trailers. WARRANTY/ SERVICES The Vitara has a 3-year 100,000km warranty, and if the Vitara is serviced at a Suzuki dealer every six months or 10,000km the warranty extends to five years/100,000km. This is in line with some of the emerging trends in service/ warranty offerings from other makers today.

The hardship of planning long trips away BRISBANE

The Sheik of the Creek

As my teeth get longer, I’m finding it harder to get organised and motivated for fishing trips that are longer than a couple of hours – sometimes a couple of minutes, if it’s blowing. Which isn’t to say I don’t dream of setting out, only that there’s a disconnect between the dreaming and the setting out. It is particularly the case when it involves any level of organisation beyond throwing lures and rods into the hull, checking the fuel level, hooking the boat up, and heading off. That’s easily said and done, but putting the effort and time into sitting on my whiskey glass and actually preparing for a two or three day trip is more difficult. I won’t apologise to anyone for wanting to grab a feed of barra when I can, and as we go through the later part of the year there’s always that awful feeling of the approaching barra shutdown. Not being able to take a feed of barra home in November, December and January is cruel because,

inevitably, that’s the time I’ll hook onto one. When I say that, it’s not as if it’s happening as often as say, Annastacia touring a flood/fire/cyclone. What I mean is that in the last 40 years of fishing, the two barra I caught were both in January, so back they went. Therefore, the pressure was on to try to get north before that November deadline. With that in mind I decided to head out for an overnight fish, which involved cast nets, coffee, camp stove, mystery bags to chuck on the pan, the pan, pots, pot bait, jumpers, hats, torches, headlights, spotlights, esky for food, esky for bait, esky for other things, suncream, mossie cream, sandy cream, hats, caps, beanies, fuel containers, landing net, lip grips, safety gear, rain gear, sleeping bag and swag, water, UHF milk, phone, hooks, sinkers and lures. There were numerous other bits that wouldn’t fit on to the side of the A3 page, so I’ve forgotten them. The alternative in this situation is to do another list, but then that means you need to keep track of lists and so a list of lists appears, with all the headaches-causes in my world.

So once that A3 was filled, it was a case of trying to not only remember to follow the list, but to remember to remember to include those

bleeding obvious things that don’t have to go on to a list because they are, as mentioned previously, bleeding obvious. This

includes rods, reels, sounder and boat keys. And there’s something a little devastating to wind up at Beaver after a four hour drive through

traffic to end up with a boat and car full of gear and no way to start the boat. As I often say to Stuffer, it’s not easy being me… NOVEMBER 2019

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What’s NeW FIshING Storm BiScay minnow and Shad 1 Designed with long casting and fast winding in mind, but still at home fished slowly in shallow and deepwater situations, the 360GT Coastal Biscay Minnow features a slim, supple body rigged to a tapered jighead with a fixed hook. An additional chin eyelet gives the option of adding an assist hook or blade. The weighted head and body combination allow you to cast further and fish deeper, and the paddle-tail kicks with lifelike action and incredible vibration, even at slow speeds. The Storm 360GT Biscay Shad swims with a particularly realistic action compared to most other baits. The super supple body is fixed to the head by a free-swinging screw and VMC hook that rest perfectly hidden within the soft body’s weedless channel system. When attacked, the body collapses and the large hook gape is exposed for a clean hook-up. Every 360GT Coastal Biscay is extremely visually detailed with each body perfectly matched to its own jighead with a heavyduty VMC hook. Bodies are also sold separately. www.stormfishing.com.au

daiwa tierra Lt

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The Daiwa Tierra has a long history of delivering class-leading performance at a great price, and the latest version, the Tierra LT, is no exception. An alloy body is where it all starts, with its rigid construction unyielding in the heat of battle. Highly resistant to corrosion and flexing, the alloy body is the foundation of the Tierra LT and its dominance as an ultimate saltwater reel. The Tierra LT boasts many innovative, performance-enhancing features, including new LT Concept, Tough Digigear, and a new Long Cast ABS spool. The Tierra LT is also gifted with a host of Daiwa’s tried and true technologies, including Air Rotor, ATD drag, CRBB bearings, EVA Knob, and Wire Bail. With striking blue livery, the Tierra LT excels whether you’re drifting baits for whiting or hopping plastics for snapper. It’s available in six deep spool sizes from 2000D to 6000D, and you can find out more at Daiwa Australia’s new website. www.daiwafishing.com.au

Lumica Puni ika Squid

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Lumica Japan has released two new soft plastic squid: the 90mm Puni Ika Squid X-Wing and the 65mm Lumica Puni Ika Squid Wave. Both are built to hold a light, to provide maximum attraction. These realistic new squid imitations have been designed, developed and made in Japan. They feature an ultra-tough 10X material that is strong and stretchy. The Squid’s tantalising action is irresistible to any predatory fish that feeds on squid, cuttlefish or octopus, and the supple plastic is scent impregnated. A rigging slot makes rigging a breeze, whether you’re using a standard jighead, hidden weight or worm hook. The final key feature is a second slot that allows the angler to insert a Kemihotaru 25mm light inside the body to allow it to glow for added attraction. 70

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The Puni Ika Squid X-Wing and Puni Ika Squid Wave are available now in packs of three. www.jurofishing.com

BLack magic gift Pack

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Black Magic’s gift pack range has always offered anglers a well-chosen selection of quality tackle for their specific style of fishing but equally, they provide excellent value for money. Now the range has a new entrant: the Freshwater Gift Pack. As the name suggests, this pack targets the freshwater fisheries around Australia, but the tackle is also suited to most estuaries. Included in the pack are some of Black Magic’s tried-and-true favourite lures like the BMax bibbed lures, the Spinsect and the Enticer. Also included are their latest spinning lures – the Spinmax and the Rattle Snack. Top this off there’s a Black Magic beanie and some Deception leader, giving you the perfect range of freshwater gear to get you started. www.blackmagictackle.com

daiwa J-thread nyLon

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J-Thread Nylon is Daiwa’s newest addition to the J-Thread family of premium Japanese fishing line. Like all J-Family products, J-Thread Nylon is made in Japan from the finest raw materials to deliver a monofilament line that is extremely supple, with outstanding shock resistance and knot strength. J-Thread Nylon has been designed for the Australian market, where the use of straightthrough nylon monofilament line is still popular, especially along the coasts where beach fishing is prominent. J-Thread Nylon is clear in colour, and comes parallel spooled to further reduce memory, aiding in long smooth casting and tangle free use. Daiwa J-Thread Nylon is available in 6lb through to 40lb line weights in 300m spools, and 50lb in a 250m spool. Price: SRP $19.99-$24.99 www.daiwafishing.com.au

aLvey orBiter SPinning reeL

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Alvey side cast reels have been manufactured for 100 years to best practice standards, and they are still as tough and durable as they ever have been. For the last two years Alvey has been running an R&D program to expand its range of products, spending over $1 million to ensure it continues to produce the very best tackle. To this end, Alvey has launched the Orbiter range of spinning reels. There are four models, SR60, SR80, SR100 and the SR200, and they have the kind of durability we’ve come to expect from Alvey. The reels are a dream to use with 9+1 stainless steel ball bearings, 5.8:1 ratio and excellent line capacity. The drag strength is incredible, and the large handle knob makes commanding the fish a breeze. Of course, the legendary side casts are still king of the beach, but these reels are set to become king of the estuaries, flats, bays and reefs! They are a must for Alvey brand lovers and spinning reel enthusiasts. Orbiter reels can be pre-ordered at Alvey authorised retailers or on www.alvey.com.au, and will be in store from December 2019. Price: SRP $199-$289 www.alvey.com.au

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visit www.tacklejunkie.fish for the latest tackle news - AS IT HAPPENS!

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WHAT’S NEW FISHING

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BLUEWATER SINKING 7 STICKBAITS 7

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The new Floating and Sinking stickbaits from the popular Bluewater stable are built tough to take on the most ferocious predators when targeting bluewater species, including giant trevally, tuna, tarpon and more. The Sinking Stickbait weighs in at 98g, which is ideal to cast or troll for pelagics. Like the Floating Stickbait, this lure is hand crafted using a super clear hand-poured resin, and features a heavy-duty wirethrough construction to withstand attacks from the hardest-hitting brutes of the ocean. You can find more information on the range at the JM Gillies website, or for the latest news, catch photos and competitions, check them out on Facebook (facebook.com/jm.gillies) or follow them on Instagram (@jm.gillies). www.jmgillies.com.au

RAPALA RIPSTOP DEEP

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The new Rapala RipStop Deep tail design creates a fast ripping, hard stopping, flashing swimbait action. The RipStop Deep’s forward motion stops on a dime, with a subtle shimmy before coming to a rest. Then it ever-soslightly lifts its head with a super slow rise. You just cast and wind, wind and stop, twitch, rip and suspend. The Rapala RipStop Deep is currently available in 10 colours, weighs 15g and has a swimming depth from 1.2m to 2.4m. It is the ultimate bait for a range of species and fishing scenarios, from large flathead on the flats to barramundi deep in cover, and it’s available now in all good tackle stores. For more information check out the Rapala Australia website or Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rapala. australia. www.rapala.com.au

SHIMANO SPEEDMASTER LD II 9

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Compact lever drag overheads with dual gears and castability — the new Shimano SpeedMaster Lever Drag II are multi-purpose reels that will slot right in to a number of offshore fishing scenarios. There are two sizes to choose from — a 12 and a 16 — and both feature Hagane gearing in two speed ratios (5.7:1 dropping down to 3.1:1), with the lower gear being handy when you have to bust a fish out of a deep-sounding mindset. Line capacities are 350m and 440m of 10kg nylon respectively, which increases dramatically if you spool up with fine diameter braid. Being a lever drag, they are also versatile enough to fish a variety of line classes and drag settings, with a maximum drag power of 18kg, which is a lot for a little reel. The single piece Hagane Body means the stresses and strains associated with higher drag settings keeps all internals in perfect alignment and meshing smoothly, assisted by the presence of four SA-RB bearings. The SpeedMaster’s S Concept Design is reminiscent of Shimano’s Talicas, and increased corrosion resistance will have them looking good for years to come. And on top of all this the new SpeedMasters are also highly castable, which is excellent versatility for a lever drag overhead. Price: SRP $399.95-$419.95 www.shimanofish.com.au

HALCO SLIDOG 125

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ZMAN 2.75” TRD BUGZ

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VENOM OCEAN GLADIATOR

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The new Slidog 125 joins Halco’s stickbait pack just under the Slidog 150, and is sure to bark just as loud! Featuring the same highly versatile action that attracts beasts from the deep, the 125 is packed into a compact body profile that will be applicable in countless shallow and midwater situations. The lure is in its element being belted out over bubbling bait schools to entice pelagics at pace, and is just as deadly being slowly twitched amongst shallow bommies, terrorizing territorial coral trout and spangled emperor populations. Featuring the ever-reliable 1/0 Mustad trebles and Halco’s ultra tough 4xx fish rings, the Slidog 125 is equipped to fight well above its weight class. The lure is 125mm long and weighs in at 52g, allowing for epic castability with a medium casting outfit, inevitably covering more ground and finding more fish. www.halcotackle.com

The ZMan 2.75” TRD BugZ are a deadly finesse presentation for bream, bass, flathead, redfin, trout and loads more, rigged standard, weedless or combined with a TT Lures NedlockZ jighead as part of the Ned Rig system. TRD BugZ feature the texture, ribbing and appendages to represent many different aquatic and terrestrial creatures that make up the diet of a variety of fresh and saltwater species. Additional features include a hook pocket for easy weedless rigging and two larger ‘claws’ and two offset smaller ‘claws’ that come to life thanks to ZMan’s super-soft and flexible, naturally buoyant ElaZtech material. As well as a deadly finesse soft plastic presentation, TRD BugZ also make an excellent skirted jig trailer, making them a versatile addition to your soft plastics arsenal. TRD BugZ are available in eight colours (bloodworm, greasy prawn, hot craw, hot snakes, motor oil, mud bug, the deal and watermelon red) in packs of six. Price: SRP $11.95 www.z-man.com.au

The team at Venom Rods has designed a series of rods to take on the biggest predators in the ocean: the Ocean Gladiator series. There are four rods in the range: a 15kg slick butt stroker, a 24kg slick butt stroker, a 36kg slick butt stroker and a 60kg bent butt stand-up rod for when things are getting serious! All rods in the range feature ALPS Zirconium guides that are constructed from SS316 anti-rust stainless in a onestamp finish to increase strength and reduce weight. The rods also make use of the ALPS CAH reel seat, a reel seat that is built from marine grade aluminium and presents with a locking centre hood and a newly designed hexagon locking nut for the ultimate in reel security. The Venom Ocean Gladiator series is built on the high modulus Venom blank, which provides incredible lightness and unparalleled strength. This ensures that while fighting a fish, the angler is not unnecessarily fatigued from fighting the weight of the outfit, and can concentrate on using the strength in the Venom blank to dictate terms to the most stubborn of fish. www.wilsonfishing.com

Please email contributions to: nicole@fishingmonthly.com.au NOVEMBER 2019

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WHAT’S NEW FISHING

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New arrivals from Yamashita are set to make their mark

Who doesn’t love targeting squid, whether it’s off the rocks, on the boat or a local jetty? Chasing them is on my to-do list on nearly every boating adventure, and I love to adapt with new techniques to get more strikes. New technologies are always developing, and they can change your ideas of how these animals hunt. Yamashita has updated its popular Egi Oh Live Search 490 Glow and Egi Oh K jig ranges, and earlier this year I decided to try them out. The Live Search 490 now has new colours and a tin sinker, and the Egi Oh K now has shallow and super shallow versions and new UV glow colours (called ‘keimura’ in Japanese). I’ve been using Yamashita jigs for a number of years and have found them to be reliable producers, and I wanted to find out whether these new models made a difference or if I should stick with the originals. The results were interesting. FIELD TESTING For both jigs I used a Shimano Zodias 6’8 3-5kg rod paired with 8lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader on a Shimano Stradic 2500 ci4 reel. For this kind of

fishing your rod needs to have some give and flex for the action that’s needed to get the jigs moving around. I tied on the Egi Oh Live Search 490 first. The colour range is excellent, and I decided to start with the orange colour. Although the 490 picked up squid throughout the day, it really came into its own for those first light squid that were actively hunting their prey. The jig’s 600Hz rattle and glow, coupled with a sharp darting action, was deadly. However, when the squid were a bit flighty and wary, the 490’s sound/rattle tended to spook them. In that situation, I replaced the 490 with my old Egi Oh Live jig without the rattle, and sometimes dropped down a size if the conditions allowed. While I definitely will keep the 490 as my go-to for when the squid are actively feeding, I will continue to rely on my quiet jigs in most situations. The second product I tested was the Egi Oh K, which has a rear hydro fin for better stability on the sink. I selected the purple colour and tried it on a day when the conditions were a bit rougher, which is when you need a jig with a steady, natural sink rate. Squid can be easily put off by an unnatural looking bait. The Egi Oh K’s unique rear fin helped to create a natural flutter as the jig dropped down. As the day progressed

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and I was faced with some choppy seas and a howling southerly off South Head in Sydney, the K secured some great live baits in the nasty conditions. This model is available in sizes 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5, in regular, shallow and super shallow versions. My favourite colours are gold tape, red tape and UV body. All in all, I found the Live Search 490 and Egi Oh K to be simple to use, easy to cast and very responsive to the smallest amount of action you create by whipping or lifting the rod. They’re simple enough for the novice squid fisher and technical enough for the more advanced. I matched these with long 6’8”-7’ foot rods to really allow me to whip the jigs around. You want a fair amount of give in your rods for when a big squid decides to start pulling some drag! When it comes to the price, these jigs are middle of the range, and are great quality for the price. They retail from $15$20 at most stores, and their high quality and clever design makes them significantly more effective than cheap jigs. Overall, I have been very impressed with the continuous innovation in Yamashita’s squid jigs. If you’re looking to target a new PB calamari or just want to try out this exciting form of fishing, I highly recommend them. You can view the full range at www. ejtodd.com.au. – Ben O’Brien


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2019 Gold Coast Flathead Classic wrap up URUNGA

Dayne Taylor

The 2019 Gold Coast Flathead Classic was as awesome as always, in every single way! I fished in a 3-person team – Team Fishing Monthly Magazines – with two Gold Coast Flatty Classic rookies, Matthew McEwan and Sam Taylor, who are both very talented and accomplished anglers. Seeing as we are all from Coffs Harbour in NSW, at a town better known for bananas than flathead, we were eligible to qualify as a visiting team as well. Being modest young chaps, and collectively all self-proclaimed guns, we set a modest team goal of finishing in the top 20 visiting teams. A tough task given the quality of the

a pre-fish on the registration practice day. The other two boys had zero experience on the massive waterways that surround the Gold Coast, so it was up to me to fall back on some locations I found six years ago when I last fished the Flatty Classic. This gave us a few starting locations. We booked into a nice little Airbnb that backed onto the canals, and which was about five minutes’ drive from the tournament headquarters. It was handy having an easy drive to the end of the cul-de-sac to launch our boat each day. The first night was a chance to catch up with old friends in the fishing industry, and to meet and mingle with like-minded fishos. Our team collected our entry pack filled with all the goodies supplied

The Longest Flathead Overall prize was taken out by Hayley Cassell with this 93cm fish. Image courtesy of GCFC. stop at McDonalds then off to the ramp and launched ready to get underway by around 5.30am. Our first location was a bank between Tureen Island and the South Morton Bay islands in the main channel. We picked this spot because it held a nice secondary ledge at about 1.5m below the low tide line. It had a nice cover of healthy, short weed growth and a small drain still spilling out into the area at the bottom of the tide. On day one we arrived right

drop-off. Matt and I put a couple of extra scorers on the boat, and decided it would be our starting location every day. This proved very prosperous for the team, with Matt upgrading his PB flathead on day two when he landed our best fish of the competition, measuring in at 81cm on a 100mm Shimano Squidgy Bio Tough UV Wriggler. That’s a PB upgrade of over 10cm for Matt! After a few man hugs, high fives, some pictures

paddle-tail soft plastics. After numerous casts with hardbodied lures and curlytail plastics, I decided to try something we hadn’t yet put in front of them. The Keitech 3” Swing Impact Fat in pumpkinseed was the lure I tied on, and I immediately began to put legal fish in the boat. It turns out we were sharing this same starting location with good mates Team Wilson Fishing. We were sitting within 50m of them, watching these three guns fishing with clinical precision. Seeing Kord Luckas put three fish in four casts on the boat straight up in the final morning, knowing they had a shot at winning, was something special. Later on I’ll go into more detail on what Team Wilson Fishing was doing, but for now I will explain a little more about how we caught our fish and achieved our goal of finishing in the top 20. Each day, once the tide was cranking in on our bank, we made the 15km-long run back up towards the Gold Coast Seaway to fish the clear sand flats around Crab Island and Wave Break Island. The last two hours each day were very successful down here in the crystal-clear water. A downgrade in leader size to 6-8lb was required, and once again the Zerek Tango Shad dominated and put a swag of scoring fish on the boat for

Team Wilson Fishing getting to work on winning their second Flathead Classic. flathead guns that travel from far and wide for this event. These competitors have many years of experience flatty fishing, and we knew these guys would take a lot of beating. Due to work commitments we didn’t manage much extra time for

by some of the generous sponsors, along with our angler ID tags and score sheets to fill out each day for the rest of the week. We grabbed a nice plate of dinner from the caterer’s tent and enjoyed some live music and a couple of cold ones at the venue before

the official welcoming and briefing was done. Enough with all the cushy bits of the Classic, let’s talk about the fishing and the winners! For Team Fishing Monthly Magazines it was up at 4am, a quick fuel up at the servo, the mandatory

The event precinct had plenty to do for everyone each night.

Junior Major Prize Winner Charli Murphy with her new Quintrex and Evinrude package. Image courtesy of GCFC. 76

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as the tide began to run in, while day two was around a 30-minute wait before the run-in, and day three was a short period of run-out before it stopped and turned to run-in. We had some early success in this location on day one, with Sam landing a nice 63cm flathead on a Zerek Tango Shad cast up into the draining water and cranked back out over the

and scoring, it was gently released to produce plenty more flatties for the Gold Coast in the future. I was lucky enough to score a 65cm flathead nearby a little later on in the tide on the same day. This fish also took a Zerek Tango Shad cast up shallow and worked back out over a drop-off before it was crunched. Day three in this location was all about the small

us. It was a similar pattern: casting the lures up shallow in less that 1ft of water, and cranking them out over dropoffs, ledges, and gutters into deeper water. Often we had cranky lizards chasing them and even eating them in crystal clear water right next to the boat. At the end of the competition Team Fishing Monthly Magazine finished with 1272 points and


finished in 8th place in the visiting team’s category, absolutely smashing our goal of finishing up in the top 20. As for the champs, in the three person teams it was all

During slow bite periods the crew pulled the electric up and slow trolled the Zerek Tango Shads up and back in less than 1.5m of water to find the active fish. Once

Mixed Champion Team was the Dawson Swainskis. The longest Flathead of the event was caught and released by Hayley Cassell, measuring in at 93cm.

The author with a nice 65cm flathead from day two of the Classic. about Team Wilson Fishing, who dedicate a lot of time to working out these fish. Their Zerek range of lures is a well-known brand in the flathead community, and the range has quickly branched out cover other popular Australian species, such as barra and Murray cod. Robbie, Kord and Scotty fished every morning within 50m from us, so we had a great incite into what the

they found another patch willing to bite, they would stop and pepper that area, picking up a few more out of the school. For a more in-depth rundown on exactly how the gents got the job done and how they rigged these plastics, jump onto the Zerek Fishing Australia Facebook page and check out the videos. In the individual sections

Hayley was also the lucky winner who got the chance to win a spot onboard with Team Surf Coast Marine, fishing alongside fishing and football legend Andrew Ettingshausen. A massive congratulations to all the winners and all the competitors in all the top 20s of each section. It’s a mammoth effort to be up at the pointy end in such

to give away. The online WIN a Renegade prize was taken home by Shane Porter; I’m guessing it’s the best $10 raffle ticket he’s ever bought! The junior major prize was a Quintrex Dory with an Evinrude outboard, and it was taken home by a young lady angler Charli Murphy. In the Seniors section it came down to two lucky blokes by the name of Adam Bailey and Brent Farrell, both taking home Quintrex 420 Renegade and Evinrude E-Tec boat-motortrailer packages worth over $20k each. It was absolutely awesome to see the winners’ faces as their names were read out, and to hear Brent’s back story about having never caught a flathead on a plastic until two days into the comp, only to win his first ever boat! And a massive thanks goes out to all the sponsoring businesses and brands of this competition. We anglers appreciate everything you do to help out at events like this. I also believe I speak on behalf of the competitors when I say a huge thank you to all the volunteers and committee of the Gold Coast Sport Fishing Club, who make this annual event run so smoothly. Without you all, these events literally can’t happen! Until next year, happy pre-fishing!

All fish caught at the Classic are released.

Robbie, Kord and Scotty from Team Wilson Fishing were stoked to take out the Champion Team category. TEAM RESUTS Place This fish measured 81cm and earned 207 points on the score board. boys were up to. The team were all peppering a ledge with the 3.5” Zerek Flat Shads, which they had retrofitted with painted traditional jigheads for a better hook-up rate. The boys then switched back to a weedless hook when the water level rose, and the weed began to stand upright.

we had Steven Ward take out the Champion Male section, Melinda Henderson was the Champion Lady, and Drayzen Allen was the Champion Junior. The Champion Two-Person team went to TT Lure Tough TTs, the Champion Visiting Team was the guys from Team Barambah Lures, and the

a talented and huge field of anglers. One of the big draw cards to this great event is the massive number of prizes given away on the final night during the random draw giveaways. The crew at Surf Coast Marine did a great job of preparing four fantastic boat-motor-trailer packages

Team

Points

1............................Wilson Fishing........................................................... 3268 2............................Team Sands............................................................... 3094 3............................Reel Easy................................................................... 2928 4............................Team ZMan 10X Tough............................................... 2833 5............................Barambah Lures........................................................ 2826 6............................Deady Fishy............................................................... 2609 7............................Lowrance Black & White............................................ 2594 8............................Show Us Ya Flatties................................................... 2571 9............................Team On Strike.......................................................... 2552 10...........................The Mad Hueys A Grade........................................... 2545 NOVEMBER 2019

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Lismore local lands a victory Nick Anderson is a Lismore-based local and knows the Richmond River well. His knowledge of where to fish on what stage of the tide helped him secure his first ABT win and a spot straight into the 2019 ABT Sufix Bass Pro Grand Final at Lake St Clair. Nick’s Friday pre-fish was going to be spent driving for 40 minutes up Bungawalbin Creek, but he changed his mind in search of some new areas. While he found a few fish here and there, it wasn’t until he got to a spot in Swan Bay that he formulated a plan for his tournament to come. On day one Nick went straight to his spot at Swan Bay. It took him 15 minutes to get there, and he knew he had about 20-30 minutes to kill before the tide started to run in. He had time to set himself into position on a 20ft drop-off that came up to a 15ft flat. He was using an Ecogear ZX blade in colour 447 on a 6’ Millerod and a 2000 Daiwa Freams reel. Once the tide started pushing in it was on, and Nick was catching fish straight

Nick Anderson used his local knowledge to put together a winning bag on the Richmond River. away, and by watching his Garmin LiveScope he could see what type of hop of the blade the fish would react better to. Nick said you could see them getting

excited and flaring the gills the crunching his blade when he got twitched it the way they wanted. Catching a limit in an hour and a half and

BOATER RESULTS Place Name 1 Nick Anderson 2 Chris Deland 3 Keeghan Painter 4 Braden Schuch 5 Joe Allan 6 Aaron Swanson 7 Peter Phelps 8 Philip Nix 9 Brett Hyde 10 Andrew Lollback

Total Fish Total Weight (kg) 8 8.21 8 7.10 8 7.09 8 6.84 8 6.82 8 6.52 8 6.49 8 6.09 8 6.05 8 6.05

Visit www.abt.org.au for entry forms. For general enquiries phone ABT on (07) 3387 0888 78

NOVEMBER 2019

upgrading about eight times, he then headed to Bungawalbin Creek, but unfortunately couldn’t get any more upgrades. Nick finished day one

NICK ANDERSON TACKLE Rod: Reel: Line: Lure:

6’ Millerods spin rod 2000 Daiwa Freams Berkley X9 10lb and 8lb FC Rock leader Ecogear ZX Blade in colour 447 Nick also attributes his success to his Garmin Panoptix LiveScope sounder

coming to the scales with four fish for 3.75kg. On the second day Nick went straight back to Swan Bay. He had a lot longer to wait for the run-in tide that was so kind to him on day one, but the benefit of being local was that he had a run-out spot on the other side of Swan Bay. His non-boater Mitchell Rose opened the account by catching a good one on a spinnerbait, and before too long the tide started to push back in. Nick motored over to his flat and started catching them using his same technique from day one, hopping a ZX blade on the same 15ft flat, watching them on his Garmin Panoptix LiveScope. He ended up catching a limit by 11:00am and getting a final upgrade at around 12:00pm. He brought the heaviest bag that day to the scales, with four fish for 4.46kg, and a combined weight of 8.21kg, which sealed Nick’s first ABT win.

Scan the QR code to see Nick Anderson Interview.

Scan the QR code to see Richmond River Highlights.

NON-BOATER RESULTS Place Name 1 Paul Mazaroli 2 Mitchell Rose 3 Rodney Thorpe 4 Blair Shapland 5 Adrian Melchior 6 Mitchell Petty 7 Anthony Melchior 8 Angus Meyndershagen 9 Shaun Beekman 10 Ben Biggs

Total Fish Total Weight (kg) 8 7.91 8 7.39 8 7.19 8 6.81 8 6.77 8 6.42 8 6.42 8 6.39 8 6.15 8 6.13


First-timer from Forster scores second Chris Deland is a Forster local, and this area is known for having produced some champion anglers over the years. Chris really stepped up to the mark, earning 2nd place in his first ABT Bass Pro on a river he had never seen, let alone fished. For day one Chris had local angler Adrian Melchior as his non-boater, and the team headed up the Wilsons River for nearly an hour before getting to the spot. Chris started throwing a topwater rat around for half an hour for not even a boil before changing to a Vex blade. The blade caught some fish, but they weren’t coming in thick and fast. It wasn’t until he changed to a black and blue PF cover jig that he begun to work out a pattern. Pitching it into laydowns, weed, and whatever snags

and cover he could find, the fish just couldn’t resist this offering being dragged and twitched slowly along the bottom. Once the tide started to push in, he really started turning some numbers over, filling his bag by 10:00am and upgrading every so often after that. His limit of four bass for day one weighing 3.49kg had him in a strong position ahead of day two. For his second day Chris had Anthony Melchior (son of his day one non-boater) on board. Deland made the same run up the Wilsons arm and fished the same way as he had on day one, working his jig through snags and bouncing over rocks. He managed to find new snags and angles he left on day one, and found this was the key to catching his day two limit. He squeezed anything he could out of there,

early, which may have cost him first place, but he and Anthony fished hard all

Mazza finishes season strong Paul ‘Mazza’ Mazaroli made the trek all the way from Sydney, and loves any type of sport; he probably takes marbles seriously. One thing he really loves, however, is fishing, and he’s not too bad at it either!

this technique often. Once they got there and the tide started to run in, they went to work hopping blades down deep and catching plenty of fish, even upgrading eight times. Once the bite stopped at Swan Bay, they spot

Scan the QR code to see Paul Mazaroli Interview.

Forster local Chris Deland (right) relied on his experience fishing on other rivers to secure a podium finish. It probably didn’t hurt to have father and son Adrian and Anthony Melchior (pictured) as his non-boaters on day one and day two respectively! catching four keepers by 11:00am. He also got busted off by some big fish

of 3.75kg. For day two Mazza drew Keeghan Painter, who had a totally different plan to his day one boater. They went in the other direction, going upstream. Pulling up at the first spot, Keeghan caught a

and certainly good viewing! The bite did slow down with the tide, so they headed to the launch point to see what was around, and even pulled up for lunch before heading back out once the tide started again. After lunch they upgraded once and caught a few 900g fish that were no help to them. When the pair stepped up to the scales everyone could tell they had enjoyed their day on the water. Their four bass came in at 4.16kg, giving Mazza a total weight of 7.91kg, which was enough to score him his first ABT BASS Pro win and also earn him the 2019 ABT Angler of the Year title!

BASS Pro Series presented by

day, upgrading gradually to finish with a limit of 3.61kg and total of 7.10kg. This

gave him automatic entry to the 2019 ABT Sufix BASS Pro Grand Final.

GARMIN BIG BASS Barry Reynolds managed to land an absolute horse for the Richmond River, weighing in a 1.95kg bass that he caught on a 3/8oz Bassman spinnerbait in white.

Paul Mazaroli (left) travelled up from Sydney to enjoy two spectacular days of fishing on the Richmond River, and ended up taking out the non-boater division and Angler of the Year! For the first day, Paul was fishing with boater winner Nick Anderson, which saw him heading to Swan Bay to fish a 20ft ledge with a rise to a 15ft flat. Mazza was at home fishing to schooling bass with blades, as he has competed for a few years on the ABT BREAM tour and uses

hopped around a bit, even running right up Bungawalbin Creek, but they only managed some small fish here and there. Paul said it was one of those days where he was in the zone and having a great day. They ended up bringing four fish to the scales for a total day one weight

1.1kg bass first cast. Paul thought to himself that this was going to be a good day, and it turns out he was right. Between them they had caught their limit by 8:30am fishing blades on the riverbank drop offs. To have been a fly on the wall watching this pair of clowns having a good day would have been hilarious,

Winners Nick Anderson and Chris Deland display a sample of the well-conditioned bass the Richmond has on offer. NOVEMBER 2019

79


2019 Bowen Family Fishing Classic wrap up A great weekend of family, friends, fishing, food and fun has now wrapped up for another year. This year saw the addition of

The night was finished by A14, a seasoned cover band, which rocked into the night. A laid back Sunday on the shores of Port Denison

started out with a fun run and breaky beachside before the weigh in kicked off at 10.30am. This was followed by a ‘dash for cash’ and a

lure casting comp with host Barefoot Fisherman, Dave Hodge. Local band, Headrush entertained the crowd as anticipation built up for the presentations. The Senior Lucky Entrant winner of the $37,140 boating package a free fishing and boating seminar, a sensory circus workshop for the kids, and Play to Learn activities for the littlies. There weren’t many heavy fish weighed in, as the wind kept anglers with smaller boats or families closer to shore. The biggest fish for the comp weighed in was a Spanish mackerel at 20.2kg. The weekend entertainment was lead by an Australian INXS tribute show. The afternoon had a variety of hosts, including Graham Howle, and local talents from Dee Jays Dance School. As day turned to night, a 3-piece band from the Whitsundays let everyone sit back and enjoy the sunset.

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this event. A very small dedicated band of volunteers bring the event to the shores of Bowen every year and their efforts should not go unrewarded. Thanks for a great weekend! – Bowen Family Fishing Classic


Westy wins it all at Wivenhoe Electric comp Wild weather greeted only 27 anglers at the final qualifying round of the Casino Bass Electric series at Wivenhoe Dam. Charles ‘Westy’ West made it two in a row at Wivenhoe by taking out first place and Big Bass, smashing away the rest of the field. Westy had located a patch of fish out on a ridgeline during his pre-fish. He knew with the terrible conditions that it was going to be a

grind, so he headed straight to this location during the tournament. Upon arrival, he pressed Spot-Lock and proceeded to stay in the exact same spot for the whole session, making long casts with 40g Valley Hill Rezan spoons to cover lots of water. West found that larger fish were smashing spoons on the drop or the pause. “When I freespooled it back to the bottom, it would just take off. The extra weight

off the 40g spoon excited the fish on the drop,” he explained. His choice of tackle was a Raison Jaburo 70H, matched with a Daiwa Tatula, 16lb Sunline and 12lb shock leader. Landing around 12 legal fish for the day, Westy came in with a 2/2 bag of 4.15kg, with a solid lead of over 2kg, as well as the day’s Big Bass of 2.12kg. He would like to thank Valley Hill Japan for their ongoing support. - ABT

Local gun Charles West secured a whopping 2kg lead thanks to his 2.12kg Big Bass. RESULTS Place

Angler

Fish

Weight (kg)

Prize

1st.................... Charles West............... 2/2.................. 4.15......................$400 2nd.................. Jake Schwerin . .......... 2/2.................. 2.05...................... $260 3rd................... Joey Urquhart............. 2/2.................. 1.79...................... $140 4th................... Mark Palazzi................ 2/2.................. 1.55...................... $100 5th................... Adrian Wilson.............. 1/2.................. 1.17...................... $60 6th................... Drew Sharpe............... 1/2.................. 0.86...................... $60 Jake Schwerin was in great form and placed second.

TOURNAMENT CALENDAR 2019

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

2-3 Nov

Lions Mary Valley Family Fishing Classic

Glenn

Lake Borumba

0427 276 933 or gympielions@gmail.com

8-10 Nov

Tinaroo Barra Bash

tinaroobarrabash.com.au

Lake Tinaroo

29 Nov-1 Dec

ABT BREAM Grand Final

Gold Coast

7-8 Dec

Hobie Kayak Bream Series Round 11

Marlo

abt.org.au

hobiefishing.com.au

2020 MARCH

21 Mar

LAFMA Carp and Tilapia Eradication Competition

Lloyd Willmann

Wyaralong Dam

0429 614 892

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

81


Cooking

Trio of prawns throwback: Asian style edition BRISBANE

Lynn Bain

The trio of prawns was one of the very first recipes I submitted to Fishing Monthly many years ago.

Back then in the days of slide film, the article featured just a single photograph! Over the years I have continued to tweak, fiddle and adjust the recipe. They are still as easy to make and in some cases, they have

Garlic Prawns

as a main course with either steamed rice or noodles. You can serve the prawns either tail on or tail off. If I am serving the prawns as finger food, I prefer to leave the tails on as a little handle to hold onto the prawns.

Chilli Prawns

Before juicing, roll the whole lime across your work surface several times. This will make it easier to squeeze out the juice. Feel free to use whatever peppercorns you have to hand. Over the years, I have

used all sorts of peppercorns such as black, drained green peppercorns, pink peppercorns as well as a mixture of all of them. You may like to try Szechuan peppercorns to keep with the Asian theme.

Pepper Prawns

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

• 250g green prawns, peeled and deveined • 2 tablespoons canola oil • 3 tablespoons coriander • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine • 1 tablespoon salt reduced soy sauce

• 250g green prawns, peeled and deveined • 2 tablespoons chilli sauce • 1 teaspoon chilli jam (optional) • 1 tablespoon kecap manis • juice and zest of 1 lime • 1 tablespoon canola oil • 1 green shallot, finely sliced

• 1 tablespoon canola oil • 250g green prawns, peeled and deveined • 1 tablespoon freshly crushed peppercorns • 1 tablespoon salt reduced soy sauce • 1/2 cup light (fat reduced) coconut cream • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, finely chopped

1

1

1

In either a mortar and pestle or a food processor, process 1 tablespoon of canola oil with the coriander and garlic. Grind until smooth(ish). In a frypan, heat the remaining oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic/coriander mixture to the frypan and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

In a glass bowl, combine the chilli sauce, chilli jam, kecap manis, lime zest and juice. Add the prawns to the chilli sauce mixture and stir gently to coat the prawns. Allow the prawns to marinade for at least an hour in the fridge.

Heat the canola oil in a frypan over a medium heat. Add the prawns to the pan and stir-fry for a minute or so. Then add the crushed peppercorns to the prawns and stir.

2

2

2

Add the prawns to the pan and continue to stir-fry, ensuring the prawns are well coated in the garlic/coriander mixture. Stir the Chinese cooking wine and soy sauce through the prawns in the pan. Continue to cook for a minute.

3 82

become a little healthier. In this edition’s Garlic Prawns recipe, I have veered away from the cream based sauce to a more Asian vibe by using soy sauce. The prawns can be served either as finger food or served

Remove from the frying pan and the garlic prawns are now ready to serve.

NOVEMBER 2019

When you are ready to cook the prawns, heat the canola oil in a frypan over a medium heat. Add the prawns as well as the marinade to the pan and stir-fry until the prawns are cooked.

Pour the soy sauce and coconut cream into the pan. Continue to stir-fry for a further couple of minutes or until the prawns are cooked and the coconut cream is bubbling.

3

3

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the finely sliced green shallot. The chilli prawns are ready to eat.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the coriander leaves. The pepper prawns are ready to eat.


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Measuring biomass in the shallows SUNTAG

Stefan Sawynok

Most months I discuss fishing competitions, monitoring and topics that surround Track My Fish. To be fair, TMF is a big part of my life, I designed the app back in 2015 and the journey to bringing the app to life was far from smooth. Last month we put through 8,500 fish and more than 4,000 competitors across a range of events here and in New Zealand. Between Tracey and myself, we have been processing catches seven days a week, there hasn’t been a weekend where we have nothing on. As odd as it might sound though, Track My Fish is not the biggest challenge I have taken on in recent years. Not long after we built the first version of Track My Fish, I took on an even

a positive effect on spawning and recruitment for key species like salmon. In many parts of Pacific North West, natural recruitment is down to 10% of what it was at its peak and given the economic and cultural significance of the species that is a big problem. In order to address that problem, massive hatcheries have been developed releasing fish into the wild and allowing them to take part in the natural growth cycle of Salmon. These hatcheryreared fish are fin clipped for easy identification and take no part in the spawning cycle. That does not prevent them from trying to do what nature intended. Each year salmon return to the place they were born to spawn, with a portion of the hatchery reared fish ending up amongst the natural spawning salmon and while they don’t breed that doesn’t mean they aren’t disruptive. As a result, there is a priority

Queensland – the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, St Helens Bay in Mackay, and Trinity Inlet in Cairns. Net Free Zones are hugely controversial, and their implementation came only after a lot of community angst but outside of the political questions, there was the question of how would you monitor the impact of the fishing and assess fish stocks? Of course, there were all the traditional methods such as boat ramp surveys, but ever since I stepped into the industry, I have felt there needs to be a better way to do it. At the time there was a grants system being managed by Queensland Fisheries, and after conversations with all the community stakeholders and local council the need for a technological solution to counting fish was clear. Pulling that solution together would take a lot of work, but we had the community on board for the approach and the full support of council

Fig.2 Scanning a weed bed. bigger challenge, with the net result being that not just my weekends but my whole life was consumed by Infofish. In the next two articles, I will discuss that challenge, how we met it, some of the work we are doing, the future and most importantly what it means for recreational fishers. COFFEE WITH A SPLASH OF SERENDIPITY Around three years ago, while in the US I met up with a fisheries officer for coffee. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange notes on things going on in that neck of the woods and how they approached fisheries management. There were a number of fascinating, if unconventional elements to that conversation. Take their fishing problems, among the biggest we discussed was how fisheries in Washington State were struggling to get recreational fishers to take more fish. Think about that one for a second. The nature of that problem is rooted in a situation familiar to many of our fishers. The US as with most countries has built large-scale water storage but this has had anything but 84

NOVEMBER 2019

to take out as many of these fish as possible and the conversation at the time turned to the role of recreational fishers. The interesting part of that conversation was the recreational fishers themselves were pushing back on increasing the number of fishers, there is only so much space available and it comes at a premium when the salmon runs start. There are only so many sardines you can fit in a tin. The fears were that increasing the fishers would reduce fishing quality, potentially damage stocks and end up in more conflict. These sorts of discussions are right up my alley. I love digging into the data on what motivates anglers and the ways in which anglers are complex, thoughtful and surprising. On this occasion though, there was a second even more mind-blowing part to the conversation that would lead to me going on a personal quest to tackle the problem of measuring biomass. This conversation happened in late 2016, the year a net free zone was being declared in three locations in

that this was the number one priority project in the region. I knew there would be a mountain of work to deliver, way more than we would be charging for, but some problems are worth doing that. Knowing how many fish there are in a system at a local level can only lead to better decisions and behaviours. H e a r t b r e a k i n g l y, Queensland Fisheries did not see things my way. THE GENESIS OF A TECHNOLOGY APPROACH TO MEASURING BIOMASS Among my many faults, I hate Government saying no to a well thought out idea that has real benefits. I have no problem with people saying yes to a better idea but sticking with the status quo because you don’t quite get it, that just smacks of laziness to me. Now, upfront, the failure was mine, I didn’t make the argument well enough. None the less, when Queensland Fisheries said no, I had the trigger I needed to become obsessed with developing a technology solution to assessing fish

Lake Quinault, Washington State. biomass, no matter what obstacles lay ahead. There were a lot more obstacles than I could dream of. Back to that fateful cup of coffee. When discussing the problem of increasing the recreational take the conversation went down a number of rabbit holes, as these things tend to do. One such rabbit hole was the approach of the Quinault Indian Nation to monitoring, they were using scientific echo sounders developed by a local Washington State, family run business called Biosonics. Now, I can relate to a family run business, Infofish has three generations of Sawynoks so that got my attention from the start. The use of echosounders for measuring biomass dates all the way back to the 1970s and the days of paper printouts. Fortunately, the tools have come a long way since then. The system in use by the Quinault was able to measure the size of the fish, numbers and report those details by position in the water column. Those are all key pieces of information for measuring biomass, but in the case of salmon and trout provides also a means of separating the species. In other words, here was a piece of technology that could measure a fishery, without taking fish out of the system. I ended that conversation

intrigued, but completely unaware of exactly where it would lead me. That night, I got a call from dad about the Fitzroy River. The grants program I mentioned above had just been announced and he had an idea to use sidescan imaging to look at barramundi, his thinking was to map parts of the Fitzroy River for fish using sidescan. Barramundi being a larger fish do show up on sidescan but it has to be said that in order to achieve that you need a slow moving vessel and even if you get the fish on the sounder there is the problem of how you count them. While the idea seemed feasible, a lot of manual effort was involved and the process was not very scalable. ENTER BIOSONICS INTO THE CONVERSATION The problem he enumerated sounded exactly like the problem the Quinault Indian Nation were tackling. As I would learn, sounds like is not the same as is like but at that point we were talking concepts. The first hurdle was the cost. Biosonics equipment does not come cheap, second while there was software around to process the data nothing existed to process the data in the way we needed. I have been in the software business for most my life, I wrote my

The biosonics unit in action.

first program at age 10. If you are going to write a piece of software to do a process not currently used and is based on undocumented and unknown data, take a big number and multiply by ten. That is your time and cost investment. That number came out way larger than the equipment. That is assuming that it could be done at all. There is a reason why the equipment isn’t supplied with out of the box software to do this process and the surveys active around the world came with a lot of caveats on the results. In order to make it work, we were going to have to break ground, with no guarantee that ground could be broken. Beyond that initial project application, we spent 18 months trying to get a major project up, that is, reduce the risks through a bigger funding pool. We never got past first base. In May last year, we had a small client who wanted to come on board and do a job in a hurry, that was enough for me to jump and take the risks head on. THE FIRST SURVEY Remember I said its high risk to work with an unknown process? One of the consequences of all those unknowns is change takes on a life of its own. Our data processing system for the


Biosonics has been rewritten from the ground up a dozen times since we did the first work. Some versions have not even lasted a week. Every time we went on the water, we solved a problem, which only lead to more problems to solve. Each time we uncovered a new problem invariably the processing system had to go back to the beginning. In all my time in software, including Track My Fish, which has had its share of rewrites, I have never experienced a development process quite like this. The early days were chaotic. After our first survey, we didn’t go near a client for six months as we just focused on understanding how the technology worked and how to make it do ‘something’ useful. I am well known at Fishing Monthly for essentially living in the office. I moved closer to the office in January, just so I could get home faster after midnight. None the less from the moment we started I knew what we were doing was

is a massive 30cm wide. That is not going to pick up much and as we have learned, you won’t see anything closer than three metres anyway unless it’s very big. This is where Biosonics offers a big advantage, by being able to go horizontal the range gets much larger. We have successfully pushed the range out to 200m and we regularly scan out to 150m (see Fig.1). In that first survey we pushed out to 40m, about as far as we felt safe to go, in hindsight we could have pushed the boundaries much further. Nonetheless going sideways presents new challenges. PROBLEM TWO – ALL THAT NOISE Side facing presents a new problem that down facing doesn’t. Down-facing hits the bottom roughly at right angles, the depth varies and sometimes you hit a surface but overall it’s predictable. Gravity works, the bottom is generally solid.

years, echo sounders have been used for down facing problems. This solves not just the where is the bottom problem, it largely solves the where is boat problem as well. By tracking the GPS on the vessel, you have a built-in mapping process that makes it relatively easy to work out where the fish. This also provides a simple validation mechanism. If you are doing an ocean survey and the fish are one hundred metres below, it’s not that difficult to send a camera down to check it out. The problem with side facing is the fish you are looking at are nowhere near the vessel. Not only that, when you go to three dimensions how do you know where the fish is in the water column, how do you know the bottom is the bottom? As I pointed out to one enterprising sales person, how do I mount a camera 50m away from the boat when there are trees between us and the region

Fig.1 Shallow water with trees and bottom noise. right. Even now I believe that Biosonics themselves underestimate the power of the tool they created. By the time we finished the first survey, we knew the big challenges, even if we didn’t really understand what it would take to get our heads around them. Here are five big problems. PROBLEM ONE – SHALLOW WATER The first survey was in a small lagoon about 1km long and eight metres wide. Depth wise it drops down to around 10m but mostly it’s less than two. We knew this ahead of time, and part of the reason we chose the Biosonics equipment was for its ability to scan fish both down facing and side facing. Shallow water is a real pain echosounding wise. It’s good if you do sidescan but downscan is an entirely different matter. As a rule of thumb the Biosonics system has a 1:10 ratio in terms of the beam width, that is if you are shooting 10m, the beam width is one metre wide at that point. At three metres the beam

When looking at side facing, the bottom (and for that matter the surface) acts as a boundary at the edge of the beam, not a nice wall to run up against. In side-facing gravity pushing hard things like trees to the bottom as well, which means they can end up in odd places in the beam and we are hitting them at a much different angle. What does that look like? Fig.2 presents a shot into a weed bed, which highlights exactly the problem of side facing. As you hit the weed, the whole screen lights up which makes it hard to see anything. In shallow water, you don’t even need a weed bed to lose most of the scan in this way. When shooting 150m, in 5m-deep water, things get noisy as you hit the bottom in the first third of the survey. PROBLEM THREE – GOING BEYOND THE SCREEN The next problem we encountered was the relationship between echo sounders and geography. For the most part of the last 30

we are looking? PROBLEM FOUR – WHAT ARE YOU EVEN LOOKING AT? The next problem we encountered was in assessing what we were looking at. Just taking a look at the screen, in clear water we could easily identify fish. When we exported the data that eyeball assessment turned to mush as the export contained everything – bottom noise, structure, man-made objects, fish, trees and weed. While classifying each object visually wasn’t too difficult with a little practice, that is far cry from assessing a record with a lot of numbers in it. Why would you need to? A survey we did on the Logan-Albert demonstrated the scale of the problem. In that survey we ended up with over two million tracks mostly fish but a mix of other things in there. I don’t know about you, but classifying a million of anything is beyond my sanity boundaries. Phoenix, who does a lot of the classifying and training for our fish health models can do a thousand or more fish photos in a week, so

assuming she could do the same rate, there is only 1000 weeks effort involved. Automating the classification of signals is the holy grail of echo sounders and how we solved that problem would push us the hardest of all. PROBLEM FIVE – COUNTING FISH The main reason we took on the Biosonics unit was to count fish. This should in of itself be the one thing it did well but when you take into account problems three and four that becomes a challenge – how do you know you are counting fish. The next problem was how to scale that process. The Biosonics excels in the Northern Hemisphere where the units are either fixed mounted at the edge of a river and running constantly or used for downscan. In both instances, they are looking at clean water, mapping isn’t much of a concern and in terms of counting fish, they use the bin system. The bin system cuts up the length of the beam into ‘bins’ say 5m wide and then counts the tracks in that five metre block. That approach is useful in down-scan where fish are in specific parts of the water column. In both cases, they are dealing only with clean water, no structure, so the task of fish or not fish is very simple. In our case we found even in clean water, bins were not very useful because of the size of area we were surveying. The larger the area, the less effective the bin system is as the range to the edge tends to be very variable. Also, most clients want to know something about where the fish are in the water column, so bins is not helpful at all in that case. SOLVING THE PROBLEMS We were up to our necks in it from the word go. Fortunately, this first survey was of a size and scale where we could sort out the problems manually. It wasn’t long though, in fact our very first trial survey after that where the need for automation was all too clear. We learned very early on when we got overexcited by the results that not having a good understanding of what we were looking at would bite us on the bum. Not long after the first survey we went to ground and focused on really understanding what the system was doing. We knew the potential, but we also knew that if we got the data wrong, we would end up destroying our credibility, even before we got off the ground. In the next part I will look at how we addressed some of the above challenges, what the outputs look like and how measuring biomass much faster than traditional methods provides new tools to help fishers.

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Trades, Services, Charter BOAT MODIFICATION & REPAIRS

BAIT & TACKLE

Boat Collar (07) 5441 3636 CMC Marine Sales 0409 910 808 Iconic Boats Brisbane 0475 311 447 Marine Windows and Doors Brisbane (07) 3284 5088 Small Craft Electrics (mobile) 0408 063 064

Allfly Outfitters – 0428 615 885 Alvey - www.alvey.com.au Bait Tackle Store - www.baittacklestore.com Barambah Lures - www.barambahlures.com Bayside Bait & Tackle – 07 3820 9757

MARINE MECHANICS

C & Horsey Lures - 07 3275 1881 Chilton Tackle Co - http://www.chiltontackleco.com.au/ Coomera Bait & Tackle - www.coomerahouseboats.com.au Crab’n Gear - www.crabngear.com.au

Halco - www.halcotackle.com

Brisbane Yamaha (07) 3888 1727 Caloundra Marine (07) 5491 1944 Capalaba Boat Centre 04011 728 379 Coorparoo Marine (07) 3397 4141 Cunningham Marine Centre (07) 3284 8805 Holt Marine (07) 3353 1928 Northside Marine (07) 3265 8029 Stones Corner Marine (07) 3397 9766

Hillies Lures – www.hilliesspinnersandlures.com Hot Bite Fishing – 0427335343 JML - www.jmlaa.com Lazer Lures – www.lazerlures.com.au Nomad Design Tackle – www.nomaddesigntackle.com Tackle Club - www.tackleclub.com.au Southern Cross Lures – 0428 667 550

NORTH QUEENSLAND

Sportys Fishing - www.sportyswarehouse.com.au Wilson Fishing - www.wilsonfishing.com

North Queensland Outboard Wreckers Townsville 1800 812 748

FISH TAXIDERMY Fish Taxidermist www.fishtaxidermy.net.au or 0428 544 841

FISHING GUIDES

SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND

Gem Bait & Tackle - 07 3287 3868

TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND

GOLD COAST T&S Marine (07) 5546 2599 Whitewater Marine (07) 5532 4402

Fisho’s Tackle World - www.fishostackleworld.com.au

MARINE OUTBOARD WRECKERS

Reef Marine Mackay (07) 4957 3521

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CENTRAL QUEENSLAND Lake Monduran Barra Charters 0407 434 446

TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND Hooked On Hinchinbrook www.hookedonhinchinbrook.com

MARINE TRIMMERS SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND Affordable Boat Covers Gold Coast 0419 424 587 Brisbane Yamaha (07) 3888 1727 Rays Canvas & Marine Caboolture (07) 5499 4911 Rowland Street Boat Trimmers Springwood (07) 3208 9511

HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION

This is where your copy will appear. You will have approximately 50 words within a 5x2 ad size. $320 + GST for 6 months Email nkelly@fishingmonthly.com.au

SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND The Islander Retreat, South Stradbroke Island 0420 967 557

HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION FRASER ISLAND Apurla Island Retreat 0437 739 121 Cathedrals on Fraser (07) 4127 9177

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MINN REPAIRS & SERVICING

Eurong Beach Resort 1800 111 808

• All electric motor brands • Australia wide freight • Quick turn around • Authorised Minn Kota/Watersnake repairer

Waddy Lodge on Fraser 0414 516 364

Minn Repairs & Servicing Call Troy 0412 605 080 – W: minnrepairs.com minnrepairsservicing E: minnrepairs@gmail.com

MARINE MECHANICS // MOBILE WYNUMM MANLY-BAYSIDE

Lake Monduran Houseboat – www.lakem.com.au Moreton Bay Holidays Afloat - www.moretonbayholidaysafloat.com

BOAT MODIFICATION & REPAIRS

FIBREGLASS Repairs

Brisbane South and Gold Coas t

• Modifications • Detailing • Repairs JOE BONNICI

0410 480 203

Salt-Away www.salt-away.com.au ASM Mobile Welding Brisbane 0409 624 402 Bluewater Windscreens Brisbane (07) 3382 7883

Wondall Rd Marine (07) 3396 5633

SAMPLE AD - BUSINESS NAME This is where your copy will appear. You will have approximately 50 words within a 5x2 ad size. $320 + GST for 6 months Email nkelly@fishingmonthly.com.au

Fraser Island Beach Houses 1800 626 230 Yidney Rocks (07) 4127 9167

CENTRAL QUEENSLAND Baffle Creek Holiday House 0419 624 833

COOKTOWN River of Gold Motel 4069 5222

MACKAY BEL AIR MOTEL, MACKAY - PLENTY OF ROOM FOR BOATS AND TRAILERS.............PH: 07 4957 3658 FRESHWATER Lake Boondooma Caravan Park (07) 4168 9694 Lake Cressbrook Regional Council 131 872 Yallakool Caravan Park on Bjelke-Petersen Dam (07) 4168 4746 Yallakool Park and Kiosk on Bjelke-Petersen Dam (07) 4168 4746

ONLINE TACKLE PRODUCTS

A GREAT BIT OF KIT JUST GOT BETTER The ultimate FG knot tool for braid/ leader joins large and MODIFIED small DESIGN

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MARINE TRAILERS Oceanic Boat Trailers (07) 5597 0577 Sea-Link Special Trailers (07) 3881 3568 Spitfire Trailers (07) 0400 866 323T Tinnie Tosser (07) 5498 7339

CHECK IT OUT ONLINE ORDERS

www.fgwizz.com.au

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. 86

NOVEMBER 2019


Boats & Guided Fishing Tours Directory CHARTER BOATS

NORTHERN NSW

N O W AVA IL A B L E

Evans Head Deep Sea Fishing Charters 0428 828 835

GOLD COAST

Reel Time Fishing Charters Yamba 0428 231 962

BK’s Gold Coast Fishing Charters 0414 293 034 Coastal Sports Fishing Charters Gold Coast 0412 691 929 Discovery Fishing Charters Gold Coast 0427 026 519 Fish The Deep Charters 0416 224 412 Hooker 1 Charters Gold Coast (07) 5528 6469 Paradise Fishing Charters 0403 531 428 RU4 Reel Tweed Heads 0449 903 366 Sea Probe Fishing Charters 0400 312 330 True Blue Fishing Gold Coast (07) 5510 9622

SAMPLE AD - BUSINESS NAME This is where your copy will appear. You will have approximately 50 words within a 5x2 ad size. $320 + GST for 6 months Email nkelly@fishingmonthly.com.au

ALL YOUR FISHING MONTHLY GEAR

Wooli Fishing Charter (02) 6649 7100

CENTRAL QUEENSLAND Ultimate Sportfishing Charters 0450 753 726

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Big Cat Charters and Tom Cat Charters 0433 430 248 Frenzy Charters Brisbane (07) 3209 4576 John Gooding Outlaw Charters 0418 738 750 Moreton Island Fishing Charters 0413 128 056

MARINA BOAT & TACKLE, YAMBA MARINA

YAMBA’S LARGEST TACKLE STORE

Fishing Offshore Noosa 0418 889 956

• Chandlery • Boat Sales • Ice & Gas • Bait & Tackle • Trailers Sales & Parts • Charter Bookings Ph: 6646 1994 or 0428 231 962 Email: dave@gaden.com.au

Hervey Bay Fishing Charters (07) 4125 3958

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SUNSHINE COAST Fish n Crab Charters Mooloolaba 0412 155 814

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Incredible Charters 1300 655 818 Keely Rose Deep Sea Fishing Charters 0407 146 151

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Noosa Fishing Charters (07) 5665 8170 Odyssey Charters Deep Sea Fishing (07) 5478 1109 Offshore Reef and Game Fishing 0413 485 402

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• Custom Sportsfishing Vessels • Quality Fishing Gear Supplied

Throw Pillows

Smithy’s Fishing Charters Sunshine Coast 0407 574 868 Sunshine Coast Fishing Charters (07) 5500 0671 Top Catch Charters Sunshine Coast 0429 013 012

Jump onto our website and place your order today!

20 3 3

BORN AND BRED LOCAL GUIDE

Rainbow Beach Fishing Charters 0439 775 070

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CENTRAL QUEENSLAND (Cont.) Bundaberg Fishing Charters 0429 017 217

MANY DESIGNS TO CHOOSE FROM ON A WIDE VARIETY OF PRODUCTS ALL MADE TO ORDER

Sport Fish 1770 (07) 4974 9686 Coral Coast Game Fishing 0447 347 437 Norval Reef Charters 1800 771 234 Iluka Fishing Charters Gladstone 0414 940 911 Kanimbla Charters Gladstone1800 677 202

TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND Action Charters Mackay 0417 452 346 Cairns Charter Boat 0427 533 081 Cairns Fishing Charters 0427 400 027 Cairns Reef Charter Services 1800 119 044 Eclipse FNQ Weipa Charters 0488 058 668 Fairdinkum Fishing Charters Townsville (07) 4751 5324 Fish’s Fly & Sportsfishing Weipa (07) 4069 9957

wp.fishingmonthly.com.au

Fishing Charters Townsville 0403 386 722 JC’s Fishing Charters 0438 753 382 Roko Island Fishing Charters 0488 074 593

fishingmonthly.redbubble.com

Advertisers wanting to be involved in this directory can call (07) 3387 0834 or email nkelly@fishingmonthly.com.au NOVEMBER 2019

87


FUN PAGE AND COMPETITIONS FISH THAT PUT UP A FIGHT

GIANT TREVALLY AMBERJACK BLACK MARLIN BLUE MARLIN STRIPED MARLIN LONGTAIL TUNA SOUTHERN BLUEFIN ALBACORE KINGFISH SWORDFISH

DTD - REAL FISH OITA

COBIA JACK SAMSONFISH BARRAMUNDI SPANISH MACKEREL SAILFISH DHUFISH SALMON SNAPPER BASS

Name: Address:

P/Code:

The first correct entry at the end of each month will win the prize pack. SEND ENTRIES TO: QLD Find-a-word Competition, PO box 3172, Loganholme Qld 4129

QLD NOVEMBER 2019

Phone (day):

GEORGE & NEV by Michael Hardy

The ‘Real Fish Oita’ is an incredible, award winning squid jig manufactured in Europe by leading Croatian company - DTD. Taking out the coveted ‘best new product’ in its class at the EFTTEX 2015 Expo in Warsaw, this wonderful range is now available in Australia through Dogtooth Distribution. The product imitates real fish species. This coupled with DTD’s use of only the highest grade materials available, ensures great balance and results in superior catching ability. With the unique ‘fish parasite’ feature, aimed at luring predators in for an ‘easy kill’, these truly unique jigs are set to explode into the Australian market. FEATURES - Double weight system with inner weight designed to produce sound while squid jig is in action. COLOURS - 7 different designs representing popular fish species. ADDITIONAL - Luminous body, fish parasite, great balance, sound effect, quality stainless steel hooks SIZES - 5 Sizes available www.dogtoothdistribution.com.au

SPOT THE

10 DIFFERENCES

BARRA COUNTRY by Brett Currie

ORIGINAL

FIND-A-WORD

Congratulations to Tony Hubner, who was last month’s winner of the Find-aWord Competition! Monthly winners receive a Fishing Monthly prize pack. Prize delivery can take 8 weeks. – QFM

SUBSCRIBER PRIZE

The subscriber prize winner for September is M Dean of Bonogin, who won a Fishing Monthly Subscriber prize pack. All subscribers are entered in the monthly subscriber prize draws. Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – QFM

Higgins of Caboolture, R Quill of Tin Can Bay, R Brown of Edmonton, P Fielder of Everton Hills, G Winterton of Kawungan, J Routledge of Kepnock, R Jordan of Glenvale, K White of Aspley, I Hamson of Conondale, A Needham of Blackbutt, K Audridge of Rockville, R Morrison of Forbes, R Poor of Godwin Beach, J Kelly of Deception Bay, C Watson of Torquay, D Richter of Toogoolawah, K Picking of

Calliope, R Skeet of Marian, M Hever of Childers, B Scholz of Tingalpa, J Carvolth of Peak Crossing, B Frankel of Urangan, G Hazelwood of Bundaberg South, B Steers of Redbank Plains, E Heathwood of Mission Beach, M Chadwick of Burrum Heads, M Boyle of Slacks Creek, R Benson of Boondall. Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – QFM

LAST MONTH’S ANSWERS

FIND THE DAIWA LOGO

NOVEMBER2019 2019 8888 NOVEMBER

GUESS THE FISH?

This month’s Guess the Fish Answer: Yakka

The answers to Find the Daiwa Logo for September were: 10, 12, 24, 29, 30, 32, 36, 37, 40, 42, 45, 68, 71, 73, 76. – QFM The Find the Daiwa Logo prize winners for September were: E Lezuchowski of Darra, C Robinson of Edmonton, D Parker of Branyan, B Barratt of Bucca, B Mackey of Parkwood, M Baker of Gorokan, G Goubareff of Mt Warren Park, C Renz of Crestmead, J Paul of Inverell, P Carrington of Deception Bay, A Bragg of Mount Isa, K O’Brien of Burrum Heads, J

Answer:


boats & kayaks

In the skipper’s seat

Inside story...

Northbank Marine was established at Port Adelaide in 1996, in the historic Fletchers slipway. In 2006 they moved south of Adelaide to Lonsdale to purpose-built facilities to cater for the demand for the Northbank range of product. This 4000 square metre facility is state-of-the-art for the production of high-quality fibreglass boats. Northbank Fibreglass Boats is a family owned and operated business that today produces some of Australia’s finest boats.

Made for...

Northbank aim to build the best boats they can at a price that is sure to satisfy the buyer’s budget without compromising safety, integrity or style.

This month...

Editor Steve Morgan had great fun putting the Northbank 650C through its paces. Check it out on page 98!

90 Cruising Cabbage Tree Creek

Troy Brown takes shelter from the spring winds, and explores Cabbage Tree Creek in the yak.

92 Measuring success in the kayak

Sometimes we need to appreciate the little things in fishing, and this applies to kayaking as well, as Justin Willmer explains.

94 Is it worth going out in the boat?

At times you need to cut your losses and leave the boat at home, and Wayne Kampe provides a guide to help you decide when it is or isn’t worth taking the boat out.

NOVEMBER 2019

89


Cruising Cabbage Tree Creek BRISBANE

Troy Brown

Escaping the winds that regularly interrupt kayaking adventures can sometimes be tricky. Skinny water creeks are often suitable only for very small kayaks and require skilful negotiation

(green zone) where fishing is not permitted. Heading left from the ramp takes you to the mouth of the creek and the wide expanse of Moreton Bay, while proceeding right pushes you deep into the upstream area of the waterway. While the amazing series of flats and drop-offs at the mouth were enticing, the wind made

of kayak. While a pedal drive makes fishing hands-free a simple affair, even a relatively inefficient hull can be paddled in this area without a high degree of exertion. The main feature of Cabbage Tree Creek is its diversity. Shallow flats, mangroves, pontoons, moored boats and submerged structure

am fishing is relatively snagfree, I tend to use a plastic with lots of inherent action in its design so that it requires little or no assistance from myself to attract a fish. For this purpose, the tail action of lures, such as a curl-tail or jerk shad result in a set and forget style of fishing, which may be lazy but it is deadly on bottom-dwelling fish such as flathead. If the area is more prone to snags, I will adopt a weedless presentation on a minnow style soft plastic, as this will result in less frustration and re-rigging. It’s much harder to get an initial hook set on a weedless rig, but if a hook-up is achieved

Cod are in near plague proportions around the Sandgate Road bridges. While they are mainly modestly sized, if they catch you while you are inattentive your lure will be lost to their lair!

There are monster flathead in the system, but the majority will be in the 50cm range. through narrow channels, dragging your kayak through inhospitable terrain and constantly avoiding overhanging tree branches. Knowing the difficulty of finding areas in which to hide from the recent winds, I was pleased to rediscover Cabbage Tree Creek. Launching from the fantastic ramp facility at Sinbad Street, Shorncliffe, I had few expectations of what I would find. My only aim was to escape the depressingly high winds, which were keeping me away from more exposed fishing grounds. Having only fished the area once before in my boat, I had little recollection of the area and was excited for the opportunity to fully explore the waterway. Our first decision was which direction to head to from the ramp. Heading

our decision simple and we headed inland. The inland stretch of the creek is a series of contrasts. There are areas that make you feel like you are in a substantial river, which rapidly become narrower

Schooling mulloway are easily spotted on the sounder, but can require subtle angling to achieve a successful hook-up. Patience is the key, as these fish often do not fully commit on the first few strikes. the plastic has typically been engulfed and landing the fish is nearly guaranteed. Deadsticking may be relatively successful in terms of the minimal effort required, but for sheer fun it is difficult to ignore sight casting into heavy structure. The

90

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searching for surface strikes. They say fortune favours the brave and Cabbage Tree Creek is the epitome of that phrase, as you need to prepare for the occasional lure disappearing into a tree or snag while tempting an aggressive predator.

jack and bull sharks. Quantity can vary dramatically, but the variety is usually quite reliable and occasional trophy fish will keep you coming back. For maximum enjoyment, I recommend you try working both sides of the tide, preferably starting with

While they are not as likely to dive for the nearest snag like mangrove jack, grunter have amazing power in open water.

Nick Spronk tempted this solid jack with a ZMan paddle-tail soft plastic. These fish are elusive, but the satisfaction of catching even one fish makes hours of effort worthwhile. directly out from the launch point is not an option, as this places you directly into a Marine National Park Zone

suggest the promise of what exists in the area. Tough fishing conditions possibly did not allow us to see the creek at its best, with fishing in many areas around South East Queensland not being at their peak over the past

and often deeper channels. Tidal flow throughout seems fairly sedate, making this area perfect for virtually any style

few weeks. Despite this, we have been given a strong expectation of what to expect in the area, with some quality catches being achieved despite tough conditions. Due to the relatively sedate nature of the journey on a slow running tide, I like to adopt a similarly laidback approach to fishing this length of water. If the wind and tide permits, I typically ‘deadstick’ a soft plastic on the deeper side of the kayak, allowing it to bounce lazily along the creek bed while I cast at structure on the opposite side of the kayak. Snags can sometimes interrupt this method, as can a hooked fish changing sides of the kayak during the fight and entangling your other rod. My bottom-bouncing rig depends on which section I am fishing. If the creek floor I

Nirmal Sumy with a trevally caught while throwing surface lures in a wider section of the creek. opportunities here are endless – cast small lures deep under trees, slowly sink lightlyweighted presentations into gnarly roots, target pontoons or simply cast into open water

The variety of fish in such a small system is impressive. Common species such as bream, cod and flathead are accompanied by grunter, jewfish, trevally, mangrove

the last few hours of the run-in tide. This should give you sufficient time to drift a reasonable distance in the creek, working from the ramp through to the Sandgate Road


bridges. Low tide significantly changes the landscape in the upper reaches, exposing vast flats and snags that are well hidden on high tide. Take note of these areas while they are visible, as knowing what lies below the water at high tide can be an invaluable asset. Regardless of whether you

your lure. Skipping your lure across the water not only reduces the risk of spooking cautious fish, it also provides a subtle trigger to any predatory fish in the area. When fishing around pontoons, either slowly sink a lure (such as a crab imitation) down with the current, or cast

Despite being one of the toughest pound-forpound fighters, grunter are not fussy about angling technique. This specimen took a deadsticked paddle-tail lure intended for a flathead. fish with bait, soft plastics or hardbodied lures, finesse is key in narrower sections of the creek. When fishing in close proximity to your targets, avoid making loud noises, rig as light as possible and practice the art of skip casting

well ahead of the structure and drift it back underneath. Avoid the urge to strike until you know you can achieve a solid hook set, especially when you feel the subtle action of a mulloway inquiring on your lure. I completed nearly 100m

of drift with a mulloway gently mouthing and dropping my soft plastic, before it finally inhaled the lure greedily and let me set the hooks. I also fought what was potentially my biggest ever mangrove jack from the trees using light bream gear, only to lose it as it wrapped around the line I had hanging from the opposite side of my kayak. With summer approaching, these prized mangrove jack are making a regular appearance. While they can indeed be found hiding in the mangrove areas, you are more likely to find a jack hiding under a pontoon or lurking near a rock wall or undercut bank. If you have the pleasure of catching one of these amazing fish, remember the fight is usually won or lost within the first few metres. If you can successfully get the jack away from its snag, the fight seems to ebb from them and they become more compliant. Prime time for mangrove jack is just before a storm, but be wary of overstaying your welcome and being caught in a summer deluge. In terms of gear, I often carry 3-4 rods so I am ready for any situation. My favourite rods are my ultralight 1-2kg bream rods, which offer an amazing challenge when a larger fish is hooked. I also usually carry a rod in the 2-7kg range, plus a

Every pontoon is worth at least one cast. Artificial structure can be ideal sanctuary for big bream and mangrove jack. slightly heavier rod if I am chasing some creek monsters. Line on the ultra-light rods varies from 3lb fluorocarbon main line on one rod to 6lb braid on another. I rarely fish heavier than 10lb line, but I do carry a heavier rod with 20lb braid when targeting mangrove jack. If you want to learn how to fish this area, catch up with local members of groups such as the QLD Hobie Crew, Yak Hunters or Australian Kayak Fishers. These passionate kayakers are welcoming and will assist you in becoming a better fisher, while also providing some fantastic companionship on the water.

One of the more unusual catches from Cabbage Tree Creek. While we all curse the occasional pike or catfish, Lee Major went one step further by reeling in a pig’s head!

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www.wp.fishingmonthly.com.au NOVEMBER 2019

91


How to determine a successful fishing session BRISBANE

Justin Willmer Find me on Facebook at Yaks On

Hopefully you have found some time to get out on the water this month. I only managed one sneaky short kayak session in amongst a plethora of duties and prior commitments. We didn’t even get a chance to christen Sheri’s new SUP with a fish! Nevertheless, I recently read an article by a mate of mine, Sean, which got me thinking about what makes a successful kayak fishing trip or fishing trip in general. Sean and his daughter Kaitlin gave their regular fishing spots a miss due to that evil snot weed taking over and opted to head into the upper reaches of a local creek. Their aim was to explore the creek and look for good structure to fish when the weather warms. They caught a couple of small bream and an undersized flathead, however the trip was considered a success, because they discovered some awesome new water,

starting to realise that as much as I love fishing, there’s a stack of other aspects that make our kayak and SUP sessions enjoyable, and maybe we all shouldn’t judge ourselves so harshly and consider our session a failure if we don’t catch a stack of fish. There’s so many other gains from a session on the water, including exercise, clearing of the mind and reducing stress, time with family and friends, the adventure element, wildlife spotting, scenery and serenity, photo opportunities, discovering new future fishing destinations and even a bit of casting practice. Fishing with the kids land-based also reinforced the fact that you don’t need to catch an icebox full of fish to have a great day. We pumped some yabbies and had a ball catching small bream, whiting and trevally, with Slade catching plenty, Zac stoked with his first legal fish (a 31cm whiting that he chose to keep for dinner) and Cameron landing the beast of the day, a 72cm longtom. It may as well have been a marlin, as he

low tide around 5pm and, of course, it was gusting to 20 knots. I opted for my sit-inside paddle kayak, to keep it simple and keep my profile low to the water to negate the influence of the wind gusts as much as possible. I had a rod rigged with a 1/4oz 1/0 jighead and my go-to 2.5” paddletail soft plastic, and another rod rigged with a larger 3” paddle-tail on a 3/8oz jighead. I had selected a new dark silhouette colour, loaded with gold and copper flecks, as the wind was blowing onto the bank, the water was dirty and the structure was a weed edge. They were perfect conditions for the larger profile and dark silhouette colour to stand out and

This was the last the author saw of the first flathead he landed before it ejected itself from the kayak and swam away. first thing that I noticed was the amount of water in the kayak and it seemed that the leak was getting worse. I needed to get the water out of the kayak if I was going to continue fishing. I removed the two ice bricks from the zip lock bag in my icebox and used the bag to bail the kayak, before

stowing it in my pocket for the next bailing session. I normally carry a bailing sponge, which is a great accessory for kayak anglers. I started my first landbased session casting upcurrent and hopping the plastic back naturally, fanning my casts from close to the bank to almost at

Cameron scored the beast of the day, which got the kids pretty excited.

Zac was stoked with his first legal fish, a 31cm whiting. had a great time together and saw plenty of wildlife. This got me thinking about Sheri and my first SUP session together, when she took her new stand up paddleboard for its first paddle. We had a great afternoon, paddling around a local mangrove island, gaining a feel for the board, laughing, chatting and spotting wildlife. I’m 92

NOVEMBER 2019

wrestled it up the beach on his little combo and all of the kids gathered around excitedly to point out its teeth and announce how they didn’t want to get bitten. So, was my recent short kayak fishing session a success? I’ll let you be the judge. I had a Sunday afternoon available. It was a perfect

attract the attention of the fish, so it was up first. Conditions were choppy with waves from multiple directions like a washing machine, and it was at about this point in time that I remembered there was a leak in this kayak that I had meant to sort out. I would make two casts to the edge before the kayak was almost blown back onto the bank. Then I’d paddle out again, make another two casts and paddle out again… I was having a great time. I knew I was going to have to grind it out, however I had a plan B and had put on a solid pair of water shoes so that I could pull the kayak up on the bank and fish a drain and a deeper basin landbased. I had a large dugong swimming around me for a while as I approached the drain, however I was unable to get a good photo in the lumpy conditions. First stop was the drain, and I slid onto the

bank with the waves that were rolling in with the wind and hopped out for a land-based flick. The

Late in the day, the author finally caught a keeper for dinner.

Less than ideal conditions make kayak fishing challenging.


right angles to the bank. As the plastic approached the channel edge, I had a solid hit but no hook-up. This was followed by another solid tap a couple of casts later as I was thinking it was a bream or yellowtail pike struggling to eat the larger plastic. Finally I hooked up to what felt like a reasonable flathead, only for it to shake the lure as I fought it through the solid weed on the channel edge. I had a dozen more casts for nothing and it was back into the Titanic for the paddle and fish to the next land-based destination! I paddled out, made a cast and I was on! I couldn’t believe it. I was hooked up on the new colour on my first cast after getting back into the kayak. After a stubborn fight on light gear, I had a legal flathead in the net, where it threw the lure and I was thinking how lucky I had been. By the time I had the camera ready I had been washed into the bank, waves were breaking against the side of the kayak and everything was wet, including me. A quick photo of the successful lure, a photo of the flathead in the net and then that was the last I saw of it as it leapt out of the net and slowly swam off in the shallows, after I had another swipe at it with the net. I sat for a moment being pounded by waves and pondered… do I think that my session had been a success? As I started the paddle to the basin area I leant back in the seat of the kayak and the right strap on the fitted seat snapped, leaving me uncomfortable and with minimal back support. I almost pulled the pin then, however I thought I had come this far, braved

Yep, the water level was rising in the kayak and it was time to head for home. I held that fish firmly for a quick photo and it was safely stowed in the icebox for dinner. The water in my kayak had now reached a level that filled my built-in seat. I was wet, it was getting cool and dark and I still had a few hundred metres left to paddle. Still, for some reason I had a smile on my face. Upon reaching the launch point I had to bail a lot of water out of the kayak before I could load it onto the trolley and head for home. Had my session been a success? I had battled terrible conditions, bailed my kayak out three times, lost a few fish including one that leapt out as I watched on, broken the strap on my seat and I was soaking wet. On the other hand I had christened a new plastic colour, hung

Slade with a bream from the pontoon. it was tricky to stay in touch with the lure, even on the heavier jighead and after about 15 minutes the tide had bottomed out and turned, so I opted to catch the tide home and fish along the way. My hour and a half session had been eventful, however I still hadn’t managed to land a fish that didn’t eject itself from the kayak. The turn of the tide and end of the day saw the wind drop slightly, allowing me to drift and fish more effectively on my return trip. With the slightly more comfortable fishing conditions I opted to step down to the smaller plastic and fish a bit slower, hooking another fish right on the edge that stayed hooked for a few seconds before breaking free. I was

It’s important to keep it simple and low profile in choppy conditions.

One in the hand is definitely worth more than the big one that leapt back into the water! out with a large dugong, hooked a few fish and I had dinner in the icebox. I also had a smile on my face and

my wife and I both laughed as I shared my adventure with her over a fresh feed of flathead.

Overall I had only been out for a couple of hours but I always enjoy battling the elements to catch a fish, as I have done many times over 30 years of kayak fishing. I find these tougher adventures to be a rewarding challenge and they also make the magic days on the water and hot bites even better. I declared the session a success as I enjoyed dinner with my wife and made plans to either repair or retire my old sit-in kayak. Next time you’re out on the water and things aren’t going to plan, remember to stop, look around, breathe and focus on the positive elements. Focusing on the positives may change your mood and in turn change your fishing success or maybe what you consider to be a successful outcome into the adventure. Maybe it’s not all about catching fish and you’re actually out on the water for a different reason… like just getting some vitamin sea!

A good-looking gutter to fish land-based and a bird means bait. the elements and surely I could catch one for dinner. Pulling up onto the bank, I again bailed the water out of the kayak and started working the basin and drop off with the 3” paddle-ta-l plastic. The wind was still gusting hard,

having a shocker. Just when I was thinking about calling it a day I was again reminded of how important it is to be aware of your surroundings. I heard some bait flicking in the shallows back behind me, made a cast to

the disturbance and was hooked up within two turns of the reel handle. It felt like a reasonable flathead and after some tense moments close to the kayak I had the fish in the net and splashing around in the water… inside the kayak!

Wear suitable footwear if you intend to add some landbased fishing to your kayak session. NOVEMBER 2019

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Is it worth going out? BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe wkff@aapt.net.au

The above heading sums up a question that weather forecasts have posed for me on far too many occasions, particularly when I worked full time and really appreciated my opportunities to fish mid-week. I would organise a couple of days off work, the tides would be very favourable, and everything looked good – and then

comfort. Even so, moving to and from the hotspot was an issue. I mainly fish from open boats so I’d end up wet, frequently becoming pretty uncomfortable in the boat while moving from point to point, and there’d usually be a lot of cleaning up at the end of the day, particularly after fishing saltwater. In short, a WOTAM – Waste Of Time And Money. WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T! The question of whether to go or pull the pin is a difficult choice that all

has somehow ended up in water conditions that don’t suit it one bit, and a skipper’s skill is really put to the test. The results can be disastrous. We must never be blasé about this sort of situation, because from time to time we are reminded of the worst case scenarios with craft and crew lost, as was the tragic case in Moreton Bay in August during a period of strong winds and rough water. I’m not talking about offshore fishing here – far from it. I’ve been

While a half cabin provides tremendous sea-keeping capability, if sea conditions are foul the going will still be uncomfortable. even worse scenario might easily be encountered out in Moreton Bay in the vicinity of the main shipping channel. I’ve

seen some pressure waves created by large ships moving at speed combining with chop from prevailing winds that required instant

action to take control of a very nasty situation. A wall of white water approaching after a car carrier has rumbled past is

That’s a decent sized boat but the confused seas are throwing it about nonetheless. in the Brisbane River on big ebb tides with a stiff northeasterly wind howling, and have encountered pressure waves (often made worse by tugs) that required the boat’s bow to be elevated under power and directed into the approaching maelstrom quick smart. An

There are rough times ahead by the look of this daylight launch shot, and later in the day with the wind up it’s probably going to be a whole lot worse to retrieve this boat.

These conditions are the sort that are made for smaller open craft. the weather forecast would suddenly deteriorate. Fresh to frightening often summed up the wind forecast, and wave heights rose from modest to mean. Sometimes I bit the bullet and launched anyway. The results were never worth the effort, unless the excursion saw the boat finally in a sheltered spot where we could at least wet a line in some reasonable 94

NOVEMBER 2019

boaters face. Plans are made in good faith, and often at considerable expense to ensure that things are just right… and at the last minute the weather turns rotten. At times like these it’s essential to make the right decision, because when things are out of your control it’s too late to back off. It’s even worse when you have an inexperienced crew aboard, or the craft

There’s a boat in there somewhere! Think about it, would you or your crew enjoy those conditions?

not a pleasant sight. Trust me on that! CONSIDER BOTH PASSENGERS AND THE CRAFT The smart decision is to consider all aspects facing the passengers who will be aboard, and whether the boat will be comfortable and safe to travel in and fish from. Naturally, the overall design of the craft will have a major bearing on the outcome in unfavourable conditions. A cabin craft will offer far more protection from the elements than most open boats, yet a high sided open boat – say, a larger centre console – might be workable when driven in conditions that the skipper has encountered previously and can be confident in.


Still, in the overall scheme of things I believe it’s wise to consider the worst likely situation, and plan along those lines. However, boats and

involved. When it comes to inexperienced boaters or children, there’s no better way to put them off boating for life than to take them out in adverse conditions

after very brief use because of such an event. SEA SICKNESS Ah yes, and now we come to sea sickness. This affliction is something that

Higher sides and a bimini/hard top provide some comfort in less than ideal conditions, but it still pays to think carefully about the weather forecast. boating conditions are only part of the picture. Let’s turn our thoughts to the crew. People who aren’t really familiar with boating are far from ideal passengers in foul conditions, especially if family members are

and see them wet or knocked about by rough going. It doesn’t matter how promising the fishing might be when the engine is stopped, as the damage is already done. Many a decent boat has been sold

a lot of people are familiar with. Planning a boating trip with someone prone to ‘mal de mer’ is not very smart if the forecast is less than ideal. Those lousy sea conditions will kick-start that unpleasant sensation

of tiredness, queasiness, followed eventually by a perk or two over the side. The worse part about this condition is that it seems to be contagious; one crew member has a barf over the side and then another might follow suit. This is not good for the skipper, especially if he or she is the second in line for a close look over the gunwale! A wise person knows their limitations, that’s for sure, so it’s up to the skipper to make the right decision before putting the crew and boat to the test. Granted, at times you might call off a trip only to find that the weather is much better than the forecast was. It’s frustrating when this happens, but it’s far better to be safe than sorry. It helps if you keep checking the weather online, as the forecasts are regularly updated. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of your final decision. If the conditions are poor but you’re keen to go out, remember what I said at the start of the article. On those times when I did go out in bad conditions, it was rarely worth it when it came to catching fish. There was plenty of work cleaning the boat when I ventured home, but very little with the filleting knife!

Tom Black caught this lovely winter bream off the beach at Caloundra.

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WHAT’S NEW BOATING FORMOSA SRT PLATE HULL

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The new Formosa SRT Plate Hull combines the best boat designs from the Sea-Rod and Tomahawk brands, packaging them into one skilfully engineered plate boat. The new plate hull features excellent levels of performance, handling and stability, with a stronger Lock-Cell hull and deck structure with a Quad4 Water Ballast option available across the whole range. An increased deadrise, custombuilt cambered strakes and large reverse chine create hydrodynamic lift and superior traction. In addition, the SRT hull uses the Formosa Step Down Active Transom design, delivering smart storage solutions, easy on-board battery access, and flush-folding door and seating systems. The transom door and lounge fold down to create more sitting areas or fishing platforms, and fold away flush against the side of the boat when not in use for a clear deck area to move around. The folding lounge is also removable. There are four Active Transom designs to choose from, with optional extras available. www.formosamarineboats.com.au

BUILD YOUR FISHING WEAPON

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Australian plate aluminium boat builder Bar Crusher has pushed live the latest version of its website – and with it, v2 of the brand’s online boat builder. Launched several years ago, Bar Crusher’s online build-and-quote system allows website visitors to review the huge list of standard features in every model and personalise each boat by selecting options such as hull colour, engine horsepower and additional factory-fitted accessories. Bar Crusher’s 26-model range spans 4.9-7.8m and is available in a number of configurations – cuddy cabin, hard top, hard top pilothouse, centre console, open hard top, walk around, and bow rider. Renowned for quality construction, superior performance and maximum fishability (with a range of standard fishing-related features other manufacturers charge as extras), every Bar Crusher boat is factory-packaged on a customdesigned trailer to ensure towing, launching and retrieving is a breeze. Self-centering and aligning perfectly every time, Bar Crusher’s innovative Bar Catch system also allows for single-handed launch and retrieve. The new boat builder function is now online and ready to go, so head to the Bar Crusher website and get started on building your fishing weapon. barcrusher.com.au

ACR REMOTECONTROLLED LIGHT 3 The new RCL-85 LED searchlight from ACR was designed for the boater who wants to ditch the hassle of halogen searchlights, but still wants their affordability. With an impressive 240,000 candelas using six High Flux (30W) LEDs, you have visibility over half a nautical mile to light the way to your destination. The simple installation only requires running your 12-24V power to the searchlight, and all operations are completely wireless. The RCL-85’s sleek design makes it an attractive and cost-effective choice for small to medium sized vessels. The searchlight comes with a wireless handheld remote to rotate the light 350°. With an 8° beam angle, the light can tilt an impressive 90° degrees to make lighting structure a breeze. There is also a strobe function to signal for help. The RCL-85 is weather resistant with the electronics located in the IP68 water-resistant light head instead of the base for increased protection. The ASA housing and lens are 96

NOVEMBER 2019

PRODUCT GUIDE

sealed against the elements for years of troublefree operation. Price: SRP approx. $700 www.acrartex.com

TOHATSU MFS60A

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The new VFS60A outboard from Tohatsu weighs only 98.5kg, which is 7kg lighter than its nearest competitor and 15% lighter than Tohatsu’s renowned M60C 2-stroke. Tohatsu are fully aware of the implications that weight has on a boat’s performance, and this is for those boaters who are re-powering from a 2-stroke. The MFS60A has a proven pedigree, with its core being based on the popular MFS40 and MFS50A. However, this model features some interesting developments to pistons, intake valves, manifold and camshaft design, along with introduction of Roller Rocker Arms. The end result is responsive performance, superior fuel economy within a sleek and environmentally designed outboard. It’s available in aquamarine and white, forward control or large multi-function tiller, and retains all of the core features of the smaller MFS40/50A such as: Tohatsu Onboard Communication System (optional cables required); Trolling Assist; 21 amp charge system; electronic fuel injection; and Easy Flush System. www.tohatsu.com.au

MERCURY FOURSTROKE DEALS 5 For the first time, Mercury is offering a trio of great deals across its FourStroke range from 3.5-150hp. With Deal 1 you can save up to $800 on 3.5-60hp FourStroke engines. With Deal 2 you get free SmartCraft rigging on 75-150hp FourStroke engines (SmartCraft gauges bring all your vessel’s information together onto one simple-to-navigate device – including speed, rpm, trim, depth, alarms, water pressure, fuel flow etc – as well as allowing control of specialist systems such as Mercury’s Active Trim). And if you take advantage of Deal 3, you get the benefit of 3.99%* Mercury Finance on 40-150hp FourStroke repower. Even better, the mighty 150hp ProXS is included in Mercury’s summer deals for the first time, as are all SeaPro and ProXS models in the relevant horsepower categories. All three deals end on 18th November 2019, so you’ll have move fast if you want to secure your saving. *For full terms and conditions visit the Mercury Marine website. www.mercurymarine.com.au

FUSION FM SERIES

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Fusion FM Series flush mount marine speakers and subwoofers are engineered to deliver high-quality acoustics. The lowprofile, near-flat installation allows for a visually appealing finish never before seen on a marine speaker or subwoofer. Combining optimized speaker drivers with aluminium dome tweeters to produce highquality audio at any volume, the FM Series also give you the ability to create a 2.1 audio zone. A new mounting system allows for nonintrusive, easy installation. You simply place the unit in the cutout, tighten the screws and the speaker legs will tighten against the panel without creating any screw holes. The FM Series complies with ISO12216 Annex D1.1 for Areas II, III and IV, due to its strength and watertightness. Available in round or square models and white or black colour options, they come in two sizes, 7.7” 200W and 6.5” 120W. Matching 10” 400W FM Series subwoofers are also available. www.fusionentertainment.com.au

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Northbank 650C with Mercury 250hp V8 Verado - SC

TENT -

RE ONLINE MO

T NOVEMBER 2019

DE FOR EX

Main: Some would call it the Butter Bean-mobile. We call it the Northbank 650C. Built in South Australia and retailed in Melbourne by Melbourne Marine Centre, this is an impressive craft. Above: Radio dialogue. FM: “Righto, give it some this time.” BB: “No worries. Thought you’d never ask!” drive this rig, either. He did well for his first boat test. There were no problems ‘sending it’ for the camera. None at all!

Length.......................................................... 6.5m Beam.......................................................... 2.44m Height on trailer.......................................... 2.4m Capacity...............................................8 persons Max hp........................................................... 250 Transom Deadrise......................................... 21°

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with their rig.” Packages that are by no means basic for a Northbank 650C and Mercury start from $126,000, ready to go and catch a snapper in the Bay. Dean’s rig with all of the extra fruit came in a lot

PERFORMANCE

SPECIFICATIONS

to see if one would fit in his garage. It took a couple of modifications, but they made it fit and the rest is history. He now has around 40 hours on a Northbank 650C (cuddy cabin) that’s powered by a V8 Mercury Verado (250hp) and sitting on a custom Mackay trailer. And yes, it even has a pie warmer on board. Dean’s not afraid to

CO

s.morgan@fishingmonthly.com.au

I’m unsure if I’m allowed to actually call him by his nickname, Butter Bean, but Craigeburn’s Dean Pallone rocked up to the Patto River launching ramp in his pride and joy for this test. Dean’s a customer of Andrew Stephens’ Melbourne Marine Centre and the story of the sale reminded me of a joke that’s probably a little too saucy to delve into here. Regardless, he went shopping for a repower of his old fibreglass boat and came back with this weapon of a boat on order. Well, it wasn’t really that simple. Dean’s meticulous about his toys and Andrew was up to the task, even driving out to Dean’s place

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the cockpit floor and the suite of LED lights (from underwater on the transom through to the cockpit all add up to make this a really neat looking rig). “It’s good to get positive feedback from our

Steve Morgan

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AN THE

FMG

As expected, if you drive this big rig hard, it’s fast and less than totally economical. We got it to 86km/h, which is hauling ass for a cabin boat. At that speed, it delivered even money, a kilometre for each litre burned. Back off the stick, though, and you get 50% more distance for your dollars. We achieved 1.5km/L at 57km/h and 4,500rpm.

Like all Northbanks I’ve tested, the hull sounds and feels solid underfoot. We’ve driven these boats in all conditions – from a Port Phillip Bay you could waterski on behind an outboard to a choppy Sydney Harbour with a diesel inboard – and these Rob Cuming designed hulls all ride the same. In the spectrum of fishing to family boats, this one swings well towards fishing. There’s drop in snapper racks, multiple places to store your rods (in the rocket launchers or upright along the gunwales) and a suite of electronics that lets you find where the fish are. That’s not to say that there’s a Spartan level of comfort. Shade, a lockable cabin and a neat gunwale door to allow easy ingress, while the boarding ladders

and transom door make it easy to load and unload while the rig is on the trailer. Small luxuries, like the custom SeaDek on

RPM....... Speed (km/h)......... Economy (km/L) Idle............................ 4............................... 1.6 1000........................... 8............................... 1.5 2000..........................13............................... 1.1 3000......................... 26............................... 1.0 4000......................... 47............................... 1.3 4500......................... 57............................... 1.5 5000......................... 68............................... 1.3 5900......................... 86............................... 1.0 customers and it’s great to have Dean so happy with his rig,” said Andrew. “We like going the extra mile to make sure that our customers are 100% happy

closer to $150,000. For more information visit northbank.com.au, email info@northbank.com. au or contact your local dealer for a test drive.

All the owners are impressed by their V8 Mercury 4-stroke. This is the first owner of the Verado iteration, with AMS (advanced mid section) which deletes nearly all vibration. They’re ridiculously smooth and quiet.


These pocket-mounted vertical rod holders take those extra four rods that make all the difference. Anyone who says you have too many fishing rods is dead-set wrong.

The only thing better than a rocket launcher is a second, offset one that lets you get more rods up there. Butter Bean’s definitely one to feed the addiction.

The folding ladder, duckboard and transom door are essential for boarding the boat while it’s on the trailer. They’re pretty handy as well when you’re going for a swim.

That’s a Mercury Vessel View up top, a big ol’ Simrad below and a digital throttle and shift to the right. The fire extinguisher is within easy reach of the helm and helps you sort out any pie warmer incidents.

21° of transom deadrise means that you need a special talent to land this rig hard. Specifically, if you can get it launching at a 21° lift to port or starboard you can bang it good. That’s harder than it sounds.

Underwater LEDs on the hull and LEDs on the trailer, where were boaties without them?

There’s a mountain of space in the cockpit and the SeaDek custom flooring matches perfectly. Dean says that it’s easy to keep clean.

The optional side door lets you bring in fish that surpass your expectations (but not your ability to plan). Or it lets the kids in, your choice.

We think that the ruler on the deck is a special touch.

It’s like a snapper deck of cards: Spigot, bait board and six rods.

If you’re serious about live bait nowadays, you need the clear panel to let you connect with your tasty treats at an emotional level before you send them to their death.

You can tell a Verado version of a Mercury from the standard V8 by that silver midsection. It called an AMS and contains all of the engineering that insulates the boat from engine vibration. Standard V8s are all black.

NOVEMBER 2019

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175, 200, 225hp V6

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TAKING PERFORMANCE, EFFICIENCY AND RELIABILITY TO A LEVEL YOU HAVE ONLY DREAMED ABOUT. POWERFUL & EFFICIENT • Superior torque from high-displacement V6 powerhead • Lightest weight for maximum performance • Quicker acceleration from performance-inspired quad-cam design • Unprecedented fuel efficiency with Advanced Range Optimisation (ARO) MORE INTUITIVE & MORE REFINED • Smoothest, quietest operation through advanced engineering • Maintain rpm regardless of conditions with Adaptive Speed Control For new boat packages or repower see your nearest Mercury dealer today.

mercurymarine.com.au

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Queensland Fishing Monthly November 2019  

Complete FREE digital version of Queensland Fishing Monthly magazine for November 2019.

Queensland Fishing Monthly November 2019  

Complete FREE digital version of Queensland Fishing Monthly magazine for November 2019.